Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Orchid reunites in Amherst after 22 years

The group performed at The Drake for opening night of their reunion tour
Image courtesy of @chaosisorchid instagram.
Image courtesy of @chaosisorchid instagram.

For the first time since 2002, screamo emo-violence band Orchid dominated the stage for the opening night of their east coast reunion tour at The Drake.

Orchid’s Doom Loop World Tour consists of eight shows throughout Boston, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, NY and Toronto, ON. The Amherst tour date was announced only a week before the show on Sunday, and tickets immediately sold out just four hours after they went on sale.

Orchid was formed in Amherst in early 1998. Bassist Geoff Garlock, guitarist Will Killingsworth and lead vocalist Jayson Green attended Hampshire College and drummer Jeffery Salane attended the University of Massachusetts. Brad Wallace, Orchid’s original bass player who also attended Hampshire College, joined the band on the Doom Loop World Tour as a second guitarist. The screamo band released 3 studio albums and several splits in their lifetime between 1998 and 2002.

At the beginning of Sunday night, fans of all age groups excitedly lined up outside The Drake for Orchid’s “homecoming performance.” Inside, a line for merch snaked all the way to the bar in the back of the room. The band had shirts, sweatshirts, vinyl, buttons, patches, tote bags and an exclusive poster designed by an independent artist for sale.

I Have No Mouth, a screamo band of four students at Hampshire College, kicked off the night with an energetic set. The room immediately lit up and a huge mosh pit formed in the center of the crowd. The vocalist Jay Sugden’s fierce, screaming vocals layered on top of the band’s vibrant instrumentals created an impassioned performance.

Having only been playing together for about six months, I Have No Mouth repeatedly expressed their gratitude to be sharing a bill with Thou, Sinaloa and local legends Orchid.

Thou, a sludge metal band from Louisiana, followed. With their heavy sound, each song felt like a hard headbanger. The band’s set felt theatrical and sparked an energetic mosh pit. The lead singer, Bryan Funck, mostly stood still and intensely stared at the audience throughout his powerful performance.

Next was Sinaloa, a three-piece emo band from Somerville. The group consisted of two guitarists and a drummer, with each band member taking on vocals. Even though their genre was different from the rest of the bill, the band’s songs were hard-hitting and empowering. Drummer Luke Pearson gave an emotional speech towards the end of the set, talking about how with all the social issues going on around the world, it’s important to find joy in the small things and still treat each other with love.

At the end of Sinaloa’s set, they gave out paper masks of the iconic picture disk of the Jerome’s Dream and Orchid split EP that was released in May 2000. Fans lunged for the limited masks and stood wearing them in anticipation for the headliner to perform.

Suddenly, the lights dimmed, and “Massachusetts” by Bees Gees played over the loudspeakers. The song slowly transitioned into menacing ambient noise as the four band members took the stage. Frontman Green paced back and forth across the stage until he approached the microphone and boomed, “It’s been 20 years.”

The band turned to one another and stuck their fingers in the sky as the introduction to “Le Désorde, C’est Moi” rang out. The crowd surged toward the stage and screamed the lyrics along with Green. The band’s dynamic energy has been long contained since their final show on July 9, 2002 in Cambridge yet their fans are still just as engaged as ever before.

Orchid’s beloved track “Lights Out” began with the entire audience chanting “You are, you are, you are and you are,” repeatedly until the chanting erupted into screaming. Their performance channeled the same energy they had 20 years ago.

During “Epilogue of a Car Crash,” Green hopped off the stage and stood amongst the fans as they clapped to the beat of the song. Green returned to the stage, dancing to the song’s looming guitar-led instrumentals. The audience erupted as the song shifted into its breakneck change of pace. Killingsworth’s dissonant guitar and Salane’s dynamic drums were dominant throughout the show.

Not once did the crowd take a break from moshing throughout Orchid’s set. When they weren’t doing flips off the stage or swinging fists in the center of the mosh pit, people were jumping and headbanging on the outskirts of the action, enthusiastically pushing each other and screaming the lyrics with each other. There was a tight sense of community present.

When the opening guitar melody of Orchid’s top song “I Am Nietzche” rang out, fans ecstatically cheered, raising their hands in the air to praise the band. Once Green began to scream the lyrics, several fans jumped onto the stage and dove into the audience. At the song’s chaotic climax, Green stood on the edge of the stage in front of the audience, dramatically raising the microphone in the air. Fans reached to the sky and towards Green as they yelled, “I am Nietzche.”

Orchid ended their set with the song, “…and the Cat Turned to Smoke.” The instrumentals echoed through the room as the sweaty audience bobbed their heads to the beat. Again, Green danced in the audience with fans then climbed back onto stage before his verse started. Throughout the song, Green aimed the microphone at the audience as they pumped their fists in the air. Once the song ended, the band dismounted the stage, and ambient field music echoed through the venue as fans left The Drake, entranced by Orchid’s captivating and historical performance.

It’s a huge deal for as influential a band as Orchid to be back in their hometown of Amherst after 22 years. Orchid helped to shape the western Massachusetts hardcore scene into what it is today, and even after such a long time, they delivered an energetic and incredible show, just as they did in the 1990s.

Crissy Saucier can be reached at [email protected]. Lulu Harding can be reached at [email protected].

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