Headliner: Bad Suns
Openers: Quarters of Change, Last Dinosaurs
Venue: The Rialto Theatre, Tucson, AZ
The indie rock band Bad Suns finally returned to Tucson, Arizona three years after their first debut here. The 28-year old lead singer Christo Bowman made sure that this was an unforgettable concert every time he ran across the stage or jumped into the crowd. On top of this, the concert offered two openers which is always a steal in my book. Even though Dusk Music Festival had a larger lineup going on that same night, The Rialto Theatre was definitely the right venue to be at.
To kick off that Friday night, the indie rock band from New York City, Quarters of Change, made an appearance on stage. I personally have never heard of them or their music besides seeing their name on the lineup that evening, but I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised. The band didn't have many songs to perform, but they made a lasting impression for their thirty minutes on stage. Their sound reminded me of the band "Inhaler" which is probably why I enjoyed it so much, but I definitely regret not giving them a chance prior to coming to the venue. Now that the concert is over, I've decided to take a closer look at their discography and appreciate their music more since they sounded like strong performers.
With only a twenty minute break in between, Last Dinosaurs entered the stage to be greeted by a crowd of cheers. I for one was one of the people screaming out my guts because I've been a fan of Last Dinosaurs since 2020 and originally bought the concert tickets for them. I was very pleased to see that they got a 40 minute playing time rather than a half hour like Quarters of Change did, and I loved the entire performance. The band knew how to balance their popular songs with those off their new album From Mexico with Love that was released seven days before. I did listen to their album when it came out and it appeared that they are experimenting more with synthesized vocals, but the songs that they performed did not include these which I was personally happy about.
Some songs that I should mention them performing were "Apollo" and "Stream" which are both on their album Wellness that was released back in 2015. Now, I have previously seen Last Dinosaurs before at Lollapalooza last summer, so I felt extremely lucky when I saw they were coming to the Rialto Theatre. When I saw them at Lollapalooza, though, they also performed "Apollo" which has now become one of my favorite songs of theirs. The pop beat creates the feeling of a late night drive with your friends that only makes you want to dance. Meanwhile, "Stream" is reportedly not played live very often according to the band themselves. I was not expecting to hear this one on Friday, but I'm glad they did because every member of the band gets a chance to sing which is rare to see. Due to Last Dinosaurs' unique sound, it's hard to find bands that share a similar vibe. However, Hunny and Winnetka Bowling League both seem to have the pop and rock aspects that Last Dinosaurs do that makes their music a bit more familiar to new listeners.
On the other hand, I have only started listening to Bad Suns once I bought the tickets back in August for this concert. I knew their songs "Violet" and "Starjumper" for about a year before then, but I wouldn't consider myself a fan or an active listener of them. After the concert, though, I don't understand how it took me so long to branch into the rest of their discography. I did listen to their discography after buying the tickets, and was disappointed in myself because I missed out on yet another great band up until then. Nonetheless, I reminded myself that you can never become a fan too late, and that I at least found their music at some point in my life where I could see them live.
I was able to search up their setlist online thanks to fans who have seen them at other shows on their tour, and it seemed to stay the same during their show in Tucson. The band rarely took a rest as if the music was moving them to play one song after the next. Their set time ended up being about an hour and forty minutes with about 23 songs within that. I have never seen a set of that length with that amount of songs, so already I was very impressed by the talent behind the band. As if that wasn't enough, Bad Suns has perfected the craft of crowd involvement without it seeming forced or cheesy. Of course they asked the crowd to clap along to a certain part of a song or wave their flashlights to the beat, but there were times where the lead singer Christo Bowman would just run into the crowd. During the song "Sleep Paralysis", he asked a part of the crowd to hold him up as he stood on their hands and arms just for him to fall into a stage dive. I didn't put much thought into that song before the concert, but after seeing that it definitely made it more memorable because I've never witnessed a music artist being stunted by the crowd before. In addition, when they performed my favorite song "Rearview", everyone crouched on the ground until the lyrics "losing all control" were sung. When this happened, everyone immediately jumped up and went wild because we "lost all control". Even though everyone was there for two openers and for the long set from Bad Suns, he ensured no energy was lost throughout and I applaud him for that.
Bad Suns had released their album Apocalypse Whenever back in January of 2022, and evenly incorporated these songs with some of their more well-known ones. I didn't know every word of each song, but there was never a point when I felt bored or was waiting for a specific song to play. I've been to many concerts in my life so far, and I can confidently say that Bad Suns has some of the strongest stage presence out of any band. Not counting Lollapalooza as a whole, it might as well be my second favorite concert so far behind Current Joys. These two bands are drastically different from one another and special in their own ways, but if I ever had the chance to see Bad Suns live again, I would in a heartbeat. If I were to compare Bad Suns to another indie pop/rock artist, then COIN seems to be another band that might have what it takes to capture their sound. I am extremely happy that I decided to see Bad Suns live even though I originally bought tickets for the opener, and was very satisfied with the experience as a whole.
Reviewer Name: Elizabeth McCluskey
Date of Review: 11/13/22