Who: Theory of a Deadman with Wilson and Spirit Animal
Where: Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Hampton, New Hampshire
When: July 7, 2018
The first Theory of a Deadman song I ever heard was “Meant To Be” when it premiered on MTV about 10 years ago. In the years since I have not been a huge follower of the band; I did, however, keep up with enough of their music that when I saw a show announced at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, I knew I had to go.
Opening the show is arguably the most difficult part of the night. It is not full like it is for the headliner and a good majority of the audience in attendance is usually counting down the minutes until the opener gets off the stage. Despite these challenges, Spirit Animal took the stage first and made sure they would not be forgotten. Sound-wise, they were an interesting mix of psychedelic rock. Their new album, Born Yesterday, releases August 3 and they performed a few songs off it, including “Yeah,” for which they have a music video out. They were energetic from the first song, but their set got more intense the longer they were on stage. Spirit Animal had an impressive connection with the audience; even people standing on the very edges of the venue looked interested in the set. Checking out their live set is very highly recommended.
Wilson took to the stage next. Their music was not as much to my taste as much as Spirit Animal’s, but their live show was insane; they are high up on the list of most energetic bands I have seen live. There was a lot of jumping and hair flipping going around, which the audience was loving. The guitarists and bass player made very conscious efforts to move around the stage and not stay glued to their corners. Vocalist Chad Nicefield also constantly moved from side to side, making sure to pay attention to every corner of the room. While their music may not be something that will be on constant repeat in my house, their live show was impressive enough that I would absolutely see them again.
Last year’s Theory of a Deadman show at the Casino Ballrom was sold out and this years was as well; the venue was packed when Theory of a Deadman took to the stage. The set started with vocalist Tyler Connolly taking to the upright piano that had been brought onto the stage to perform “Straight Jacket.” Bassist Dean Back, guitarist David Brenner and drummer Joe Dandeneau soon came on stage and joined in. “Blow” and “Bitch Came Back” were performed one after another with hardly a break in between, which allowed for a strong start. Theory of a Deadman are obviously experienced professionals; they knew exactly what the audience wanted, which was evident both in the professionalism of the band on stage and in the setlist. “Echoes,” their cover of “Wicked Game,” “Santa Monica,” “Not Meant To Be,” and “Angel” satisfied the audience who were singing along with every single word. “RX (Medicate)” and “Bad Girlfriend” were also included at the end of the set to round out the night. While the set was a lot of fun, Connolly tended to kind of stick to the middle of the stage and close his eyes a lot when singing, which is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Back and Brenner, however, took care of the audience on either side and did a great job of hyping up the fans. Dandeneau got a chance to shine with a remarkable drum solo that had the entire audience whooping and hollering. Overall, Theory of a Deadman really put on a great show, helped by openers who got the energy up from the beginning of the night.
Post and photos by Karen Shalev
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