Never Shout Never is the augmented solo project of Christofer Drew, a scruffy teen popster who wants to change the world with love. We sincerely wish him good luck with that.
Meanwhile, he's galvanizing a devout, squealy teen fan base that apparently will follow him anywhere, even to a semi-spontaneous, hour-long set on the roof of his van in the Hotel Congress parking lot, while the kids' (slightly) elders swooned over headliners Hellogoodbye.
My head began to spin with the revelation that there could be a hundred bubble-gum indie kids who don't want to become the Jonas Brothers. Instead, they're all over the Internet and on the asphalt in beat-up vans, venturing into nightclubs with the likes of, say, Hellogoodbye. OK, it could be worse.
Second opener Ace Enders and A Million Different People (really only five) performed a set mostly taken from their 2008 speed-pop/singer-songwriter release, The Secret Wars. The biggest crowd pleaser was a number Enders introduced, with charming irony, as "the cheesiest song in the whole world," "Bring Back Love (Year 2020)." It was made for singing along, but then most of the crowd sang along with just about everything all night. You have to love that about pop music in every generation; I did miss the waving lighters on that one, though.
The upstarts served to amplify the striking advantages of Hellogoodbye's life experiences, emotional range and hard-earned musical chops. Clearly, this is the band the others want to grow up to be--with upbeat tempos; lightning-fast chords; cheery irony; charisma to burn; hip, Internet-age patois; and a tight bond with everyone in the room. Forrest Kline vamped, mugged, sweated and flirted, at one point tossing out a water bottle and telling everyone to share. "By the end of the night," he said brightly, "everyone's gonna have mono. Swear to God!" He followed up the arm-waving "Baby, It's a Fact" with a ukulele song from the band's tour-only EP, sans ukulele, and a soliloquy about the band's tour van being powered by vegetable oil.
So it went throughout the set until, after the encore, the crowd took their smiles out into the night like there wasn't a thing in the world to worry about.