Live Review: Finish Ticket and Vinyl Theater in Indianapolis

It\’s always exciting to see openers for your favorite bands headlining their own tours, but the Deluxe at Old National Center welcomed two groups that opened the last time they were in Indy. Finish Ticket opened up for alt duo twenty one pilots last summer, and were met very positively. Last March, Vinyl Theater set the stage for the last full lineup show to hit Indianapolis. Now, co headlining the Ones to Watch tour, the two have had huge successes all around the U.S. Although their ticket sales were less than ideal, both bands gave the young faces of Indianapolis a night they won\’t soon forget.

Those who attended the show were slightly dismayed by how small the crowd at the Deluxe was; the enormous amount of talent put forth seemed as though it should warrant a fuller house. The lack of turnout was likely due to the fact that a show attracting younger audiences ended up scheduled on a school night. Nevertheless, the audience shook the walls with the force only a group of fangirling teenagers can. As a side note, I would encourage Old National Center to check for any damages– between Vinyl Theater front man Keegan Calmes\’ insane running around, the bass from Finish Ticket\’s set, and the crowd straining and jumping at the barrier, I wouldn\’t be surprised if a few screws were rattled.

All the way from Northern California, Cemetery Sun kicked the show off with a bang. Instantly engaging with their loud attitude and intense vocals, they didn\’t necessarily need to ensure the audience remembered their names, although they certainly did that.

I don\’t normally comment on lighting, but Finish Ticket\’s really was beautiful. Captivating to audiences (and photographer friendly!), it made for dynamic visuals, as if the good looks of the band weren\’t enough.

At first, I questioned Finish Ticket\’s choice to start their set off with \”Wrong.\” I mean, how can you go up from such a kickass song? Yet go up they did. Despite only having one studio EP out, the San Francisco rockers put together an ideal set: equal parts engaging, exciting, and energized. The uniquely theatrical component of their music, coupled with Brendan Hoye\’s compelling voice made for a truly powerful set.

The last time they were in Indy, Finish Ticket played to a sold out Lawn at White River– going from there to the Deluxe was certainly a downsize in terms of both venue and crowd. This, however, did nothing to phase the guys. They brought it just as hard as they did back in July, and with even more finesse and experience in working a crowd. Ending the set with crowd favorite Bring the Rain was a genius choice, and it left fans hungry for more. The track develops a whole new dimension when taken out of the confines of a recording and on to the stage. I don\’t use the term \”nailed it\” lightly, but shoes fit when they fit. The energy was spot on, and the music even more so.

Indy loved Vinyl Theater the last time they were here. Cute boys, bouncy beats, and killer keyboard– what\’s not to like? This time, however, they came back with a whole new vibe and aesthetic. Much more minimalistic than neon, leather jackets took the place of tropical t-shirts, and lead vocalist Keegan Calmes\’ hair lost it\’s innocent blond hue in preference to a mermaid-esque blue. Along with the switch-up in appearances, the band also had a significant line up change: bassist Josh Pothier left the band due to health issues, which disrupted the stage dynamic.

If I had to choose something that was off about the show, I would cite that dynamic: with Nick Cesarz stationary behind his drums and Chris Senner greatly limited by his barricade of synths and keyboards, Calmes was the only one left to work the stage. The front man strode, danced, and jumped all the way around the Deluxe– the man knows how to move. Yet he seemed strangely imbalanced with no one to interact with on stage.

Aside from that nitpicking, the set was phenomenal. Their combination of complex synths with bouncy guitar always whips fans into dancing, and the band was happy to reciprocate. Their setlist was woven together with the kind of sound bytes, commentary, and dreamy preludes that we normally see in more experienced bands, which was pleasantly surprising. All-around, talented musicians and a great show.

My only qualm with the night was in the order of performers– Finish Ticket just seemed to end on a stronger note, and may have been a more appropriate closer. Perhaps they just ordered the show alphabetically. Either way, Indy will be looking out for these Ones to Watch after such stellar performances.

-Kelly Fox

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