Imagine Dragons was the headliner for Day 2 of the “11th Birthday Shows” that Philadelphia’s local alternative rock radio station – Radion 104.5 – put on this year. I love these shows, because for a pretty reasonably priced ticket (I paid $75 plus fees for a seated ticket), you get a FULL day of music.
On this particular Saturday, it was hot! I was thankful for a seat inside and under the roof, which at least kept us out of the sun. Despite the heat, we had a great time and were able to check out some of our favorite bands, as well as see a few artists for the first time.
Because there were so many bands, I’ll keep my description of each set brief. If you have the chance to see any of these bands on the road, check them out!
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THE GLORIOUS SONS
ABOUT THE ARTIST
The Glorious Sons formed in 2011 and are based out of Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The band is made up of Brett Emmons (vocals), Jay Emmons (guitar), Chris Koster (guitar), Adam Paquette (drums) and Chis Huot (bass).
They released their first EP – Shapeless Art – in 2011. In 2014, they released their first full-length album – The Union. This past October, they released their second album – Young Beauties & Fools. While they’ve had some decent success in Canada, they have struggled to gain a big following in the U.S.
The only negative thing I have to say about The Glorious Sons, is that they had them play on the side stage rather than the main stage. They were also the very first band on. Because of the long lines to get in the venue (Stop bringing huge backpacks to shows people – they slow down the line!), a lot of people weren’t even inside when the band took the stage at 1:30 p.m.
Luckily, we made it inside, and because it wasn’t busy, we were able to walk up and grab a spot just one row back from the rail. The Glorious Sons are a great rock band. They put their heart in every song. In fact, sometimes Brett Emmons looks like he’s going to trip over a water bottle or mic stand, because he’s running around the stage with no fear.
My other complaint is that their set was too short. We only got a few songs, but I was happy to get “Sawed Off Shotgun”, which is one of my personal favorites.
The Glorious Sons have been playing all over Canada, and they are set to hit Europe in August. They will be back in the U.S. this fall. Be sure to check out their website at www.theglorioussons.com to see if they will be coming to a city near you.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Missio was founded in 2016 by vocalist and songwriter Matthew Brue. After completing some demos, Brue asked his friend David Butler to collaborate with him on his first EP. Brue found success online, and made his first official appearance under the name “MISSIO” at the SXSW festival in 2016.
Butler officially joined Brue in MISSIO in July of 2016. In 2017, they signed with RCA Records and released their debut album – Loner.
There were a lot of little kids at the show, presumably most of whom were there for Imagine Dragons. I mentioned to my husband, that it would be interesting to see how MISSIO handled the crowd. If you are familiar with their music, some of it is pretty heavy and profanity laced.
Well, the question was answered when MISSIO opened with “Temple Priest”. They clearly weren’t going to do a “family friendly” set.
While I really enjoyed their set, and even gave the young girls behind me a good laugh when they saw this “40 something” lady jamming out to songs like “Everybody Gets High” and “KDV”, I think MISSIO struggled to connect with the bigger crowd. I know there were members of the fan club – the MISSIO Mafia – in the pit and up front for their set, but the people back in the seats where I was hanging out didn’t seem to understand MISSIO.
After Matthew Brue spoke about his struggles with alcohol, drugs, and depression, MISSIO played “Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea”, which I think is a beautiful song. It’s also a song that appeals more broadly to people, so I hope it gave some people in the audience a reason to check MISSIO out.
MISSIO toured heavily earlier this year, and is currently taking a bit of a break from the road. You can stay up to date on what they have coming next on their social media and their website – www.missiomusic.com.
Set List (click on any link to download the song directly from Amazon): Temple Priest, Twisted, Everybody Gets High, KDV, I Don’t Even Care About You, Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea, I Don’t Give A…, Middle Fingers
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Sir Sly is based out of Los Angeles and is made up of Landon Jacobs, Jason Suwito and Hayden Coplen.
