Walking in the doors, the line of excited fans stretches all the way into the bar. Fans can be spotted wearing merch for the bands performing that night. Groups of friends are chatting and the lobby is filled with the merch of the opening bands for fans to browse as they wait. The excitement for the upcoming show can be felt throughout the small venue.
After checking in and receiving a green wristband, attendees enter into the venue that is beginning to fill. At the back of the venue is a table set up with merch for the headliner, Meet Me @ The Altar. The stage is filled with various drum sets, guitars, and basses. Several fans have already claimed their spot along the front of the stage. With no barricade separating them, they can be inches away from the acts on stage. Others have claimed spots along the risers along the side to get a view of the whole stage, a bit separated from the rest of the crowd while still being able to feel the energy and connection to music.
On March 8, Meet Me @ The Altar brought their headlining tour to Mahall’s in Lakewood, OH. This bar, bowling alley and concert venue is a staple for the area where many up and coming acts take the stage. Also on the line-up for the night are the openers Daisy Grenade and Young Culture. Looking into the crowd, many people are wearing Young Culture merch. The group is bound to be a favorite of the night.
Daisy Grenade is first to take the stage. This female-fronted duo take command on the stage. The energy is full, they feed off the crowd, use the whole stage, and look like they belong. The pit automatically begins moving around. In the center a small circle pit has opened and people are ready to move.
The vocalists were interacting with the guitarist, interacting with one another and the crowd. At one point having the crowd sing back a part of the chorus to their song, so even if they did not know the song, they could still participate in their performance. They kept song introductions short, keeping their set moving to get in as many songs as they could. They even took a moment to introduce their band to give them their moment. All and all, Daisy Grenade owned their set and bound for success.
Next up was pop punk band Young Culture. As soon as they walked on stage, the energy in the crowd skyrocketed. They held up balloons that spelled out “YC FUCKS” on it, one of the sayings among the group and fans, as it would be screamed throughout their set. After a quick introduction the band was going. The crowd was moving, including plenty of crowd surfers, ending on the stage and ending up right back into the crowd.
The lead vocalist sounded killer and commanded the crowd, including ending the set jumping into the crowd. Every member of the group was fantastic on their instrument. The guitars were roaring and drums were pounding. Their stage presence was electric. They looked and sounded comfortable and experienced, while also looking like they were having fun. The crowd was singing along very loud, and the band was feeding off that energy. The amount of people spotting their merch and singing along, mixed with the amount of people buying merch after their set, this Young Culture will be an act to watch.
Then it was finally time for the main act, Meet Me @ The Altar. The group entered from the main door, hit the stage and lit up the room. Of course stopping to hold up balloons that spelled out the abbreviation “MMATA” that were given to them. They took their positions and went into “Say It To My Face,” a release from their album Past // Present // Future. The whole crowd was moving, jumping, dancing and singing along. Standing on the risers off to the side, you could feel the ground moving underneath your feet.
The main vocalist, Edith Victoria, sounded fantastic and owned the stage. She used the whole stage, singing to each area of the crowd. Téa Campbell roared on the guitar, creating a strong strong performance and killed it when it was her turn on vocals. Ada Juarez killed it on drums and kept the songs moving, allowing the songs to be brought to life. Put the three of them together and they were a recipe for perfection. They loved being on stage and it was evident by their performance.
The connection to the crowd was strong. You felt like they were singing to you and the crowd. It felt more personal than just singing and going through the motions. Which is one of the best parts of smaller shows. The crowd does not feel isolated from the band. MMATA definitely used that to their advantage. You could see the smiles on their faces throughout the night. They would turn and talk to one another and to the crowd. It didn’t feel forced or like they were going through the motions. They were happy to be on stage performing their songs and promoting Past // Present // Future. They stopped to talk to the crowd in between songs. Also making sure to encourage the crowd to open up the pit during “Hit Like A Girl,” nothing felt misplaced, rehearsed or ingenuine.
What brought their performance to life was their personality and interactions on stage. They told stories, interacted with one another, told jokes and just had a good time, including giving Juarez a mic on this tour and playing sounds like air horns. They told stories behind songs like “Garden” and “A Few Tomorrows.” They even had a little story moment with a mashup covering “You Oughta Know,” “Complicated” and “Take Me Away.” They each had a chance to introduce their song before they went into the cover, which got the crowd excited and by the time each song started, everyone was singing along.
The room was very warm and they kept checking in to make sure we were all good and that we were drinking water. They were having a good time and wanted to make sure we were all as well. How warm it was a running theme throughout the night, but everyone was having the time of their life.
People were moshing, dancing, jumping, singing and crowd surfers were plentiful. No one stood still. The small room was packed, but people still moved. No matter where you stood, the energy was radiating, you felt connected to the band and you rocked out. It was a time to let all worries and problems go, and to just have fun and be yourself. While the show may have not been sold out, it felt like a sold out show.
The group played an previously-unreleased song called “TMI,” allowing a sneak peek into what we could hear on the new album. They brought it down for a moment with “Feel A Thing” but that was one of the only more acoustic moments. The majority of the set was high energy, fast paced, and just go, go, go.
They played the most recent released at the time “Kӧӧl” which had the crowd excited. As it had recently come out, it was fresh in their minds and were ready to sing along. Then they gave a brief history of the writing of “Garden” and were ready for a strong ending. The crowd kept the energy alive, not ready for the night to be over. Everyone taking in the last moments of an unforgettable night.
The band ended with getting a picture with the crowd and it was over. A show full of energy, laughs, smiles, dancing, singing, and just overall fun and energy. From start to finish it was a night to just let go and be in the moment. Little time to rest, but in a good way.
Overall, if you have the chance to see Meet Me @ The Altar in concert, it will be a high energy night, that will have you drawn in and moving from start to finish.
Meet Me @ The Altar are currently on tour. Information can be found on their website. Past // Present // Future is now available on all streaming platforms.