The Vibe Lounge is not a particularly odd venue, as Empires/Long Island venues go. What is odd is that this is a matinee. Doors opened at 3. But it is directly across from the train station, so totally handy for me! And the pre-band music is the new leaked Gaslight album.
There are maybe 40 people here, one boy. Wait! Two. But I think they were in an earlier band. The bands before Empires seemed to be approximately 15. We sat outside and watched a band’s dad come to pick them up.
Oh God, it is so hot in here. The band that was supposed to play before Empires never showed. So Empires has some time to futz around on stage waiting for their set time. The kids in the back on the lounge couches are playing Uno. I might play Yahtzee on my phone.
I love the point during setup when drummer Ryan Luciani takes his shoes off. That’s how I drive!
In the first song, wild, unpredictable and insanely talented touring bassist Connor Doyle jumps onto one of the stage’s little steps and rock out so hard that he breaks his guitar strap. By the end of the first song, I can tell that at this, the last show of the tour, they are going to rock their balls off. I don’t have much in the way of notes because I was dancing until I was drenched with sweat. I haven’t done that in years.
The bouncer comes down and rocks the eff out. I have never seen that happen before.
Before the encore, tourmates TV TV bring a round of whiskey shots onstage. I love the last nights of tours.
After the amazing, energetic, wild set, we need to decamp outside to cool down. TV TV’s Josh Ocean comes over to berate us for not having stayed for his set once on this tour. Guilty as charged, so we head back inside.
There’s something about their second song that reminds me of the hardcore glam-metal sound of the 90s (Marilyn Manson? Trent Reznor? Can’t figure it out.) The rest of their set is whatever we’re calling pop-punk now, but without being so deeply … upsetting. (Misogynist, untalented, date rapey.) They seem like genuinely nice guys, unlike current pop-punk darlings All Time Low and Boys Like Girls, to name a few. Some random juicehead in sunglasses gets up on the raised step of the stage and just watches from there.
Vibe Lounge protip: The bathrooms are air conditioned. Blissful.
Afterwards, we run into half of Empires at the tasty nearby MacArthur Park bar and can buy them a celebratory drink before they get back on the road for four days off, then another tour, this time with another set of NYC local boys: Lights Resolve. If they’re coming anywhere near you, GO!!!