Full acoustic sets are so underrated. When it comes to music that has a lot of feeling and emotion, it is screaming to be played while ‘unplugged’. This is exactly what Parachute has done with their current tour. If you are at all familiar with the Virginia-born alternative/pop/rock band, you know that their music tugs at the heartstrings. I’ve seen them 3 times now and two of those shows were stripped down and unplugged (minus Kit, the keyboardist). I can’t say whether I liked one show more than the others, but I can say that they get better and better every time.
On the east coast leg of their tour, they brought along Toronto-born Pop/R&B/Soul singer-songwriter, Johnny Balik. Prior to this show, I’d never heard of him. But the second he came on stage and opened his mouth to sing, my jaw dropped and I was just thinking, “damn”. Very, very impressive. His set overall was also stripped down, but not in the way the girls in the audience would have liked… lol. He performed originals as well as a cover within his half hour set. He sang but he also did a lot of what I like to call, sing-rap, where you basically sing a rap, sort of like Chase Goehring and Ed Sheeran. He definitely made fans out of me and my boyfriend. The ladies loved him… so much that when he was by his merch table after his set, the line to get a photo with him and talk to him was halfway through the crowd pit. Overall, awesome set and I highly recommend checking him out on all forms of social media. (Just search ‘Johnny Balik’)
Half an hour later, Parachute came on stage. The last time I’d seen them, they had gone all out for the setup of the show and the time before that, it was just a keyboard and a stool. This time, they had a stool in the center for Will Anderson (lead vocals, guitar, piano), a keyboard setup stage right for Kit French (keyboard, sax, vocals), and a drum set setup stage left for Johnny Stubblefield (drums). It was surreal to me to watch them walk to their rightful positions and me be right there ready to shoot because they’ve been a favorite band of mine for quite some time. I got caught up in the music and what I was doing, it slipped my mind to get the setlist written down… lol. But they performed some songs from each album and each show was different than the previous one, which was pretty cool. They included songs from their recently released album “Wide Awake” such as, ‘Jennie’ (one of my favorites) and ‘Lonely With Me’.
Being that it was an acoustic show and there wasn’t much specific structure to follow, there was plenty of time for talking, which was great for Will, being that he loves to talk… lol. He talked about his new wife, Courtney, and their different writing styles; she writes books and has notes all over her wall and desk at home, and he, apparently, stares blankly at a wall and hums tunes till he gets a melody down. According to Courtney, he sounds like a dying duck when he hums them because they don’t flow, even when they do in his head. He also talked about his obsession with Heinz ketchup, being that he was in Pittsburgh, and how he wrote them a fan letter and the ended up sending him a bunch of little ketchup packets. Speaking of stories, every single time they perform the next song I’m about to talk about, he leads with a disclaimer… it is a made up story. An older man came up to them and said “I’m sorry for your loss” after a show one time and Will was so confused. When he was told it was about ‘Forever and Always’, he said he was too embarrassed to tell him he made it up. Go and listen to the song and you will see just how sad it is.
Other older tunes they played, included ‘All That I Am’ and ‘She Is Love’, a fan favorite. They also did a cover of Julia Michaels’ ‘Issues’ to which one fan screamed at the top of her lungs for out of excitement. Everyone was startled, haha. One of my favorite oldies of theirs, and the song that I first heard and fell in love with them, was ‘Kiss Me Slowly’. Ugh, so beautiful.
From their 2013 release, “Overnight”, they played ‘Drive You Home’ and ‘Didn’t See It Coming’. During ‘Didn’t See It Coming’ (the studio version), Will talks the verses, but during the acoustic show, he sang them which was a nice change of pace. They ended their set with ‘Philadelphia’… ironic, I know.
The entire crowd was immersed in the music and it was a fantastic night. Their music really makes you feel the feelings and emotions they’re trying to portray and the acoustic set only heightens that. The west coast leg of their tour begins next month and I highly recommend going to a show. Date night with friends or a significant other, or even just by yourself… just to enjoy the music.
Check out my review and photos on Pittsburgh Music Magazine as well!
The rest of my photos can be checked out here on my portfolio as usual!