The line to enter McMenamins Crystal Ballroom stretched for blocks on April 3 as hundreds of fans awaited a performance from alt-rock trio Wallows. The sold-out show was the first of two back-to-back nights at the ballroom. It was also the third show of the group’s “Tell Me That It’s Over Tour,” following the March 25 release of the band’s ten-song sophomore album of the same name.
After giving fans a week to digest the new songs, the United States leg of the tour kicked off on April 1 in Seattle and will last until July 2. The band will begin the European portion of the tour on Aug. 26. and it will last until Feb. 5, 2023.
Wallows was formed in 2011 by members Dylan Minnette (guitar/vocals), Braeden Lemasters (guitar/vocals) and Cole Preston (guitar/drums), when the three were 14-year-old students at the Keyboard Galleria Music Center in Santa Clarita, Calif.
The band began releasing music independently under the name Wallows in 2017, beginning with the single “Pleaser,” and headlined their first tour in early 2018. It was during the tour that the band announced that they had signed to Atlantic Records, and released their debut album “Nothing Happens” in March 2019.
Minette is also an accomplished actor, starring as Clay Jensen in the Netflix adaptation of “Thirteen Reasons Why.” Minette was cast in the show in June 2016, just as his music career was beginning to take shape, and remained the series lead for its four seasons of production.
Wallows were supported at the April 3 show by singer-songwriter Claire Chicha, who performs under the name spill tab. Chicha is French and Korean American, and writes songs in both French and English.
“French is a much more difficult language for me, so I’m really vulnerable in English,” Chicha said in an interview with the music publication Dork. “My French songs are a bit of an alter ego. I feel more empowered to be badass.”
Though spill tab has only twelve songs out on streaming platforms, Chicha performed a ten-song setlist on April 3, breaking up some of her fan favorites like “Cotton Candy” and “PISTOLWHIP” with a high energy rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” that had audience members screaming at the top of their lungs.
Chicha was also joined on stage by fellow musician Caleb Buchanan, who played bass for the duration of the set.
Following a brief interlude, Wallows took the stage, which had been adorned during intermission with several floor lamps that changed colors throughout the show. The band played a 21-song setlist over the course of 90 minutes, eight of which came from “Tell Me.”
I would not have called myself a Wallows superfan by any stretch of the imagination before attending the show. I had heard of the band mostly through friends and Minnette’s “Thirteen Reasons” credit and had listened to the certified platinum single “Are You Bored Yet?,” but that was about the extent of my fandom. However, I did listen to the new album multiple times leading up to the concert, and found myself humming along to the catchy tunes and even learning the words to several songs. My favorite is “Marvelous,” and on the night of the show I was jumping up and down singing along with the rest of the fans.
Wallows also utilized more instruments than the traditional rock band’s guitar, bass and drums; Minette brought out a harmonica for the opener “I Don’t Want to Talk,” a tambourine for “Marvelous” and one of the supporting band members played trumpet on a few songs as well. I enjoyed these changes to the conventional scheme, and I could tell how much fun the band was having during these interludes as well.
Despite the show coming just over a week after the new album’s release, fans sang along to most of the songs, getting especially energized at the first chords of “Especially You” and “Hurts Me.”
As an encore (in spite of Minette’s promise that there would be no encore), the band asked for a request from the audience, and ended up playing “Drunk on Halloween” along with the previously planned “Hard to Believe” and “Remember When.”
Released in late 2018, Minette remarked after it was over that the band does not play “Drunk on Halloween” enough on tour.
“We haven’t done that one in a while,” Minette said on stage. “I’m glad we still remember how to play it.”
Wallows played a second sold out show at the ballroom on April 4, before traveling down to California, Arizona and New Mexico for a run of six shows as they prepared for their highly anticipated performance at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 16.