At Saturday night’s Atlanta stop of the “Cheers! To A Tour” tour at Terminal West, neo-psychedelic band Fleece opened for Jukebox the Ghost with an exciting set. Before the show, the members of Fleece took the time to answer some questions and talk about their experiences as a group.
The members of Fleece met in college in 2014 and have been growing as friends and bandmates since. When talking about the evolving dynamic of the group, Matt Rogers (vocalist and keys) shared the group’s early focus on emotional check-ins to prioritize direct discussion of the emotions of the group. Now on tour, these check-ins have evolved to each member’s ability to informally “sense energy in the room in a way that feels very natural.”
This respect and attention that each member shows towards each other was evident on Saturday night in Jameson Daniel’s (guitar) quiet nodding and Ethan Soil’s (drums) focused gaze as they listened to their bandmate speak. Megan Ennenberg (bass/vocals) added that the most beautiful aspect of their group was its allowance for “figuring out who they are to the project and what they need specific to them,” and that this growth has allowed her to feel she does not have to “strain her volume to be heard.”
The focus on communication plays well into the collaborative creativity in Fleece’s content. Soil, the mastermind behind much of the Fleece’s TikTok and YouTube content, shared that much of their comedic content (including the YouTube short “Quarf,” made after they were stranded in the desert that captures their essence better than any article could) is completely improvised and filmed within moments of its inception.
Fleece’s approach to songwriting is similarly improvisational in its conception and revision and benefits from each member’s extensive knowledge and love for music.
All the band members have loved music from a young age; Ennenberg shared a story her mother always tells of her playing a basic version of “Somewhere Over the Radio” by ear on her toy keyboard when she was a toddler after watching the “Wizard of Oz.” When asked about the music they listened to as children, the group’s answers varied from “Moulin Rouge” to Phil Collins’ “Tarzan” soundtrack. They joked about Roger’s listening to Adele’s “19” before it was cool, and his overall “That’s So Raven-esque ability to predict the future.”
The same banter between friends that endears every interviewer Fleece encounters continued in their onstage performance. The band was greeted with a curious and somewhat subdued audience as they began their set. But they rose to the occasion, energizing the audience with call and response vocalizations, goofy on-stage antics and lively sound.
Joking about the song “My Type,” Rogers explained the song’s inspiration and perspective of an f***boy. Their set was filled with similarly improvised, lighthearted humor, as the band played a selection from their latest album “Stunning and Atrocious.”
Alternative pop band Jukebox the Ghost was missing its guitarist, Tommy Siegel, as he recovered from COVID-19. This absence left pianist and vocalist Ben Thornwill and drummer and vocalist Jesse Kristin to lead their set. The pair joked on stage that buying a ticket to their show was a ticket to “come watch two men sit on stage for an hour and a half.”
Although there was a dip in energy in their performance compared to their energetic opener, the band played their greatest hits, such as “Girl” and “Jumpstarted.” These songs lent their set the built-in audience engagement of singing along to songs that they knew and loved. The crowd was delighted by these comfortable hits and cheered along to every song.
Overall, the joint performances made for a lovely night, clocking in at just over two hours from start to finish. It was not a raging concert to vehemently protest a year without concerts; rather, it was a night to quietly celebrate the possibility of going out with friends again.