After missing the opening band, I was able to catch the set of Vinyl Theatre’s co-headliners, Finish Ticket, on the Ones to Watch tour at the Triple Rock. Gaining little familiarity any of their songs beforehand left me unsure of what to expect and maybe I’m still not fully sure what a Finish Ticket show is like. Their singer promptly announced after the first song that six straight days of shows took a toll on everyone’s bodies. Despite the sickness, I was pleased to see them run around stage acting like they still had some energy for the opening track, “Wrong.” The rest of their set became a bit mellower, even during songs like, “When Night Becomes Day,” as they were clearly focused on delivering an impressive night musically, if they couldn’t quite manage their usual antics. In the end, the combination of the band’s determination and cover of The Killers’, “When You Were Young,” made for an enjoyable set.
Two-thirds of Vinyl Theatre opened their set with an intro that simply announced they were here to play a show, a nostalgic ode to their label-mate’s “We’re So Starving” (Panic! At The Disco). The intro’s peculiarity was made even more unusual by the blue haired-singer’s (Keegan Calmes) absence. Shortly after, the track picked itself up and Calmes entered with sporadic, over exaggerated jerks as he belted out the notes. Impressive, but I soon noticed a pattern emerging in the movements, making everything feel a little too rehearsed. The band played their songs expertly, however, especially the drummer, whose particular proficiency was highlighted on “Shine On.”
Despite the overall sound of the band being refined to a level many of us could only wish to achieve, the quality of the performance was limited by the band’s three-piece construction. Vinyl Theatre’s songs are complex; just listen to “If You Say So” or “Shaking In The Dead Of Night.” They incorporate multiple synthesizer melodies, bass lines, and occasionally extra guitar parts–things that are impossible to recreate live without relying heavily on prerecorded pieces. Though there are difficulties in playing with a click track, it didn’t strike me as a wholly live performance for this reason. Everything seemed premeditated and for show, leaving the complexities to the computers. The band did break this robotic mold for a few moments, reminding us of their humanity when they cracked Nickelback jokes and brought their friends from Finish Ticket to share the stage for a cover of Third Eye Blind’s classic, “Jumper.”
As predicted, “Breaking Up My Bones” was the overarching highlight. Everyone in the Triple Rock’s limited space was off of their feet with hands in the air. A scene perfect for a promotional video exemplifying what an alternative pop show looks like. Aside from the exquisite moments in “Breaking Up My Bones,” and the “Jumper” cover, Vinyl Theatre gave an unfortunately average performance. Ultimately, the band did not quite prove to be as memorable as hoped after hearing their excellent studio work.