Hey Violet kick off their first ever US Headlining tour in SF!

“Miranda’s already hungry again…” Lovelis teases as she asks the crowd for suggestions on where they should grab an after-show snack later that night. The entire band is gleaming with mirth as a moment of silence honors everyone’s passion for food.

This seems to set the mood for the entire show. The playful banter continues, and there’s no mistaking the friendship between band mates as they each seem to be exchanging smiles, laughs and those who aren’t tethered to a keyboard or drum kit dance around the stage to jam together.

After touring the world for years with some of the biggest names in music — the Foo Fighters, The Smashing Pumpkins, Steel Panther and most recently, 5 Seconds Of Summer — and following a well deserved break, Hey Violet returns to the Bay Area, this time on their first ever U.S headlining tour!

If you’re not familiar with the band, maybe you’d recognize them under their previous name, Cherri Bomb. The members formed back in 2008 — back when they were still in middle school! Original members, Rena and Nia Lovelis and Miranda Miller are joined now on stage by guitarist Casey Moreta and Iain Shipp on bass. They took the world by storm, playing some of the biggest venues (did we mention they even have Warped Tour under their belts, from when they played in 2012 and they’ve played some of the biggest festivals overseas including Supersonic and Reading & Leeds Fest) last year, including a sold out show at Madison Square Garden where they supported 5 Seconds Of Summer.

This time around, things are all about Hey Violet. They kicked off the first of their shows in San Francisco at The Chapel (side note: how cool is this venue? A historic 1914 building originally as a mortuary, with beautiful arched ceilings and mezzanine) this Tuesday night, playing to a joyous overly-packed crowd who only solidify what tonight is all about: good music, positive vibes and Hey Violet.

Fans flood in early to catch opener and musician Jessarae’s set. Originally from Los Angeles, Jess launched his debut EP back in the summer of 2016 which came with a sold out headlining tour. He followed quickly with a second EP, “Stand In The Rain” and his latest “The London Loft Sessions” was released this year.

In a day and age where it’s tempting (and almost acceptable) to simply press ‘play’ on a machine, Jess takes a different, more impressing route as he gears up for his set. He begins by building the back-up to his own songs, looping his own voice to support him as he kicks off the night with the title track to his release, “Stand In The Rain.”

From the get-go, Jess’ talents are on showcase, raw and powerful. The crowd show their support, with screams of encouragement and a bit of overflowing excitement as he plays a new song titled “Fishbowl” that precedes a slower track titled “Don’t Let Them In.” It isn’t until Jess pulls a cover out from under his sleeve: Drake’s very own “One Dance” in an acoustic, upbeat rendition that Jess has made completely of his own. He feeds off the energy of the crowd, who dance and sing along, their smiles mimicking Jess’ own.

Allowing no time for the crowd to settle, Jess swaps one acoustic guitar for another: a beautiful, matte black piece. He shares with the eager faces that the next song is brand new, a number he had been practicing backstage before the show and decided then and there, why not just play it for everyone? The lyrics are something like “I feel the weight of the world inside / I was there for the tears you cried / Your innocence drives me wild” and the words “Hover me” as he treats us to this beautiful track.

He performs “No Warning” and has a bit of a slip up, only lasting a second before he recovers, but the way in which he handled this — a smile, admittance, a laugh and a shake of the head — was so genuine, it only added to the track. And a bit too soon for anyone’s liking, his last track, “Milk and Honey” (for which an acoustic video was just released) is performed and Jess leaves the stage, sincerely thanking the growing crowd with an ear-to-ear smile.

Despite the intermission, the energy built up and filled the venue, only rising in anticipation for Hey Violet to take the stage. There’s no mistaking the show’s beginning as the crowd erupts in excited screams as the five members rush out from backstage, their presence immediately filling the entire venue as they power straight into one of their earlier tracks, “Brand New Moves.”

These girls (and guys – we can’t exclude Moreta and Shipp) mean business. They play a new track ”My Consequence” and “Pure” back to back, just before taking a moment to express how excited they are to be in San Francisco. Rena gushes over the lifestyle the city has the offer — including the cuisine. They laugh about all the stops before the show and joke that it simply wasn’t enough.

“Miranda’s already hungry again…” Lovelis teases as she asks the crowd for suggestions on where they should grab an after-show snack later that night. The entire band is gleaming with mirth as a moment of silence honors everyone’s passion for food.

This seems to set the mood for the entire show. The playful banter continues, and there’s no mistaking the friendship between band mates as they each seem to be exchanging smiles, laughs and those who aren’t tethered to a keyboard or drum kit dance around the stage to jam together.

