Ryan Cabrera & Secondhand Serenade at Gramercy Theatre: Event Review

Two pop stars from the Myspace era made a comeback Tuesday night at the Gramercy Theatre in Manhattan. On the road for their Radio Revival Tour, headliners Ryan Cabrera and Secondhand Serenade shared the stage alongside Rhode Island’s Wind In Sails and Nick Thomas of The Spill Canvas.

Wind In Sails’ Evan Pharmakis performed an acoustic set, which was beautifully executed. Pharmakis played alone under a bright yellow spotlight. As one of the founders of the post-hardcore outfit, Vanna, Pharmakis took to the stage a 25-minute set filled with soothing music and a meaningful message. The Wind In Sails founder thanked a few from the crowd for paying attention to his set while others chatted away, clinking their drinks in the midst of it all. Pharmakis mentioned how people in general do not care for the opening act, yet there were a few music devotees that he was thankful for.

Nick Thomas was next on stage. The Spill Canvas founder and frontman performed a rockin’ 40-min set that included songs from his debut LP Shadowars such as “Circles and Lines,” “Special Kind,” and “Bit by Bit” (my favorite). The only downside was the heckler up front who wouldn’t keep his mouth shut for more than ten seconds. Thomas’ voice is still gold and sexy, even after 10 plus years. And of course, the man with two first names performed a couple of Spill Canvas favorites like “All Over You.”

Ryan Cabrera paraded up on stage with a neat-looking jacket and his signature hairdo. He began his hour-long set with “40 Kinds of Sadness,” off of his Take It All Away album. We time-traveled back to 2006 with “Shine On” and taken a “magical ride” back to 2004 with “On The Way Down.” “True” was definitely a challenge for the singer. If you’ve listened to it, then you know how high the vocals are. During the number, all I could think was, “Poor Ryan, he’s trying… That’s okay though, we’ll sing along and help him.” Ryan Cabrera played a couple of songs off of his latest EP entitled Wake Up Beautiful. The audience cheered along to “Sing Along,” which, as Cabrera described, is a drinking chant like the ones they sing in Ireland. The Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars hit, “Uptown Funk” preceded Cabrera’s hit single, “House on Fire.”

Usually, the artist/band performs their current single last; however, Cabrera strayed away from the norm and played a track off of his upcoming full-length, which “should be coming out some time this year.” The set list is as follows: “40 Kinds of Sadness,” “Everest,” “Sing Along,” “The Perfect Day,” “True,” “All We Have,” “I See Love,” “Photo,” “Shine On,” Jam Session, “On The Way Down,” “Uptown Funk/House on Fire,” “Sin to Get Saved.”

It was Secondhand Serenade’s turn to take the stage. Frontman, pianist and guitarist John Vesley was a Myspace star back in the day. I would listen to songs off of his album, Awake, whenever I felt like crying. Just like his name, Vesley serenaded to the audience with songs like “Vulnerable,” “Awake,” “Your Call,” and of course, “Fall For You.” The singer played a rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You,” which was heartwarming. It’s impressive to hear all the bands’ lead vocalists sound pretty much the same throughout the years.

As much as I enjoyed reliving my teen years last night, I think I’ll be sticking to Nick Thomas and his music for a while. It’s time for me to let go of the emo ballads and whiny love songs. Secondhand Serenade’s set list is as follows: “You And I,” “Maybe,” “Vulnerable,” “Awake,” “Back to the Days,” “Undefeated,” “Price We Pay,” “Your Call,” “Shake It Off,” “Fix You,” “Fall For You,” “Goodbye.”