Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009

11/13/2018

Twenty One Pilots’ Bandito Tour invades Portland

By MATT SARGENT // See Twenty-One Pilots at the Moda Center on Thursday, November 15.

Twenty One Pilots duo, vocalist Tyler Joseph and drummer Joshua Dun, set a high bar for themselves back in 2015 after their fourth studio album Blurryface achieved Multi-Platinum certification.  Now three years later, they have returned to write the next chapter of their story with TRENCH, the band’s highly anticipated new studio album.

According to band, this new album “fearlessly reimagines the possibilities of their music through the same candid expression and genuine identity that helped to cement their place as one of the largest bands in the world.”  The band tells the story of a fictional dystopian world called DEMA that is governed by nine oppressive bishops. In addition to the elaborate story the album tells,  it also explores the darker side of mental illness.

Twenty One Pilots’ “With The Bandito” tour makes its way to the Pacific Northwest this week.  After catching them at their Inglewood tour stop, here is what to expect from the duo  as they take fans on a ride through the DEMA world they’ve created.

Fans who were lucky enough to attend prior tours like The Emotional Roadshow in 2016 and 2017 know already that the band spared no expense, and The Bandito Tour is no exception. . Only this time around, the onstage theatrics and constantly changing environment is breathtaking. The stage backdrops and props change with every song and give off the impression of secretly hiding in the trenches with the band. While some of the previous performances are similar to shows of the past, the band has also added some new performances that are sure to be staples in shows of the future.

Like any Twenty One Pilots show, the atmosphere that the fans bring is tremendous. Members of what the band refers to as the “Skeleton Clique” (or just Clique most of the time)  love to dress as members of the band or as the trench-dwellers that are in the latest of music videos put out by the band. Every show is complete with a sea of military green and sunflower yellow “rebel clothes” as fans proudly display their rebellion against a fictional government,  , that is featured heavily in the bands music and onstage performances.

Opening the tour are Max Frost, a multi-instrument indie rock artist, and AWOLNATION, a rock band that has some electronic vibes in their music. Max Frost is incredibly impressive to watch onstage as he plays all the instruments himself. Acts like his are truly unique and hardly seen in the current music scene. His onstage chemistry and seamless transition from one instrument to another makes the overall performance far more captivating to watch live. As for AWOLNATION, they are no stranger to sold out crowds and thousands of screaming fans.

They made their first appearance on the Billboard 100 with their 2011 single Sail off of their first studio album titled Megalithic Symphony and captured the attention of the alternative music world. Their performance on stage shows  how adjusted to the spotlight they have become. Frontman Aaron Bruno’s vocal range is masterful as he can energize a crowd with his quickness during their song Burn It Down and then captivate crowds with his low and grunge sounding voice during Sail. Both opening acts were a perfect selection to warm up the crowd for the main attraction.

The stadium fills with an ominous musical sound that instantly sends everyone in attendance into a frenzy. A curtain hiding the stage drops to reveal drummer Josh Dun with a flaming torch in his hands and a yellow bandana covering his face. He walks over to his drum kit as a burning car rises from below the stage with Tyler Joseph on the roof of the vehicle wearing a camouflage jacket and a black ski-mask. All of the sudden, a strumming of a guitar is heard as Dun starts beating his drums and the duo performs Jumpsuit.

Every kick of the drum can be felt in your chest and Joseph’s vocals rattle your insides throughout the opening. Towards the end of the song, yellow confetti falls from the sky to imitate the sunflower petals that fall in the music video for the same song. While the choreographed chaos is impressive, it all leads up to one of the most impressive acts of the show. The disappearing and reappearing trick done by TOP’s vocalist. During the song Fairly Local, Joseph falls off of a platform and into a trap door below the stage. The lights cut out for a moment until a spotlight appears and illuminates Joseph who appears on an upper level somewhere around the arena. He finishes the song and removes his mask to reveal his face to the thousands of fans

In past shows, the transition from the main stage to the smaller “B-stage” which is located in the heart of the crowd about 150 feet away from the main stage was chaos for those with GA seats. This time around, part of the event includes Joseph performing part of the heavy bass, rock and rap hybrid single Pet Cheetah  along a sky bridge that is above the GA section. This sky bridge leads to the smaller stage that is amongst the GA crowd . It hosts a wonderful show of the bands slower, more emotional songs .

Joseph even invites those sitting in the seated sections to sit down during this part of the show. As the band begins to play songs across three separate albums, a mesh screen drops around the smaller B-Stage and acts as a projection screen for the arena to see. The soft-rock  ballads that are performed inspires the entire stadium to harmonize with the band. The sound of an entire stadium singing together will send chills down anyone’s spine.

The show concludes like every show the band has ever put on does - Tyler Joseph stands at his piano, gives an emotional and heartfelt speech that changes every night, and the duo performs Trees, a song that is featured at the end of their second studio album titled  . The band has been known to perform the single at the end of their shows since ever since they were playing small gigs. Performing the song has become something of a tradition for the band. The grand finale of the show has the duo standing amongst the pit, supported up by all of the fans sitting in the floor seats. Fans in the immediate area get the joy of forming a platform for  the band’s feet as they stand above the crowd. The duo also brings with them a  as they play out the ending to to the song while yellow confetti shoots into the crowd. The band takes a bow and exits the stage as the same burning car from the beginning reappears.

Twenty One Pilots' popularity can be measured best by the success of their album Blurryface as it is the only album to ever have every track achieve Gold Status by the RIAA. Their latest album Trench peaked at the number one position in the alternative music category on the Billboard 100. Only time will tell if Trench can live up to the accolades of its predecessor.

See Twenty-One Pilots in Portland, Thursday, November 15th at the Moda Center. 7pm, All ages. Tickets available via Ticketmaster, $35 - $75.

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