Lovelis strips herself of her customized bubble gum pink bomber jacket (complete with a super cool bleeding eye back design) as the band gears up to play a fan favorite titled “Unholy.” This darker, bass-heavy track echoes within the walls of this converted mortuary. The dark, punk rock vibe in the air is almost palpable, but it is quickly broken as Rena shows a softer side. She’s addressing the crowd, laughing about her “maternal instinct” coming out. She insists: don’t push [within the crowd, closer to the stage] and, “hugs are fine, just don’t push.”

Tonight is scattered with surprises and premieres of new music as Hey Violet addresses the next, new track. The band seem pleasantly surprised at the elicit screams when the title is spoken, touched that fans already are familiar with the unofficially released music. It’s a song titled “O.D.D” which Rena explains is all about how everyone feels a bit weird and out of place at times…

“…Like you don’t fit in and that’s okay. It’s okay to be different.”

The track is followed by another completely new song, to which just seconds before Rena is supposed to come in with the vocals, you can see her almost frantic as she mouths to her sister Nia and keyboardist Miranda an ‘I forgot!’ and darts off stage only to return fashioned in an oversized black hoodie, appropriate for the song by the same name, “Hoodie.”

The positive energy floats from face to face, the crowd singing along with smiles spread across their lips. It’s impossible to miss Rena’s glittering highlight across her high cheekbones and the very tip of her nose. She looks almost like a fairy — her energetic, petite nature as she dances around to the band’s songs. The show is interrupted, if only for a second as fans scream, “we have bracelets for you” and a genuinely thrilled Rena exclaims, “bring ’em up!” as she stretches over the small sea of fans to reach the one who spoke out, retrieving the colorful gifts and immediately stashing them in a safe place. It’s a quick moment, but it speaks in volumes to the relationship Hey Violet has already established with their dedicated fans.

Earlier this week, they announced the studio version of a song they’ve been performing live for a while to be released this Friday, March 10th. The track, “Break My Heart” ignites within the venue, the up-tempo rhythm paired with Rena’s impressive high-range vocals daring even the parents up on the balcony to dance along.

No one wants to come to terms with reality, and the fact that eventually the show has to come to a close. The upsetting truth is hard to ignore as the band kicks into two of their more-known tracks, “Guys My Age” and of course “Fukboi” which since it’s release in 2016 has been causing parents of the band’s younger fans to raise an eyebrow. It’s impossible not to enjoy this song, despite the profanity, due to the relatable nature of the lyrics. I would place bets on every one of the fans singing along that they are all too familiar with the type of boy described, the one who is always tagging #beastmode on his gym selfies. Rena teases this lyric, her arm raised high in the air, showing off her biceps as the oversized hoodie drapes off her frame. Even as they wrap up their show, there are no tell-tale signs that this is the second to last song versus the second of the night. Fans jump in waves and are all too ready to catch Rena as she jumps into the crowd, disappearing for a second before being lifted for what would be her first ever crowd surfing experience. She’d later call it invigorating, gushing about the moment on social media after the show.

The band has one final surprise for the fans: not ending the show just yet, as many would expect after their biggest hit. The end their show with “All We Ever Wanted,” cutting their setlist one song short (due to a city enforced curfew the venue has no choice but to follow). We were only a little disappointed not to hear their rendition of The Chainsmokers and Daya’s hit, “Don’t Let Me Down” which Hey Violet performed while supporting 5 Seconds Of Summer last year. As impressive as their version is, it is hardly necessary for the band to rely on covers to prove just how talented they are.

The crowd chants for an encore just seconds after the band exists the stage and they hardly give up or lose their spirits even as the lights flicker on within the venue.

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The band take to social media just moments after the show to express their love for San Francisco. It’s a notion that is widely returned by the overflowed declarations of love in return for the band. They followed their San Francisco show with a sold out date in Los Angeles — which only attests to how amazing this band is. If they’re not already on your radar, please visit their official website and give them a listen. Be on the lookout for the release of their next single, “Break My Heart” officially out on Friday! 

Check out our photo gallery from the show here! 

 

HEY VIOLET’S SETLIST 

Brand New Moves

My Consequence

Pure

Unholy

ODD

Hoodie

Break My Heart

Chained Rhythm (Katy Perry cover)

Guys My Age

Fukboi

All We Ever Wanted

FOR MORE INFORMATION: 

http://www.heyviolet.com/

https://www.facebook.com/heyvioletofficial

https://www.instagram.com/heyviolet/

 

5SOS bring their latest album to life on Sounds Live, Feels Live

5 Seconds Of Summer begin to wrap up their 100+ show world tour, playing their first of five nights in California. They nearly sell out Mountain View’s very own Shoreline Amphitheatre, taking the stage with opening acts Hey Violet and Roy English. The 20+ song setlist is made special by a first time live performance of their love song, “San Francisco” and the addition of John Feldmann on stage for rock songs about pizza?! 

