Against the Current @ Middle East

Against the Current
+ CRUISRBeach Weather
November 17th, 2016 at the Middle East

By: Ingrid Angulo


The Middle East was full of dancing and die-hard fans, not only for the headliner, Against the Current, but also the two openers, Beach Weather and Cruisr. The small underground venue seemed to come to life with the amount of love the fans had for the energetic pop rock bands, and the night was full of firsts and youthful excitement among all the performers.

The first opener, locally-based Beach Weather, seemed to take advantage of the intimacy of the small venue. The sound check almost turned into its own performance, as the members all stood around making jokes with each other and playing some tunes that the crowd hummed along to. Their matching long haircuts helped them create that pseudo-west coast vibe to correspond with the beachy indie-pop tunes they filled their short set with. The music was great to dance and sway to, but in the end, it all started to blend into one song. Their energetic indie pop sound was not very distinguishable from other bands of the genre, like Bad Suns and COIN, but everyone loved it, dancing and clapping along to most of the set. The highlight of the set was the song “Sex, Drugs, Etc.” which vocalist Nick Santino described as their “druggie slo-mo” song. It was a nice relief from the rest of the set to have a song that sounded distinctly different from everything else. Beach Weather’s positive and friendly energy was matched by the crowd, getting rid of the boundary between the artist and the audience and creating a comfortable environment.

When Cruisr approached the stage, it was obvious that at least half of the crowd had come specifically to see them. The vocalist, Andy States, walked out on stage to cheers that nearly shook the place, asking if the crowd was ready to “get weird.” It was clear that they cared more about having fun than trying to seem too professional, further fitting the great DIY vibe of both the venue and the tour itself. The bassist was introduced as being a complete newbie; it was his first show with the band. Halfway through the set, the band had to take an unplanned intermission due to sound issues. Instead of apologizing profusely and stressing, the vocalist just shrugged and said, “We’re clearly trying to stress how professional we are here.” Even though there were some issues, Cruisr managed to create the most fun set of the night. During one of their more popular songs, “Throw Shade,” nearly the entire crowd lifted up their arms and shouted along to the chorus. Their sound was like that of another typical indie surf-pop band with a bit more of a new-wave type synth influence. The set ended with a crowd favorite, “Kidnap Me.” The love for Cruisr was obvious as some fans left the venue as soon as their set ended.

Against the Current made it clear they were the headliner when the setup changed. As soon as the lights came down and the blue spotlights came out, the crowd lost their minds. The lead singer, Chrissy, ran out like she was ready to run a marathon. All of the bands that night were full of energy, but she somehow managed to embody the intensity of both the openers combined, if not more. One of the most memorable moments was during their song “Talk,” where the entire crowd shouted the chorus so loudly they drowned out the band. She only stood still for one song throughout the entire set. There was a youthful excitement about them as the band raved about how this was their first headlining show ever. Chrissy spoke about how excited she was to finally play a “real rock venue” that “smelled like beer and disappointment” with a huge smile on her face. Much like Cruisr, this was also the first time their bassist had ever played a show with them. The music had a lull halfway through the set as they played their only two slower songs (“Blood Like Gasoline” and “Running with the Wild Things”), but the tempo came right back up afterwards with a cover of “Teenagers” by My Chemical Romance (which every single person in the crowd sang along to). The highlight of their set was seeing how well received they were by their fans. Everyone seemed to know the lyrics to every single song, and one girl in the crowd even passed a painting she’d made of the band up to the stage. For the amount of love they received, it was hard to believe that they had never headlined a tour before.

The night was full of good vibes and excitement from everyone involved. At the end of the show, it was clear why they’d all chosen to tour together. The similar sounds and friendly demeanors made it seem like all the performers were a family.