Imagine if birthday parties could be as fun as when you were a kid. In Philadelphia, Radio 104.5, the #1 Alternative music station throws two parties for their birthday. Radio 104.5 always provides a top-notch line up, and this year’s first day did not disappoint. They basically brought the radio station to life, as all of today’s music artists took the stage.
Opening the party was Saint Slumber, an indie-pop band from Philadelphia. The band is incredibly tight with an ethereal sound. Touring behind their self-produced EP entitled “YOUTH//1“, the band is consistently releasing track after track, with each better than the last. The setlist included their new single “I THINK I LIKE YOU“.
Touring behind their latest release of the same name, The Neighbourhood took the stage with an air of confidence. Lead singer Jesse Rutherford worked the entire stage, including the “reserved” catwalk stage as he announced he was going to vogue on the catwalk striking various poses as he mocked the headliner’s restriction.
After a short stage change, and indie-pop band, Misterwives out of NYC brought the energy. A human firecracker named Mandy Lee somehow managed to maintain pitch while performing acrobatic kicks across the stage. The set included their latest radio single “Machine” which is currently available on iTunes.
CHVRCHES, a synth-pop band from Glasgow, Scotland entered the stage. The band just released their third album, Love Is Dead, in May 2018. The set was a mix of emotional lyrics behind great synth hooks which really connected with the audience. The band was very tight in their production, and lead singer Lauren Mayberry captivated the audience with a theatrical stage production.
The show was only five hours in as Walk The Moon walked out waving to the crowd. WTM just recently sold out The Fillmore this past January, and once again provided an incredible set to please their rabid Philly fans. Lead singer Nicholas Petricca was full of energy dancing and jumping on monitors at key points of the performance. I would’ve loved for him to take to the catwalk, but I guess the word was out to the other bands after Rutherford’s rebellious act. The band put on a great show including their smash single “Shut Up and Dance“.
Behind one of the most eclectic stage layouts of the day, Portugal. The Man began their set with a foggy, dark opening. The band were silhouettes against projected images that flashed from the front of the stage to a large screen in the back and against anything in between. Many times, John Gourley, would walk to the other band members casting the perfect silhouette of him on the big screen. They opened with two interesting covers of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (Metallica cover), and “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” (Pink Floyd). Once that was out of their system, they moved on to Purple Yellow Red and Blue, Atomic Man (Gimme Shelter snippet), Hip Hop Kids, Holy Roller (Hallelujah), Modern Jesus, Live in the Moment, Feel It Still, Sleep Forever (snippets of Plastic Soldiers and Hey Jude).
The house lights went down and a huge illuminated panel which ran the length of the stage could be seen on the stage, Thirty Seconds to Mars was ready for lift off. The panel slowly raised, pausing at times for audience members to get a brief glimpse of a person moving back and forth across the stage. The stage was emptied except for the electronic rectangle which acted as an LED screen, and lighting units. The “panels” were strategically moved throughout the performance to accentuate Jared’s movements on stage. As the main panel fully rose, the sole figure took the stage as various lighting set ups switched to give many different versions of the same person. Dark and moody, shadowy, fully lit, etc. As the music built up, you could not see Jared Leto standing like a boxer ready to enter the ring. As the beat dropped, Jared went into savage mode and ran out to the catwalk at full speed. Singing and running was the main theme of the set as drummer Shannon Leto provided the soundtrack for Jared’s performance. The crowd roared every time Jared would approach a section of the audience. Jared gave me the impression that he really likes connecting with his fans, as he got as close as he could, even inviting fans on stage to join him. During one song, he released dozens of rubber balloons which the crowd thoroughly enjoyed bouncing for many songs afterwards. The next “Birthday” party is in a few weeks, and I cannot wait to see Radio 104.5’s “presents”.
Article and Photos by Bob Linneman