PVRIS @ Summit Music Hall, 5/29/16

Photos & Review: PVRIS
Featuring: PVRIS, Lydia, CRUISR & Polyenso
Summit Music Hall, Denver CO
5/29/16

Review by Shannon Shumaker

Photo: Sam Keeler

Photo: Sam Keeler

When PVRIS announced their North American headlining tour, my first thought was, “It’s about damn time.” The band has been touring relentlessly since the release of their debut album, White Noise, supporting acts such as Pierce The Veil, Bring Me The Horizon and Fall Out Boy as well as playing the main stage at The Vans Warped Tour last year, gaining countless dedicated fans along the way. So it was no surprise when their show at Summit Music Hall in Denver, CO sold out.

Almost as exciting as a PVRIS headliner was the support the band chose to bring along with them. Opening the show was Florida-based act, Polyenso. The band was celebrating the recent release of their new album, Pure In The Plastic, and served as quite possibly the best opening act fans could have asked for. It’s really impossible to describe Polyenso’s polished sound in just a few words, but the experimental indie/rock band’s performance really spoke for itself. Within moments, the crowd was in awe, cheering after every single song and participating when the band requested it. Easily the best moment of their performance was when the band asked that fans take out their phones, rather than put them away, and snap a photo to post on social media, even spelling out their name for those unfamiliar with them. Not only was it a clever move on their part - nobody is going to forget their name when it’s plastered all over their instagram - but it also seemed to excite the crowd. From there, it turned into a light show, cameras, phones and lighters illuminating the crowd and stage as Polyenso continued to churn out track after incredible track.

It seemed daunting to top Polyenso’s incredible set, but the following band CRUISR definitely played off of the residual energy and managed to amp up the crowd even more with their upbeat and fun-loving sound. Within no time, fans who were more familiar with the band were singing along enthusiastically while newcomers simply enjoyed the show, dancing along all the while. CRUISR amplified the energy in the room tenfold, preparing the crowd for the incredible second half of the show.

Following CRUISR were the indie veterans, Lydia, and as soon as the band took the stage, the energy in the room seemed to shift. The lights dimmed, illuminating the stage in soft blues, setting the perfect mood for the set, and just like that, the high energy in the room transformed into something more intimate, focused and mellow. And the best part? Somehow, Lydia made this mesh perfectly with the show. Their more moody set ended up being the perfect segue into PVRIS’ performance, but until then, the venue belonged to Lydia. Older fans of the band (who seemed to hang out near the back of the venue, allowing the younger concert-goers the up-front experience) were singing along passionately with every word, while those who weren’t familiar with the band seemed transfixed by their stunning, and sometimes hypnotizing sound. The energy may have shifted, but not in a bad way, and by the time Lydia’s set was over, it was apparent that they wowed their old fans yet again and possibly made some new ones.

And then it was time for PVRIS. In the two years since the band released White Noise, they’ve had plenty of time to really hone in on their powerful stage presence and haunting sound, and it definitely showed. The stage setup was intricate, yet beautiful. What looked like stained glass windows framed either side of the stage, and attached lights illuminated it when the time was right, while a large, antique mirror (one fans easily recognized as the cover of White Noise) served as the backdrop. Throughout the set, a projector would flash images and static onto the mirror, making the stage come alive. All of that on top of how the band sounded (which was incredible, by the way) made for a well thought out and completely immersive show.

Photo: Sam Keeler

Photo: Sam Keeler

I’ve had the pleasure of catching PVRIS at quite a few of their recent shows in Denver, and hands down, this performance was the best that vocalist Lynn Gunn has ever sounded. Her vocals were powerful and aggressive on songs such as “Let Them In,” but stunningly soft and beautiful on “You And I” and the band’s older track, “Only Love.” Just as amazing was the amount of crowd participation. When prompted, fans belted their hearts out throughout the entire set, and when asked to put their cell phones away during “Holy,” they complied. And if they didn’t, they were playfully called out when Lynn would change the lyrics to the song, teasing, “They don’t know/That I can see those two phones.”

The smaller venue (at least, smaller than the huge arenas they were opening for Fall Out Boy in) provided a more intimate experience for fans, especially those up front when Lynn jumped into the crowd at the end of the set, and even an hour after the show, people were still lined up outside the venue near the bus, hoping to meet or catch a glimpse of the band. Overall, it was a truly special night from beginning to end. Those who had never listened to the opening artists before went home with a few new favorite bands, and PVRIS’ die-hard fans went home with no voices and a smile on their face.