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Boys Like B1

Claire Stephens | Sunday, August 26, 2012

After a quiet start with live music from student bands and artists, B1 Block Party headliner Boys Like Girls and opening act Breathe Carolina took the stage to give a musically entertaining and fun show. Though this year’s block party was not as visually stunning compared to acts in years past, neither band needed anything more than their good music and engaging personalities to put on a great show.

This year’s festivities included a Euro Bungee, rock wall climbing, caricatures, henna tattoos, corn hole, food vendors and a beer garden. Even before the bands took the stage, a steady stream of infectious dance remixes gave the event an energizing atmosphere.

Breathe Carolina blasted into their first set with little warning, jerking the audience into their rocking, electronic style. The band served as a great opener for Boys Like Girls with their catchy melodies and similar rock sound infused with harder, edgier electronic music. The dubstep-esque sound gave the block party a dance-friendly vibe much like last year’s Girl Talk show. At quieter or a capella moments in the music, the band even surpassed expectations with strong vocals and harmonies behind their loud dance rock. 

The contrast between the performance of lead members Kyle Even and David Schmitt and the band’s live members matched their blend of rock and electronic music. Even’s energetic presence and animated use of the stage stole the show. Even engaged the audience with his motion, the effort he put into his performance and his time spent down amongst the audience dancing and jumping around in the crowd. 

Breathe Carolina proved to be enthusiastic and exciting live musicians for pop, rock, and dubstep fans and excelled at putting their personality into their music. The band ended with their current Top-40 hit “Blackout,” finishing with spectacular, seizure-inducing black lights and incredible motion and energy that spread to the audience. 

The impatient crowd was instantly recharged from the long break between bands when Boys Like Girls took the stage with the popular breakout hit, “The Great Escape.” Though lead singer Martin Johnson did not run across the stage like Even did, he kept the performance personal and exciting by frequently interacting with the audience. Johnson flattered the enthusiastic female fans in the audience, asked the crowd where the band should go out after the show, helped lead the “We are ND” chant that broke out between songs, threw water bottles into the crowd and had a student come on stage to sing the Taylor Swift harmony for the duet “Two is Better Than One.” 

The power-pop band played favorites from their first album, as well as singles from their second album and a few from their new unreleased album as well. Though they focused more on their louder, rocking pop-punk songs, some of their more intimate, quieter songs kept the audience entertained. The band proved to be just as good live as in their recorded performances. Vocally they were even better, adding harmonies and complexity to the pop melodies found in their albums. The embellishment created an experience worth standing in the sweaty crowd. 

Boys Like Girls closed with “Love Drunk,” a hit from their album of the same name. Johnson teased the audience by stopping the song before the anticipated refrain and insisting everyone put their cameras away and truly experience their music. They finished with high enthusiasm that was reciprocated by the students, especially when Johnson jumped down between the barriers to run between the crowd and take photos with fans until forced to leave. 

Though the Notre Dame Block Party may not be the biggest venue Breathe Carolina or Boys Like Girls have played at, they made their performances fun and memorable by engaging with the crowd, playing great music, refusing to limit themselves to the stage and giving all their energy to their loyal fans. 

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