Ever since my brother saw Armor for Sleep in Concert around 2003 and brought home their first album Dream To Make Believe, I found myself fascinated, always eager to take in each new album or EP. I especially liked their sophomore effort, What To Do When You’re Dead. The entire album centered around the death and the afterlife and often, the afterlife not being all it’s cracked up to be. I have no idea to what heights their popularity rose during their time together, but I personally enjoyed everything they put out. I actually went to see them in concert once before, when they opened for UnderOath and Taking Back Sunday at The Bren Events Center in Irvine. I was really excited to see Armor For Sleep and UnderOath and though they were headlining, I wasn’t all that excited for Taking Back Sunday. Unfortunately, my friend and I lived in California and they had a rash of fires (which happens more often than earthquakes, it seems) and traffic was horrible. By the time we got there, I caught about one and a half songs from Armor For Sleep. When they announced their breakup in 2009, it seemed that would be my only live experience of theirs. Lead singer Ben Jorgensen went on to be part of God Loves a Challenge, a duo with a decidedly different style than Armor. Armor For Sleep truly was dead.
But then, in 2012, they announced they would play Bamboozle. You can check out the statement on their farewell tour here. Along with the festival, they scheduled a few shows. As soon as I saw they would be playing The Glass House in Pomona, I bought my ticket.
I love the Glass House and this would be the first of three shows there for me this month (the others are Emery on July 23rd and MewithoutYou/Kevin Devine July 28th.), though it was a much shorter drive for me a few years ago when I lived in Azusa and West Covina. Traffic sucked on the way there but I got there in plenty of time. Luckily, I got there in time to catch opening act Pebaluna.
Two guys, two girls and a whole lot of fun, that’s Pebaluna. Their sound is The Black Keys meets Laura Marling. Their short set got me moving, grooving and thinking. The vocal crooning of Lauren Coleman was soothing and at times haunting, hearkening back to an earlier era, lending a timeless feel to their sound. Bassist Jonathan Grillo got lost in his instrument, as he lent some funky, dirty bass lines to the band. Guitarist/Vocalist Matt Embree, also of Rx Bandits, blended his voice well with Lauren’s while also providing fantastic rhythm. Last, but most certainly not least, drummer Jessica Lankford skillfully and deftly provided percussion in order to move you. I really enjoyed hearing them and look forward to more music from them. Speaking of which, their album Carny Life will be released on September 18th. You can check out Pebaluna on Facebook.
Also supporting Armor For Sleep was I The Mighty. They put on a good show and got the crowd pumped for Armor For Sleep. You can check them out on Facebook.
Before I knew it, Armor For Sleep was taking the stage. As I mentioned before, I’ve been a fan of their music for years. I never really followed them or considered myself part of the scene that supported them through the years, but their lyrics are permanently burned into my brain from numerous listens. It was great to finally see them, and it’s unfortunate to see them go. Armor did not disappoint.
Lead singer Ben Jorgensen commented that they weren’t really a band anymore, not on a label, or making a DVD, they were just there to play a bunch of songs. That’s exactly what they did. Though it took them a few minutes into the first song to get their bearings, as it’s been a while since they played together and didn’t even bring their own equipment (they were using I The Mighty’s), once they got into the groove it was strictly fan appreciation night.
They played fan favorites “Car Underwater”, “Basement Ghost Singing”, “Frost and Front Steps” and “My Town”. In fact, the majority of their set was pulled from their first two albums, Dream to Make Believe and What to Do When You’re Dead. They even played my favorite song, “Stay on the Ground”.
Though I personally would have liked to hear a few songs from their third album Smile for Them, namely ”Smile for the Camera” and “Williamsburg”, I know I’m likely in the minority on this. Overall, they put on a great show and this was a great opportunity for the fans to have some closure and for its members one last chance to “Stand in the Spotlight”. I want to thank Armor For Sleep for all the great music and three and a half albums I will probably still be listening to years from now.
- My Concert Calendar: July 2012 (thestereolounge.com)
- Cheer Up, There’s Always Great Music at House of Blues Chicago (seatgeek.com)