June 22, 2016 Pvris Electrify Webster Hall, NYC 6-8-16
New blood, Pvris (pronounced Paris), have taken the Alternative Rock scene by storm. Originally a Metalcore act, under the name Operation Guillotine, in four short years Pvris was born, signed to Rise Records, and featured on some big tours supporting such acts as Emarosa, as well as A Skylite Drive. With a bright future ahead, they continue to tour in support of their 2014 debut, White Noise, a record that was so well-received that the band recently re-issued it in April of this year following a supporting spot for Fall Out Boy.
Now, Vocalist/Guitarist Lyndsey “Lynn Gunn” Gunnulfsen, Guitarist Alex Babinski, and Bassist Brian MacDonald look to conquer new feats as they headed out on their first ever North American headlining tour, which kicked off back on May 11th. A step forward in their growth, the run would find them hitting twenty-two cities before wrapping up on June 10th, fittingly outside their hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, when they performed at Royale in Boston. With shows sold out across the map, perhaps one of the most anticipated stops came when Pvris rolled into New York City on Wednesday, June 8th, to perform at Webster Hall with support from Polyenso, CRUISR, and Lydia. Performing in the room called The Grand Ballroom, 1,500 fans packed out the space ready to be a part of a historic night.
First band up was Flordia’s Polyenso. Falling under the genre of Experimental Rock, a fusion of Indie, Electronic, Folk, as well as Jazz, Vocalist Alexander Schultz, Vocalist/Keyboardist Brennan Taulbee, and Percussionist Denny Agosto come together to create a unique sound. Grabbing attention with their 2013 debut album, One Particular Big Loop, Polyenso recently released their latest effort, Pure in the Plastic, and this opening spot was a perfect way to get the word out.
Welcomed onto the stage with a huge cheer from the overflowing crowd, after a brief introduction, they began with the song “A Pool Worth Diving In,” which was a refreshing mix of Indie, Experimental, and Dance. Thereafter, they played “Not My Real Life,” which was an experience in itself with Jazz pacing, piano, and cool vocals proclaiming in a hypnotic way, “It’s not my real life.” Pleasing the crowd, everyone was in the groove as they continued to play cuts such as “17 New Years,” which provoked many to clap along. Showing even more diversity, “Every Single Time” pulsed through the ballroom, inspiring a very sensual and Hip Hop vibe from its vocals to its bassline. Then, on their final song, “Let It Go,” they offered a more serious nature of the abstract Jazz which resulted in a huge round of applause. While Pure in the Plastic focuses more on Pop sounds rather than the Jazzy ones of their debut, Polyenso still have a unique style few acts can match.
Following a brief intermission, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s CRUISR arrived next. Come together back in 2012, they are currently signed to Vagrant Records and offer a very cool Indie Pop sound. Consisting of Vocalist/Guitarist Andy States, Drummer John Van Dine, and Guitarist Bruno Catrambone, since the release of their 2014 All Over EP, the band has landed spots on Made In America music festival, Firefly Music Festival, as well as opening for The 1975 on a full US tour back in 2015. In addition, they were featured on the first ever Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival late last summer. Not too shabby for a young band, CRUISR were ready take the party to the next level at Webster Hall.
Coming out cool and relaxed, States greeted everyone before they headed straight into the funky and infectious “Moving to Neptune.” Saturated in bright lights, they took off into the gentle Pop ballad of “Take That” before a new track entitled “Throw Shade.” Proclaiming the latter was a song for anyone who has ever had a broken heart, it was an attack on exes everywhere under the guise of upbeat Indie. Keeping the good vibrations coming through island-esque “Wild Babe” into poppy “All Over,” the ever-growing audience danced and swayed with the light show complementing the band’s irresistible upbeat energy. Mixing it up with the Jazzy Pop tune “Go For It” and lastly “Kidnap Me,” CRUISR succeeded in pumping up the audience to the next level. Welcoming everyone to come say hello to them following their performance, CRUISR will be back in the New York City on August 2nd when they hit the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, so do not miss out.
