Last week, The Driver Era, kicked off their first headlining tour, beginning at the Great Scott in Allston, MA.
The band, formerly known as "R5", have not toured since early 2018 outside of the US, and haven't toured the US since mid-2017. The Driver Era is former R5 members Ross and Rocky Lynch, but the touring lineup remains the same as R5 - Riker Lynch on bass, Rydel Lynch on keys, and Ellington Ratliff on the drums.
This show, with a >300 person capacity, sold out quickly, as the band has always had a strong Boston following. As R5, the band has played Boston venues such as Brighton Music Hall, Paradise Rock Club, and even the House of Blues, so playing the intimate Great Scott was a change of pace. Fans lined up early outside the venue, where the tour bus was parked. Because Great Scott is so small, there is no artist green room, so fans were excited anytime the band would leave their bus to run into the venue. As soon as doors opened, fans rushed to the stage claiming their spots.
The opening band, PUBLIC, out of Cincinnati, OH, truly warmed up the crowd. The 3 piece engaged with everyone in the room, despite the technical difficulties they managed to work through. Strategically, the lead singer, John Vaughn, lead a call-and-response, to get the crowd to remember the band - "Who are we?" "Public!" "Where are we from?" "Cincinnati!"
As PUBLIC finished up, I was nervous for The Driver Era to take the stage. At this point, the band had only released 3 songs - how were they going to make a full set out of that? Fans around me wondered the same - would they resort to a plethora of covers? Would they go back and perform R5 songs? As soon as The Driver Era took the stage, my worries fell away - Ross, Rocky, Riker, Rydel, and Ellington were just as ecstatic and ready as ever to perform live again.
The set opened with "Feel You Now" - a song not yet released, though several fans in the front seemed to know and sing along with. After that great start, I felt as if it was 2012 again - the Lynch brothers singing into one microphone, leaning on each other, and grinning widely, so appreciative for every fan who has stuck by them.
A few songs into the set, lead singer, Ross Lynch, explains the next song, which would be a cover of "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" by Frankie Valli and The 4 Seasons, was one he listened to while preparing for his role on Netflix series, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. After a fan had captured TDE's performance of this song at the Riptide Festival back in December, Ross jokingly acknowledged how he "somehow became Twitter's White Boy of The Month."
My favorite new songs from The Driver Era that were performed was "Scared of Heights", one that has been teased on their Youtube channel, as well as the softer, slow-grooving "San Francisco", a song they had also played during their short festival run late last year.
Leading into the end of the set, the band jokingly said "This next song is a cover...", leading into their song "Red Velvet", off of R5's 2017 release, New Addictions. Fans were so excited to sing along, as Ross passed the microphone amongst those in the front row.
The night ended with The Driver Era's 2 big singles, "Low" and "Preacher Man". With no room or time for a encore, the band quickly fled the venue and back into their tour bus. With the seemingly abrupt ending, fans were left wanting more. Surely, if The Driver Era was to return to Boston, they would have no problem filling a larger venue.
Though the majority of the tour is sold out, see if The Driver Era is playing near you:
Words and Photos by Risa Tapanes