On Friday night, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was bustling with activity as the WBRU April Fools’ Bash took place. The excitement was palpable among the over five thousand attendees of the event who waited to see the stellar lineup of Bear Hands, Foals, Silversun Pickups, and headliners Cage the Elephant.
Prior to the concert winners of the BRU Eat and Greet food contest were lucky enough to sit, eat, talk to band members about anything and everything, and score free tickets to the concert.
Meanwhile, the crowd began to form in the stands, a noticeable increase in animation even from those faithful fans who ended up with seats in the nosebleed section. As concertgoers filed in, many stopped to interact with the WBRU Promo booth, spinning the prize wheel and collecting BRU swag and news along the way.
The venue was set for Bear Hands to take the stage, which they did with confidence promptly at 7 PM. (Maybe the most expedient start to a concert ever?) The younger crowd jammed along to the post-punk, indie-rock music, bobbing heads and whooping in appreciation as lead singer Dylan Rau announced and played a song entitled “Magic Man” from their new album set to be released on April 15. The casual vibe of the concert continued throughout with easy, funny conversations between band members on stage. Ending with their hit “Giants”, Bear Hands generated a great response from the crowd and fulfilled any expectations fans of the band could ever have hoped for. Shoutout to drummer TJ Orscher whose aim was almost good enough to score a longtime fan one of his drumsticks — maybe next time…
Next up were Foals from the UK. With an intro that had audience members screaming with excitement and intrigue — and awed by the mysterious appearance of the backdrop — the crowd instantly became rowdier. High energy, great riffs, and seamless transitions distinguished this alt-rock group of Brits as a force to be reckoned with. Paying homage to our fair city, in which it was their first time, they played hit “Providence” to a grateful crowd who rocked out to the intense, wild rhythms. From then on the rest of their set was characterized by that good kind of chaos that unites a crowd in their NOT CHEESY love of rock music. Maybe there was a little bit of swaying and definitely more than a few phone flashlights swaying in the crowd, but overall the movable, palpable energy prevailed (as evidenced in the band picture taped to the bass drum which pulsed with the rhythm of each and every song).
Third in line were Silversun Pickups, an alt-rock group often compared to the Smashing Pumpkins in their sound. However, this group was so uniquely individual that it’s hard to imagine them being anything other than totally themselves. Lead singer Brian Aubert’s performance was something to be rivaled with over-the-top faces and gestures that drew the audience into the excitement he was clearly feeling. The band’s classic rock sounds had a harder edge which drummer Chris Guanlao clearly felt deeply, long dark hair obscuring his face in the fury of his head-banging. Hits “Lazy Eye,” “Nightlight,” and “Circadian Rhythm” (featuring bassist and mother of two Nikki Monninger) really connected with the crowd, bringing a furious energy that, admittedly, led to a few fights in the concertgoers with floor tickets. What’s good music without a little passion? Main takeaway: Nikki Monninger is the coolest mom alive (sorry, Mom…).
Finally, FINALLY came time for Cage the Elephant. By this time crowds were reeling with desire, screaming “Cage” as crewmembers set up the stage with a ~classy~ blue velvet backdrop. When the band took the stage, guitarist Brad Schultz in a black and white polka dot shirt, guitarist Nick Bockrath in a 70’s modern art inspired button-down, and lead singer Matthew Schultz in a black velour track suit jacket with flames the crowd was already too far gone in their excitement even to notice. The intense and absolutely wild energy of their performance was everything fans of the band could ever dream of and more. Any song you would have expected them to play, they played, and every wild thing you expected Matthew Schultz do, he did (i.e. removing his shirt, jumping maniacally around the stage, crowd surfing/singing). By the encore, all the members of each of the other bands were onstage, celebrating the end of their tour as a group and relishing in the success of a night well-spent.
The most important announcement of the night came in the form of the lineup for the 2016 WBRU Summer Concert Series. With this summer’s lineup and our album of the night below, at least there’s a super bright light at the end of the tunnel in terms of alleviating some of this post-concert depression.
Photos courtesy of Kate Talerico.