They released their first EP – Gold – in 2013. Their debut album – You Haunt Me – was released in 2016. In 2017, they released their second album – Don’t You Worry, Honey. Several of Sir Sly’s songs have gained popularity by being featured in video games, commercials, or television shows. That includes their single “High”, which has been their most commercially popular song to date.
Full disclosure – Sir Sly is probably the band on the bill that I was least excited about seeing. Their songs “High” and “&Run” are catchy, but not my favorite songs musically. So, it came as no surprise when I wasn’t that excited by Sir Sly’s set. It might have been that the heat was starting to get to me at that point in the day, but after the first song I was ready to move on to the next band.
Sir Sly had a lot of energy and the crowd really loved them. They had a lot of people up out of their seats and dancing during “High” and “&Run”. I’m just not sure that their catalog of music is enough to keep people entertained during a full set show.
Sir Sly is playing several festivals this summer and fall, including Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Music Festival. You can find out where they will be this summer on their website at www.sir-sly.com.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
AJR is based out of NYC, and is made up of the Met brothers – Adam, Jack and Ryan. They first started performing together in 2005, when they would busk in Central Park and Washington Square Park.
In 2013, Ryan tweeted a link to a video of their song “I’m Ready” to a bunch of celebrities. Australian singer Sia Furler watched the video and told her manager about the song, which led to their first big break.
AJR released their first EP – 6foot1 – in 2013. It was followed by their second EP in 2014 – Infinity. AJR released their first full-length album in 2015 called Living Room. Their second album – The Click – was released in 2017, and contains their hit single “Sober Up”, which was co-written by Rivers Cuomo from Weezer, who also appears on the track.
AJR is one of the bands I was most excited to see. We had seen them earlier in the year, but Jack had hurt himself prior to the show and was on crutches. That resulted in them doing a limited acoustic set. So, I was excited to see them with all three guys healthy and doing a full (but short) set.
AJR did not disappoint. First of all, the three guys are absolutely adorable. Their personalities are really fun, and they are up on stage having a blast. Second, their songs are fun! They are catchy and entertaining, which is what you want when playing a setting like this. Third, they are really talented musically. I particularly enjoyed the part in the set where they taught us how they come up with a remix.
The guys did not stop moving during the short 20-minute set, and we got our money’s worth of entertainment from them. I’m definitely going to think about seeing them when they come back around in the fall for a headlining tour.
AJR is playing a few festivals this summer before hitting the UK in August for a couple of shows. They’ll be back in the U.S. this fall for The Click Tour (Part 2). Check out all of their upcoming tour dates on their website at www.ajrbrothers.com.
Set List (click on any link to download the song directly on Amazon): Come Hang Out, Three-Thirty, Lollipop Remix, Sober Up, Burn the House Down, Drama, Someday (The Strokes cover), No Grass Today, Weak
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Mike Shinoda is best known for being the co-founder of Linkin Park in 1996. After the passing of lead singer Chester Bennington in July of 2017, Linkin Park has been on hiatus.
Shinoda released an EP – Post Traumatic – in January of this year. The three song EP is about Shinoda’s feelings after Bennington’s death. He followed up the EP with a full-length album of the same name, that was released a few weeks ago.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Shinoda’s set. Because I was most familiar with him being a part of Linkin Park, I wasn’t sure how he would come across as a solo artist. Shinoda took the stage by himself – which is always a risk. There were no backing musicians. Just Shinoda and his equipment.
Shinoda played a few Fort Minor and Linkin Park songs, but most of the set was his solo work. If there was any doubt whether Shinoda could pull off a solo show, that was quickly erased. He immediately had the crowd involved. Even though I wasn’t familiar with the music, I found myself caught up in it as well.
Definitely the most touching moment of the entire day, was when Shinoda played Linkin Park’s “In the End”. He asked the crowd to sing Chester Bennington’s part for him, and the crowd complied. There were a lot of fans in tears during the song.
You can find more information on Mike Shinoda, including his music and artwork, on his website at www.mikeshinoda.com.
