Hunnypot Does...
Powered by CircleSquareLA


Written by 

Back in the heyday of the emo scene days, we were all looked down on as cringe culture. Some people may look back on their scene hairstyles and clothing choices with the same reaction as our parents looking at photos of their 80s glam days. But something 80s glam and the emo scene had in common was music that spoke to us and connected with us on an emotional level. All of us Elder Emo’s continue to turn out in droves for our favorite bands, showing them love still to this day. When a co-headlining tour called the Creative Control Tour was announced with Pierce the Veil and The Used, fans came pouring out to sell out the Irvine Five Points Amphitheatre. Bringing with them Don Broco and Girlfriends, the big scene hairstyles, and brightly colors plaid clothing was coming back out.

Opening the night is a relatively new band called Girlfriends. This two piece partnership consists of vocalist Travis Mills and drummer Nick Gross. Girlfriends perfectly captures classic pop punk and the emo vibes, combining them to create a mixture of songs that are irresistible to bounce and dance to. Moving across the stage and playing to every person in the crowd, Travis Mills was there to win over the crowd and create a connection with the people who showed up early. All the while Nick Gross crafted the perfect beats that gave people those warm and fuzzy pop punk feels and started our transportation back to our high school days. Playing songs like “SHOUT,” “Jessica,” “Over My Dead Body,” “Eyes Wide Shut,” “I Thought About You as I was Taking a Shower,” “Where Were You,” “Tattoo,” and closing their set out with “California.” Though it was early in the day, to the fans that did show up, Girlfriends still gave a heartfelt performance as if they were the headliners that night.

Up next was a band that has been quickly growing as a personal favorite of mine. So much so, they were even in my top 5 most listened to bands on Spotify last year. And I only discovered them in the later half of 2022. That is the English rockers, Don Broco. Opening their set with “Pretty” if you weren’t ready to rock out, Don Broco was here to get the crowd moving. The energy that this band brings to the stage is top tier, and hard to avoid. Their music just has such a positive uplifting vibe to it, that you can’t help but jump and sing your heart out. Vocalist Rob Damiani is probably the most charismatic vocalist out there. With so much personality in his stage performance and clothing choices. He was dubbed the “Rizz Lord” by The Used’s Bert McCracken. Maintaining a strong back beat to keep the energy of the songs from dying down and layering beautiful harmonies on vocals was drummer Matt Donnelly. Bassist Tom Doyle pulls double duty himself letting his fingers glide across his bass as well as the keyboards through the set. Filling in on guitar was Veil of Maya’s Marc Okubo, as Don Broco’s guitarist could not make this tour due to personal reasons. Non the less, Marc’s all pink attire and stage personality fits right in with Don Broco, and you would be hard pressed not to think he was their normal guitarist. Sadly, a fan twisted an ankle during the set in the mosh pit, and Rob quickly halted to set to make sure this fan got the attention they needed before proceeding with their set. Proving how much this band cares about the safety of their fans. Don Broco played a high energy set consisting of songs like “Everybody,” “Come Out to LA,” “Gumshield,” “One True Prince,” “Bruce Willis,” and ending with “T-Shirt Song” that encourages fans to rip of their t-shirt and spin it high above their hide. Which fans happily obliged.

My main reason for attending this show was for The Used, and I could hardly wait for their set to begin. Though I have seen them many times, they never fail to draw heart wrenching emotions out of me when hearing their music live.  Starting their set with “Take It Away,” vocalist Bert McCracken hit the stage wearing a Lightning McQueen backpack that just got the crowd screaming with excitement even more. No matter how emotional and heavy the lyrics to The Used songs may be, Bert’s display of a kids backpack, just helps remind us all how much fun the music is supposed to be as well. Halfway through the set, a fan through an Invader Zim backpack on stage, which Bert promptly put on. With the release of their newest album Toxic Positivity, The Used covered their stage with pink flowers to bring a brightness to the energy of their set. Bassist Jeph Howard’s scream and finger style playing help carry the legacy of The Used has been crafting for decades. Drummer Dan Whiteside was in top form this night behind the kit, while guitarist Joey Bradford shredded on his axe. During the song “Taste of Ink” singer Jon Feldman of Goldfinger came running out to assist on vocals, and Bert thanked him as he was the one who helped produce their first three albums. Even bringing back out Rob Damiani to help perform “Box Full of Sharp Objects.” Before going into “People Are Vomit,” Bert instructed the whole crowd to BOO the band, as opposed to cheering, just so they don’t get an inflated ego. The Used played a solid set of classic songs like “The Bird and the Worm,” “Fuck You,” “I Caught Fire,” “Blue and Yellow,” “I’m a Fake,” “Sound Effects and Overdramatics,” and ending with “Pretty Handsome Awkward.” As The Used blasted heart shaped confetti into the crowd to end their set, I was not ready to say goodbye to their music this night.

Closing out the night on this stop of the Creative Control Tour was the tenured, but recently blowing up, Pierce the Veil. Though I have always heard of this band in passing, I was unfortunately not too familiar with them. The energy that Pierce the Veil brings to their set blew me away, and made me question why I was not listening to this band more before the show. Opening the night with “Death of an Executioner,” the band popped confetti into the crowd to wake up anyone who might be losing some energy. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Vic Fuentes has a captivating voice that just sounds familiar and reassuring, you can’t help yourself but sing with him. Lead guitarist Tony Perry has such driving guitar lines packed with fuzz and distortion that help heighten Fuentes vocals. But it was bassist Jaime Preciado that really captured my attention. I don’t think I’ve seen any musician with the chaotic energy of this man. From swinging his bass around his neck while spinning himself in circles, pretending to smash his guitar into the crowd, throwing it 20+ feet in the air and thankfully catching it, and running across the stage nonstop like a rabbit running for its life from an eagle. I don’t know when this man actually played his instrument, but I swear he somehow still found time to do so. Through all this chaos, Pierce the Veil made time to honor their fans by bringing one of them on stage to dedicate “Hold on Till May” to them, and Vic gifted their guitar to the fan. Pierce the Veil could not be stopped from bringing just a fun set to Irvine which included songs like “Bulls in the Bronx,” “Pass the Nirvana,” “Emergency Contact,” “The Boy Who Could Fly,” and “Circles.” During “Caraphernelia” surprise guest Caleb Shomo of Beartooth even ran out to help sing and hype the crowd up even more. During their last song “King for a Day” the crowd themselves could not be contained, and the biggest mosh pit of the night opened up. This was the fastest moving pit I have every seen as people were running 4 minute miles while moshing. If there was one word to describe Pierce the Veil’s set, it would just be fun.

As the last of Pierce the Veil’s confetti slowly fell to the ground, and the lights of the venue came back on, you could see that every person in the crowd was filled with boundless amounts of energy left in them, and the biggest smile on their faces. Live music does something to people, something good, something healing, and something spiritual. The music and energy that these four bands had brought to Irvine was something I feel every person in this crowd needed this night. The emo and scene phase may still be looked at with cringing eyes and wincing glances, but the music that Pierce the Veil, The Used, Don Broco, and Girlfriends played tonight all touched the hearts of every emo kid that showed up this night. 


Matt Martinez

Editor - Orange County

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Twitter