WORDS BY SARA ALEXANDER and PHOTOS BY ROBERT A CHADWICK | Go Venue Magazine
Arson City’s 5th Annual Citizens Ball rocked Omaha’s Sokol Auditorium Saturday night (10/20). The evening marked the release of the band’s Hell of a Ride EP. (Read our review). Screaming For Silence, SAUL, and Save the Hero were also on the bill, making for a night stacked with local favorites. Arson City originally announced this year’s Citizen’s Ball at their August 29th show with Stone Sour.
Historically taking place at The Waiting Room, this year’s Ball was moved to Sokol Auditorium to allow for more Arson City fans (known as citizens) to join in on the horror show, and concert goers delivered with many wearing bloody makeup, creepy masks, and kooky costumes, even a T-Rex; a rock may have killed the dinosaurs, but it clearly couldn’t kill this dinosaur’s love for rock.
Save the Hero, SAUL, and Screaming For Silence each warmed up the crowd in their own unique way, while still making for a cohesive opening lineup. Save the Hero kicked off the Ball and shared that all four bands had put a lot into this show. They weren’t kidding. They delighted fans in more ways than one, including dual vocals and a stellar cover of “Believer” by Imagine Dragons. SAUL, the only band not from the Omaha area and instead from NW Iowa, paid a touching tribute to all who have lost a brother, a tragedy which has personally affected two band members. Screaming For Silence truly turned the Ball into a rager and is not to be missed at their upcoming 4th Annual Pre Turkey Day Fan Appreciation show.
Anticipation rose for Arson City as “Prelude” began with a single cobweb covered piano center stage marked with an “AC.” The EP’s title track “Hell of a Ride” soon cut in, and citizens lost their minds. We were all in for in a treat, and by the end of the evening, Arson City had treated us to every top-notch song from the new record, including their cover of Journey’s “Separate Ways” and the songs I still can’t get out of my head, “Business as Usual” and “One of These Days.”
The audience loved the chance to hear favorites from The Horror Show as well, like “Not Coming Home,” which the Mayor really didn’t even have to sing; the crowd carried the lyrics for him.
The Mayor was all in on his performance as he stood on and crawled across the piano, flipping his dreads eerily, yet seductively. Picture if the girl crawling out of the TV on The Ring grew up to become a stripper and was working extra hard for those dollar bills on this particular night. Except in this case, the dollar bills were EP copies, and we were all sold.
Arson City, joined by the Horror Squad with light-up masks, wrapped with “Dance With the Devil” and departed the stage. At this point, a few citizens went their separate ways, but the rest of us wanted more. With the crowd chanting for one more song, the band returned with their cover of “Too Close,” originally by Alex Clare. If there’s one thing Arson City always does right, it’s cover songs.
Luckily, there are lots of things this band always does right, like the primal energy behind live performances, unique on-stage personas, and headbanging tunes with catchy choruses, all of which has attracted them a hardcore fan base of all ages. They’ve truly mastered the creation of a concept and its execution.
The only mildly disappointing factor of Arson City is that they don’t put out music frequently enough; their first release, The Horror Show, came out way back in 2015. Let’s just hope that it’s less than three years until the next one. Regardless, we look forward to next year’s Citizen’s Ball; it only gets better and better each year.
Screaming for Silence
Save The Hero
All images © 2014-2018 Robert Chadwick Photography.