Written and photographed by Liv Foltiny
Last September (2022) was my first time attending a show at the TLA and my first time writing a show review. Back then, I witnessed one of my favorite bands, Palaye Royale, bring their Fever Dream to Philly. This time, I was there to experience the Favorite Daze of an underrated band that’s quickly joining the ranks of my favorites — the Neon Trees.
Doors opened at 7 p.m., but my friend Stan and I made sure we got to the TLA a little bit before then so that I could pick up my credentials at the box office. At that point, there already was a line of people outside, waiting and set to rush into the venue as soon as the staff members said it was okay to do so.
Once inside the TLA, we waited for the show to begin as people made their way toward the barricade before the stage. Some remained and chatted with their friends, while others went to check out the merch stand or struck up a conversation with someone new; the latter ended up being the case for Stan since a wrestling fan recognized him and asked him about an upcoming show. Shortly after this, the house lights went out, and we were greeted by the stage lights as the first band, Silent Rival, took to the stage.
Knowing nothing about the band, I didn’t know what to expect from Silent Rival’s performance; however, it quickly became apparent that they had the energy to get things going. Between Sara Coda‘s graceful yet powerful vocals, Joz Ramirez‘s immersive guitar playing, Brock Bowers‘ precise drumming, and Yutaka Sao‘s passionate and, at times, wild bass playing (you know, the kind where he’d have the bass over his shoulders behind him while playing), Silent Rival captured the crowd’s attention. At the end of their set, Etai Abramovich (drummer of LAUNDRY DAY) joined them for their final song of the night, followed by the band expressing their thankfulness and a quick set change.
A group of young men donning school uniforms (picture Jack Black in School of Rock) bearing an emblem-style logo containing “LAUNDRY DAY” greeted the crowd. They took no time getting into their set, and after having explained how they were friends that all met in high school, their camaraderie was undeniable. They not only fed off each other’s playfulness and positive energy but also ensured each member had their moment in the spotlight. Examples of these moments included Etai Abramovich and Sawyer Nunes (vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist) switching places on the drums and keyboard and Sawyer and Jude Lipkin (vocalist) alternating between providing the main vocals.
LAUNDRY DAY’s energy never waived at any point, either. None of the band’s members stayed still for too long, and they moved about and covered the stage. One of the best instances was when Sawyer and Henry Pearl (bassist) got together behind Jude and had their own little instrumental face-off, repeatedly cycling between leaning toward and away from each other while smiling the entire time. Their joy was infectious, and it continued to live on after their final song and thank yous as Etai, upon being handed a sign from the crowd, made sure to sign it (and possibly got his bandmates to sign it) before handing it back to its creator.
Following LAUNDRY DAY’s performance, there was one final set change. The back portion of the stage was lowered, and the dark fabric that was present the whole show thus far was replaced. As the new backdrop rose, the crowd was welcomed by a wall of magenta fabric displaying the logo of the night’s headliner — the Neon Trees.
Except for some blue lights, the stage was dark as the Neon Trees made their way out and began to play “Versions of You,” which brought about a somewhat melancholic ambiance. That particular mood didn’t stay for long, though, as the lighting changed from dark blues to a brighter and wider variety of colors while the band passionately belted out “Favorite Daze,” an upbeat, self-reflective song they released as a single over the summer.
Playing for nearly an hour and a half straight, the Neon Trees took the crowd through the eras of their music thus far. From “Animal” and “In The Next Room” to “Nights” and “New Best Friend,” their set was a carefully constructed kaleidoscope that represented them as artists. For a newer fan such as myself, you couldn’t have asked for more — and that sentiment didn’t just apply to their selection of songs.
From what I saw, it’s safe to say that each member could still express their individuality while working together. No one had to hide any part of their identity to fit into some kind of mold formed by society’s bullshit expectations. Tyler Glenn (lead vocalist) danced across the stage in a shimmering suit, swung the mic around in the air, and playfully teased the crowd here and there. Elaine Bradley (drummer), armed with rainbow earrings and a humorous graphic t-shirt, never missed a beat. Chris Allen (guitarist), dressed in black and white clothing adorned with fringe, glided through space as fabric extensions on his sleeves followed his movements, and Branden Campbell (bassist) swayed and played without losing his hat. All of this exemplified how the band embodies the notion that fully embracing yourself as an individual is just as important as being able to work together. Like the individual pieces inside of a kaleidoscope, each member of the band stood out on their own while coming together to create something truly incredible — a wonderful daze of great music, stunning showmanship, and an intimate connection Philly won’t soon forget.