Most people know the lyrics “…I know that you’re a sucker for anything acoustic…” don’t really apply to me, but I had really been looking forward to the night and it didn’t disappoint. The night consisted of solo sets from Aaron Gillespie of UnderOath and The Almost, William Beckett from The Academy Is…, and Nathan Hussey of All Get Out. Even though each set consisted of just one guy playing stripped down versions of songs meant for a full band none of the songs really felt like they were lacking. I contribute the power of the performances to incredible vocal talent each musician had. Even most of the screaming parts of songs cleaned up nicely on an acoustic track.
Nathan Hussey was first who actually played an electric guitar instead of an acoustic. The stripped down versions of his band’s songs sounded nothing less of incredible as he belted out lyrics both into the mic and away from it. His voice carried throughout the whole building in a sort of raw tone much like you would hear from Manchester Orchestra. I had never really listened to them before the show with the exception of an Audiotree session, but now I have been looking into them more and I am very pleased.
William Beckett went on next. I had a chance to meet him before the show when he, himself was selling merch. I have to say that he is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. We talked about his coming show at Riot Fest with The Academy Is… playing Almost Here in it’s entirety for the 10 year anniversary of the album. I honestly went with the hope that he would play some Academy songs because I didn’t really know any of his solo stuff besides a couple songs I heard at the Warped Tour Acoustic Basement set 2 years ago. He played “The Phrase That Pays”, “Down and Out”, “About A Girl” and “The Test” for the first time in maybe 3 years he said. Those songs alone were worth my ticket money. His solo songs were excellent too which urged me to buy his new album Genuine & Counterfeit.
Aaron Gillespie went on last to finish the evening strong. I have been an UnderOath fan for many years and was very sad when he left the band before their last album, and also when the band broke up. I was, of course, pulling for more of those songs because for some reason never got around to getting into The Almost. He played four UnderOath songs total, which again, was worth my ticket price. Off of They’re Only Chasing Safety he played “A Boy Brushed Red…Living in Black and White”, “Reinventing Your Exit”, and “Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape” to close out the show and almost bringing a tear to my eye. The other song he played was “Too Bright To See, Too Loud To Hear” from the album Lost In The Sound Of Separation allowing the crowd to be his backup singers chanting fill of “good God can you still get us home”. Even though all those songs are heavily screao, Aaron performed them all with a clean sung polished version because “it’s not cool to scream over a guitar” he said. Hearing those songs in a different light was surprisingly wonderful to me. His set had an intimate, almost church vibe to it which makes sense being that he is a Christian artist even performing his rendition of Amazing Grace which is simply titled “Grace”. I couldn’t have asked for a better night.