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Less screamo, more hardcore — at least since 2008. That was the year Las Vegas quintet Escape the Fate made a course correction and swapped singers with the announcement that Craig Mabbitt would replace founding vocalist Ronnie Radke as frontman. Too bad, in my opinion. While Mabbitt is to Escape the Fate who Arnel Pineda is to Journey, Radke was far more original and only a neck tattoo away from a string of truly flippant rock-and-roll singers such as Sebastian Bach or durable old Bret Michaels or even Alice Cooper back when he was new. Radke’s problem was jail time, a fate he could not escape, given his sweet tooth for drugs and a tendency toward chaos in his personal affairs. After Mabbitt joined, Escape the Fate grew up. Surely Geffen’s label expectations and Linkin Park producer Don Gilmore enforced adulthood on a metalcore-ish pop group with murder, suicide, and battery in their past.

This is not a band that anyone would ever accuse of being stable.

Past Event

Falling in Reverse and Escape the Fate

  • Thursday, January 16, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
  • Soma, 3350 Sports Arena Boulevard, San Diego
  • $20

How they got here: the original Escape the Fate lineup won a contest in 2005. The prize was they got to open a My Chemical Romance show, and that was good enough for Epitaph Records. The label signed the bad boys and released No Sympathy for the Dead a year later. But who cares about history? The lineup has changed so many times that each release sounds less like a chronology than a new band. The glue that binds the ETF experience is the live show and the songwriting, which is generally without fault. At least that part of the Escape the Fate train runs on time. But if the lesson of the rise and fall of Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose has taught us anything, it is that there is almost nothing more interesting in hard rock than power chords, drama, and a narcissistic front man.

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