By Shruti Pal
“We’re going to do a cover. Do you guys like the ’80s?” asked Vinyl Theatre’s keyboardist Christoper Senner. Everyone cheered. He then proceeded to sing “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback before being quickly interrupted by singer Keegan Calmes. It is this type of humor that kept the crowd so alive and entertained during the Wisconsin trio’s performance Wednesday at The Foundry in Philadelphia.
Nick Cesarz, Calmes and Senner came on stage in full theatrical style, timing their entrances and poses with each light that lit up the stage. Calmes’ and Senner’s energy was infectious. The whole performance was exploding out from the stage. Calmes was everywhere from the floor to the crowd to hanging from the iron rafters on the sides of the stage. And behind all this sat Cesarz, casually playing intricate and complex drum parts. Vinyl Theatre have the reputation for being a fun band, but Cesarz’s effortless command over his drum set took the whole performance to a level way beyond that of a young, electric, indie band.
Vinyl Theatre recently became a three piece, as their bassist Josh Pothier is no longer in the band. However, this has only seemed to push them further, as they have easily achieved the status of being one of the most high-energy bands touring this country right now. Read my interview from earlier this week for the full story.
When Finish Ticket took the stage, they immediately stepped up to the challenge of keeping the energy level where Vinyl Theatre had left it. Singer Brendan Hoye even admitted to having chugged a Red Bull before his performance for this exact reason, and joked that it probably wasn’t a good idea. Finish Ticket put on an unbelievable show. They captured the hearts of the hardcore fans in the front who were screaming along to every song as well as the crowd of teenagers and their parents further back. The band of brothers is all about bringing family together.
Hoye thanked the audience for not having their phones out. It was nice not to see countless X-painted hands holding phones that would have blocked the view of the performance. This really allowed the concert to be about the music, the lyrics, the story, and the connection, rather than about a Snapchat story.
Finish Ticket’s songs are easy to fall in love with, whether you know them or not. The songs seemed far more accessible than some of the crowd members who had been brought along to the concert by their friends and family might have anticipated. “Color” and “Tranquilize” were very popular and well received. A Killers cover, an acoustic solo, an encore of a song specially requested by a crowd member, and a puddle of sweat later, Finish Ticket ended the night with “Doctor”.
The Ones To Watch Tour deserves plenty of accolades. Even Irontom, the openers, prepared the crowd for the night with their loud and quirky tunes. Philly will definitely remember this show, and I’m sure the bands will remember it as well.