Blue October’s Quiet Mind Tour made a stop at the Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 2. The band has been including this venue of many of its tours thus building a loyal and dedicated following in the area. This was the third stop on the young tour and they brought out two new rising bands in support: empires and Stars in Stereo. As the line outside the venue grew as the fans waited for the doors to open, you could feel the anticipation growing.
The night began with Stars in Stereo taking the stage. The five piece band from Los Angeles went into battle as the underdog. It has to be tough being a new band opening the show in front of a large crowd who are there to see the headliner. This group is made up of fighters and they took the stage and commanded it. They were energetic and sounded tight. They played selections from their upcoming album including their debut single “The Broken” as well as a surprising cover of Nine Inch Nails “Animal”.
Their melodic and catchy style of rock quickly made believers out of this audience.
Lead singer Bec Hollcraft soon proved that her beauty was not the only reason that she was the lead singer of this band. Her looks are backed by a very pure and powerful voice. She also plays a pretty mean guitar up there as well. Guitarist Jordan McGraw was very animated and even took it upon himself to get to know the crowd a little better as he went crowd surfing towards the end of their set. The band definitely won the crowd over and made quite a few new fans on this particular night.
Up next was Empires. The Chicago based indie rock band may have came out of the gate a little slow, but they seemed to pick up momentum going into their second number. Lead singer Sean Van Vleet had a good stage presence and really seemed to command the crowd’s attention. They featured a few songs off of their latest album Garage Hymns. They combine a type of grunge influenced, alternative rock but have jacked it up on steroids to give it a fresher sound for today.
Then, the waiting was finally over. Justin Furstenfeld and his band of brothers, which includes his own brother Jeremy on drums, took the stage and the crowd erupted in approval. The opening chords of “What If We Could” began to ring out and the emotional ride that’s known as a Blue October show was underway. Justin looked as if he was dressed more for church than a concert in his suit and tie and hat. Then again, by nights end, it definitely felt as if we all had gone to church on this evening.
Justin informed the audience that the show was a celebration and that the band was going to be playing songs from every album that they had released. What a great treat for the fans as many bands who have been around for almost twenty years tend to stray away from certain albums. That didn’t happen on this evening as the band dusted off many fan favorites and played them again.
Songs ranged from “Italian Radio” from their first album The Answers to “The Chills” from their latest album Any Man in America. There were so many highly emotional points throughout the night. “The Worry List” was so strong and powerful, yet deeply delicate and touching. “Let it Go” was moving as well as, my personal favorite and highlight of the night, “18th Floor Balcony”.
The band sounded amazing, even better than on the album. I was really blown away by Ryan Delahoussaye who plays keyboards, mandolin and violin. There’s something really pure and very profound about his accompanying mandolin and violin on many of the band’s songs. At times, I felt myself closing my eyes as he was playing and truly connecting with the song that was being performed.
Justin is a rare breed in an industry of flavors of the week and manufactured stars. He is as real and as genuine as you can get. He’s an artist who feels things deeply and opens his heart and unleashes his feelings on stage. If you have ever left a concert and felt like you did not get your money’s worth, I guarantee you that will not happen at a Blue October show. It’s a treat and a priviledge to see such artistry in action.