39° weather with 5:30 doors on a Sunday would all seem to add up to a mediocre turnout for whatever band was on the marquee. At least you would think. With a line that snaked around the building and barely stopped before the end of the block, this idea could not have been further from the truth for half•alive’s sold-out show at Varsity Theater. Nothing could deter these fans.
Sure Sure, an experimental pop band from Los Angeles, got the party started promptly at 6:30. Dressed in all white, the four members, Chris Beachy, Charlie Glick, Kevin Farzad, and Michael Coleman, took their places on stage with emphatic cheers from the crowd backing them.
It was apparent when these guys took to the stage, they thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. It was written all over their faces. Their energy was infectious and you couldn’t help but return their smiles with one of your own. With bright, warm melodies, their unique sound intrigued from the first chord and stayed in your head long after the song was over.
The group would take a moment before each song to talk to the crowd and explain the origins behind each one. An especially notable story had to do with going to a grocery store and falling in love. These glimpses into their creative process allowed people to understand better who they are and closed the distance between artist and fan; you felt part of their world in some small way.
In just a short amount of time, they were able to make a genuine connection with the crowd. So much so that when they taught the crowd the pose they did at the end of one of their songs, nearly everyone did it with them; causing Beachy to exclaim “There we go! You’re all part of the band now!” and by the end of their set, you really did feel like you were.
“There we go! You’re all part of the band now!”– Chris Beachy of Sure, Sure
Time For The Main Event
Still riding the high that accompanied Sure Sure’s set, the crowd was primed and ready for the main event. The air crackled with excitement and anticipation as they waited for the universal sign that it was time.
Then, the lights went out, and wild cheers of approval ripped through the crowd.
Josh Tyler (vocals/guitar) began singing “ok? ok?” while a single, dim light barely illuminated his face. As the song progressed, Brett Kramer (drums) and J Tyler Johnson (bass/synth) joined Tyler in syncopated movements that timed out to the driving rhythm of the song. This unexpected start set the tone for the rest of what was to come.
Seamlessly transitioning into “Runaway,” Tyler let the music carry him around the stage. He was soon joined by two other dancers who performed perfectly choreographed moves that were reminiscent to what 28 million people had come to know and love from the “still feel.” music video. This wouldn’t be the last we would see of these dancers. Their presence was an integral part of the show and allowed people to experience the songs visually as well as sonically.
From groovy crowd favorites like “still feel .” to vulnerable anthems like “BREAKFAST,” this group showcased their wide range of versatility vocally and musically. They are able to weave enchanting melodies and snappy synths with poetic lyrics to create something more than just a catchy tune.
This night and this concert was special. At first, you couldn’t quite put your finger on what made this show different from the rest, but you could feel it in the air. The simple answer? The crowd adored this group. They were engaged throughout the entire set, and you were hard-pressed to find someone not bopping their head along to the beat if not full-fledged dancing.
There was an overwhelming feeling of contentedness and passion that emanated from both the artist and fans. It made your chest feel full. It isn’t every day you get chills from the performance as well as the crowd.
To cap off the night, the group closed with their song “creature.” Vacillating between soft, introspective verses and powerful, confident choruses, this song is an exploration of our being and the constant pursuit to find our purpose. A message of hope and acceptance lives within this song, and it seemed fitting that it would be the feeling people took with them when they left.
With melodies and vocals as dynamic as their visuals, half•alive brought the Varsity Theater to life on a cold and dreary Sunday. Their magnetic stage presence, augmented by their lights and dancing, made for a performance from which you couldn’t look away. Not that you wanted to anyway.
- ok? ok?
- The Fall
- Pure Gold
- still feel.
- ice cold.
- Aawake At Night