Concert Review: Against the Current

This post turned out to be somewhat of a day blog/review fusion, so I’ve placed headings at the top of each section so you can get the gist of where to find certain topics. As always, I hope you find a takeaway today!

Date: April 17, 2019     |     Location: New York City     |     Venue: Gramercy Theatre

Back in April, I got to see Against the Current live during their Past Lives World Tour, following the release of their sophomore album, Past Lives, in October. I was so excited to get the tickets; I’d seen and met ATC before in 2015, and in for a short free show at Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den in CT, but I’d missed out on seeing them during their In Our Bones Tour. I sent my boyfriend, Chris, a message saying to take April 17 off work and bought two tickets along with two VIP meet and greet passes. Then all we had to do was wait.

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Flash forward: inside the venue 

Travel Preparations

A couple weeks before the show, I realized that Chris and I should have a solidified plan for how we were going to get into NYC and how we would be coming home. We were going to drive ourselves, but between the stress of driving in the city and the ridiculous parking garage rates, that was more anxiety than we needed and more money than we wanted spend. Normally when I have to travel to a larger city in my area (i.e. Boston or NYC) for a concert, I opt for Boston. We have a family friend who lives there and knows all the ropes for parking, travel in the city, etc. I also happen to prefer Boston, but that’s beside the point. However, Chris really wanted to go to the New York show, so I figured it would be fun since I hadn’t been in awhile. I also figured that since ATC is originally from the NYC area, it would be like their “hometown show” in a sense.

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Flash forward: ATC singer, Chrissy, onstage

However, once it came to travel arrangements, that’s when things got tedious. I looked a bunch of train rates/times going into and out of the city, but nothing seemed to be lining up within our budget. That’s when I saw how much cheaper the bus rates were, but I became frustrated because their wasn’t a bus home at a late enough time. I eventually lined everything up and got the best deal by buying bus tickets to go into the city, and off-peak train tickets to travel home. We would leave from and arrive back to Union Station in New Haven, CT, which is conveniently only an hour away from my house. So, after all that the final plan was: Chris would meet me at my house (he lives in the Providence area), we would drive to New Haven in my car, we would take the bus into NYC, spend some time in the city and eat an early dinner, go to the concert, walk to the Grand Central Terminal from Gramercy Theatre, take the train back to New Haven, and drive back to my house for the night. Whew. That’s a mouthful and it took several hours for me to plan. Can you tell I’m used to being in a small-town setting where you just drive everywhere easily? 😉

Travel and Times Square

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Quick pic in an iconic place

Long story short, we almost missed our bus due to my failing to plan where we would park in New Haven (I stupidly believed we could just find parking in Union Station’s attached garages, which were of course full), but we made it and got into the city right around 2:00 p.m. The show wasn’t until 8:00, VIP wasn’t until 6:00, and I had decided I would like us to get to the venue by 5:00 to wait outside and get a good spot in line, since the show was general admission standing room. We walked to Times Square as Chris thought it would be fun, and were immediately bombarded by costumed people. You can truly sense my enthusiasm:

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I was actually quite frustrated after that because they conned me into giving them eight bucks after we took these, uh, lovely photos (not a lot of money, but they didn’t actually do anything), but felt better once we got to our lunch destination: Europa Café. We topped off our wonderful meal with a piece of authentic New York cheesecake.

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My apologies for it being half-eaten; I forgot to grab my phone for a picture while it was pretty.

After lunch, because of how long it takes to get anywhere in NYC (even on foot, as we were), we began our walk to Gramercy Theatre. Albeit busy, Times Square is something pretty spectacular. It was a lovely day in New York, and we got to take our time since we got an early start. I just enjoyed getting to walk beside Chris and chatting for awhile, and we passed by the Empire State Building. How did I know this? There were other people taking pictures of a building taller than the others so I figured, and then continued to take pictures along with them (ugh, what a tourist, right?).

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Meet and Greet

A little while later, we arrived to Gramercy and found our spots at the end of the short barricade just outside the door. We were some of the last people to make it into that barricade before a security guard began to direct people to the continued one around the corner, so I was pleased with our timing. We waited outside for the next forty-five minutes or so with fellow fans and got to talking with some of them. The time passed fairly quickly, and before I knew it, ATC’s tour manager was going down the line confirming people’s tickets and VIP passes, and passing out laminates. Shortly after, the security team let us into the theatre. It’s one of those older buildings in NYC, and I really enjoyed its vibe. We formed a line down the side of the stage, and the meet and greet began. Of course, I was nervous and shy meeting the band (classic introvert) so Chris did most of the talking (quite the extrovert), but Chrissy, Dan, and Will were all so nice and it was a pleasure meeting them again.

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After that we made our way to the downstairs area of the theatre, which was stunning might I add, to get first dibs at merch items and wait to be let back into the theatre before the concert began.

