Throughout the month of March, We The Kings, This Century, and Crash The Party set out on a month-long, East Coast tour, aptly called The Art of Tour. The tour began and ended in Florida, and I was able to catch one of the last dates, in a city fairly close to WTK’s hometown of Bradenton.
The Art of Tour rolled through Gainesville on Friday, March 28. While the weather was everything short of cooperative, the crowd packed into the un-air conditioned venue, most soaking wet and with undeniably excited expressions on their faces.
The local opener was Rebel and Anchor, a well-known Gainesville band. They combine elements of smooth rock and a little bit of pop for a beautiful listening experience. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of chatter during their set that I don’t think many of the attendees were able to take in just how good R&A are. They are definitely a group of guys with more than enough potential to grab your attention. If you’re ever in the Gainesville area, this is a band that you will want to scope out.
The tour opener was a foursome from New York called Crash The Party. They are a group of 20-somethings who have only been in the music scene for just over a year, yet they are performing like seasoned veterans. CTP engaged the crowd and really set the tone for the rest of the night. Within the first verse of the first song, lead singer, Ian Reibeisen, grabbed someone’s phone out of the audience and started taking a video from his perspective. Their songs were catchy, and you found yourself singing along with the choruses of each of the songs. The highlight of their set was when Reibeisen talked about the band’s new EP, Radiate, and stated that it came out the same day as Disney’s Frozen. They then proceeded to do a cover of the very well-known song from the movie, “Let It Go.” This instantly got the crowd pumped. I have to applaud CTP for this extremely thought out song choice. Not only was it timed perfectly in their set, about halfway through, but it allowed the crowd to sing along with them, thus creating a connection that continued until the end.
When This Century took the stage, I could almost instantly tell that there was something wrong with lead singer, Joel Kanitz. After a month of touring, I can understand exhaustion, and with it raining all day, moods aren’t going to be at their highest. When they began their set, I could hear a strain in Kanitz’s voice; he was obviously sick. I commend singers who fight through illnesses and give killer performances. A few songs into their set, Kanitz made the announcement that he was sick, even though it was fairly obvious, and asked the crowd for a lot of help with the rest of the songs. The crowd willingly obliged and filled in on the songs they knew. Lead guitarist, Sean Silverman, was the hero of the night. Whenever Kanitz’s voice became too strained or would start to crack, Silverman swooped in, without missing a beat, and sang until Kanitz could jump back in. The unspoken connection that these two had during their set was awesome. It was truly heartwarming to see them pull together and get through it. They had every reason to cancel their set, and the fact that they didn’t shows how dedicated and driven they are in this industry.
We The Kings are a staple in the Florida alternative scene, and this was the first time I got to experience just how fantastic they actually are. They opened their set with a song off their newest album, Somewhere Somehow. The crowd went insane when the boys made their way to the stage; the energy was high and you could tell Travis Clark felt on top of the world. They did eight songs off their new 13-track album, mixing a few of their classics, like “Skyway Avenue,” “Secret Valentine,” and “She Takes Me High,” into the set. Throughout their hour and 15 minute performance, various members of WTK were grabbing cell phones and taking videos for lucky concert-goers. They had the audience participate in dance numbers and sing-a-longs the entire time. You couldn’t help but smile during these interactions because, not only was the crowd having the time of their lives, but there was an extremely evident happiness in Clark’s demeanor the whole set. This is a band that loves what they do, and love sharing it with their ever-supportive fans.
In the latter half of the set, they performed what can only be described as the most endearing love song I have ever heard, “Sad Song.” You can watch a video of that song being performed at the end. And because of it being a slower paced tune, there was an obvious lull in the crowd’s excitement, which Clark pointed out. But, with confidence, he stated that he had the cure for said lull during shows. He went on to play a snippet of what was, in his opinion, the sexiest song he knew. That song was “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye. This, without a doubt, hyped the crowd back up, and they continued with a stellar set.
The crowd was treated with a story on how We The Kings began towards the end of the set. Clark said he went to a Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World concert, and had a moment of clarity. Clark called Hunter Thomsen, the band’s guitarist, and said he knew how they were going to get girlfriends, and that was by starting a band. They never expected to reach the status of which they are at now, and to pay homage to that fateful evening, they did a cover of the first song Clark remembers hearing that evening – “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World, which you can also watch at the end. The evening concluded with “the song that kinda started everything,” according to Clark, “Check Yes Juliet.”
For more on Rebel and Anchor, check out their Facebook page here.
This Century currently have no plans for another tour, but be sure to buy concert tickets when they become available, and you can purchase a CD here.
We The Kings are wasting no time getting back on the road, and have select U.S. dates throughout April, and will be heading overseas in May and June. You can buy concert tickets here, and purchase a CD here.
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