April 06 - Firebird St. Louis, MO*
April 08 - Barracuda Austin, TX*
April 09 - 89th St. Collective Oklahoma City, OK*
April 12 - Troubadour Los Angeles, CA*
May 06 - The Beauty Bar Las Vegas, NV
May 07 - Club Sound Salt Lake City, UT
May 08 - Marquis Theatre Denver, CO
May 10 - The Rebel Lounge Phoenix, AZ
May 12 - Constellation Room Santa Ana, CA
May 13 - Quartyard San Diego, CA
May 14 - The Boardwalk Sacramento, CA
May 16 - Hawthorne Theatre Portland, OR
May 17 - Chop Suey Seattle, WA
May 19 - Bottom Of The Hill San Francisco, CA
* FARRO supporting
The soundtrack for my senior year of high school was The Rocket Summer's Hello, Good Friend and Calendar Days. Each song on both of those albums fit what was going on in my life perfectly. The songs still fit my life but for some reason, The Rocket Summer just isn't one of those bands that I continued to follow. What a shame because last night, Bryce Avary (mastermind behind The Rocket Summer) absolutely blew me away.
The Rocket Summer is a one-man band. Bryce Avary does everything when it comes to recording. When he goes on tour, he brings a guitarist and drummer but still seems to do majority of the work. It was amazing to watch him move effortlessly between guitar, bass, piano, vocals, drums, hell, he even beatboxed at one point. I'm sure I have seen him live before but for some reason it didn't stick with me. Last night will definitely stick with me.
Bryce admitted to the crowd that he had woken up with a scratchy throat and could really use the crowd's help when it came to singing the songs but I don't think he even needed to ask. The crowd was shouting every single word back into Bryce's face. There were certain songs where even I found myself singing along even though I hadn't listened to them in years. Even with being sick, Bryce's voice is powerful and inspirational. His lyrics are so uplifting that even during the slower, sappy songs, you can't help but let that smile creep across your face. The crowd was in the mood to dance and never slowed down during the said slow songs. I think the crowd serenaded Bryce more than Bryce serenaded the crowd.
Bryce was all over the place. Not only was he jumping from instrument to instrument but he was also all over the stage and, at times, even down in the crowd. His tech guy followed him into the crowd at one point with a microphone stand and a riser (okay, Bryce is pretty short), and Bryce stood there and performed a whole song with the crowd engulfing him. If this was him feeling “under the weather” then I don’t know that I would be able to handle him at his optimum health. I was tired just watching this kid jumping all over the place.
The best part of last night is when Bryce showed the crowd exactly how he does what he does. He started on the keyboard and played a couple of chords and then rushed to the drum set and play a little ditty. At first, I didn't quite get what was going on but as he moved from instrument to instrument, I realized that each part that he was playing was looping. It ended up being a beautiful song and all of the parts had been played by Bryce. I think it was so cool to see the process and how it all works.
With all the energy and all the bouncing from instrument to instrument and from crowd to stage, one thing never faltered. Bryce's voice is distinctive and absolutely beautiful. It fun and welcoming. It's one of those voice where the second you hear it, you feel comfortable with wherever you are and whoever you're with. That's the magic of his music.
Bryce's new stuff is a lot different than what I knew of The Rocket Summer. I was used to an acoustic, indie-folk feeling from him but his new release Zoetic seems to be much more powerful. He played multiple songs off of this album and it helped keep the energy up. His vocal talent really seems to shine in these new songs but the focus on the piano is lost which, for me as a pianist, is a bit of a bummer. That being said, I found myself enjoying the newer songs even though they seemed to be on a whole different level.
The Rocket Summer at Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis (03 April 2016)