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The Driver Era Crashes Baltimore Soundstage


Former Disney star Ross Lynch and his brother, Rocky, took to Baltimore’s Soundstage with their new alt-pop band, The Driver Era. The band markets themselves as having a timeless sound with hints of the future. That vision emanated from their energy onstage as they brought the crowd with them and their music toward tomorrow.

As the stage doors opened, the crowd rushed into the intimate venue of Baltimore Soundstage, a standing room venue that’s small enough where even the back is close to the stage. The crowd of the ex-Disney star’s concert was almost exactly what you’d expect–young teens who pretended like their parents weren’t standing in the back of the room by the bar, and a select few young adults with neon wristbands to prove their over-21 status.

Before The Driver Era came out, the opening band, PUBLIC, graced the stage. They hyped the crowd immediately with their similarly upbeat alternative music. They sang their most streamed song “Make You Mine,” which was easy to jump along to the tempo of the chorus. The four boys from Ohio covered the immaculate Britney Spears song “Toxic,” and the lead singer flawlessly hit notes in his falsetto tone. They also performed their newest single “Honest” for the first time live. After the show, PUBLIC told The Greyhound about the many bands that inspire them, including Muse, The Killers, Led Zeppelin, Maroon 5, and Earth, Wind, and Fire.

After that opening set, the crowd was excited for The Driver Era to hit the stage. The two lead-singer brothers arrived along with their other brother, Riker, playing bass, their sister, Rydel, on keyboard, and Ellington Ratliff on the drums. The family band was previously known as R5 before changing their name.

The band opened with their song “Feel You Now,” which, as their newest single, hadn’t even come out at the time they performed it. The song featured a strong bass, and that was highlighted by a slow pop beat. Even this early into the show, Ross Lynch controlled the audience so much that even a single high note could make the young crowd erupt screaming. During the instrumentals, heavy light cues flashed with a rave effect. The impressive lighting continued throughout the show and helped raise the energy of the room.

Early into the show, Ross and his band covered Frankie Valli’s classic “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” Last December, they played this song at Riptide Festival in Florida and a video of the performance went viral, deeming Ross the “white boy for the month” on social media. People went crazy over his deep V-neck shirt, insane amount of body glitter, and tangible sex appeal. He recreated the viral moment in the intimate Baltimore space, which had the audience going wild.

About halfway through the show, the four other members of the band briefly exited the stage, leaving just Ross, the audience, and his guitar. He mentioned that the song about a simple moment in one of his friendships was written during downtime filming “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” where he plays Harvey Kinkle, in Vancouver. The lyrics sang, “Stop / Don’t you dare move / You’re ruining the picture I’m taking of you.” It was an intimate moment where the lack of lighting cues allowed Ross to have a moment to connect with the audience.

They sang R5 covers–even though it may be strange to call them covers when the entire band of R5 was on stage–just rebranded. Toward the end of the show, they sang two of The Driver Era’s latest singles, “Low” and “Preacher Man.” The first of the two featured Rocky Lynch as the star, taking the lead solo on this sexy, moody pop song that sounds like slow summer nights.

Preacher Man,” their most popular song, was another obvious standout with the crowd singing along to every word. Released last March as the duo’s debut single, the uptempo anthem wouldn’t sound out of place at a festival setting. At the concert’s peak, both the members of the band and the crowd jumped along to the thumping chorus. They ended the show with “Did You Have Your Fun?” by R5, which is a question that members of the audience would most likely nod their heads to after a night of dancing along with Ross and Rocky.

The Driver Era is a crossover between sappy Disney Channel pop music and alternative rock. The hybrid of the two genres marry to create music that feels nostalgic yet modern–something that makes you long for the summer or nights with friends or just enjoying simple pleasures. While Ross Lynch will always be someone who came from Disney Channel, he is making music that distinguishes himself as a different person than who he was when we knew him seven years ago on “Austin and Ally” or “Teen Beach Movie.” Like Ariana Grande, he has separated himself from his preteen television days into a world of sex appeal and catchy, mature music. And though not nearly as popular as Grande, The Driver Era’s live show revealed they’re certainly on their way.

Feature Image: Courtesy of The Driver Era.

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The Driver Era Crashes Baltimore Soundstage