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The Driver Era perform at Memorial Auditorium in Athens, Ohio, Nov. 10, 2023

The Driver Era cruises through Athens

Friday night had Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium booming with guitars and drums, combined with thrilled screams from the audience as The Driver Era took to the stage. The band’s hour-and-a-half-long set had Ohio University students jumping and shouting the lyrics to every song and chanting the names “Rocky,” “Riker” and “Ross.”

The Driver Era consists of brothers Ross Lynch on lead vocals, Rocky Lynch on lead guitar and vocals and Riker Lynch on the bass. Ross Lynch is best known for his Disney Channel appearances on the show “Austin and Ally” and movies like “Teen Beach Movie,” but has paved an even bigger name for himself as the face and main voice of the band. 

Grace Wamsley, a junior studying hearing speech and language sciences, was in the front row for the show and had been looking forward to the concert for a long time. 

“I've seen them a couple of times, and I figured out they were like coming here, and I was f----ing stoked they were coming here,” she said. “We were second row, we got moved up front and the show was insane.”

Tickets for the show ranged from $25 to $35 depending on the proximity to the stage. Doors for the event opened at 7 p.m. and the opener, almost monday, came out on stage a little after 8 p.m. The band brought the indie pop feeling of Southern California to Athens for its hour-long set, with bubbly songs like “come on come on” and its latest release, “sweet feelings.” Lead vocalist, Dawson Daugherty, had the room’s attention with an electrifying harmonica solo during their cover of The Romantics' popular hit “That’s What I Like About You.” 

The Driver Era began its set just after 9 p.m. with “Feel You Now,” a song with an intense, booming chorus. All three Lynch brothers walked out on stage sporting OU hockey jerseys, sending the crowd into chaotic screaming fits. 

The band kept the energy flowing throughout the auditorium as it performed its newest song, “Rumors” live for the first time. More high-energy and upbeat songs followed, with the Lynch brothers getting nearly every person to jump and scream. 

Ross Lynch proceeded to ask the audience if they liked “Teen Beach Movie,” earning a multitude of nostalgic screams as a response. He then performed his song from “Teen Beach 2,” called “On My Own,” showing the crowd his impressive vocal range, despite the song being nearly 10 years old. 

The Driver Era slowed down the mood after a few other songs and a couple of fun moments of classic sibling back and forth. Rocky and Ross Lynch sat side-by-side performing “San Francisco,” a song that filled the room with phone flashlights and a near-silent crowd. The song transitioned beautifully into “Take Me Away,” another one of the band’s most popular hits.

The ambiance ramped right back up with a raunchy performance of “Low” combined with a snippet of the song “Pony” by Ginuwine. Ross Lynch wore a pink cowboy hat that had been thrown onto the stage during the snippet, which received a thrilling reaction from the audience. 

Mackenzie Brisbin, a Cincinnati local, came to see the show, and it was her pink cowboy hat that made it on stage and onto Ross Lynch’s head after a toss from behind the first 10 rows. It was not the first time he’d worn Brisbin’s hat, as it had also made it on stage during Wonderbus in Columbus this past summer.

“When I was at Wonderbus, he wore it during ‘Pony,’ so I thought it was the perfect time to throw it again,” she said. 

Following the events during "Pony,” Ross Lynch had given in to the multiple “take it off” chants from the crowd and proceeded to perform the next few songs with nothing but a guitar, plaid pants and Brisbin’s pink cowboy hat. 

The show came to an energetic close with popular hits such as “Preacher Man” and “A Kiss,” both upbeat with a heavy guitar sound and a strong urge to jump to the beat. As the band took its final bow, Ross Lynch held up his OU hockey jersey, sending a series of eruptive screams from the crowd. 

Sarah Smith, a junior studying civil engineering, gave her thoughts after the show was over, nearly speechless.

“(They have an) incredible stage presence,” she said. “(They) kept the audience involved the entire time. It was—wow.”

The Driver Era graced the stage with its alternative indie sound and will leave Athens knowing students know how to party and rock out.


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