It was Boston rock band Air Traffic Controller‘s CD release show Saturday night at The Sinclair, and the venue was packed—a mix of young and old faces in the crowd. With the album art of their third release—Black Box—projected on the screen behind the stage, the band played a mix of new songs and past hits.
Lead singer Dave Munro gave the context to the band’s single, “The House,” off of their latest album. “Everyone can relate to it because everyone grew up in a house,” he said. “I was lucky to grow up at a house everyone where everyone came over.”
ATC thrives by pumping out hummable, upbeat rock melodies with marching rhythms, and that’s mostly what they served the crowd on Saturday. Fans were ready and willing to join in song, with college students and middle-aged folks alike happy to play along. It was a hometown crowd, and even Munro was surprised at the turnout.
“I can’t believe how many familiar faces there are in the audience,” he said midway through the set. “That’s blowing my mind. But what’s blowing my mind even more is the number of faces I don’t recognize. What happened?”
One awkward moment came when Munro and co-lead singer Casey Sullivan invited openers Bleu and Alexz Johnson to the stage to play a song together, but the two never showed up. Though they forgot, Munro and crew played it off well and transitioned to the next song after a slight pause, and soon played fan-favorites “Hurry Hurry” and “Bad Axe, MI,” a breakup song about a band with Boston roots.
At the end of the set, Munro tried to jump off of the drummer’s kick drum, but the drum shifted under his weight and he stumbled off. Munro ran to the front of the stage like a gymnast recovering from an awkward landing. He was smiling, and so was the crowd.
ATC came back for a short encore, playing one of their better-known tracks, “You Know Me.” It may have been a wobbly end to their regular set, but Air Traffic Controller landed strong and on sturdy ground in the encore, ending with new song “Are You with Me?” Apparently it was the first time they had ever ended a show with a new song.
“Sometimes you need to take it upon yourself to be happy,” Munro said. “That’s what we’re trying to get across with this song.”
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- Tight band
- Good crowd participation
- Catchy choruses
- Delayed start
- Pacing too slow