We made it right on time to see the first opener, Braintree, Massachusetts native Nick Santino, taking the stage. By looks alone, Santino seemed to be far more alternative than his music turned out to be. Most of his songs were slow and sweet, showcasing a quiet, raspy voice that kept the audience captivated. He described himself as being “not quite Nick Jonas or ‘Ariana Big',’’ which got a laugh out the of the crowd and showed off his playful personality. He got the crowd to sing along with him at one point, doing impressions of Nickleback, Ariana Grande, and eventually asking the audience to “sing it quietly,” to which no one made any noise, and he announced that we were great at whispering.
Next up was PUBLIC, a Cincinnati group of three men who could have been carbon copies of each other. Each man wore a short-sleeved, button-down shirt in different shades of blue, and with different patterns, and each haircut was only slightly varied from the others. These guys were happier to be there than anyone in the bar, and their energy was incredible to watch. Lead guitarist and singer John Vaughn and bassist Matthew Alvarado spent half their set jumping up and down together, and I’ve never seen a drummer get so into what he’s playing as Ben Lapps was. Their standout moment was a cover of Britney Spear’s “Toxic,” one of many throwbacks of the night, that allowed Vaughn to show off his flawless falsetto. Those high notes played on the guitar? He sang them. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed.
With the upcoming performance of Oh Honey, the stage became even more home-y. Crew members brought out carpets and desk lamps to set the tone, and the band members came out before lead singers Mitchy Collins and Danni Bouchard took the stage. My friend’s initial reaction to the group was to point at one of the bassists and tell me, “I’m really liking the Jesus aesthetic of that one guy.” All with long hair, except for the drummer, and dressed in stylish, comfortable clothes, Oh Honey looked like the cool, laid back band you would want to hang out with on the weekend. And with killer songs, some of my personal favorites being “Sugar, You,” “Lonely Neighbor (What Am I to You),” “Be Okay,” and “I Love You Will Still Sound the Same,” who wouldn’t want to be around these guys? And, moreover, who could resist a classic 90s throwback to television shows long off the air and classic songs – most notably, TLC’s “No Scrubs,” a personal favorite of mine. Collins and Bouchard came down into the audience and had everyone form a circle while they performed acoustic versions of “A Thousand Times” and “No Scrubs,” which were equal parts hilarious and beautiful in their own right. Charming moments like Collins accidentally knocking his mic stand into the crowd, which was luckily caught by a fan before it fell completely in, were mixed with sweet moments of the crowd singing every word of some of the songs back to the band. These moments were made all the more sincere by Collins telling the audience how much it meant that everyone at the concert “actually gave a shit about the band,” and that we were “all part of the family now.”