Infectious Melodies Only at Generationals Concert
Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, fresh from the dissolution of their band The Eames Era in 2008, joined forces to start the indie-pop new wave band Generationals. In a witty nod to modern-day television, the duo picked their name after watching a CNN 24-hour news segment that portrayed 2008 election issues as “generational.” I don’t remember where I first listened to Generationals (perhaps it was on a television advertisement, ironically) but their youthful name certainly captured my interest in their music.
I remember my first listen to Generationals a few years ago. The tune I played then (“Put a Light On”) jingles today with the same lightness, radiant chimes, and brilliant bells from my first listen. Their songs have a special way of retaining their glimmer, even after months of listening on repeat and standing out from other indie-pop new wave music constantly flooding the music market. Knowing this, I waltzed into the Sinclair on a Tuesday night ready to relish one of my favorite bands in person.
Generationals kicked off the set with “I’ve Been Wrong Before,” the first song in their newest album Reader as a Detective. With its steady beat, frequent tempo changes, and relatable lyrics, the duo immediately and easily enraptured the audience. The duo continued to dish out heart-thumping, chime heavy tracks such as “When They Fight, They Fight,” “Xeno Bobby,” and my personal favorite from their newest album “Breaking Your Silence.” The stunning lights, which flashed solid colors and filled the stage with a hazy glow, heightened the live experience in the medium-sized, yet intimate Sinclair venue.
Throughout the night, the concert felt at once fluid yet focused. Even when Grant wasn’t physically playing an instrument, his razor-sharp focus and facials remain vibrant in my mind. I can picture the formation of him toying with the soundboard and Grant, directly behind him, grooving on the keyboards. But the duo didn’t stay in that one formation the entire concert. Both musically talented, Grant flew from the guitar to soundboard between songs while Ted shuffled from sitting on the keyboards to singing with arms wide open in the middle of the stage. Gliding from one song to the other while maintaining a commanding stage presence contributed to the duo’s natural flow.
In the middle of their set, Generationals surprisingly launched into a cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.” Familiar lyrics and melodies stirred the audience into a classic non-stop bop, inspiring energy that carried into the rest of the Generationals concert. Hearing that one cover made me crave another Geneationals spin on a rock classic, but that would be the only one they played that night. An even more memorable moment came later that evening when Grant stepped up onto the amplifier, which rocked precariously back and forth on the stage, as an unassuming Ted jammed obliviously to the audience. The anxious tension between Grant’s balance and free fall kept the audience present and cheering towards the end of the set.
Generationals combines energetic, infectious rhythms with an astute attention to performance, instrumentation, and layering. It’s a concert well worth attending — and you’ll undoubtedly leave happy with the bells and chimes whistling in your head.
Listen to their new album Reader as a Detective:
Jess Eng is a DJ for Blues.