This past weekend was Kenyon’s annual Summer Sendoff, and as everyone knows, this year it was headlined by Echosmith, the pop band from our collective unconscious past (probably 2013? The year after the world was supposed to end, yes?) I was there for literally all of Echosmith, and here’s what I (and everyone who joined me on this journey) experienced.
Let me start with this: I do not know anything about Echosmith’s discography. I know “Cool Kids,” vaguely, but that is all. This became a problem quickly, when Sydney Echosmith, the lead singer, told us all to sing the lyrics “Right! Now!” for the chorus, dividing the crowd into two teams in what should have been a fun game. The issue, of course, is that none of us knew when “Right! Now!” should come in, or with what inflection. So at the first cue, we all just sort of screamed the words vaguely. It did not sound good, and nor did it feel good, as an audience member. This was also when a tall boy fell into me (a student, but with a round baby face, I don’t know you but you have the youthful power of nine dutch schoolboys, TREASURE IT) and so I was a little thrown off for a second.
This carried on for a while, with Miss Echosmith telling us to “feel free to sing along” despite the fact that most of us couldn’t even if we wanted to. And between you and me, frankly, I did not want to. I was not on The Echosmith Family’s side at this point in the concert. But hang on, this is just the first half.
At some point, Sydney Echosmith says they’re going to play a “pretty fun song,” and naturally we all jump to the same conclusion, and start to cheer for the Cool Kid song. But, understanding the semi-meme that the band is, Sydney quickly said, with a smile, “Well, okay, it’s not Cool Kids. We’ve got a few songs to go before Cool Kids.” On the one hand, disappointment that it wasn’t Cool Kids. On the other, though, I thought that was absolutely hilarious. Self-awareness is better than anything else, as far as I’m concerned.
The concert carries on. I am dancing and I am drinking when I can, and you know what? This music is not that bad. I don’t love it, no, but I also don’t hate it. I don’t even dislike it, to be honest with you. And the Echosmith Family itself is a delight so far! Linda, Mother Echosmith, comes onto the stage and takes a picture of all of us, for the scrapbook! I love that, adorable, and also it sounds like a joke I made up but it’s not, it legitimately happened. I was able to see Linda Echosmith at the back of the stage for the rest of the show, sitting calmly and with an “I’d like to see the manager” haircut. She is my favorite member of Echosmith.
At one point, Sydney introduces her band mates, reminding all of us who didn’t know (read: none of us, we all knew this) that they were siblings. There is Baby Echosmith, the drum boy, who seems nervous and shy, and I feel for him. Then there’s Older Brother Echosmith, who, okay, I’m just going to say this, it felt like there was a certain flirtatious energy between Sydney and her older brother on the bass, and frankly it made me and everyone around me very uncomfortable. It reminded me of that old Disney show “Life With Derek” about step-siblings, but man those step-siblings felt like they were minutes away from fucking. Do you remember that? It sucked, and this brief moment on stage reminded me of that.
But also there was a man named John there, and he wore a nice jacket and played the guitar. Like you, John!
As the show approached it’s end, some familiar chords started playing, and wouldn’t you know it, Echosmith has decided to play The Killers’ “When You Were Young.” Now, this is not my absolute favorite Killers song but still, it’s a very good song, and I won’t lie. I loved it. I jumped, I jammed, I sang every single word. This was the moment in which I decided, “You know what? I think I like Echosmith! I think I really do!” It was a wonderful cover, and they should feel good.
And then. Then the Cool Kids came on stage.
So. No one actually knows the words to any part of this song that isn’t the chorus, and even then some people (me) only knew half of it. But still. What we had been treating as a bit of a joke since the announcement of the Sendoff artist was suddenly something great, something really enjoyable. Halfway through, Sydney Echosmith did stop the song a bit to talk about how we can all fit in if we practice self love or something, which, yeah, was a great message, little weird delivery, but whatever, it was still nice!
In that moment, we were all the cool kids. And that’s what Sendoff is really all about.
Much love to Sydney, Linda, Baby Brother, Older Sex Brother, and the whole Echosmith Family. Thanks for coming to Kenyon!