Live Performance Reviews

Manhattan trio AJR rocks the house with Chicago native Josie Dunne

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On April 26th 2019, AJR’s latest album, Neotheater was released. Just four months later and the trio is back in Chicago, only to perform the next day at Lollapalooza. AJR took the stage at House of Blues on August 2nd only to absolutely enchant the entire crowd, including the bartenders and security. Coming from the insane energy of Lollapalooza to a venue full of fans that were happier than ever to be there was a fun change of pace for the incoming festival-goers.

With opening act Josie Dunne, Chicago area native, to get the vibes going and truly amp up the house before the brothers were to perform, you could feel the overwhelming excitement all over the venue. From the back of the crowd to the front row, she had everyone singing in sync and dancing together as if nothing else mattered in the world. Incredible to have an artist bring a crowd together in such a particular way, not only does Dunne do that, but so does AJR. The amount of fans in the crowd actually singing along to every single lyric was something truly special to see. The crowd sang and jumped along to “Sunday Morning” so hard that the dance floor was bouncing up and down, hard enough to make the doors downstairs rattle with every hit of the beat. The crowd was just as invigorated as Dunne.

After her [Dunne] set finished up- fans began cheering, screaming, whistling, clapping and singing while waiting for the boys to get up there and start performing. Their [AJR] equipment began to get set up and you could begin to feel the true effervescence of the crowd. By the time AJR took the stage the crowd was ready to turn it up to another level.

The New York-based band is made up of Adam, Jack and Ryan Met—brothers who all play multiple instruments to create their upbeat style of electronic pop music. The trio is currently riding on the success of their third album, Neotheater, which peaked at number 8 on the Billboard 200.

The entire house began to roar as the drums started kicking and Jack danced his way out onto the stage— with his iconic faux fur winter hat of course.

He slammed his drumsticks to his floor tom (a single large standing drum) and the audience clapped and hopped along in unison. AJR showed off their versatility by performing a remixed version of Pinocchio’s “I’ve Got No Strings,” all while Jack played live synth notes on his MIDI (an instrument used heavily in electronic and pop music). From there the band played hit “Sober Up,” which the crowd got so lost in, that their singing almost drowned out Jack’s own vocals. Tremendous energy filled the House of Blues, and you didn’t even have to look on stage to see and feel it. It was in the crowd.

Their next song was “Sober Up” and that changed the mood from the song played prior. Jack got out his acoustic guitar, Adam had his ukulele, and together they strummed away. The crowd got so lost in the song that the energy in the room was unimaginable. There were tears in the eyes of many audience members, along with smiles from ear to ear. The Audience participation was the theme of the night. After supporting and singing along with Dunne, the crowd erupted as the drums began and the brothers walked out. Lead vocalist Jack (of course wearing his signature winter hat) led the way, dancing towards centerstage. The audience clapped and danced along with him as his sang the band’s biggest hits, like “100 Bad Days and “Burn The House Down”.