Written By | Ariana Simon
On September 18, 2018 I arrived at the courtyard home to the Masquerade – an Atlanta concert venue featuring not one, but three stages, I was surprised to see the long line of young adults waiting outside the doors to the second largest room, facetiously named Hell. The room proved to be anything but hellish, featuring a wide floor space and balcony seating – plenty of room for all the fans waiting just outside its doors.
While loading onto the stage in 550 cap room, I couldn’t help but laugh at the sign promptly placed behind the bassist – tall, on white canvas it reads, “Cave People – the #1 best band!”. Unfamiliar with the name prior to their supporting Tigers Jaw on this self-titled tour, I now had some sort of expectation for the coming performance. Something high enough to warrant “#1 band”, although the hushed room made me wonder if the crowd knew they were the best, or just as much strangers as myself.
Cave People’s jam-easy melodies seemed more fragrant of alt rock than farm emo, like a more electric Pinegrove. David Tomaine’s grainy vocals carried through the room, creating a nice contrast between the frequent clean-toned guitar solos. The crowd matched Tomaine’s energy with ease, swaying along as he sang through their last song.
The Sidekicks quickly proved to be more engaging, coming out strong with a semblance of harsh vocals over a charging melody. It at first seemed like a bold move, beginning “the bounce” in the opening song, but they rose to the occasion and were equally met by an excited audience. The crowd’s mood took a noticeable change, as if the air they’d been breathing suddenly made them more alive. Although they were more instrumental-centric than the first support band, their storytelling lyrics made for easily attachable choruses, with the crowd crooning along, “Don’t you wish you were a past you?”, early on in the set. The Sidekicks performed with the cohesion of a jam band and the sincerity of a singer-songwriter, putting on an overall enjoyable performance.
As soon as Tigers Jaw entered the stage, a now very crowded Hell, erupted in a chorus of cheers – the 10 year celebration of the self-titled album was well deserved, gathering a diverse range of fans both old and new. At the sound of the first chord to a song titled, “Hum”, the crowd immediately surged to the front of the room, pushing themselves as close to the barricade as comfortably possible. The audio mix couldn’t have been more perfect, with frontman Ben Walsh’s raspy vocals blending perfectly with those of their keyboardist, Brianna Collins. The band’s energy remained at a constant high as they played through a number of songs from their discography, ranging from their oldest to most recent 2017 release, Spin; following a brief intermission, the band returned to the stage to perform the self-titled album from front to back, much to their audience’s approval. A mosh pit quickly formed in the center of the room, with fans crowd surfing over the barricade, voices raised in beautiful chorus. Considered by many as a flagship bandsara in emo, the legacy Tigers Jaw carries was made apparent with this performance, and despite the number of times they’ve played here, Atlanta certainly leapt to greet them.