REVIEW: SAINT MOTEL @ PARADISE ROCK CLUB 4/28
By: Gwyneth Moe
This past Friday, April 28th, Saint Motel took their Awards Show Tour to Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA.
Upon first entering the venue, it was obvious that the show had sold out. Bodies already filled out a huge chunk of the general admission pit as well as the upper mezzanine, and this was before the opener had played. With not a lot of options, I made my way up to the mezzanine.
After the opener ended, I surveyed my options for viewing and realized that if I moved I’d probably end up staring at somebody’s back. Calling the venue packed seems like an understatement. The lower pit was filled to the brim, with available remaining spots not even feeling like they were in the venue. A line of pillars separates what I consider the “true pit” from the disconnected boonies, and even the boonies had a full population.
At five past nine, sporting shiny gold blazers, the band took the stage. However, one member was lacking his shiny blazer. AJ Jackson, Saint Motel’s singer, strolled onto stage in a signature western-esque red suit. The live brass blare as the first song of the night, Van Horn, begins.
If there’s one thing Saint Motel knows how to execute, it’s crowd interaction. From the get-go their Awards Show Tour had an interactive element. QR codes were placed around the venue for concert goers to scan so they could vote on four of the songs of the set-list.
Not only did crowds get to pick the songs, they also got to see them presented in true awards show fashion.
After Van Horn concludes, Jackson produces a red envelope containing the name of their next song. After handing off the card to Bassist Dak Lerdamornpong, the nominees are announced, and the crowd is asked to give a drumroll before the card is opened and the winner revealed.
The show continued with a mix of preplanned setlist and pauses where Jackson handed a card off to one of his bandmates and an awards show-esque reveal took place.
Once Saint Motel reached the final “award” of the night, they mixed it up a bit.
“Can we get someone from the audience?” Jackson asks. He points at a man from the crowd and soon the older bespectacled man, dressed in a red suit jacket and matching doc martens joins the band on the stage. Scott, the man says his name is, is ready to be the final award presenter.
Jackson asks the crowd to give them one last drumroll, they comply with enthusiasm.
As the band exits the stage, an automated announcer voice drones from the speakers.
“Ladies and Gentleman well now present Saint Motel slow song medley.”
We were given just that. As the crowd buzzed with energy waiting for the inevitable encore, slowed renditions of Saint Motel songs played softly over the speakers.
Saint Motel re enters the stage to cheers. Jackson took the time during the break to do a quick costume change. Instead of his former red suit jacket, he’s traded it for gold, reminiscent of his band’s blazers.
The encore starts out with the slower Balsa Wood Bones, but the mood changes swiftly. The energy ramps up as Destroyer drives the crowd to start jumping, even the upper level is thoroughly engaged. The floor felt like it was shaking.
As the closing chords played, the crowd realized it was finally time for My Type, which is the band’s most popular song.
“Can we split the crowd in the middle there?” Jackson asks the crowd.
While the band lunges into the song, Jackson goes into the crowd. The entire venue feels as if it’s shaking at this point. Jackson stays in the middle of the crowd and then makes his way over to stand on top of the bar to sing the chorus.
After that it seems like he might go back to the stage, but instead he’s making his way to the stairs on the opposite side of the venue from me. All while singing out the last verse, Jackson runs through the entire upper level of the venue, passing me as he takes the stairs back down to the stage where the set comes to a grand end.
Saint Motel’s set was filled to the brim with crowd engagement and music that seemed to force everyone in the crowd to clap and sing along with pure enjoyment. Saint Motel put on a great show and if you haven’t seen them yet be sure to check them out next time they’re in town.