MAX, Bryce Vine take over Theater of the Living Arts



Chris DiLullo Staff Writer

The performance dynamic of a concert is always an intriguing component to look at when evaluating the sets of the individual artists and the concert itself as a whole. As a tour headliner, one has the opportunity to choose his or her opening acts accordingly — artists meant to support you, to get the crowd ready for your performance. Whether the artist chooses an industry friend to open or simply an artist he or she likes, the tour headliner must strategically choose their openers: the opening should never overshadow the headliner.

Unfortunately for headliner MAX at the Theater of the Living Arts, tabbing Bryce Vine as the opener for his set ultimately resulted in the opposite. The concert, taking place on Nov. 10 in Philadelphia, began as a stop on MAX’s House of Divine tour, yet ended up feeling as if it were Bryce Vine’s official announcement as music’s next hot act.

Riding the momentum of the hit single “Drew Barrymore,”Vine is coasting on a wave of modern popularity, while MAX is still relying on the success of his 2016 album, “Hell’s Kitchen Angel.” This waning popularity, paired with Vine’s newfound success, created the environment for an odd power dynamic. Ultimately, it seemed as if concertgoers were in attendance for a Bryce Vine performance rather than the headliner.

Vine’s individual performance didn’t help matters, either. Following the underwhelming performance of the first opener, ezi, Vine burst onto the stage with emotion, energy and passion, instilling energy into a crowd ready to explode. Taking advantage of the tepid environment, Vine made the show his own, blending his contemporary style of electropop and hip-hop with bass drops and unbridled joy. Closing his set with some of his most popular songs, including “Drew Barrymore.” Vine’s set brought the audience to life and allowed the TLA to truly become alive.

Although MAX came on after, feeding off the fresh energy in the crowd to enhance his own set, he was unable to ever top the heights reached by his opener. As his set closed, and he brought out his support team and friends, including ezi, the crowd searched for Vine, clamoring for an appearance that never materialized. The crowd never was the same after Vine’s water bottle antics, wild dance moves, and child-like energy: MAX never had a chance to make the venue his own. It already belonged to Vine.

From the start of Vine’s set, I could immediately tell that MAX had erred in choosing him as his opener, and as the concert continued, those initial expectations were correct. MAX committed a cardinal sin as a headliner: he let his opener steal his spotlight. While both artists had charisma and controlled the stage well, what is clear after the concert is that, regardless of musical talent, it is Vine who is the artist that will be better known in the coming years. Bryce Vine is a headline act in the making, a star about to burst into the spotlight.