What does longevity as an alternative band look like in 2017? Blue October – spanning 2 decades, 8 albums, numerous chart topping singles and their biggest Philadelphia show to date this past weekend at the Electric Factory. Currently on the road in support of their most recent LP titled ‘Home,’ the band has found a nitch that they can successfully call 100% their own and no one else’s. Alternative music is flooded with radio bands but Blue October is not one of those bands as their music does not conform to what is commercially acceptable – their music speaks to the heart, mind & soul.
In a genre that has been overwhelmed by pushing for the next arena show or the next hit single Blue October have stayed true to their roots and chosen to excel as artists instead of as trend conformists. Fans at the Electric Factory were wrapped long around the building hours before the show started; little did they know that the show would be a monumental show in the band’s career for a slew of reasons. First, it was announced at the last minute that Ryan Delahoussaye would be opening the show as the scheduled opener had to pull from the show at the last minute due to an emergency. Fans were overjoyed at this development and their excitement paid off as Delahoussaye delivered with a stunning performance that showcased his wide range of technical abilities with the violin. Masked behind haze and flanked purple and blue lights he captivated the crowd for the better part of 30 minutes before he took a bow and the house lights flickered to life for the main event of the night to be set, Blue October’s arrival to stage.
The Electric Factory had a tension in the air, the show marked the last night that the band’s tour manager of 16 years would be with the band and many in the crowd knew it. It was the end of the era in the city of brotherly love and the crowd wanted to make it a night to remember for the band and crew. Many fans expressed that they had traveled quite a distance to be in attendance that night, the Philadelphia crowd was strong but there were fans who drove from as far as Columbus to back it to the show as it was the only night they could attend. Their commitment to the band didn’t go unnoticed and was well worth it – Blue October took the stage just past 9PM for the largest crowd they had ever performed to in Philadelphia according to frontman Justin Furstenfeld.
The Electric Factory has been the host to hundreds – if not thousands of concerts since the day it opened but none compare to what Blue October brought for their Philadelphia fans. The band has refined their sound over the past half decade and with ‘Home’ have entered into some of the best songwriting of their career. The set the band brought was one part emotional, another part impactful, and full of technical prowess.
Justin Furstenfeld has masterful control of his vocals and is able to push many of the band’s songs further than the recorded version – even going as far as making many of the live renditions better than the studio tracks. “The Heart Go Bang” tour symbolizes an era of artistry for the band that has been unparrelled in their career musically – when you combine this with their already well refined live production the result is a one of a kind concert experience. Fog flooded the stage as lights cascade around the band who were in top form for the entirety of their 18 song set that is listed below :
Coal Makes Diamonds
I Want It
What If We Could
Into the Ocean
Heart Go Bang
We Know Where You Go
Leave It in the Dressing Room (Shake It Up)
Blue October aren’t back – they never left. They have evolved into something revolutionary and something that should inspire all musicians who seek to break in the alternative genre. Success is better measured by the lives you impact and Blue October has resonated on a personal level with thousands of people during their career. There is no better cure for the mind, body & soul than live music and Blue October proved that point a hundred times over last night in Philadelphia.