Breanna Soroka / Lantern reporter
Royal Teeth visited Columbus Friday night, taking a huge bite out of the city and leaving its mark on its audience with hyper-dance pop and vibrating beats.
Royal Teeth’s opening act, however, was not so memorable when they took the stage at A&R Music Bar. Fashion Week, a Columbus-based band, was recruited at the last minute to open for Royal Teeth after a scheduling mix-up. The original band set to perform during this portion of the show was Hunter Hunted.
“No, we’re actually not. Not sure where the mix up happened but we’re on our way back to LA,” Hunter Hunted said in a tweet regarding its name appearing on the bill.
Fashion Week on its own would have probably been a decent show. Lead vocalist and guitarist Jason Turner crooned sweetly, and remaining band members Tyler Earnest, Andrew Lee and Joshua Miller performed their duties well as musicians. The band even had an emotional breakthrough with the audience during its closing ballad “Joke Is On Me,” connecting with people who during the rest of the set hadn’t been paying ample attention. I spent most of the show examining my fingernails, but was drawn in once this song came on.
Then Royal Teeth took the stage, and what had just been a local band trying in vain to make a name for itself was instantaneously forgotten in a flurry of motion, energy and a touch of hyperactivity. The main attraction had arrived, and in a split second the excitement became palpable in the air.
“Let’s have some fun,” vocalist Gary Larsen said with just a hint of a smile. And they were off.
There were no special light sequences. The stage was approximately the size of a cramped, two-person dorm room. The venue was comfortably full, but by no means packed. And despite all of these things working against them, Royal Teeth put on the most fiercely energized performance I’ve ever seen.
Though the band’s regular set was only 10 songs long, it consisted of old favorites and new tracks that got the audience jumping either way. “Tiger Shark,” “Nawlins (Mais La),” “Wild” and “For Keeps” were all played at some point throughout the night, as well as the band’s popular cover of The Knife’s “Heartbeats.”
The encore consisted of a cover of Queen’s “Under Pressure,” as well as Royal Teeth’s own “Act Naturally.” I’ve never wanted to cry because of a musical performance, and yet tears were brought to my eyes. It was epic.
Every single song had a beat that pounded straight into my heart, likely due to the fact that there were three drummers onstage the entire set – in addition to percussionist Josh Hefner, both Larsen and other vocalist Nora Patterson wielded drumsticks and took it upon themselves to add to the beat whenever possible. Rather than overwhelm the rest of the musicians, this added a quality to the music that I refuse to describe any other way but magical. It also turned even the most unassuming songs into music the audience couldn’t help but dance to.
“We like to call this next song a sexy slow jam,” Larsen said between songs. “We don’t really have a slow jam, but if we did this would be it.”
But the music isn’t what made the show, no matter how incredible it was. The band’s evident love of performing pushed this concert to the top of my list of favorites of all time.
There was audience interaction from the band between every song, and sometimes even during the performances. I seethed with jealousy as Larsen took the camera of the person in front of me and used it to get an up-close and personal video of the band members as they performed. I seethed even more when he launched himself into the audience with his drum and held the microphone to a face that wasn’t mine.
The butterflies that fluttered into my stomach as I watched this concert haven’t left, and the band’s debut EP “Act Naturally” has been on repeat for hours.
Larsen put it best: “I mean, who can miss a show for a dollar?”