The soundtrack for my senior year of high school was The Rocket Summer’s Hello, Good Friend and Calendar Days. Each song on both of those albums fit what was going on in my life perfectly. Hell, the songs still fit my life but for some reason, The Rocket Summer just isn’t one of those bands that I continued to follow. What a shame because last night, Bryce Avary (mastermind behind The Rocket Summer) absolutely blew me away.
The Rocket Summer is a one man band. Bryce Avary does everything when it comes to recording. When he goes on tour, he brings a guitarist and drummer but still seems to do majority of the work. It was amazing to watch him move effortlessly between guitar, bass, piano, vocals, drums, hell, he even beatboxed at one point. I’m sure I have seen him live before but for some reason it didn’t stick with me. Last night will definitely stick with me.
Bryce admitted to the crowd that he had woken up with a scratchy throat and could really use the crowd’s help when it came to singing the songs but I don’t think he even needed to ask. The crowd was shouting every single word back into Bryce’s face. There were certain songs where even I found myself singing along even though I hadn’t listened to them in years. Even with being sick, Bryce’s voice is powerful and inspirational. His lyrics are so uplifting that even during the slower, sappy songs, you can’t help but let that smile creep across your face. The crowd was in the mood to dance and never slowed down during the said slow songs. I think the crowd serenaded Bryce more than Bryce serenaded the crowd.
Bryce was all over the place. Not only was he jumping from instrument to instrument but he was also all over the stage and, at times, even down in the crowd. His tech guy followed him into the crowd at one point with a microphone stand and a riser (okay, Bryce is pretty short), and Bryce stood there and performed a whole song with the crowd engulfing him. If this was him feeling “under the weather” then I don’t know that I would be able to handle him at his optimum health. I was tired just watching this kid jumping all over the place.
The best part of last night is when Bryce showed the crowd exactly how he does what he does. He started on the keyboard and played a couple of chords and then rushed to the drum set and play a little diddy. At first, I didn’t quite get what was going on but as he moved from instrument to instrument, I realized that each part that he was playing was looping. It ended up being a beautiful song and all of the parts had been played by Bryce. I think it was so cool to see the process and how it all works.
With all the energy and all the bouncing from instrument to instrument and from crowd to stage, one thing never faltered. Bryce’s voice is distinctive and absolutely beautiful. It fun and welcoming. It’s one of those voice where the second you hear it, you feel comfortable with wherever you are and whoever you’re with. That’s the magic of his music. I went to the show alone last night but as soon as I heard that familiar voice, my whole outlook on the show changed. I was no longer there alone, I was surrounded by friends and family. It was that feeling I long for at concerts.
The opener for the show was Farro. I had never heard of him before but I heard from a friend that the singer of this group is none other than the original guitarist of Paramore. Now, I was never a huge Paramore fan but I respect what they do. Hell, who am I kidding, I hated Paramore. I always thought they were fake and one of the reasons the pop-punk scene got such a bad reputation. That being said, I did go and see them a couple of times before they were what they are now. I was never too impressed with their live show. It always seemed like they just got up on the stage, played their songs, and that was that. There was no passion behind it.
Being able to see Josh Farro move from a group like Paramore to this “solo” project (I say “solo” because he had a backing band but technically it’s a solo project) was such an inspiration. This guy gave up being in a powerhouse of a band and is now playing at not so packed venues. He could be playing sold out arenas but here he was, playing to a pretty decent crowd at the Triple Rock but nowhere near sold out. He had the biggest smile on his face last night even though he was dealing with some technical difficulties.
I hate people that break up a band because they don’t make enough money. I hate the bands that breakup or stop touring because they can’t afford to do it. Here’s a guy that could have made millions but quit that to do what, I think, he is truly passionate about. Josh is definitely not making as much, money-wise, as he would have had he stayed in Paramore but honestly, he seemed happier and everything about his music seemed more sincere. His live show was far from exciting but the passion that he gave off was more than enough to keep me interested throughout his set.
I didn’t know what to expect from last night. I hadn’t kept up with The Rocket Summer and that was apparently a mistake. There are some bands/ musicians that can stand the test of time. Bryce Avary is one of them. It may have been over ten years since I have even thought about him and The Rocket Summer but everything came flooding back to me last night and I was reminded why he was such a staple in my playlist growing up.
Venue: Triple Rock
Sausage Fest Meter- 1 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 21
Crowd Surfers- None
Stage Divers- None
Broken Bones- None
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- None
Spotted Flying Through the Sky- Confetti!
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score- 7.2 out of 10
Show on Deck- Intronaut/ Scale The Summit/ North