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Show Review: The inaugural Hearts on Fire Music Festival packs Marquee Theatre

When we saw the lineup for the inaugural Hearts on Fire Music Festival, we had to do a double take to make sure it wasn’t 2010 all over again. The All-American Rejects and Boys Like Girls headlined this first of its kind event, joined by more staples of the scene at Marquee Theatre last week.

Atlas kicked off our night at a packed house, as the event had been moved from the much larger Phoenix Raceway to the indoor club venue. Mayday Parade was our first act of the evening- and a longtime favorite of ours as well. Those first notes of “Jersey” whipped the crowd into an understandable frenzy as the band rocked through a setlist of old and new favorites.

Boys Like Girls came out of the woodwork, using Hearts on Fire to warm up for some upcoming international gigs and we couldn’t be happier they chose Phoenix to test the waters. “Love Drunk” was the opening number of choice and every millennial in the room was transported back to an era of sideswept bangs and angsty MySpace updates. Most of the setlist was drawn from the band’s earliest material, but they managed to sneak a brand new song in as well. We closed out with- what else- “The Great Escape” and threw our cares away for several blissful minutes of nostalgia.

Atlas is pleased to report back that The All-American Rejects are as weird and wonderful as ever. The band hasn’t made an appearance in Arizona in many years and their return was met with cheers that shook the venue. Singer Tyson Ritter took us back in his time machine on “Swing, Swing” and classic emo banger “Dirty Little Secret”.

The barricade was rocking along as the full room pressed even closer to the stage, swaying along to “It Ends Tonight”. It wouldn’t be an AAR set without “Move Along” and a huge sing-a-long to “Gives You Hell” at the encore.

It’s been a nostalgic few weeks for us here at Atlas and this show was a culmination of so much time spent reliving our teenage years. Overall, Hearts on Fire had its hiccups but the audience let their memories sweep them away in the experience for a great night had by all. We’re looking forward to what the next installment may bring.

Check out all the photos from the show!

Story and photos by Olivia Khiel