Concert Review: The All-American Rejects at The House of Blues
Written by Reid Smith on August 1, 2017
Last Thursday I had the absolute pleasure of seeing The All-American Rejects at The House of Blues in Cleveland. Let me start off by saying that I won these tickets in a random dance contest, so everything about this show was spontaneous and so much fun. I invited one of my closest friends and we made plans to see our middle school heroes. We arrived at the show around 7:00 PM and were greeted by a large line of people. I was very eager to return to this venue, as it has always been one of my favorites. I love the energetic atmosphere and unique vibes it gives off. You instantly feel cool when you enter, and it’s just always a good time.
The Whiskey Hollow
Opening for The All-American Rejects was Indie-Alternative Rock band, The Whiskey Hollow. I really had no interest in this band going into the show having never heard of them, but I was pleasantly surprised when they took the stage promptly at 8:30 PM. Describing themselves as “genuine music for the soul,” is fitting because that’s the vibe I got from their extremely brief performance. Lead singer Madeline Finn belted out some very passionate lyrics and held high notes in such a graceful way, the entire set really resonated with me. Back-up vocalist Liz Bullock matched Finn’s impressive high notes and added in a sultry feel to the whole thing. You could tell these women really meant what they sang, and they seemed very relatable. After only a thirty minute set, I was ultimately left wanting to hear more from them.
The All-American Rejects
The All-American Rejects took the stage right at 9:00 PM. To my delight, they opened with “Swing Swing,” an older song of theirs off their self titled album back in 2002. This got the crowd engaged and singing along with every word in seconds. The band’s front man, Tyson Ritter, gave off a very sassy and carefree energy the entire time that made it seem like nothing could bring him down. Ritter provided witty dialogue, entertaining stories and some seriously killer vocals for the band’s brief hour and a half set.
It made me excited to hear how much passion the entire band provided, it felt like I was teleported back to 2009 the entire concert. Not to mention, Ritter’s voice sounds exactly the same as it did on the first AAR Album. Maybe even better. I personally think the best part of the show was when the band calmed things down to play their 2006 hit “It Ends Tonight” off their Move Along album. I am not being dramatic when I say that every soul in that building sang the words to that song perfectly in sync. It’s one of the band’s most iconic ballads from the last decade.
It was a very entertaining performance overall, with Ritter using a time machine concept to “take us back” to the different years the band hit major success. The show used a lot of lasers and projections to create a weird techno atmosphere, but I was into it. The whole thing fit together cohesively and suited Ritter’s vocals very well.
Before I knew it, the setlist had come to an end after barely hour and a half. This irritated me a bit and I would’ve liked to hear more from the band. I have a feeling this might be one of the last tours the band embarks on, seeing as this is their first tour in five years, so I’m concerned I won’t get the chance to see them again live.
The band made up for the short set list however, by coming back out for an encore performance of three more songs. Ending the evening ultimately with one of their biggest hits, “Gives You Hell” off their 2008 When the World Comes Down album. This is the kind of song you have to scream every word to, and that’s exactly what everyone did. This song created a fun and upbeat vibe across the entire audience and we all left in a great mood. Ultimately seeing The All-American Rejects was awesome and my middle school self is very pleased.