Remember when A Rocket to the Moon was a band and then they broke up and their lead singer, Nick Santino, went solo? It was a bittersweet time in my life, but on the upside, I was able to see Nick play acoustic last night.
The Hard Luck Bar is not the most attractive of venues, nor is it the easiest to get to – in fact, when we first looked it up, Google informed us that it didn’t exist – but it has phenomenal sound, especially for acoustic shows. Also, their security is incredibly efficient, which is so rare!
We missed most of the first band, Bitter Kids, a relatively local band (they’re from St. Catharines), but they did do a decent cover of The Maine’s “Into Your Arms”.
Next was The Technicolors – or, at least, the one guy from The Technicolors. They’re the most recent band to work with 8123 (which is the “label” for The Maine, Nick Santino, and pretty much everyone else who was on this tour except for Brian Marquis, probably).
Austin Gibbs went on and I was reminded of that other time when I saw him open for The Maine. I didn’t love him then, and, unfortunately, I don’t love him now. I think part of his lack of appeal is due to the fact that he looks like a paedophile from the seventies. Also, it felt like his set lasted twice as long as everyone else’s. But a lot of people in the crowd seemed to enjoy him, so there’s that.
I’ve heard of Brian Marquis, but have never actually seen him before. As the very loud girls sitting at our table suggested, he has a bit of Seth Rogen vibe, but has a decent voice – a bit of Patrick Stump pre-Save Rock and Roll, in that “I’m not entirely sure what you’re saying, but I kinda like it” way.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the first few opening bands, I was stoked to see This Century again. They’re a lot of fun, even though only half the band was present. They also had what I can only assume is a magical microphone: Joel (the singer) would lay down some sick beats (by which I mean he’d “beatbox”), and I guess it was somehow recorded because then he could play it on loop for the rest of the song. I don’t know, I couldn’t see what the mic was attached to, but presumably it was some sort of recording device. Either way, they’re quite dance-y, even while acoustic.
Finally, it was time for Nick Santino. I love him, he has a soothing voice and is a great lyricist, but, since most of his songs are very slow, it can be difficult to keep your eyes open. I’m pretty sure Ro fell asleep at one point (not surprising). In between his slow jams, however, he would interact with the crowd and he is surprisingly funny. My favourite part was a cross between when he pointed out that he was wearing a Slipknot shirt (pretty sure Nick Santino’s solo album is the polar opposite to anything Slipknot), and when he decided he would create a rap for This Century’s “Slow Dance Night”. The best lines were the beginning: it’s a slow dance night in Hollywood, I’m with my friends and I’m feelin’ good. It’s probably funnier if you could hear him, but it was definitely entertaining at the time.
An excellent end to the show was when all of the opening bands joined Nick onstage for “Long Way Home”. The guy from The Technicolors had a guitar solo, Brian Marquis briefly led the crowd in the “la la la’s”, Austin Gibbs scatted, and Joel from This Century sang backup. It basically looked like they were having a party onstage, and you could really see how much they all love making music.