Cartel is one of those bands that fell under the radar for an extended time but never completely disappeared. After releasing their long awaited third album entitled Cycles on October 20th, they are now headlining a tour with The Bigger Lights, The Summer Set, This Providence and more. The tour made a stop at a local venue in Columbus, OH called The Basement and I decided I would attend.
In all honesty, the only reason I wanted to go in the first place was to see The Summer Set. They are one of my favorite bands – it was a goal of mine to see them play live. I was excited to watch Cartel as well, but I didn’t really know much of their music. The only songs I knew were a select few that friends put on mix CDs for me in the past.
Many may not know this, but The Basement is not the largest of venues. I was situated in a small pit, about five feet from the stage and packed in on all sides by other people. If you don’t like being stuck in a sea of other concert-goers, there are also spots along the railings in the upper levels by the stage.
For the majority of the show, it was good fun. I sang along to songs from all the bands and genuinely enjoyed myself because of a couple factors. One factor: I had a lot of room around me so I could move and I was not being pushed into others. The second factor was the other attendees were very polite and considerate. They were there to have an amazing time like I was.
Since it was a Halloween show most of the opening bands dressed up in costumes with the exception of This Providence. Instead, they gave us a twenty second slot allotted for booing them and their lack of Halloween spirit.
Later in the show, before Cartel came on, the atmosphere changed from being entertaining to almost unbearable. The problem didn’t lie with Cartel – they played a phenomenal show and definitely gave proof for why they had been able to retain their fan base in their long absence. The problem lied within the amount of drunk college kids who found their way into the pit and right behind me. I was being constantly pushed, elbowed in the face and the smell of alcohol in the air was slightly repulsive.
If there is one fact that I have found to be true, it is that a bad audience can ruin a great show. I was too busy focusing on not losing my place and staying on my feet to actually enjoy most of Cartel’s performance. The only plus side was all that pushing got me from the fifth row all the way to the second row for the last few songs. For the few songs I was able to take in, I was impressed. Their stage presence was fun and energetic and kept you excited throughout each song.
Cartel’s music appeals to a wide variety of audiences so you might want to give them a listen. Based on the size and enthusiasm in the crowd, I think it’s safe to say their comeback is going to be huge and successful.