Tonight Alive might be a female-fronted band, but don’t draw any conclusions too quickly.
“People can look at it as its own genre, but being female-fronted isn’t a genre, it’s a dynamic,” Jenna McDougall, lead singer of Tonight Alive, said. “We break the mold by not paying attention to it, really … we’re just going out and playing music that makes us feel good and getting a message out there and connecting with people.”
Tonight Alive is slated to appear at A&R Music Bar Wednesday as part of The Other Side Tour, the band’s first headlining tour in North America. McDougall said this tour is a new chapter for the band with new opportunities for it to grow.
“It feels really good because every other tour that we’ve done here, we’ve really only been able to play for 30 to 35 minutes,” McDougall said. “So this is the first time that we can play to our fans and really give them a show. It’s really liberating to be able to play for an hour and get the new record out.”
The band, which includes McDougall, guitarist Whakaio Taahi, guitarist Jake Hardy, bassist Cam Adler and drummer Matt Best, released “The Other Side” in September, a record McDougall said shows a change in the band’s overall sound.
“I don’t think we’re pop-punk anymore,” McDougall said. “I think with ‘The Other Side,’ we’ve really become a rock band. At times, it’s quite dark musically, but still always melodic … We’re quite bipolar writers and I think it’s quite dynamic now. It’s really hard to put it under one category.”
From this new album comes four of the songs in Tonight Alive’s set — and these songs are the ones that get the most reaction from the audience, McDougall said.
“They all seem to have a really powerful effect over the audience,” McDougall said. “’The Ocean’ is the first song in our set, so it’s the song that kind of eases everyone in … then there are songs like ‘The Fire’ and ‘Lonely Girl’ and ‘Don’t Wish’ which people really seem to connect with. There’s a physical reaction to the songs, but there also seems to be a real emotional reaction to them as well.”
In addition to Tonight Alive, the concert is scheduled to include supporting bands Echosmith, For The Foxes and The Downtown Fiction. The sounds of all these bands really help make the show a complete package, McDougall said.
“It’s quite a poppy lineup, and we’re one of the darker, heavier bands on the tour,” McDougall said. “It’s really contrasting to what we’ve done in the past. We did the Fearless Friends Tourwhere the bands were Blessthefall, The Word Alive and Motionless in White … it’s really fun to see the tables turn a little since our sound has developed.”
Marissa Luther, marketing director for PromoWest Productions, said Tonight Alive’s developing sound is part of the reason the band was brought to Columbus.
“We think they’re a great up-and-coming band, so we wanted to be one of the first people in Columbus to book them,” Luther said.
Samantha Singer, a first-year in exploration, said even though she hasn’t heard of the band, she’d be interested in attending the show.
“I really haven’t heard of them, but a lot of bands now are mostly male,” Singer said. “Especially in more hardcore bands, it’s nice to hear that there are females out there, so I’d be more interested.”
McDougall said no audience member should feel left out at the show, since there’s such a variety both in the performers and in the songs.
“I like to think there’s something for everyone,” McDougall said. “You do the heavy songs, you do the happy songs and you do the sad songs, and it’s just a matter of structuring them and making it a smooth-running show.”
A&R Music Bar is located at 391 Neil Ave. Tickets for the show are $12 in advance, or $14 at the door. Doors are scheduled to open at 6 p.m.