Hallpass brings indie rock magic to Atlanta

Hallpass vocalist Josh Morris (right) jams out with guitarist Daniel Crowe (left) as they play at Smith’s Olde Bar, the Atlanta stop on their summer tour. // Photo by Jenna Guiher Student Publications

There are moments in music that can only be described as “magic.” It is the feeling you get seeing your favorite artist live for the first time, hearing a lyric that feels like it was meant for you or finding a new song that you are going to repeat until you cannot listen anymore. They leave you breathless, awestruck and unable to utter anything except, “Wow.”

On the evening of June 13, the 200 people gathered at Smith’s Olde Bar bore witness to one of these magic moments, kindled by indie rock band hallpass. 

Hallpass is the latest addition to Athens’ iconic indie music scene, where they have played the historic Georgia Theatre alongside big names such as Quarters of Change and flipturn. 

The band is made up of vocalist Josh Morris, guitarist Daniel Crowe, bassist Sam Smith and drummer Gideon Johnston. Morris and Crowe are recent University[sic] of Georgia graduates and are now pursuing music full-time with their fellow bandmates.

Hallpass has garnered over 32k monthly listeners on Spotify, and they set off on their first tour this summer, reaching outside state lines to North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. They co-headlined their Atlanta show with friend and former bandmate Wim Tapley.

From the second the curtains opened to reveal the band in all their glory, it was clear that hallpass came ready to rock. Their raw authenticity and energy was a live wire, shocking everyone in the room.

There are some bands out there that lack the passion necessary to put on a live performance. Hallpass is not one of those bands—they were born to be rockstars. Morris, in particular, acted as though the stage was a second home, jumping, dancing and vigorously strumming his guitar the whole set. He was undeniably having the time of his life on stage, and his vigor lit a fire under the venue.

They played songs off their recent EP “Oscillate” that came out just over a month ago. Tracks like “Torpedo” and “Morning Time” show off their influences from the indie rock sphere such as flipturn, Briston Maroney and The Backseat Lovers.

Even within the genre where they draw their inspiration from, hallpass’ musical voice stands distinct among the rest. They are beautifully original and abundantly talented, even at such an early stage in their careers.

The band balanced out the snappy, rhythmic choruses and distinctive guitar riffs with the occasional folky track. “Roma” was one of these moments of tranquility and longing, flaunting the band’s artistic range.

Hallpass brought out their friend Brandon Halter to play tambourine during “Adeline,” and he brought his all to the stage, impossibly turning the energy in the room up higher.

Ironically, the final song of the show was the first the band ever put out. “Maine,” their most successful song to date, has amassed more than 500k streams on Spotify, and it was easily the fan-favorite of the night.

The band put all the energy they had left into those last minutes on stage, and the crowd ate up every second of it, dancing and singing the lyrics back to them.

The whole room yelled as one, “Where did you go? I thought you were supposed to stay right here.” It was a beautiful and truly cathartic moment shared between the group and the audience.

Hallpass’ Atlanta concert was one of those shows where each person left feeling like they just got slapped in the face by the power of music. Even at such an early show in their career, the band’s fervorous stage presence solidifies that they are meant to perform their music for the masses.

The band serves as a perfect example of the incoming Gen Z era of indie rock, complete with wild sonic experimentation and authentic ingenuity that stems from their creativity.

This is only the beginning for hallpass. Their ability to craft magic moments with their unique charisma, phenomenal songwriting and dynamic live performances prove that the band is already well on their way to indie superstardom.