Stephanie Sokol for The Pit
The audience at The Crofoot in Pontiac came together Thursday night, with the meaningfully happy music of A Great Big World and Jukebox the Ghost. While the bands clearly had a different sound, their message was the same— live for today and enjoy life.
A brief opening from Greg Holden started the evening on a more somber and mellow note, keeping it slow and steady on stage for a 25-minute 6-song set.
While he was musically talented and brought strong vocals, his slower songs made for a somewhat odd opening to what later became an extremely lively show. Fans sang along especially to a slower rendition of “Home,” which Holden wrote for artist Phillip Phillips.
Next up was Jukebox the Ghost, taking the stage for their hour and 45-minute, 11-song set. “Hello Metro Detroit. It’s really good to be here,” Keyboardist Ben Thornewill shouted, right before the band jumped into “Summer Song.”
Donning hipster-like denim apparel, Jukebox The Ghost kept things lively throughout the night, dancing around the stage and clapping get fans pumped up for the show. Thornewill, Guitarist Tommy Siegel and Drummer Jesse Kristin brought massive energy to the stage with their strong instrumental and vocal talent.
An impressive piano part on “Schizophrenia” showcased Thornewill’s skills. Kristin and Siegel also stood out in various songs throughout the set.
The band’s striking similarity to Queen was even more apparent during a harmoniously fun cover of “Somebody to Love,” which Siegel said they played as a song everyone would know. Jukebox The Ghost wrapped up their set with a performance of “Everybody Knows.”
Right before A Great Big World was about to take the stage, “The Circle of Life” started to play over the sound system, and the audience responded in a singalong that eventually led to very loud cheering.
Running out in flamboyant, brightly-patterned apparel, A Great Big World’s performance was a production.
Kicking off the evening with “Rockstar,” they were all smiles on stage. During “Land of Opportunity,” things got fun when lead singer Chad Vaccarino brought out a pink plastic trumpet, which had a surprisingly great tone.
Their hour and a half, 13-song set continued with “Everyone is Gay,” a lively performance that ended with Vaccarino bringing out the jazz hands as confetti shot into the air. The song was about happiness, and truly seemed to bring everyone together. People also got a kick out of Vaccarino’s triangle playing during “Cheer Up.”
The upbeat mood took a turn when the band started talking about “Say Something.”
“5 years ago we were in a dark place. We felt alone, and stopped writing music. I wrote this song to talk about how we were feeling… It’s really crazy that this song we wrote when we felt most alone connected with so many people. Thank you for all your love and support,” Keyboardist Ian Axel said. As the spotlight shone on Axel onstage, he performed “Say Something” and received massive response from the audience.
A Great Big World really showed their versatility when they performed “Shorty Don’t Wait,” a more acoustic-feeling track that they performed with the opening acts. The band returned to the stage, and closed the show with a two-track encore of “You’ll Be Okay,” and a cover of The Beatles’ “Got To Get You.”
It was clear from both their behavior and the actions of fans that the show had brought a lighter mood and feeling of togetherness to the evening of fun.
The Pit’s Stephanie Sokol and Shannon Coughlin had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Jukebox The Ghost about the tour experience, and their future music.