One of this year’s ultimate nostalgic lineups hit Phoenix last weekend and we’re still missing that feeling. Boys Like Girls is officially back together, making new music and out on the road- their visit to The Van Buren had a sold out crowd singing along like it was 2006.
The duo of Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte- otherwise known as 3OH!3- may joke about their set just being karaoke to their own songs, but the party they start every time is undeniable. The pair is just as goofy and irreverent as they were at the beginning of their career, bursting onstage to the tune of “Starstrukk” (minus the iconic Katy Perry feature). Foreman and Motte are also actively releasing new music and took a break from the familiar tunes to throw new single “Lonely Machines” into the mix. Add some choreography, a rousing chorus of “PUNKBITCH” and that one line from “DONTTRUSTME” and you’ve got the perfect opener for your party. We only wished their set was longer to keep that energy going.
State Champs provided the pop punk appetizer for the night, pushing the kids to mosh and maybe even do a little crowd surfing. The elder emo crowd might not have the same stamina today, but we saw plenty of two-stepping in the pit to fan favorites like “Dead and Gone” and “Secrets”. The band always makes their fans part of the show, with bassist Ryan Scott Graham riling up the front row with his antics. The Champs closed out with “Everybody But You”, creating the perfect bridge into the headlining set.
After Boys Like Girls went on indefinite hiatus over 10 years ago and the announcement of their return shocked a generation of now-adults craving that feeling of hearing “The Great Escape” for the first time. The band answered the call, drawing sold out crowds to this tour and proving that they haven’t lost a step since 2012.
With only a handful of albums to their name, opening with the combination of “Love Drunk” and “Five Minutes to Midnight” can only be called a power move and those two songs alone had the packed house sweating. The band has also already come back with new songs in preparation for their upcoming album- “Blood and Sugar” was one such single and was met with just as warm a reception as their classic hits.
BLG added all of the new tracks from this year’s New Love EP to the setlist, interspersed among “Dance Hall Drug”, “She’s Got a Boyfriend Now” and “On Top of the World”. The interludes of “Thunder” and “Hero/Heroine” proved that this band still has the power to tug on fans’ heartstrings, drawing out some of the most emotional crowd vocals of the entire evening.
As we reached the end of the set- and the promise of more new music and touring on the horizon- BLG created a special moment for both them and the audience. For everyone to truly immerse themselves in the final songs of the set, the band played the first verse and chorus of “The Great Escape” to allow everyone to record their videos before having all phones put away so we could rock out like it was 2006 (and not a camera in sight). The fans embraced this experience and threw themselves into the pure enjoyment of that final number before singer Martin Johnson returned for an acoustic encore of “Two is Better Than One”.
Not every mid-2000’s comeback has reached success in a post-pandemic world, but Boys Like Girls’ return only confirmed their timelessness and staying power in the hearts of their core fanbase. We’d been looking forward to jamming to our favorite songs for months and knowing that another chance is just over the horizon made The Speaking Our Language Tour that much sweeter.
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Story and photos by Olivia Khiel