Numerous fans at the Ritz were all donning the signature red beanie, black arm paint or the various masks worn by the band in their music videos and the front few rows were all ‘Go big or go home’ with many having camped out from the early hours of the morning to get close to the front. Before Twenty One Pilots take the stage though, Jeremy Loops, the only support act of the evening had the crowd intrigued from the get go. The South African singer armed with everything from a harmonica to a children’s play toy, was sensational in his stage presence and crowd interaction. ‘Down South’ and ‘I Wrote This Song For You’ both had the likeable pop choruses you couldn’t not enjoy.
Twenty One Pilots left it a little after their actual set time to emerge onto the stage and trying to keep up with frontman Tyler Joseph’s rapping skills in opener ‘Heavydirtysoul’, for the most part, will have left you stumbling over your words. However as soon as the chorus hits the band were completely drowned out by the overwhelming volume of the crowd singing. ‘Stressed Out’ included the vocalist hovering a black piece of material in front of his face for the first part of the song, rather confusing to many but actually cementing the whole theme around their recent album Blurryface, not so much an alter ego but more of a “dark side” to Joseph. ‘Stressed Out’, for a very slow tempo song, relies a lot on its infectious beats and very relevant lyrical content to carry the crowd but they were lapping up every second of it.
Joseph breaks out the ever so famous ukulele for ‘We Don’t Believe What’s On TV’ and ‘The Judge’, their ever so slight ballad-esque feel and delightful instrumentals make for an ideal lead up to ‘Lane Boy’ which completely takes over the crowd in the best way possible. Midway through the song the music switches completely on its head and what used to be groovy chords and heavy drum beats has been replaced with almost rave-worthy electronic instrumentals. At this point the crowd are instructed to all kneel down on the floor. When the beat kicked in the whole room exploded into a sea of bobbing heads, anyone not inside the carnage that was happening in the pit was looking on in awe of the duo’s ability to have this much effect on a crowd.
During reggae sensation of ‘Ride’, much like every song on the setlist, the masses have out-sung the band themselves which is total sentiment to how significant Twenty One Pilots have become to their fan base and during the latter end of the song drummer Josh Dun climbs on top of the crowd on a mini drum set for a small solo. It seems the duo like to get involved with the crowd more than your average band, during ‘Car Radio’ Joseph appears almost unexpectedly on the balcony of the Ritz to sing the last few minutes of the song before disappearing again as they prepare for the last two songs of the night. ‘Goner’ proves unsettling in its lyrical content but certainly is a fan favourite considering the vast amount of fans climbing on their friend’s shoulders to scream the lyrics back.
Final song of the night ‘Trees’ introduces two solo drum platforms for the duo to stand on top of the crowd and as confetti rains down amongst those below, the radiating energy and the unbelievable live performance the band have given are the very reasons they are the fast rising stars of modern alternative music.
All photos by Kelly Hamilton