With the cancelation of many concerts and festival venues in the Philadelphia area in the past year, music-bugs are being hit head-on with the “new normal” of living through a worldwide pandemic. Playing for a live audience may have seemed impossible for the times people are currently going through, but for three brothers from New York, they wanted to find a way to perform live once again.
AJR is an independent band that writes and produces their own music. Their modern alternative tone is filled with unique noises and sounds to give them their distinctive trademark. It has been quite a road for them for the past couple of years. In the past five years, they have put out three successful albums with the newest being Neotheature coming out in 2019. Since then they have come out with two new singles - Bang, and Bummerland.
Being as successful as they are, they have won two iHeartRadio awards for Best New Rock/Alternative Artist (2019) and Best New Boy Band (2018). They have received one Shorty Award for Best in Music (Arts and Entertainment) (2020). Lastly, they have won two Teen Choice Awards for Choice Rock Artist (2019), and Choice Rock Song (2019) for the song 100 Bad Days. They have been featured on many talk shows, and have definitely made their name to the public known. They have developed a positive fan base earning over 434K followers on Instagram. AJR has made it known that they want to be remembered for their energetic live shows.
Although it was thought to be impossible in 2020 to perform a live show, AJR made it happen. On August 19th, and 20th, they put on two drive-in live concerts in the parking lot outside of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Each show had a maximum of 850 cars, allowing each car to hold a maximum of 4 people. There was a large diversity of fans that came. Some old, some young, and lots of families looking for a great show. They performed all of their hit songs and their set lasted for about an hour and a half. What was unique was that the sound of the show was not designed to be heard from the speakers on the stage. The band played through their own radio station so it could be heard more proficiently in one’s car.
Safety was a top priority. They strictly followed and executed on COVID-19 guidelines. Security was also fully in force to prevent any threats. As soon as fans arrived, each car was searched by dogs, and people had to show their tickets. Fans were then directed to a certain spot in the zone where their ticket was purchased from. Each parking spot was spaced out where there was at least one empty spot to the right, left behind, and in front of the fan’s car. People were allowed to sit on the roofs of their cars to enjoy the show. People were allowed outside of their vehicle but had to wear a mask. Vendors were on golf carts taking food orders and giving out AJR merchandise.
With the success of the two nights, I am sure many artists will follow. Although it might not have been the same being in a tight space jamming out to music, it was pleasant to see the enjoyment on people’s faces to a night that felt like it was before living in a world before a pandemic.