Formed in 2009, Twenty One Pilots consists of only two members, Tyler Joseph (vocals) and Josh Dun (drums). Until fairly recently, only die-hard fans were familiar with this alternative pop punk music duo.
But then, their song “Stressed Out” from their fourth studio album “Blurryface” catapulted them into mainstream stardom.
And on Saturday night, the dynamic duo captivated fans the moment they took the stage at Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth wearing black ski masks and red eye shadow.
Fans – many teenagers – were enthralled by the high energy, electric show that combined one strong performance after another but also included Dun doing back flips off the piano and Joseph running on top of the audience in a giant, human-sized red hamster ball.
Combining pop, punk, rock, reggae and techno music styles, this two-person band is nearly impossible to classify into a musical genre. And they showcased all of these styles Saturday night. All the while, devoted fans sang every single lyric of every single song – from”Heathens,” and “Stressed Out” to “Car Radio.”
Twenty One Pilots launched their Emotional Roadshow in late May. Atlanta is one of the last stops for summer-long trek. But Atlanta fans can see Twenty One Pilots again soon when they headline Music Midtown. The anticipated fall festival returns to Atlanta’s Piedmont Park Sept 17-18 with a lineup primed to cultivate a younger crowd. The Killers, Beck and Deadmau5 also headline, while an array of newer rock, pop and rap acts fill out the scorecard.
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Jenkins of Roswell said she became an immediate fan of Twenty One Pilots after hearing “Stressed Out” on the radio several months ago.
“Ever since then, I can’t stop listening to them,” said Jenkins, wearing a Twenty One Pilots flag as a cape, white rimmed sun glasses, glitter on her face. “I love the lyrics of the songs. They have a lot of meaning.”
Bridget was at the show with her friend Ella Berrey – and Berrey’s mom Blanca, who happily joined them.
“I started listening to their songs on the radio with my daughter, and I really like them too,” said Blanca Berrey, also of Roswell.
It was a familiar scene in the Arena – teenage children with their parents, parents who weren’t merely chaperoning but were dancing, singing, waving their cell phone lights and fully enjoying the show.
After the show, I connected with Bridget to see what she thought of the show. She loved the energy and interactive elements of the show.
“To see him in person sing the songs is so eye opening and makes everything so real,” she said in a text. “The meaning I hold with these songs felt so much bigger when they were right in front of me it’s hard to describe. . .It was so magical.”
So how did Twenty One Pilots get their name?
Tyler Joseph came up with the band’s name while studying “All My Sons” by Arthur Miller, a play about a man who must decide what is best for his family after causing the death of 21 pilots during World War II because he knowingly sent them faulty parts for the good of his business. According to Rolling Stone, it resonated with Joseph, who declined a basketball scholarship from Otterbein University to focus on music. “I could relate to the fact that making the right decision in life sometimes takes more work,” said Joseph to Rolling Stone. “It takes more time, and it can feel like you’re going backward.”