Blue October is amazing! There aren’t too many bands out there that can have you in tears one minute, and then have you feel like you should be in a mosh pit the next. Blue October can do that to you!
Blue October has quickly become one of my favorite bands. Their studio stuff is fantastic, but where they really shine is during their live performances. In fact, I gave them the coveted number one spot in my ranking of the best concerts of 2018!
Needless to say, Blue October is now on my list of “bands I must see as many times as possible”. When they announced a Philly date, going to the show was a no-brainer. And, when they announced a Wilkes-Barre date…. well, it’s only a couple hour drive away!
Have I convinced you yet that you need to check out this band? If not, keep reading. You’ll be a Blue October fan by the end of this post!
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This was our second show of the week at Union Transfer! You can read more about the venue here:
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Originally from Dayton, OH, MONA is currently based out of Nashville, TN. Made up of members Nick Brown (vocals/keys/guitar), Jordan Young (guitar), and Justin Wilson (drums), the band considers themselves alternative rock. They name their musical influences as everything from Elvis to The Clash to The Pixies.
In 2009, Brown was introduced to Saul Galpern, who created Nude Records. Galpern was impressed and agreed to manage the band. That led to a record deal with Island Records and Mercury Records in 2010.
Their debut album – MONA – was released in May of 2011 in the UK. The album was released in the U.S. in February of 2012. Their second album – Torches & Pitchforks – was released in July of 2013, and was followed by a North America tour.
Over the next couple of years, MONA went through some changes with its band members. They released a new EP – In The Middle – in 2016. Their third and most recent album – Soldier On – came out in 2018. Following the release of the album, they hit the road in Europe as openers for Kings of Leon.
MONA took the stage at 8:15 p.m. – 15 minutes earlier than the advertised starting time. Only Brown (on keyboards) and Wilson (drums) took the stage, but the two of them were enough to put on a great show.
In fact, the real star of the show in my mind was Wilson. He reminds me of a young Dave Grohl. He’s very impressive on the drums.
MONA played for about 30 minutes, and their set included “Ain’t It Sick”.
To wrap up the set, Wilson left the stage and Brown sang “Love Divine” with just the keyboard as an accompaniment.
MONA has been on the road with Blue October, supporting them on their King tour. You can keep up with them on their website.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
The story of Blue October – where they started, where they’ve been, and where they are today – is part of what makes them special. You can read more about the band in the blog post I wrote about their show in Wilmington, DE last year.
Blue October toured Europe earlier this year, and they are back out on the road in North America supporting their latest album – I Hope Your Happy. Justin also mentioned during the show that they are already working on new music for their next album!
I knew this was going to be a good show when it kicked off with one of my personal favorites – “Sway”. After the slow and easy start, Blue October shifted right into high gear with “I Want It’. The crowd was fist pumping and jumping right away.
Some of the best moments of a Blue October show, are when Justin shares stories about his life and the songs. Justin has struggled with depression and anxiety, and he isn’t afraid to talk about it. In fact, throughout the show, his message is about how lucky he is that he was given a second chance – by his family, his band and the fans.
While introducing “Home”, Justin talked about how he was home a few weeks ago and sleeping next to his “smoking hot wife”. After looking over at her, he said he was feeling brave in his Target Superman underwear, and decided to “make a move”. Just as she was responding, their two small children ran into the room.
After his initial disappointment, he told the kids to let their Mom sleep in, got up, and made them breakfast. As he was sitting there, his little boy said “Daddy, I love you”. Justin said that it was yet another moment in his life that made him thankful for a second chance and appreciative of everything he has.
As for the show itself, Blue October is just an amazing live band. The set builds and builds, until it hits a crescendo at the end of the main set with songs like “Daylight” and “Leave It In the Dressing Room (Shake It Up)”.
After finishing up the main set, only Justin returned to the stage for the encore with just his guitar. His powerful voice carries throughout the room. It was a treat to hear him play “18th Floor Balcony” and “Hate Me” solo. My only complaint – the obnoxious guy that kept yelling out “Hate Me” (yes dude, he’s totally going to play it so stop yelling it) and the obnoxious lady that kept yelling out Justin’s name.
The show wrapped up with “Your Love Is Like A Car Crash”, “Fear” and “I Hope Your Happy”.
After the show, I tried to express to my husband why I love this band live so much. He surmised that my love for Blue October is due to the fact that he hears a lot of influence of The Cure in their music.
While that may be part of the reason I love their music, the reason I love them live is simple. Passion! Blue October has more passion than any band I know. Passion is not about running and jumping around on stage. It’s about putting every ounce of your being into every note and every word you sing. That’s what this band does.
Towards the end of the show, Blue October played “Fear”. When introducing the song, Justin talked again about getting a second chance in life and how he got rid of the negative people in his life. He dedicated the song to the fans. I honestly had goosebumps. Justin sang every word of that song with so much passion and emotion. He was really signing it to every person in the audience.
I’m writing this right before we get in the car to drive 2 hours in stormy weather to Wilkes-Barre to see Blue October again tonight. Is it worth it? Absolutely!
Set List (click on any link to purchase the song directly on Amazon): Sway, I Want It, Amnesia, Jump Rope, King, Into The Ocean, Home, All That We Are, Debris, Daylight, Coal Makes Diamonds, Leave It In The Dressing Room (Shake It Up), Things We Do At Night Encore 1: Further Dive, 18th Floor Balcony, Hate Me Encore 2: Your Love Is Like A Car Crash, Fear, I Hope Your Happy
Are you a Blue October fan? What influence has their music had on you? I’d love to hear your stories. Please comment below or e-mail me at email@example.com.
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