All the while, the Graduate drew concertgoers closer and closer to the stage throughout their seven-song set and had many in attendance clapping along to each song. With previous stints on Lollapalooza, the Warped Tour and Germany’s Rock am See it’s easy to tell that their busy tour schedule over the past two years has only strengthened the band’s onstage performance.
Starting the night off with “I Survived” from their debut album, Anhedonia, the five-piece Illinois band quickly grabbed the crowd’s attention with an almost organ-sounding keyboard intro before frontman Corey Warning took over on vocals. When he introduced their next song for the night, “Sit and Sink,” screams permeated the venue. “Did I tell you how much I love New York?” he asked the crowd. “Well it’s true!” New Yorkers seemed to love the band as well.
The Graduate’s live show far surpassed expectations I had from just listening to their album. The band’s lineup is made up of a drummer, bass player and two guitarists, one who splits his time on keyboard, while frontman Corey Warning alternates his time on vocals and guitar. The instrumental accompaniment between the bandmembers was strong, never overpowering Warning’s vocals. The instrumental “Interlude” exemplified the core sound of the Graduate, and although no one was singing, the crowd was surprisingly really into it.
“The City That Reads” started off a bit slower than their previous songs, with strong instrumental features that fit the mood change in the song well. When Warning sings, “Baltimore is quiet and cold,” you believe him. “Doppelganger” livened the night up with Warning rocking out on tambourine before playing their last song of the night, “The Formula.”
Ending zealously, each guitarist put down their instrument before bringing out a set of drums, dousing them with water for visual effect and then hammering on them. You can’t get a better finale than that, except maybe a fireworks display. Eventually, the guys picked back up their guitars to finish the song and left the stage to a room filled with screams and thunderous applause.
When I asked Corey what makes the Graduate standout from other up-and-coming bands, he explained that fans have told him their live show is what pushes them over the edge and makes them keep coming back. After seeing their performance last night I have to agree.To listen to their music and see when they're coming on tour near you, be sure to check out the Graduate on MySpace. Lead singer/guitarist Corey was nice enough to sit down with me before the show and answer all of my questions about the band, touring and their music so be sure to come back in a few days for the full interview!