Metalcore Dropouts 2nd Semester Tour Drops In to Austin, Texas

A little over two weeks in, the Metalcore Dropouts 2nd Semester 2024 Tour blasted through the 1700-cap Emo’s in Austin, Texas. Coheadliners The Devil Wears Prada and Fit For A King were joined by Avoid, a band that kicks ass, and Counterparts, a band that also, per their socials, kicks ass. The packed venue was buzzing from the moment doors opened, and after scooping my press credentials, I headed towards the photo pit.

Benny Scholl of Avoid

Starting promptly at 7p, Seattle’s Avoid took the stage, but really the 5-piece took over the entire venue. Energy immediately heightened to almost a childlike glee as lead vocalist Benny Scholl traipsed around the huge stage, smiling ear to ear, belting vocals and directing a raucous crowd. Joined by Chrispy Echols and Nick Olson on guitar, and Paul Jaton on drums, the band make a fun, energetic, heavy and infectious blend of rock that allows for a wall of death breakdown as easily as a sing along chorus. This was my first time seeing Avoid live and I left a fan. As advertised, they definitely kick ass, and catching a live performance was an absolute privilege.

Somehow, idiotically, I was unaware that Counterparts, Canadian melodic hardcore at it’s absolute most perfect, was on this tour as well. Facepalm. Anyway, it was a very fun surprise, especially because I knew the goat Gabe Becerra was probably on tour with them doing media and I was stoked to possibly see him in the flesh (he was, and I did).


Fronted by the saddest and funniest person on Twitter, Brendan Murphy was on point balancing his menacingly harsh vocals with the often bittersweet and melancholic lyrical meanings. I could be wrong, but I think at one point he declared, “This song is about my dead cat. Fuck you.” I felt that. Counterparts was the only band on the bill that I’ve shot before, back in June 2018, and seeing their growth and success is really cool.

Joined by Tyler Williams and Jesse Doreen on guitar, and Kyle Brownlee on drums (this dude is so good at the drums, it’s infuriating), the 4-piece were on fire. Blistering through songs spanning their full discography, each song sounded as tight live as they do on the records, and considering how technical and fast they play, it was honestly impressive. Murphy was totally on brand, sarcastic and trolly but wholesome and wonderful to boot. The 40-min performance was incredible and set up the first headliner perfectly. A little less hardcore, and little more metal, Tyler, Texas’ Fit For A King were up next.

Tyler, Texas' Fit For A King

Fronted by vocalist Ryan Kirby, the 5-piece metalcore mainstay were ferocious. Good thing I brought extra undies because that first breakdown snare bomb destroyed me. In the best way. Kirby’s vocal chops are impeccable, and his commanding energy insured that all of Emo’s was paying close attention. FFAK may have had many line-up changes over the years, but the current touring roster is brutally good, effortlessly blasting through songs that span a literal decade of work.

Joined by guitarists Bobby Lynge and Daniel Gailey, along with bassist Tuck O’Leary and drummer Trey Celaya (also a beast! Dude plays guitar in Invent Animate too), the band had the audience utterly captivated. Case in point: sometimes (most times) a call and response request from a band comes across a little weak and super cheesy. But, somehow, Kirby easily directed all of Emo’s to help with the iconic intro: “THIS IS MY…VENDETTA!,” and it went so insanely hard. Such a good set, such a good band. Also Tuck has this stage move where he first hurls his guitar around his neck, then does a full 360, and then does another 360 but lands the hardest airpunch I’ve ever seen right on the downbeat of 1 and oh my god it completely had me shook.

Closing out the evening are The Devil Wears Prada from Dayton, Ohio, possibly the greatest American meatlcore band to walk the planet (objectively). Of the 4 bands on tonight’s bill,TDWP is the one I’ve been consistently obsessed with since I first heard Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord in 2006, as a chubby, angsty 19-year old that wished I could fit into girl’s jeans like all my skinny friends. The band followed up with Plagues in 2007, and then released With Roots Above and Branches Below in 2009, which was a record that totally changed my outlook on heavy music, heavy drumming, and the inclusion of electronics in screaming music. These three records, released back to back over 3 years, massively molded by musical tastes and preferences, to this day. Then the Zombies EP? Come on, man.

Pit chaos during TDWP

Speaking of the Zombies EP, TDWP played a few from that record, along with tracks across the rest of their 8 studio albums. I never thought I’d get to see Des Moines played live, and I did, and it was amazing. Frontman Mike Hranica was the eponymous badass front man, howling highs and phlegmy lows all while tirelessly covering every inch of surface of the entire two-level stage setup. Guitarist Jeremy DePoyster was locked in, helping with backing clean vocals, crowd engagement, and general badassery. I’m pretty sure he didn’t stop smiling for the entire set. Joined by guitarist Kyle Sipress, keyboardist Jonathan Gering, bassist Mason Nagy and drummer Giuseppe Capolupo (another monster drummer), the full band looked and sounded more energized and engaged than ever. Moshpits ensued, circle pits ensued, another photographer told me he almost got puked on. Lit. The set was so heavy and loud, an absolute throwback to the old metalcore shows of yore. I was having a hard time even focusing on taking pictures for the first three, as I really just stared in awe at being so close to these legends. I wasn’t even mad at how challenging the lighting was! It was just an incredible experience all in all.

[As an aside: Hranica briefly mentioned that he loves hockey and got to skate with a few local players prior to the show. Ricky Storr, you son of a bitch, if you see this: how dare you not let me know about this pre-show ice time so I could’ve come to photograph (Ricky and I played hockey against each other in college). What a small world.]

In conclusion, this tour ruled. Not a moment of downtime, not one wasted song. Even the merch was uniquely sick! The four bands are different enough to make it interesting, yet similar enough to make perfect sense. Tour packages like this often skip Austin for better markets, so getting the opportunity to experience this evening was surreal and something I’m so very grateful for. But, I can really only hope for one more thing: that Gabe saw my IG story and maybe will follow me back one day. Doubt it.