Have you ever had one of those moments where you suddenly realise that you love a band that you hadn’t really given any thought to before?
This happened to me at this years Belsonic music festival. Echosmith were a band I didn’t know beyond hearing their song ‘Cool Kids’ on the radio. I didn’t like them, I didn’t dislike them, so I was pretty much neutral about seeing them live as a support act for Bastille.
Seeing these guys live totally changed my opinion of them.
I’m just going to say it. This year at Belsonic sucked. Majorly.
There was such a cold and constant downpour they started giving people free rain ponchos as soon as they walked through the gates. Even with a poncho, a raincoat and a jacket underneath I was soaked through and freezing before the first act even came on the stage.
The food was crap, with a choice of an overpriced low quality burger from a van that gave me a choice of burger, burger with bacon and cheese, or chips; nothing else, despite having their full menu on display, or a crepe that was impossible to eat without becoming soggy in the rain. Compare that to last years salt and chilli squid, or the amazing burgers from the year before, and yeah. Crap. I mean I enjoyed my crepe, but it had more use as a handwarmer.
As if the food and weather were not enough, the first act were absolutely pants as well. I’m sorry, I wanted to like them I really did, but within a couple of songs it became apparent that not only did they not understand how to properly level the individual instruments, they also didn’t understand how to adjust the volume level on any one of them or, indeed, their overall volume. They pounded out some horrible noise that was so bad, there was one point where the guitarist was having technical troubles (sounded like a very loud screeching chainsaw) and we honestly didn’t notice until he apologised for it. We thought it was part of the song. That should tell you just how bad they sounded live, although recorded they sound fine. I found myself huddling at the complete furthest point from the stage to try to get away from the pain the killer headache they had given me.
Honestly, it was so bad at this point my partner and I were seriously considering just leaving. It was such a bad atmosphere. Maybe we just weren’t drunk enough. I say that not as someone who drinks alcohol (as I don’t) but simply because the drunken teenagers next to us were the only happy faces in sight.
I’m only telling you this because I feel it’s important to contrast how we were feeling at this point, to how we felt once Echosmith took the stage.
Honestly, and I am not exaggerating, Echosmith single handedly saved our night. They quite literally got out on that stage and shone through the misery that the evening had been so far.
Seeing Echosmith live gave me so much respect for them. Not only are they good live, they are better live. I watched the video for Cool Kids the next day and they sounded positively flat by comparison to their live performance, which was just so full of life, energy and emotion.
I enjoyed listening to their entire set list, but when it came time to perform Cool Kids Sydney Sierota surprised us with a truly emotive moment.
She addressed the crowd, as bands often do, but what she had to say was simply beautiful, with every word weighted with sincerity, love and passion. In the middle of what was already an enjoyable performance, suddenly we had this beautiful woman pouring out inspirational and heartfelt words to tell us that we were beautiful, that we were all people who deserved acceptance within ourselves. Her words sent shivers of emotion through me; suddenly the feeezing wet evening melted away as I became absorbed in the warm glow of this woman who, without knowing anything about any of us, was wholeheartedly telling us we should be proud of who we are, that we are not alone and we are not deserving of the pressure we put upon ourselves to fit in. Preaching acceptance, one of the most difficult things to achieve, while making it feel like you really could achieve it because she believed in you. It was an amazing moment, and while it is definitely one of those ‘you had to be there’ scenarios I’m going to write out what she said anyway:
‘Alright Ireland. There’s something I want you guys to know tonight, more than anything else, is why we wrote this song…and this song, Cool Kids, was created because we ourselves felt that desire to fit in and to be like somebody else…just like I know every single person here has felt before. I don’t care how old you are, where you’re from or how much success you ever have; we all go through the exact same thing. So number one; you are not alone. And number two; all it takes is accepting yourself for who you are…and who you’re not. And I promise, finally, I need you all to know so badly today that each and every one of you are so, so very loved, especially by this fan on this stage before you…and we can’t tell you how happy we are to see so many beautiful Irish faces singing our songs, especially considering the fact that we happen to be part Irish, that’s kinda cool…anyway…I wanna thank you guys so much for being so incredible and making this a night that we will never forget. So if you’ve ever related to the song before, I want you to sing at the top of your lungs. Can you do that for me?’
Thank you Echosmith, that is a moment I will never forget let alone a night.
I think I’ve written enough about my experience that night, really I can’t quite put into words how amazing it was to be standing in the pouring rain completely heartwarmed by these amazing people.
I am simply going to place a selection of photographs from that night here to finish this post. I hope you enjoy them and that they have managed to capture some of the sheer positive energy and joy this woman brought both to the stage and our lives 🙂