An evening of nostalgia with We The Kings, Cute is What We Aim For and newcomers – Plaid Brixx


It was 2007 all over again last night at The Triple Rock Social Club, thanks to We The Kings and their 10 Year Anniversary Tour. I’m turning 25 this year which feels pretty badass but no one mentally prepared me for when the bands I listened to in high school would start going on anniversary tours. My photographer, Andrew and I, both 20-somethings, were excited for this evening of nostalgia with some of our favorite bands from the mid-2000s days. 

The last time I saw We The Kings I was probably underage and still thought it was acceptable to wear the t-shirt of the band you are seeing to their show. I wasn’t sure what to expect from an anniversary tour from a band that was a mainstay of my “angsty” teenage years, (well, as angsty as any white, middle class, private school attending , suburban living teen can be). However, last night was everything you could have wanted and more. We The Kings brought along an allstar lineup which included newcomers Plaid Brixx and fellow mid-2000 darlings Cute Is What We Aim For.

Andrew: Eh he hehemmm… my turn Jessica! 
Plaid Brixx, my first thought when we got word we’d be covering We The Kings and the rest was what the hell is a Plaid Brixx and I need to know where this name came from. A google search later I learned the guys found their inspiration in Chris’s affinity for Plaid patterns. The Brixx part, they liked how it fit and could be used for word play. Works for me!. Plaid Brixx set was a short one at five songs but I can say they sold me on their sound.

As some fans around me asked about the band I told them my brief research and listening session from that morning had me feeling like they sound like a lot of bands. They seemed to take that in a negative light but I sincerely meant it as a compliment as the sound that Plaid has is their own but reminds me of so many groups that it felt familiar and easily enjoyable. Beyond affirming my liking for their music I have to give props to the guys for their energy. Front man Chris well… he likes to dance. And to his credit pretty damn well!. I’ll leave it at that so the readers can see it for themselves without my poor description ruining things.

Plaid Brixx, ⅘ stars and a gold star for Chris doing his trademark handstand on stage.
Back to you.

The last time I saw CIWWAF was at the now closed down Station 4 in St. Paul. My parents definitely had to drop me off at that show. So being able to Uber down to Triple Rock and throw back a couple vodka sodas before Cute Is What We Aim for was definitely an upgrade from those awkward high school years. I think what I loved about CIWWAF’s set so much last night was they weren’t taking themselves too seriously, frontman Shaant Hacikyan even said that at one point. They’re just out there, doing their things, having fun 2007-style.

At the beginning of their set you could tell Hacikyan was trying to get a feel for the crowd. As I looked around (slightly buzzed) at the kids around me with braces I knew there was no way they knew who CIWWAF is. But as soon as they launched into classics like Newport Living, Moan and The Curse of Curves, the OG Cute is What We Aim For fans popped up in the crowd. Hacikyan was aware of the crowd, grabbing hands and pointing out the people singing along (myself included). I’m not going to lie, I felt a little old last night as I screamed along “we trained these lips till they were champs, and now their itching for a comeback,” lyrics that we sooo cool ten years ago, and now just feel hilarious to sing along to. I clearly was freaking out the 16-year olds next to me. But as nostalgic as last night’s set was, there was absolutely no part of me that wanted to 16 again. I’ll take vodka sodas and Uber over energy drinks and mom and dad’s ride any day. Cute Is What We Aim For is all grown up and so am I. I honestly haven’t danced, jumped and sweated at a show as much I did last night in probably years. As a music journalist I’m at shows night after night, so it was such a treat last night to just say fuck it and dance around Warped Tour style with Cute Is What We Aim For.

In between CIWWAF and We The King’s set I snuck over to the bar to grab another drink (love all ages shows and no venue bar). I chatted with the fellow 21 and up crowd at the bar about our nostalgia for CIWWAF and We The Kings. We compared embarrassing Warped Tour stories and reminisced over all the bands that we loved in high school. They say millennials are notoriously nostalgic and last night was definitely evident of that. Gearing up for this show I fell down a Spotify blackhole of all the bands I absolutely loved in high school (All Time Low, Forever The Sickest Kids, The Academy Is, Sing It Loud, Cartel, The Cab) and have had a hard time digging my way out of the hole even after the show. We The Kings is really a band I haven’t stayed up to date with, but last night they really made us broody, post-grad, Craft Beer drinking, Uber riding, Tinder-swiping, millennials feel young again.

We The Kings played their debut self-titled album in it’s entirety. Again, I think I was freaking out some of the teens next to me by screaming along to every song. But hey – they should be glad I had to at least finish my drink next door otherwise I probably would have spilled my drink over their iPhone that’s nicer than mine. Listening to We The Kings play through that whole album I was seriously taken back to my high school days, hanging out on Warped Tour with friends and scheming ways to meet these bands we adored. Early We The Kings and CIWWAF is a breed of pop punk that someone like me who didn’t get in trouble growing up, got along with my parents, did well in school, etc. etc. etc. could identify with. It was safe but you still felt edgy listening to it. All those 2007 feelings came rushing back last night, thanks to We The Kings and a little help from the several vodka sodas.

After frontman Travis Clark said they had played every song from their first album I started making my way out of the extremely packed crowd because I knew I wouldn’t know any of the new songs. They closed out their set with a few songs off their new albums, which I didn’t recognize at all. But as I made my way out I saw those same kids with braces who didn’t know a single word to August is Over or Skyway Avenue start singing along to new We The Kings that I didn’t know. I realized that even after all these years, WTK is still making new fans. Their music is relevant to a new generation. Their music is special for people like me who grew up listening to them because of the nostalgia factor. But seeing these younger fans singing along to their new songs was a cool moment. Sure, We The Kings might not be the most relevant band for the season of life I am in, but for the younger crowd, it clearly is.

And if one thing was true last night, it was that We The Kings 100% has still got it. Though they’ve gotten married, had babies, and taken on a new season of life – they rock just as hard as ever. The band which is made up of childhood friends still have an infectious chemistry on stage. Clark’s vocals are still polished and perfect. And they still put on a damn good show.