If there was any doubt that Claire Rosinkranz would draw a crowd in Boston, the line snaking from Paradise Rock Club and around Raising Cane’s said it all. Her star-studded lineup lifted attendance even higher, as different crowds collided to become one.
The night began with an intimate performance by mehro: a 22-year-old singer-songwriter characterized by his mellow presence and earnest vocal performance.
mehro’s first number, “pirate song,” possessed a pulsing heartbeat translated through pounding drums. Bathed in red light, mehro sang in a haunting timbre, laced with immersive instrumentation.
When the song came to a close, mehro opened up to the audience, as he laid bare a personal experience that paved the way for his next song.
After sparking a connection with the audience, mehro drew everyone in further with “hideous,” a ballad of insecurity and uncertainty. Under an isolated ray of white light, mehro sang with unbridled vulnerability.
Short but stirring, mehro’s set brought a spell upon the venue, which was only ever broken by the screams and applause of certain adoring audience members.
When the second act, DWLLRS, took the stage, the room’s energy had reverted back to a clean slate — which would soon be painted in colorful, compelling tones.
Wearing a striped sweater and an infectious smile, DWLLRS lead singer Bren Eissman took the stage alongside guitarist and singer Joey Spurgeon, his old college roommate and longtime friend.
With songs that could’ve scored a coming-of-age movie, the young artists delivered hit after hit, as Eissman jumped around the stage with unmatched energy and jubilance.
Eissman’s energy was infectious, and his bond with Spurgeon was undeniable — in fact, before the set began, the two shared an embrace to calm their pre-show nerves.
DWLLRS’ performance cast the room in a sunny warmth, which lingered long after they left the stage and the lights went up.
In a flurry of orchestral tones, snippets of pop hits and spells of static, Claire Rosinkranz took the stage. The disjointed sounds diluted into ringing, building anticipation as the 19-year-old singer-songwriter took her station at the center mic.
Before I knew it, lights were flashing, Rosinkranz was dancing, drums were pounding and the crowd was cheering. The energy was palpable, sweeping through the room like a gust of wind.
Rosinkranz opened with a crowd favorite: “Backyard Boy,” her claim to fame circa June 2020. When she left the chorus to the audience, Rosinkranz established a pattern of interactivity that would extend throughout the night.
After her animated introduction, Rosinkranz dialed the energy back — reflecting the tonal shift with a switch to red lighting. Stripping away the instrumental, and tasking the audience with clapping a steady beat, Rosinkranz gave an honest performance of her Feb. 2022 song “i h8 that i still feel bad for u.”
Rosinkranz then went on to tease unreleased songs from her upcoming album, like “dreamer”: a funky, upbeat number which Rosinkranz complemented with a pair of sunglasses and a lively stage presence.
Between dancing, skipping and bounding across the stage, Rosinkranz regularly invited the audience to engage with her music — like snapping with the flashing lights and singing along to the chorus.
In that same vein, Rosinkranz’s music leaves space for conversational moments that cut through her spunky performance. I found that — even while dipping into a speaking voice — Rosinkranz’s tone was always distinctly musical, with a measured cadence.
A critical key to Rosinkranz’s set, with its combination of popular and unreleased music, was the use of precise transitions. As one song gave way to the next, the instrumental would either swell or decline, all in the deft hands of Rosinkranz’s two guitarists and drummer: three artists she’d later shout out during a performance of “Frankenstein,” another crowd favorite.
So, when the tone transitioned from carefree to angsty, the band shifted gears to match. Their rock ‘n’ roll instrumental built up to one of Rosinkranz’s most anticipated songs yet: “i’m too pretty for this.”
About midway through the concert, technical difficulties weaseled their way into the mix, prompting Rosinkranz to put her performance on pause. Rather than idling around on stage, however, Rosinkranz invited the audience to take a deep breath with her.
Overcoming technical challenges seemed to be a common theme that night, as DWLLRS confronted issues of their own early in their set. After expressing concern about his faulty earpiece, Eissman rolled with the punches, continuing to sing despite not being able to hear his own voice; the problem was later fixed, prompting Eismann to cheer triumphantly, throwing his arms up in victory.
Once the technical difficulties were resolved, Rosinkranz transitioned back into old music, handling changes of pace with ease — going from “floating in the blue but not thinking ‘bout a thing” to “running from a world made up of nine to fives.”
Around 10 p.m., the night began drawing to a close, and Rosinkranz introduced her final song with a friendly assurance: “It’s a new song, but I’m gonna teach it to you — don’t worry.”
Though the song complemented the concert’s feel-good vibe and included interactive elements (such as a call and response), I found it a little odd that Rosinkranz would end on an unfamiliar note.
As Rosinkranz began walking off the stage, I felt slightly dissatisfied — like something was missing from the finale. And apparently, the audience agreed; within seconds of her exit, fans began chanting “encore” with building anticipation.
Just as the booming chants dwindled to quiet suggestions, a microphone was brought back to center stage — and sure enough, Rosinkranz returned, but with an electric guitar slung over her shoulder.
“Okay, you guys ready for an encore?” she called out as she fiddled with the guitar.
Technical difficulties popped up once again, but Rosinkranz took them in stride. She killed time by taking pictures on people’s phones, and leading the audience in an arrangement of “happy birthday,” making sure she named every self-proclaimed birthday celebrant in the room.
Rosinkranz’s warm presence and wholesome audience interactions set the stage for her final (final) song, “Pretty Little Things.” As the song began, she made one request: that the overhead lighting be replaced entirely by phone flashlights.
A blanket of quiet fell over the room as Rosinkranz played her most slowed down, stripped back song yet. Some attendees sang along, almost tentatively, as if wary of breaking her spell.
On a soft yet magical note, Rosinkranz brought the concert to an end, showering the audience with gratitude and love — and rounding out a night of young, inspiring, up-and-coming voices.