Concert Review: Adult Mom, Feb. 13, Songbyrd

February 27, 2018

On Feb. 13, Adult Mom played the final show of their two-week long tour at The Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House. With opening acts by Field Medic and Chris Farren, Adult Mom played an emotional set that focused on themes of love, queerness, acceptance, and friendship. Stephanie Knipe, Adult Mom’s lead singer, demonstrated a powerful connection to their music and fans. As Knipe sang, smiles broke out like waves, gently receding before breaking into a full grins once more when certain lines resonated. A band in limbo because their latest album, Soft Spots, was not as well received as the previous Momentary Lapse of Happy, Adult Mom has developed a devoted fan base who often identity with Knipe’s struggles concerning sexuality and identity.

Adult Mom’s set drew mainly from their last two albums: 2017’s Soft Spots and 2015’s Momentary Lapse of Happy. Knipe began by thanking everyone for their most successful tour to date and acknowledging their anxiety about playing in front of some family members for the first time. In between songs, Knipe told stories of love and sexuality connected to Valentine’s Day, and their own journey of love and sexuality.

Before performing “Be Your Own 3AM,” their most popular song, Knipe spoke about how the song is about how sometimes people have to be their own valentines and find acceptance from within. Centered around a four person band, the set was split in half by Knipe doing one acoustic solo song.

At the end of the show, with passionate fans having meaningfully connected with the artist in a way that is only possible at an intimate venue, it was clear there was going to be an encore. Sure enough, Knipe returned to the stage alone playing a solo acoustic version of the song “Same.” Without competition from a backing band, Knipe’s trademark gentle voice was able to shine through. Adult Mom’s set was emotional and intimate. With music that focuses on seuxality and a band that highlights their queer identity, Adult Mom draws fans who connect with the music for more than just its sound, but a deeper meaning and acceptance that can be found by listening to Knipe’s albums on repeat.

Chris Farren, frontman of the band Fake Problems, also had an exciting and comical performance that was adored by a few cult fans. Bangs covering his eyes, he played sad and honest songs, his performance at the intersection of 2000’s singer-songwriters and today’s meme culture. Dressed in a Garfield shirt with only a guitar, Farren made use of recordings and projected visuals to create an atmosphere that at times felt cringey, but was certainly entertaining, often funny, still emotional, and a perfect compliment to Adult Mom. Recordings would often lead to Farren strumming away on the guitar while a prerecorded message told fans that D.C. was his favorite city or recorded lyrics would take over so that Farren could perform onstage antics without sacrificing the music. He made jokes about his performance with flashing neon color Microsoft Word-Word Art inspired text announcing the beginning of a “GUITAR SOLO” and by splicing in strange animated photos of Farren himself.

In a moment that captures Farren as a performer, he jumped off the stage and waltzed through the crowd. Microphone in hand, Farren belted out lyrics before climbing onto a couch in the back of the venue and trust falling onto the shoulders of Adult Mom who then carried him back to the stage in an act that felt wild but went over so well it appeared rehearsed.

His schtick inspired a set of die hard cult fans who made their presence known, and by the last song, “Human Being, their energy had affected the rest of the crowd. Everyone jumped to the music and shouted the chorus, proving that despite Farren’s antics, he won over the majority of the crowd by the end of the show.

Adult Mom concluded their latest tour in stellar fashion, and have found themselves a devoted fan base that connects with their music; that connection has made Knipe a satisfied artist. However, the potential for Knipe to graduate to larger more professional views appears limited because of the niche audience and the lack of acclaim for their follow up album. However music is not about commercial success, Knipe is an artist deeply passionate about their songwriting, and finding fans who connect and appreciate the music is reason enough for Adult Mom to continue touring in smaller venues for the next few years.

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