Summer slips away in August — the air starts to smell like cinnamon instead of SPF, green leaves grow ruddy and heat waves recede. With the sun sinking on the horizon, almost monday arrived in San Francisco and did what any boy band from the beach would do: uncork the fizzy sound of summer and douse The Warfield in bliss.
The three-piece San Diego band opened for The Driver Era on Aug. 25. Even inside the illustrious venue, almost monday cut the frills and kept it breezy. Vocalist Dawson Daugherty, flanked by bandmates Cole Clisby and Luke Fabry, sported a gray hoodie and black sunglasses, fending off the sun even indoors.
As far as band names go, almost monday’s is uncannily apt. Daugherty, Clisby and Fabry make music that exalts the youthful joy of blue Crush soda and cherry slushies. Every catchy, sun-soaked track stretches the ease of the weekend like fresh saltwater taffy.
Much like its members, the band’s discography is young and still growing. To open the set, almost monday performed two unreleased tracks that slot easily into the brisk ode to California that the musicians have curated.
Daugherty oozed boyish aplomb during “parking lot view,” an upbeat reflection on break ups and adolescent anxieties. The lead singer’s voice, loaded with attitude, charged the melodically simple track with newfound, invigorating energy. Endearingly trite worries — “But it’s hard to flex when your Yeezys are fake/ And your gold chains are plastic” — dissolved beneath the warm umbrella of Clisby’s buttery strumming.
Simplicity and relatability are essential to almost monday’s appeal. In this soundscape, nothing is ever too bad, and if it is, it won’t be for long. Sadness is just a pitstop. Life springs and rebounds like pinballs in an arcade, and Daugherty did the same on stage. Under violet lights, the lead singer bubbled like sparkling lemonade alongside his steady, down-to-earth bandmates.
Across its tracks, almost monday sits most comfortably on the surface; the musicians, all in their early 20s, have honed a discography that shines without a need to excavate precision or depth. Beneath yellow lights, practically basking in the sun’s rays, the song “live forever” brought the young crowd to its feet. almost monday swept the crowd into a synth-laden fantasy of immortal love.
Yet the band’s dynamic performance defanged any accusation of vapid lyricism. It was hard not to feel charmed when Daugherty tossed his mop of curls in all directions, infectiously free and unbothered — even when he buzzed lyrics like “‘Cause we’re all just broken people and we don’t know why/ But we’re keeping it together’cause we gotta try.”
Aglow under purple and ruby lights, almost monday roused the crowd for the groovy anthem “cool enough.” Clisby’s bassline thrummed through the venue like a collective heartbeat. Belting the chorus “Sorry if I don’t fit your description,” Daugherty’s proud mock-apology galvanized concertgoers to sing along and join the collective defiance.
Even in their protest, Daugherty, Clisby and Fabry radiated a sunny and decidedly SoCal optimism. After a breakup, they suggest, the sun keeps on shining; heartbreak isn’t a scar, it’s a sunburn. Both of these images are reflected in their discography. The latter song, “sunburn,” pulsed with a danceable bass while concertgoers whistled along to Daugherty’s vocal line. Sunburns may fade, but the song’s catchy melody was sure to sting even after the set ended.
For the group’s last song, Daugherty invited the crowd to sing the urgently rhythmic bass riff for the unreleased track “cough drops.” When the song began, energy exploded like sparklers, and the band members expended all the zeal they had left to leave the crowd in a crater of eager anticipation for the night’s subsequent performers. While thriving as an opener, almost monday is primed to grow into its own act, inaugurating an endless weekend.