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Doll Skin’s Hometown Show

There are shows you circle on your calendar as must go. After the last year and a half, that has only further magnified those you miss seeing live and those you just have newly discovered. Doll Skin was of those I had circled from the moment it was announced. They are such an excellent band to watch live. For bonuses on the night, that would be getting to catch Winterhaven, An Awful Mess, and Rio Wiley additionally.

Opening up was a bouncy and fun band called Winterhaven. This is the first time I had the chance to see them and they made it a very enjoyable time. This pop punk and emo four piece were smiles for most of it and that is always a thing I love to see.

It’s infectious on a crowd when a band displays that happy investment in their music. Add Winterhaven to the blind discoveries that left a mark that I hope to catch again soon.

This night was finally a chance to watch a band I had been meaning to since Aaron formed it, An Awful Mess. Like his prior band, it seems to draw more on the emo and hardcore with pop punk melodies to keep you moving. Aaron’s passionate and heart all in performance only elevates their set further. You can tell this is his happy place on that stage.

This was also the night that I learned who Captain Sarcasmo was in a very well put together superhero outfit. He worked to get the crowd involved and dancing behind the band for the entire set. I am very happy I finally got to catch An Awful Mess.

Setting up Doll Skin was another artist new to me, Rio Wiley. Here was an artist that didn’t connect with me, but that’s more a matter of my taste than talent. If anything, this is once again another artist with a lot of heart and great presence up on that stage.

They were frequently on the edge of the stage, singing to the crowd and getting them involved. For me, just lyrics I related to less are all. A fun moment was when they brought up Sydney, of Doll Skin, to perform a Bo Burnham cover together. Rio Wiley may not have been for me, but it was a great time to watch nonetheless.

Last up were a band I had not seen since before Covid, Doll Skin. In that time, the band has seen changes with Sydney, vocals, and Meghan, drums, still around but we saw Alex and Nicole leave. In their stead, they have transformed into a five piece punk band this tour, with Tay on bass, Chloe on one guitar, and Torri on the other guitar.

It is very cool to see Torri, once upon a time from Not Confined, in this latest Doll Skin configuration. Whether this form is permanent, it sounds like that is to be decided, but the additional members meshed perfectly with Sydney and Meghan.

Watching Doll Skin always leaves me walking away thinking what a wonderful younger generation we have coming and amazing role models. Sydney is always open about things they have dealt with or are dealing with, in part as it is put into the songs. Also they do a great job about pressing progressive and positive things like pronouns. They remind their crowd it is good to ask if you don’t know someone’s pronouns. The introductions to the members included their pronouns.

Additionally, I always have appreciated they perform their song “Puncha Nazi,” that is way too relevant to this day, and this night it was their closer. Doll Skin’s show leaves me once again walking away feeling more positive on the future and with fun memories of another killer set.

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