Students and Rexburg locals crammed against the stage, hands in the air, as an infectious drum beat echoed through the Romance Theater on Saturday, Oct. 9. Drummer McKay ‘Spartacus’ Johnson was soon followed by guitarist Ryan ‘Stingray’ Rostrom, who played chords over a vintage radio voice-over. Tension built until lead singer Wesley Monahan ran onto the stage. The crowd screamed louder, welcoming Suit Up, Soldier’s set list of upbeat, kitchen dance-worthy tunes.
The Utah-based pop-rock band has opened for indie pop band COIN, and amassed an impressive Spotify following, with track Tongue Tied Twisted hitting over 1 million streams.
“We have rarely seen such committed energy from a crowd, especially considering a good deal of those in the audience on Saturday had not heard of us before,” Johnson said. “Others heard about the concert and binged our music in the days before the show and knew all the words to our songs. And some were die-hard fans who have been waiting almost two years to see us live.”
After being forced to cancel their first tour in 2020, which included a stop in Rexburg, the band is happy to finally be on the road. Tour dates can be found here.
Before Suit Up, Soldier took the stage, Rally, a Provo-based surf rock band, won over the audience with guitar-heavy melodies, harmonic vocals and a constant upbeat rhythm.
The space between rows of seats and the stage filled with eager audience members jumping to the beat.
“You guys are killing me,” said guitarist Duncan McKay, grinning as cheering fans crowded the edge of the stage.
This was not Rally’s first appearance in Rexburg, and will not be their last.
“We always love playing in Rexburg, the energy is always so great and nourishing for us as a band,” said guitarist John Fisher. “We’ll definitely be back.”
Although the two bands were made for dancing, the concert’s opener started the night with soothing ballads. Ambrian Nielson, an up-and-coming artist, describes her music as something you would find yourself listening to on a drive while watching the sunset.
“I love being able to perform and share my love of music with others,” Nielson said. “One of the best parts was the crowd, they were so fun and made performing an even better experience!”
The night left concertgoers and band members smiling and proved the Romance Theater a successful venue for rock bands.
“The concert was so sick,” said Weston Tenney, a sophomore studying business management. “It was awesome being so close to the bands. Up close and personal concerts are what Rexburg is all about.”