Concert Review: Boyce Avenue at Ace of Spades

By Ellia Bagatti, GOTG Guest Blogger

Let me start off with saying I am by no means a hipster. My music preferences are mainstream country, rock, and a bit of classical thrown in for a touch of flair. I don’t hunt out the latest underground group or rave about an unsigned guitarist just to say I knew them before they hit it big.

However, it is pretty darn special when you find one by accident and they become your favorite band.

That’s what happened with me and Boyce Avenue. Last summer I was browsing through YouTube looking for Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper” music video (don’t judge). On the side of the page was a suggested video of Boyce Avenue’s acoustic cover version featuring Megan Nicole. I’m so glad I clicked the link! The cover was infinitely better than the original and I immediately hunted for more videos.

I found out that the band was originally a group of three brothers; Daniel, Alejandro, and Fabian. All of them play at least two instruments, sing, and write songs that will shatter your heart then put it back together. They have a great mix of original songs and innovative covers (listen to their versions of “Rolling in the Deep” and Rihanna’s “We Found Love”).

I subscribed to their YouTube channel, downloaded the mp3s, and lamented that they were touring in the UK and Europe.

That changed for me when the band announced a 2011-2012 US tour. I read through the alert, fingers crossed that they might possibly be performing somewhere near Sacramento. I squealed like a teeny-bopper when I saw that not only where they playing IN Sacramento, but on the grid at Ace of Spades!

Ace of Spades – minus a lot of caffeinated teenagers

Within 48 hours, I had two tickets. I also found out that the age demographic of BA fans is about 14-21. Ah well, my friend Gena and I decided that we could just stand in the back with the rest of the parents and make snarky jokes about young whipper-snappers.

We made an evening of it by stopping by two of my grid favorites beforehand. We grabbed dinner at Café Bernardo and, after discovering that the concert entrance line was wrapped down R Street and around 14th, waited out the crowds with an Irish coffee at Shady Lady Saloon (take that, whipper-snappers!).

The concert was amazing. Flashing our “over 21” wrist bands to the bouncer, we squeezed up into one of the raised audience areas and began cracking comments about how sore we were going to be after standing for three hours. I’d never been in Ace of Spades before and I was pleasantly surprised by the venue. Yummy-looking food, well-stocked bars, a spacious floor area and nice seating (if you can snag it).

Secondhand Serenade was the opener; a lone guitar player who was not only very easy on the eyes but had a powerful voice. His music reminded me a lot of Dashboard Confessional (still no judging). After his engaging set of music and banter, Boyce Avenue came on stage and the crowd went wild!

It was surreal to see a band I’d only watched on the internet come out and start playing. Alejandro asked “So how many of you found us on YouTube?” and I was stunned by how many hands shot into the air. The screams were deafening and how amazing is that? A band building an entire following all on its own – no big label, no record deal, no songs on the radio. What really blew me away was how genuine and humble they were, thanking the audience time after time for coming out to see them.

The highlight of the evening for me was to hear them perform “Find Me”, the first song written by Alejandro. It’s a song I love so much it will be played at my wedding. The memory of hearing it live, standing in shadows with the moody concert lights swirling around will stay with me forever.

When their songs are played on the radio and I go see them again at a huge stadium, I can say with pride that I was at their first sold-out show in the US, in a little venue on Sacramento’s Grid.

Now, pass me those hipster glasses…

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