Photo Credit: Brittany Robinson

Balance and Composure – Park Street Saloon, Columbus, OH, US (20th May 2017)

In the second to last date of their 2017 tour, Balance and Composure hit up Park Street Saloon, the prime spot in Columbus for everything emo. Female-fronted quartet Queen of Jeans and dreamo quintet From Indian Lakes were lined up as opening acts. The band love was immeasurable from the get-go, as at least one member of each band was seen supporting another band via shirt merch.

Following the recent April release of their limited edition 7” ‘Slowheart’, fans were spoiled to hear both new music and old hits. Balance and Composure performs in a way to be both soft and demanding, and can change the mood of a venue so quickly that you can’t predict what will happen next. Somber and emotive lyrics keep the stylings of the PA-born quintet bound together, although they have been through a lot of metamorphosis over the years.

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Newer fans, after the release of 2016 studio album ‘Light We Made’ rejoiced for the bulk of the first half of the set including songs ’Spinning’ and lead single ‘Postcard’. Singer/guitarist Jon Simmons has said in multiple interviews that these songs are some of his favorites to play live. Once the band took control of the audience a few songs into the night, Simmons announced, “I love you guys already. So much.” He proceeded to launch directly into ‘Postcard’ much to the audience’s delight, and there was not a still body in the house.

The latest full album release has been transitionally different when compared to first studio album ‘Separation’. It is more cleaned up and mainstreamed, while still possessing similar lyrical content and ideas in what the band has previously put out. In an Entertainment Weekly 2016 interview, drummer Bailey Van Ellis described it as the “best music to live in.” It is the type of music that newer, slightly younger fans could be seen nodding and dancing to at the show. Simmons himself partook at certain points, completely letting himself go in being vulnerable in companionship with the lyrics. The singer has an incredible way of expressing his emotions onstage with sometimes spastic and quick movements, leading on to the fact that his body can’t even serve as an acting vessel for his intense feelings.

More in tune with the solemness of the venue’s heavy blue lighting, it was entirely evident as to when the mood of the show made a swift switch towards the band’s older, post-hardcore heavy tracks. At one certain point in the latter half of the set, all of the security guards came up and took their posts at once. They knew what was about to happen. Pleasing older fans with hits from their previous two studio albums, it was at this point when the moshing and crowd-surfing attempts started. Band members Andy Slaymaker (guitar, backing vocals), and Simmons himself led in the head trashing as the house came together to enjoy their final songs together. Balance and Composure closed out their set with the abrasive and passionate ‘I Tore You Apart in My Head’ and left the crowd in a standstill for minutes even after their finish.