St. Louis, Missouri (May 13, 2018) – Borrowed drummers, letting loose, embracing the awkward, and then, drenched in beer on the rim of a mosh pit are just some of the highlights from tonight’s concert at Delmar Hall in St. Louis, MO! Basement and Citizen came into town, joined by California-based Souvenirs, and New York’s Pronoun.
The floor isn’t very full as the show opens tonight. I’m flanked by three of my friends who play in a local St. Louis band, Forgetting January, as Souvenirs kick the show into gear. The music has a sort of rumble underneath, that builds into crashing waves of alternative rock! The bassist, Nolan Nunes’, long black waves of hair sway upwards along to the tempo as the aqua-tinted fog funnels down the stage and into the crowd. Guitarist, Max Epstein, is snuggled in a red Citizen hoodie plays a cream and white Fender and lends his voice to vocals, as well. Lead singer, Tim Riley, on the white Tele guitar makes sure to mention his appreciation for Chris Geller, drummer for Pronoun, standing in for them on the kit who learned all their songs in under a week. If they hadn’t told us, I would never have known this drummer wasn’t a native to the music.
Souvenirs are captivating – slower jams followed by some heavier choruses. They close out the set with “4th and Holly” from the latest album, Postures of Apology. The instrumentals accent each verse in a resounding crash, kicking into overdrive for the grungy unwavering finale.
Alyse Vellturo of Pronoun takes the stage second; smiling wide next to her band. I really enjoyed Pronoun, mid-set, “A Million Other Things” begins with frisky, bright chords and buoyant bass notes. Lyrics “when you love somebody while they’re falling apart” sets the tone of a song that I interpret as pushing through the struggles we share with our partners. The chorus echoes with the voices of Alyse, bass guitarist, Ronnie Lanzilotta, and David Colicchio, on guitar, in perfect harmony. “But you gotta come home, come baby, come back first. You gotta come home first, come home baby even if it hurts. Cuz there’s a million other things we can do in the world.” We all love a good love song, but love is as imperfect as we all are, and this song emphasizes getting through the tough stuff together.
Pronoun portrays this down-to-earth quality, a ton of personality and is self-described as awkward. Alyse mentions on stage that playing live is her “biggest fear” and that she’s awkward but that’s ok and has everyone raise their hand who is also awkward (hands flew up from almost the entire room including mine). Pronoun is awkward, but in that beautiful way that allows people to be themselves. They close the set with “Run” the latest single release early in 2018, playing this glowing yet heartbreaking pop tune.
— CITIZEN (@CitizenMi) March 9, 2018
The first time I heard Citizen I was working at Music Record Shop in St. Louis and copies of Youth were always on display and in regular rotation, I quickly became hooked especially after hearing “The Summer”, it was pretty incredible to see the song that hooked me on the band performed live. As Mat Kerekes howls “I watched you run, I was screaming”, the crowd explodes into a fury of moving bodies, a push pit opens.
The entire band is amazing live, staring off the set with songs from youth, then heading into “As You Please“, with “Fever Days”, the guitarists, Nick Hamm, and Ryland Oehelers, are sharp as razor blades, and the weighty bass of Eric Hamm digs deep, playing into the percussion of Jake Duhaime. As we head back into “As You Please” for the finale with “Jet”, Mat dips the mic stand down front and center and invites the all-too-willing fans to sing along, “You put my back to the wall, who’s that in the backyard”. Citizen is seditious, they have an energy that is palpable and talent in performance and songwriting that is showcased so perfectly live.
Wrapping up the night was Basement, diving headfirst into heavy riffs with “Whole”, from their 2012 album, Colourmeinkindness. The melodic hardcore punk jam has become a staple for the band, perfectly setting the stage for the set with intense “lie to me, make me see” chorus bellowed in the polished concrete vocals of Andrew Fisher. Switching to notorious Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr intro of “Fading”, we hear the clip from An Affair to Remember “Ah, this is probably my last chance.” / “Mine too.” Followed by an immediate kick into high gear from the instrumentals and a huge push of a pit forming behind me and the crowd going crazy as Alex Henery and Ronan Crix deliver breathtaking guitar work.
Somewhere between “Fading” and the breakdown in “Earl Grey”, I am looking to snap a shot of drummer, James Fisher, through the fog and flying limbs. I feel something cold running down my hair and back of my t-shirt, about 2 seconds later I realized from the spicy smell, I am drenched in City Wide beer. Causalities of being on the brink of a mosh pit.
“Earl Grey” delivers another fervent frenzy within the crowd and I slip to the back switching between watching James Fischer’s arms soar across the drum kit and Duncan Stewart dig into each bass chord with the avid enjoyment of each chug. Great news for fans came when Andrew announced they would play a new song, titled on the setlist as simply “😊??? 😊” and let us know a new album would be coming soon.
When the finale came, I am sure none of us were ready to say goodbye, but at least it was with a banger of “Promise Everything”. The band has released a deluxe version of the album of the same name in March of last year. We called for an encore, but sadly the set ended and pop music turned back on over the speakers and the lights turned on signaling us to make a timely exit.
As we corralled toward the merch tables and the exit doors. I stopped to talk to Alyse of Pronoun and made sure to tell her how great I thought they were. Heading to the car recapping the show with my friends my friend Trevor had one word to sum it all up “killer.” Each band complimented each other well, played off the crowd and put on incredible performances. It’s the kind of show that is so captivating you forget you’re covered in beer until you walk outside to go home and realize your phone isn’t working because it’s drenched in beer. The tour is set to continue through 5/23 in Lancaster PA and then Basement and Citizen will head to Portland, Maine on 5/24 with Oso Oso, pronoun, and Angel Dust closing out that leg in Columbus Ohio on 6/8 at Skully’s.
Photojournalist: Jessi McKee
— Delmar Hall (@DelmarHallstl) May 13, 2018
— Run For Cover (@rfcrecords) May 10, 2018