The opening act, synth-based pop band Panama Wedding, gave their polished hearts to the almost sold-out show Sunday evening.
Before The Griswolds arrived, the first minute of Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” blared over the speakers, the crowd singing along with no restraint.
With vibrant red hair and a striped black-and-white shirt, frontman Chris Whitehall sang a new cheeky song, moving his hands through his hair as seductively as the lyricism demanded. The slow burn of the beat mixed with the signature cheeriness of the Aussie group made an instant hit.
Full of tricks and talent, the band premiered another new song—this time one that was full of funk and steaming with sex appeal. The words “we got nothing to lose” poured over bare skin.
Fan favorites “If You Wanna Stay” and “16 Years” ignited the course of the concert. Tangling limbs and voices paired with fists pumping as the disco-esque sounds made the neon pink words “1-800-Hotline-Spring” over the drums glow brighter.
The chanting of “Be Impressive” took over the packed venue, the feeling of immortal youth captivating all.
As always, the song that certified them into worship status, “Heart of a Lion,” was played last, making me flashback to junior year of high school.
The drug of youth was permanent throughout the night—Panama Wedding’s polished groove made it seem like we were in an indie film, a polaroid of a summer road trip. The disco ball glittered as the familiar sounds of “Uma” hypnotized, and Peter Kirk’s doppelgänger Phil Collins’ voice took us on the journey down a bright purple and orange road.
Expressing it was their first time playing at 9:30 Club, the band was confident and comfortable on stage, smiling and vibing with one another as “Infinite High” and the charming “All of the People” electrified everyone’s veins.
The best surprise was when they gave their own twist to The Killers classic “When You Were Young.” The audience erupted and pushed closer to the stage, the synths and Kirk’s voice morphing the words “they say the devil’s water, it ain’t so sweet” into another existence; one less angsty but coated with a sweetness only Panama Wedding can add.
I was proud and thrilled to see Magic Man play last–vocalist Alex Caplow prancing to the stage, his easy-going grin welcoming us all to his and Sam Lee’s baby.
Just getting back from recording their second album, the Boston group shared a couple of new tracks, one of which was called “Sleepwalking.” Stuffed with synth and lined with dreamland veins, it was more muted than what they’re most known for.
“Who was at the Halloween concert a long time ago?” Caplow asked. Half of us roared back in reply–although we may not know each other personally, we all recognized each other, a family, a tree whose roots were intertwined with the euphoric moves of Caplow and the body of Lee’s guitar.
Another unexpected cover was Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” revamped by the joyful chants and trademark dance influences of the band.
Riding on the fluorescent energy of the night, Caplow invited all the members of The Griswolds and Panama Wedding on the cover of “Ignition (Remix)” by R. Kelly. The stage came alive with dancing and bromance displays as both crowd and performers lost themselves in the perfection of the moment.
It was the ultimate dance party, and in the end, it was hard to separate the moments–a blur of colors, impressive new tracks and a hurricane of sentimental remembrance.
Featured Photo Credit: Alex Caplow, lead singer of Magic Man, co-headlining the Hotline Spring tour with The Griswolds. Caplow kept the crowd dancing with his fierce energy and dance moves. (Cassie Osvatics/Bloc Photographer)
Karla Casique is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.