with The Griswolds
Orlando, FL August 10th, 2014
by Alexa Harris
The Social was buzzing with excitement, curious to see what the night had in store from the opening act, rising artists The Griswolds, and fun experimental pop group Miniature Tigers. Pre-show the crowd was sparse and relaxed. From the start it appeared this would be a smaller, more intimate show than I was used to going to. As the night unfolded with hilarity and antics, it became clear that my prediction was more spot-on than I could have realized.
The crowd was enthusiastic to see the Australian rising stars The Griswolds. They cheered loudly when the band’s popular songs began such as “Beware the Dog.” One especially enthusiastic fan standing by me even began telling me about how excited he was. He was impressed that Miniature Tigers had been able to get such a great, fairly popular band as their opener. It became clear very quickly to me that much of the crowd had equal appreciation for both bands playing that night, a fairly rare occurrence in my experience with shows. The Griswolds delivered a good quality opening to the show that was about to unfold.
Miniature Tigers multitasked unlike any band I’ve ever seen at their level. They set up and tested their own instruments on stage while the bassist sold merch to fans. This shadowed the show to come— very down to earth with a great deal of fan interaction. While doing my research before the show, I came across their Facebook page. Here I found a recent post from the release date of their new album. This post promised that if you could send them proof of purchase of their new album in the 48 hours after its release, they would personally call and thank you. I was incredibly impressed by this act of gratitude and immediately they earned my respect as not only a good band, but apparently, very cool people. This became even clearer during their show.
They opened with the very danceable first song of their new album “Swimming Pool Blues.” This quickly got the crowd smiling and grooving. Especially impressive was their high-energy, quirky bassist, Brandon Lee. His ability to jump around, dance wildly, and play bass all at once was beyond impressive. Watching his funky moves put the biggest smile on my face, and the faces of many others. My friend, an aspiring bassist herself, announced that he was her new bass inspiration (and he very surely deserves to be). If other bassists had even half the attitude he did, their shows would immediately be much more interesting.
From there, the show only got more exciting. The bands happy tunes and good attitude set off positive vibes unlike any other show I’ve ever been to. The band talked to the crowd as comfortably and casually as if we were all their best friends. They constantly talked about the fact that it was Keyboardist Rick Schaier’s birthday that night. Lead singer and guitarist Charlie Brand jokingly announced that Rick was turning 17 to which Rick laughed and agreed “Sweet 17, baby.” They were continuously joking throughout the set, such as suggesting that they liked Orlando so much that they were meeting with a Realtor after the show.
They certainly celebrated his birthday that night. Brand told the crowd that Rick had asked backstage if he could play the drums for once, and Brand was more than happy to make that happen for the birthday boy. Rick enthusiastically played the drums for one song before making his return to the keyboard. The bands flexibly to change plans at last minute further earned my respect. The show somehow had this perfect combination of the professionalism and excitement as a big act, but the closeness of the show of a close friend.
The band further celebrated the night by encouraging the audience to buy Rick a drink. In response, a kind fan bought the entire band a round of shots (which they graciously did on stage). Schaier and Brand also at one point shared a kiss during the show on stage. It was continuous antics like this that made the show an especially fun time. The kindness of the band was also demonstrated by their continual thanks given to many, especially opening act the Griswolds (even inviting a member on stage to play with them during their set). They continuously repeated the fact that they had come all the way from Australia and how grateful they were for that and that they really enjoyed touring with them.
The band, as I mentioned before, had a great deal of direct fan interaction. Besides selling their own merch, they also got even closer to the fans— literally. Brand jumped into the crowd and began singing directly to audience members during “Used To Be The Shit.” As well as this, he invited the crowd onstage during the last song of their set. Fans, both males and females of varying ages, flooded the stage and sang and danced along. It was really wonderful to experience the closeness, passion, and positive energy of everyone during this. After the song ended and everyone was removed from the stage, many left and the room fell fairly quiet. I wasn’t sure for a minute if there would be an encore or not. However, after a few minutes, a roaring plead for one more song began. The band happily obliged playing one last song, yet again inviting the crowd on stage.
At the closing of this, the show was truly over and I sauntered out talking to my friend about the night. We both quickly agreed that it was definitely the most fun show we’d ever been to. They made it feel like you knew every song, even if you didn’t. There was so much enthusiasm that there was never a dull moment the whole time. The show truly blew me away and took my appreciation for their music to the next level. Miniature Tigers are a talented band, but even more incredible live performers and interesting people. With their talent and passion, I see big things for them in their future, and they really deserve it.