Set List (click on any link to download the song directly on Amazon): Welcome (Fort Minor cover), Watching As I Fall, Castle of Glass (Linkin Park cover), Ghosts, Waiting For the End/Where’d You Go, Crossing A Line, In the End (Linkin Park cover), About You, Over Again/Papercut, Make It Up As I Go, Remember the Name (Fort Minor cover), Running From My Shadow
JUDAH & THE LION
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Judah & the Lion was formed in 2011 out of Nashville, TN. The band members are Judah Akers (vocals, guitar), Brian MacDonald (mandolin, vocals) and Nate Zuercher (banjo, vocals).
They released their first EP – First Fruits – in 2012. This was followed by a second EP a year later called Sweet Tennessee. Their first full-length studio album – Kids These Days – was released in 2014. It was with their second album – Folk Hop N’ Roll – in 2016, that they started gaining commercial success. Their song “Take It All Back” was huge on the radio at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. They also had success with their second single from the album “Suit and Jacket”.
Judah & the Lion won the crowd over immediately when Akers took the stage with a Carson Wentz jersey on from the Eagles. They continued to wow the crowd with their high energy set. Their set was short due to the limited time, but they managed to get the crowd favorites in, which included their cover of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”.
They wrapped up their short set with a great version of “Take It All Back”, which I only got a portion of video on.
Judah & the Lion toured extensively the last couple of years in support of Folk Hop n’ Roll. They have slowed down this summer, but are making appearances at a few festivals. You can find out more information on their website at www.judahandthelion.com.
Set List (click on any link to download the song directly on Amazon): Booty Wurk (T-Pain cover), Conversations, Reputation, Mr. Brightside (The Killers cover), Suit and Jacket, Going to Mars, Rich Kids, Take It All Back
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Imagine Dragons was formed in Las Vegas. The band is made up of Dan Reynolds (lead vocals), Wayne Sermon (lead guitar), Ben McKee (bass guitar), and Daniel Platzman (drummer).
The band got their big break when Train’s lead singer got sick right before they were due to go on stage for the Bite of Las Vegas festival in 2009. Imagine Dragons were called up to fill in, and they ended up performing in front of a crowd of 26,000.
Imagine Dragons released their first two EP’s – Imagine Dragons and Hell and Silence – in 2010. Their debut full length album – Night Visions – was released in 2012. The second single off the album – “Radioactive” – was a huge hit and brought Imagine Dragons national and international recognition.
After being on the road in support of Night Visions, the band took a bit of a break before releasing their second studio album – Smoke + Mirrors – in 2015. Their third studio album – Evolve – was released in May of 2017.
Even though I’m not a huge Imagine Dragons fan, I was excited to see them. I like several of their songs, and had heard that they put on a great show.
They started out the set strong with hits like “Radioactive”, “It’s Time” and “Whatever It Takes”. From there, I found that the set stalled. To be fair, I’m not familiar with their music outside of their radio hits. However, with other bands, they still manage keep my interest with songs I’m not familiar with. Imagine Dragons struggled to do that for me.
The band is talented and entertaining. Dan Reynolds sounds great, and he sends a great message to fans throughout the show about things like equality. He also had a very touching speech when he introduced “Demons”. He talked about how so many people struggle with mental illness, and that people should never be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.
If the middle of the show was a bit slow, Imagine Dragons fixed that with the end of the show. There was no encore, but they wrapped up their set with hits “Thunder”, “On Top of the World” and “Believer”.
Imagine Dragons is on the road all summer across the U.S. They will be heading to Europe for a few dates in August as well. Check out their website to find out where they will be at www.imaginedragons.com.
Set List (click on any link to download the song directly on Amazon): Radioactive, It’s Time, Whatever It Takes, Yesterday, Walking the Wire, Next to Me, Shots, I’ll Make It Up To You, Start Over, Rise Up, Gold, I Don’t Know Why, Mouth of the River, Born To Be Yours, Demons, Thunder, On Top of the World, Believer
Which of these bands are you a fan of? Have you ever seen any of them in concert? Let us know what you think by commenting below or e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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