Wallows at The Aztec Theatre

Indie trio makes their first trip to San Antonio

Cesar Soto, Staff Writer

The Aztec Theatre packed in a sold-out crowd on Oct. 6, ready to enthusiastically sing and dance to all their favorite tunes. From the merchandise line wrapping around the venue to everyone being on their feet from the beginning, it was clear that the fans were ready for Wallows’ first show in San Antonio.

The night began with an opening set from Philadelphia-based noise-punk band Empath, setting the tone for the rest of the show. While their music is undoubtedly noisy, it also had a garage punk edge to it that gave the night a great bit of youthful energy. With Wallows’ set design hidden and the band playing very close to one another, watching them play felt more intimate. They were clearly having fun on stage considering how hard they were shredding their guitars and wreaking havoc on their drums.

It is hard to believe that the rest of the city did not hear the shrieks coming from the venue when three-piece Braedan Lemasters, Cole Preston and Dylan Minnette took the stage with the rest of their live band. With San Antonio being a late addition to their “Tell Me That It’s Over Tour,” the city’s fans made sure to show the band love, already dancing to the opening song, “Hard to Believe.”

The show already had its early highlights, with the following two songs being “I Don’t Want to Talk” and “Remember When.” The former is on their newest record, “Tell Me That It’s Over,” which was released this past March, but the crowd sang along to it like it was one of their classics. Minnette brought out his tiny harmonica during the instrumental breaks, in which the band members jumped around and gave the crowd a boost of excitement. The latter is off their breakout record, “Nothing Happens,” and is unquestionably a favorite among Wallows fans, as they passionately screamed every lyric.

The show’s visual design featured a large square inside an even larger square in the backdrop and multiple lamps set up around the stage. They lit up together in sync with different colors over the course of the show, and this was especially noticeable as the Los Angeles-based band ran through their earlier cuts, dating all the way back to their origins in 2017. Songs like “Pleaser,” “Treacherous Doctor” and “Sun Tan” had the crowd jumping, with Lemasters weaving the latter song into part of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” in an unexpectedly fun way.

The live band had an opportunity to shine as well, with trumpet and keyboard solos providing more layers to the instrumentation. When it comes to the three members, Minnette assumes most of the frontman and vocal duties, but it was great to see both Lemasters and Preston have their own vocal moments. Preston showcased his vocals when Minnette traded him out on the drums for the song “Quarterback.” Hearing this wide array of instruments on all parts was a wonderful component of their live experience. 

The band’s indie-rock side emerged later in the show, with songs like “Only Friend” featuring their fastest tempo of the set. All the members moved around on stage to songs like “Marvelous” and “Scrawny” getting the fans’ energy at its highest. But before getting into their encore, Wallows performed their most tranquil track, “Guitar Romantic Search Adventure.” As the crowd put their cell phone lights up in the air, the vibrant lights perfectly encapsulated the emotive melodies. With this song, Minnette’s vocals and the band’s instrumentation were the best they had been all night.

After the fans gave their earth-shatteringly loud calls for an encore, the band returned to the stage to play a fan-requested song, “Drunk on Halloween,” just in time for spooky season. Wallows gave props to each individual member of the band, where the chemistry between them was on perfect display. The trio ended the concert with their most well-known track — “Are You Bored Yet?” — sending the crowd off into the night with the brightest spirits.

From those in the pit all the way up to the balcony, Wallows did a terrific job of making everyone in attendance feel included. The band seemed surprised at how energetic the crowd was, as they noted it as one of their most fun shows in recent memory and that they felt more connected to the crowd than usual. At one point, Minnette said they needed to make it a point to return to San Antonio as soon as possible. After the kind of performance they put on, everyone in attendance at The Aztec Theatre was certainly in agreement.