Live Review and Photos by Danielle Boise
“You are fucking beautiful.” – Justin Furstenfeld
Blue October is out on the road once again, this time around to promote its 17th studio album, Sway, which was released off the band’s own label Up/Down Records on Aug. 20. It was a night filled with a sense of awe, wonder and excitement as Tori Vasquez and Courrier took the stage to open for Blue October’s The Sway Tour at Center Stage on Sunday, Sept. 8 in Atlanta.
With a soulful voice, singer-songwriter, Tori Vasquez started the night off with a bit of sass as she sang songs off her debut release, Let It Be, which included “Wear You Thin,” “Let It Go” and “The Blue.”
The indie-alt rockers Courrier were up next, as they performed with vivacious energy songs off its latest release, Cathedrals of Color, like “Love is a Fire” and “Between.”
With an impressive catalogue to choose from, Blue October did not just perform songs off of Sway, rather it was a rounded set, that included songs that spanned their entire career. The show was incredibly intense and emotional, as Justin Furstenfeld poured every emotion into each lyric and note. I can’t remember the last time I saw an artist emotionally bleed for an audience, and in return the fans were consumed by atmospheric energy and gave it right back to the band.
With moody blue lighting and smoke wafting through the stage as Blue October entered and started with “Sway,” which truly set the pace for the evening, with a swelling built-up to a cathartic release. Followed by “HRSA,” Say It,” “The Chills,” “Hard Candy,” “Light You Up,” “Congratulations,” “The Things We Don’t Know About ” and “Angles in Everything.”
“We just released a new record (Sway), I’m insanely proud of it.” – Justin Furstenfeld
Before going “Into The Ocean,” Furstenfeld said “So a while back, I was writing this song and it was like a long ass poem… a long ass sad poem. I put in to a beat and then you could dance to it. We had the saddest song on the radio with a happy beat. The song actually is about suicide. …Over the years you’ve made me feel less alone and fucked up. Thank you.”
Afterwards, saying to the crowd with heartfelt loved, “you are fucking beautiful” before launching into my personal favorite track off of Sway, “Debris” followed by “Fear.”
Furstenfeld introduced “The Getting Over It Part” by saying “this song is off of our Any Man In America album. This song was the turning point for me in my life. Where I had the balls to say, get the fuck out. If you are in a relationship that is bad, get over it, keep moving forward and stay focused.”
Blue October followed up with “Put It In,” at which point Furstenfeld broke the strings on his guitar but didn’t miss a beat and continued on with the song as if nothing happened.
“Bleed Out” had a sense of perfect symmetry between the lyrics and the splashing of red lights saturating the stage. The intensity seemed to fill the air when Blue October launched into the last song of the regular set, “Hate Me.” There was a real honest bond formed between the fans singing word for word the song back to the band, and in return giving themselves over thoroughly.
“Thank you very much, we had a wonderful night.” – Justin Furstenfeld
For the encore, Blue October performed “The Worry List,” “She’s My Ride Home” and ended with the poignant “Not Broken Anymore,” which was a true testament to the evolution of Blue October’s music. The lyrical content has always been raw, honest and at times uncomfortable because it openly talks about the darkness that lurks in all of us, but “Not Broken Anymore” is like a Phoenix rising from the ashes and being reborn. That is exactly what Sway is. It is a rebirth of the band, who makes music because they have no other choice; it is part of their DNA.
Fans who have been with the band from the beginning of their journey, and what a journey that has lead to Sway, will not be disappointed with this tour at all. The Sway Tour really has garnered a revitalization within the band, both emotionally and physically – it’s as if they are finally at a stage of acceptance and wholeness in their lives both personally and professionally.
Full Photo Gallery of Tori Vasquez
Full Photo Gallery of Courrier
Full Photo Gallery of Blue October