Weston Estate, or “your aunt’s favorite boyband,” graced the stage at the Great American Music Hall on April 17. The packed house was immediately abuzz despite the group’s calm entrance; cries of “I love you” set the excited and loving tone of the night.
The group of five – made up of vocalists Marco Gomez, Manas Panchavati and Tanmay Joshi, bassist and producer Abhi Manhass and guitarist Srikar Nanduri – formed when they were high school students in North Carolina, calling themselves “Weston Estate off the affluent community neighboring their hometown. Since graduating from high school, the group has risen to the top of the indie boy fandom, with fans loving mixed genres across the country.
Indigo and purple rays lit up the crowd and left the stage dark as Weston Estate entered dramatically on the opening chords of “Hold On”. Immediately, the singers lifted hypnotically, the slow opening picking up speed as pink and gold lights illuminated the room like a sunrise. A classic Weston Estate tempo change catalyzed this change, synchronizing the entire piece.
The group paused to warmly thank the room. Joshi noted that the first track “was f-ing lit”, before Panchavati described how the band couldn’t imagine they were playing songs produced in their bedrooms on stage. Weston Estate moved through the middle of his set with incredible alacrity, with most of the energy coming from all three singers.
The three make a natural vocal team, getting each other excited and singing in front of the audience as they finish their solos. Together, they were constantly engaged, waving to the audience, bouncing around in a small circle in the center of the stage, and demonstrating the young performers’ newfound enthusiasm on their first tour.
Joshi’s voice hit solidly and strikingly; when he was acclaimed, a shy smile took over his face. During “Outside”, Panchavati’s vocals sang wonderfully in support of Joshi and Gomez’s. Gomez’s stage presence was unparalleled; leaning into the mic above the stage and closing his eyes to lose himself in the moment, he conducted layered a capella harmony.
The novelty of the show was obvious but endearing. The intimacy of being a rising band was the hallmark of their set. Weston Estate clearly cares about its fans; in the middle of the set, band members tossed water bottles into the crowd so they could stay hydrated, as well as a crowd-wide serenade of Panchavati’s cousin on his 16th birthday (after the cousin came back from the bathroom).
Sometimes the set had a one-note feel; the nature of Weston Estate’s independent production lends itself to repetition, especially live. But slower tracks like “Hypnotized” were a breath of fresh air, as was the blending of tempos in the tracks, underlined by the revitalizing high notes of Gomez and Joshi.
As the night drew to a close, the energy soared. “Pears,” a fan favorite, featured green and yellow beams cascading over the crowd, illuminated by phone cameras. The whole room was chanting, as loud as a surf in a storm; audience members jumped up and raised their fists alongside Gomez, Joshi and Panchavati, taking the joyful mayhem in the venue to new heights.
For his last song “Cotton Candy”, Weston Estate slowed down his tempo. Manhass on bass worked with the drummer to temper the band’s zeal, strumming in tandem with the pink lighting before flashing lights once again caused the audience’s elation to skyrocket. Taken by the moment, Gomez seemed to forget the last lines of the song. He was met with laughter from his bandmates and the crowd, allowing him to brush the incident off his shoulders in a loving, slightly agitated manner.
The five fled the scene, but returned after only a few chants of “One more song!” To redeem himself, Gomez took the lead in a revived cover of “Stoked,” leading his bandmates to shake their long locks and frolic across the stage. The floor was a crowd of hormones, smiling faces and phone flashes, reflecting the glorious dizzy rush channeled by Weston Estate.
Contact Katherine Shok at [email protected].