Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
Review and photos by Caitlyn Willard.
Cartel recently came to Baltimore to celebrate the anniversary release of their debut album Chroma, which was released 10 years ago (CRAZY!). They played to an almost sold out room, full of fans waiting to relive their early teenage years. The band also brought along with them Hit the Lights, TEAM*, and Driver Friendly.
Driver Friendly, who hail from Austin, TX, were the first act to play. Driver Friendly is fairly new to the scene, having only been around since 2012, but have already opened for bigger names such as Motion City Soundtrack, Relient K, and now, Cartel. The first time I saw them was during Warped Tour 2013 and I’ve been a fan ever since. With an incredibly energetic live presence, the band had the attention of everyone in the room. Driver Friendly even played a cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” which had the crowd dancing and singing along. This is a band that definitely shows a lot of promise.
TEAM* was up next. The band, which started in 2013 includes two past members of Forever the Sickest Kids, Caleb Turman on vocals and Rico Garcia on drums. Their music had an indie/beachy sound with a mix of rock and was very catchy. The crowd seemed to enjoy them and with the fans from some of the members past work, I’m sure they’ll start building a solid fan base soon.
Hit the Lights, like Cartel, has also been in the scene for many years and had a solid fan base in the crowd. Opening their set with their new song “Fucked Up Kids” from the latest release Summer Bones, the band had great energy throughout their whole set. It was clear that the energy in the room really began to build as Hit the Lights began playing some of their older songs such as “Stay Out” and “Drop the Girl” and closed their set with fan favorite, “Body Bag”.
It was now time for the band of the night. Cartel opened with the first song off Chroma, “Say Anything (Else),” and the venue instantly exploded. Their set included every song from Chroma, front to back. It was clear that this album was very influential to the fans in crowd, as it is to us over at Lucy Out Loud. Every person sang their hearts out to each song along with the band. At the end of “Burn This City,” Cartel even stopped playing the last verse so the roomed was filled with nothing but the audience singing the words back to them. In the middle of the set vocalist, Will Pugh, came out on stage out by himself to play a very intimate performance of “Save Us.” This might have been my favorite moment of the night and some parts honestly gave me goosebumps. The energizing set concluded with “Q” and “A.”
For the encore, Cartel played a couple fan favorites including “The Fortunate” and “The Perfect Mistake”. The crowd gave their all from beginning to end and it was certainly a night to remember.