Filling gaps of down time between sets, the eager audience took it upon themselves to make a human wave across the venue floor prior to main supporting slot of Lydia. Another promising Indie Rock act, Lydia has a history that dates back in 2003, and through some lineup changes and a brief hiatus, they have released five studio albums, including 2015’s Running Wild. Now comprised as a three-piece consisting of Vocalist Leighton Forsgren, Bassist/Keyboardist Matt Keller, and Guitarist Justin Camacho, Lydia are a band still making strides all these years later.
As dim lighting bled from the platform, the band casually appeared to introduce themselves before going into “Take Your Time,” which evokes nostalgic vibes of good times. A sensation that took over the audience, Forsgren offered relaxed vocals to complement the melancholy instrumentation. Going on to play one of their better-known songs, “Hospital,” an undeniable dreamy atmosphere filled the room as everyone moved along. Seemingly in a groove themselves, Camacho and Keller let the music take over as Forsgren stood in front letting out emotional vocals through tracks that included “Riverman.” Surprising everyone, Polyenso even was enticed to come and dance on stage during “Knee Deep” before Lydia moved into the Shoegaze tingling “Past Life.” Through the beautifully tranquil “Georgia” and lastly “When it Gets Dark Out,” many fans let go to belt out every word and shimmied along until the final note rang out. Lydia’s ambient sound is addictive and their ability to re-create the studio recordings in a live setting was simply remarkable. With that said, there is no reason why they should not be on a headlining run of their own very soon.
At this point, somehow, the crowd of Webster Hall reached an ungodly amount of people, all yelling and chanting for Pvris. Perhaps an inclination that the band could host an even large venue in the future, the shoulder to shoulder filled area made the evening that much more epic for all involved. In hindsight, looking back to Pvris’ run on 2015’s Vans Warped Tour, one could say that was a turning point for the band that launched them to greater heights, but whatever it may be, Pvris are rising, and rising fast.
With chatter coming to a dead silence momentarily as the lights went out, Pvris’ logo was projected onto the curtains and a massive roar shook the floor. Appearing on stage, one by one, Babinski, MacDonald, and Touring Drummer Justin Nace took their places before Gunn danced out of the darkness as they began with “Smoke.” Having everyone waving their arms in the air, Gunn was joined by a sea of voices at points in the opening that would set the bar high for the rest of the set. Known for an intense, melodic, and vivacious sound, Pvris did not disappoint, moving forward as they followed up with “Mirrors” and “St. Patrick,” which had everyone bouncing in unison while some even crowd-surfed about.
Engaging the audience throughout, Gunn reached out, made eye contact, but most of all made connections with her soaring vocals vividly heard all set long. Pleasing with more favorites such as “White Noise” as well as “Holy,” exhilaration was high, but soon the tempo was brought down as Gunn and Babinski broke into “Only Love.” A moment where Gunn’s voice would take the spotlight, with only a subtle guitar in the backdrop, the emotional performance would continue into “Ghosts” where more fans volunteered to sing along. An ear-tingling segment, Pvris soon kicked it back into high gear for “Fire,” “Eyelids,” and a rowdy closing of “Let Them In.” Crying for more, chants of “Pvris” filled the air in an overwhelming fashion following the band’s exit. Fortunately, Pvris answered the call and they enraptured the crowd with an encore of “You and I” and finally “My House,” where the audience went into an utter frenzy rattling the very foundation of Webster Hall.
To throw in a touch of mischief, Pvris left the stage to Smash Mouth’s “All Star.” Stragetic or not, Pvris are on their way to being such. Overall, Pvris’ first ever headlining tour was a huge success with an eclectic group supporting acts. With so many fans requesting Pvris to visit their town, Gunn playfully posted on her Twitter back in March if they hit ever single location requested on planet earth, they would tour forever and never get to make that second record. With that said, due to overwhelming demand, Pvris stick to the road due through July before going over to Japan in August. A good dilemma to have, perhaps a new album can wait a little bit longer.Photo credit: Matt Vogel