Concert Reviews

[Review] This Wild Life, Sleep On It, Hold Close, Crooked Teeth in Cambridge, MA

Photograph of Kevin Jordan from This Wild Life holding his ukulele up in the air. He was demonstrating to the crowd that whenever he raised his ukulele like so, they were encouraged to sing "hey hey Catie Rae!" as loudly as they could.
Kevin Jordan of This Wild Life (Photo by Lisa Eggleston)

Sunflowers. Acoustic rock. Positivity. Dogs. Good vibes.

If you’re a fan of any of the aforementioned topics, you’re likely to enjoy This Wild Life’s spring 2019 tour. Celebrating their third album, Petaluma, released this past June via Epitaph Records, the aptly-named Petaluma Tour began April 6th in San Diego, CA. After playing in venues all across the United States, this duo will end their tour back in California on May 5th at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles.

The Petaluma Tour hit Cambridge, MA on Monday, April 22nd. Supporting This Wild Life throughout this tour are alt-rockers Crooked Teeth and pop-punk ensembles Hold Close and Sleep On It. These acts all brought different types of energy to the venue, allowing the crowd to get up and rowdy before settling down for This Wild Life’s bright acoustic vibes at the end of the night.

Photograph of Crooked Teeth, shot from center front-of-house
Crooked Teeth (Photo by Lisa Eggleston)

Crooked Teeth are a 3-piece rock band from California, and they’ve been on fire with their hit singles lately. They released their new song, “Bedroom Eyes” less than 2 weeks ago, and “Beg” was released last month. The band consists of Tyson Evans (vocals & guitar), Adam Miranda (guitar), and Adam Louis (drums). They have a distinct & eclectic sound at the perfect intersection of grunge, alt-rock, and pop-punk. Definitely give them a listen if you’re a fan of any of the aforementioned genres. You will not be disappointed!

Braxton Smiley of Hold Close (Photos by Lisa Eggleston)

Hold Close followed Crooked Teeth’s set, bringing onstage with them their trademark light-up keyboard played by lead vocalist Braxton Smiley. Founded in 2016, Hold Close draws their inspiration from top rock acts such as Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. The band released their debut album, Time, this past January via Hopeless Records. The perfect blend of emo-rock and pop, a majority of their lyrics revolve heavily around themes such as grief, loss, and having the strength to move on from life’s challenges. Hold Close have already toured the US as an opening act a couple of different times since the start of the new year, and I have a feeling they’ll be headlining in no time.

Sleep On It (Photos by Lisa Eggleston)

Following Hold Close’s stellar performance, Chicago-based pop-punk rockers Sleep On It came onstage to face an audience full of eager fans who knew every word to every song. Lead vocalist Zech Pluister has a distinct set of pipes that melds perfectly with the powerful guitar riffs and catchy melodies prevalent in nearly every track. Lyrically, their songs are more akin to those of Mayday Parade – defeated at times, yet with a glimmer of hope always around the corner. These guys utilized every square inch of the stage, synchronizing jumps and catching some serious air, and their energy was truly contagious. Slowing down every once in a while to let the audience complete some of the catchiest choruses, such as those found in See You Around and Fireworks, Sleep On It showed that it’s possible to put on a show that’s somehow both angsty and happy… the perfect pop-punk gig, if you ask me.

Anthony Del Grosso of This Wild Life (Photo by Lisa Eggleston)

Following a fairly sophisticated set change, the main act finally took the stage. Imagine if a ray of sunshine picked up an acoustic guitar and got a bunch of tattoos. Now we’ll call that This Wild Life. An acoustic pop-punk duo from Long Beach, CA, musicians Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso have captured the hearts of listeners worldwide. Petaluma was released last May, and the majority of their set consisted of songs off of this album (hence the name of the tour). This album deals with a lot of love, loss, and heartbreak, and one of the tracks (Westside) was written from the perspective of someone supporting a loved one who has experienced sexual assault. Jordan & Del Grosso dig deep when it comes to songwriting – you will not find any shallow tracks on this record, as each song was deeply thought-out and clearly envisioned before production even began. Somehow they are able to take these very real subjects and turn them into songs that make you feel like everything is going to be okay. I don’t think there’s any better word besides “wholesome” to describe This Wild Life’s Petaluma Tour. There is one week left of tour, there’s still time for you to catch a show!

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