21 Pilots: Quiet is Violent

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21 Pilots: Quiet is Violent

Zac Johnson, Entertainment Editor

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On Sept. 14, close to 2,000 fans, some young, some old, some dedicated, and some not so much wrapped themselves halfway around the Uptown theater in downtown Kansas City. Everyone waited anxiously for the band that easily sold out the Uptown: Twenty One Pilots.

By the time 8:00 PM rolled around only half of the fans lined up had entered the building. Despite the lack of people inside, the first opening act, Vinyl Theater, started their set. The band played for around 20 minutes and generally they were unremarkable. The most interesting thing that happened during their set was a result of technical difficulties. The band’s Macbook stopped working, forcing the band to play an impromptu version of the Killers’ ‘When You Were Young.’

The second band to play was Misterwives, featuring a powerful female vocalist and an occasional saxophone and trumpet. Their best feature was definitely the lead singer, although most of the time her words were not exactly discernable. The fact that they occasionally used brass instruments seemed more like a gimmick than anything else, and most of their material was altogether too similar.

Misterwives finished their set and left the room leaving behind an atmosphere of anticipation. Stagehands and technicians dashed left and right, each one seemed like a grain of sand inside an hourglass, and when they all disappeared everyone knew what time it was.

One look at the stage could tell anyone that what they were about to witness would not just be a concert, but also a light show. Long strings of LED lights had been fastened to the front, back, and all other parts of the stage. Strobe lights had also been setup in a ring from one side of the stage to the other.

Tyler Joseph, the band’s front man and lead singer, and Josh Dunn, the band’s drummer, walked onto the stage under cover of darkness and strobe lights. Each wore ski masks, and later on skeleton suits; both have become staples of their live performances.

21 Pilots started their show with ‘Guns for Hands,’ which along with the majority of the songs they played was from their newest album, Vessel. The band played radio hits ‘House of Gold’ and ‘Car Radio,’ they also occasionally touched on their older album, playing songs such as ‘Addict With a Pen,’ and ‘Fall Away.’

The theater filled up very quickly and while you could see from almost anywhere, movement was very restricted. In order to get the crowd excited and energized Joseph asked everyone in the crowd to squat down and jump up when prompted, this worked to an extent accept for the fact that there was not enough room to squat completely down. Later on he asked everyone to climb on top of someone else’s shoulders. No one got hurt but it did seem a bit rash and somewhat dangerous to ask a cramped crowd to do something like that.

During the show Joseph and Dunn have been known to put a platform on top of fans, and then place a drum set on top of that so Dunn is literally playing the drums on top of the crowd. This show was not an exception, and when stagehands came out with a platform everyone surged forward what seemed like at least ten feet. This was a ridiculous number given our previous proximity to the stage. Joseph even stopped halfway through a song to make sure a girl was not being crushed by the rest of the crowd saying, “Come on you have to give me a thumbs up or something.”

The show was supposedly hosted by the band’s friend ‘Nigel’ who was really just a recorded voice that was played in response to some of Joseph’s ramblings. Even though it may not have been needed it did make the show much more interesting and ‘Nigel’ was in many cases somewhat humorous.

While asking fans to climb on top of each other’s shoulders, and placing drums on top of them may have been dangerous, Joseph topped both of these during the encore. The boys started into ‘Car Radio,’ and as they neared the end Joseph climbed up to a small alcove, which looked like it may have been for VIP guests. He then climbed on top of the railing and sang the last chorus of ‘Car Radio’ 25 feet in the air.

21 Pilots were incredibly talented, energizing, and creative, I would no doubt recommend them to anyone who has any interest at all in seeing them.