I've been way too stoked for this show. I was dragging Champ along with me and this was another one of those ones where I had no idea if he liked the music at all (he is the hardest person to go to a show with. I can never tell if he likes what we're doing or if he's just like there), but he was coming nonetheless. We also met up with my friend Kat, who I met at the Yellowcard concert late last year. (I make friends everywhere.)
Again, weak on my part, I walked in green for this show's openers. I should have done some research but I didn't even recognize their names really so there wasn't a rush to find out who they were. I have to say, I'm glad I went in green. It was one of those things where I stood in the back with a beer and the parents and just took in their sound, devoid of all the fan girls yelling out overshadowing it. I love how I'm trying to justify being old and standing in the back. Sad right?
The first group up was Paradise Fears and despite being a little green, they were really good. Champ weighed in here pointing out that they reminded him of The Maine when we saw them three years ago when they toured with Boys Like Girls. There's a lot of potential there, they just need some more time under their belt playing for a larger crowd. I really liked the way they got the crowd going towards the end of their set and they had great energy which was infectious. That's sort of the key to a good opener, they have to get the crowd by the end. I'm looking forward to checking out their stuff and hearing more from them as they gain some steam. The cover they did was really good, melding two songs in a way that was just different, not a straight cover. A good opener should probably have a good cover too, and that's the best way to do it, something different that's not a straight cover but kids will recognize. Plus, I sort of love the hook to "My Heart's a Stereo" or whatever the Gym Class Hero's song is called.
In between sets I ducked over to The Summer Set's merch table which was being manned by lead man for My Girl Friday, Justin Godsey. I've been following him on twitter for a bit and find him rather charming there (and his hair is like…antigravity it's amazing in its own way). He's met some of my other friends and they swear he's a nice kid so I made a point of heading back to tell him another friend said hi and chat him up. Turns out? He's a really sweet guy, the nice kind who you walk away from and think "I want that guy to do well." I told him how much I had enjoyed the new EP his group put out and we talked about him coming through Atlanta again with them. I definitely said I'd go out to see him play, which I'm sure I will. They were that kind of good. Plus, he's a charming guy, won me over with one conversation.
Days Difference to the stage next and both Champ and I were impressed by how different their sound was. There was a heavy synth sort of sound in the back that took us a moment to place, but after a moment we had it. It's a U2 sound. I know, that's a stretch, but seriously it is. And they do it well. Not copying, but possibly heavily influenced. Very, very neat.
Last of the true openers was He is We, which actually surprised me as being fronted by a girl, not a guy. I don't know why this surprised me, I guess because I listen to so few bands with female leads. They had a good sound, but struck me as a kind of group that would have been better on an album rather than live. They did bring out Brian from The Summer Set to sing a duet with them, which was pretty neat. I'm forever amazed that people can sing with Brian given the interesting sound of his voice. That did win them over with the crowd since there seemed to be a huge fan base for TSS there.
Here's were I confess that The Summer Set are one of my guilty pleasures. To the point where when they came on stage and started singing I was already singing along and dancing a little. I have no idea why I like them so but I really, really do. It's fun, uplifting music and you can't help but get on your feet to it. Plus they started the set with "The Boys You Do (Get Back At You)" which I love. So yes, dancing was inevitable.
Their energy was great, and the crowd loves their frontman Brian to death. He's a cute kid which is probably why, but he did run all over stage, dancing up a storm when he wasn't singing (and when he was). They played a few songs from the new album and while I was able to pick out which songs they were, but not follow along with the words (there was also a sound issue? The vocals were way lower than the music which was hard to listen to as well). While sometimes hearing new music sometimes makes you feel left out, it really had me gunning to turn the music back on when I got home. Like, I wanted to hear more of Everything's Fine rather than wish they'd played more older tracks. That's a good sign in my book.
I was bummed that "Can You Find Me" didn't make the cut (that's one of my favorites) to be played, but I get that it might not be great live. Same with "Passenger Seat" but with ballads like "About A Girl" on the new album, that one would get passed over for "Punch Drunk Love" (which was great live).
We'd inched towards the front for The Cab to take the stage and I do love that they started with "Angel With A Shotgun". It's such a great start to the Symphony Soldier album, that it's a great kick off for the show. They played a ton of new music, all the favorites from the new album and mixed in some of the more popular old songs ("Bounce!" & "I'll Run" among others). At one point they slowed it down, just to Alex DeLeon and Alex Marshall on the stage, playing their ballads, starting with the first verse of "Vegas Skies". I died a little because I do love that song so very much. I wish they'd played more of it, but I can see why they did it that way. It rolled into "Lovesick Fool" which is also pretty great.
There is something to be said for just being in the crowd in a show and not much more. I love seeing the small bands play, the tiny shows, all of that. I love going to see Bryan play and being up front and one of the 20 people who know all the words to all his songs. I do. But during this show? I was in the middle of things, singing my lungs out, dancing around, hands in the air. There is something to be said for that and how much fun it is. I loved it. I don't get to do that too much when I see my small bands play (if the video with my audible gasp being heard is enough proof at how embarrassing that can be in a small crowd), so it was fun to do here.
The Cab closed out their set before the encore with "Living Louder" which should have always been done live, with a huge crowd singing it back. It's an anthem and beautiful live. Brian from TSS came out to help out and it was truly lovely. I really enjoyed it. The encore closed out with "Bad" (of course the new 'single'), but that was fun too even if Alex seemed to be losing his voice there towards the end.
I managed to walk out with a drumstick, crazy I know, but since the guys were around after I had Alex sign it for me and got a cute picture (alright it's kind of cheesy but I enjoy it!) Good fun. Great night. Beautiful music.