As soon as the first note rang out, I knew I was in for a good night. My friend Jessica grabbed my arm and had a cheesy smile that streaked across her face as the note turned into the first track from The Rocket Summer’s 2007 release “Do You Feel”. I definitely start feeling my age when bands start announcing anniversary tours. The fact that it was the ten year anniversary tour for “Do You Feel” was almost heartbreaking for me because I feel like time is truly slipping by too quickly. That being said, as soon as the words started for the first track- “Break It Out”- I found myself singing along to the words that (per usual) made me the person I am today. That smile that was on Jessica’s face was now on mine and I’m pretty sure I have yet to stop smiling.
The Rocket Summer is the brainchild of Bryce Avary. Although he travels with a band most of the time, the music is all done by him. Yes, that means that every instrument you hear on one of his albums is not only produced by Bryce, it is also played by him. That right there should be a sign of just how talented this guy is. His first full length album, “Calendar Days”, came out in 2003 and since then I have been a huge fan of everything Bryce touches. There’s something about Bryce not only musically, but also when you see him in person, that screams positivity. He has a very clear message throughout all of his albums and EP’s that says be who you are and be happy. Whenever I’m having a rough day or struggling to stay positive, I just listen to Bryce’s voice and the words he’s singing and everything is magically okay.
As I mentioned, Sunday night’s show was the tenth year anniversary for “Do You Feel.” Although this is definitely not my favorite album by The Rocket Summer and I didn’t have it on a constant repeat like I did “Calendar Days”, that being said. as soon as “Break It Out” started, I couldn’t help but start singing along and dancing like an idiot. Like so many shows I go to, even though it had been years since I had listened to some of these songs, somehow I still knew every single word to every single song. Even the songs that I thought I didn’t really like– I was singing along. Bryce, his drummer, and bassist played through “Do You Feel” in it’s entirety in about an hour. The modest crowd was singing, jumping and dancing along. It was such a feel good atmosphere. It was one of those shows where I wish I could have caught the ambiance in a jar and saved it for a crappy a day.
After playing through the album, it was request hour. Other than a couple of planned songs from other albums, Bryce asked the crowd what they wanted to hear. Some bands do this knowing damn well what songs they are going to play next but not Bryce. He actually listened to the crowd and played what they wanted to hear. It was truly astonishing to watch as he flawlessly jumped into songs that dated back many years without hesitation. Whether he had a guitar in his hands or was standing behind the keyboard, Bryce was playing everything with a sense of precision while still keeping the set completely light hearted and fun.
Bryce’s smile is infectious to say the least and his positive message radiated throughout the venue. The crowd mirrored this positivity and, whether you were a tried and true fan of The Rocket Summer that had been around since day one or you were someone who stumbled upon some of Bryce’s newer music, you felt as if you were part of one big happy family. You could have been having the absolutely worst day of your life yesterday but as soon as you stepped into the venue and saw Bryce’s smile and heard his voice, you would know that everything was going to be okay.
Every song the band played was great and, after nearly two hours, it was time for it to finally end. Being my sixth show in a row, I was more than ready to go home and get some sleep but, if I’m being completely honest, I really didn’t want the show to end. I always tell people that concerts are my happy place and last night was a great example of that.
There was one opener last night- 888. Their music was upbeat and made you want to dance but there was something felt weird. With a heavy auto-tune presence and energetic stage show, 888 was a perfect way to get ready for the night of dancing that was ahead. 888 features members of the defunct manic-metal band Drop Dead Gorgeous. As a huge fan of Drop Dead Gorgeous (at least back in my angsty years), it was a bit shocking to hear this brand of electronic pop coming from the members but somehow it worked.
Six shows in a row can definitely take a toll on you but when it’s six truly amazing shows in a row, it’s a bit less painful and the exhaustion seems a bit worth it in a way. Last night was definitely worth the exhaustion I’m feeling today.