STORY AND PHOTOS BY SHELBY SWEITZER
Welcome to Western Pennsylvania, where we have all four seasons in one week, and in the case of this past Thursday in Pittsburgh, it was absolutely freezing, and snowing all night. However, this did not stop approximately five-hundred people from starting to line up outside of Stage AE about two hours ahead of time to get in to catch We The Kings bring their 10th-anniversary tour to the Club stage within Stage AE. Now, I know what you’re thinking, why are they putting such a major band on such a small stage? I don’t really know the answer to that question, but no matter the stage at the end of the night the show was phenomenal.
Opening the night was a new band Astro Lasso, an indie pop punk band consisting of two members, Jordan Davis and Tristan Martin, from York, PA. The tour couldn’t have picked a better opening act to get the crowd moving to the techno-pop punk vibe they brought to the show to get the night starting off on a high note, especially when they brought out an awesome cover of “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran. In addition, any ninety’s kids in the crowd were surprised by a celebrity stage crew appearance when Frankie Muniz showed up behind the merch table after the show. So, if “The Big Fat Liar” approves, then I’m behind them one-hundred percent.
Keeping the upbeat tempo going, Plaid Brixx takes the stage, a band from Columbus, Ohio, and consisting of three members: Chris Duggan, Mark LeRose, and Jared Sawaya. This energetic group kept the same techno vibe as the previous band, but that definitely did not drain the crowd’s excitement at all. Playing some of their top highlight songs off of their EP which was released this past year, this band definitely got the energy and attention they deserved from the crowd, and in the process hopefully won some of their hearts over, like they did mine.
Next up is Cute Is What We Aim For, which normally is a band that fans would expect to hear an upbeat pop rock sound from. As far as this show goes, however, it was the complete opposite, because for the sake of front man Shaant Hacikyan’s voice after just recovering from laryngitis, he and guitarist Dave Melillo went acoustic. Now, you might have thought that this must’ve been such a disappointment to the crowd who was expecting to turn up to this awesome set, but in all honesty, it wasn’t. With a little help from the crowd in such an intimate setting already, the set sounded amazing, and it didn’t seem as though one person in the crowd was upset. Although if there was, CIWAF didn’t disappoint, because for the last two songs of the set Melillo took over on vocals and with the help of the rest of the band rocked out at their normal upbeat pace.
Rounding up the rear of this awesome night was the main event, We The Kings. The set opened with a well-known favorite “Check Yes Juliet” which ended up being the closing number as well, just because fans adore it so much. In the middle, though, there were songs from all the different albums within the ten years that the guys have been together, most of which share a similar subject, which is love. Yes, if you have never listened to We The Kings, I promise that when you do you will want to text that special someone and just pour your heart out and confess your undying love for them, even if they already know it. Between songs, there was plenty of commentary from band members Travis Clark, Danny Duncan, Hunter Thomsen, Coley O’Toole, and Charles Trippy. Some of the highlights of the commentary included how Travis determined he could use Tetris as a metaphor for sex, and how dad jokes were definitely a thing within the band since two of the members recently became fathers. The commentary didn’t stop the show from going on, though. With the bright lights and the high energy of the band, the crowd kept jumping and singing from the top of their lungs until they brought the house lights up to signify that the night had ended. In the end, the intimacy of the venue was the best thing that could’ve happened to this show in my opinion. The cramped space brought the fans of these four bands closer than the night started out, and made for a more personal experience, which is what every fan could wish for.