Stephanie Richards ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The thudding of your heart gives way to the pounding of the bass; some frequencies resonate in your knees, and others travel up your body and ring through your ribcage. The staff is friendly, the space is cozy—or, as many are wont to say, intimate—and the stage is raised so there is literally no bad place to stand in the main hall. In the words of Hellogoodbye front man Forrest Kline, “a venue about this size is the perfect venue to see a band play.”
HelloGgoodbye, co-headlining with Vacationer, graced Brighton Music Hall this past Sunday as a part of their spring tour. Following opener Heavenly Beat, Vacationer set the stage with easy banter and the tropical rhythms of their self-described “Nu-Hula” music. “The Wild Life” and “Shining” off their upcoming album Relief heralded the arrival of summer. Lead singer Kenny Vasoli raised the energy level pretty high, vigorously dancing about the stage and boosting audience morale.
By the time Hellogoodbye was setting up their keyboards, the crowd was pretty amped up. The band wasted no time, launching straight into action. The line-up included a mix of older jams, “Finding Something to Do” and “Getting Old” among them, and some hits from their 2013 album, Everything is Debatable. Fans belted along to the veteran songs they knew and loved, and even found themselves catching onto the choruses of “Swear You’re In Love,” “Just Don’t Let Go Just Don’t,” and the eponymous “(Everything Is) Debatable.”
Early in the night, the band spared few breaths between songs, choosing instead to let their alternative-indie-synth-pop sound do the talking, until later in the show when Forrest opened up dialogue between the band and audience. The end of the show was bittersweet, as the ending of any good concert is: fulfilling, but it’s always a little sad to watch them leave the stage. The last song was, of course, the much anticipated “Here (In Your Arms),” inspiring much joyful screaming and clutching of hearts from “the feels.”
The residual energy was palpable even as the crowd dispersed. Outside, fans hummed a couple of bars of their favorite songs, some comparing this performance to others they’d seen. The consensus stands that Hellogoodbye lived up to their standards, par for par, even proving to be better than before.
This tour will take Hellogoodbye and Vacationer over to Tennessee, up to Minnesota, and down to Colorado in May. They won’t be visiting Boston again for a while, but Emertainment Monthly was lucky enough to interview Kline while the bands were still in the city.
Emertainment Monthly: You started in 2001—how would you say your sound, band, and style have changed?
Forrest Kline: I’ve gotten better at doing it, I like to think that. I’ve put in the time, coach, I’ve put in the work. And most of it is just kind of growing up. It’s been a long time. It’s been… ten years. It’s just changed in the way that I’ve matured.
How is life on the road?
It’s cool, it’s fun. You can see that it’s silly in there [gestures to adjacent room housing Vacationer and the other Hellogoodbye band members].
Do you meet lots of new people?
Yeah, you meet lots of new people. The only tough part is that you can’t really have much of a schedule. The basic human things like sleeping and eating are tough to nail down—it’s totally all over the place.
You’ve had some international shows—you were just in Singapore for the Mosaic Music Festival. How are you thinking of expanding your international fan base?
That’s tough; I don’t think too much about that. I’d love for that to happen. I guess I just keep trying to make good records and hope they’d notice over there. But we’d love to go.
If there was anywhere in the world you could play, where would it be?
Brazil is one that I’ve been thinking about, ‘cause I’ve never gotten the chance to go there. I’d like to go back to Thailand. We didn’t get to play in Thailand. I think it would be cool to play in Thailand.
Brighton Music Hall is a pretty small venue; what are the pros and cons of playing a smaller venue?
Usually, it’s mostly pros. The shows are cooler; you get more of a vibe from people. You feel like you’re in a room of people, as opposed to—depending on the size of the venue—feeling like you’re on TV.
It’s more intimate.
For sure. I’m sure other people have mentioned that before, but it’s true. You see people’s faces, and it usually sounds much better in a smaller room. I think a venue about this size is the perfect venue to see a band play.
You started in California—is that one of your favorite places to play?
Yeah, my favorite place to be. It’s the best place in the world, let’s be honest. It’s California.
What’s your favorite song to play live?
It always changes. It’s usually the newest one we’ve had. It’s fun to explore, see what it can be. “Oh, It is Love,” is always a fun song to play ‘cause it’s the loosest one to play. Other ones are a little more agreed upon—we all have our job to do, we’ve all got to stay together. But that one has a little more [gestures], “check this out!”
So do you improvise much?
Especially in that song. I think everybody does a little bit, but you have to keep it to where nobody messes anything up.
Do you have any pre-show rituals you’d like to share—you were working out earlier?
That’s not really a pre-show ritual, it’s new; does it look like I’ve done it for long? [Laughs] That’s a new development. It’s not really a ritual. We usually take a shot together and do a cheers that we got from a friend of ours. John Cheese made up a great cheers and we’ve taken it ever since. A couple tours ago, we started just putting on tunes and just dancing, but we haven’t had a chance on this tour because it’s been so loud with the Vacationer playing, so we just sit there and cry. No, I’m kidding. We just get to dance to Vacationer. It’s sort of the same thing. It’s good to loosen up.
So you enjoy touring with Vacationer?
It’s very cool. It feels like a tour hasn’t felt in a while. There’s some kind of connection between everyone. It’s not like you’re playing with another band who totally is in a different kind of arena, you’re on different levels, or different musical scenes. This one feels very connected. And I was a fan of Vacationer beforehand, so…[grins].