by Karissa Perry
Photo Courtesy of The Griswolds
On Sunday night, February 26, even the shyest members of Cambridge’s audience threw their hands up to dance for the Griswolds. Coming all the way from Sydney, Australia, the four-piece alternative rock group brought passion, energy and political commentary.
The night began with one of Boston’s own: a soulful, yet upbeat group by the name of Parks. Filled with guitar-riff interludes and perfectly pitched harmonies, the band connected with the hometown audience and warmed the crowd up with a few covers and their single, “Sweater Weather.”
One of the best surprises of the night was when the edgy DREAMERS came on. The majority of the crowd was unfamiliar with the second opening act, but by the time they finished their set, the band had garnered a ton of new fans. Where Parks was folky and high-spirited, DREAMERS, by contrast, was raw and full of angst. Being fairly new on the scene, the trio performed majority of the songs off their debut album. The highlights included “Sweet Disaster,” “Drugs” and “Painkiller,” where lead singer Nick Wold jumped into the crowd and began dancing with the audience.
Already late into the night, this did not stop the audience from losing it when the Griswolds banner appeared and the lights began to dim. As the members of the headlining band filed out onto the stage, lead singer Christopher Whitehall was the last to appear. With a Griswolds banner high above his head, he threw it out to the crowd before starting to sing “Role Models.”
The amount of gratitude the group had towards the people of Cambridge was conveyed to everyone watching. “This is f****** incredible,” Whitehall said, his face in his hands.
The crowd participation certainly added to this—especially during “Be Impressive,” and “Out of My Head,” two songs with memorable choruses. The band pointed the microphones towards the audience as they sang it back to the band. This, and the fact that it was a drummer Lachlan West’s birthday, made for a special night.
The stage quieted down when Whitehall and guitarist Daniel Duque-Perez did a solo set. Whitehall gave a bit of insight on the title of their latest album, High Times for Low Lives, before spitting a quick rap about society and giving a cheeky dig at Donald Trump, whom he said is “the biggest lowlife.” Using this as a segue, he finished by performing the titular “High Times for Low Lives.”
If this had mellowed out the crowd for a while, it was short-lived as soon as “Beware the Dog” came on. Being the most famous single of the Griswolds, the energy escalated into a whole other level of excitement.
An interesting element of the concert was the close dynamic between the opening and starring acts. At one point, Whitehall even said that he cannot even imagine going on tour without the DREAMERS. To end the night, the Griswolds invited the DREAMERS back to stage and they performed a lighthearted and cheerful rendition of OutKast’s “Hey Ya!.” With the two band members sharing the microphones and alternating parts, the audience was in full support for this collaboration.
Free of gimmicks and showy distractions, the Griswolds’ performance was both simplistic and memorable. Instead of a formal show, the concert felt more like the best party of the year with a killer soundtrack.