Plain White T’s | 4.13.11

I feared for a moment that the band wasn’t going to appeal to someone who wasn’t an exceptionally hardcore fan.




The number of puff-paint t-shirts was astounding while heading into the venue for Plain White T’s at The Pageant on April 13th.  The crowd was fairly diverse – a few folks old enough to be grandparents and quite a few tweens. It seemed, though, like a large portion of the people under the age of 25 had decided that they would not wait to buy a Plain White T’s shirt at the concert – they would make their own.  I wondered abo

ut this a bit as I made my way down into the pit area for the show. I feared for a moment the band wasn’t going to appeal to someone who wasn’t an exceptionally hardcore fan. 
The giddy excitement from the crowd was infectious though, and the first act, Andy Grammar, certainly helped.  A former street busker in Los Angeles, Andy’s first full-length album will be coming out in June, though he released a 4 song EP on April 12th. He was effortlessly charismatic and seemed to be born to be on stage (and maybe he was, as his father, Red Grammer, is a Grammy-nominated musician himself).  He had the crowd singing on several songs and finished with a cover of Snow Patrol’s "Chasing Cars"  – though with added beatboxing, which worked surprisingly well. I am convinced we will be seeing a lot more of Andy in the future, such was the quality of his performance. 
The second band, Parachute, also has a new album coming out, though theirs is slated for a May 17th release.  Their set was good, with lead singer Will Anderson doing a great job of interacting with the crowd.  The band as a whole seemed to be having a blast and the music was good, though none of the songs stood out.  It was a solid set, though, and I would not hesitate to call them a good live band. 

The Plain White T’s appeared then, with the crowd at a bit of a fever pitch.  What struck me – of all the things to notice – was that lead singer Tom Higgenson wasn’t smiling – and didn’t for quite some time into the set. It seemed quite juxtaposed to the absolute delight on the faces of the audience members. The music was fantastic though – both the older songs that managed to make it into the set and the newer songs from their most recent album Wonders of the Younger.  Especially good was the rambunctious, energetic performance of “1, 2, 3, 4” and lead guitarist Tim Lopez guesting on lead vocals for the song “Rhythm of Love”. “Cirque Dans La Rue,” which is one of my favorite songs on the album, was actually one of the lower points – but more because there was no modification to the sound system for a song that is much darker and louder than most of the music that night, and it sounded stilted rather than powerful because of it.  

At one point in the set, an audience member tossed a t-shirt (adorned with puff-paint, of course) up to Tom who exclaimed over it and commented on the different song names that were on the shirt.  He did – despite the earlier total lack of facial expression – have an easy way with the crowd and seemed very at ease once the band was a few songs in.  Overall, the show was enjoyable and it would be well worth it to see any of these artists again. | Teresa Montgomery


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