Written By | Lindsey Sobkowsi
Austin, Texas based Missio brought their headline tour to Detroit on Friday, April 19th at the iconic Saint Andrews Hall. They were accompanied by two other Austin based bands called Swells and Blackillac.
The chilly weather outside of the venue brought increased anticipation to the event that would ensue later in the night. The hour inside the venue after doors was full of murmuring and people hyping themselves up with excited chatter and glow sticks being thrown down from the balcony above.
At 8 pm Swells casually strutted onstage ready to bring a start to the evening. Taylor Baker took center stage, all eyes on her as she made her stage presence known with her alluring voice. Bandmate Drew Walker added to the twinkling synth-filled tracks with his entrancing drippy guitar work. The band let their collection of trippy grooves fill the room, which displayed their inspirations from bands like Glass Animals. One song in particular called ‘Faded’ discussed the topic of “losing yourself in the moment” as said by Baker. It was fitting subject matter, as audience members truly were losing themselves in the moment, dancing and interacting with the band by putting their hands up in the air. At the conclusion of their set, Baker announced that the last song they were going to play was a newly released track called ‘Lights Out’. The song’s heavy bass and screeching guitar set the stage for the next exciting act of the night, Blackillac.
Blackillac then took the stage emanating powerful energy. Immediately, they threw down booming trap beats overlaid with precision bars. The crowd interaction was strong from the start, everyone was jumping and clapping along. The duo were not afraid to show their personalities onstage as they displayed their synchronized bits of choreography and zany facial expressions.
Phran and Zeale’s comedic presence brought lightheartedness to their otherwise robust bass filled tracks. If this was not enough for the audience to fall in love with the dynamic pair, they threw down a Detroit themed freestyle that thoroughly entertained and enthralled the crowd. The verses mentioned iconic Detroit locations like Comerica Park and well known Michigan names such as former Red Wings player Steve Yzerman. They ended the set with their track ‘Juice It Up’ that left the energy in the room feeling more buzzed and lively than before.
When it was time for Missio to take the stage, the crowd was at its peak of anticipation. The lights shut off, and the cheers ensued. Booming bass blared through the speakers and shook the bodies of ecstatic crowd members. The duo walked on stage in white robes covering their faces which added to the mysteriousness and anticipation. Missio dove right into the track ‘Misfit Lunatic’ off of their new album The Darker The Weather // The Better The Man. The song features thick bass which eventually drops into a synth-filled chorus.
Many of their tracks feature Matthew Brue’s yelled and repeated mantras and then his rapped or spoken verses. This classic Missio formula continued throughout the night through the likes of songs such as ‘Temple Priest’, ‘KDV’, ‘I Do What I Want’ and others. The consistent formula called for consistent crowd excitement throughout the whole set. The energy seemed to be passed back and forth from the band to the crowd and back to the band, as if they were feeding off of each other. The energy was especially present during the track which inspired the name of the tour: ‘Rad Drugz’. The underlying low-toned synth layered with a blossoming swell of upbeat guitar was undeniably a moment of pure ecstasy for everyone present.
Crowd pleasers Blackillac were invited back onstage to perform during Missio’s ‘Shimmy’. They are featured on Missio’s album, and their presence adds a sense of swag to the already dark and pulsating track.
Not everything was quick-paced that night, Missio also knew how to slow it down. The single ‘Bottom Of The Deep Blue Sea’ from their debut album Loner was a haunting song that made people in the crowd idly sway back and forth. Just before their encore, they concluded with their popular anthem ‘Middle Fingers’ which unsurprisingly called for a sea of middle fingers pointed towards the ceiling and a collective chanting of “I’ll just keep on throwing middle fingers in the air”.
Before the night came to an official close, Matthew Brue of Missio had an important message to communicate to fans through the lyrics of the latest single ‘I See You’, which he deemed to be Missio’s “Most important song they’ve written yet”. The subject matter discusses the decline of the human condition and people feeling bad about themselves. It finds the good in people during the worst moments of life and lets those individuals who are dealing with issues such as mental illness and suicidal thoughts know that they are not alone in their struggles. The song left people in tears and left a feeling of comfort and warmth lingering in the air even when Brue and Butler left the stage. The Rad Drugz Tour made for an important night at Saint Andrews Hall.
The event served as a place to let negative emotions out through pure exhilaration and to let new, positive emotions flood in through the understanding and passion of the performers who took the stage that Friday night.
Photo Credit: Lindsey Sobkowski
IT'S A MOVEMENT