Foxing and the Hotelier celebrate two emo landmarks at the Hollywood

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      It’s hard to believe it’s been a full decade since powerhouses Foxing and the Hotelier put out two of the most influential records in emo music. Those albums, The Albatross and Home, Like Noplace Is There, both haunt the listener with their emotional cries, deep lyrics, and dark themes.

      I first heard the Hotelier in August of 2015. The Worcester, Massachusetts quartet was opening for the Get Up Kids at the Venue (now known as The Pearl) and I had no prior knowledge of the seminal album that is Home, Like Noplace Is There. As lead singer and guitarist Christian Holden belted out “Your Deep Rest”, I knew I had to hear more. I soon fell down the rabbit hole and became a fan.

      I wish I could say that I found Foxing as early as 2014, when its album The Albatross was released. Instead, I didn’t hear of them until several years later when, in passing, I had a conversation with a friend and he said, “So you must dig Foxing, too?” All he got was a blank stare in return. I quickly fixed that and was instantly converted.

      Having missed other visits to Vancouver the two bands have made, I was quick on the draw to scoop up tickets to this tour—a 10th anniversary of both albums. I was not the only one: the obvious staying power of Foxing and the Hotelier was met with a sold-out show at the Hollywood Theatre in Kits.

      This show was not just a run-through of the anniversary album for the Hotelier though. Instead, the group played a five-song appetizer before the main course. And it all began with the sweeping melodic “Interlude 1” with a backing video being projected on the big screen, lighting the band’s members in a glow.

      Once the Hotelier hit the album’s material, the crowd went into overdrive while singing along. Those well known welcoming words of “Open the curtains…” rang out across the small venue and echoed with hundreds of voices. A small pit expanded to a large one as the audience cued into the band’s energy.

      The rest of the Hotelier’s set was a true sing-along.

      Then the song that got me hooked on the Hotelier started and I felt transported back to Venue and 2015 when I first fell in love with the band’s sound. “Your Deep Rest” is an anthem for dealing with the suicide of a friend. It hits all the feelings of loss, uncertainty, guilt, hurt, and love for those who couldn’t take life anymore.

      By the time they got to “Housebroken”, everyone was fully engulfed in the emotional distraught that their lyrics bring. A set of collective sighs came from the audience, one of enjoyment and one of letting loose.

      Holden discussed the decade that has passed since the album’s release. He found contentment with all the different emotions that came out in the vast array of people at shows, and how he only got to see bits and pieces of it.

      While I felt I couldn’t handle any more feelings, Foxing took the stage. Beautiful visuals on the projector done by Shinra Knives accompanied the set. Without a word, the group launched into its 10-year-old album, The Albatross. It was a cacophony of sounds, lights, and dance. All of our senses were flooded, and we were fully immersed in the world of Foxing.

      As “Medic” ended, several people at the tables near me remarked on what a masterpiece the performance was and wanted to have Foxing play the song again. This was how blown away people were: they just wanted more.

      Singer Conor Murphy completely encapsulated the emotions of the lyrics as he sang, often moving his body and mic stand across the stage to emphasize his words. It was like he was pulling the whole song out of his body.

      During “Rory”, the pain was palpable. Murphy draped himself over mic stands and stomped along to his words. It was a physical display of intense emotional turmoil. Watching Murphy go from vocals to trumpet was mesmerizing. He’d let out the most brutal of screaming lyrics then quickly jump into action at a second mic for the trumpet.

      Foxing served up The Albatross set with a few more select songs for dessert and revealed the band is currently working on new music.

      I left the Hollywood Theatre feeling full and slightly overwhelmed by my feelings for the night and wondered if I’d cry the whole drive home. It left me emotionally exhausted.

      I had witnessed a performance that would be hard to match—maybe only at the 20-year anniversary.