“So, obviously this year we couldn’t tour at all, so we’re just missing that connection with [our fans],” AJR says when speaking EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife. The group – brothers Adam, Jack, and Ryan Metzger – have teamed with UScellular to host a special livestream concert experience on Dec. 18. In addition to this intimate music event, fans of AJR can enter to win an exclusive meet greet with the band ahead of the show. However, the group tells HollywoodLife that, after months of being socially distant from their supporters, “It feels really good to be able, even virtually, just kind of be able to communicate with them and have fun and play some acoustic songs.”
“And US Cellular does such a good job of encouraging their users and their followers to use their voice for positive change,” AJR tells HollywoodLife. “And we like to do that with our music, and with the platform that we built. So, we thought it was a really perfect partnership. So yeah, in December we’re going to be playing some acoustic songs and, you know, meeting and greeting with the winners. And we just thought it would be something fun to participate in.”
Fun is the name of the game on Dec. 18 since AJR will be playing some of their fan-favorite songs but in new and unplugged ways. “A lot of our songs have really heavy production,” says AJR, “We put out songs over the past couple of years that are really diverse and experimental. Something different about this performance is that we’re really stripping it back. We’re just focusing on the acoustic instruments that being bass and ukulele, and guitar. We have a drum kit, just to keep the groove going. But we have an awesome trumpet player that came in and is going to be doing some great trumpet parts. So, it’s slightly different versions of the songs.”
With the concert happening one week before December 25, will the band turn this concert into an impromptu AJR Family Holiday Special? Sadly, the group is being a bit Grinchy with that. “There’s not going to be any holiday songs on the setlist,” the group says. “However….there are not going to be any holiday songs on the list,” they add with a laugh. “That’s a good idea for next time, though.”
Shortly after announcing the concert, the group conducted a QA/Ask Me Anything – A QAMA, if you will – and when asked if they are afraid of being asked bizarre questions (“What is Adam’s spirit animal?” “Do they think they could beat Saint Motel in a game of Among Us?”) AJR laughed and said they weren’t worried. “We honestly have great fans. Anytime we do something like this, the fans are really smart, and they asked such detailed questions about the process of making music and stuff. So, anytime we have to interact with them, especially now, is very welcomed.”
AJR has a very good reason to be so welcoming: it allows them to have these once-in-a-lifetime encounters and learn just how their music means to people. “When we were doing shows – obviously, before COVID – we had meet-and-greets before every show. One thing that happened that was amazing and [stuck] with all of us, a fan came up to us and told us that she had been mute for like, seven years.”
“She was a younger girl,” the band said, “She was sixteen. She had been mute and hadn’t said a word in like seven years. And this conversation she was having was the first conversation she had had in seven years, outside with the parents. We were the first people that she had talked to in seven years, and [she said] it was our music that inspired her to be able to speak again. How can you ever forget something like that?”
Fans of AJR will have plenty to remember when December is all said and done. In addition to the stripped-down concert on Dec. 18, the band announced AJR’s One Spectacular Night. A new immersive virtual event, One Spectacular Night, will combine elements of Broadway theatre, film, and concerts. Fans will also have new ways to applaud, cheer, interact with the band, and even control where they’re looking throughout the Night. The band also promises “new songs, new setlists, and new moments,” building on their social media posts that a new AJR era was coming.
The band announced this new era with a series of closeups of three porcelain figures of the brothers. “For all of our albums,” AJR tells HollywoodLife, “we always have these different characters for each era. We’re animated in a different way. Last era, [we] were these neo-theatre puppets and now, these ceramic dolls that are kind of cracked. They visually encompass the way the [new] album sounds. So, we are slowly unveiling the new era that will eventually lead to our next album.”
The new album is going to come at the top of 2021, according to AJR. They say they “probably have like ten out of the fourteen songs for the album that we think are like, ‘okay, these are good enough for the album.’ For us, the album is a very important thing. I think a lot of people might just set it aside and say, ‘oh, it’s just going to be a group of songs.’ I think, for us, having something that’s really cohesive and tells a real story and encompasses this year in our life, I think that’s the number one most important thing for us.”
To register for the AJR concert on Dec. 18 (and win a special meet-and-greet), fans can visit USCellularConnects.com. Fans can also register for AJR’s One Spectacular Night by clicking here.