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I know, I know, just call me a merch model 😉

We rushed to the front once the doors were opened, snagged two spots right against the barricade in front of the stage, talked some more with fellow concert-goers, and at last the lights went down.

Openers

ATC had two opening acts for this show: guccihighwaters and Chapel. I find openers to be a great way to discover great up-and-comers that are backed by artists you already enjoy. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of guccihighwaters since his music isn’t really my cup of tea (he leaned more R&B, in my opinion, as opposed to ATC’s more Pop Alternative genre). If you’re into that style of music, give him a listen!

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guccihighwaters

However, I thought Chapel was really great! Chris and I both enjoyed them, and it’s safe to say that they have two new fans 🙂 I specifically loved the passion that you can feel through their performance.

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Chapel

Concert

ATC’s portion of the concert was pure magic. There was such a let-go atmosphere in the room where everyone just felt so present in the moment. There was a sense of comradery among everyone there. The band was super interactive with the crowd onstage, and their personalities really shined through. Authentic is the first word I would use to describe one of their shows. I can confirm that that is something that has remained the same each time I’ve seen them; they are true to themselves as artists and in their progression, which is something so refreshing.

They played songs from their first EP all the way through nearly all the songs off of Past Lives. It was a great mix, and their energy never faltered. That being said, the set had a nice rhythm, mixing in a couple of their slower songs in the perfect moments which set a great pace.

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A stagehand gave me Chrissy’s setlist at the end of the show!

The lighting was fun and added to the vibes of the respective songs, and the stage presence was on another level. Chrissy is known to be a lead singer who moves around a lot, and she did not disappoint. She was in constant motion, but also maintained strong vocals. On that note, one thing I want to add is that they have improved as time has gone on! That’s not to say the shows I saw in 2015 or last year were “bad shows”. Not at all in the least! However, as musicians, they have improved as they’ve gone, and their experience has made them better, not complacent. They’ve been talented and great performers from the start, but they’ve honed their craft that much more and it shows.

 

The last thing I want to say in this section is that this band is one of the best when it comes to making their audience feel like they matter. This is because of that authenticity; we feel that way because we do matter to them. There was a sense of gratitude from the band all night for all of us being there. I really appreciated that.

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Ratings

Openers: 7

I enjoyed the openers overall, I just wasn’t a huge fan of guccihighwaters’ style of music, and felt it didn’t necessarily flow well with the other artists playing the show. Chapel was great, and I look forward to seeing more from them.

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Kortney Grinwis of Chapel

Stage Design: 8

The lighting was incredible, in particular, and they did as much as they could with the small stage with the large backdrop of the album cover in the background.

 

Venue: 8

Gramercy is a lovely staple in NYC with an old-timey feel to it. It’s quirky and wonderful, and has it’s own vibe like every old theatre does. I took off points because the stage was quite small, and the outdoor waiting area was limited. That has a lot to do with a lack of space in NYC in general, but it was something I noted. J

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Music Quality: 9

Like I said, ATC has gone above and beyond to bring us some of the best music I’ve heard in awhile. The quality of the live music was pretty impeccable, but I’m giving them a nine because I know that they will grow that much more in the future and want to leave room for that.

Performance Value: 10

Chrissy, Dan, and Will are some of the most top-notch performers I have seen live. Their show was beyond a concert; it was an experience worth remembering for years to come. Their passion for the music and for their fans showed through with each moment, especially this one when Chrissy came down to the barricade right in front of us!

Overall Experience: 10

All in all, nothing is perfect and I fully understand that. Even so, I had one of the best nights of my life at the Past Lives World Tour. Like I said, I’m going to look back on this memory for the rest of my life, and it was a great time for Chris and I to spend together. If you can go to see ATC live, I fully recommend that you take the opportunity!

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Two very happy music fans 🙂

Last Thoughts

This is a band to watch for sure. They are growing steadily and finding their sound along the way, and you don’t want to miss out on them. You can follow ATC on Facebook, Instagram @againstthecurrentny, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also stream their album, Past Lives, on Spotify. I can recommend their live shows in good faith, and stand behind this band in their music journey. They are young, growing artists with a great message, and I can’t wait to see what they’re going to do next!

Oh, and just for the record, our journey home was seamless and we had no trouble falling asleep after such a hectic day, but it was a blast! Chris is the best adventure partner there is, and I was so happy to get to experience this day with him. Goodnight, New York!

Much Love, Quinn

Thank you for reading this concert review! If you’d be interested in me writing more of these in the future when I catch live shows, let me know in the comments. 

The Word Oasis blog will have new content every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so stop on by for new posts each week! Check out the Word Oasis Instagram (@word.oasis) for additional content relating to writing, poetry, and more! The new YouTube channel is now launched, with new videos every other week.  

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