Indie Artist Briston Maroney performs at The Roxian

Written By Alexis Wary, For The Globe

Pulling up to the gig, it was impossible to miss the glowing Roxian sign surrounded by band members sitting on a U-haul, and a line of people 4 blocks long, waiting to see Briston Maroney. Despite the dead atmosphere of Mckees Rocks, gen z indie lovers and middle aged music fans were buzzing with anticipation for the feeling one gets at a live show.

Originally from Knoxville, Maroney began his musical journey when he became one of the top 30-finalists on American Idol in 2013. Now he is a strong contributor to the indie scene and has a podcast called, “The Bottle Rocket Company”.

With a new album, “Sunflower”, being released in 2021, hype for shows between fans and the band were prevalent. Unfortunately, the original show at The Thunderbird in spring of 2022 had to be postponed.

Maroney and his band came back to Pittsburgh with Medium Build at The Roxian to play the awaited show. Maroney said on stage during his set that canceling the show was difficult, but “you all have been so special tonight and I really appreciate that.”

The atmosphere in the crowd prior to the show was filled with anticipation, welcoming, and pure stoke. New friends were made while sharing stories about our stress filled lives, our respect for awesome tattoos, and love for music, specifically Briston Maroney’s.

Once the lights dimmed and the blue glow of the stage lights appeared, all the buzzing stopped and the attention of the room was directed at the stage.With a heavy synth beat that drove each song, Medium Build set the tone for the night.

Standing on stage with a handlebar mustache, a pirates jersey, and cowboy boots, the lead singer shocked the crowd with a powerful yet agonizing voice that resembled Bono’s from U2. Medium Build provided a strong opening performance that was different enough from the main band’s sound, but kept the crowd engaged.

After the mad rush to get a refill and everyone stood their ground to save their friends spots , the dispersed crowd that left after the opener piled back in in time for the headliner. Surrounded by sunflowers decorating mic stands and the drum set, the band opened with the mellow yet string sound of “Small Talk”.

When Maroney announced he was going to play an older solo song, the crowd erupted in a united scream when the agonizing and longing tune of “June” began to play. No moment compared to when the first couple notes of “Freakin’ Out on the Interstate” were played.

The well known ballad drew everyone in, singing each lyric in unison right back at the band. Outside of being a brilliant musical entertainer, Maroney interacted with the band and the crowd beautifully.

Maroney spoke to the crowd like it was them and a friend watching reruns of Golden Girls. We learned that the tour manager played drums for their new single “Paradise” and that he tried telepathically on stage to warn the bug between the string and the neck of the guitar that he was just trying to “do his job” and not unalive it.

The connection was also very much present between each band member. Maroney introduced each member and provided a sappy but lovely remark for each one both on stage and behind the scenes.

After the steady chant for an encore, the band came back out to play a few more and proceeded to inform the crowd that they forgot a song on the set list. The second he announced that “It’s Still Cool If You Don’t”, everyone went crazy. The band closed out with “Caroline”, a song with an acoustic beginning and a jump inducing and head banging finish.

Prior to the show, Maroney said that he felt like crap with the voice of a 30 year old cat, but with lots of water and the Pittsburgh air, he felt incredible. He continued to express how special this concert felt. This feeling was mutual throughout every fan in the room. The show was electrifying and provided a welcome feeling that everyone wants at a concert.