ast Tuesday, attendees at The National who braved road closures and a complete lack of parking on Broad Street from the UCI Road Race were rewarded with intimate alternative rock performances from Atlas Genius, Dreamers, and Mainland.
Formed in New York, LA transplants Mainland brought their take on light, upbeat pop songwriting, tinted a shade darker by wistful, reflective lyrics to the National stage. The four-piece band is currently riding a wave of success following the release of two EPs, Girls Unknown (2013) and Shiner (2014) and a string of tour dates with acts like Catfish and the Bottlemen, Colourist, and Strange Talk. Their latest single, Outcast, is a kind of LA anthem, conjuring images of excitement, shattered Hollywood dreams, and late night drives illuminated by city street lights. Although unfamiliar with many of the songs, the audience was highly receptive to Mainland and bobbed along to the closing numbers.
Mainland was followed by Dreamers, a Brooklyn based trio who previously delivered an energetic performance at The Canal Club this past March with Born Cages and The Kickback. The stripped paint on lead singer Nick Wold’s Fender Mustang has gotten more pronounced since then, following a run of tour dates with Stone Temple Pilots in April and two festival shows over the summer. Dreamers’ set was just as dynamic this time round and included a mix of well-known songs like “Waste My Night” with new material off their forthcoming sophomore album.
After Dreamers finished their set and handed out guitar picks and set lists to members of the crowd, the stage was cleared in a frenzy of activity as drums, amps, and keyboards were moved into position against the backdrop of a floor to ceiling banner bearing the Atlas Genius logo. More members of the audience filed in to fill the floor as the lights cut to a dark shade of blue over the smoke filled stage. The members of Atlas Genius were greeted with cheers as they walked onto the stage and promptly launched into their set, ahead of schedule.
Formed in Australia and anchored by brothers Keith (lead vocals, guitar) and Michael Jeffrey (drums), Atlas Genius are known for their airy vocal hooks and synth heavy productions. Frequently compared to bands like Phoenix and The Killers, Atlas Genius continue the tradition of the tried and true 80’s synth pop sound. “Inanimate Objects," their second album released at the end of last month, has been met with some mixed reviews online but translates into a strong live performance. The new songs on Inanimate Objects are a more polished and thought through than on their debut album, “When It Was Now,” and seem to have been written with the live show in mind.
While proven hits like “Trojans” and “Back Seat” were well received by the audience, the upbeat chorus of the new single “Molecules” and the driving, Royal Blood-esque outro to “Stockholm” went over equally as well.
The first night of the tour didn’t bear any of the usual problems that most bands seem to come up against and I only foresee the shows improving from here.
Atlas Genius, Dreamers, and Mainland head to The Norva tonight before continuing to New York and Canada.
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