Christofer Drew, the bleached blond lead vocalist and guitarist of Never Shout Never, walked onto the stage of the House of Blues Cleveland with a half empty bottle of wine.
After taking a sip from the bottle he proudly explained that today was his 25th birthday. The sea of young girls roared with excitement and shouted “Happy Birthday!” I glanced over at the empty bar where bored bartenders were handing out water as if they were giving away well vodka shots.
Drew asked if anyone was over 21 and a few hands were raised. I stayed in the back with my pen and paper feeling completely out of place.
Never Shout Never is a good mixture of indie rock, folk and (mainly) pop. The skilled instrumental talent is apparent in every song, but like many pop bands they fall into overplayed ballads and clichéd melodies. But Drew has grown as a musician since his days of being a Myspace sensation under the alias nevershoutnever! in 2007.
I found “Coffee and Cigarettes” to be rather catchy and found myself singing along. I was also impressed with Drew’s performance of “Red Balloon,” which rallied the crowd. Red balloons fell from the ceiling, which was visually stunning and a fun touch to the decent pop song.
Drew and the band performed a cover of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” which was decent, but not even close to the power of the original. At one point Drew apologized to the crowd for “drinking too much wine,” which may have been a factor in some lackluster performances.
Opening for Never Shout Never was reunited band Metro Station, composed of Mason Musso and Trace Cyrus, older brother of Miley Cyrus. Metro Station reunited and began touring again after Cyrus’ return in 2014.
The House of Blues was filled with energy and good vibes as the two jammed on risers in a dark yet neon-filled stage. In a dull evening at the House of Blues I found myself rocking to the band’s electronic pop rock as 18-year-old girls continually screamed “I love you” at the stage.
Musso and Cyrus ended their set with their famous hit from 2007, “Shake It” which I fondly remember blasting loudly on my car radio as I drove through Cleveland suburbs. Cyrus asked everyone to put their cell phones away and just dance to the high-energy song, which the majority of the crowd agreed to do.
Prior to Metro Station was the very young band Jule Vera. The lead guitarist clapped his hands, trying to rally the crowd, and lip-synced the lyrics more than he played his instrument. What the band lacked in talent was made up with spectacle, which comprised of trying to play the guitar with one’s tongue, playing drums while water is on them, and rallying the crowd to wave their phones in lieu of lighters during a “slow” song. The sea of lighted phones was incredibly cliché.
I believe there is potential talent and growth for Jule Vera. The band would clearly win any “battle of the bands” competition, but when compared to other bands that night it was a harsh contrast. With the right training and guidance, lead vocalist Ansley Newman could drive the band to serious success.
Bands: Never Shout Never, Metro Station, Jule Vera
Date: Feb. 10
Location: House of Blues Cleveland