Not long ago, the Spring is Sprung tour came to a close in New York City. Co-headlined by Smallpools and Great Good Fine Ok, with support from Half the Animal, there couldn’t have been a more perfect lineup to kick the summer off with a bang.
As soon as Half the Animal took the stage, I knew we were in for a treat. Starting with “Dancing Alone” and “Babylon,” they played banger after banger to amp up the crowd. When vocalist Chase Johnson wasn’t showing off his dancing, he took time to jump into the crowd, effectively setting the tone for the rest of the show. Towards the end of their set, I noticed that I couldn’t stop smiling because they were just so fun to watch.
Great Good Fine Ok have been on the rise over the past couple of years, and for great (good? fine? ok?) reason. Although they weren’t closing off their hometown show, the band took it in stride, with vocalist Jon Sandler joking that it was an anniversary present for his parents so that they could go home sooner (#relatable).
Starting the set off with some throwbacks, they played 2014’s “You’re The One For Me” and “Carried Away,” before going into 2017’s “Get Away” and their most recent release, “Change.” A good addition to their set was a cover of MJ’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).” If there was anyone in attendance who wasn’t singing and moving prior to this, well, that quickly changed. It’s rare that you see everyone dancing in a jam-packed Irving Plaza, but they must have been inspired by Jon’s moves, as well as everyone’s high-energy interactions on stage.
For some reason, I always seem to miss Smallpools when they tour, so it was a treat to finally catch them live. Once I left the venue, I found myself singing bits and pieces of “Street Fight.” I don’t often have a song stuck in my head for days after a show, so it’s safe to say that Smallpools’ catchy tunes and tight performance are to blame.
By the end of the night, one thing was absolutely clear: every band that played is full of talented people who are not only musicians but performers as well. They didn’t just get on stage and play some songs—everyone gave their all with each note, each solo, each jump. Every moment was upbeat and full of life, and I couldn’t imagine a better atmosphere to start off my summer 2018 concert experience.
HALF THE ANIMAL
GREAT GOOD FINE OK
COVERAGE: LORI GUTMAN