PVRIS with Royal & The Serpent
The Use Me Tour
New York, NY
August 11, 2021
Photos and Words by Jess Williams
After a year of unprecedented times, it’s hard to describe the comforting feeling of experiencing precedented times again. I’ve had 18 months to daydream about what it would feel like to walk into a live music venue once again, to feel the rush of seeing your favorite band live, and to just enjoy live music and social interaction once again. However, I don’t think any amount of daydreaming could have prepared me for the feeling of when I walked through the doors of Webster Hall on the evening of August 11th, to see PVRIS headline a sold out show for their third album, Use Me.
Like picking up a bike after a long time, I kicked right back into the swing of things. Shuffling my way through security, I got my ticket and slapped my photo pass onto my shirt, before making my way upstairs towards the photo pit.
Fans were running throughout the venue, beers in hand, and you could feel the excitement in the air. After the hardest time of our lives, we were all finally back in our happy place seeing a band that is so dear to each of us. But, before we could make it to the headliner, there was a performance of epic punk rock proportions moments away from starting.
Royal & the Serpent took the stage a little bit after 8pm, joined by her friends and band mates, Beauty School Dropout. The Los Angeles based artist, originally from New York, was stoked to play a sold out hometown show and she proved to us all that she had quite the group of fans herself in the crowd that evening. Royal performed a 30 minute setlist chock full of hits, including her single “Choke” as well as her queer anthem “girls”, before turning that stage over to her dear friends. She joined Beauty School Dropout for a cover of the late Juice Wrld’s hit song “Lucid Dreams”, before joining fellow artist and friend American Teeth for a debut performance of “Chips.”
Tension (the good kind of tension) was rising in the air as we inched closer to PVRIS’ performance. This show marked the sixth time I’ve seen PVRIS live, at least once per album cycle, and it has been an amazing opportunity to watch the band grow together and as individuals in their performances throughout the years. In typical live music fashion, the lights went dark just before a mysterious instrumental track began to consume the speakers within the venue.
Not before long, keyboardist and bassist, Brian McDonald, and vocalist and guitarist, Lynn Gunn, graced the stage and dove into their most recent single “Monster.” I couldn’t help myself but immediately admire the growth of Lynn’s vocal performance throughout the night. She looked and sounded amazing as she danced across the stage, guitar strung across her chest.
My body filled with happiness and energy during “St Patrick”, when I could feel the floor of Webster Hall shaking beneath me from all of the jumping and dancing in the crowd. Fans along the barricade were shouting words of encouragement and adoration to Lynn each time she graced their side of the stage and it was extremely rewarding to see the happiness and pride beaming from both Gunn and her fans.
PVRIS performed a lengthy 70 minute (or so) set that was chock full of a variety of songs ranging across their entire discography. A bulk of the setlist included songs from Use Me, like the title track and “Stay Gold”, but it also featured some older songs including “What’s Wrong” and “Half” off their sophomore record, All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell. PVRIS ended their set with the lead single off their Hallucinations – EP, “Death of Me”, before exiting the stage for a brief intermission.
Fans knew that an encore was coming, but it didn’t stop them from chanting for PVRIS to return to the stage. “One more song!” The crowd chanted as they pointed their fingers in the air and PVRIS was much obliged. So much so, that they returned to the stage for an epic three song encore, featuring an unreleased song titled “My Way”, as well as “You and I”, before closing out the night with one of my personal favorite songs, “Hallucinations.”
Light beams radiated throughout the venue while the circular lights that lined the back of the stage shined in rainbow colors. The disco ball in the center of Webster Hall’s ceiling radiated light across the many surfaces and everyone completely let go for the final chorus of the night.
Sitting in the downstairs lounge area of Webster Hall after the performance, I watched as fatigued, sweaty and yet, supremely happy, fans exited the building. Smiles were plastered on their faces from ear to ear, many muttering things about how happy they were that live music was back. I couldn’t agree more. For the industry that got hit the hardest during this pandemic, we sure do know how to rage hard now that things are returning.
The Use Me tour has just commenced and it is surely one for the books. If you only go to one show for the remainder of this year, I cannot recommend enough that it be a PVRIS show. Remaining tour dates are listed below and tickets can be purchased, here.
8/13 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
8/14 – Harrisburg, PA – Club XL
8/17 – Baltimore, MD – Rams Head Live
8/18 – Charlotte, NC – The Underground
8/19 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
8/21 – Austin, TX – Emo’s Austin
8/22 – Dallas, TX – Southside Music Hall
8/24 – Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall
8/25 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
8/27 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox
8/28 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
8/30 – Sacramento, CA – Ace Of Spades
9/1 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
9/2 – Hollywood, CA – Fonda Theatre
Royal & The Serpent