Crown the Empire: Kings of live performance

By Lisa Ray, Managing Editor

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DETROIT - "And they call it Puppy Love, Oh I guess they'll never know..." Growing up a child of the 70s I can't begin to explain how many nights I would lay in bed imagining Donny Osmond singing those words about me, to me. Talk about dreamy! Donny's deep brown eyes, his charming smile, those purple socks (sigh). Now, that's what I called music. Fast forward 3 decades to a night at the Fillmore in Detroit which, by the way, is one of the most beautiful landmarks in the Motor City.

I was getting ready to go backstage to meet and interview members of Crown the Empire - the up and coming alternative rock band based out of Dallas, Texas. Admittedly, the only thing I knew about these guys were they were young enough to be my kids, were covered in tattoos and I couldn't understand a word they were "singing" in any of their songs. In full disclosure, the only music I'd really heard from these guys was a music video on YouTube for their song, Voices. When I saw the video had more than 2 million views I had a pretty good idea these guys were a pretty big deal to kids of "this" generation who are fans of alternative rock.

As I walked up the submarine-style steps to their second floor dressing room at the Fillmore I could hear laughter coming from behind a semi-closed door. I felt a subtle smile come to my face. I'm a mom of two teenage boys- I know that kind of laughter - it is a sound of excitement. Once the door swung open there they stood: Andy, David, Brandon, Ben, Hayden and Brent. I immediately felt like I'd stepped into a world I could totally relate to.

There they were: twenty-somethings (some younger) eating sandwiches, fixing their hair and chattering with excitement over the size of the crowd. These guys had come a long way in just 2 years - once playing for a crowd of dozens and suddenly wowing audiences of thousands. As we sat and talked about their love of music, how invested they are in their craft I selfishly turned to thinking about myself at that age. I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be in news - it was a passion I was born with. The same was apparent with these musicians. They may be young - but the passion and conviction they have for their craft goes way beyond their years. We spoke about 20 minutes about their music, how their parents felt about their career choices, how much they love their fans. Maybe it is because I am a mom that I never felt as comfortable backstage at any show as I had here (trust me - I've been backstage A LOT). I took a bite of Ben's sandwich, gave flat-iron hair advice to Brandon and even asked Dave if I could put my finger through the gauges in his ears. "Of course! Knock yourself out!".

After some pictures and a couple of autographs for some big fans I made my way to front of the theatre. You know what was going through my mind? "I really, really like these guys.".

I was really excited to see my new young friends take the stage and I was more than impressed. Once their feet hit the hardwood floor the crowd went wild, the mosh-pitters (is that even a word?) got their mosh on. The quiet, polite, young men I instantly came to adore pulled out all the stops and brought that venue alive! These guys are performers. These guys are pros. These guys are entertainers. My boyfriend and I sat in the front row of the balcony watching the crowd go wild. For a minute I thought, "What the heck?". Then it hit me - the way these fans were reacting to Crown the Empire really wasn't much different to the way the girls would scream and cry when the Osmond Brothers took to the stage in my day. Once the music moves you - you move - whether it is moshing, screaming, crying or just tapping your toe.

The show lasted about 30 minutes - and although I didn't know all their songs - I knew that I wasn't ready for it to end. It wasn't just the music, the crowd, the mosh - it was being surrounded by a group of guys who had drive and ambition. When it comes to Crown the Empire I say they are the Kings of live performances. Bravo boys. Bravo

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