Briston Maroney fills the Jefferson Theater with a combination of hits and indie rock ballads – The Cavalier Daily
Many students put aside their Wednesday night homework to see indie rock singer-songwriter Briston Maroney to play the Jefferson Theater on September 14. Opening for the hit alternative folk band Rainbow Kitten Surprise earlier this year, Maroney is now headlining shows in the US and Europe.
Maroney’s authentic songwriting, raspy voice, and ringing guitar make for a very specific sound, drawing in audiences from across the state. The concert fostered a warm and intimate atmosphere and the audience was gentle and very friendly. Maroney and his band we are clearly very happy to play
The concert open with Alaskan indie band Medium Build, which was a perfect match for Maroney’s energy and rustic aesthetic. Their lethargic, methodical sound combined bass and acoustic guitar, along with a constant repetitive synth that grounded the songs.
Medium Build and Maroney’s sets were accompanied by smoke and colored lights. Maroney even featured a disco ball for a few songs, which projected colorful bursts of light around the theater.
Maroney’s latest album, “Sunflower: Deluxe,” was released in April, serving as a follow-up to his 2021 album “Sunflower.” “Sunflower: Deluxe” features six new original songs and a revamped cover.
Most of the songs on the setlist came from “Sunflower: Deluxe,” with a few standouts like “Freakin’ Out On The Interstate” and its latest single, “Paradise.” The setlist was very balanced, as Maroney made time for his heartfelt ballads like “Fool’s Gold”, and even closed the evening with “Caroline” – a sweet letter to a childish version of himself.
“The band and I played [the Jefferson] exactly one year ago today,” Maroney said. “It was the first time the four of us had played together, and we thought we had done really badly. So thank you all for coming back to see us.
Unsurprisingly, the crowd was particularly excited about “Freakin’ Out On The Interstate”, as the song tendency on TikTok and launched Maroney’s music career. Many musicians online began covering the song, and it became popular in online communities that emphasized an outdoorsy, carefree aesthetic.
The Knoxville native emphasizes storytelling in his writing, making his discography feel like reading his diary. Most of his songs have an underlying rock touch, but after lyrical analysis, they are written in a very thoughtful way.
“Rollercoaster,” for example, is about the anxiety of preparing for a party, and then feeling stuck in it. The pre-chorus feels very tense and agonizing until the all-encompassing chorus relief appears, only to be thrown back into a stiff-sounding verse. This feeling was heightened during the live performance, as Maroney was so passionate that he even stepped away from the microphone to sing the lyrics.
Like many musicians, Maroney is known for his love songs. Certainly related to the students, Maroney often discusses his hesitations when entering into a relationship and tries to always do the right thing. In “It’s Still Cool If You Don’t”, he sings, “So if you wanna, maybe we should / I’ll talk if you do, but we don’t have to / I’ll go if you go , I won’t if you won’t”
His lyrics in “It’s Still Cool If You Don’t” contrast with the track “Freeway”, where Maroney shamelessly confesses his love to a loved one. A lyric in the chorus suggests knocking someone over, so Maroney encouraged the crowd to do just that for the song’s chorus.
The July 2022 track “Paradise” is a fresh take on Maroney’s love of the guitar, but its pristine lyricism remains. “Paradise” is about keeping it authentic when you’re young, delivering a carpe diem attitude with lyrics like “How easy would it be to put the nine to five behind / A sandcastle royalty and seven seas of paradise that shine’?”
While performing “Paradise”, Maroney and his band really went wild. The four members of the group were banging their heads, jumping, shouting and playing.
Maroney described his band as his best friends, and it was clear how much they loved playing together. Completely rock, the group seemed lost in the music.
Overall the concert was very lively and it is clear that the musicians love their work. Maroney has a unique talent for portraying his personality on stage while showcasing his obvious musical talent. His US tour will continue until early November 2022.