For those attending shows in my part of town, it seems that our city always seems to fall on the last leg of a tour. When the Pioneer World Tour rolled through the House of Blues in Dallas, TX, however, fans were treated to the second stop of the national tour featuring The Maine, Lydia and Arkells. With such strong and memorable performances by each of the acts, one would never guess the bands may have still been working out the kinks.
The night started out with a unique and interactive performance by the Canadian five-piece band, Arkells. Vocalist Matt Kerman quickly took control of the crowd, winning them over with the performance of their popular hit, “Oh, The Boss Is Coming!”. He requested assistance from the fans on certain parts such as “punch it in, punch it out, punch it in!” This definitely set the bar high for the rest of their set, during which he requested that all the lights be turned out, allowing only the glow of cell phones, lighters and the exit signs to persist. From here, he asked that everyone join him in singing “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” The majority of their set definitely foreshadowed other special assets to the show. Their set flew by, leaving me wanting much, much more.
Following Arkells, and significantly changing gears, was Arizona based indie band, Lydia. The switching gears, however, certainly did not pertain to crowd energy. Regardless of the slower paced music and calming vocals of frontman Leighton Antelman, the crowd energy continued to soar as the audience seemed to sing along to every word. During the varied set, the band went back in time and sang a few songs from the 2008 album “Illuminate”. This was undoubtedly the peak of their performance. Continuing the theme of “leaving us wanting more”, the fans in attendance and myself included, seemed sad to see an end to their short, but sweet, set.
Before long, headliners The Maine were preparing to start their performance. Their stage was prepared and it was time to get things going, and they took the stage through smoke, bright lights, and the powerful hit “Identify” off their latest album, Pioneer. The group played a strong setlist overall taking songs from not only Pioneer, but also at least one from each stage of their career, including the 2007 album The Way We Talk. It was an excellent way to say “This is where we started, and this is how far we’ve come. And we’re damn proud of it.” And they should be.
Certainly the most memorable moment of the evening was a mid-set cover song featuring every band member of the tour. Members of Arkells, Lydia and The Maine joined together on stage to combine different style, instruments and vocals to produce an incredibly unique version of The Beatles’ “With A little Help From My Friends”. Not only a great choice, but also a very symbolic one.
As the night came to a close, I was surprised, maybe even disappointed, at the lack of an encore performance for the show. Even still, that’s just to show that the performance left me wanting more.