Before you assume I’m talking about myself, no, I’m not one of the homies. That was the unofficial name of I the Mighty‘s Brent Walsh and Hail the Sun‘s Donovan Melero’s mini solo tour along the West Coast. The official name was the Taking Time to Breathe Tour, but come on, Two Homies in a Honda Fit is just so much more fun.
I saw them at X Bar in Cupertino. Not exactly my hometown show, but it was the closest I could make it to. The night they played San Francisco, there were three other shows I wanted to be at. Rise Against won. But Brent hardly ever plays his solo music live, and I love his solo album, so it was worth the drive.
I’m hanging outside the venue with another I the Mighty fan when I see the Honda Fit roll up. Naturally Brent’s dancing behind the steering wheel. I offered to help them load their gear in, which almost got me free entry into the show, but alas, the woman working the door saw me without a wristband and I had to cough up the $5.
Yes, it was a $5 bar show and I tried to sneak in for free. Can’t blame a girl for trying.
It was a small venue, but Brent wasn’t expecting more than 40 people in attendance anyway. It was the last show they booked of an already tiny tour, announced maybe two days prior. It seemed to fill up, though, so that was good.
There was a chalk wall that said “Hearts” and I saw my opportunity to add “+ Spades.” It was mostly successful. I’d give myself a B-.
It’s an I the Mighty thing if I’m speaking a different language to you right now. I’ve got a Hearts & Spades tattoo on my wrist as well.
I saw Brent and Donovan just a few days earlier on the 4th of July, where Brent told Donovan all about me.
“This girl goes to more rock shows than anyone. At least one a week, sometimes seven a week. We need more Lindsay’s.”
Safe to say he remembered me this time. The last time I’d seen him (aside from walking past him at Coheed’s Denverender show over a year ago) was two years ago when Hail the Sun opened for I the Mighty’s first headlining tour. I haven’t gone out of my way to see them since, although I do really like their music. Basically what I’m saying is, he did not know me prior to Brent’s wonderful introduction. But he does now, and here I am helping carry their gear. My life.
The show got off to a really late start. The first performer of the night, Kylle Reece of Demon in Me, didn’t hit the stage until about 9. I thought it was supposed to start at 8. It might have been 8:30, but either way. I’m pretty sure set up and soundcheck took longer than anyone anticipated.
Kylle Reece (Demon in Me)
I remember posting about Demon in Me a while back. If I remember them, then they obviously stuck with me to some extent and I must have liked them.
While I didn’t know any of his songs, my gut instinct that I must’ve liked what I heard was right, because I liked him live too. He was really good.
“I wrote this song two days ago in my car.”
(I don’t actually know which song was the one he wrote days prior in his car. But he said that and played it, whatever it was.)
A girl in the small crowd requested a song called “Melody.”
Kylle: “I’ve never played this before. Only in my head.”
Girl: “I’ve been in love with it since the first time I heard it.”
I was confused, but a quick Google search tells me that song was released to the internet on July 1st, so just a few days prior. He played a bunch of new songs it seems.
Joey Lancaster (Belle Noire)
I’m not too familiar with Belle Noire either, aside from one show they played with I the Mighty back in 2015. They opened the Connector release show. I feel like I’ve seen the band members elsewhere since then, but I don’t know their music.
I enjoyed the performance. I was surprised to find that I did actually vaguely recognize one song, but I have no idea what it is.
I’m the best. I literally have no idea what I’m talking about right now. Thanks for sticking it out with me, guys.
Donovan Melero (Hail the Sun)
Just to follow up with that last section… I have written under Donovan: “I think he played one Hail the Sun song that I didn’t know, but might have recognized? I can’t remember.” I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER IF I RECOGNIZED THE SONG. I’m done with me. Bye. Why do I even bother taking notes if they say literally nothing.
He also played a cover or two, but I could not tell you which bands. Because hi I’m Lindsay and I’m just full of suck today.
But I can tell you that he played a lot of unreleased (unrecorded!) solo songs that no one in the audience had heard before. He wants to record a solo album if he ever has some downtime between touring with Hail the Sun and his other band, Sianvar. That would be really cool, so I hope he’s able to find the time for that.
Brent joined him onstage to do one song together before he took over the stage himself. (Don’t trust me on this. It could have just as easily been at the end of Brent’s set. Just smile and nod.)
Brent: “Has anybody heard of a band called Nothing But Thieves?”
Me: “Me! But just from you.”
Brent: “Yeah because you heard this song the other day.”
The song was called “If I Get High” and I haven’t listened to the original (although I linked it for ya, so go for it) but Brent and Donovan’s rendition was really beautiful.
Brent Walsh (I the Mighty)
Ahh Brent Walsh. I know his album 7 pretty much forwards and backwards, (aside from one song you’ll see why in a minute) so I’ll be a bit more of a reliable narrator here.
He opened with “Free,” just him, a microphone, and some backing tracks.
He also played “Typical Blues Song.”
And “Sea of Thoughts.” This is the one there’s no way I could ever get all the words down for.
Brent at 4th of July: “I’ve never rapped in front of more than like 4 people before.”
But he killed it. I’m super impressed. The boy can rap I guess.
“A Toast” was a loud singalong with help from what seemed like everyone in that little room. It was so perfect and so much fun.
Brent: “This is an old song.”
Me: “Is it from 2006?”
Brent: “Yeah, it is.”
I am the worst in about every sense of the word.
I feel like he played more of 7 as well. Did he play “Already Gone“? “The Truth Is“? “Ride the Air“? I think he might have. But he definitely did not play “Temporary Mass,” “Thin Red Line,” or “Land Lovers.” Why I remember that and not what he actually played, I have no idea.
A big surprise of the night was an acoustic solo performance of a throwback I the Mighty song. Pre-dating their first self-released full-length We Speak (or was it around the same time just not on the album?), he played “Karma Keepers.” There’s a song I never thought I’d see live. It was amazing.
The “Slow Dancing Forever” acoustic singalong was just everything.
“If you know this song, you better sing along.”
And then to close out the night, Donovan joined him onstage to play “Default World.” For those curious, that song is about Burning Man.
Brent was the headliner, so who I can only assume is a house musician went on after him, meaning everyone stuck around. He wanted to sell as much merch as possible, so I had to stick around til the very end of the night as well.
Why you ask? Because I’m an annoying little shit and wanted a sneak peek of the new I the Mighty album.
The album (including release date) hasn’t been formally announced yet, so I’m not giving away that insider information. But I did get to hear the first single and oh my god was it worth it to be the last person in that venue.
Not like I haven’t been before. Because I’m always an annoying little shit. But that’s besides the point.
(Also being last in the venue means I helped load their gear out too. I’m glad they trust me.)
My first impression after hearing the song only once: It was so so so different that if it was any other band, it would definitely be the kind of song that once it got overplayed on the radio, I would end up hating it. But it’s I the Mighty. And I absolutely loved it. I’m super proud of them and I honestly regret asking for that sneak peek now because I am DYING to hear the rest of the album and I have to wait. Ugh. Some bad choices might have been made.
My money is on their new album being my album of the year. We’ll have to wait and see.