The “Stay Next To Me” Tour is off to a hot start. Coming off their biggest show ever at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, Quinn XCII and Chelsea Cutler rejoin forces to go hit the road and get back on the touring life. I have been an avid listener of both Quinn and Chelsea for the past couple of years and this show feels like a full-circle moment for me. This was my first show back at The Complex and I was supposed to shoot for Chelsea’s “How To Be Human” tour before the live music industry was shut down due to the pandemic. I was looking forward to photographing this night since I was also at their show at Red Rocks. I have to point out that it was a magical experience.
Stay Next To Me Tour
With a much smaller-scaled tour, The Salt Lake crowd was ready to bring the energy. The line wrapped around the block and fans stood their ground even with an hour of rain and hail before the doors opened. It was amazing to see old Quinn XCII and Chelsea fans showing dedication by wearing old merch from their previous shows.
After the rain passed and the sun came back the bands were eager to perform. As soon as I got inside the venue I was able to catch Gavin Chops who is the drummer for Chelsea Cutler and got to catch up with him and talk about the tour. Before he went backstage he told me “ I have a lot of steam to let off tonight and I’m going crazy tonight.” It was surreal to feel his energy and made me feel even more excited for the show.
Tai Verdes who’s famously known for his music going viral and finding his fame through Tiktok was the first opener. Tai stepped on the stage and you immediately felt his vibrant and very relaxed energy. It felt like he was already your friend and he’s going to play you some songs in his backyard. He played most of the songs he had in his recently released album titled “TV,” and since the crowd was around 18-30 years old they immediately knew the words to his viral hits on TikTok. Tai was extremely comfortable with interacting and dancing with the crowd. The tempo of his songs were laid back. Just like his personality. He played a song I’ve never heard of on TikTok titled “FEELING THIS BAD NEVER FELT SO GREAT”. It had a very catchy chorus and had the crowd dancing and warming up for the rest of the night.
Halfway through his set, he took off his crew neck revealing his bright Yellow Utah Jazz Jersey with his last name printed on the back. Tai went on to play one of his hit songs “Stuck In The Middle,” He had the crowd chanting every word together. He was a very theatrical performer and danced all over the stage. I also wanted to highlight his guitarist and how well he played and showed so much emotion. You can tell that this band has spent a lot of time together.
Tai knew along with the crowd that it was only right to finish up with his newest viral single “A-O-K.” This song proves to me that Tai Verdes isn’t just a one-hit-wonder. He has caught a lot of people’s attention through the digital world of TikTok. I think Tai has a lot of potential and room to grow as an artist and you have to root for that. I am looking forward to seeing Tai headline his own tours in the future.
Chelsea Cutler isn’t a stranger to Utah. She has performed at The Complex multiple times now. I’m no stranger to a Chelsea show and I knew as soon as JT Becker and Gavin Chops jumped on stage, the energy was staying high the rest of the night. Chelsea skipped around and danced on stage opening up with “Sad Tonight,” she had a very eye-catching vintage outfit paired up with her Nike Dunks. Chelsea has this tone that pairs well with electronic music that mixes well with an actual band full of energy.
It’s hard for me to describe her genre since she’ll break things down with just acoustic to the songs like “This Is How You Fall In Love” and “You Were Good To Me.” But she also adjusts well and brings the energy with her newest hit single “You Can Have It.” Chelsea did not stop skipping around the stage. Only stopping in the middle to play with her pad that produces these high-pitched noises during the drops of her songs.
I really want to highlight one of my favorite drummers that I’ve seen live. You can’t miss Gavin with his spiked bucket hat and energetic soul. He played the drums with so much passion. But he never took the spotlight away from Chelsea. It was also a refreshing moment when Chelsea covered “Mr. Brightside” towards the end. It’s hilarious seeing everyone scream word by word to this classic song. Chelsea stood on top of the bass drum strumming her guitar. It was amazing watching her show from the side and seeing the crew members sing along to her music.
I can continue all day raving about Chelsea’s music. Before I do that I’d rather suggest you check her out live when you get the chance. Chelsea ended off her set with the song that most of the people my age found out about her music. “Your Shirt” had a long instrumental background and Gavin had his drum solo which he ended up off by jumping over his drum set which was my favorite thing to see during Chelsea’s set. You felt so much love in the air when the crowd sang along with Chelsea. No doubt in my life that I will definitely be at the next Chelsea Cutler show in Utah.
The sun had set and the crowd was chanting “Quinn Quinn Quinn!!” repeatedly. The anticipation had grown for Quinn XCII. He glowed on this platform and created this beautiful silhouette of him. Quinn sported his typical day-to-day casual outfit which almost brings a very relaxed setting. He gives off the vibe that he would be friends with anyone in the crowd. Opening up with “Am I High Rn,” Quinn has so much stage presence. One thing I’ve noticed after seeing him a couple of times now is that he has improved a lot from vocal lessons. Quinn’s voice was unique, crispy, and warm. He can hit his melodies but also spit out a couple bars with substantial lyrics.
The stage lighting was amazing and being able to photograph Quinn XCII from the pit was a dream come true. He performed one of my favorites “Stacy,” and I couldn’t help but sing along while I was taking photos. Quinn’s music means a lot to the people and the crowd has grown up with him. Before he played “Kings Of Summer,” he told a story about how this song brings you back to the good times of midwest summers at the lake and drinking White Claws with his buddies.
Another moment that brought a laugh from the crowd was when he was introducing his whole team. By the time he got to Philipp who plays bass, he also mentioned that this is Philipp’s 4th show with the band and teased him for being the rookie and putting pressure on him to not mess up the songs. At that point, the crowd erupted into cheering “Philipp, Philipp, Philipp.” Quinn moved towards the end of his set and brought Chelsea out to sing their hits together like “Little Things,” “Flare Guns,” and their unreleased duet from Chelsea’s upcoming album “Calling All Angels,” which I’m extremely excited to stream.
The show ended with “Stay Next To Me,” which is also the title of the tour. It is a classic for all Quinn XCII and Chelsea fans and their voices paired well with each other. The harmonizing between Chelsea’s high, raspy voice with Quinn who also had a high note, but with crisper tones was a beautiful mix. The show finished with both of them embracing each other and belting out to finish the song.
This show was one of my favorites that I’ve been to in the past couple shows I’ve attended. I will always be a fan of these artists and cannot wait to enjoy their live performances once again.