Last weekend, Atlas Genius graced the Queen City with their Australian charm as they played at the Visulite on Saturday, April 23. The show, hosted by Journey’s, was opened by The Young Wild and Skylar Grey.
All images via Dianna Augustine at 2015 Weenie Roast
I arrived at the venue around 7:15 p.m., but before I got in line, I drove around the Visulite for about 20 minutes in search of a parking spot. I’ve been to this venue a handful of times and never had such difficulty finding a space to park. If the parking lot was full an hour before the show, something must be going right for Atlas Genius. As I walked through the doors marked “L-W,” sorted by last names, I was handed a black bracelet marked with Journey’s logo. Representatives from the company were handing out bracelets left and right, encouraging patrons to visit a nearby store to redeem the coupon printed on each band. I walked further into the building and noticed how full the room was; there was still 30 minutes until the opening band was scheduled to play yet I struggled to find a place to stand. It was right then I realized how special of a night it was going to be. Since I had some time to spare, I examined the stage, the Journey’s banners on either side of the room, and, most importantly, the crowd. High schoolers, parents, couples, business men and women, and fellow lone concert goers were surrounding me, each buzzing with excitement as time dwindled down. It’s no secret that the Visulite is a small venue, but the place was louder than ever as people filled every corner with cheers for the show to start.
At 8 o’clock on the dot, California’s own The Young Wild walked onto the stage as blue lights shone on the crowd. It was apparent that the crowd was unfamiliar with the band in front of them, but that didn’t stop them from dancing through every song. The highlight of the band’s set was their bassist, a long, curly haired fellow who let the music move him. You could hardly tell the man had been performing the same songs for months on tour. He clapped to every song, most likely for himself, but the crowd joined in and set the mood for the night: a straight-up party. The most memorable aspect of their set was near the end, as the vocalist shouted to the engineer to turn off all the lights and asked the crowd to illuminate their cellphone lights. It was a special moment between the crowd and the band, and I’m quite sure they gained more than a few fans that night.
Between sets, as many people retreated to the bar for a fresh drink, the dedicated fans in the pit, if you could even say the Visulite has a pit, stayed true to the headliner and refused to move. The next opener was Wisconsin-native Skylar Grey, who played a much longer set than The Young Wild. I had never heard of Skylar Grey before the night began and as soon as she started her set, I regretted not giving her listen before the show. Her electro-hip hop infused songs captivated me from start to finish; I kept forgetting to take notes of what was going on!
Halfway through her set, Skylar Grey switched things up and grabbed an acoustic guitar. She spoke about the mountains she woke up to every day at home, and how they helped her overcome several personal obstacles.
“Instead of moving mountains, let the mountains move you,” sang Grey in a soft, comforting voice.
She finished off her set with a brand new song, but not before promising a new record soon.
Finally, the stage crew began to set up for Atlas Genius; once again, the dedicated fans rushed toward the stage. the older crowd made their way to the bar, and the venue became loud with chatter and laughter. The energy in the room was unreal and the headlining band hadn’t even been on yet!
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js The lights began to dim as purple, blue, and red strobes scattered spears of light all over the room. I thought the venue was loud before, but once Atlas Genius walked on stage, the cheers were deafening. From the first song to the last, I saw people dancing all over the Visulite; in the pit, at their tables, at the bar, everywhere. I laughed to myself as Keith Jeffery told the audience, “this next song is for dancing.” Everyone had been moving since the first song and it didn’t look as if they were going to stop any time soon. The Australian group took part in the dancing as they covered “Everybody Wants to Rule The World” by Tears for Fears, putting a modern electro-pop spin on the 80’s classic. Soon after, the band took a breath as Jeffrey explained to the audience the significance of their next song. “We weren’t originally going to play it,” said Jeffrey. “But during the V.I.P event, someone brought it up and we talked about it for a bit; so we added it to the setlist.” The song was entitled Refugees and, as soon as the band began the intro, the crowd erupted into a boisterous cheers once again. The love for Atlas Genius was real. Jeffrey roamed around the stage as the rest of the band lost themselves in their own instruments; eyes closed, all energy focused on their task, lights creating a silhouette of each man. Near the end of their set, Atlas Genius switched from poppy favorites to a modern favorite, covering Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” The cover was surprisingly well done and quite intricate. The song has been redone so many times that I was pleasantly surprised by how much thought went into the music behind Jeffrey’s vocals. A couple of songs later, the band left the stage for a few moments and the crowd rushed even closer to the stage, preparing for the inevitable encore. Atlas Genius wasted no time and almost immediately walked back onto stage. The coolest part of the night happened as this group of guys from Australia won the entire room over, as if anyone was against them in the first place. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Keith Jeffrey sauntered over to the mic and waited for the screams to hush before he issued a statement about the infamous HB2 law that was recently passed in North Carolina. Jeffrey told the audience that no matter what one’s sexual or gender identity was, they belonged at their show and they deserved basic human rights. He spoke with such passion that I was unable to take my eyes off the stage to write down his heartfelt message. With each word he spoke, the crowd screamed louder and louder, this time provoking cheers from those at the bar, including the bartenders. As Jeffrey promoted equality, the band began to play the start of the encore performance with another crowd-pleasing cover: The Hills by The Weeknd. Fast forward a song or two and the crowd was ready to tear down the walls with their cheers as the band exited the stage.
Atlas Genius’s set quickly became one of my all-time favorites simply because of their stage presence. It’s easy to see how passionate bands are about their music during the first song and Atlas Genius was no exception. You can catch them as they finish out their tour with The Young Wild and Skylar Grey in Phoenix on 4/29 and Los Angeles on 4/30.