On a night when the Foo Fighters headlined at Bridgestone Arena, Twenty-One Pilots electrified the Ryman stage amid a sea of fans. Monday night’s performance was the first of four concerts in the Southeast before the duo heads to the Austin City Limits music festival in Texas.
The show opened with Finish Ticket, a rock-pop quartet from San Jose, California, who came out swinging with “Scavenger,” the first track on their 2015 EP When Night Becomes Day.
Lead singer Brendan Hoye commanded the stage with ease, and seemed comfortable as the group closed out their set with the hard-hitting “Bring the Rain.” The last track brought out mass applause from the audience, and admittedly myself as I wondered who these guys were.
Echosmith, another SoCal quartet, took the stage after the first intermission. Echosmith started out slow with songs and light shows that blurred together and lost some crowd interest in the beginning. However, Sydney Sierota, the front woman for the group, found her rhythm halfway through the set when she played the band’s hit track “Bright”. The four-person group of brothers and sisters have chemistry that most could only dream of, moving in unison and even singing together in an old-style microphone, a homage to Nashville’s rich history of family bands.
Anticipation grew during the long intermission between Echosmith and the headliners as the clock creeped past 9 p.m. In a matter of seconds, the main event began. Darkness turned to a sea of red as Twenty-One Pilots’ Tyler Joseph and Josh Dunn exploded onto the stage and into the opening track from their latest creation Blurryface.
The band’s song “HeavyDirtySoul” rang loud throughout the balcony, and the voices of the sold-out crowd could be heard singing with Joseph as the show began. The duo powered through tracks from their latest album, mixing in the older songs that made them famous. Hitting hard with “Stressed Out” the group shifted to “Guns for Hands” from their 2013 project Vessel and never let up.
The setlist mixed the two albums perfectly, each song bringing something special to the stage. Joseph played the active frontman all night, moving around during every chorus and even jumping onto the piano. He brought a myriad of outfits to Nashville, including a mask and a Hawaiian top. The constant onstage motion, paired with Joseph’s energy and the duo’s physical interactions with the crowd, kept the show fresh and the fans on their feet for the entire two-hour set.
During the instrumental beginnings of “Run and Go,” Joseph spoke of time spent in Nashville years before deciding to pursue music.
“I tried to apply to Belmont. They didn’t let me in,” the singer joked. “That day I came up with a song, and I wanted to call it ‘Entertain My Faith’. That became ‘Holding On To You’.”
Joseph and Dunn closed out their show with their heaviest songs, “Car Radio” and “Goner,” which tackle ideas of loneliness and hopelessness. Energy built as Joseph sang the chorus to “Car Radio,” then out of nowhere he appeared on the stage’s balcony.
Taking off his mask as he uttered the song’s last words, “Now I just sit in silence,” Joseph ended the set to deafening applause.
To contact Lifestyles editor Rhiannon Gilbert email email@example.com.