Concert Review: Wallows’ Virtual Tour At The Roxy

From Swae Lee’s concert on Instagram to Post Malone’s Nirvana Tribute live stream, there’s no doubt that musicians are relying on the power of the internet to share music in times where in-person shows are impossible. So when LA band Wallows announced their collaboration with No Cap to stream a series of pre-recorded concerts at The Roxy, I decided it was time to put an end to my concert dry spell.

13 Reasons Why star Dylan Minnette, guitarist Braeden Lemasters, and drummer Cole Preston tuned in early before each show to do a live Q&A –  an aspect one would normally expect from their in-person gigs. But it was only a few minutes before technical difficulties arose. The chat feature stopped working, causing the band to tell fans to tweet them so they could continue to answer questions (both Minnette and Lemasters prefer their steaks medium rare while Preston is vegan, BTW).

The first show saw their debut album Nothing Happens played in full. It was easy to forget they were playing in front of an empty crowd as the band created an electric atmosphere right from the start. Banter from Minnette and Lemasters saw them crack jokes (complete with a laugh track, of course) and encourage fans at home to sing along.

The set seemingly ended with ‘Do Not Wait’, a sombre track reflecting Minnette’s personal struggles with his parents’ divorce and past relationships, but the band kept up the cheerful mood by playing their 2019 Record Store Day tracks ‘Trust Fall’ and ‘Just Like a Movie’.

The trio live streamed once more at the completion of the show to play a live acoustic set of unreleased songs.

A fan-vote on favourite Wallows songs decided the setlist for the second show. Despite my disappointment in ‘Let The Sun In’ failing to make the set, Wallows – along with touring members Danny Ferenbach (keyboard and trumpet) and Blake Morrell (bass) – performed an exciting countdown that saw fan faves ‘Are You Bored Yet?’ and the newly released ‘OK’ sneak in for the final two.

Viewers were also treated to a behind-the-scenes video of the virtual tour which mostly featured the band mucking around and playing with different vocal effects during rehearsals. 

The enthusiasm I had for the previous shows was nowhere to be seen for the third set. With a difficult 4am start, I watched with one eye open and my snoring dog beside me. A benefit of the virtual tour was that each concert is archived temporarily for fans to watch (or re-watch) at any time. But even with my second and more convenient viewing, Wallows’ third show felt like a regurgitation of the setlists before, albeit with smoother song transitions, and offered nothing new besides the emotionally charged yet lyrically simplistic ‘Nobody Gets Me Like You’.

With the virtual tour coming to an end, Wallows took on a more relaxed and playful vibe for their final show. Hits from the start of their career to songs from their upcoming EP Remote were played, satisfying both OG and newer fans. Minnette goes from swaying his legs while sitting on the edge of the stage during ‘These Days’ to jokingly telling the ‘crowd’ to be quiet so Lemasters could perform the heartfelt track ‘1980s Horror Film’. And as Preston and Minnette knelt and stared adoringly up at Lemasters, who had switched to a somewhat opera style of singing mid-song, it was obvious that music was simply an extension of their lifelong friendship. 

Sure, I was skeptical that a virtual tour could give the same experience that a real one does – I mean, what’s the concert experience without the hours spent waiting in line, rude security guards, and belting out your fave song with a bunch of strangers? But Wallows prove that concerts, even in isolation, are just as enjoyable from the comfort of our couches.