I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen the line to get into First Avenue so long and it honestly stressed me out. I had checked the time of the show over and over again to make sure I was going to be there on time but was thrown for a loop when First Avenue tweeted out set times and they started a half-hour earlier than what was posted on their website. I was a bit frantic as I arrived to the legendary venue and my anxiety kept rising as I realized I wasn’t going to be in the venue in time to catch much if any of the opening act. Even with that anxiety, there was an undeniable sense of excitement radiating from the line. Although I only knew one of the three bands performing, everyone else’s excitement seemed to take me over and, before I knew it, the anxiety was gone and I was inside the packed venue.
As I had suspected, I all but missed opening act Moontower. As I b-lined for my normal spot, I noticed that the vocalist of this electro-pop trio wasn’t on the stage. Instead, he had situated himself in the middle of the crowd and was truly getting the night started off right. Although I only heard half of their final song, I loved what I got to experience and this band is definitely one that I hope to catch live soon. The amount of energy that the band had and the whole breaking the barrier between the crowd and stage thing had me more than intrigued. Beyond that, the way the crowd roared as the band said their thank yous and the screen came down to conceal the stage was deafening. What I’m trying to say is that although I only caught half of their last song, Moontower’s set clearly packed a punch and their name is one I expect to see a lot more often in the near future.
Although bummed I had missed the opener, I was thankful that I was inside in time to see The Wrecks take the stage. They were the only band I knew anything about on the bill and a band I was super excited to catch live again. The last time I saw these guys was back in February of 2018 when they were on tour with New Politics. I was blown away by their flawless sound and incredible sense of energy and was so ready to see if they held onto that throughout the pandemic. To say they held onto those elements would be an understatement. The second they rushed onto the stage, they kicked into a quick set that had the entire audience dancing and screaming along to every word. Although the band played their hits including “Favorite Liar” and “Fvck Somebody”, they also treated the audience to some songs that vocalist Nick Anderson admitted aren’t in their top ten but the band just truly enjoys performing live. A bold move for such a young and upcoming band but even on these more b-side songs, the entire audience could be spotted singing along to every word. There’s almost a cult following with this band and I get it. Their infectious energy, their distinct and flawless sound– The Wrecks really have it all. The band made a quick comment about how maybe next time we see them, they will be headlining a show and I honestly hope that’s true.
Although I think The Wrecks had absolutely stolen the show and run away with it, we still had one band left for this packed all-ages show. I knew nothing about The Driver Era walking into the concert on Monday night and I was clearly alone in that boat. With every slightest movement on stage or on the stairs that lead up to the stage, the audience would erupt into a deafening scream. It was kind of funny to watch and it was super easy to get lost in the excitement. All of the anticipations came to a blast of power and screeching as the one and only The Driver Era took the stage. As mentioned, I knew nothing about this band but quickly put it together that there is a connection to Disney based on the influx of tweets and comments I was getting on social media from accounts that mentioned Disney. I won’t go into the full history of this band because, well, it’s history, but my inkling was right. Formerly known as R5, The Driver Era’s Ross Lynch is also an actor and known for his role of Austin on The Disney Channel original series ‘Austin & Ally’. He also has been a smattering of movies including ‘My Friend Dahmer’ which I had actually just watched over the weekend. What I’m trying to say is that there’s a reason this band is so popular and a reason that First Avenue was full of so much excitement and I was ready to see if there was more than just a Disney past that brought the young audience out.
As soon as The Driver Era kicked into “Take Me Away”, the audience erupted into a sweaty mess and I found myself completely captivated by everything happening on stage. Although musically this band is a bit more pop-fueled than I tend to go, there’s no denying the power they have both musically and when it comes to their stage presence. That undeniable energy and flawless sound continued throughout the band’s twenty-song set. Even during the slower, more somber ballad-like tracks, the band had an undeniable sense of energy that could be felt throughout the crowd. I love how the band was able to showcase the personality of each member. Although they all come together and create a super cohesive sound, each member had a different flavor that you would get when watching them and that’s something that really stood out to me. Sure, their sound was all pop but, when you start digging into it, it’s so much more than that. There are elements from far too many genres to list represented throughout their music.
Much like The Wrecks, The Driver Era clearly has a cult-like following. Although I couldn’t sing along to a single track, the rest of the audience could and they were screaming along to every single word of every single song. There’s no questioning the connection between listener and band in the case of this act and it’s a gorgeous thing to see it live. Although everyone was clearly having the time of their life during the set, you could feel how this band meant so much to so many people in the audience and it had my heart feeling so full and warm. Although their set lasted well past some kids’ bedtimes, The Driver Era could have played for at least four more hours and it still would not have been enough for the crowd and, even though I absolutely felt a little out of place and eventually gave in and found solace in the 21+ section upstairs so I could have a drink, I probably would have stood there eating up every song with everyone else.
Monday night’s show was the first show on a lengthy tour for these guys and, if this first show is any indication as to how it’s going to go, well, it’s going to be one hell of a tour. I urge you to check it out if it’s coming near you. Even if it’s not your music, the amount of energy and passion that came from all three of these bands can not be understated and is something that absolutely must be experienced.
Venue: First Avenue
Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable
Average Age of the Crowd: 12
Crowd Surfers- None Spotted
Mosh-ability- 1 out of 10
Sausage-Fest Meter- 0 out of 10
Stage Divers- None
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- None– Trick question since you can’t drink at First Ave all ages shows unless you are upstairs
Broken Bones- None Noticed
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Fights- None Witnessed
Pukers- None Witnessed
Idiots Taken Out By Security- 0
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
Moontower – 0
The Wrecks – 2
The Driver Era – 0
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score- 7 out of 10
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