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An Intimate Acoustic Evening with Parachute | Mr. Smalls | 9.21.17

Abigail McNatt

Acoustic sets are honestly the greatest kinds of sets. Sure it is great to dance and scream along to your favorite songs, but there is something so raw and real about your favorite band performing their music stripped down and unplugged. That’s what Parachute’s current tour is all about.
On the first half of the tour, ending in Pittsburgh, they brought along Johnny Balik. Balik is from Toronto, Canada and his music is categorized as pop/R&B/soul. This was the first I had heard of him and damn am I glad I did. HIGHLY recommend checking him out. His voice is pure and raw and real and fantastic. He does what I like to call, sing-rap where he minorly sings a rap and it just flows so well. He played some originals as well as a cover or so, in his half hour set. The ladies loved him. Now, being that it was an acoustic show, there were chairs set up in aisles. So girls weren’t freaking out, especially being that he was playing acoustic as well. But they did woo and wow him throughout the set and created a long line afterwards when he stood by the merch table to meet fans. I was not a part of that group, but I certainly did enjoy his set, so much. He opened his mouth during the first song and I was like, “damn he is good.” It was his last stop on the tour and he definitely gave it his all, so bravo.
Half an hour after Balik’s set, Parachute came on. The setup was much different than their last tour when I saw them last year. They had a keyboard on stage right, a stool and mic in the middle, and a drum set stage left. Members Kit French (vocals, sax, and keyboard), Will Anderson (lead vocals, guitar, piano), and Johnny Stubblefield (drums) made their way to their spots on stage. It felt just as surreal to me as it did the first time I got to see and shoot them. I got so caught up in the show itself as well as taking photos that I forgot to write down the set list. They changed it from show to show too. During their set though they played music from all of their albums. They included a couple songs from their newly released album, “Wide Awake“, such as ‘Jennie’ and ‘Lonely With Me’. As per usual, Will likes to talk and being an acoustic show like this, there was plenty of time for that. Will talked about his wife, Courtney a bit and their different writing styles and being in Pittsburgh, he talked about his love and obsession with Heinz Ketchup and how he wrote them a letter and they sent him back a bunch of packets. Another story he likes to tell at shows is about the ever so popular, ‘Forever and Always‘. That song is so sad. So sad that it needs a disclaimer attached to it. But as he says every show, it’s not real. He made it up. He told the crowd about how an old man came up to him after their set one time and he said he was sorry, but Will didn’t have the heart to tell him it wasn’t real. After that little anecdote, they played the song and the crowd sang along. They played some oldies as well, such as ‘She Is Love‘ and ‘All That I Am‘. Parachute also inserted a cover of ‘Issues’ by Julia Michaels in there. One fan screamed she was so excited they started to play it. Normally, that wouldn’t phase anyone but again, it was an acoustic show. They played my favorite, ‘Kiss Me Slowly’ and I was just on Cloud 9. From their 2013 release “Overnight”, they played the likes of ‘Drive You Home’ and ‘Didn’t See It Coming’. They ended their set, ironically, with one of their longer songs, ‘Philadelphia’. Fans, like myself, were captivated by the band the entire night and didn’t want it to end. That is the kind of show they put on, acoustic or full set. Their music really makes you feel things you may or may not have felt before and it is an awesome thing to be able to sing along to them. I have been a fans of theirs for some time now and it only seems to get stronger the more music they release and the more shows I attend.
Their tour continues on the west coast so if you will be out there anytime soon, I suggest grabbing a ticket (they’re ridiculously cheap) and grab your friend or significant other, or even treat yourself to a show. You will be just as hypnotized as all of us were last night.
All photos ©2017 Abigail McNatt
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