Orlando, Florida was officially welcomed to The Great Depression by As It Is on Sunday, February 3rd, downtown at The Social.

Being a smaller venue, only holding a max capacity of 400 people, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the employees, specifically the security. I have been to small club-like venues where security seemed to take a step back due to the fact that there weren’t many people there, and I have also been to the same type of venues where security was on top of their game. I was impressed to see that The Social was one of those venues where security was on top of it.

When I walked into the venue I noticed that there wasn’t a barricade separating the crowd from the stage which immediately gave the show a much more intimate feel.

The first band to take the stage was Point North. I really enjoyed their performance. This was the first time I was ever hearing of the band and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. They had a really nice energy that transferred into the crowd, automatically pulling them deeper into the performance. I have seen shows where the opening band has acted like they were the greatest thing to set foot on stage, but Point North was humbled by the fact that they were given the opportunity to be there and it made their performance all that more enjoyable to watch.

Next up was Hold Close. As an audience member I typically find it hard to be fully engaged in a band’s set if I have never heard them before, or if I don’t know the words to their songs. With Hold Close I didn’t have that issue. Their talent and passion for their music, as well as their energy and engagement with the crowd drew me in. Their harmonies sent chills down my spine. My only critique about their set is how they performed a line check and monitor mix in the middle of the set change. While there was most likely a good reason for this to happen, it looked unprofessional from an audience standpoint, especially considering a lot of feedback was found during line check.

The last opening band to take the stage was Sharptooth. I had assumed that their style would be similar to the rest of the bands, so when their music took a complete detour from what was being performed the rest of the night, I was caught off guard. After a couple of songs into their set, when I got the feel for who they were as a band, I started to enjoy their set more than I already was. Not only are they talented performers but the message that they try to get across is incredible. Across the country women are fighting for their rights and Sharptooth sheds a light on just how messed up it all is. All too often women in the music industry aren’t taken seriously or are laughed at because of how male-dominated this industry is. Lauren Kashan was the only woman to set foot on the stage that night, and she absolutely killed it.

“If you want to shut me up then go fix the world so I don’t have a single f***ing thing to complain about.” -Lauren Kashan

When As It Is released The Great Depression, an album that was different from their previous albums the first thing I thought to myself was, “how is their show going to change to fit this new sound?”  The show was a perfect balance. Even though As it Is has steered off the path they had originally started on, they still made sure there were things thrown into their show for the older fans of the band. I have seen artists who almost forget their roots when they change their sound but As It Is definitely remembers where they came from.  Not only did their performance exceed expectations, the message they tried to get across with this new album and tour is amazing.

“We are so much more than the struggles and the feelings that we have.” – Patty Walters

Patty Walters brought to light the fact that we are in a scene that often romanticizes depression and anxiety and tried to remind us that these things are serious issues that many of us deal with on a daily basis. He then moved to remind those of us who are struggling with these things that they do not control or define who we are.

Overall, I was extremely impressed by the performances of all four bands, as well as how they all tried to give back in some way. As It Is brought A Voice for the Innocent on tour with them, a non-profit organization that provides community, resources, and support for people who have been affected by sexual violence to try to encourage their fans to not only speak up if they have been a victim, but to also listen to those who are victims.

The transformation that As It Is went through with their new sound was definitely a great decision for the band. They have grown from the small pop-punk band from England to a voice for those who may be too scared to speak up. While the production of the show wasn’t huge, sometimes a simple production can lead to a much more powerful show; and that is exactly what The Great Depression: Act II was.

Check out our images from The Great Depression: Act II here!