Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Downtown Fiction/He Is We Show Review

From the moment that crowds started arriving at the venue, the April 23rd stop of the Let's Be Animals tour was sure to be something special. As both a homecoming for The Downtown Fiction as well as their CD release show, friends, family, as well as fans alike all came to probably the band's largest headlining show to date. Bringing along friends He Is We, Cady Groves, and Amely, The Downtown Fiction also brought along hoards of teenage girls, as they dominated the venue. However, powerful vocals, fuck yous, and fun dominated the night.

Amely used to be one of my favorite upcoming groups. I even saw them with The Downtown Fiction a year and a half earlier, as both bands were on the rise. However, after the band's extremely boring Fearless Records debut, I wrote them off. But Petie Pizarro knows how to lead a band, as his soaring vocals dominating every track. Though every song played had been released since the signing, I still found myself enjoying the performance, even if every song played just brought disappointment to me. Brand new track "I'm Not Missing You" was easily the highlight, as Petie stood alone with his voice and his guitar, winning over fans of both his music and his physical appearance.

Cady Groves was next on stage, and although she looked like a cute bundle of joy, she turned out to be a very angry girl. Explaining the meaning behind every track she played, at least three of her seven songs were "fuck you" tracks, angrily complaining about past relationships. At least three times she mentioned she wanted to cut off a specific masculine organ of an ex. Only songs off her upcoming album were played, including the track due to be released next week titled "We're The Shit". Hearing the way Cady talked between sets as well as the previously mentioned track, the parents of the many thirteen year old girls in the audience must have been in shock as their precious children were exposed to such profanities. However, this wasn't even close to the pinnacle of PG-13 behavior throughout the night, as Cameron Leahy of The Downtown Fiction soon made Cady seem as innocent as she looked.

He Is We was the main attraction for me, as both an interview and photo passes were gratefully given to us at Muzik Dizcovery (all photos courtesy of Alixe Siegel). As mentioned in the interview, the short set meant that the band had to pretty much only play songs off their most recent album My Forever. However, the band was still able to play some of their best tracks. Rachel Taylor's voice was studio quality, easily captivating the audience. The band's touring keyboardist took the place of Aaron Gillespie on "All About Us", and did an excellent job attempting to live up to Aaron's exceptional cameo. Due to having a little extra time, the band was able to play (for one of the first few times ever) possibly the strongest track on My Forever, "Fall". Though some of the instrumentation was unable to be done in a live setting, the song was still a highlight of the night. As the band ended with a beautiful performance of fan favorite "Happily Ever After", Rachel left the stage, allowing the rest of the band to keep playing and showing the crowd that there's more than just one member in the band. Giving the performance that anyone who knew that band should have expected, He Is We ignited the already fiery crowd even further.

Crowd anxiety was at its highest at the immediate moment right at the moment before The Downtown Fiction jumped on stage. Based on the crowd's reaction, Cameron Leahy could have just stood on stage and the show would be a success to maybe 60 percent of the crowd. But luckily he didn't. Opening with the brand new track "Freak", Cameron stole the show immediately. Always displaying a ton of energy, he moved throughout the stage, rarely even stopping to relax. Mixing tracks almost evenly from the band's two EPs and one full length, everyone got to hear at least a couple of their favorite tracks. A cover of Cee-Lo Green's smash hit "Fuck You" perfectly described the set, as Cameron flashed the audience with his middle finger quite a few times. But even the lead singer showed he could have some class, playing the acoustic ballad "When Dreams Go To Die" by himself. The emotion built up in the room, and for once in the show, it seemed the crowd was silenced. But the second that the rest of the band rejoined Cameron on stage, the craziness returned. Ending with radio hit "I Just Wanna Run", Cameron strip teased the audience, jumped in to the crowd, and generally showed one of the reasons why he might be enjoying his current life. As massive piles of teenage girls jumped and tried to get a hold of him, he jumped back on to the stage and ended the show with a blast.  Drumsticks were thrown into the crowd, and multiple girls fought over them. Members of every band stayed after, obviously appreciating every fan for their support. But through most of the night, it should have been the fans thanking each of the bands after a wild and crazy night.

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