Indie-pop band The Griswolds took the stage at the Sinclair in Cambridge on Feb. 26, as part of their The Low Livesheadlining tour. Before the show, WTBU DJ Daniella Weiss sat down with lead singer Chris Whitehall of the Australian band to talk about their tour and newest album.
Eager to be on a headlining tour once again after multiple co-headlining tours and touring as an opening act, Whitehall speaks for the rest of the band in expressing their excitement for the show.
“Tonight, this tour, is our chance to actually show off our wares. And now we’ve got two albums to play with. It’s really exciting to headline,” remarked the lead singer.
The Griswolds began The Low Lives tour in early February of 2017 and so far, the experience has been nothing but fun for the group.
“This is the best feeling,” Whitehall said. “We’ve done so many support tours around America now. This is our first real, huge, going all around America, doing the whole ‘playing for 70 minutes’ every night tour.”
The tour is following the band’s release of their sophomore album, titled High Times for Low Lives, in November of 2016. Since the album’s release, the response from loyal fans has been tremendous, according to Whitehall.
“I think they were expecting another Be Impressive,” said Whitehall of fans comparing their second album to the first. “We gave them something a little different. It freaked people out in the right way.”
High Times has an entirely opposite sound to it than the band’s first album.
“Musically, we did want to sort of steer away from Be Impressive,” Whitehall said. “We knew we wanted to try something different, but we didn’t know exactly what.”
The band looked to gain inspiration for creating the new album from popular artists, specifically The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, and Tame Impala. Whitehall recalled listening to their albums on repeat as a primary influence in churning out the results the band was looking for.
“The album basically wound up being like an R&B record with hip-hop beats because of those albums,” Whitehall said.
Being as different sonically as it is to the band’s debut album, High Times is lyrically a big jump for the band.
“We’re singing very literally about life on the road. Sometimes it’s not all glitz and glamor; it’s not all parties,” the lead singer said. “I think it’s nice for fans of music to see artists put their hearts on their sleeve and tell the truth.”
The band has consistently been on various tours for the past two years in which time they wrote and developed the new album.
“High Times is about how we didn’t know it would all go so well at the time,” Whitehall said with a laugh. “It’s about all the ups and downs of the past few years.”
When the band released “Out of My Head,” the first single off of the new album, the response from fans was a precursor to the shock they would continue to feel at hearing the band’s new sound. Following this was a second single, the album’s title track, which was released in October. High Times, posed a big contrast, lyrically, to the first single. Whitehall reflected on the thought process behind choosing to release these two abstract tunes as the first singles. The band aimed to give fans a glimpse at the new direction they were taking.
“People were thinking, ‘if these two songs are on the same album, what’s the rest of the album going to be like,” he said.
Besides looking forward to playing their new singles, the band was excited to play a lengthy setlist made up of tunes from the new album as well as fan favorites from Be Impressive.
“This will be the longest set we’ve ever done with a nice little secret cover at the end,” Whitehall said.
To end the show with a vivacious finale, the band brought out opening act Dreamers for an upbeat rendition of “Hey Ya!” by Outkast. Dreamers, Whitehall raved, have been an ideal group to take on tour.
“They’re the nicest guys, and their music rules,” he said. “It’s an awesome thing. I love to have bands come on the road with us who are also great musicians and friends.”
As for what’s to come once the band wraps up The Low Lives tour mid-March, Whitehall said they plan to relax, take some time off, and make plans to tour in Australia later in the year. Regardless of their next move, the band was thrilled to be back in Boston, and that energy came through in the incredible show they delivered at the Sinclair.