Twenty-One Pilots: Concert Review

Starting out from just a local band

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons via

Kailee Dishmon, Staff

Twenty One Pilots is an American duo whose music ranges from electro rap, alternative hip hop, and some who may refer to them as schizophrenic pop. Tyler Joseph is the lead singer who also plays the ukulele, bass, and piano, while Josh Dun is the duo’s drummer. The duo started off in 2009, originally including three members; Tyler Joseph, Nick Thomas, and Chris Salih. They had the lineup change in 2011, adding Dun as the drummer.

Twenty One Pilots went from a small local band in Columbus, Ohio, to being one of the biggest bands in 2016. They were nominated for the American Music Award for artist of the year, the Billboard Music Award for top rock song, ‘Stressed Out’, as well as top duo/group, and they were just recently nominated for 3 Grammys.                                  

They made their way to Charlottesville, VA, on January 22nd, during the beginning of their ‘Emøtiønal Røadshøw’ world tour. This is the second leg of their tour, as they were already touring starting June of last year. This year they decided to go on tour with Jon Bellion, an upcoming artist, whose song ‘All Time Low’ just recently went platinum. They’re also on tour with Judah & The Lion, a band from Nashville, TN.

They opened their set with the song ‘Fairly Local’, however it quickly changes tempo and they begin playing ‘Heavydirtysoul’, track 1 of off their most recent album, ‘Blurryface’. They incorporated Blurryface in their concert very frequently, as he is a  character in which the lead singer describes as all the things he’s insecure about, manifested into one person. Joseph thinks it’s easier to be able to address your problems and insecurities face to face, rather than just ignoring them all together. He shows this character by wearing black paint on his hands and neck, representing that he’s most insecure about the things he makes with his hands, and how he feels a choking sensation most times he’s feeling this way. They also incorporate the character in a few of their songs, some being: ‘Stressed Out’, ‘Fairly Local’, and ‘Heavydirtysoul’. He shines through as the deep voice in these few songs, as well as many others.

The ‘Emøtiønal Røadshøw’ world tour also includes songs previous albums from 2013 and 2009, ‘Vessel’ and their self titled album. They also included their cover of ‘Cancer’ by My Chemical Romance. One of the songs they included of off ‘Vessel’ is ‘Screen’, one of our very own bobcats, Katherine Clough’s, favorite song.

Joseph and Dun also played ‘Car Radio’, another song of off their 2013 release ‘Vessel’, which turned out to be a huge hit in the alternative music charts, still remaining in 32nd place as of January 31st, 2017. Another huge hit of theirs includes ‘Heathens’, a track off of the Suicide Squad album, still remaining at 4th place on the iTunes alternative charts. The duo played a mashup of ‘Heathens’ and ‘Stressed Out’ at the American Music Awards as well, wowing the crowd with their capabilities.

They added 4 cover songs with the two opening bands. The songs included ‘Tubthumping’, ‘No Diggity’, ‘Where is The Love?’, and ‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain. The duo has always enjoyed including cover songs from the start, as they saw it as a way for people to connect with the music they were playing without knowing their songs.

All in all, most people in the concert venue seemed to be having a good time, as the band was doing an excellent job trying to include the crowd as much as possible. Dun got on a smaller drum kit and had the crowd hold him up while drumming to ‘Ride’, another one of their more popular songs. Joseph also got in the crowd during ‘Holding On To You’ and during ‘Guns for Hands’ he was put in a hamster ball and crowd surfed inside.

Twenty One Pilots has been a band on the rise since their release of ‘Vessel’ in 2013, and they continue to improve with each song they write.