Culture

AJR in GR

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Story by Katelyn Sheneman, Reporter
Photos by Katelyn Sheneman

“Oh my, oh my god, the entertainment’s here,” with AJR’s Neotheater World Tour. Speaking towards their popularity, the band originally planned to play in the newly established 20 Monroe Live, but because they sold out the venue early on, they upgraded to the Deltaplex. The Neotheater album was released on April 26 of this year, and is the band’s first US Top 10 album, ranking eighth on the list. The album’s songs cover topics such as love, self-purpose, self-discovery, growing up, mental health, and other similar topics. 

They have taken the liberty to show the audience a different (but not “too different”) perspective of the world around us. They stated during the concert that, even if only for the duration of the concert itself, they wanted their music to be more of an acceptance of the world around us rather than an escape from it. This statement shows the band’s effort to unify people—and events —across the globe. Their effort was applied to a wide variety of topics,  even down to what could be seen as the most simple of phenomenon. Their song ““Don’t Throw Out My Legos” is all about moving out of your parents’ home and away from family. IMG_3589.jpeg

Their use of lighting and electronic visuals during the show was like nothing I had ever seen before, breaking the boundary between what was on stage and what was digital. The ups and downs that pulsed through the songs take listeners on an emotional rollercoaster, bringing the listeners happiness, sadness, relief, and the list goes on. They took things that others may find negative, such as in their song “Wow, I’m Not Crazy,”—being too different, or too unique—and transformed them into something that moved the blame and the stigma away from the individuals.

Like the album itself, the concert began with the introductory song “Next Up Forever,” which welcomed the listeners to sit and listen to them opening up their own hearts and minds. It encourages listeners to acknowledge that not everything is perfect, and that everyone struggles with their own issues, but even without speaking directly about those issues, we are able to provide each other comfort and reassurance. The song is somewhat ironic, simultaneously showing both their own uncertainty in their work and the certainty, reassurance, and comfort they have found within their fans. 

The highs and lows of songs like “Birthday Party,” “100 Bad Days,” “Break My Face” and “Dear Winter,” takes listeners through their own internal struggles, resounding both in the sounds and words, and in the hearts and minds of the listeners. Each song, containing multiple different ways to look at life, offers the perspective of being active in our own lives and being content with how much work we put into ourselves and, once again, acknowledging that we’re not perfect. Each song uncovers topics like politics and inequality, but at the same time establishes a positive way to go about dealing with such issues, and brings the topics down to a much more personal, intrapersonal and interpersonal level. 

IMG_3590The final song played in the concert, “Finale (Can’t Wait To See What You Do Next),” consists of two sides, one hopeful and wonder-filled about the future and the other hesitant and doubtful. However, these two aspects aren’t portrayed as separate parts of life. They are portrayed as one and the same. Without one, there would not be the other. Throughout the song, listeners go through all of the emotions that are associated with success, improvement, and the uncertainty and wonder-filled parts of life that follow.

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