REVIEW: Makeout @ Smiling Moose Pittsburgh

Energetic Pop/Punk band, Makeout, returned to the Steel City on January 15th, playing at The Smiling Moose in the South Side. They last played at the Club at Stage AE back in November on the Cute Is What We Aim For fall tour. This time, they were headlining the 20/20 Winter Tour. On tour, they brought Handguns and Story Untold. Originally, the tour included Oh, Weatherly as well, but the band’s van’s transmission went and they were unable to get it fixed in time for the tour. 
It was a chilly Tuesday night, so those attending the show were lucky when the doors were finally open and were allowed in the building. The venue only holds 200 people, and this show was pretty close to sold out. Needless to say, navigating to the ‘perfect’ spot was almost impossible. But, there was no lack of heat with the heater running, the lights burning, and the body heat surrounding each crowd member. 
Handguns hit the stage first. They are a pop/punk band originating from none other than Harrisburg, PA. From my observation, they sit more on the punk side of pop/punk. They have a heavier sound as well as a wild stage presence. Not too heavy of a sound though so it’s still pop/punk. Throughout their set, they highly encouraged crowd members to mosh and at one point, encouraged a circle pit. Thankfully for myself and my camera’s sake, the circle pit didn’t last very long. Nonetheless, the audience did appear to be immersed in their music and have a great time. They did a lot of interacting with the crowd as well, which I always find to be a great sight to see. 
Story Untold came up next. They are a Pop/Rock/Alternative band originating from Montreal, Canada. As opposed to Handguns, Story Untold was on the lighter side, which I personally enjoy. Both bands were great openers because they represented the two different sides of Makeout’s sound. The crowd was even more pumped up now and were screaming the lyrics along with them. Lead singer, Janick Thibault, although he’ll hate this based on his Instagram bio, reminds me of Awsten Knight of Waterparks and has a voice that sounds very close to Alex Gaskarth’s of All Time Low. I’d say that’s probably what made them more enjoyable for me is they reminded me of the All Time Low sound. Certainly, not a bad thing and is definitely a compliment… also I clearly am not the first to think of that. The audience had a blast and they made for a great segue into the headlining band. Also, I must mention that I loved the fact that their introduction was the Spongebob Squarepants theme song. That was uber cool.
Lastly, we had Makeout. If you haven’t quite heard of them but have attended Vans Warped Tour, you may know them, you just aren’t aware of it. They started out, after having formed the band, by winning the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands in Boston, a few years back, picked by John Feldmann, an extremely well-known music guru. They packed their bags and left Providence, Rhode Island, where they call home. Fast forward to 2019, the band is expected to release new music sometime this year, likely sometime after the 20/20 Winter Tour is done. They started their set off strong, hardly letting the crowd relax much at all during their hour-long set. Playing songs such as ‘Lisa’ and ‘Ride It Out’, the crowd was never left bored, I can tell you that. 
Lead vocalist, Sam Boxold, describes their album, “The Good Life” as a party, which if you listen to it, it definitely emulates the vibe of a party. They have a song, inspired by Blink-182’s ‘Built This Pool’, entitled ‘Where’s My Charger?’ which they also played. The entire show was like a party that didn’t stop. The only time the energy went down was when Sam pulled out the acoustic guitar to play a tune or two, with a different sound. They ended their set with their iconic single, ‘Crazy’. Beware, if you listen to it, it will get in your head and that’s a promise. They had a fantastic set and I would recommend catching them the next time they come to the ‘Burgh.

Abby McNatt: words and photos
© 2019

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