Parachute | 05.07.16

While the band seemed to infuse each song with passion and energy, there was a significant spike during “American Secrets.”


Old Rock House, St. Louis

If I lived in the bubble of St. Louis radio, I would have never met Parachute. I have never heard them played on any station, despite them having four (!) records in the can. It was only while I was on my new music quest looking for hot mew music for my weekly column, Five for Friday, that I happened upon the band. One listen to “Wide Awake” from their new album of the same, name and I was hooked. The strong vocals, upbeat rhythms, and overall positive vibe of the song checked off all my boxes for a hit.

Surveying the crowd at the Old Rock House, I noticed Parachute must appeal to a large age range, from nubile young ladies to mature mommas. There was a gaggle of gays and an impressive number of Asians, but the massive majority of fans were the girls. It’s not hard to realize why: the band members themselves are as gorgeous as the music. I don’t mean that as an insult to the band. Will Anderson can’t help that he is gorgeous; he just is.

One quick note about the Old Rock House: I adored how they have so many TV sets strategically placed around the venue. When the place is packed, getting a view of the stage is sometimes a struggle. Playing the concert on the TVs made the entire experience a pleasant one. Note to self: Next time, get to venue early—those young girls know how to camp in front of the stage.

As the band opened its set with the aforementioned single, I could tell we were in for a fun night. The crowd was into it singing every lyric, and the guy next to me was playing air guitar at a furious pace. I was intrigued: How can a band with no airplay in St. Louis have such a devout following? I guess good music will always find a way to flourish. The crowd’s energy didn’t stop on the next song, “Didn’t See It Coming.” They were matching Anderson’s energy beat for beat.

Anderson’s ability to connect with the intimate audience didn’t go unnoticed. His stories about his life, or things that happened on the tour, only made him more endearing. I love when a singer can just be real and connect with his fans on a personal level.

The secret weapon of the band is the sax player Kit French. How many pop/rock bands have a saxaphonist? It also doesn’t hurt that this boy can wail. His talents were highlighted in “Can’t Help” and “Something to Believe In,” and his mad woodwind skills gave me goosebumps.

While the band seemed to infuse each song with passion and energy, there was a significant spike in emotions during “American Secrets.” Anderson seemed to get lost in the vocals as the band’s groove swelled around him. It was one of many highlights of the set.

Another couple of high points came in the encore. During the first song, “Kiss Me Slowly,” not only was the crowd singing back every lyric again, Anderson absolutely killed the vocals with his falsetto. I was not aware the man had that broad of a vocal range.

When they launched into the opening piano chords of “New Orleans,” I was bewitched. As this is my other favorite single on the new album, I realized this is why I came to the show: to hear this song. Anderson’s voice was flawless, as he gave the song every ounce of emotional weight it deserved.

While this leg of the tour finished in St. Louis, I can’t help but think how much this band deserves a bigger stage. Fortunately, we’ll get the chance to see them at a bigger venue when they make their return on October 29 at the Chaifetz Arena. I may take that night off as a reviewer and just enjoy the show as one of their newly minted fans. I think I can give those younger girls a run for their money in the screaming department. | Jim Ryan

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