Photos and review by Jenna Hughes
Blue October made a stop at Center Stage Atlanta on September 8th for The Sway Tour, in support of its seventh studio album, Sway, which dropped last month. A true turning point for the band, Sway brings a message of positivity and appreciation for life that has not been present in the band’s history. Front man Justin Furstenfeld, who wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, has stated that he is no longer in the dark, depressive state that the majority of Blue October’s lyrics have projected in the past and that his new found faith and marriage have inspired much of Sway.
Fans of the band have embraced this new sound as they were lined up outside Center Stage early, eager to hear the new songs performed live as well as their old favorites.
Supporting act Courrier impressed the early crowd with a passionate performance. The quartet out of Austin, Texas has been steadily emerging in the rock scene this year with songs featured on the television shows Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries and a featured article in Rolling Stone. The energetic live set was highlighted by powerful drums and intense guitar work, all tied together with front man Austin Jones’s vocals. The band performed songs from its latest album, Cathedrals of Color.
Blue October took the stage awash in blue pulsating lights as they launched into “Sway,” the title track from the new album. The song is unlike anything Blue October has ever done; a light, airy, atmospheric tune you can dance to. The crowd responded in kind, turning the pit into a veritable dance floor. Fan favorite “HRSA” came next and old school fans belted out every single word. Sway dominated the rest of the set with heavy hitters such as “Hard Candy,” “Light You Up,” and “Put It In,” as well as lighter songs such as the stunning lead single “Bleed Out” and “Angels In Everything.”
The most powerful performance of the evening came with “Fear,” another track from Sway. The song is a testament to overcoming fear and depression and the lyrics encourage perseverance and hope. Ryan Delahoussaye’s violin intricately fueled Furstenfeld’s powerhouse vocal performance during this song. Furstenfeld truly was an entrancing performer to watch throughout the night, interacting with the audience in a way that only he can, bringing his poetry to life with them.
Radio hit “Hate Me” closed out the set, but Blue October fans would not be silenced. Roaring applause, foot stomping and chanting brought the band back out to play “The Worry List,” and “Not Broken Anymore.” “Things We Do at Night,” a great, danceable track that really showcases drummer Jeremy Furstenfeld’s talents, closed out the night for very satisfied Blue October fans.