Sometimes it's about hyper-analyzing each note, lyric, twang and stroke. Other times, it's about the night itself, with a band truly being present, and the crowd feeding off of the bands' energy. The latter happened when The Knocks, accompanied by Young & Sick and Blu DeTiger, hit The Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 21.
Blu DeTiger opened with a raucous DJ set, mixed with some of her own vocals. In keeping with the theme of celebrations throughout the night, Blu performed her set as a 20-year-old, and later joined The Knocks on stage to play bass as a 21-year-old, allowing everyone in the room to join in on her b-day fun.
Young & Sick rocked on as the second act, kicking off their set with the supercharged, "No Good." With hypnotic beats and deep bass, the track riled up the crowd even further. Dutch-born, LA-based frontman Nick van Hofwegen injected some of his falsetto that permeated through the set. Young & Sick's third track was their multi-textured "Ojai," which starts "with the lights out," but warns of where it's heading with the phrase "if it wasn't for the neon." By the end of the infectious song, Nick was belting "I feel everything.’ The Boston crowd was feeling it too.
In today's ultra-competitive music world, it doesn't hurt to have a diversified portfolio. Described as a "double threat," van Hofwegen’s artwork is so prevalent, you’ve most likely seen it without even knowing it. He has designed album covers for dozens of artists, among them Foster the People and Maroon 5.
A funky, retro vibe was also prevalent throughout Young & Sick's set, as particularly evidenced in "Bitter End." The audience chanted keyboardist Steve Bryant’s name as he added his stylish, signature synth. All in all, it was a smooth set which built the energy in the room for the headliner who was about to hit the stage.
And with that, the New York City-based The Knocks walked in front of the crowd, dusting off the fan favorite "Big Bills" early in their wild set. Frontman James "JPatt" Patterson brought his own falsetto into the mix, sending the audience into a frenzy.
The Knocks sounded tight. They have big production quality, clarity, and a sick rhythm. In addition to JPlatt and the other backing band members, co-founder Ben "B-Roc" Ruttner graced the stage, adding his DJ skills to the mix. It was a homecoming of sorts for B-Roc, having gone to school in New Hampshire, and his parents looked down from the balcony. The band started out with their recent tracks, performing songs like "Brazilian Soul,” the recorded version of which features Sofi Tukker.
To our amazement, JPlatt proclaimed that it was the first sellout on tour. "You're all invited to the house party we're throwing this weekend," which he said would be taking place in Boston's South End. The show continued with a DJ set by the two founding members, where the duo paid homage to their earlier days with tunes like "Kiss the Sky."
Back on stage with the full band, and bedazzled with sequins, JPlatt stopped the proceedings in order for Blu to take a sip of her first legal drink. As the night wrapped with one of 2018's hottest hits, "Ride or Die" (the recorded version features Foster the People), we found joy in having been taken along for the ride.