The Rocket Summer (aka the brainchild of singer-songwriter Bryce Avary) is a musician that continues to impress me not only with his songwriting capabilities but with his stage presence. This statement is no exception when it comes to reviewing the show that he put on in San Francisco last Wednesday night at Bottom of the Hill.
Opening the show was Paradise Fears, a band that I had seen a couple of times before, and am impressed by with each new performance. Paradise Fears is unique in the way that they craft their songs (in a podcast interview coming this week, I talk with their vocalist Sam about their songwriting approach and how literature plays into these tracks). While they have a pop-rock feel, vocalist Sam Miller throws in occasional yet powerful rap verses to add intensity to the stories that he's telling about the characters the band have crafted. They are a band that is on the rise and must not be missed.
Bryce Avary finally takes the stage, armed with nothing more than a guitar (as well as a drummer and second guitarist by his side) before launching straight into tracks from Do You Feel, much to the enjoyment of the crowd. During this tour, Avary has been premiering several new songs, including the track everyone has heard by now called "Same Air". That track has much more of a pop sensibility to it, and it works well in a live setting. For those worried that it's taking Avary in a more poppy direction than usual, fear not - the other two songs he premiered from the upcoming new album have as much of a rock edge as you could hope for, and they will not disappoint you.
A special moment in the night came when Avary invited a young vocalist onstage. The Rocket Summer funded the new album by setting up a pledge page, and one of the "prizes" you could win was to go up on stage with Bryce and perform any of his songs with him. Tammy, the young woman in attendance, was the first winner to take the stage with Avary. They sang one of his songs together during the encore, receiving a massive roar of applause from the packed venue.
In traditional TRS style, Avary said "until next time" with the performance of "So Much Love", one his biggest tracks. To put it simply, The Rocket Summer puts on the show for anyone that is a fan of music. Even if you have no idea who he is, go to his show and you'll leave as a fan. I guarantee it. You can't help it.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.