The Millennial generation is a peculiar one. We began our love affair with nostalgia arguably before our memories could even be considered nostalgic. With shows like VH1’s I Love The 80’s giving way to I Love The 90’s and even I Love The 2000’s, we’re a generation that’s been obsessed with reliving our youth, even while we’re still in the midst of it.
Given all of that, an anniversary tour can seem a bit self-indulgent, but in a few cases, such as Senses Fail’s Let It Enfold You tour, it transcends simple nostalgia and represents something much larger.
To say that things have changed for the guys of Senses Fail since the original release of Let It Enfold You is an understatement. Lead singer Buddy Nielsen is the only remaining original member, and the changes he’s undergone are so incredible that it’s tempting to look at Senses Fail of 2015 as an entirely different band than Senses Fail of 2004, when Let It Enfold You originally released.
Fans lined up around the block for the sold out show, and the room was packed from the very beginning, with fans not wanting to miss out on a single minute. The lineup was strong throughout the entire night, with support from Marina City and local bands The Day After and My Sweet Fall getting the crowd riled up for the main attraction.
When the moment finally arrived and Buddy Nielsen ran out on stage during the opening of “Tie Her Down” fans screamed and immediately began singing in tandem. This would continue for the rest of the night and the crowd only seemed to get louder as each song passed.
If the music industry held charades competitions Buddy Nielsen would win every time, hands down. You would be hard pressed to find another singer who finds as many uses for a microphone as Nielsen who, at various points of their set, managed to use his microphone to pantomime fencing, churning butter, stretch aerobics, jumping rope, whipping a rope, and a rocket launcher just to name a few. All of this was alongside his other stage antics including his infamous mic tosses and goofy dance moves, which even included the YMCA motions at one point.
There is a sense of freedom that radiates from Buddy Nielsen these days, and it’s a freedom he’s eager to share with others. “You are fine. You are fine. There is nothing wrong with you, you’re fine,” Nielsen emphasized to the crowd in the middle of the set, knowing many in the crowd were surely stuck in the same rut he found himself in years ago. Nielsen emphasized the importance of accepting reality for what it is, instead of numbing yourself or trying to become something that isn’t meant to be.
Through the numerous interviews he’s given over the last year it’s clear the last 10 years led Nielsen on an important journey. But unlike many young artists, his journey doesn’t seem to have been one of self-discovery, for he seems to have known himself all along, but rather one of self-acceptance
This self-acceptance is evident in his approach to revisiting the band’s older material. Many artists try to distance themselves from older material, especially when the material is so different than their current direction, both musically and lyrically, but Nielsen has developed a sense of compassion toward the person he was and still recognizes the importance of those old songs.
He may no longer need the message contained in songs such as “Can’t Be Saved” or “Calling All Cars” but that doesn’t mean his fans don’t, and Nielsen has shown he’s happy to continue giving a voice to fans still trapped in negative situations.
After the band had gone through Let It Enfold You in its entirety they played a handful of other tracks, including their new song, “All You Need Is Already Within You” off their upcoming Pull The Thorns From Your Heart, scheduled to drop this summer.
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The song finds the band continuing on the path they carved out for themselves with 2013’s Renacer, stepping away from the poppy melodies in their older material and going towards a more brutal, forceful, raw sound with surprisingly uplifting lyrics. Despite the significant departure from the album everyone was there to celebrate the song was well-received, and the majority of the crowd sang along just as loud as they did for their nostalgic tracks.
After the band left the stage for a final time fans continued to call for a second encore, specifically begging for a performance of fan-favorite “One Eight Seven.” Unfortunately, the night had come to a close and the venue turned on the lights and some house music, prompting fans to finally start making their way toward the doors.
Whether intentional or not, the Let It Enfold You 10-year anniversary tour has provided a fantastic opportunity for reflection, for band and fans alike.
Have you followed your bliss? If not, as Nielsen says, pull yourself out of your grave- everything you need is already in reach.