The last time I spoke with Bryce Avary, better known by his moniker The Rocket Summer, he was itching to get out on tour. He had spent the past year in a house in the Canyons, writing, recording, and producing The Rocket Summer’s sixth album, Zoetic, solo. This multi-talented artist kicked off 2016 with his nationwide Zoetic tour, which ended its first leg — where else? — here in Los Angeles Tuesday evening at The Troubadour.
Avary’s performances have always been lively, but that evening’s show was particularly special given his solo journey to create Zoetic and his clear love for The Rocket Summer fans. When Avary greeted the audience, he was radiating pure joy to be back on stage and had fans fist-thrusting along before he even began singing “So In This Hour.” His voice was stronger than ever as he flipped into a high falsetto for new track “Cold War” and belted out the vocals to the piano-heavy “Of Men and Angels.”
Throughout the evening, fans screamed, “We love you Bryce!” and he happily sent the love right back. The Troubadour provided an intimate venue for Avary, who performed “Roses” acoustically while standing on the floor in the center of the audience, at which point the crowd became a sea of cell phones, all capturing the private moment.
While Avary has been known for powerful piano-pop rock, more recent albums, including Zoetic, have seen a shift in style to a more indie/alt-rock sound. The evening’s setlist bounced between uplifting pop tunes like “Break It Out” and more rocking songs like recent single “Same Air.”
Avary demonstrated his talent as a multi-instrumentalist by performing a powerful drum solo before launching into the classic “Brat Pack,” during which a canon exploded confetti into the air and onto the bouncing crowd.
Before using a looping pedal to create “Walls” with just vocal percussion and piano, Avary told fans, “From Orange County to LA, it’s always been great to come here, and you were always here for us.” He then performed the piano ballad “FL, CA,” his love letter to California off Zoetic, explaining he had looked forward to playing it live since it was recorded here in LA.
During the encore, which included the title track off Zoetic and The Rocket Summer’s earlier hit “Cross My Heart,” Avary repeatedly told the crowd that he loved them. He ended with my favorite track, the anthemic “So Much Love,” exemplifying the hopeful, energetic piano-pop sound fans fell in love with over a decade ago and that Avary continues to bring to life.
It was clearly a magical evening for both Avary and fans, happy to be together again and singing songs, both old and new, that made their bond even stronger.
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