On July 28th, Bryce Avary (otherwise known as The Rocket Summer) played his first show in Montreal in two years. His last visit to our city was during the Vans Warped Tour in 2010 where he played a quick 30 minute set. This time around, The Rocket Summer played for nearly 2 hours at La Tulipe to a small but extremely energetic crowd of people who couldn’t have been happier that Bryce finally made his way back to our city.
The show started off with Montreal native band All Day Dreamers. They played for about half an hour and got the crowd pumped with their upbeat, rock-style tracks. Lead vocalist Giancarlo Aimone even shared his microphone with fans in the front row who knew the lyrics to all the songs.
Second up was American quintet ‘States’ led by female vocalist Mindy White. Although I had never heard of the band, they immediately blew me away. Although White has a musical style that is entirely her own, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the early Paramore days and Hayley Williams’ voice. The five members put on a stellar performance- I’d say they were the best of the three opening bands by a long shot. I loved hearing their music for the first time, but I must admit their cover of the song ‘Crazy’ was one of the best I’ve ever heard. Their brand new album ‘Born to Run’ is available on iTunes now and is completely worth the purchase if you’re a pop/rock fan.
The third and final opening band was the Scene Aesthetic, the pop/indie/acoustic/rock band fronted by Erin Bowley and Andrew de Torres. They were probably the most well known out of all the openers and succeeded in getting the crowd jumping up and down, singing along and all around excited for The Rocket Summer. Personally, I’ll admit the band just didn’t cut it live for me. I’ve almost never given a poor review of a live show but I’d heard great things about the Scene Aesthetic and I didn’t feel like they lived up to their album. That being said, the crowd seemed to really enjoy what the band put out there and the two guys had a lot of fun singing with fans.
Around 9:45, Bryce came on stage and started by creating a song with his loop pedal. He ran to the drums, played a beat, played it over, and proceeded to record a bass, guitar, and some keyboards on the loop as well. There’s no doubt that he lives up to his ‘one-man-band’ name; his talent on multiple instruments all at once was obvious from the get-go. The crowd went completely insane as he jumped from one instrument to the next, and finally introduced himself and his band that joined him.
His entire set was everything a fan of The Rocket Summer could want to hear live. Bryce performed a mixture of new and old tracks one after another, keeping fans singing and dancing along. After half an hour, the lights in La Tulipe dimmed down and Bryce appeared in the middle of the crowd where he performed a beautiful acoustic rendition of his song ‘Soldiers’. He followed this up with some more upbeat songs, and then quieted things down and spent 20 minutes taking requests from fans. He stayed on stage with just his keyboard and played some of his older tracks that he hadn’t pulled out yet on the tour. It was a true testament to his music that he was able to pick up those notes and make all the fans happy by playing songs we wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to hear him perform (among these requests that he played were Save & Run to you from the album ‘Do You Feel’, as well as the track Never Knew from ‘Hello Good Friend’. Fans love their TRS classics!)
These keyboard-acoustic tracks were all part of his Encore, which ended up being as long as the show itself. He must have played almost an extra 45 minutes after leaving the stage. After playing 5 fan requests, he called the band back to play a few more songs all together. The end of the Encore consisted of more classics including Brat Pack, his new song Circa ’46, and the finale, Cross My Heart, which brought me right back to my high school days.
Other favorites from the show included Walls, Do You Feel, Of Men and Angels, and 200,000. Not only did fans adore welcoming Bryce to Montreal for his first real venue show, but it truly seemed like he wanted to keep playing, too. I know I speak for everyone who attended the concert last night when I say that I sincerely hope The Rocket Summer make their way back to play another set like that VERY soon. It was the kind of night that reminded music lovers just why we love our music so much. It was unforgettable- thank you Bryce!
We also had the chance to catch Bryce for an interview before the show. Stay tuned on CONFRONT in the next few weeks to read all about it!
Review & photos by Melissa Payette