AJR and their eccentric opener Hailey Knox played for an energetic crowd at The Garage as they rolled through Minnesota on their What Everyone’s Thinking tour Thursday night. Opener Hailey Knox after some unfortunate equipment hiccups got the show started. I honestly was not familiar with Knox at all but her performance was memorable. For reasons I cannot explain, she immediately made me think of Nikki Yanofsky and Ingrid Michaelson. Enter quirky blonde with a guitar that quickly showed that she can jam as well as make jokes and voices. Hailey found a good balance between vocally driven pop and edgy loops she mashes together live on stage, one of which included the crowds cheering, appropriately and by accident. Hailey’s closing track was a mash of multiple songs but what I was most pleased by was her tip of the hat to none other than Ozzy Osbourne using the easily recognizable guitar intro riff as the carrying notes for the entire song as she covered numerous artists.
I had never bought into the Matt and Kim madness when Daylight first broke out a few years after I finished high school. The sound was chaotic, overly loud at times and gave me visuals of a couple hipsters sitting in their garage saying “yea throw that in too fuck it”. AJR has taken the throw in the kitchen sink method of audio mashing and made it work, to my amazement insanely well. Listening to interviews before the show to get a feel for the guys I learned quickly that their method to the madness is actually quite deliberate. These are college educated guys who as they simply put it in many track commentaries “like the sound and put it in”, whether or not it made sense necessarily. Sounds I picked out during the show included yodeling, plastic buckets as drums, kazoos, Spongebob voices, and what I’d describe as… that Chipmunk sound you can make with windows recorder at high speed.
Needless to say AJR puts on a great live show. They cater greatly to the YouTube crowd but in person hold up well with their high energy and entertaining commentary between tracks. Time will tell just like they’re parents(Matt & Kim) if their audience and the industry stay true to their novelty sounds. But the guys are worth giving a listen to and I’ll be sure to see them the next time they are in town with a bigger venue to entertain.
Setlist: I’m Not Famous/Thirsty/The Green and the Town/Call My Dad/I Got No Strings Remix/Come Hang Out/Woody Allen/Tiptoe/Let The Games Begin/Pitchfork Kids/Infinity/Remix Story/Turning Out/No Grass Today/I’m Ready/Weak