Rainsford/Aly & AJ – Anaheim, CA – 6.4.18
Rainsford/Aly & AJ
House of Blues – 6.4.18
Words and Photos by Curtis Vadnais
Pop sensations Aly & AJ Michalka brought their ‘Promises Tour‘ to the House of Blues Anaheim in Anaheim, CA last Monday. The duo announced back in April they would be returning from hiatus and hitting the road for their first full-fledged tour in nearly ten years, in support of their newest EP, Ten Years. The tour is set to hit several other cities along the way including Toronto, Denver, Nashville, and Los Angeles. The girls brought along special guest Rainsford for a packed extravaganza in the main Music Hall.
Rainsford, real name Rainey Qualley, kicked off the show with a little bit of humor and quite an impressive crowd. “Many of you probably have no f–king clue who I am, and that’s totally okay. I’m Rainsford, it’s nice to meet you. Just so you know, this is my first tour ever, and I wanna thank you all for coming out. This is f–king incredible,” the NYC native introduced herself with enthusiasm. While bringing a slightly edgier production than the headliner, Rainsford kept the crowd enticed with some of her personal works off her most recent release, Emotional Support Animal, such as “Too Close,” “Better Days,” “Up In the Air,” and even Ben E. King cover “Stand By Me,” which by the number of cell phone lights, seemed to capture the attention of nearly every attendee. Given the slot on the bill, it was surprising just how filled the venue was before Rainsford took the stage. Not many opening acts have the privilege of playing such an iconic venue for their first gig, let alone the House of Blues, so it was more than abundantly clear this was one for the books for her. It’s apparent that we’d only touched the tip of the iceberg, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store next for her.
As the anticipation and excitement that was felt throughout every inch of the venue grew, Aly & AJ made their prominent return to the spotlight. The iconic sister act reintroduced themselves, as well as establishing the fact that they were here to showcase where their journey as artists has brought them to now, along with an entirely new sound. “This is our first real tour in a decade. We’re not calling it a reunion tour, we’re just back. It’s good to be back,” AJ Michalka explained to the packed crowd. “Tonight, we’re gonna play some old favorites to keep you guys satisfied, as well as some new material. We’re in a really good creative place right now, so we want to bring back that fire — that flame,” Aly Michalka continued. And that they did. With a production utilizing a plethora of strobe lights (so much so, that they had to issue a warning prior to the show, as well as any visual social media posts) across a nearly 15-song setlist, the girls played several new songs such as “The Distance,” “I Know,” “Take Me,” and re-captured diehard fans’ hearts with signature classics such as “Chemicals React,” “Rush,” and of course, “Potential Breakup Song.” If there’s one thing it’s true nearly a decade later, it’s that Aly & AJ’s highly devoted fans–whom, at the time, were in their adolescent to early teen years–are still thriving. Given the significant amount of charisma and energy exuded from the duo throughout the course of the night, it was almost enough to distract from the fact they’d been M.I.A. for ten years, as if they’d never taken a break.
Rainsford’s newest release, Emotional Support Animal, is available now.
Aly & AJ’s latest release, Ten Years, is available now.