Hollywood Undead packs the house at Trees
Since their formation a decade ago, Hollywood Undead has built a devoted fanbase with their youth-oriented lyrics and rap-rock sound. Coming off an appearance at Rock in Rio USA two days prior, they returned to a more intimate setting Monday night, May 11, at Trees in Deep Ellum. The venue was packed with teens, branded with the underage “X” on each hand, as well as fans in their mid-20s, many of which have followed the band from the start.
Opening the show, New Orleans Nü Metal band Cane Hill (named for the former asylum in the UK) had an uphill battle ahead of them. With the show starting a half hour after the scheduled time, and fans already impatient to see Hollywood Undead, there was a bit of animosity building before Cane Hill even took the stage. They seemed to have a sense of humor about it, with lead singer Elijah Witt asking partway through the set how people were liking their music so far, and then proclaiming the cheering crowd “Liars!” By the end of their performance, though, hard-driving songs like “Gemini” and “Sunday School” did seem to gain them a number of fans.
After a brief set change, the curtain opened again and Hollywood Undead filed onto the stage. Per their standard image, everyone appeared in their individualized masks (except touring drummer Tyler Mahurin, who was maskless and shirtless). These remained until about midway through the fourth song, when the band unmasked, the better to interact with the crowd.
And the crowd loved them. It felt like everyone in the building knew every word to every song. The music performed seemed fairly evenly distributed from the band’s four studio albums, with a slight emphasis on their recently released Day of the Dead. In order to squeeze even more songs into the time allotted, they also included a medley featuring bits of several of their songs, along with bits of the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” and Snoop Dogg’s “Gin & Juice.” Following that, Charlie Scene performed a fairly straight cover of the first verse of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” leading into Scene’s ironically upbeat suicide tune, “Bullet.” The crowd’s massive energy remained constant through the final song, the title track “Day of the Dead,” as well as the encore including “Everywhere I Go” and “Hear Me Now.”
Even if you are not a huge fan of the rap metal genre, Hollywood Undead is worth checking out live purely for the performance. The band is constantly in motion, swapping out vocalists and changing instruments, so each song feels different than the last. The only down beat to the show was Funny Man’s “twerk-off” which, while amusing, killed the energy a bit. That was only two minutes out of an hour and a half, though, so the band can be excused a small break.
The tour runs a few more days before moving to Europe, so if they are appearing near you, this is a show well worth seeing.