photos by Taylor Hager
review by Lizzie Savage
There are some shows that come and pass and exist only within the night they occurred, and then there are those like last Friday’s show at THE GARAGE–the kind that leave you with leftover adrenaline and keep you smiling through the entire weekend.
On Friday night the Summer Set headlined a long-awaited sold out stop on their “Stories For Monday” tour, and it’s safe to say it will go down in THE GARAGE’s history as one of the most memorable, high-energy shows ever
When I arrived an hour before doors, there was already a line creeping past the main entrance towards the back parking lot. Thankfully it was sunny, which slightly softened the effect of the cold on my overall mood; I can only imagine how uncomfortable the wait must have been for the slew of girls wearing crop tops and shorts. When the doors opened, the crowd shuffled in, time dragging almost painfully slowly, until chatter rose to cheers as the screen in front of the stage slowly rolled up.
The night was kicked off by Karizma, a local hip hop artist and positivity advocate with an incredibly dedicated fanbase. Not usually a rap/hip hop fan, I found myself surprised at how much I enjoyed his set. His performance never waned in quality, and he radiated so much energy that the entire crowd was jumping and singing along almost immediately, even those who didn’t already know the words.
Following Karizma were New Orleans-based 5-piece Royal Teeth, who promptly became a new favorite of mine. The epitome of indie shimmer pop, Royal Teeth put on a performance that emitted an energy I can only describe as sparkly jungle magic. Vocalist Nora Patterson took the lead on most songs, her glass-like voice ringing through the room, and on some, like their rendition of “Heartbeats” by the Knife, vocalist Gary Larsen hit and held unbelievably high notes that elicited impressed cheers. But by far the best part of the performance was in the middle of their last song, “Wild,” when Gary brought a drum into the middle of the crowd and began playing. If they didn’t have the entire audience’s attention before, they certainly had it then, as Gary and his drum disappeared into a chaotic mess of arms and phones. I found myself wanting their set to continue, quite possibly forever.
The final opener was Handsome Ghost, an “indie prom” outfit from Boston. From the moment their set began to the last note of their closer, they radiated a kind of haunting energy that confirmed the name “Handsome Ghost” is an appropriate one. Their ambient, synth-y acoustic songs translated into grungy, drum-heavy trips live, making the world seem black and white in the best way possible. Their performance was far from boring, but a majority of the crowd seemed detached through for most of it. Perhaps they were impatient for the Summer Set to finally go on, or simply disinterested in a sound so different from the other acts, but it felt as though Handsome Ghost were definitely not receiving the attention and admiration they deserved. Frontman Tim Noyes’ vocals were not as effortlessly hypnotic as they are on the record, but were filled with emotion, and blended perfectly with the resounding drum kick. They played a few brand new songs off the upcoming album, some of which were noticeably more upbeat than those off the Steps EP. However, the highlight of Handsome Ghost’s set was definitely their cover of “Sex” by the 1975, one of their “favorite bands ever.” Their slowed-down version of the indie rock classic was reminiscent of acoustic performances from the 1975 themselves, but with a touch of echoey guitar that made it so very Handsome Ghost. Ending with an ethereal performance of their most recent single, “Graduate,” Handsome Ghost proved to be just as enjoyable live as they are on recording.
Finally, the Summer Set took the stage, and the room was filled with so much energy, and so many people, that in a matter of just a few songs, the packed venue was hotter and smellier than any show I’ve ever attended. Upon walking inside from the back patio, my skin actually began condensating. It was a little gross, but it was a statement to how much fun everyone was having. Each new song was met with jumping, dancing, and a chorus of voices shouting out every word. The enthusiasm of the crowd was equally matched by that of the band, who played loud and played well. Admittedly, I’m not all that fond of their music as a whole, but the Summer Set’s stage presence and ability to connect with everyone present was far from worthy of criticism. And although my friends and I left early, we did so somewhat hesitantly; there was so much positive energy in the air it was hard to walk away.
The night ended as it began: full of energy, excitement and pure happiness. It was a show no one is likely to soon forget, and one that undoubtedly left everyone with great memories and a fantastic playlist of new music to listen to this upcoming week.