It’s like they never left

Ashley Winward

We Are The In Crowd unites for a reunion tour after a two-year hiatus.

When I heard that Poughkeepsie natives We Are The In Crowd were going out on a reunion tour, my first reaction was confusion; very confused.

Tay Jardine, singer from We Are the In Crowd (Facebook photo)
Tay Jardine, singer from We Are the In Crowd (Facebook photo)

While the band never broke up, this tour signified them coming back together for their new album release, Weird Kids, after two years without writing new material. Bringing along friends Candy Hearts, State Champs, Set it Off and William Beckett, it was a lineup I wasn’t sure would work as amazingly as it did. A sold out crowd at the Space felt so intimate with the venue being as small as it is.

Candy Hearts opened the show with their brand of pop rock that they like to describe as “Punk/Indie/1995.” The year 1995 was picked because simply, “I felt like it was just like right in the middle of the 90s, actually I literally just picked the middle cause we’re very influenced by 90s music,” said singer Mariel Loveland.

Seeing Loveland performing after getting to talk to her on a deeper level was truly inspiring. She participated in a panel at the University of New Haven for women in the music industry and really loved the experience. “I thought it was wonderful. It was definitely my first time speaking in front of people about my experiences. I’m very into blogging and writing, but speaking was new. I was a little bit nervous, but I really liked it. I would definitely consider doing more stuff like that.”

Among my favorites they performed that night was their newest single, “I Miss You,” which Loveland cites as the happiest song she’s ever written.

State Champs shifted the night right back into my pop punk roots with Derek DiScanio’s stage presence that is unlike any other. I was concerned the tiny venue stage couldn’t hold all the movement he does when he paces back and forth to the lyrics. A lot of the set was off their album The Finer Things, which guitarist Tyler Szalkowski ensures has no themes, but a message all the same.

“There are no themes. Themes are stupid we don’t like themes; however, there are underlying themes in each song. We didn’t try to fit a mold. We write songs about what happens to us. If you can relate, that’s sick; great. If you can’t, I’m sorry. It’s a very genuine record, all the songs are very real. We will tell you about them if you ask. I don’t know; there is no theme, but what I hope people take away from the record is that they don’t feel so alone, you know? If someone feels like there’s no hope left, people tell us that our band saved their life. I don’t agree, I think you save your own life, but I think we can help and as long as you don’t feel so alone; as long as you feel a little bit better about your situation, but that’s what we want them to take away from the record,” said Szalkowski. If you haven’t picked it up yet, the new album is certainly something to check out.

Set it Off personally had the greatest set for me. It was my third time seeing them and for this tour they decided upon a new format for their set. They perfected their set list around a story of a bank robbing Bonnie and Clyde-esque couple, weaving their songs into the story. The transition from one song to another was seamless, and the ability for lead singer Cody Carson to tie everything together with his special blend of theatrics was incredible as always. I also loved how they entered the stage, all in black hoodies and red masks, except for Carson who came on in his usual dapper vest and button up shirt. What is so special about a Set It Off performance is the fire they bring; giving every song and every performance their absolute all. Ending the set with the song, “Partners In Crime,” tied together the entire concept and had Carson crowd surfing with his fans despite the dangerously low ceilings. William Beckett also came out for a guest vocal spot, which was a total shock to me!

Beckett then went on for his own solo set. Being originally from the band The Academy Is, he isn’t new to the idea of touring, however being a solo act has been a lifestyle change on the road. “I’m definitely not a stranger to being on stage alone. I’m comfortable doing that, it’s just a different performance. When I’m with a band, I go kind of crazy, that side comes out of me more and now solo I can talk more, say what I want to say, interact and talk about things that I would never really talk about if I had a full band setting. It would just be awkward. Like me sitting there telling a story, while everyone is sitting around waiting to play the next song. I miss the comradery of the dudes, at the same time I meet all these new friends, and since being solo I’ve definitely made more friends than I ever did with the band. Like eight years with the band, and I’ve cultivated more friendships being solo because you’re more thrusted into needing to be social. I’ve always been a pretty social person, but when you’re in a band you’re comfortable with your crew, you’re comfortable with your band mates, you’re comfortable on your bus, you kind of just stick to that, that bubble. So now I’m forced to be a little more outgoing person. It’s been interesting,” said Beckett.

I think that while I love all the music The Academy Is put out, I love seeing Beckett on his own because it allows him to truly shine and be himself. Carson of Set It Off performed during Beckett’s set, confirming my suspicions of a “bromance.”

“Oh it’s not just a bromance, it’s a #bromance. It’s a big difference, it’s definitely #bromance status for us. Yeah, I just love that dude and we’ve become really good friends and really honest with each other and I feel like it’s cool to meet someone like him who’s relatively coming up,” said Beckett. “It’s like that band is definitely on the rise, and I feel like I see a lot of myself in him when I was in Academy, he’s so ambitious, he’s got such a great vision, he’s an extremely talented front man. Aside from all that he’s just such a good dude. We’ve become really close friends and I’m really happy about it.”

Finally, We Are The In Crowd took to the stage. One thing I thought was really interesting about this tour was their Meet and Greet package, the “Meet, Greet and Eat.” Not only did fans get to hang out and meet the band with this VIP ticket option, but they got to eat with them, giving the experience an even more intimate vibe.

Taking to the stage, singer Tay Jardine proved yet again why she is such a prominent player in the pop-punk community. Her vocals were on point and her crowd interaction was great. She loves to get right in with the fans and sing with them. Singing hits new and old, I got to hear all my favorites while finding new ones to love off of Weird Kids. The song from the entire set that got my attention was “Windows In Heaven;” a powerful ballad about Jardine losing her father. It certainly led to a lot of tears being shed, including my own.

All in all, the Reunion Tour was one of the better line ups I’ve seen this year. It was diverse, yet they all shared a common bond of great stage presence and powerful vocal performances. For full interviews from Candy Hearts, State Champs, and William Beckett check out unhmic.tumblr.com.