by Hailey Nuthals
The Alternative Press tours October stop at the Playstation Theater was one of those rare events where every part of the show was perfectly arranged. The house music between acts was so well-picked that the audience was singing along to it just as loudly as they were to the bands, the show lineup was beautifully curated, and the venue had near-perfect visibility from almost anywhere, guaranteeing the entire crowd a good time.
First to the stage were As It Is, a five-piece band from Minneapolis that have a sound like a more developed Hit The Lights, or Yellowcard minus violin and plus some light screaming (which is to say, very apropos for the Midwest). They boast a very well rounded overall sound and no less than three band members who are capable of doing vertical splits in midair. For all the uncontained energy, they were kind in that Midwest way and while still definitely qualified to be the opener, they’ll also be worth watching over the next few years.
This Wild Life followed, an acoustic duo from Long Beach, California who looked just like an acoustic duo from Long Beach should. It was hard to imagine they’d fill the stage as much as a five-piece rock group, but the two guitars danced around each others’ strings and the vocals made such rich harmonies that they were able to summon just as much energy as anyone else that night. With heartwarming (and occasionally, heartbreaking) lyrics about long-distance relationships, mothers, and puppies, it’s statistically improvable but completely plausible that every audience member left in love with TWL.
Real Friends, another pop punk five-piece from the Midwest followed next, to the uncontained pleasure of the crowd. They brought an angrier sound than the night had heard before, but one that the crowd clearly needed to express as much as their sense of camaraderie and angst. Still, the inevitable fun that comes along with pop punk dominated, and anger led to relief at the chance to express it. The sound was occasionally overwhelming, but more like a too-tight hug than a punch in the face.
Mayday Parade finished the night off, taking the best parts of all the other bands and making them better. The sound was as full as a studio mastered album, the acrobatics were bigger, and Derek Sanders’ hair was longer. Every voice in the crowed was singing along for every song of the set. Mayday traditionally boasts a melancholy sound, but even for songs as sad as like “Terrible Things,” Sanders made sure to remind the audience “I know this song says that the world is full of terrible things, but I want to make sure you guys know that it’s full of wonderful things, too.” The set could be summed up in the single moment where, following a stripped-down performance of the band’s ballad “Stay,” a sixteen-year old girl behind me shouted, “And f*ck my ex-boyfriend!” with more satisfaction than I bet he ever gave her.
Hailey Nuthals is a Staff Writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org