Fresno Beehive

Despite setbacks, Pierce the Veil’s Made to Destroy tour hits strong

San Diego rock band Pierce the Veil on stage at the Rainbow Ballroom, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016.
San Diego rock band Pierce the Veil on stage at the Rainbow Ballroom, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. The Fresno Bee

Nothing could stop Pierce the Veil’s Made to Destroy tour as it stopped in Fresno last night for a monstrously loud and adrenaline fueled show before a crammed-in crowd at the Rainbow Ballroom.

There was a highway bus fire, which left I Prevail – the show opening act – stranded and partially naked just outside town. And still, the Detroit band made the show’s 7:30 p.m. start time. They took the stage in borrowed clothes and ripped through a 30-minute set of guitar chugging metal anchored by the interplay of vocalists Brian Burkheiser and Eric Vanlerberghe.

Burkheiser does the singing. Vanlerberghe brings the guttural screams.


As circle pits go ... I Prevail #madetodestroytour #fresno

A video posted by Josh Tehee (@joshuatehee) on

The fire came a day after the tour’s other opener, Neck Deep, announced it would be playing without front man Ben Barlow, who left the tour to be with his family after his father’s death.

The Welsh pop punk band played an admirable set, with a rotating cast of stand-in singers that included its tour manager, bus driver, guitar tech and Pierce the Veil singer Vic Fuentes, who made a quick cameo on the band’s closing number.

While fans were likely disappointed with Barlow’s absence, this will be a show they talk about.

“Remember that time Neck Need played without their singer and still slayed it?” That’s what I imagine fans might say.

All this was set up to Pierce the Veil, which played a 90-minute set of break neck pop metal that had the crowd in a frenzy –jumping, thrashing, clapping and screaming along. The band upped the ante for this tour, with a stage production that was visually stunning, at points quite literally. It was heavy on the strobe lights, smoke cannons and confetti.


@piercetheveil #madetodestroytour was sooo loud, but sooo good. @numbskullshows #fresno

A video posted by Josh Tehee (@joshuatehee) on

Lyrically, Pierce the Veil is bit angst-y for my tastes (and age), but there is something endearing about a band that doesn’t take itself too seriously, that gets visible joy out of thrashing around on stage. That energy is infectious and had me smiling their the entire set.

Bottom line: I’ve seen dozens of bands play over the last two weeks. Pierce the Veil was as good as any of them.

Stray observations:

▪ Fuentes made the “Fres-Yes” joke. To his credit, he realized it was kinda lame. “I’ll see myself out,” he said.

▪ You know it’s a crazy show when security pulls an empty wheelchair from the crowd.

▪ I Prevail covered Pantera and I died of old age.

▪ It’s 2016. Time for Rainbow Ballroom to rethink the cash only bar situation.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee