The Award Show Tour: Saint Motel Kicks Off with Fan-Voted Setlist and Cinematic Performances
Review by: Zoe Blakeman – Photos by: Wendy Davis
Saint Motel kicked off their tour in Chicago with The Award Show, proving to be a massive success as the venue was jam-packed with fans of all ages. The Metro, a cozy and intimate venue, perfectly complemented the show’s concept of allowing the audience to vote for the songs they wanted to hear. Before the concert, fans submitted their votes, and the winning songs were kept in sealed envelopes. To add to the excitement, four special guests opened the envelopes during the show – just like at an actual award ceremony. With 3,000 possible outcomes, each concert promises a unique experience, making no two shows alike.
“This is a completely new concept that we developed over the past year,” says drummer Aaron Sharp, “We wanted to start to introduce new songs, but we thought, ‘How cool would it be to have the audience have the ability to vote on the songs that they want to hear that night?’ I’m not sure if it’s been done before, I’m certainly not familiar with it anywhere else in this context, so we’re just giving the fans that power to be able to hear what they want…”
The concert started with a grand entrance, as a screen reading “The Award Show” lit up, and the audience erupted in cheers. The band took the stage amidst flashing lights, and AJ Jackson stood in front of a magnificent silver and gold medallion, belting out the opening song, while the rest of the band, bassist Dak, lead guitarist Aaron Sharp, drummer Greg Erwin, and a saxophone and trumpet backing the main four, stood behind him.
The attention to detail was impeccable, from the stunning lighting effects to the variety of instruments and guitars that were changed throughout the show. The band members looked sleek in their velvet suit jackets, adding to the feeling of being at a genuine award show, only this one was a celebration of remarkable music with exhilarating dancing throughout the room.
The band’s passion for cinema shone through in their performance. For each song chosen by the audience, they played a corresponding video that perfectly complemented the music. For songs that didn’t have videos, various silver and gold moving shapes were projected on the screen to further showcase the award show theme.
“We all met in film school, so we have that background as cinema lovers in general. We usually work closely with other video artists and directors to try to design unique video elements for all of our content, including the live content that we have for our shows and our tour,” Sharp says. “Cinema has really inspired a lot of the things we do, and music and movies go hand and hand. Music is so important in filmmaking.”
The goal of this tour is to bring something totally new to each city and make the audience feel special. The band was constantly keeping the audience engaged with clapping, stomping, waving flashlights, and even with a “communal fist-pump” moment that united the entire room. Jackson ran around, pointing his microphone at the audience, letting us sing and join in on all of the fun that wasn’t just on stage. The audience was engaged, energetic, and ready for more.
As the show neared its end, Jackson appeared on stage in a dazzling gold jacket adorned with enormous studs and sparkling fringe that draped down his arms. The outfit accentuated the show’s gold theme and served as a poignant reminder of the beginning of their tour and the award show theme.
Jackson’s high-energy performance was nothing short of captivating: he leaped off the stage and dashed through the entire audience to interact with fans. He then instructed the crowd to dance with him with such intensity that it caused the balcony floor to shake, to the point I worried it would collapse. Lastly, making his way back to the stage just in time for the climactic finale, which I won’t spoil.
Since their early days playing small gigs, including some they jokingly referred to as “toilet gigs,” Saint Motel has made impressive strides in the music industry. Their success is further highlighted by their upcoming “award show.” Having already released four albums, the band has stated a fifth album is in the works.
Be sure to look out for Saint Motel’s series of singles, culminating in an album, coming out soon!
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