Remember being 12, up past midnight on a weekday when you couldn’t sleep, turning on the TV and scanning through all the strange commercials and reruns? It was always the shows that never played during the normal hours, cartoons that had been off the air for years, commercials for the most random things. And on top of it all, a late night show with some witty host and a live studio audience. Last Friday, Saint Motel recreated this memory perfectly at The Fillmore to kick off the first show of their fall tour.
Saint Motel is doing something different this time around. The band released their full-length project saintmotelevison at the end of 2016, and toured throughout the fall of that year. This time, the band is “taking the saintmotelevision concept to the next level;” the tour is centered around a late night television show hosted by Johnny Pemberton with Saint Motel as the guest performer. There were old TV studio cameras at the corners of the stage, and a television stuck on the old multicolored standby screen was set in on the front edge of the stage. Projected behind the band was an old 70s antenna box TV with two knobs, playing classic 80s commercials for Grey Poupon and Silly Putty.
Saint Motel was introduced by their lively host and came out with a bang starting off with their classic, “Puzzle Pieces.” From that point on, lead vocalist AJ Jackson, who is known for his eccentric performances and passionate crowd pleasing, performed from on top of his keyboard and the front television set. Towards the end of the show, he performed the “My Type” finale running around the balcony above the back end of the theater, finishing on the terrace a few inches below the roof. Any time Jackson got tired, the band’s drummer Greg Erwin picked up with a solo to bring out the creativity that the band likes to feature in their live performances. All these features were just complimentary, however, to the magnificent horns that brought out the warmth and rhythm in their music. The addition of the saxophone and trumpet on stage gave the night a jazzy effect and a beautiful sound.
This tour did something interesting that not a lot of artists can still do. Most tour for the release of a new album or EP., playing songs from their latest release with some of their hits mixed in. Saint Motel broke this streak. While the Late Night Tour is a revision of their saintmotelevision album, it is also a creative take on who they want to be as a band. They’re playing songs from their entire discography, dating back to 2010, including a Spotify Session cover of Daft Punk’s “Something Between Us.” While this does sound like something a normal band would do, Saint Motel did it differently. They toured for a theme. They wanted to bring out the 80s late night jazz vibe, and did so very successfully with their set choice and the extra dimension that the horns brought to every song that tied them together.
Saint Motel is currently touring across the country until late November, with their last shows being in Albany, NY and Portland, OR. Catch them while it lasts, because something like this is rare.
Article by Arnav Chaturvedi
Photos by Desiree Diaz