Love, sweat and tears: Fictionist celebrates Atlantic signing

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Sometimes, the good guys win.

As Fictionist lead singer Stuart Maxfield turned his head away from the crowd mid-song, searching for his voice through tears and sobs of joy, that point was crystal clear.

For the local band of Utah natives and BYU grads, who recently announced their signing to Atlantic Records, Wednesday night’s concert at Velour Live Music Gallery was a celebration of the success that has finally come after years of touring and hard work. With a mix of old fan favorites and new material, the band’s material showed their appreciation for all that has happened thus far, and anticipation for whatever lies ahead.

The band — composed of Maxfield on bass, Robbie Connolly on lead guitar, Brandon Kitterman on rhythm guitar, Jacob Jones on keys and Aaron Anderson on drums — delivered songs that, through the lens of their recent success, seemed prophetic at times. On “Swept Away,” the band’s opening number, Maxfield’s lyrics took on new meaning when he sang, “I was swept away, you were swept away / Not knowing what would follow / I was swept away, you were swept away / And now it’s sink or swallow.”

Some of the set’s older material, like “Strangers In The Dark,” gave lyrical insight into the band’s past —  a past clearly filled with the group’s deep determination to have their musical dreams realized.

“How long will we go on as strangers in the dark?” Maxfield sang. “How long, when all we need is just a little spark.”

Then there was “Before I’m Old,” which — for both the crowd and Maxfield — became the evening’s emotional climax.

Midway through the song, Maxfield got choked up, causing the raucous crowd to go equally quiet. Repeating some bars, the band waited for Maxfield as he tried once, then twice, to overcome his tears and sobs and find his voice. Regaining his composure, Maxfield came roaring back like a lion, belting  the melody full voice as tears streamed down his face.

Oftentimes, the measure of a great concert is the connection between the performer and the audience; the band and the fan. This connection has come to typify Fictionist’s Provo shows, and this one was no exception. Connolly didn’t hesitate jumping into the crowd during “Invisible Hand,” soloing as his fans carried him off the stage. And after “Treasure These Moments,” Maxfield told the crowd, “You did really good on that. You should be the lead singer of this band.”

Indeed, the crowd seemed ready for anything and everything — and Fictionist gave it to them. The band’s set was a testament to their elasticity; the freedom that comes from possessing both the technical chops and creative spark to fearlessly go any direction. Whether nailing the Police hit “Message In A Bottle” (“We just learned this a couple days ago,” Connolly casually said before they played it), or grooving on the slippery waltz of their new song “The Real Thing,” Fictionist showed their major label signing was no fluke. The expert interplay between the five bandmates made it clear these guys are the real deal.

In their comments between songs, and in the words of the songs themselves, Fictionist revealed that while a lifetime of dreams are now being realized, their new contract with Atlantic Records is simply the beginning to a whole new set of hopes — none articulated better than on “The Real Thing.”

“Hope has been the sky / Truth has been the valley / My life unraveling in between / Last night I saw the sky lay down with the valley / They were one and the same in my dream / So please, please let this be the real thing.”

 

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