Pierce the Veil Joins Blink-182 at Denver Concert | Westword

Pierce the Veil and Blink-182 Are Bringing Out the Elder Emos in Denver

Pierce the Veil is currently on a stadium run supporting Blink-182, so break out the deep V-necks and Toms slip-ons.
Pierce the Veil may have ditched the skinny jeans, but the San Diego outfit is still going strong.
Pierce the Veil may have ditched the skinny jeans, but the San Diego outfit is still going strong. Courtesy Anthony Tran
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If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a whole photo album uploaded online after a random night out must account for a million or more.

It sounds unhinged nowadays, but during the early days of MySpace and Facebook, it was normal — and practically expected — for people to post a camera roll’s worth of unedited digital pics. Bands from certain subgenres leaned into the practice, too, sharing a bevy of promo shots that were sometimes edgy, sometimes quirky...but almost always unintentionally goofy.

Vic Fuentes, lead singer and guitarist of San Diego’s Pierce the Veil, pulls out the group’s digital scrapbook as he reminisces on the emo-meets-metalcore scene. “If you see a photo of us from that time, you know exactly what was going on, what that was, what bands we were listening to, what shows we were going to. It was a culture, for sure,” he says with a grin.

Lucky for us, the internet never forgets. Pierce the Veil, which Fuentes started in 2006 with his brother Mike, quickly became one of the hottest bands back then and embodied everything cool about the booming social network subculture in which no one thought twice about wearing women’s skinny jeans and sharing the hair straightener with their girlfriend. It can only be described as the millennial version of 1980s hair metal — a niche fashion trend and music movement that unexpectedly went mainstream.

“It was super fun and crazy, and fashion was just so androgynous and wild. It hit a lot of people,” Fuentes shares. “I don’t think anyone realized how big and powerful the culture was until years later, when you look back and see how many people it affected and how many people are still into it, like the elder emos.”
click to enlarge pierce the veil performing live
Vic Fuentes is pumped to be playing alongside Blink-182.
Courtesy Michael Spencer Photography
And now, nearly twenty years on, Pierce the Veil is playing to its biggest crowds ever, including at last year’s nostalgia-inducing When We Were Young festival in Las Vegas. In fact, it was that show that Fuentes points to when talking about the impact of the music.

“It proved that what we thought was underground had gone all over the world. It’s pretty amazing,” he muses. “It’s something I’m really proud to have been a part of. A time that was so unique musically, stylistically, fashion.”

Pierce the Veil is currently on a stadium run supporting Blink-182, so break out the deep V-necks and Toms slip-ons. The One More Time tour comes to Denver’s Ball Arena on Thursday, June 27. Drain is also on the bill.

Pierce the Veil marked its return from a seven-year lull in 2023 with alt-rock-loving record The Jaws of Life, the group’s first album since 2016’s Misadventures. Following a string of bangers, including the critically acclaimed Collide With the Sky (2012), there were internet rumors that Pierce the Veil had called it a day after Mike, the founding drummer, left in 2017.

“Yeah, people thought we broke up, but I knew we never did. We were off the road for so long that after a while, if you Googled our name, it was like, ‘Why did Pierce the Veil break up?’ I was like, ‘We didn’t break up! We’re making a record here, and it’s taking a long time,’” Fuentes recalls. “We never lost any sort of commitment to doing music in general. It’s a part of our life.”

Instead, Fuentes and longtime bandmates Tony Perry (lead guitar) and Jaime Preciado (bass) strayed from their usual emo-heavy, post-hardcore style and went more grunge. I mean, there’s a song called “Pass the Nirvana.” During the time between releases, Fuentes saw the fashion begin to shift. The skinny jeans of early-2000s metalcore were replaced with the baggier blue jeans worn by the 1990s pop-punk generation.

“I was noticing the fashion was changing in America. Young kids were wearing what I wore in high school: baggy cargo pants and Deftones shirts,” he says, while rocking a well-worn Silverchair T-shirt. “I just saw myself in the style that was happening. That got me excited to revisit that time musically. It felt like people were wanting that. I want that, too.”

It helped that Brad Hargreaves of Third Eye Blind handled the drums on The Jaws of Life (Lionel Robinson is the current touring drummer). “Third Eye Blind is probably my favorite band of all time,” Fuentes says. “Once Brad was locked in, that was a huge motivator to finish the record.”

Now, on the road with pop-punk giants Blink-182, Fuentes still can’t believe just how far Pierce the Veil has come.

“It’s been a slow build over all these years. We started out really small. We have these old pictures of us playing our first tours and these small crowds. It’s just amazing to see fifteen kids standing in this VFW hall or church,” he explains.

“Walking out on the stage for soundcheck this morning with Blink, it was such a cool feeling,” he continues from his hotel room in Orlando just hours before the first show. “Even Blink feels like that, like ‘I can’t fucking believe we started in our garage. Now we got all this pyro around us.’ It’s pretty amazing. We think about it every day, man.”

Pierce the Veil, 7 p.m. Thursday, June 27, Ball Arena, 1000 Chopper Circle. Tickets are $100-$249.
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