Every now and again, there comes a band that you just want to root for. Last year, I woke up really early in the morning and MTV was on showing videos. I immediately thought I was either in a weird time continuum or a dream because MTV was actually showing music. This was my first encounter with a two piece band from Columbus, Ohio, Twenty One Pilots and their breakout song, “Holding On To You”. I’ll admit, it peaked my interest and was then able to bear witness to their energetic live show at Lollapalooza 2014 where it rained making for an insane atmosphere (and a soggy piece of Chicago style pizza). Naturally, you have to figure that I would jump at the chance of photographing them. Enter their 2nd of two sold out shows at the Tower Theater.
The band had considerably upped their game regarding their headlining Quiet Is Violet tour. Narrated by their British tour companion (which was rather hilarious), Nigel, the concert kicked off with “Guns For Hands”. The lights were low, brooding and singer/pianist Tyler Joseph with drummer Josh Dun were decked out in their trademark ski masks. I know what you are thinking – a ski mask, MJ? It’s actually a show of solidarity between the band and the fans. See, I’m a huge fan of music that grows organically and seeing Twenty One Pilots go from one of the openers at a Radio 104.5 show to selling out a venue twice on consecutive nights was an awesome feeling.
One thing I noticed is that with everybody who attended the show, most people had a piece of merchandise whether it’d be the ski mask or a t-shirt. It’s great when a band makes a connection like that (and great choices) to where the fans want to show the public their support. I STILL want the skull hoodie. “crosses fingers”.
There was a part in the middle of the show where the bands did covers ranging from DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” to Beyonce’s “Drunk In Love” which was fun to see. Most of the night was geared from material from the group’s debut album Vessel. During “Screen”, the crowd sang in unison with Joseph echoing the words, “we’re broken people” off the walls of the Tower Theater in another bond between band and fan. Josh Dun did his trademark flip off of the piano during “Holding On To You”. Even down to the drum battle between Dun and Joseph at the end of the night – while I was familiar with the structure from past shows, it did not give me that stale feeling.
I was waiting this show for the whole summer and I’m really glad I went. Every time, I have seen Twenty One Pilots perform, they leave it all out on the stage – I can’t say that about every show I’ve been to. Some bands are afraid to get their hands dirty in this facade of a rock star image. I’m tipping my cap to the men of Twenty One Pilots and wondering why the hell haven’t you bought a ticket yet?