The word “respect” only begins to properly express just how admirable touring musicians are — but the word “respect” seems to fall short when discussing bands who spend more time on the road than they do staying stationary. 

This statement rings true for 5 Seconds Of Summer. You may have heard of them,  Australian rockers who are best known for their connection to One Direction. Don’t let their world tour roots fool you — the guys in 5 Seconds Of Summer often joke about their big dreams, some day touring with the likes of their favorites; Blink 182, All Time Low, Green Day to name a few. After seeing their palpable energy on stage and the passion they have for their fans and making each and every show a unique one, we have no doubt in our mind that they will make those dreams a reality.

We first checked in with 5 Seconds Of Summer on their 2016 World Tour (which started back mid-February in Japan… fast forward nearly 100 shows later, they’re close to selling out the first of their five California dates) at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View. Fans line up by the hundreds, hours before the doors are set to open. Several fans even organized a project for the band, thousands of purple hearts with instructions are handed out to those in line, but we’ll elaborate on that later. 

To kick off the festivities for the night, the venue’s PA system is booming with those pop punk/rock legends aforementioned: Green Day, Nirvana, Wheatus, Blink 182. Before long, Roy English takes the stage to open the night. If you haven’t heard of Roy before, maybe you heard of his previous act — Eye Alaska who formed in the early 2000s and were signed with Fearless Records up until 2011. Now on his own, Roy has the freedom to perform, produce and expand his instrumentalist creativity. His performance was a testament to just that. Roy was everything you could ask for in an opener — his energy filled the crowded amphitheater and even those who were unfamiliar with him prior to the show, we can assure you his engaging stories behind tracks left you with the catchy hooks in mind even after the night came and went. His closing track, titled “Wasted Youth” left the chorus “In this moment we’re together / You and I will live forgetter / We are invincible tonight / Wasting our youth is a crime” ringing in our ears as the lights dimmed. As the fans wait for the next act, the depth of these lines wash over our thoughts. It is almost impossible not to assume that this song set the bar high, embodying the perfect vibe for the masses in attendance tonight. 

Only moments later, Roy’s instruments are safely pulled from the stage to set up for Hey Violet. This female-fronted band hails from Los Angeles, who formed nearly eight years ago first under the alias “Cherri Bomb.” This is the bands second time supporting 5 Seconds of Summer, they teamed up for their European and North American legs of their 2015 Rock Out With Your Socks Out Tour. Since then, the band has released two EPs and their catalogue for the evening is filled with only the best. Towards the end of their relatively short setlist, the band encourages the crowd to sing along to a song they’re confident we all know. Hey Violet shares their version of pop star Daya’s collab with The Chainsmokers, “Don’t Let Me Down.” This song was a chart-topper and we had our doubts but Hey Violet’s pop punk rendition blew the original right out of the water. Front woman Rena Lovelis hit the high notes in this track without any faltering, leaving the packed venue cheering at a noise level almost louder than what the speakers are providing. The only possible way to follow-up their impressive cover is with the song Hey Violet is most known for, titled “Fuckboi” which gets those in the crowd who were still seated up on their feet, singing and screaming along to the quirky, humorous and somewhat relatable lyrics to their hit song. 

This is the point in which the touring crew that accompanies bands deserves a small shoutout. The men responsible for clearing off one band’s setup to put the finishing touches on the next do this act quickly, tirelessly and without recognition night after night. The stage hands get Hey Violet’s drum kit, keyboard, guitars, etc all tucked away at record speed. The venue hardly has time to finish a remixed version of 5 Seconds of Summer’s very own “Girls Talk Boys” from the 2016 Ghostbusters’ Official Soundtrack before the lights are killed and the long-awaited moment has arrived. The four men dance onto the stage with the lights still dim, performing one of their slower tracks that actually wrapped up the album they are honoring on this tour, Sounds Good Feels Good. The somber ‘Carry On’ is performed and the quiet hum of lead singer, Luke Hemmings’ voice has just enough time to echo through the amphitheater for full affect before the hard-hitting ‘Hey Everybody!’ brings the crowd’s energy straight to a ten. 

The band has a reputation for plenty of shenanigans and seeing them live doesn’t leave you disappointed. Between nearly every song, there is a playful banter buzzing between bandmates. The boys joke with one another, asking if they ‘feel good’ and repeating puns about ‘sounding good.’ The members address their screaming fans with what can only be chalked up as adoration. Guitarist/singer, Michael Clifford screams into the microphone as he speaks, seeming to understand the hyped up energy of their fans and feeding from it. The members tell the fans it is their duty to have the best night of the lives, to scream along, sing along, dance along and make this show the best yet. 

