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AJR – Wind Creek Event Center – Bethlehem (A Concert Review)

AJR – Musikfest – Wind Creek Event Center – Bethlehem, PA – August 3, 2023

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s 40th annual Musikfest opened on August 3 with an incredible performance by AJR. The band of brothers from New York City returned to the stage for the first time in a while, following the passing of their father. The show was nearly sold-out, packed with an audience of all ages. From kids to grandparents, a wide variety of concertgoers almost filled the Wind Creek Steel Stage.

Walking out to their “OK Overture” off their OK Orchestra album, the crowd went wild. The excitement from the kids in the audience was infectious. “Bummerland” was the opening number, the perfect summer song to begin the beautiful outdoor concert. The lead singer of the brothers, Jack, was energized the second he got on stage and danced around to every song. “3 O’Clock Things” was another off OK Orchestra album with heavy trumpet performed live. The trumpet player matched Jack’s energy, waving her trumpet from left to right all night, swaying to the songs.

Then, they did something only AJR could do. They took a clip from the “I’ve Got No Strings” song in the animated movie Pinocchio and used their drum pad to remix it live. Keyboard player Ryan and bass player Adam stood with their backs turned to the audience and Jack, front and center, gave the audience quite an amusing show.

The lighting at an AJR show is just as important as the music. The crazy colorful and constantly moving lights add to the effect of the music. The show wouldn’t have been the same without the lighting and visuals displayed on the screen behind the stage.

Throwing it back to their second album The Click, the brothers played their hit “Sober Up,” their first song to hit number one on the Billboard charts. This was definitely a crowd favorite, allowing everyone to sing together with the whole crowd knowing every single word.

Next, they played their newest song released a few months ago, “The Dumb Song.” Following a few other songs, they did an unbelievable cover of Smash Mouth’s iconic hit, “All Star.” An acoustic version of the song with guitars and ukuleles was something I had never expected to see at the show, but an amazing surprise for sure. Another huge hit for the band “100 Bad Days” was played next and the crowd was getting hyped up again. Another huge hit “World’s Smallest Violin” which blew up on Tik Tok played next. The band played the song in a small circle center stage in a change of scenery. Similar to how the brothers would stand when they performed in parks in New York City as street performers playing guitar, singing, and using their drum pad to remix songs.

“Burn The House Down” was hands down, the best song of the night. The audience’s energy was unmatched. Hands were going up and down to the beat as directed by Jack and everyone was having an amazing time. Then, in true AJR fashion, they started putting together one of their hit songs step by step. Showing the audience how the song “Bang!” was produced.

Starting with a knock at the door they recorded, they pitched it up, added drums, and piano, played with the octave, and added vocals all in live time in front of the crowd. Then, the audience began to recognize the song being produced in front of them and began singing along once Jack started adding the vocals. After “Bang!” the brothers thanked everyone for coming out and walked off stage for a couple of minutes before returning. They returned with the song “Weak,” one of their first biggest hits. The energy wasn’t dying down, it was only getting bigger and better. Sadly though, this being the last song, the night had come to an end, leaving the audience wanting more songs.

Overall, it was a beautiful night for an outdoor concert and a great way to kick off 2023’s Musikfest. AJR always puts on an incredible show like something you’ve never seen any other artist do. They are so unique and refreshing to see. I highly recommend a night with AJR.

Maria Gilles

Copyright ©2023 All rights reserved. Posted: August 6, 2023.

Photo © 2023. Courtesy of Musikfest. All rights reserved.

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