On Thursday, August 4, 2011, three alternative bands came together to create a great stop on We the Kings’ “Friday is Forever” tour at The Rave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Hot Chelle Rae, The Downtown Fiction, and of course We the Kings.
An up-and-coming band, Hot Chelle Rae surprised the crowd with their greatperformance skill. Although they had a short set, they were able to fit in five or six songs including their biggest hit about a fun time, “Tonight, Tonight,” and a cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” The leader singer, R.K. Follese, successfully connected with the crowd as he hovered over the edge of the stage or held out the microphone to let them sing. At one point, Follese really grabbed the attention of all the girls in the crowd when he stripped off his jacket. Finishing the set with the familiar Perry song and their Billboard Hot 100 hit song allowed every crowd member to feel involved and sing along.
Next, the Downtown Fiction put on a pretty good opening act for We The Kings. The vocals sounded great and the band also played powerfully. In addition, all of the members of the band had fantastic energy on stage. Lead singer and guitarist Cameron Leahy once held the microphone stand out over the crowd to encourage fans to sing along. Guitarist Wes Dimond and bassist David Pavluk got so close to the crowd that you could feel the sweat drip from their faces. During their closing song, their popular hit “I Just Wanna Run,” Leahy lead the crowd in echoing sexual sounds followed by the question, “Who wants to make-out tonight?” Overall, the Downtown Fiction had a lot of fun on stage, but I think Leahy tried to make the concert a little too sexy considering his body does not necessarily scream sexual appeal.
The main act, We the Kings, put on an excellent closing show. They performed for approximately ninety minutes and played songs from all of their albums, including their recent release, Sunshine State of Mind. The only complaint I have about the band’s performance is the lack of enthusiasm coming from bassist Andrew Thomsen; I don’t think he made the effort to smile once during the entire show. However, the other band members – lead singer and guitarist Travis Clark, lead guitarist Hunter Thomsen, and drummer Daniel Duncan – made up plenty for Andrew’s lack of energy. Clark introduced each song with a short anecdote, whether it was about the meaning of the song, the birds and the bees, or his mom’s reaction to his live shows. Before the song “Say You Like Me,” Clark announced to the crowd that it was “all about growing up as a red head and trying to get people to like [him].” Hunter transitioned between the left and right sides of the stage to lead over the crowd and involve every fan. Duncan was allotted approximately five minutes for an amazing drum solo, which was a surprise to see since it seems that the drummer is an underappreciated member of a band these days. To close the show, the group played their biggest hit “Check Yes Juliet.” The band took all the energy they showed in the entire concert and tripled it for just this song; they even allowed the crowd to help them finish the chorus.
Overall, all three bands put such amazing shows that I think the entire concert venue was shocked. There wasn’t a moment when the crowd wasn’t entertained – unless, of course, you were watching We the Kings’ bassist the entire time.