Last Thursday night, Hollywood Boulevard was once again inundated with hipsters. A flurry of teenagers clad in platform Doc Martens, vintage denim and bubble braids buzzed with excitement as they gushed over the return of live music. Sloan Struble, frontman of the band Dayglow, garnered such a crowd with ease after gaining immense traction in the music industry this past year.
Dayglow touched down in Los Angeles last Thursday for two back-to-back sold out shows at the Fonda Theater. They drew a young crowd that bursted with tangible, pent-up energy from such a long dry spell without live shows. The fans flooded into the venue, quickly occupying the intimate space and chanting out the band’s name before the openers had even stepped onto the stage.
As the beginning notes to “Something,” the opening track from Dayglow’s newest album, “Harmony House,” erupted from the sound system, the crowd’s energy was unleashed. Sloan wandered onto the stage to meet his band wearing a grey tuxedo with a single white sleeve and a million dollar smile. His awkward yet endearing charm is one of the most loveable parts of a Dayglow show. He energetically jumped and clumsily danced around the stage, belting out the words in unison with the crowd.
Sloan stood dumbfounded and humbled before the crowded venue, visibly taken aback by the adoring fans at the foot of the stage. From this point on, the band relentlessly played through their discography, playing every song fans came to hear. As they alternated between their debut album, “Fuzzybrain,” and songs from their newest release, the simple LED light backdrop flashed orange or blue based on the respective album’s art colors.
Sloan is a dynamic and eccentric performer. Each song engendered a unique response from the audience, but the entire setlist was infused with Dayglow’s signature 80s-inspired synth feel and danceable melodies. Sloan brought a palpable energy to the stage for enthusiastic hits such as “Hot Rod” but was able to completely entrance the audience from his seat at the piano for ballads such as “Dear Friend” and “Fuzzybrain.” For tracks with a heavier emphasis on lyricism like “December,” audience members sang together, fostering an emphatic response to the optimism seeping out of the songs.
As the main set came to a close, fans knew what was coming. The band began to play their biggest hit, “Can I Call You Tonight?” — The already-buzzing energy in the venue reached its apex. The crowd bounced in sync, sweaty and jubilant, with an occasional mosh pit opening up to absorb some of the excitement.
This moment was surely as surreal for the band as it was for the audience. At only 22, Sloan has catapulted into the alternative music scene. Three short years ago, Sloan was producing in his bedroom to play songs for his friends. Now, he is among iconic artists in millions of Spotify playlists and has completely sold out his nationwide tour.
Even at the set’s end, the moment persisted. The crowd began cheering and chanting for an encore. The energy permeated the air and beckoned the band back onstage in mere seconds. The emotionally-charged show culminated in two perfectly chosen songs. The band first embarked on a cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears, setting the crowd ablaze yet again. In arguably the best moment of the night, they seamlessly transitioned into their song “Run the World!!!” in response to the Tears for Fears track.
As Sloan confidently belted out, “I wanna run the world,” it was apparent that there was a room of hopefuls who felt the same. This was the most prevalent theme of the night, regardless of the track; Dayglow’s music is infused with a sense of relatability that draws in all types of listeners.
The band took its final bows, and the horde of fans reluctantly dissipated, hurriedly finalizing their Instagram story posts to memorialize an unforgettable performance.