After a year of nonstop touring as support for some of the biggest bands in the emo-punk scene, Florida-based You Blew It! has finally embarked on their first nationwide headlining tour.
“We weren’t even supposed to come to San Francisco on this tour,” lead singer Tanner Jones admitted during their set at Bottom of the Hill in early february. “Because historically, we haven’t had the best shows in San Francisco.”
And historically, that is true.
When the band played the Regency Ballroom this past summer as show openers for alt-rock veterans, Say Anything, only a handful of audience members were familiar with their music.
But upon returning to the Bay Area in September as main support for Citizen’s fall tour, You Blew It!’s regional popularity had grown, due mostly to their relentless touring schedule, requiring them to spend months and months on the road, with just enough downtime to record and release a new EP.
The band released their three-song EP, “Pioneer of Nothing,” on Jan. 27, just two days before beginning their current tour with Rozwell Kid and Tiny Moving Parts.
Rozwell Kid, an indie noise pop outfit from West Virginia, opened the show with an electrifying blend of whacky showmanship, all-encompassing melodies and silly on stage antics. Guitarist Adam L. Meisterhans stole the show, constantly dipping the neck of his guitar into the crowd and flawlessly executing power-heavy guitar riffs — all while being fed popcorn and nachos on stage.
The party-hardy attitude was taken down a peg when Minnesota emo/math rock trio, Tiny Moving Parts, took the stage. Their emotionally driven, confessional lyrics resonated with members of the young audience, who screamed along to relevant, coming-of-age lines: “I did not know what steps to take after graduating high school / I never knew much of anything.”
When You Blew It! finally came on stage, they were urged by the venue to discourage stage diving and crowd surfing – a practice often revered by the band at more lenient venues. As a band that thrives on crowd interaction, the opening songs of their San Francisco set were a bit rough, with minimal movement from the audience.
But the band’s resident hype man, guitarist Andy Anaya, woke up the audience with a call to action: “Just because you can’t stage dive doesn’t mean you can’t move around! Let’s see some movement out there!”
As if on command, the opening licks of YBI!’s upbeat, angsty anthem, “Award of the Year Award,” caused the room to jolt, the once-stagnant pit erupting into a stirring mass of pulsating bodies and aggressive finger-pointing.
Anaya’s humorous drunken banter kept the crowd engaged during transitions, while the band tuned their instruments. “We had a few drinks before the show,” Anaya said, leaning suggestively close into the microphone. “It’s my mom’s birthday today. She got a dog.”
“What kind of dog?” someone shouted.
“I don’t fucking know,” Anaya replied, raising an arm in defeat. “A dog-dog.”
This type of personal relationship and casual banter with the audience is what keeps fans coming back for more. While the band’s growth in Bay Area popularity has not been exponential, many of the same fans that came to see You Blew It! last fall were at the foot of the stage, moving with the music and laughing at their special brand of drunken charm.
Towards the end of their set, Jones dedicated a song to Alyssa – one of their biggest fans, who has attended every You Blew It! show in Northern California. The crowd gasped collectively as he plucked the opening notes of “The Fifties,” an acoustic track from the band’s first album that is rarely performed, but frequently requested on their Tumblr page.
You Blew It! treat every show like a reunion with good friends: calling out names, making jokes and sharing a couple of drinks. Their constantly road-dog lifestyle has paid off, as they build a community around their music at every tour stop, and that community only seems to grow larger and larger with each show.
Contact Rosemarie Alejandrino at [email protected].