It’s always surreal to witness musicians go from playing intimate venues to massive shows in a short period of time. When I first saw PVRIS live, they were an opening band performing a twenty-minute set to a crowd of a couple of hundred people–prior to the release of their first full-length. They went from doing a little over a week on Warped Tour 2014 to propelling their way through Warped Tour on the main stage all summer the following year. And now, at the start of 2016, PVRIS are back to being an opening band, but for one of the biggest tours of the year. Although the difference in their set’s length is only by one song, the difference in quality this time around is monumental.
Although the arena was nowhere near full by the time PVRIS took the stage to the opening chords of “White Noise,” the trio didn’t seem phased. The cheering and loud screams from those who made sure they wouldn’t miss PVRIS were enough to make up for the people who had yet to show up. Once the song was over, Lynn somewhat timidly said, “Thank you so much,” and it was an interesting contrast to her rocker persona just ten seconds prior. This trend of thanking the crowd continued after every song, adding a whole new level of depth to their performance. It was evident that PVRIS were genuinely thankful to be performing in front of this half-filled arena, and it was quite charming, frankly.
After performing their first hit single, “St. Patrick,” they continued with “Smoke.” Halfway through the song, Lynn got up on the stage platforms before heading down to sing in front of the standing general admission section. As she made her rounds, she held hands with the fans who were close enough to touch, and the gesture was appreciated by everyone and not just those who were lucky enough to be down there. My friend, who had never seen or heard of PVRIS prior to this, said, “They definitely got better after they interacted with the crowd.”
I couldn’t agree more, and it seemed as though that interaction gave the band the energy they needed for “Fire,” one of my favorite tracks off White Noise. After that, Lynn kept getting the crowd involved, whether it was asking them to jump or to put their hands up. Fans loudly sang along while swaying their phones and their bodies in time to the music, and they allowed themselves to be captivated by the magic that is a PVRIS performance.
Once they went into “You & I,” the group’s first new track in over a year, the arena erupted into enthusiastic, incredibly loud screams. It seemed like everyone there participated in the chorus. Still, the biggest response was to their closing song, “My House.” Arguably the most popular song from PVRIS’ current discography, it received the biggest response from the arena, which had filled up more since the start of the band’s set twenty minutes prior. A girl behind me even started freaking out, yelling, “That’s my favorite song!”
In the past year and a half, this three-piece has found success faster than any other band in their niche in recent years, and it is evident why in the way they can command a room bigger than many other NYC venues combined. Given their performance, it’s no surprise that one of the most popular alt-rock groups of this century thus far chose to take PVRIS out with them on this arena run. And, at the rate things are going for them, I’m sure we’ll be seeing these Boston rockers selling out similar-sized venues relatively soon.
Remaining Tour Dates:
March 17 BJCC Arena Birmingham, AL
March 18 FedEx Forum Memphis, TN
March 19 Smoothie King Center New Orleans, LA
March 20 Freeman Coliseum San Antonio, TX
March 22 INTRUST Bank Arena Wichita, KS
March 23 The Broadmoor World Arena Colorado Springs, CO
March 25 Talking Stick Resort Arena Phoenix, AZ
March 26 Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre Irvine, CA
P.S. Overheard in the bathroom after their set: “I love Lynn Gunn. Her Instagram is so aesthetically pleasing.”