Almost three years in the making – and nearly that long since The Rocket Summer performed in California but here they are, at last, Returning West to promote upcoming album, Zoetic which will be released late February 2016.
The Rocket Summer set out for their west coast tour, selecting local acts from each city to open for them and Paradise Fears. In San Francisco, the two females of Future Twin take the stage. When we later saw The Returning West tour at Strummer’s in Fresno, local band Second To Last played an amazing set (even dedicated their songs to a proud mom who showed her enthusiasm the entire night).
It has been some time since the kids from South Dakota who make up Paradise Fears had performed back in the Bay Area. Lead singer Sam Miller is highly enthusiastic as he dances around the stage, opening their set with “Battle Scars” and a seamless slide right into their angsty track, “Fought For Me.” For a band known equally for their original tracks as much as their amazing covers, Paradise Fears does not disappoint as they place a Fleetwood Mac cover right in the middle of their setlist. Their acoustic version of “Landslide” is nothing short of amazing before, calming down the entire venue before picking things back up with “You To Believe In” and their newest single, “Back To Life.
When we later met up with the Returning West tour in Fresno, we were lucky enough to spend the day with Paradise Fears at a house party where Sam brought his dog, Addison for us to enjoy. After hanging out, talking sports, video games and the hard work that goes into releasing an album, Sam and guitarist Cole Andre played acoustic versions of their best songs for us — including a Taylor Swift mash-up and a hilarious cover
of Fetty Wap’s ‘Trap Queen.’ We wish we could share with you just how life-changing hearing the South Dakotan sing a slowed down, acoustic version of ‘Hey what’s up, hello, seen yo pretty ass soon as you came through that door…’ though, you just have to believe us. Revolutionary. Maybe if we beg a studio version could be in the making? Fingers crossed.
Also, the show at Strummers later in the tour was a much smaller crowd, giving Paradise Fears the freedom to goof around a bit more, interacting with those there to dance. Sam Miller gave us his all — twirling and nearly falling off the stage, violently dancing around with his tambourine and changing lyrics in the band’s song to those from the theme song of Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Transition back to San Francisco. The Rocket Summer takes the stage, beginning the night with a very fitting opening song, “So, In This Hour…” lead singer Bryce Avery is a refreshing, energetic, smiling face as the band performs old and new songs alike. ‘Do You Feel’ gets the crowd going, total nostalgic for these young adults right back to 2007.
Avery is as polite as polite can be as he asks the crowd if it is alright to begin playing songs off the upcoming album. We get to hear a song titled “Same Air” and later, the track, “Help Me Out” which is recorded with amazing looping sound effects by Avery and the crowd.
The emotional evening is taken to a completely new level as Avery explains the upcoming release of The Rocket Summer’s latest project. He explains the special offers that were included with the preorder, including the chance to come and sing with the band. A very special fan was a part of the crowd this evening and was brought on stage to sing “That’s So You” in what was one of the most beautiful, harmonic duets we have ever heard.
By the end of the night (and a set list of a remarkable near twenty songs), Avery asks the fans what it is we want to hear. The crowd screams various titles from the earlier days and Avery is left to pick, ending the night with “So Much Love,” “Cross My Heart” and “Hills and Valleys” before thanking the crowd and expressing what an honor it was to him to play to a city that had been neglected by the band for far too long.
Zoetic will be released on February 26th, just in time for the Zoetic tour where The Rocket Summer will be returning to The Bottom Of The Hill on May 19th. Do yourself a favor and be sure not to miss the show.