Concert review: TX2 w/ Magnolia Park, 408, and poptropicaslutz! | 10.28.23, Pop’s (with photo gallery)

“Sah-get? Nah. I’m going to go with St. Louis, I’m not about to get jumped out back for that one.”

Pronunciation was the theme of the night Saturday, with each band taking the stage for another round of “how to say Sauget” roulette. The crowd met each terrible interpretation with laughter and boisterous exclamations, and ultimately St. Louis was the chosen moniker for the night. A costume contest was billed following the show so I expected an outpouring of Halloween debauchery, but the costumes must have come later because nearly everyone in attendance was in street clothes—including the skeleton covertly placed in the middle of mosh pit alley in his baggy sweater with the hood up. Jon Bone Jovi definitely kept me on my toes with a jump scare every time I glanced in the crowd.

Evan Thomas is forgettable, a not-so-unique name hidden in a collection of likeminded souls hoping to leave their mark on the music industry. Desire and heart only get you so far in an industry overflowing with talented people hoping for their chance. What sets one apart is their drive, their stamina, their ability to capture a crowd and keep them engaged through the ups and downs of a show, begging for more when it’s over. Evan Thomas was forgettable, but as TX2 he is anything but. Begging for more was on everyone’s mind after the set we experienced at Pop’s this Saturday night. I go to a lot of shows, both for business and for pleasure, so I feel I have a pretty solid base to judge a performance on. TX2’s show was a headliner-worthy performance.

TX2 opened the night with “Vampire by Rumor,” a pop- punk single released in 2022 and quickly gaining traction on social media. Thomas often talks about using lived experiences to inspire music, with themes like mental health, ambition, and the power of resilience. From the opening song through the last song of the night, “I Would Hate Me Too,” TX2 split time between the stage and the crowd. If I turned away briefly to check a photo he would be back in the pit or on the rail engaging with fans. Guitarist Cam Rostami often flanked TX2, at one point I found Rostami in the pit circling our skeleton friend from above while playing guitar and moshing simultaneously. I can’t even tie my shoes and have a conversation with someone at the same time. Talent, friends. I was a little disappointed drummer Sam Palombo didn’t move his entire kit into the pit to join in, but hey, can’t have it all.

The set ended entirely too soon, with fans treated to several favorites including “Randy McNally (No Love Like Christian Hate)” which the frontman dedicated to Texas Governor Greg Abbott. An upbeat power ballad taking on religion, LGBTQ+ rights, and trending political agendas in three minutes and thirteen seconds, the song has garnered a lot of attention on social media. TX2 reminds me musically of the best punk bands of the early 2000s, with my husband and I referring to them as Sum 182 Confessional a few times through the night. Lyrically, I feel like Grandson and TX2 would be a great collaboration, with similar themes coming through in their music. I’m excited to see where things go for the trio who embarked on a headlining tour following the conclusion of their run with Magnolia Park on Sunday.

Orlando band 408 opened the night for TX2, keeping with the emo/pop-punk theme of the evening. Poptropicaslutz! followed TX2 and this band intrigued me. They have an impressive social media following despite minimal engagement, and are signed to a large label but appear to be a newer band. I tried to get into the set but found myself a bit bored and wandering into the crowd during their first few songs. I think the band has potential but there is a need for more crowd engagement and maybe a bit less autotune. Nonetheless, their aesthetic is fun and they seem talented, I’m looking forward to hearing new stuff from this band.

Headliner Magnolia Park took the stage with “Misfits” off their 2022 album Baku’s Revenge. Vocalist Joshua Roberts has songs with every other band on the tour, most recently teaming up with TX2 for “Life in the USA” which they performed together Saturday night. Magnolia Park’s song “Animals” has been a permanent add to my playlist since its debut last month, one of their heavier songs. “Animals” reminds me a bit of a Falling In Reverse song, it’s a genre mashing hit that’ll get stuck in your head for hours. The four-band bill Saturday night certainly soothed my elder emo heart and the crowd seemed to agree.

If you got this far, and you’re still wondering, it’s sah-jhey (or saw-zhey if you ask google). A tiny village across the river from St Louis, lacking in population but overflowing with character and live music. | Erica Vining

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