Look for Constellations
By William Weinstein
Constellations is fun, young and energetic. They have an aggressive songwriting style that slides between the emo, punk, pop, and rock genres. They lean into their mics and sing with gusto, and have a lot of talent in store. And they are not yet in their prime. The band was one of the openers for HEY-SMITH and Authority Zero at the Marquee on Saturday, February 11. Their set was the second of the night and included several covers, including a particularly interesting version of “Little Lion Man” by Mumford and Sons.
The lead singer Brie has a sweet attitude on stage, cheerfully announcing which songs the band will play next and giving shout-outs to people in the audience that she likes. John and Shea play guitar and drums, respectively, and they both had intense emo-pop vibes that came across through their wild playing. On bass was Kira, easily the most relaxed stage presence of the entire show and a nice counterpoint to John’s playing. I appreciate the fact that Constellations does not put on elaborate outfits for their shows. They seem like they are on stage to have a good time, and it shows.
The band’s parents were in the audience, mingling with the aging punks who primarily made up the audience of the show. The audience was the biggest issue in the Marquee that night. They consistently remained low-energy, despite the high-intensity bands who were playing.
First up that evening was Perfect Sense, who struggled to get the crowd to participate. The band was not at fault. They clearly have talent, and the vocals are reminiscent of Tim McIlrath from Rise Against. They were so energetic that at times they bordered on screaming, but they played a short set and had to leave before they could really get the crowd fired up.
After Constellations came Rundown Roommates, who played perfectly into the ska-punk that sounded like it was sung by pirates. This was a good thing. The two brothers who were foremost on stage were loud and unapologetic, which sparked some life into the front row. There was even some dancing toward the end of their set. They were followed by Mad Dog Tannen, who seemed to step directly out of the 90’s punk era and onto the stage. They suffered from a garbling of the three-part harmony, but the band still sounded incredible.
The main acts that evening had trouble as well. HEY-SMITH was something entirely new, filled with movement and tightly choreographed thrashing. Their vocal harmonies were perfect, the horns sounded superb, and yet some people in the crowd were still standing in the back talking instead of paying attention. Even Authority Zero, the top-billed band that night, suffered from the older uninterested crowd.
Authority Zero did achieve something that nobody else that night did, though. All throughout the show there had been a small circle pit of two or three people, including a large man in a tie-dye tank top and a Mohawk. That finally expanded to a decent size when the main act came on and proceeded to bring everyone back to the 90’s ska/punk scene.
In that environment, it was clear that a band like Constellations would have had crowd trouble. The band would be better suited to tour with Mayday Parade or All Time Low. They will find the room there to be much more receptive to their emo-pop power. There is something eminently relatable to the musicians playing music for teenagers actually being teenagers themselves. An authenticity is present that is sometimes lacking among other performers. What Constellations lacks in seasoned performance value, they make up for in potential. We await the release of their LP in April with baited breath. Go get ‘em, kids.
Check out the slideshow for the full gallery from the show. All photos were taken by Kelly Fox.
Reach the writer: @WilliamWeinst1