Theatre of Living Arts (Philadelphia, PA)
The Theatre of Living Arts crowd in Philadelphia was rocked by the alternative trio band, half•alive, on their “Conditions of a Punk” tour. A group notorious for their incorporation of contemporary choreography into their music knew that the sold out audience was expecting a performance of high quality artistic direction.
For the first two songs, the stage was blocked by a sheet.
Illumination from a spotlight behind the fabric revealed the shadow of frontman and lead vocalist Josh Taylor. Anticipation rippled through the Saturday night crowd as his silhouette created captivating visuals and teased fans for what was soon to come. Once the band was unveiled during “The Fall,” the ambiance felt spiritual – lively, yet intimate. The positioning of the band onstage was also noteworthy, resembling a podium. J. Tyler Johnson strummed bass on an elevated platform on the left of the set, Brett Kramer drummed away on his own slightly taller platform on the right side of the stage, and the tallest platform sat in the middle. Throughout the concert, Josh would climb onto his podium to perform, adding altitude induced visual interest to the show.
The setlist was a perfect blend of old favorites and new tracks, featuring the groovy baselines and rhythmic vocals of “Tip Toes,” the upbeat melodies of “Summerland,” and the dreamy instrumentation and viral choreography of “Did I Make You Up?” With such danceable music, it’s no surprise that the crowd was constantly moving or jumping in unison.
Incorporating choreography into live, indie-pop music cannot be easy, but half•alive makes it seem natural. Their dance-driven production is what makes the band incredibly unique, and their faithful fanbase is one I am now proudly a part of.