When a band’s debut blazes through anthems about petting every puppy you see with hooks objectively stating the fact that cops are flammable, well, this is a band you’ll wanna keep an eye on. While the debate about whether Home Is Where’s 2021 EP I Became Birds was a reverently deranged knockoff of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea or the more-meme-than-genre movement “fifth wave emo” raged on, in reality the collection housed 19 minutes of the most aggressively non-denominational, Elephant-6-by-way-of-post-hardcore, everything-but-conventional-folk rock music released this side of 9/11—a subject which, incidentally, informed the centerpiece of their recent follow-up album The Whaler.
Though the continued usage of singing saw and an unignorable reference to a certain bodily fluid on the LP’s lead single make it seem like the Floridian band isn’t entirely interested in beating the “Midwest emo Neutral Milk Hotel” allegations, The Whaler continues to position them as an exciting anomaly within any genre (or era) of music. And this outside-the-box approach fully comes through in their live show, which picks up again this week after a two-month touring hiatus to bless the Western half of the US—when I caught them in Chicago during their July outing audiences were rapt from the moment vocalist Brandon MacDonald took the stage, saw in hand.
As reflexive as it’s become for me to dunk on younger generations for their concert etiquette, I barely saw anyone reach for their phones to record the night’s highlights. And contrasting with the manic energy of the band’s stage presence during and between songs—to say nothing of one audience member absolutely committing to the bit of being the band’s hype-person—guitarist Tilley Komorny managed to dramatically shift the crowd’s energy for a moment to draw attention to the evil anti-trans-youth agenda set forth by conservative lawmakers in their home state which has directly affected the band and their peers (the phones did come out when she requested we make donations to Zebra Coalition, JASMYN, and Equality Florida).
As the band hops back in the van (two days after 9/11, curiously) to finish off their Whaler tour, MacDonald and Komorny, along with bassist Connor O’Brien and drummer Josiah Gardella, are sharing with us a few candid behind-the-scenes moments from the first half of their tour. If you read the photoset’s cryptic captions in MacDonalds’ twangy cadence you’re halfway to writing your own Home Is Where song.
Check out the photos below, and find the rest of the band’s upcoming tour dates here.