IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALL
November 13th, 2017
Teagan McGinnis | Citizen | The Irenic | USD Radio
Self-aware and brimming with an uncontainable amount of emotion, lead singer of Great Grandpa, Alex Menne, sways back and forth with her eyes closed as she uses her vocal range to both impress and silence the crowd. The band’s awe-inspiring performance encompasses a colorful spectrum of sound, ranging from relaxed, dream-like pop melodies to power-filled alternative rock. Her stage presence at the Irenic is almost hazy, as her soft voice speaks in a fuzzy frequency with the glow of blue lights reflecting from her face.
Great Grandpa has the crowd floating into the second opener of the evening. The members of Sorority Noise, long-time tourmates and friends of Citizen, provide a swift change of pace, pulling the crowd into an introspective state that is both emotionally demanding and reflective. Their soundcheck concludes with the screech of a blown-out amp and as most of the bandmates rush to fix the issue, lead singer and guitarist Cameron Boucher simply takes a deep breath and commences the set with an acoustic version of “Fermata.” Boucher’s voice carries through the awe-inspired silence of the crowd as he sings, “Isn’t it funny how our half-dead bodies intertwine?”
In its entirety, Sorority Noise’s set is filled with an overwhelming sense of passion. Passion for the lyrical content, appreciation of the fans, and craft of music itself. On two occasions, Boucher puts the microphone in his mouth as if he was swallowing the beast that hides within his lyrics. Their commitment to the art is a clear indication that the band truly loves what it does and will continue to do so until the end.
Citizen takes the stage humble as ever. They thank the fans for their perpetual engagement in the music throughout the evening. This tour provides a stage for their newest album, As You Please, released on October 2nd. Lead singer, Mat Kerekes, has a voice that transcends most vocal boundaries. When listening Kerekes’ voice, it sounds as though you are hearing a man call out in the distance, longing for a response that is left unanswered. The only form of reply comes internally from his head; a man left alone with his thoughts.
One of the best performances of the evening is a song called “Ugly Luck.” Kerekes’ lyrics of “I am vague to you; a fly on the wall / Your stardust in the whisk – the lonesome dawn” are met with a change of pace from a consistent and terse drum beat into a fluid pace. It is as if someone is switching from walking to running in a revolving cycle. Many of the tracks in the new album encompass these melodic shifts, which perhaps shed light on the difference between experiencing and processing the experiences we undergo daily. Lyrically, each song discusses a series of resistances the subject must overcome. These struggles are played out with the rough and raw vocal quality of Kerekes.
Citizen closes with an encore of “Flowerchild,” which brings the pace of the show back to the start. It is an unwinding of the emotions exposed by both the artists and their audience. The final performance closes with an echoing of these words: “Thousands of bricks, I carried them all for you / Keeping me in / faith in an empty room.” The blue glow of the abandoned church slowly fades to black.
Tickets for Citizen’s “As You Please” Tour range from $17.50-23.50