Although punk rock had its peak in the ’70s and ’80s, there’s a reason why “punk rock’s not dead” is a common expression in the music industry—and a slogan on Forever 21 tees.
Through reinventing punk, musicians have kept the genre alive and part of the alternative music scene. Two of these modern punk-inspired artists, Beabadoobee and Lowertown, ended the North American Beatopia Tour at Roadrunner Boston on Sunday.
With heavy guitar solos, a strong stage presence, and sporadic screaming in their lyrics, both bands demonstrated a punk-rock influence in their performances.
Lowertown, an indie rock band from Atlanta, opened for the U.S. leg of headliner Beabadoobee’s tour.
Olive Osby, the lead singer of Lowertown, waltzed onto the stage amid anticipatory chatter from the audience. As she finished tuning her guitar behind the microphone, Osby commented on Lowertown’s experience on tour with Beabadoobee and her expectations for the bands’ final show in Boston.
“[This is] the last show of the tour so y’all better go f—king crazy,” Osby said.
Standing in the hazy stage lighting, Osby began singing and strumming her guitar to a haunting acoustic version of “Its Its Its” off Lowertown’s new album I Love to Lie.
Osby’s eerie vocals sounded as if she was intentionally waiting for the moment to let go and scream the lyrics of the song, which came after lead guitarist Avsha Weinberg ran onto the stage. The bassist and drummer soon followed, building up the song with crashing drums, before it culminated in Osby’s scream.
Lowertown shifted into a more danceable direction for its next two songs, playing “Charlie” and “Scum” while encouraging the audience to jump around in the crowd.
Weinberg helped to keep up the energy on stage and in the crowd, thrashing around on stage while playing his guitar and coordinating a call and response during “No Way,” where the audience replied “way” after Weinberg screamed “no.” He even broke a guitar string during “Bucktooth.”
In an interview with The Heights, Osby said that on previous tours, she felt like she held back in terms of her stage presence and wished to be more free and “unhinged” onstage.
Osby achieved this goal on Sunday night, dancing around on stage, emphatically screaming lyrics, and crowd surfing during “My Friends” in the middle of Lowertown’s set.
Before Lowertown played “Best Person You Know” to close its set, Osby reflected on how her and Weinberg wrote the song when they were 17. But after only singing the first few words, Osby stopped the song to ensure the safety of someone in the crowd and was consequently unable to finish playing the last song.
The house lights came on as Lowertown left the stage, making heart hand signs toward the audience and promising to come back to play in Boston in the future.
Beabadoobee’s set resembled a 2000s simulation, with plushies set up on various speakers on the stage, and a colorful backdrop with the Beatopia album cover art on it. Even Beabadoobee’s outfit—a black blazer over a graphic black tank top and red plaid skirt—took after the Y2K fashion style.
Beabadoobee entered the stage playing “10:36,” and the audience immediately started jumping to the music. “10:36” is an upbeat pop-punk song and was clearly a well-known track by the audience.
“(I don’t want to yeah, yeah),” the audience chanted, overpowering Beabadoobee’s soft and angelic voice.
During “Together,” a ’90s grunge-inspired song, Beabadoobee was barely visible on stage due to the stage lighting, and the crowd could only hear the echoes of her voice. Beabadoobee requested for the lights to come up before singing “the perfect pair” so she could better see her fans.
Between songs, Beabadoobee talked to the crowd breathlessly, indicating the high level of energy she put into her performance.
The Beatopia tour was Beabadoobee’s third headlining tour, which was evident in her confidence and ease on stage. She was quick to run around, jump down to sing to the crowd, and dance with her band onstage, especially with her bassist Eliana Sewell during “She Plays Bass.”
Beabadoobee closed the main part of the show with “Talk” and “Cologne,” before returning for an acoustic set for the encore.
“I can see how much my music means to you, and it means the whole world to me so I just wanted to say I really love you guys, and I respect that you respect me too,” Beabadoobee said.
Beabadoobee played her first hit song, “Coffee,” prefacing that sometimes she feels that when she sings “Coffee” live, it is the only time she really feels the meaning of the song. With just Beabadoobee on stage with her guitar, the audience could be heard clearly singing along to every lyric, putting up lighters and swaying to the song.
Beabadoobee then announced the next and final song, “Ripples,” and reminded all the women in the audience that “[they] are in fact a badass.” The rest of the band joined onstage for this energetic closer.
At the end of the song, Beabadoobee threw the plushies from the stage into the audience. Lowertown came back onstage, and the two bands were left standing around hugging, as the audience began to trickle out of the venue at the last stop on the Beatopia U.S. tour.
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