There may be some assumptions to be made about I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME because of who it consists of. Dallon Weekes, previously of Panic! At The Disco, and Ryan Seaman, previously of Falling In Reverse, have backgrounds in the emo/pop punk genre from the past decade. I didn’t think that would be the image or sound they’d be aiming for, especially having departed their former bands.
Upon arriving at the Velvet Underground, there were lots of teenaged and young college-age girls, with a few guys here and there. There was giggling and anticipation in the atmosphere. Eavesdropping on a conversation, I heard “I wonder if he’ll [Dallon Weekes] recognize me from the Panic! show.” As the tech guys set up the stage, the young girls would squeal in hopes it was one of the two members of IDKHBTFM. Fangirls were the majority in this crowd but one must not make assumptions on the music based on the crowd.
At ten after 8 pm, Cherry Pools arrived on stage with a pink neon sign displaying their name and a matching glowing pink microphone stand for lead singer Martin Broda. Martin was sporting a royal blue coloured Backstreet Boys-esque bowl haircut and a leather biker jacket with no shirt. The other members were much more tamely dressed. The music was dreamy, synthy, pop rock. I sensed influences from the band The 1975 and perhaps the 80s. Martin sang a song about being twenty-one and having fun and having a summer fling that he wished could have lasted forever; typical boy band tropes.
Throughout the set, Martin was encouraging the fans to participate by jumping, waving, and clapping along. They were successful in keeping that energy up because of their dancey, poppy tunes. In between a song, he pulled out a Pride flag and said, “happy Pride guys, love always wins.” as it’s June and “Pride month” is here in Canada. He dedicated the next song to “all the girls out there” and played a cover of Aerosmith’s “Girls of Summer” in their synthpop sound. In another song, there was a heavier pop-punk influence with constant cymbal use in the drums. After their set was done, they were tearing down their instruments and equipment while chatting with some of the girls in the crowd. Once they left, the crowd moved closer and tighter toward the stage in anticipation.
At ten after 9 pm, Dallon glides on stage with an assertive presence. He was dressed in the latest trend of a Gucci (looking) bomber jacket and two black dots drawn on his face. Behind him, Ryan Seaman, and the drummer is a sparkly banner and a sign on the front that says “superstar showcase;” as if to pretend he’s on a TV or talent show. He didn’t even need to introduce himself or say hi, he just begins with a cover of his previous band’s (The Brobecks’) song “Bike Ride”, that is a high tempo synthpop track with an indie rock flare. After the song, he keeps up this persona of a TV host and says, “I am your host Dallon and over there is a blue haired demon named Ryan Seaman on your cable channel.” Another cover from yet ANOTHER side project of Weekes was the song “Iggy Pop”. The crowd seemed to know most of the words and knew the clapping pattern.
Throughout the set, Dallon frequently mentions how surprised he is that people know the lyrics from all these old songs and new songs, he states that “the songs are better because they [the crowd] sing it.” From knowing early Panic! At The Disco songs, I could hear hints of that sound in the mystical synths and singing patterns. Dallon at one point began to explain the roots of IDKHBTFM; about how he and Ryan started The Brobecks nearly a decade ago, but their main bands separated them, and now their paths have crossed and their back with this band. One of the most creative songs played was “A Letter.” The chorus consisted of “whoa-oos” but the verses were done by an electronic voice that sounded like Stephen Hawking, describing how writing feelings are easier than saying them and some other heartbreak tropes.
Dallon proceeded to introduce the newest IDKHBTFM song “Choke” by how it has 4.5 million views online. It sounded remarkably similar to “Uprising” by Muse in its drumming and singing patterns. Also throughout the set, Dallon kept reinforcing people to put down their phones because “he never grew up with that” and “concerts [for him] were all about being present.” During the most interactive songs they played, Dallon stood at the edge of the stage, wiped the dots off his face, gestured to separate the crowd, moved into the parted crowd, howled, and yee-hawed.
They finished their set with a medley of “I Want You To Want Me” by Cheap Trick and “Just A Girl” by No Doubt.They ended with an encore, playing a funny song called “Nobody Likes The Opening Band” which was about the things we negatively think about opening bands at a concert but don’t say out loud. But for the second verse, Martin Broda came on stage and made a funny comeback verse about headlining bands.
Overall, the concert was energetic and interactive, but I don’t think IDKHBTFM would have as much of a following if it wasn’t for the member’s previous history with the bigger bands they left behind. But this seemed to be a passion project between two longtime friends and they get to make the music they want while not caring as much about the success of it all.
Written by Vicki Mahony
*edited by Mike Milito