Heading past downtown Charlotte on the way to the Visualite Theater was a far more tense experience than it should have been. Rolling up and seeing the already large line under the shadow of the marquee stirs something inside you that reminds you of what you are about to experience. The unlit icon of the stage was branded with the names Bad Suns and KIEV for this night. Despite the lack of electricity in the sign, you could feel a comparable charge within the ever-growing crowd.
The hush of the crowd greeted KIEV as they sauntered to their spots on stage and picked up their respective instruments. A steady wooden beat followed by the gentle and methodical plucking of guitar strings brought the crowd to a new musical world created by these 4 musicians. The sounds of their set resonated in the air and left an almost lustrous vibe circling around the venue. The changing of songs and the onstage banter between the members paused the trance-like feeling brought on by the music. KIEV brought a perfect mix of slower, more laid back tunes and guitar heavy, impactful ones; giving lots of variety to an unfamiliar crowd. Overall, this 7-song set left one fully satisfied yet craving more, as any well thought-out set should. Keep your eyes on them, they will be changing the industry, if not the world, with their music.
The time in between acts is always the most nerve-racking. The crowd watches as the first act breaks down their set while forming their opinions on what they just experienced, and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the headliner. The harsh artificial glow of cell phone screens fill the space of the venue, along with the murmurs of those impatient for the music to start back up again. Occasional screams are heard as managers and stagehands enter the stage to make last-minute adjustments to sound and set. Dimming lights and a split-second of silence ushers in the headliners: Bad Suns.
A gently echoing vibrato sounding from front-man Christo Bowman’s guitar rings in the ears of fans as Bad Suns open up their set. Immediately the crowd begins to jump and sway to the tracks that they all know so well. Composed of songs off of their debut album Language & Perspective, and a track off of their first EP, the show was filled with the sounds that have built the foundation of the band’s career. A slight nod to their future was mixed into the middle of the set as well, in the form of a new track, titled Time Time Time. Short and witty interactions between the band and the crowd took place before major shifts in mood and kept the atmosphere friendly and relaxed throughout the show. The set reached it’s climax as the band transitioned into their singles (Cardiac Arrest, We Move Like The Ocean, and Salt), causing the small venue to explode with the energy and ecstatic voices of the crowd.
Bad Suns once again brought their beach-wave pop/rock to the Southeast along with the chilled out, genre-defying sounds of KIEV. Charlotte is going to be anticipating the return of these two bands- seeking more new, entrancing music.
Review by Emilie Weinerman | @awarrenwriting