Ones To Watch: We chat with rising stars Finish Ticket and Vinyl Theatre

Finish Ticket and Vinyl Theatre
Finish Ticket (top) and Vinyl Theatre (bottom)

Bay Area indie rockers in Finish Ticket and the Milwaukee-based indie-electronic group Vinyl Theatre will both have a strong first half of 2016 when their two worlds collide for a North American co-headlining tour in February and March under the “Ones To Watch” banner.

Both bands have a similar sound to each other and are rising acts in the music industry right now, which is one of the reasons why Vinyl Theatre vocalist/guitarist Keegan Calmes says is “very prophetic” about the upcoming tour together. Not to mention both bands have also toured with twenty one pilots, which presented shows on a massive scale and something they’ve never done before.

While Vinyl Theatre played shows in front of the skeleton clique a few years ago, Finish Ticket recently finished the Blurryface tour a few months ago.

“It was definitely our favorite tour so far,” says Finish Ticket vocalist Brendan Hoye. “It was pretty incredible to be on. Getting to do that every night on such a big scale was incredible for us to get to do and really rewarding. [twenty one pilots has] been in the same position as us many times and it really shows they’re a band that have had to deal with openings a lot and they know how to treat their openers, as well.”

After Calmes learned Finish Ticket was one of the opening bands on the Blurryface tour, he immediately downloaded the band’s EP, When Night Becomes Day and fell in love with their songs. Little did he know the rest of the guys in Vinyl Theatre were jamming to the same thing. No one realized they were all digging Finish Ticket’s material until it was brought up in conversation one day.

“It’s funny, you’re in a band and another band comes out, and you want to scope them out to see where they’re at and you want to listen to them to see if their good and what they’re all about,” says Calmes. “At first it was a little guilty pleasure for everyone listening to them, and after people were asked in the band if they checked it out each person said, ‘Yes.’ I had already downloaded the EP and I was in love with it. I was like, ‘Dang these guys are good.’ It was one of those things where if anyone deserves to be on [the Blurryface] tour, it’s them. Everyone [in Vinyl Theatre] got into them separately, and when we finally talked about it, we all admitted their music is fantastic. It works out really well for us.”

Finish Ticket first caught a Vinyl Theatre show in the San Francisco area a while ago and took notice. Hoye said the first thing that grabbed his attention was the energy of their performance, something Finish Ticket is known for in terms of usually being one of the opening bands.

Finish Ticket began while the guys were in high school, and they would usually play shows with older bands, so it was always their No. 1 goal to win the crowd over during their set—anything to prove to people they weren’t just a garage band who didn’t care about anything an important goal for them.

“When they’re up onstage you can tell with their band they enjoy what they’re doing and they’re with that same mentality,” Hoye says. “I’m really excited to be touring with guys like that and to be able to watch a band like that and watch their set. We’re excited to be on a tour with a band that we’ll be excited to be watching every night. They seem like really cool guys.”

While both bands have performed many shows in their career, both want this tour specifically to be something people won’t forget. Calmes said brainstorming for the tour is a big part for Vinyl Theatre at the moment, and he wants to bring in something visually attracting, but not something that takes too much away from the their music.

“If you’re starting to do things that don’t have anything to do with the music and it’s just a gimmick on the stage, I feel like that cheapens the show,” Calmes says. “I don’t want to do that, but I do think there’s a classy way you can do that. I really do want to put on a show that is memorable. This is the first headline we’re going to have the ability to put on the quality of show we want, especially theatrically.”

“Playing our shows across the country is huge for us,” Hoye says. It’s awesome, and we’re not taking it for granted at all.”

The “Ones To Watch” tour officially kicks off Feb. 17 in St. Petersburg, Florida, and ends March 26 in Houston, Texas. Dates are below:

Feb 17 Local 662 St Petersburg, FL
Feb 18 The Social Orlando, FL
Feb 19 Terminal West Atlanta, GA
Feb 20 Local 506 Chapel Hill, NC
Feb 21 3rd & Lindsley Nashville, TN
Feb 23 U Street Music Hall Washington, DC
Feb 24 Foundry Philadelphia, PA
Feb 25 Gramercy Theatre New York, NY
Feb 27 Brighton Music Hall Allston, MA
Feb 28 Cambridge Room Cleveland, OH
Mar 01 A&R Music Columbus, OH
Mar 02 Deluxe Indianapolis, IN
Mar 03 Shelter Detroit, MI
Mar 04 Bottom Lounge Chicago, IL
Mar 05 The Rave Bar Milwaukee, WI
Mar 06 Triple Rock Minneapolis, MN
Mar 08 Old Rock House Saint Louis, MO
Mar 09 Tank Room Kansas City, MO
Mar 11 Bluebird Denver, CO
Mar 12 Kilby Court Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 15 Crocodile Café Seattle, WA
Mar 16 Lola’s Room Portland, OR
Mar 19 Troubadour Los Angeles, CA
Mar 21 House Of Blues San Diego, CA
Mar 22 Valley Bar Phoenix, AZ
Mar 24 Cambridge Dallas, TX
Mar 25 Parish Austin, TX
Mar 26 Bronze Peacock Houston, TX