The Broken Hearts Club turned out this week for founder and fellow sadboy gnash at Crescent Ballroom.
Guardin and Carlie Hanson started the early evening show, keeping the emotions running high. Guardin played a short set but made sure to meet every blushing fan afterwards. Carlie Hanson, fresh from a supporting slot on Troye Sivan’s Bloom Tour, provided direct support.
Hanson’s energy never wavered as she stomped the length of the stage, kneeling in front of an adoring audience for “Toxins” and new song “Numb”. Her career may only be getting started, but Hanson can already command a stage of any size, winning over every audience member not already singing the words back at her.
Crescent Ballroom transformed into gnash’s heartbreak lounge, with bunches of black balloons and a stage decked out with a backdrop of silver streamers and gnash’s signature purple neon heart. Fans pressed closer as gnash burst through the streamers for a whirlwind set.
The Phoenix stop marked the final show before the release of gnash’s debut album we. The evening was a celebration of new music, with the addition of songs like “pajamas” and “wait” to his standard set. Unsurprisingly, the fans already knew every word, sometimes singing louder than gnash’s soft acoustic interludes.
“This one’s for all the fake friends- we say fuck ‘em!” he shouted gleefully before “feelings fade”. Audience members “heckled” with declarations of love, expressions of pride and the requisite screaming as he removed his hoodie under the hot stage lights.
Gnash is sweet and earnest onstage, urging his audience to go out into the world and “mend all the broken hearts you can find”. Instead of feeling saccharine, his acoustic break for “dear insecurity” was genuine, eliciting real smiles from the front row. Pausing mid-song, gnash led the crowd in a collective deep breathing exercise to shake off life’s everyday worries (if only for three minutes). He even left the microphone behind partway through the set, singing acapella as the fans’ voices swelled.
The album party continued, with gnash bashfully admitting behind his signature round sunglasses that he’s still learning the chord progression for some of his new material- testing “nobody’s home” and “the broken hearts club” to great success.
He closed the evening with new single “t-shirt”, reluctantly leaving the stage as the crowd demanded an encore. Gnash’s performance was refreshing in every way- he cares about music and he cares about his audience with a passion that never appears cheesy or forced. His lyrics and message are relatable and real, putting actual emotion into tracks that truly resonate with his fans.
Gnash’s new album we was released on January 11, 2019. If the live performance is any indication, this album is well-worth a listen (or several). Atlas joined in the sing-a-longs and spirit fingers, part of a sincere performance that will undoubtedly charm audiences of all ages.
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel
Album art courtesy of Atlantic Records