There’s something overwhelmingly cathartic about hearing your favorite songs live. So, when I heard Free Throw was (finally!) coming back to Houston, I was stoked beyond belief. I bought my ticket from The Secret Group downtown and made a spotify playlist that included all the supporting bands on the bill: Macseal, Youth Fountain, and Chris Farren. It only took a couple of spins through the playlist before I was absolutely hooked on this lineup. It became all I could listen to for the next 2 weeks (apologies to Oso Oso and Knocked Loose for not helping more with your release day streaming numbers!!).
Each band brought a completely different energy to their set, but the crowd responded positively to each of their respective atmospheres and performances.
Macseal took the stage for a smaller, but still very attentive crowd. The band seemed to enjoy playing each song even more than the last; they shared small moments of joy and laughter among themselves throughout the set and the audience eagerly mirrored the friendly intimacy that was cultivated onstage. Macseal played a handful of songs from all of their EPs including 2017’s Yeah, No, I Know, 2018’s Map It Out EP as well as two new songs from their upcoming album, Super Enthusiast, due out November 8 via 6131 Records. Preorder that record here.
Up next, Youth Fountain took the stage with a high-energy, pop punk/post-hardcore set. Both vocalists seemed to be having a great time and much of the show consisted of a mic being thrust into the audience to allow for their enthusiastic fans to be involved in their set’s vocals. Each song of their set came from the band’s debut album, Letters to Our Former Selves.
Next, the stage was cleared off to prepare for the solo act of the tour, Chris Farren. To me, this sunny, indie pop artist seemed to be a bit of an outlier for this lineup, but as he began to perform, I came to the realization that we were in for one hell of a show. The solo artist, clad in Adidas sweatpants, a Hawaiian shirt and face glitter pairing perfectly with his famous “Born Hot” mustache, performed music from his 2016 album Can’t Die, as well as a handful of songs from his new album, Born Hot.
Throughout his spectacular performance, Farren wowed the audience with a light-up guitar strap, dazzling dance moves and a self-animated and projected backdrop of which we were frequently reminded was done by the artist, himself. Even if some of us in the audience were unfamiliar with the music, Farren’s set will likely not be one easily forgotten. Each song seemed to draw the audience further into Farren’s world and between each song I, for one, was left wondering just what the heck he could have left up his sleeve. In his live performances, Farren brings together so many individual pieces and melds them flawlessly with his unique personality to produce a stunning performance absolutely everyone should experience. Bearing that in mind, I would like to not-so-politely urge you to catch a Chris Farren Show next time he rolls through a town near you.
Preorder some hot (the temperature kind) merch and music from the delightfully expansive preorder bundles.
The crowd had filled out well for the headliner and you could feel the excitement in the air as Free Throw took the stage. This is not the first time I’ve written about Free Throw, and it certainly won’t be the last, but hot damn this band blows me away every single time they come into my life! There were old songs from Those Days Are Gone dedicated to old friends in the crowd, there was rowdy moshing to songs from Bear Your Mind, and there were powerful, resonate moments shared as we experienced songs from What’s Past is Prologue live for the first time.
The first notes of each song garnered a fresh burst of excitement from the crowd and Free Throw’s performance matched the audience’s enthusiasm throughout the night. Each song on the setlist was performed so that the individuality of the piece was showcased, but the set as a whole worked together like a greatest hits album and established a mesmerizing ebb and flow to the show. The softer songs encouraged the audience to immerse themselves in the captivating songwriting Free Throw is known for, while fast tempoed favorites brought the audience crashing in to scream their beloved lyrics back to the stage.
Reflecting on the show, I think my favorite part of the night was feeling the shared love for the music, the art, that has been so steadfast for me when I needed it most. I had the incredible opportunity to sing “I finally learned to love myself” back to the band that gave me the courage to begin my own journey toward self-acceptance. I was able to share that moment with a group of people who have most likely had very similar experiences because of this band and the music they share with the world.
Live music is a powerful experience, but a live Free Throw performance is a remarkable experience and one that I am truly honored to have been a part of this summer.
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