Going to a concert isn’t new for me, but a concert where I didn’t know the headliner, nor any of the openers, was a first. The opener, Lost Years, put on a great show considering not a lot of people knew who they were. They got the crowd amped up for UK rockers, Counterfeit. Some people were still coming in, but they kept the crowd intrigued with their upbeat, punk music.
Most of their performance consisted of songs off their album This Year Brought Out the Worst in Me. Though they were working the crowd, the audience participation was low. Most people were sitting on their phones, the sad reality of the world we live in today.
About an hour after Lost Years finished their set Dubé took the stage, claiming they were sound checking for Counterfeit, trying to lighten the mood. By this time, the crowd became restless from the hour-long break it took for them to set up for the two main bands. Typically set changes don’t take this long, but it was rumored Counterfeit was not at the venue by the time Lost Years ended.
Dubé played only three songs, which is unusual for the second band on a bill to do, but they put on a performance that could not be ignored. The band put so much energy into the notes they played and where they went on the stage that it didn’t matter how short their set was — they made a lasting impression on me. Not a lot of people in the crowd were interacting with Dubé, but some of the fans were vibing with the band while others were still on their phones waiting for the main band.
After Dubé was done the crowd pushed everyone forward as Counterfeit was coming on stage. For me, I started listening to Counterfeit about a week before the concert, trying to prepare myself for their set. I didn’t expect a huge crowd considering they were from the UK, but it was packed.
The band came on stage and even their first note was filled with energy. The crowd knew all the lyrics to the first song they sang, “As Yet Untitled”, and instantly the venue atmosphere changed. Everyone was smiling, screaming along with Jamie Bower. You could tell the smile never left his face because people from the States knew their lyrics.
My favorite moment of the night was when Counterfeit slowed down the set for their song “Letters to the Lost.” Bower told the crowd to part down the middle so he could drop the microphone and climb down from the stage with his guitar.
The atmosphere changed when Bower spoke about what the song meant to him. The band lost a close friend in 2015 and wrote this for those who fight the battle of suicidal thoughts. The room was silent as Bower spoke, the stage went dark and their photographer focused his light on him. He dedicated the song to anyone who knows someone who has taken their own life or for those who have thoughts themselves.
As he began to play the somber tune, I looked around and noticed people were tearing up — myself included. It was so heartfelt. I could hear the pain in his voice as he sang about the life lost. I will never forget the way he ended the song by holding out the last note, gripping onto the ear piece that was hanging off his shoulder as if he was giving a moment of silence to their friend.
Immediately after, Bower introduced bandmate and brother Sam Bower, getting him down into the crowd as the band continued on with their set. It surprised me how careful everyone was around the two brothers, knowing how most fans are when they see one of their favorite band members. Everyone was careful not to knock the guys around too much but continued to jump around and scream along with them.
While Counterfeit was my 22nd concert this year, it seemed to revive a fun spirit inside me. I knew none of the lyrics but enjoyed the atmosphere and music for what it was. I wasn’t there for the hype of the bands – I was there as a music fan. Their set ignited a part that seemed lost to me forever. Counterfeit turned me into a new fan by the way they structured their set to how they interacted with the crowd.
*Photos credited to Sammi Mika
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