TVD Live: Hoodie Allen at the New Parish, 5/10

Thursday night I got off the BART and found myself lost. A couple of blocks in the wrong direction and I’d passed the same two boys a couple of times – they were 16 and equally lost. Together we found our way to The New Parish for Hoodie Allen.

When I arrived to the SOLD OUT show, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t oversold. People, while crowding the stage, still had room to move, but specifically dance. There wasn’t anyone too cool in the crowd.

Thursday night’s crowd was full of people under 21, maybe even mostly under 18, but they raged harder than most crowds of drunken twenty-somethings. And unlike the drunken twenty-somethings, they probably have better memories than we do, though I’d be curious to know how many pick up on all of his early pop-culture references from the late nineties and early two-thousands.

For me, I couldn’t relate more to a current artist—I grew up watching Boy Meets World and listening to Blink 182, both of which he references in “Joy and Misery” and “Ain’t Gotta Work,” respectively.

Hoodie Allen took the stage to massive applause and blew into “Tighten Up,” a surprising opener off his mix-tape Leap Year. He didn’t stick to a particular order in mix-tape or EP—his set moved pretty evenly though everything he’s put out. Though, with “No Faith in Brooklyn” so early in his set he left me curious as to what his encore(s) would be.

“How many of you follow me on Twitter?” he asked with enthusiasm. Based on the volume that followed, it’s safe to say that everyone there did. He actively responds to each of his fans in some form all the time. He’s approaching the level of celebrity that other artists are notorious for within the realm of social media.

Being so approachable isn’t just something that he saves for the internet, he puts it all in his show, too. While admittedly an introvert when out of the public eye, he has such a commanding stage presence, that charisma, his charm, and some of his songs would lend one to believe that he’s a lady’s man, but he’s shy and focused.

The party continued when he covered Kanye West’s “Stronger.” Hearing that with a full band—something you don’t typically associate with a Hip-Hop act, was refreshing. So many people travel alone these days and leave it to their computers, but the band was an added bonus. Their chemistry onstage fueled the enthusiasm within the audience.

The Dancing. Did. Not. Stop.

Each person knew every word, every pause, every motion—he was holding them in the palm of his hand, and no one wanted to be let go. The energy just grew, the down tempo songs—”Can’t Hold Me,” “Joy and Misery”—were fit in at just the precise moments when we all needed to catch our breath, including Hoodie, who could barely speak afterwards. (He had to take a couple days off a couple weeks ago and reschedule some shows to give his voice a break.)

He closed his set with “Eighteen Cool,” both a jab at everyone who loved high school, and encouragement to those who hated it, or rather, everyone who currently loves or hates it.

His take on Marina and Diamonds’ “You Are Not a Robot” assaulted the restless crowd. His vocals served more as cues for the very few who didn’t know each word to sing along. The final song/sing-along of the night was his latest single, “No Interruption.” And sadly, with much protest, the party ended.

Set List:
Tighten Up
Song For An Actress
No Faith in Brooklyn
The Chase is On
Can’t Hold Me
January Jones
Joy and Misery
White Girl Problems
Swimming With Sharks
James Franco
Top of the World
Small Town
18 Cool

You Are Not a Robot
No Interruption

Photos: Evan Thompson

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