Pillbox

Plain White T’s keep things cozy

The Plain White T’s perform during its “Wonders of the Younger” tour. The tour promotes the five-member band’s latest album of the same time. (credit: Courtesy of Xiaoyin Li) The Plain White T’s perform during its “Wonders of the Younger” tour. The tour promotes the five-member band’s latest album of the same time. (credit: Courtesy of Xiaoyin Li)

Plain is boring. White is safe. Tees are never in vogue. But when you put those three together, you get the Plain White T’s, who are anything but boring, safe, and unfashionable. The Plain White T’s are on their “Wonders of the Younger” tour, and they performed in Pittsburgh at Mr. Small’s Theatre last Thursday.

Mr. Small’s was a perfect choice for the concert’s venue. The walls are decorated with stage curtain paintings and suspended, tilted wooden doors. This décor goes well with the adventure theme of the Plain White T’s’ latest album, Wonders of the Younger, especially since the stage boasted a big red and white façade of a circus tent. But more importantly, this cozy theatre provides an intimate setting, making the experience even more enjoyable.

The Miggs and The Parachutes have been touring with the Plain White T’s. The Miggs opened the night with a spirited performance. This almost-famous three-member band did a great job of warming the crowd up slowly but surely. The Parachutes, who seemed to have an already-established fan-base in the audience, followed. By the end of the group’s gripping performance, the shrieking fans were more than ready to welcome the Plain White T’s. Unfortunately, the transition between the bands was slow, and the audience was forced to wait for a while. In the end, though, the wait was worth it.

The Plain White T’s made a grand entrance and had already started playing “Irrational Anthem” even before the audience could spot them in the fog and bright yellow light. Much of rest of the performance, though, was focused on music rather than performance or showmanship. The Chicago-based band took advantage of the cozy setting and got to know its audience members by asking them questions, trying to figure out how many were first-timers and how many had actually heard its CDs before.

The five-member band kept the majority of the audience happy by playing hits like “1, 2, 3, 4” and “Rhythm of Love.” However, the band also performed the 10-year-old sublime track “Radios in Heaven” for the old-timers. For the much-awaited “Hey There Delilah,” the band members decided to mix things up. Tom Higgenson, the lead vocalist, explained from a small stage at the back of the room that this 2008 Grammy-nominated song was originally supposed to be a private song, hence his choice to sing it in this intimate setting. Soon after that, the group closed the night with the thought-provoking “Wonders of the Younger,” the title track of its latest album.

Since the Plain White T’s are going to be on tour for most of 2011, Higgenson said that they might be back to perform in Pittsburgh. After that concert, Pittsburgh is surely yearning to hear more of them.