After almost a year of touring the country, Pageantry’s show this weekend felt like a welcome home performance. Halfway into the set, lead singer and guitarist Roy Robertson mentioned his first time coming to Denton six years ago, where he also played alongside Bosque Brown, Pageantry's openers for the evening. "It's great to play in our hometown," he said. And the crowd's support confirmed that the band wasn't just appreciated, but sorely missed.
Pageantry swayed through their set with a deep set list, featuring a lot of new material from their upcoming release. Their particular flavor of indie rock comes packed with twists, turns, and inversions as they tweak repetition and bridges into surprises.
Even between songs, simple tempo changes fluidly blended tracks together. Their swelling anthems would start as bare bones as a single hi-hat, then balloon into stomping beats before crashing to a thundering end.
"Vicious Wishes" channeled an Arctic Monkeys-tinged pop. It was rock - sure - but glossed with a somber '70s ballad vibe that was accented by Robertson’s powerful delivery through the chorus. Reverberating guitar plucks met with synthesizer organ tones to create the kind of healing song you'd listen to while walking home in the rain after getting dumped. The cooing bridge pulled the room into dead silence before a steady, rising snare drum snapped the song back into its final magnificent chorus.
The second half of the set led with more bouncing ballads, trading some of the high energy for morose sincerity. Robertson crooned along to the synth while he steadily plucked guitar notes that landed like steady droplets. The track was ornamented perfectly by these details, and the sparse drumming inserted rhythmic hits at all of the exact right points.
It was a true embodiment of Pageantry's strength: their paradoxical complex simplicity is powerful and impressive. They don't try to muddy things up with complicated arrangements, but instead hit hard with songs that are thought out and moving, which translated live with no hesitation.
For the last song, Pageantry's lead singer requested everyone come to the stage, close their eyes, feel the vibe, and... buy the other bands' merch, since they drove from Okalahoma. The band’s stirring performance finally drew dancing from the initially hesitant crowd. Halfway through the song, the lights dimmed and Dan's infamous disco ball made its reflective display across the faces of Pageantry. As the guitar solo peaked, the crowd couldn't help but let out premature applause and yells in satisfaction. When Robertson tried to close, he had only just managed to say, "we're Pageantry and…” before the audience interrupted with roaring applause and a goofy grin came across his face as he could only thank the loyal Denton crowd.