On Thursday, December 3rd, 2015, local radio station DC 101 had their annual holiday concert at EagleBank Arena at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Exactly a year ago, the inaugural show took place, and Rise Against, A Day To Remember, Manchester Orchestra, and a few other bands played in the same venue. The 2015 show consisted of The Struts, New Politics, Bastille, AWOLNATION, and headliners Fall Out Boy. Within 24 hours of tickets going on sale, all of the tickets for the general admission floor area had sold out. By the time of the show, the only available tickets were for seats high up in the stadium. Fans lined up early to get good spots in the crowd, most of them teenage girls. Quite a few of them arrived at 10:00 A.M. and waited in the cold until doors opened at 5:00 that evening. Many of them skipped school, proud of what they did to get front row at the concert. “Hey, I’m homeschooled,” one girl said, saying that she still technically skipped school to arrive early. The girls also spoke of other fans who had gotten to the venue the night before the show and camped out overnight. Even though those dedicated fans showed up early, there were still only about a thousand people in the venue at 5:45, less than an hour after the doors opened. The venue expected many people to show up, as the Fire Marshal was coming to the show to make sure that everything was safe and that everybody had a good show.
On first was The Struts. They went on promptly at 6:00, when people were still coming in the venue. The four band member made sure to get the crowd involved, having fans clap, wave their hands, and sing along. None of the bands had that much time to perform, and The Struts were only on stage for less than half an hour. Nonetheless, the band still encouraged the audience to put all their energy into the set, just like how the band did the same.
Next up was New Politics. The three members spent their eight song set dancing and jumping around the stage. Lead singer David Boyd even jumped off the stage and stood on the barricade at the front of the crowd. Boyd and guitarist Søren Hansen continually stood on the large speakers in between the stage and the audience, putting them closer to their screaming fans. During their third song, “50 Feet Tall,” Boyd put down him microphone and started dancing to the music, encouraging his fans to do the same.
The third band was Bastille, a four-piece group from England. At the start of their set, lead singer Dan Smith leapt off the stage and went into the crowd, moving with the audience as they paused to take pictures or videos of the moment. Many people at the show had heard at least one of their songs, such as “Pompeii”, whether on the radio, on a television show, or playing in the background at a store. Throughout their set, Smith continued to step onto the speakers closer to the crowd, continually drawing the audience into the music.
The fourth band of the night was AWOLNATION. They are a five-piece electronic rock band from Los Angeles, California. Their single, “Sail,” peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The group ended their set with that song, and played seven other songs that fans loved during the limited amount of time that the band had. They performed for slightly less than an hour and fans jumped around to the music the whole time.
Fall Out Boy was the last band that performed that night. The four-piece group from Chicago, Illinois is going on tour next year with AWOLNATION, as well as another band, PVRIS. A list of all of their tour dates can be found here. Fall Out Boy started their set was an older song of theirs, “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down.” Right from the first line, the arena was filled with fans yelling the lyrics back at the band. Their set list consisted of both old and new songs, such as their current single, “Uma Thurman.” The band had just come from performing at the National Christmas Tree Lighting at the White House in Washington, D.C. Bassist Pete Wentz mentioned that and explained that they wanted to choose a Christmas song to perform. The band then went into a cover of Charlie Brown’s “Christmas Time Is Here.” Fall Out Boy seemed to end their set a bit abruptly. The venue had said that the band was scheduled to end at 11:30, but they left the stage at 11:15. Fall Out Boy played one of their new songs, “Centuries,” as their last, leaving both their old and new fans satisfied with their performance that night.