August 13, 2015 Tokio Hotel Take Over House of Blues Sunset Strip West Hollywood, CA 7-28-15 w/ MXMS
Even four years after their previous record, Germany’s Tokio Hotel fanbase lost no love and devotion for their favorite band. Founded in 2001, the band had been an international success, topping a variety of European charts with 2005’s Schrei and 2007’s Zimmer 483. Releasing their debut English record also in 2007, entitled Scream, Tokio Hotel immediately garnished attention in the USA, and even won the MTV Video Music Award Best New Artist Award. Introducing themselves to North America with a mini-tour in 2008, the band returned to the studio thereafter and released a German and English version of Humanoid in 2009, making it their highest charted album in The States. Delving into other ventures, Tokio Hotel went through a long period of inactively, but in October of 2014 returned with their fifth studio record, Kings of Suburbia, which premiered at number 1 in thirty countries, and top 5 in seventeen more. Judging by the reaction, it was clear that Tokio Hotel is the type of band whose fans will stick by them through anything.
Now, after the five year hiatus from touring, many American fans had given up on ever seeing Tokio Hotel live again, but following a sold-out European tour in March, Tokio Hotel announced they would return stateside for the Feel It All World Tour 2015: Part 2 The Club Experience North America . With the lineup of Bill Kaulitz (vocals), Tom Kaulitz (guitar), Gustav Schäfer (drums), and Georg Listing (bass), a fourteen date tour kicked off on July 27th in San Francisco, CA, and on Tuesday the 28th they brought their show to West Hollywood to play one of the final shows ever at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip before it closed for good a day later. Upon arrival at the venue, it was no surprised that there was a line all the way around the block. Fans were decked out in Tokio Hotel merchandise, holding posters to be signed, and eagerly awaiting entry. What was extremely interesting to see was the variety of people with fans of all different ages, ethnicities, and music tastes all congregated together for one common love, Tokio Hotel.
Self described as “Funeral Pop,” Los Angeles based duo MXMS was the perfect fit to open for Tokio Hotel. Having opened for the likes of Julien-K in the past, MXMS are an interesting brand of music that continues to garnish attention as they build a name. Led by Vocalist Ariel Levitan and Pianist Jeremy Dawson, they mixed together visual art with audio, creating a powerful vibe that is difficult to achieve with only three members on stage. Playing tracks like “Omg” and “Rx,” they gave a raw, emotional set that touched the soul. Be sure to arrive early and check them out as they support Tokio Hotel through the final days of the tour.
With the venue jam packed with eager fans, Tokio Hotel’s performance began even before they walked out onto the stage. With a five minute display of colored lights on a sheer screen to the beat of Electronic music, the energy in the room amplified. Every time there was a pause in the music, the crowd went wild. This hyped-up anticipation made the band’s eventual entrance even more exciting. Clad in a gold sequined jumpsuit, cape, and crown, Bill was not easy to miss. Anyone who is familiar with Tokio Hotel know they have never been a band to skip out on theatricality, and they did not start now. Beginning their set with “We Found Us,” off 2014’s Kings of Suburbia, the crowd immediately started singing along, almost swallowing up the Kaulitz voice. While the song in and of itself is not especially high energy, opposed to their other tracks, it definitely translated that way on stage.
Transitioning into another new song entitled “Girl Got A Gun,” which was in fact a video prior to the album, proved to be a fan-favorite right from the first note. This high-octane jam had everyone moving and lost in the music, thus setting the tone for the rest of evening. One notable thing about their set was that the older songs were always crowd favorites, and songs like “Darkside of the Sun” blended seamlessly with other newbies like “Covered in Gold” and “Feel It All.” Going into the last track off the new album, “Louder Than Love,” an extended intro kept the tension high as Tom and Listing beat on large drums in front of the stage for an epic tribal feel. Moving into 2009’s “Noise,” to say the crowd was enthusiastic would be a severe understatement as they sung so loudly it would not be shocking it many woke up the following morning with laryngitis. Following with album title track “King of Suburbia,” some lucky VIP admission fans were invited onto the stage before the haunting piano-laden “Invaded,” which captivated the audience on an even higher level emotionally.
About halfway through the set, the sheer screen fell down in front of the stage again. From behind it, Bill, post-outfit change, sang “Run, Run, Run,” a bewitching ballad that saw the crowd sway back and forth, letting the melody wash over them instead of singing along. After yet another outfit change, they picked up the pace with their songs “Automatic” and “Screamin’,” both from the popular Humanoid record. Giving the audience more of their new material, “Stormy Weather” and “Masquerade” came before they wrapped things up with “The Heart Get No Sleep.” Amazingly, even after such a long set, the crowd still wanted more. Chanting “Tokio Hotel” over and over again, hoping to be granted just three and a half more minutes of surreality, instead, they received even more than that. In fact, Tokio Hotel played three encores, including their most well-known track, “Monsoon” before the finale of “Great Day” as confetti fell from above onto the crowd.
Tokio Hotel put on a show that attendees will not likely forget in the near (or distant) future. Their high level of energy, crazy lights, and interaction with the fans is unlike those of any other, and it is truly a special thing to witness. When they first came onto the US scene they were a band which enticed many young kids interested in music in the first place. Since then, their fans have evolved and used the band as a stepping stone to find out about the music they listen to now, but their love for Tokio Hotel never went away. The band will conclude their North American leg of the tour on August 16th in Philadelphia, PA before heading to South and Central America, so do not miss this special opportunity to see them live.