Weston Estate, or “ya aunty’s favorite boyband,” graced the stage at Great American Music Hall April 17. The full house was immediately in an uproar despite the group’s sedate entrance; screams of “I love you” set the excited, amorous tone for the night.
The band of five — comprised of vocalists Marco Gomez, Manas Panchavati and Tanmay Joshi, bassist and producer Abhi Manhass and guitarist Srikar Nanduri — formed as high schoolers in North Carolina, dubbing themselves “Weston Estate” off of the affluent community neighboring their hometown. Since graduating high school, the group has risen to the pinnacle of indie boy fandom, with adoring mixed genre fans across the nation.
Indigo and violet rays lit the crowd and left the stage dark as Weston Estate dramatically entered to the first chords of “Hold On.” Immediately, the vocalists uplifted each other hypnotically, the slow opening picking up as pink and golden lights brightened the room like a sunrise. A classic Weston Estate tempo change catalyzed this shift, getting the entire room to jump in sync.
The band paused to heartily thank the room. Joshi noted that the first track “was f—ing lit,” before Panchavati described how the band couldn’t fathom that they were playing songs produced in their bedrooms on stage. Weston Estate moved through the middle of its set with amazing eagerness, with most of the energy brought by the three vocalists.
The three are a natural vocal team, hyping each other up and singing at the audience when they finish their solos. Altogether, they were consistently engaged, waving at the audience, bouncing in a small circle at center stage and demonstrating the fresh enthusiasm of young performers on their first tour.
Joshi’s vocals hit solidly and strikingly; when met with cheers, a bashful grin would take over his visage. During “Outside,” Panchavati’s voice wonderfully lilted in support of Joshi and Gomez’s. Gomez’s stage presence was unparalleled; leaning into the mic over the stage and closing his eyes to lose himself in the moment, he led a layered a capella harmony.
The newness of performing was obvious yet endearing. The intimacy of being a rising band was the hallmark of their set. Weston Estate clearly cares about its fans; the middle of the set involved band members tossing water bottles into the crowd so they could stay hydrated, as well as a crowd-wide serenading of Panchavati’s cousin for his 16th birthday (after the cousin made it back from the bathroom).
Occasionally, the set had a one-note feeling; the nature of Weston Estate’s indie production lends itself to repetition, especially live. But slower tracks such as “Hypnotized” were a breath of fresh air, as was the mixing of tempos within tracks, underscored by revitalizing high notes by Gomez and Joshi.
As the night wound down, the energy soared higher. “Pears,” a fan favorite, featured green and yellow beams cascading over the crowd, lit up by phone cameras. The entire room chanted along, as loud as a crashing wave in a storm; audience members jumped and pumped their fists alongside Gomez, Joshi and Panchavati, bringing the cheerful chaos in the room to new heights.
For its last song “Cotton Candy,” Weston Estate slowed its tempo. Manhass on bass worked with the drummer to temper the zeal of the band, strumming in tandem with the pink lighting before flashing lights again skyrocketed the audience’s elation. Caught up in the moment, Gomez seemed to forget the last few lines of the song. He was met by laughter from his bandmates and the crowd, allowing him to brush the incident off his shoulders in a loving, slightly flustered way.
The five fled the stage, but returned after just a couple chants of “One more song!” To redeem himself, Gomez took the lead in a revived reprise of “Stoked,” leading his bandmates in shaking their long locks and frolicking across the stage. The floor was a throng of hormones, smiling faces and phone flashes, mirroring the glorious rush of giddiness channeled by Weston Estate.