American Authors & The Royal Concept @ Brighton Music Hall – Boston

How does a co-headlining bill of Imagine Dragons and Phoenix sound? Sounds like it could be the next lackluster lineup for a summer festival. Now imagine Sweden’s version of Phoenix and an even more watered down version of Imagine Dragons co-headlining a bill. Well now you have the latest tour of The Royal Concept and American Authors.

From their first steps on stage it was apparent that the Royal Concept think they are teenage heartthrobs. Lead guitarist, Filip Bekic entered the stage first putting his hand to his ear which received immediate applause from the crowd. He was follow by lead singer, David Larson (clearly the cute one) who thrust his arms straight up into the air garner screams. By the time the red headed bassist, Robert Magnus stood at the front of the stage with his hand to his ear, the crowd was plum out. That did not stop Magnus from trying to become the star of the show several times. When not needed on keyboard or bass, even for a minute, he would sneak his way to the front of the stage and dance to little accolade from the crowd. But when lead singer took off his shirt, girls screamed in lustful agony. It’s sad to be the red headed stepchild of the band.

As for the band itself, they wear their influences on their sleeves. Unfortunately their sleeves are only about three years old. For audience members unfamiliar with their music, there must’ve been a pause when thinking “wait, is this a Phoenix cover?” The only time the crowd could be certain the band was not covering the French four piece was when they announced they were covering a song by “some French dudes in helmets.” They proceeded to play “Robot Love,” which they injected with none of their own style. Instead they used all the same synth tricks as Daft Punk to manipulate their vocals. Although the precision in which they covered the song was impressive, it was obvious that the band didn’t have an identity of their own. They seemed to borrow the identity of bands that have headlined Coachella recently and turned into one cohesive sound. While the songs are catchy and played with energy, there was nothing about them that said “these guys are blazing their own trail.”

In similar vein was the night’s headliners, American Authors. The members dressed like the cast of Grease with a clean shaven member of Mumford and Sons. Employing a mandolin player, the band seemed to want to be Imagine Dragons in the worst way. Their mix of generic arena pop rock and alt-folk instrumentation seemed even less inspired than The Royal Concept. It felt even more forced when the band flaunted their Boston roots and then sported a bass drums which claimed they were from Boston’s hated rival, NYC. Surely a sin that would’ve pissed more Bostonians off if the lead singer didn’t look like Ryder Strong from Boy Meets World all grown with his pompadour, leather vest, and glistening tattooed biceps. The young-ish crowd, populated with more under 21s than most of Boston’s nightlife, seemed to enjoy what the band was doing.

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