Wallows is a phenomenal story and one that’s as unique as it is inspiring. The band is comprised of Dylan Minnette on vocals/guitar, Braeden Lemasters on guitar/bass/vocals, and Cole Preston on drums. If two of the names — Minnette and Lemasters — sound familiar to you, then you’re not crazy. You’ve probably seen them on your television screen — but that’s the last time I’ll mention that. Why? Because it doesn’t even remotely define what Wallows is.
Wallows is simply all about the music — and you can read more about that with our interview of them here. However, I’m here to tell you that it’s never more evident than it is during their live shows.
While they’ve only been operating under the Wallows moniker for 2 years, the three of them have been performing together for many years — even performing at a stop on the 2011 under the name Feaver. And when the lights go down for their headlining show, you hear screaming from the crowd as if they’ve been following Wallows all of those years.
The lights are dim and from the side of the venue, you see the crowd turn into a sea of cell phone’s as they wait for Wallows to come out. Lemasters walks out on stage first, and cheers start coming, but it’s when Minnette walks out that the venue erupts with something even louder. It’s almost a normal Saturday in Columbus, Ohio — Ohio State football just played earlier, Jonas Brothers were just in town a week prior, and these cheers tonight — in a smaller, more condensed venue of course — rivaled the screams from those events.
Wallows kicks off their set with the slow, long “Do Not Wait.” The crowd wasted very little time welcoming the band to town with a loud sing-a-long. The energy in the crowd jumps to another level when “Do Not Wait” goes from a slow burn into a full-fledged indie-anthem, and this stays high as they rip through “Only Friend” and “Sidelines.”
After “Sidelines,” Wallows takes a brief break. Lemasters introduces themselves, says hi to the audience and explains that he’s from Ohio (a quick Wikipedia search shows that to be Warren, Ohio). He explains, “So if you guys wanna have some jumping sessions or whatever, here’s ‘Sun Tan'” — and the crowd was happy to oblige. Through all of their jumping around, they don’t miss a beat harmoniously singing around. During the song they even bust out a call-back to that one Drake Bell song everyone knows, “Found a Way,” which is a brief but surprisingly fitting addition to the set.
When the song ends, Minnette finally says hello to the crowd and makes sure everyone is safe and having fun. The venue is dark, something which he makes a joke of and how the audience probably can’t read their backdrop due to this. The house lights come on, he quips “Oh yeah, we’re Wallows and we’re just gonna keep it going.”
Indeed they do, as Minnette drops the guitar and sings “These Days,” commanding the crowd with only a mic. He walks around the stage like he was born for this type of environment — and it sure seems like he was. After the first chorus of “Ice Cold Pool,” Wallows pauses the music and stands while the crowd roars back at them. After a few moments pass of the crowd cheering, Wallows transitions to “Underneath the Streetlights in the Winter Outside Your House” — an indie-punk track that sounds like it could have fit right in on an early Arctic Monkeys album — before finishing the second half of “Ice Cold Pool.”
After finishing the song, Wallows stops to give a shoutout to Remo Drive and a few birthday’s in attendance. The band is halfway through their set at this point, but they show no signs of even remotely slowing down. They continue to rip through their indie-punk leaning tracks, and in a strange way Minnette can appear as a less-England version of Alex Turner, but in a very much so complimentary way. They’re clearly having a great time on stage, and that’s something that radiates all eh way through the crowd. Because just when you think another level can’t be reached, Wallows plays “Pictures of Girls” and you watch it unfold in real-time. Those in attendance yell the lyrics ferociously back to the band, as the lyric “you should be down in Hollywood” serves as some cathartic release for those watching.
Before they perform their massive single “Are You Bored Yet?” Dylan once again loses the guitar, Lemasters put on a pink that that someene throws on stage, and he winds up taking a selfie with the phone before handing it right back to the person in attendance. After they finish playing the mid-tempo indie anthem, Wallows closes out their set with he high-energy “I’m Full” and “Scrawny.”
They give it a good, convincing goodbye, with each member coming up to the front of the stage to say goodbye and wave off the crowd. But, the house lights stay dim and everyone knows they’re not done, as the crowd yells and cheers out for an encore. Lemasters is the first to oblige, as he walks out on the stage and explains that he’s going to play a song they haven’t played all tour, then proceeds to play “1980’s Horror Film” all on his own. The rest of the band comes out, but with a slight change as Minnette heads for drums and Preston on guitar as they absolutely nail their cover of The Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun.” Once they get to the middle of the song, Minnette does a drum solo and then moves back to guitar/vocals as they transition into “Pleaser,” before closing out their set — for good this time — with the last half of “Blister in the Sun.”
Earlier, I made the comparison to the Arctic Monkeys, and this show had the energy of an early-2000s indie-punk show in the U.K. This covers the band to the crowd, the energy inside this venue was high from start to finish. Wallows may have only formed in 2017, but this most recent headlining tour showed that they’re more than capable of standing on their own two feet.