AJR @ The Opera House

A burst of energy hit the Opera House this past Wednesday night as indie pop sensations AJR and some of their musical pals took to the stage to deliver a dose of sweet tuneage. Opening were Hundred Handed and MAX.

Californian duo, Hundred Handed, started things off with some clean, slick dance tunes in the vein of Walk the Moon. With song titles like “Too Good” and “Love Me Like the Weekend” you can imagine that things remained upbeat for the duration of their set.

Sequined crooner MAX was up next with his brand of 10-gigawatt party jams. A hybrid of electronic and R&B music with a dash of hip-hop thrown in, the New York artist kept the party rolling without skipping a beat. From his smooth falsetto to his dance moves, everything about his performance was glossy and polished. In addition to his own songs, he performed covers of Outkast‘s “Ms. Jackson” and Ginuwine‘s “Pony”.

Band of brothers, AJR, closed out the night with their own mash-up sound, albeit a little more rock-oriented than their openers. Taking a page from the Twenty One Pilots handbook, the trio are rooted in alternative rock and build outwards from that. There’s bits of electronica, hip-hop, and folk smattered throughout their tunes but at the core, they are a rock group through and through.

The difference is that their message is a little less heavy than traditional alternative acts, with the brothers focusing on more lighthearted aspects of life. Songs like “Come Hang Out” and “Netflix Trip” lay out their modus operandi, with the crew opting to keep things fun. Even huge single “Sober Up” is a jaunt despite its potentially serious undertones. It’s this easygoing nature that’s garnered them a cult following all over the world. A following that still surprises the band, with lead singer and youngest brother Jack Met commenting on how taken aback he was at the packed Opera House. “This is our first time in Toronto so it’s crazy to see so many people in here”.

Those people were all too happy to make the boys feel at home in the city and stayed right until the very end of the show to catch the band’s big hit “Weak”. It’s not hard to imagine this to be just the beginning for AJR, and it’s pretty likely next time they’re in town their fans will be filling a much larger space.

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