Live Review: We The Kings, Avastera

27 February 2016 | 11:56 am | Uppy Chatterjee

"It’s kind of how you keep three-year-olds entertained at a birthday party."

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It's a night out for the teens tonight; the floor sweaty and cramped, the modest number of over-18s enjoying their open space, beers and breathing room up in the stands. 
Avastera are running at least ten minutes behind schedule, seeming to require a lot of sound checking. To tide the sea of kids over, the Paramore songs they've got blasting over the PA seem to do the trick. When the five-piece come on, it's clear very quickly that the boys know how to put on a performance, though the "Come on guys, let's all clap!" and arm-waving might be a bit much in every song, making it all seem a bit contrived. Breathing Hope and Oceans are solid tracks, the singer a competent and charismatic vocalist. Considering they have five on stage and no keys player, they rely all too much on a multi-layered synth backing track. They wrap up their set with a cover of The 1975's Robbers
The Floridians are running late as well, though Avastera left a good 15 minutes for the headliners to plug in. When they do though, We The Kings are lightning quick to tear through crowd favourites Queen Of Hearts, the blisteringly fun Skyway Avenue and We'll Be A Dream, the latter allowing Sydney to step up to the role of being Demi Lovato's vocal cords. The band have mellowed from their mid-2000s fluro coloured pop punk phase - the five wear mostly monochrome now, Travis Clark's orange hair the brightest thing on stage. Their demeanour hasn't matured much though, catering fully to their newer tween fans, leaving nothing for the tween fans who have now grown up, seeking a night of high school nostalgia. 
I Feel Alive elicits some weird wacky-waving-arm flailing-inflatable-tube-man moment in the young crowd - cool to watch, but a little children's TV in the way Clark jests with us like a bad comedian, telling us to get down to the floor and jump up high, flailing our arms. It’s kind of how you keep three-year-olds entertained at a birthday party. Clark talks a little too much between songs, too, much of it seeming very scripted. Country rock-ish Love Again has Clark demanding a dance out of everyone for the next 3 minutes 18 seconds, stating it is 100% acceptable for the person next to you to slap you if you don't. Eep. 
Secret Valentine - a song about "the first time I played backwards Jenga with a girl", a euphemism obviously - is a nostalgic hit with the oldies (ie. older than 15), as is a raucous cover of Jimmy Eat World's The Middle. Very happy that the solo wasn’t butchered by guitarist Hunter Thomsen, who along with drummer Danny Duncan are super talented musicians.
An acoustic interlude consists of Sad Song and Runaway, the latter sounding exactly like Don't Stop Believing (even sang it under our breaths, works perfectly). The band reveal they'll be filming a music video for The Story Of Tonight at this show and the crowd amp up the wattage on their craziness. The band’s only #1 hit Say You Like Me and their breakthrough hit Check Yes Juliet are the last on the list and a great time, leaving the room on a soaring puppy-love inspired high.