A compassionate, hardcore show

Musicians using their fame to promote humanitarian causes is nothing new, but Flyleaf gave a passionate plea for people to rise up and help others at its concert at the House of Blues in Hollywood on Wednesday.

This fall, the alternative rock band has been traveling on its Unite & Fight Tour in hopes of not only putting on well-received shows but inspiring people to help others in need.

Along with supporting act Story of the Year, Flyleaf kicked off a text campaign to raise funds for the humanitarian organization World Vision and its mission to combat human trafficking.

In between songs at the band’s show, Flyleaf front woman Lacey Mosley spoke out against human trafficking and encouraged fans to donate $10 to fighting the trafficking rings, which according to World Vision, enslave 2 million children worldwide.

The victims caught in the trafficking rings are defenseless children, some as young as five. At that age, children should be in kindergarten, playing tag during recess, not being exploited by suspicious adults.

The tour’s aim is to help end the trafficking and it was definitely a focus of the show. But that did not mean it was a boring performance — quite the opposite.

Kicking off  the evening, Story of the Year proved that it hasn’t lost any of its spirit or humor in its 15 years of existence. With one guitarist in a cowboy hat, the bassist in a “Free Weezy” shirt and the drummer in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey, the opening act’s members have individual personalities and quirks. When it came to the music, however, they meshed together well on stage.

It was easy to see that the crowd was there to see them as well as the headliners, as concertgoers sang along with the band, yelling the lyrics of “Until the Day I Die” and “Anthem of Our Dying Day.”

When the main act did come on stage, it was not a letdown. Flyleaf exerted itself with raw energy and a powerful set of songs.

No one should be fooled by Mosley’s small stature, as she has a voice that can stop anyone in his tracks. Her vocal range was extremely broad and her growls send chills through the room with each lyric.

The rest of the band members — Sameer Bhattacharya (lead guitar), Jared Hartmann (rhythm guitar), Pat Seals (bass) and James Culpepper (drums) — put everything they had into their performance. They each moved to the pulse of the music, with eyes closed as they played through intense riff patterns and haunting chord progressions.

Seals, with his long hair and massive beard, commanded the audience’s attention as he set up at the front of the stage and whipped his hair around as he jammed on his bass.

The night was filled with an array of the band’s most popular songs, including “All Around Me,” “I’m So Sick,” “Cassie” and “Beautiful Bride” from its self-titled album as well as 2009’s Memento Mori.

In between the songs, Mosley talked to the audience about World Vision and the charity, urging them to help. For her, the group had a special place in her heart.

Mosley grew up in a household with a single mom and a total of six children, making it difficult for them to have even the most basic of necessities, she explained.

Coming to the rescue, World Vision provided them with clothes and shoes, even making a Christmas celebration possible.

Toward the end of the set, when the band members were preparing to play their new single “Arise,” Mosley stopped to say some touching words for the audience. She spoke about how she and the band were not any better than anyone else at the House of Blues that night because everyone was “created with a purpose” and should work to make the world a better place.

She challenged the concertgoers to be everything they were made to be and help others, because life is too short — a statement that echoed the themes on Memento Mori, the album’s title coming from the Latin phrase meaning “remember your mortality.”

As the night ended, it was clear that the bands have a strong dedication to charitable causes, and although the lyrics in Flyleaf’s songs reflect a life of hardship, they also show hope in a better future. Between a powerful show and calls to help those in need, the concert was anything but dour.