5 Seconds of Summer seemed to master the staggered energy of songs. They perform their tracks, sneaking in fan favorites, taking careful thought at where to place their slower tracks. After two high energy songs off their latest release, the screens behind them display neon lights as though you’re speeding through traffic as Luke Hemmings, now sans guitar, dances around from one side of the stage to the other to engage as many fans as possible.they perform one of their earlier hits, a slow song titled “Amnesia.” Just when you think you have a second to catch your breath, the band performs another newer, high-tempo song titled “Castaway.”  This song comes complete with an extended live version and a dueling guitar session between Clifford and Hemmings, proving they have what it takes to be considered a rock band. Everyone is at their peak when the lights go out. A single, blue spotlight illuminates the left side of the stage. Fans already know what’s about to happen. Innocent bystanders who do not know the history of the band are just waiting for the next note, but it doesn’t come. The crowd begins to chant: “Michael, Michael.” On stage, Michael Clifford can be seen standing alone behind his microphone. He is basking in the cheers, the fans chanting his name. You can see him smiling as he tugs out first one in-ear, then the second. The cheers never cease or get softer, if anything, they grow. The crowd begins to bang on the amphitheater’s plastic seats, almost mimicking the sound of a train coming towards you. Finally, the opening notes to “Jet Black Heart,” an emotional anthem are strummed, but only for Michael Clifford to choke on the words. He attempts to start the song a second time — the screens zoom in on his face to show the tears shed and through a few failed attempts and a shaky voice, Clifford manages to begin the song as his band joins him back on stage. 

The show only stays grim for a second. You remember those purple hearts we talked about? The fans see their moment and take it between songs — illuminating the purple hearts and singing in such fashion that the band comments on it. Bassist, Calum Hood expresses his need to snap a picture to remember as he assures the fans it is as special of a moment for them as it is for those holding up the hearts. To prove it, the band tease with a line about a particular food they enjoy. These guys are notorious for a short song they perform live when the feelings right, titled “Pizza.” Drummer, Ashton Irwin leaves behind his kit as John Feldmann (singer/guitarist of Goldfinger, songwriter and producer) takes the stage complete in a suit. The band continues to tease how the crowd has to ‘earn it’ as fans bang on their chairs again and the guys on stage combust as they seem to turn into a screamo band with how they are screaming into the microphones and jumping around stage. 

Only one song later, there is an announcement about how it is time for the inevitable. Michael Clifford tells the booing crowd, ‘I know, I know. If it were up to us…’ before explaining that this is just the way it has to be. They perform a cover of The Romantics’ “What I Like About You” before exiting the stage. We all know an encore is coming — the band hasn’t even played their two biggest tracks yet — but what Mountain View didn’t know was the treat in store. 5 Seconds of Summer return to the stage, this time seated on an instrument crate. The lights stay dimmed and the band inform the crowd about how this next song has never before been played live. With Mountain View being as close as it gets — they perform their song titled, “San Francisco,” a slow love ballad off of their 2015 album. The moment is a beautiful one, later released in an official live acoustic video by the band. The song showcases all four members’ vocal abilities and shows us a side of the band, far more raw and emotional than the boys hiding behind their instruments and making puns and inappropriate jokes. 

Only two songs remain, drummer Ashton Irwin is alone on stage, egging on the screaming fans. He can be seen mouthing ‘I can’t hear you’ as he encourages the screams to get louder, both arms up in the air to elevate the noise level before being joined by his band to perform their most known hit singles, “She’s Kinda Hot” and “She Looks So Perfect” before the night comes to an end. Their instruments are ditched one last time as an EDM hit blares through the speakers, the band encouraging their fans to jump one last time as they kick off this three minute dance party, throwing out various towels, drumsticks and t-shirts into the crowd. 

For anyone who has fond memories of seeing the greats, such as Green Day and Blink 182 in their earlier days, we imaging seeing 5 Seconds Of Summer to be a lot like that. Sure, these guys sold out Madison Square Garden in New York on this tour — so hinting that they’re in their ‘early days’ may sound a bit absurd, but we are confident that 5 Seconds Of Summer will continue to make themselves known within the music industry. Their 20+ song setlist did not come with a single dull moment. There is no denying their ability to put on a rock show and their sheer talent. These guys sounded just as good as their recorded selves, a feat sometimes taken for granted when autotune became popular. 

If given the opportunity to catch these guys perform, take it. Don’t let us sit here and tell you that 5 Seconds Of Summer are so much more than the ‘boyband’ reputation they’re quickly breaking away from. Let them prove it. You won’t regret it.