Aug. 7 2015 12:00 AM

Review: Parachute soars in stripped down setting

Photo by Sarah Spohn for City Pulse

FRIDAY, AUGUST 7 — Twinkling lights strung around the microphone stand set the mood for an intimate, acoustic Tuesday evening at the Loft. Following an opening set by Alabama-based soulful singersongwriter Firekid, Virginia pop rock band Parachute took the stage at 9 p.m. on the dot.

Frontman Will Anderson, kicked off the show, singing the band’s hit “She (For Liz)” for the nearly sold-out crowd.

This stop on the stripped-down tour stop was more intimate than intended, as the three-piece performed with only two of its members. For the second song, “What I Know,” Anderson asked Kit French to join him on stage. After French took his place at the keyboard, Anderson announced they’d be playing with just two — drummer Johnny Stubblefield was sick.

The audience didn’t seem to mind, though, and vibe became even more personal as the duo performed other hits like “White Dress,” and “Drive You Home.”

Anderson joked to the crowd that he now had time to talk even more, something that received plenty of applause and laughter from the audience. The clean-shaven, well-dressed frontman took time in between songs to tell the audience how Parachute’s familiar songs came to be.

The singer-songwriter is known, in part, for his relatable yet often fairytale-like lyrics, and once he began telling fans the stories behind the song, it became evident that storytelling is at the root of his resume.

The audience, mostly female, provided plenty of squeals and screams as Anderson serenaded the venue for an hour and a half. The largely underage crowd, black X’s Sharpie-d on their hands, gleefully recorded songs on their smartphones.

Having released three studio albums, the band has plenty of original material — which the fans knew and sung every last word to. The duo did, however, throw in a curveball with a cover of British indie folk artist James Bay’s “Let It Go.”

The crowd clapped and hollered loudly after each song and Anderson returned the appreciation, commenting on Lansing’s impressive vocals.

“You guys sound good,” he said. “It’s not always like that.”

While French remained quiet in terms of banter in between songs, he still managed to steal the show with a few saxophone solos.

Anderson, although boyishly handsome, proved he was more than just a pretty face with acoustic, sometimes a capella chops that simply cannot be faked. The duo’s harmonies were on point, and both have impressive ranges.

The simple lighting and stage set-up helped showcase the true talent this pop band is known for — a genuine talent that is full of energy, yet never over the top or boastful.

Finishing out the setlist was “Kiss Me Slowly,” a song that reached No. 1 on iTunes but almost was never released.

“I never thought in a million years that anyone would hear this song,” Anderson said. After some persuading from the band manager— including the promise of a nice steak dinner — he gave in and it was the last song added to their second album, “The Way It Was.”

Following “Kiss Me Slowly,” the crowd was anything but slow to start shouting for an encore. The pair obliged and returned to the stage for “Philadelphia.”

Known for their catchy riffs, pop beats and honest lyrics, Parachute might often fly under the radar in terms of rockability, but seeing them live and in their element easily proves they’re a force to be reckoned with.

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