So there’s no reason to deny or discuss my love for all things Lydia. With that said, half the reason I was so amped to go to their latest headlining tour was to see All Get Out again. The last time I saw both of these bands was in October of last year, where they both absolutely killed it – in entirely different ways, of course.
To be honest, I had never heard of Sweet Talker prior to seeing him on the list for the show. However, Kevin Fisher was quite an enjoyable live performer. His style is reminiscent of The Script, only with a little more of an indie-pop flare. His set was short, but he was quite a pleasant surprise. Both “Southern Belle” and “This Is War” were incredibly catchy and satisfying live, with the latter prompting me to my “check out” list after the show. To end the set, Sweet Talker went into a breathtaking rendition of “Hallelujah,” which, as risky as that cover can be, was spot on. Simply after seeing this short set, I have quite high hopes for Fisher’s upcoming record (which is being mixed currently).
The manic rockers of All Get Out attacked the stage next. The main thing I remember about seeing the band last year was their energy, but wow, I had no idea what I was in for. First off, keep in mind the size of the stage and venue – it was small and tight-fitting, to say the least. Well, vocalist Nathan Hussey may be one of the craziest, energetic, feverish front man I’ve ever seen. He raced across the stage and went all out rocking out on his guitar to belting lyrics at the top of his lungs.
The set was the definition of punk rock music. “My Friends,” “Me And My Lovers,” and “The Season” each carried a different type of dominance, with the last featuring Hussey absolutely losing his mind as he yelled, “Fall back.” All Get Out really couldn’t care less about their image or anything of that sort…they just want to play music as loud as they can, with as much energy as they can. This is a live show. Just as the last time I’d seen them, they closed with “Let Me Go,” which may have been the most intense song I’ve ever seen live. Yelling out “don’t let me go,” Hussey left the microphone behind and just yelled into the crowd. He then broke into a whisper to a dead silent room – I can’t even describe these chills – until the whole room yelled out the final words, dropped his guitar, kicked off a cymbal. This is passion you can’t fake; it was easily the most intense song I’ve ever seen live.
Switching gears entirely, Lydia were as intricate and lush as they were the last time I saw them. The venue’s atmosphere was perfect for them, as their wrapped-in-lights microphone stands glowed in the dark room. Moreover, their set list was full of unexpected tracks. Leighton Antelman took the stage alone initially, armed with an acoustic guitar, oddly starting with “A Camera Lens and Careful Days.” As a song I never thought I’d hear live, it was absolutely haunting due the crowd’s mellow singing and the lighting in the room. Lydia played a fair amount of Paint It Golden material, with “Hailey” being an absolutely chilling surprise and “Best Nights” having the whole crowd singing along.
New song “Knee Deep” has me insanely excited to hear their upcoming record, as it sounds exactly like what you’d expect from Lydia – it’s intricate and endearing. Of course, the Illuminate cuts (“I Woke Up Near The Sea,” “Hospital,” and “This Is Twice Now”) moved me the most. I stared out the window into the night, past the Christmas light fashion of the stage, as Antelman belted out “It turns out you were into yourself” during “I Woke Up Near The Sea.” As I watched, listened, and sang, all my memories of that record rushed through me, making the night all the more delicate and personal. As much energy as Lydia evoke on their records, their live performances – especially in the ideal atmosphere – are all the more poignant and touching.
As the night ended with Antelman encoring to his cover of “Stand By Me,” I stood thinking about how fast this past year has gone since I last saw him play that song live and wondering where I’ll be next time. That’s the power of a good live band, a band that can bring you places and conjure a variety of feelings and memories.
This is a show that has the best of both words – Sweet Talker brings pop sensibility; All Get Out bring their frenzied version of punk rock; and Lydia bring spectacular beauty to close it all off. 2013 promises to be a huge year for all of these bands, so go check out this tour as soon as you can.
Lydia with Valise, All Get Out, and Look Mexico – The Loft in Dallas, TX on October 9, 2011
Arriving at the venue, I knew All Get Out were opening for Lydia, which excited me as I’d been casually listening to their debut record, The Season. However, I had not yet heard the other two opening acts: Valise and Look Mexico.
I’d heard part of Valise’s sound check, which made me incredibly interested in their set, as they definitely had vibes of Circa Survive. Sure enough, the guys were rather unforgettable – especially for just an opening band. With their stunning vocals and solid instrumentation, Valise definitely turned heads throughout the venue. The highlight track was the ethereal “Monster,” as the vocalist absolutely dominated the closer. For fans of Circa or Tides of Man, I highly recommend checking out Valise’s EP, Dreamcatcher.
Up next was All Get Out. Having only casually given The Season a few spins prior to the show, I can honestly say I was floored by their set. Full of raw, rapid energy, the guys cranked up the music to full speed and played their hearts out. Channeling shades of Andy Hull, vocalist Nathan Hussey was a powerhouse on the stage. It was all fast and all fun, with All Get Out easily being the most energetic group of the night. That is not to say it wasn’t poignant and intimate at times, as “Let Me Go” was stunning. Better than they are on the record even, this was a band that really knew what they were doing – let alone how to amp up the crowd.
Look Mexico was the last of the three openers. With a sound similar to All Get Out, these guys were enjoyable, although not nearly as memorable as the other two bands. Matt Agrella could definitely hold his ground live, as the show was generally entertaining. However, at this point, the hype for Lydia was built to a max; the crowd was amped and ready to be amazed.
My Lydia fandom is hardly a secret around here, so it’s safe to say I couldn’t wait for their set – not to mention it was my first time seeing them live. It was everything I’d hoped for and more, with the intimate setting, lighting, and rain beating down on the windows creating a truly perfect atmosphere for their set. The crowd fit perfectly with the setting, singing along to every song of the night. Antelman stood alone while he played a stunning cover of “Stand By Me,” which in itself was a wonderful surprise. They played a splendid mixture of all of their material, even playing old fan favorite December cuts such as “December” and “It’s In Your Blood.” Still, for most of us, it was the striking beauty of the Illuminate choices, namely “Hospital” into “Stay Awake,” that were just…dazzling. The intimacy of the set and venue added such texture and atmosphere to Lydia’s set, making the show more than I could have hoped for.
When the show ended, Craig and Leighton stuck around to chat with fans and do signings, making the night all the more personal. From the great discovery of Valise through the final moments of “Smile, You’ve Won,” the night was absolutely spectacular. It’s hard to believe Lydia had been away for a year, as they played to perfection. All in all, it was everything I could have hoped for in a Lydia show and more. I cannot recommend catching this tour more if it comes to a location near you.