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Twenty One Pilots use sold-out Basement concert as ‘Vessel’ for new music premiere

Mark Batke / Lantern reporter

Local band Twenty One Pilots treated 300 of its most loyal fans to a free impromptu performance Friday night at The Basement, just three days after releasing its debut album.

Twenty One Pilots founder and former Ohio State student Tyler Joseph, along with drummer Josh Dun, broke the news via Twitter late Thursday afternoon announcing a show for the following evening. Less than two hours later, all 300 free tickets were snatched up on a first-come, first-served basis from the PromoWest Productions box office on Neil Avenue.

Coming off a breakout year in 2012 that included being signed by a major record label, touring across the country and releasing its debut album, the members knew that honoring their roots with a hometown show was essential.

“Scheduling-wise, (a Columbus show) didn’t fit in line with when our CD came out,” Joseph said. “We could have just released a CD, chilled, and then gone out on the road. But we were home, and we were available … so why not play a smaller show to commemorate that CD release?”

Over the course of two hours, Twenty One Pilots energized the crowd that filled The Basement by playing every song from its new album. The band and crew often paused during the show to thank the hometown fans for their continued support.

“We have been all across the country, and there’s still yet to be a crowd that’s this intense,” said Mark Eshleman, the band’s videographer. “All these fans really care about this band. It’s just unreal being here, and this will always be home.”

“Vessel,” the debut album from Twenty One Pilots under its new label, Fueled By Ramen, released Tuesday and features 12 songs. Many of the songs on the album had already been heard on amateur albums released before the band was signed to the label and were simply recorded again professionally. The remaining songs on the album had never been heard live prior to Friday night, Joseph said.

“It was fun. I wouldn’t want to play (the new songs) anywhere else,” Joseph said. “And now we are going to go out and hone them.”

As the band prepares for an extensive road tour in the coming weeks, it appeared that some Twenty One Pilots fans in attendance were left with yet another special memory after Friday’s surprise show.

“(The show) was awesome,” said Nicole Smith, a second-year in marketing at OSU who was in attendance on Friday. “And it was cool to be the first people ever to hear a lot of the songs live.”


An earlier version of this story stated the reporter’s name as Matt Batke. It
is Mark Batke.

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