If you were driving down Main Street near Transit Road on Sunday and wondering why a line of more than 100 kids stretched from the front of Club Infinity and wrapped around the side, seemingly going on forever, while a kid in full-out Hollister gear was drawing a chalk mural in the parking lot with the initials "TRS" in the middle, you guessed it! The Rocket Summer was in town. This, being Bryce Avary's first headlining tour for his third album "Do You Feel," released in 2007, was the best we have seen of the Rocket Summer thus far.
When the doors opened at 6 p.m., kids poured into the venue and up to the stage in anticipation for the show. At around 7, the Morning Light took the stage, sporting songs like "Safe Bet" from the 2007 EP "The Sound of Love" and "Clouds" from their new self-titled debut. They were a great warm-up band as everyone seemed to sway in enjoyment of their performance.
The Secret Handshake hit the stage second, incorporating dance throughout their entire set. The Secret Handshake is composed of a drummer and pianist, along with a Mac laptop that contains all their techno beats. In borrowing the Morning Light's bassist Andrew McDonald to round out their sound, the Secret Handshake was able to successfully keep the whole room jumping throughout their entire 30-minute set.
But the life of the show, besides the Rocket Summer, was Phantom Planet. In opening their set with the infamous "California," theme song of "The O.C." TV show, they were able to get the crowd singing along immediately as they began to stream through new songs off debut release "Raise the Dead." So energetic was lead singer/guitarist Alex Greenwald, he couldn't help but constantly jump into the audience and be a part of the crowd throughout most of their set. They were definitely the most interactive band of the night.
Finally, at around 9:30 p.m., the Rocket Summer opened their hourlong set with "Do You Feel" and "Colors," and despite all the previous pushing and shoving that occurred throughout the other acts, everyone seemed to settle their differences and focus on Avary's amazing musical talent. When Avary composed a song on stage using technology that would record the drums, guitar, bass and piano as he moved from instrument to instrument, the crowd was in awe. Other members from the opening acts joined in on stage as Avary did the Moonwalk and Alex Greenwald started break-dancing. One of the best moments of the night was when Avary played "Goodbye Waves and Driveways" ("Hello, Good Friend" 2003) on acoustic guitar from the back of the venue. A billion and one cell phones flew in the air as everyone shared the song with their friends and family. "Hold It Up" and "Cross My Heart" were crowd favorites and some of the last songs of the night. Avary gracefully thanked the crowd for coming out to the show and left the stage, but the crowd wanted more. They screamed, cheered and whistled, "one more song," and Avary came back to play three more songs, including "Save" and "So Much Love." "So, in This Hour," the last song of the night, was a perfect ending to a perfect set in a perfect show.
All the bands stuck around after the show to sell and sign merchandise, and to meet their fans. Bryce Avary even stayed out until 1 a.m., meeting and talking to fans and was the last band to leave the venue. For all of you who missed the show, don't fret. Though Avary is going to take some time off to record a new record, he'll be back sometime in 2009. Check out the Rocket Summer at www.myspace.com/therocketsummer
Marli Lee McGarrah is a senior at Buffalo Seminary.