Now, Now / Daddy Issues @ Mr. Smalls Theatre (April 23, 2019)

Wind the clocks back to 2009, if you will. I’m 16 years old, and like many a mid-aughts teenager, much of my life revolves around MySpace. In its heyday, the early social network was the place for music. Big-name artists and local basement bands alike could showcase their songs to a worldwide audience, where new discoveries were often just a few clicks away. On MySpace, regardless of your personal taste or talent, music was king; the track you chose to feature as your profile song was oft considered the most important part of any page.

Of the bands that once dominated my own MySpace (and believe me, there were a lot of them), Now, Now is one of only two that I’m still listening to a decade later.

A lot can change in ten years. That’s certainly true for Now, Now, who in that period of time have shortened their moniker (dropping the latter half of their original name Now, Now Every Children), welcomed and parted ways a third permanent member, and took a five-year hiatus between albums to regroup, reevaluate, and ultimately evolve their sound.

Where 2012’s Threads is heavy on guitar (and references to sleep), the band’s most recent release, Saved, trades fuzzy emo riffs for bright, unabashed pop hooks (and manages to restrict the sleep references to the opening track). Largely unburdened by an instrument, KC Dalager is free to roam the stage in a way she never has before, alternately jumping around, crouching, high-fiving bandmate Brad Hale, and tossing a middle finger in the air whenever the music calls for it.

It’s striking, how confident the band has grown, especially compared to the first time I saw them. That show, funnily enough, was also at Smalls—opening for hellogoodbye in early 2011—and featured a young, uncertain duo too shy to look the audience in the eye, much less hop off stage to serenade the crowd from the floor. Seeing them here again in their current iteration certainly makes it feel like their journey has come full circle.

Daddy Issues, meanwhile, is a band I’ve seen three times in the past year alone. And you know what? I wouldn’t hesitate to go see them another three times. They exude the kind of easy energy that makes going to shows fun, and it doesn’t hurt that they’ve got some rock solid jams too.

(And for anyone wondering… yes, this show was co-headlined by Foxing, but I had to skip their set to not miss my last bus home. Yay, Tuesdays.)

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