We all have songs that live in the back-end catalog of our high school memories. Forever integrated into a distant feeling, whatever it may be, but it stays with us—it remains in the inner weaving of who you grew up to be.
The Radio Dept. is one such band to me. As they're based in Sweden, I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd potentially have the chance to experience their music in real time. Now as I stand firmly in adulthood, The Radio Dept's show at Bowery Ballroom last night managed to remind me everything I knew but had somehow forgotten.
The setlist was full of tracks that the band isn't necessarily known for, but stand for so much of who they are as artists and human beings. B-sides like "Death to Fascism" and "The New Improved Hypocrisy" were widely welcomed and embraced, in the midst of the current climate in the US. The band have never shied away from political and social commentary - in fact, it's what they're known for.
It's easy to have ignored an entire album from The Radio Dept. condemning white nationalism, because it didn't matter until it did.
"Swedish Guns" was the ultimate addition to the band's already near-perfect discography, so it was no surprise that everyone in the Bowery Ballroom - despite it being a Wednesday night - moved just right. The venue was jam-packed with fans who you just knew had waited for this moment for years. As I've been on that same side with several bands, I can tell you there is no other feeling like finally experiencing the magic a live show can bring.
The set closed out with fan favorites like an acoustic "1995" and "Why Won't You Talk About It", to no more than one pair of dry eyes in the room. Calls of "come back soon" and "don't leave" echoed around the room, as the band took their bow and exited the stage - and just like that, adult me and 17-year-old me realized much hadn't changed after all.
Follow The Radio Dept. on Facebook and Twitter. To catch them at an upcoming show, visit their official website.
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