Fans of Vegas-birthed rock bands Escape the Fate and Falling in Reverse might have showed up hoping to catch the two groups slinging mud from the stage, but that isn’t happening at Saturday night’s Bury the Hatchet tour stop at House of Blues. Fans, on the other hand, have a lot to say.
“That’s just some deep sh*t,” one says, referring to the years-old feud between frontmen Ronnie Radke and Craig Mabbitt. “Ronnie was talking sh*t about Craig, saying he took a picture of Ronnie to get his hair cut. You don’t bury the hatchet on that.”
Don’t know the backstory? Here are the CliffsNotes: Radke, ETF’s original lead singer, got kicked out of that band in 2008 after violating probation stemming from a prior battery conviction. He went to prison, and Escape the Fate brought in Mabbitt to fill his old spot. Thus began a public feud not only between the singers, but also between supporters of ETF and Radke’s new band, Falling in Reverse.
I get the real dirt as I chat with the army of supporters hanging out in the smoky area beyond the entrance, where FIR trounces ETF in my unofficial T-shirt tally. “I respect Escape the Fate, but I think they should have changed their name after they kicked Ronnie out,” a 21-year-old fan tells me. “When [Ronnie] and [former bassist] Max [Green] were in Escape the Fate, it was sublime.”
Another guy who says he’s friends with members of ETF tells me he’s neutral in principle, but was “forced to take sides.” A girl sporting an FIR T-shirt says she’s “not a big fan” of Escape the Fate. “[Mabbitt’s] style of singing, I just don’t like it. I’d rather listen to Ronnie sing.”
Walking down the HOB stairs, I can hear Mabbitt’s throaty growl before I reach the throng. At the end of the song he greets the crowd and bellows, “This is the goddamn Bury the Hatchet tour!” followed by, “This song is about crazy f*cking hoes!” Later, the girls in front of me begin chanting “Ronnie!” as the singer arrives in tribal-print pants. By third song “Fashionably Late” he’s shed his shirt, as he rap-sings his way through the metal-tinged set.
On my way out, I bump into a mom who “lost all respect [for Radke] when he started rapping.” “He doesn’t do anything. He walks back and forth. He’s wearing a f*cking leotard.”
They’re leggings, actually. But if I’ve learned anything tonight, it’s that Radke can do whatever he wants and his fans will eat it up (just watch the video for “Alone”). Hell, he could probably dress as a Blue Man and they’d still turn out in droves. Haters, too.