Senses Fail headlines the Saints and Sinners tour, stopping at Denver's Gothic Theatre on Friday.
Senses Fail headlines the Saints and Sinners tour, stopping at Denver’s Gothic Theatre on Friday.

Though its members hail from New Jersey, post-hardcore band Senses Fail is no stranger to the Boulder/Denver area. The group has played everywhere from Tulagi and Rock Island to the Fillmore and the Ogden.

But the band, which plays an aggressive, punk-metal style of music with philosophical lyrics and catchy melodies, finds itself in new territory with tonight’s show at the Gothic Theatre. The band is currently headlining the Saints and Sinners Tour, the maiden voyage of a four-band package tour that grew out of the two-day Saints and Sinners Festival of hardcore music in New Jersey.

Singer James “Buddy” Nielsen says the tour has put Senses Fail in mixed company.

“It’s weird. Two bands rap, and then the other band’s a Christian metal band,” he says. “It’s kind of different for us. We’re playing in front of a lot of new people. That’s the most important thing. That’s why we wanted to do this, because we knew we’d be playing in front of a bunch of different people.”

The bands playing alongside Senses Fail are Haste the Day, Hollywood Undead and Brokencyde.

Senses Fail is touring in support of its newest album, 2008’s Life Is Not a Waiting Room. It’s the band’s third full-length release on Vagrant Records, and the follow-up to its 2006’s breakthrough album, Still Searching, which charted in both the U.S. and UK and featured the hit “Calling All Cars.” The new album peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard 200 and reached No. 1 on Billboard’s independent albums chart.

It’s a big accomplishment for a band that, as Nielsen says, doesn’t get radio support or the financial perks that go to flavor-of-the-month bands.

“We don’t get radio support. We don’t get a lot of things that a major-label band gets,” Nielsen says. “We’re not a major-label band, so basically we live off touring. We live off the little things that come our way that help out, like ‘Guitar Hero,’ video games.” (The band’s single “Can’t Be Saved,” from Still Searching, appeared on the second edition of “Guitar Hero.”)

If Nielsen sounds bitter, it’s because, after seven years of busting his butt in a DIY, grassroots fashion, he is.

“You get a lot more mad when you see other bands just given (stuff),” he says.

The upside is that bands spoiled by their record labels don’t last long.

“Those bands just break up as soon as there’s a tough time,” Nielsen says.

Living in a van for the better part of the last decade has only strengthened the resolve of the members of Senses Fail. But it’s also created its share of frustrations, which manifest in the lyrics on Life Is Not a Waiting Room.

“I think it’s just about getting stuck in a place that you’re not happy with and changing it,” Nielsen says. “It was more me personally, life, particular situations, not feeling comfortable.”

Where he is comfortable is the stage, a place he’s called home for the past seven years.

“It’s my job. It’s my life,” he says. “It’s just what I do. It’s cool. I love it.”

Archived comments

I usually wouldn’t post a comment to an article simply for grammar/citation inaccuracies, but I guess b/c I was once a fan of this band I’m reading this in a more scrutinizing light. Sorry, Vince, maybe it was your copy editor’s error, but in the third paragraph you, out of nowhere, refer to Senses Fail as “Single File.” Same first initials, WRONG band name. Sheesh. Even before that flub, you paraphrase a bandmember who has yet to be introduced in the article: “Nielson.” Last time I checked, Buddy Nielson didn’t pull a Prince and adopt a one-name moniker. It’s somewhat embarrassing how routine the inaccuracies of this paper are.

3/27/2009 11:00:36 AM

Crandall — those errors were both made by me, and have been corrected in the online version of the story. Vince had it right the first time. Sorry about that.

– Greg Glasgow, Entertainment Editor


3/27/2009 1:47:00 PM