top of page

Vinyl vs Live: Hail The Sun Edition

Ever heard the saying that listening to a vinyl record is the closest thing to the live performance? Some say it is due to Lossless audio quality, while others say its because of the way the record is pressed. There is no doubt that vinyl has better sound quality than any streaming service that doesn't offer FLAC audio files, common mp3's and CD's. This is due to the fact that the audio recording is not compressed on vinyl unlike these other medians. What we wanted to know though was if you had to choose one strictly by sound quality which would we choose? The answer to this question will vary artist to artist but today we are only focusing on Hail The Sun.

What better way to test this out other than going to a live performance and immediately after listen to the bands record on vinyl front to back? Lucky for us, the melodic post-hardcore band, Hail The Sun, was in town at local venue The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix. The venue was at full capacity (300 people) for this intimate show.

For those of you unfamiliar with Hail The Sun, they are at the forefront of the current hardcore and rock scenes. Resembling acts of the early 2000's such as Chiodos, Circa Survive, Dance Gavin Dance, & Fall of Troy they are perfect champions for the new era of the post-hardcore & progressive rock genres.

Hail The Sun is from Chico, CA and have been active since 2009. A few note-able releases include "Wake" 2014, "Culture Scars" 2016, and their brand new surprise EP "Secret Wars" 2017. Led by Donovan Melero who is both the drummer & lead singer, HTS includes: Shane Gann lead guitar & backing vocals, Aric Garcia rhythm guitar, John Stirrat bass guitar & touring drummer Allen Casillas who plays the half of the set when Donovan is only singing.

Rather than be constricted to a set metrics and terms of "music critics" like Timbre, Pitch, Tone, Warmth, Depth etc. I decided to put my observations in the most straight forward manner as possible. Below were some of notable differences & similarities I noticed, keep in mind this was my first Hail The Sun show.

  • On vinyl, the notes are clear, sharp & precise. During the live performance they are just as clear but ring out and blend together in a way that creates a new layer of sound during the performance.

  • On vinyl, Donovan's voice is more tamed on his clean vocals while during the live performance his ranges of highs and lows went well beyond what the vinyl had shown me.

  • It sounded as if Donovan was singing a full octave lower than on the vinyl recording. With the exceptions for when he hit the angelic anthony green esque high notes he is known for.

  • The instruments is where vinyls strong suit laid I noticed. With the vinyl, you can clearly hear each instrument and single them out respectively. Especially with the right sound system, the lows of the bass and highs of the lofty guitar riffs lead the sound to fill your body leaving no part untouched.

  • The most amazing thing was the lack in difference of time signatures between their vinyl recording and the live performance. Hail The Sun is known for their rapid "Double Edged Sword" sound of switching tempos, mixing soothing and in your face vocals, and creating a complex soundscape.(This will be evident in the live clips below)

  • Another significant difference is the transition between songs. On the vinyl, the album is in LP format and the songs smoothly blend together creating one long track. During the show there were clear breaks between songs, but for a good reason. Donovan (lead singer & drummer), played half of the set only singing with friend Allen Casillas filling in on drums, but then would hop behind the kit and continue to play songs and sing while also drumming at the same time.

Final Thoughts: the vinyl is an experience and it takes you on a journey, but something about watching this band keep their amazing time signatures and create additional layers of sound that aren't on the vinyl are un-paralleled.

Below is the vinyl I picked up at the show to listen to after. Hail The Sun - Wake Released 2014. This is a olive green opaque limited edition color vinyl and this color variation can only be picked up at Hail The Sun's shows. The cover of the vinyl is signed by the bass guitarist John Stirrat and lead guitarist Shane Gann.

Now sit back and decide for yourself, do you like their live clips or their studio recordings? Leave us a comment below after you've enjoyed all the videos below.

Hail The Sun - Relax / Divide off of "Wake" live:

Hail The Sun - Black Serotonin off of "Wake" live:

Hail The Sun - Jane Doe live credit, Stanley Milton:

Hail The Sun - 1109 off of "Secret Wars" live:

Hail The Sun - The 'Fun' in Dysfunction off of "Culture Scars" live:

Even though this is a Hail The Sun article here is a little present for you all. I The Mighty performing their new song "Degenerates" live to kick off their set after Hail The Sun

Now that you are familiar with Hail The Sun's live performance, take a look at a few of the tracks played above in their studio recording version:

Hail The Sun - 1109:

Hail The Sun - Relax/Divide:

Hail The Sun - The 'Fun' in Dysfunction:

To learn more about Hail The Sun you can find them at: and Instagram at @hailthesun


bottom of page