Cherry Pools was the opening act for the PVRIS headlining tour at Stage AE in Pittsburgh, PA on February 22, 2018. The band set high expectations before they even produced one sound. To further, the newcomer’s stage setup was advanced for their band’s exposure. They had a larger-scale neon sign that read the name of their band; additionally, each member of the ensemble came out dressed in clothing that resonated with a retro or mod fashion style. From this, the audience was excited to hear what they had to bring to the table, and they did anything but disappoint. The band provided the audience with upbeat musical selections that varied in emphasis and feeling; however, the majority of the set had a light-hearted feel that made audience members want to sing along. As their set progressed, the band utilized different lighting fixtures to amplify their mod style, which helped forward their likability to the audience. Speaking in terms of their music, their selections utilized simple melodic lines that were easy to attach to. The instrumentation varied from piece to piece, but the majority of the works rocked the general setup for a band with synthesizer and tambourine interjections more often than not. From this, the band was able to get the crowd involved slightly. Their music doesn’t make you want to jump around and bang your head, and that is perfectly okay, for neither does PVRIS’ music; thus, making them a perfect opener for the event. Overall, Cherry Pools provided a strong set for an upcoming artist in the scene, and their popularity will likely grow significantly from their performance on this tour.
The next artist to grace the stage was the one, the only Flint Eastwood. Before going into any deep details about her performance, it is important to note that her set was, simply put, a good time. The artist came onto the stage with her energy checked in at one-thousand percent. From here, she was jumping around the stage, dancing to her songs, looking as if she was loving her life performing for others. The female soloist was accompanied by her band through which they performed, as she called them “dance jams”. Taking a look into her music itself, all of her songs did, in fact, make the audience want to dance and just have a good time. When comparing her music from the recording to a live performance, she is able to heighten her instrumental portions by having a live band, which helps to produce a cranking dance groove for fans to vibe with. Also, when listening to her throughout the set, it was heard that she has a phenomenal vocal range, which helped to give the audience musical variety within each work. Eastwood didn’t have a single stage crutch, and she didn’t need them. During the entirety of her set, Eastwood drove home her infectious personality which was larger than life. Throughout her set, she set out to warm up the crowd for the headliner as much as possible. She did so by jumping and putting herself out there with her heightened musical selections; however, if someone wasn’t participating, she wasn’t afraid, in the slightest, to be like “hey, I can see you, hands up”. An approach like this may be off-putting for some viewers, but it came across as genuine, and that she just wanted everyone to have a great time; also, it fit her personality so well, so even if it was edgy, it was forgiven. Overall, Flint Eastwood was a fantastic opener for PVRIS for several reasons. The first reason is that she isn’t afraid to get the crowd warmed up to have a good time. The other reason is that her music blurs the lines of musical genres just as PVRIS’ does; thus, the two of them mesh well together, musically speaking.
The band that everyone was patiently waiting for was due to hit the stage: the incomparable PVRIS. Before going into detail about their set, it is important to note that this band has evolved and grown so much in the last two years alone, so it was so amazing to watch them fully embody their vision for their band. To start, we’ll talk about the obvious: PVRIS’ stage setup. With Stage AE being a bigger stage, the band had a lot of room to work with in terms of what they wanted to do for a backdrop or stage props. The band provided what looked like a scene in a vintage park with old-fashion street lights with walls that had a stain-glass feel to them. Additionally, the band included their main drum set station as well as a second station parallel to it. It is also notable that each of the two string players also had a synthesizer or a different instrument that fell in the piano family, which they utilized throughout their set. Lynn, the lead singer, also bounced back and forth between guitar, piano, and solo vocals. When transferring focus to the songs performed throughout the set, the band started their set with slower sections, and from there, they were able to enhance their intensity as they chose their more elaborate songs through a natural progression of intensity. The band would move from song to song with ease while providing small, pre-recorded messages before some of the works that came off their newest album. The one tactic that worked well for the band throughout their set was that they would provide small enhancements to some tracks in a live setting whether it be vocal or instrumental variation. For example, Lynn would join their drummer on the second drum set station to prolong some instrumental sections as well as to give the audience something new to enjoy and vibe with. During two sections of the concert, two different fans threw Lynn gay-pride flags, and she gently hung them up, and then she took a moment to explain how she loves when fans do so, but she always gets worried that they may become damaged. This moment was sweet, for this allowed the fans to connect with her on a more personal level rather than just slamming through music. As mentioned earlier, PVRIS, as a whole, has come so far as a band throughout the past few years. In this performance, the band provided special effects, different lighting techniques for different selections, and even fluctuated with instrumentation. However, the most significant growth is visible through how the band performs as a unit. When you watch each member of the band perform, it is noticeable that they are vibing with the music that they wrote, and you can tell that they are enjoying just the simple nature of their work. With that being said, PVRIS isn’t an over-the-top live band, and that is perfectly okay. Actually, it’s fantastic. The fact that PVRIS is able to come on stage and give it their all with their memorable music without jumping around every square-foot of the venue shows that they are comfortable with who they are as a band, which is really strong for the artist. Lastly, the band provided the audience with a one song encore: they played the song “No Mercy” from their newest album. One would assume that the artist would just play the song from top to bottom, and then just be done: nope, not PVRIS. They made their audience believe that was their plan, and then in the middle they evolved into a major instrumental interlude with another drum set duet that led the audience into an extravagant final chorus to end the concert with.
Overall, I would give this concert a 5 out of 5 stars. I landed on this score for several reasons. The first reason lies within the opening acts. Although neither of these artists are flooding the music scene at the moment, that didn’t stop either artist; actually, each band gave it at least one-hundred percent, which made every moment of this concert enjoyable, even if you didn’t arrive as a fan of either act. The other reason I am giving this event such a score is because PVRIS gave their audience a setlist that would be tough to beat for the band, and they were able to effortlessly make their way through their set while keeping their audience not only engaged, but giving them not one dull moment throughout their one and a half hour set. Furthermore, please check out the two opening acts if you’ve never heard of them, and see all of them live if you ever get the chance.