In late June, I had the amazing opportunity to see some of my favourite bands live on the Atlanta leg of the Vans Warped Tour 2017 music festival. Most of the bands were old favourites, but there was one new love that caught my eye.
Our Last Night is technically not a new band. Active since 2004, the rock band was signed to one of the few record labels I followed as a teen: Epitaph Records.
Yet, I didn’t know Our Last Night existed until Spotify threw them into my daily mix playlist, earlier this year. It was love at first listen.
So when I saw them included on the Vans Warped Tour ATL lineup, I knew I had to see them. Here’s why they were the best live show at Warped Tour this year.
The sets on Vans Warped Tour are usually 25 to 30 minutes, so very few bands bother with setting up anything impressive. They focus more on the raw performance, and the energy in the crowd.
Our Last Night was the only exception I saw that day. Subsequently, the best pictures I took was of their show. That one smoke machine made all the difference.
Trevor Wentworth has been touring with Our Last Night since he was 13 years old. Now 24, Wentworth is probably the most comfortable and self-possessed musician I have ever seen on stage.
He has an obvious desire to put on a great show, but it comes without effort for him. He never seems to pause to think, to dwell, or to take himself too seriously. He is relaxed but not complacent; confident but not egotistical.
Just Enough Pop
Another reason I love Our Last Night is the defiance of the old school rock standards. How so? Old school rockers were purists. Rockers were expected to play and listen to rock and only rock.
Everything else was an abomination; and affiliation with any other genre was an automatic revoking of the rock equivalent of street cred.
This changed with the rise of contemporary rock in the early 2000s. Post-hardcore, metalcore, indie, punk, and emo bands had a love-hate relationship with pop culture. They hated what it stood for, but nonetheless had fun with it.
This led to rock covers of pop songs, and albums like Punk Goes Pop with various rock bands belting out Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Sia lyrics, matched with heavy guitars and unclean vocals.
It also paved the way for rap and hip hop artists, like Futuristic and Outkast, to sign on to traditional rock music festivals. Soon enough, rappers were being featured on rock albums, and nu metal (rap metal) reached an all-time high.
This fuelled the popularity of bands like Linkin Park, Papa Roach, P.O.D., Hollywood Undead, and Limp Bizkit.
Our Last Night takes that to a whole new level. They’ve done official covers of musicians like N*Sync, Rae Sremmurd, Tove Lo, Justin Bieber, and The Weeknd.
Check out the official video for their awesome cover of Black Beetles. This was the very first song I heard from them.
The end result is that no matter how little you know the band, or rock music in general, you can count on hearing at least one familiar song when they perform. That day, they performed Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You.
Here is the official video for the cover of Shape of You on their YouTube channel.
Finding Common Ground
The band’s attention to detail, successful dabble in pop culture, and effortless charisma, make them an obvious first choice. But who really thinks of these things when falling in love with a new rock band?
What we really listen out for is the sound. And when it comes to rock, the sound I love started in the very early 2000s.
Considering the big changes that bands who were huge in the 2000s-era made to their sound, finding bands that still embody that is tough. AFI, Blink 182, Linkin Park… sound nothing now like they did back then.
For that very reason, the first original Our Last Night song that caught my attention was Common Ground. It is the epitome of 2000s-rock before trap music buried the genre.
So you can just imagine how ecstatic I was when Our Last Night played it at the show. It was one of their newest singles, and turns out I was one of very few people who had even heard it before.
You can also check out the original song and the official music video here:
Our Last Night wasn’t just the best band I saw at Vans Warped Tour 2017, but the best live performance I’ve ever seen. They are now officially a member of my top 3 favourite bands of all time.
What was the best live performance you ever saw? What made them stand out to you? Tell me all about it in the comments below!