Hot Gig Alert (5/17): Young Rising Sons bring their headlining tour to Lowell (Interview in Post!)

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Hot Gig Alert (5/17): Young Rising Sons bring their headlining tour to Lowell (Interview in Post!)

It’s been a minute since Young Rising Sons took on a headlining run, but luckily for MA, the band will make that returning headline gig this Friday night. The gig goes down a bit out of town in the MBTA-friendly town of Lowell at one of the state’s newest venues, Taffeta. My last experience at Taffeta was the return of a longtime scene favorite in these parts of town, with Sparks the Rescue’s first Boston show back as their original lineup, and it was the perfect venue to see the iconic act. It’s sure to be a beautifully intimate venue for Young Rising Sons fans and one for the books. Fresh off the release of two brand new singles this year with the dancy “(Un) Happy Hour” and the atmospheric “Take Me Out,” both are on brand for what has come to be the norm from the longtime act.

I took the opportunity to speak with the band’s frontman, Andy Tongren, near the beginning of their run to chat about the tour, curating the live show, the new singles, and much more. You can find our chat below. Limited tickets are still available here! Hope to see you there!


NES: This is the first headline US run since you came back. 

Andy Tongren: Yeah, it’s been a while. The last one, I think we were talking about it, wasn’t even an entire US, but the last time we did anything similar to this was in 2018. So, it’s been a minute!

NES: How has it been going? I know you’ve toured since you came off hiatus and since the world came back. You were out with Nightly. You went out with Smallpools and Dreamers. But how have these shows been going, particularly your headlining shows? 

AT: It’s been amazing. It’s a little scary headlining after not doing it for so long, but to see the reaction and the people there every night. Still singing every word. It’s so inspiring. And it’s a true reminder of why we do what we do. So it’s been really special. 

NES: Were there any special preparations you made for this tour? I know you’re about two weeks in, but considering it is a headline run and not a support slot, you have that longer set time. 

AT: We are always very particular about curating our setlist and trying to make it the best show possible. Whether it’s the flow of the songs or the lighting or whatever it may be. We’re traveling with a small lighting package, which we programmed and designed on our own. And (laughs) that took a lot of time to prep and program. But it’s been really rewarding to see our vision come together and see people come out, enjoy, and be part of it. It’s much more planning for a headliner, but it is certainly worth it and very rewarding. 

NES: Then you’ve released two singles so far this year. The latest is “(Un) Happy Hour,” and the other is “Take Me Out.” Considering it was a labor of love to have that first album not come out until 2022.  You’ve been in a band for so long. Maybe when did you start working on these two singles themselves or newer ones in particular? 

AT: When did we start working on the new ones? So yeah, we’re kind of always in writing mode. It’s hard to do it when you’re on the road, but I think we’ve learned that as creatives, you can’t pick and choose when inspiration will come or not. So when it happens, we really try to take advantage of it. But those songs we actually started with was one we wrote in Nashville, “Take Me Out.” Then, “(Un) Happy Hour” was a song we wrote in L.A. towards the end of last summer. 

They both actually came together relatively quickly. Especially “(Un) Happy Hour.” It was kind of funny. We were at another session out in L.A. on a writing trip. We went to a bar after the session, a minute after Happy Hour had passed. We were like, “Ah, great! We might as well call this unhappy hour.” And we were like, ah, maybe there’s something there. So we sat down at the bar, started brainstorming, throwing out ideas, and wound up writing a lot of it on bar napkins that night. 

NES: I wanted to ask if there was something new you had done in the writing process. Obviously, that’s something new, but I love what that became. It’s a little bit of a different writing style; I like it. 

AT: Yeah (laughs), I don’t know. It’s fitting, I suppose, for us to write a song at a bar. 

NES: Then, besides the hiatus, the band started in 2010, which seems crazy to think about at this point, I’m sure for you as well. Maybe something that you’ve kept from the writing process as a band. I’m sure you can’t say much about what’s coming, whether it’s an EP or an album. But maybe something that you’ve kept and perhaps something new that you tried with these current songs. 

AT: It’s not super, super precious to us. One thing that really helps is that the four of us are just best friends. And we’re very transparent with each other and also with the band, whatever it may be. We approach it with as much honesty as possible and try not to be oversensitive about the writing process. It’s a democratic process, which is important for us. So whatever the best idea is, it kind of wins. And we bounce it back and forth until its something we all love. That’s sort of the special sauce with the four of us in writing. We try to make sure everybody’s voice and part of it are heard. 

NES: Perfect, then I wanted to ask, looking at your Instagram and how content is produced now. We’re in a much different world regarding social media for bands. How do you think that’s helped the band in the last few years? There’s been more of a pivot to the online presence on every social media you can think of. How do you think it’s helped?

AT: It has changed dramatically. It’s funny, I guess, going back to being a little less precious. It’s not all about the early 2010’s Tumblr aesthetic and trying to be cool, which is a little refreshing. I think there’s a fine line. It’s very easy for people to jump on the Internet and shout out something that’s kind of cringe or chuegy. So, we kind of try to ride that fine line, but at the end of the day, like I said, we are pretty transparent. We’re best friends (laughs), I don’t know, what you see is what you get. I think we’re kind of weird. No, I don’t think that. I know we’re very weird. We at least try to show our personalities as much as we can through that lens. If people like it, cool. If not, that’s fine, too, but I think it’s a really valuable tool. It’s essentially free promotion, so if you’re not taking advantage of it, I don’t know. It’s your loss.  

And it was tough for us to get over that mountain if I’m being perfectly candid. We kind of did come from that world of Tumblr aesthetic. Where image is so important, like looking like a cool band, was really important to us. But in hindsight, it’s about being yourself; that’s what’s cool. So that’s kind of where we’re at with it. 

NES: It was a very different time that we lived in. It definitely felt like it was a lot about the aesthetic. 

AT: (laughs) Absolutely. 

NES: Then this is to preview one of the last shows of the tour, the MA date, which is right before the last show in New York. So you have a while until you get here, and I know it may seem a little cheesy, but like we keep saying, you have been a band for so long. I think your first time here in Boston was with like Halsey way, way back in the day. But what makes a Young Rising Sons show something special, like something people should be seeing? 

AT: Honestly, the fans. Also, we started playing music in the first place because we loved to play music. And having the opportunity to go out and play a show every night, leave a pint of blood on stage, it’s just a really special thing for us. And we really do put everything we have into the show. 

So yeah, I think it’s just really a give-and-take between that and the crowd. And sharing those special moments. We’re all about trying to create moments on stage, and we find the opportunities to make something feel special. I think that’s sort of been our goal. For the entirety of our band, when we play live. 


Find more on the band below!



About Author


Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.