Delayed Gratification: The Format & 1001 Openers, Part II

(This is the second part of a two-part concert review. To see Part I, please click here.)

by Caitlin Servilio

Piebald was the last opener, and clearly the most experienced and talented of the four bands. It seemed as if Piebald had almost as many fans in the audience as The Format, judging by the amount of noise, jostling, and drinks that got spilled on me by the fringe victims of the impromptu mosh pit that sprang up in the middle of the floor. Piebald's loud, often funny set showcased an appealing rock sound that half of the audience really enjoyed and half stood stonily through, by this time too glazed over to do anything but yearn wistfully for The Format to finally come out.

When they did, the audience went completely wild. The collective thought seemed to be, “I have waited this long for The Format, and now I plan to rock out.” The Format opened their set with “She Doesn’t Get It,” and the audience yelled along to every word of the catchy, melodic song about a one-night-stand gone wrong. Continuing with more favorites like “Oceans” and “Janet,” Format front man Nate Ruess fed off the crowd’s energy and couldn’t seem to keep a goofy, happy grin off his face. Clearly, no one in the band had been expecting such an enthusiastic reception.

The unconventional indie band formed their own record label (The Vanity Label) and has never had a single on the radio — more, it seems, out of choice than because the radio wouldn’t welcome their infectious, original sound. Still, they’ve managed to gather a loving fanbase, which had turned out in full force for the show.

“This is our first time ever headlining in DC,” Ruess said, “So we really didn’t know what to expect. But this is really one of my favorite shows ever.”

Ruess is one of those rare singers who sound even better live than on studio recordings. It’s obvious that no sound technician has to electronically smooth his vocal flaws. His range and clarity were amazing, especially on the poignant “On Your Porch,” which Ruess and band co-founder Sam Means performed acoustically (but thankfully without hugging each other). The rest of the band also played their instruments with talent and flair, happy to be so loudly welcomed by the D.C. crowd.

Although The Format didn’t even go on until 11:45 p.m., the band was having such a good time that they played an extremely long set. After the band came back for an encore, Ruess sang four more songs, including the single “Time Bomb,” and ended with a brand new song that members of all four previous bands came out to play.

“Now I can’t wait to come back,” Ruess said near the end of the night. The Format's fans can’t wait either, but maybe next time The Format could leave a couple of their opening bands behind.

(To read this review from the beginning, please see Part I.)

(Photo left to right of Sam Means and Mike Schey of The Format taken at a show in Baltimore in April of this year by Joe Cereghino. The photo is from Flickr, using a Creative Commons license. The Format brings its five band show to Cincinnati tonight — Aug. 28. To see The Format's video for "On Your Porch," please check below.)

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Joe said...

Thanks for using my photo guys!!


Caitlin Servilio said...

Thanks for letting us use it, it's a sweet pic.

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