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Microwave’s New Album ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’ Shines at Tour Finale

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MusicLive CoverageMicrowave's New Album 'Let’s Start Degeneracy' Shines at Tour Finale

Microwave’s New Album ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’ Shines at Tour Finale

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Reflection, growth, liberation: these are all words that come to mind when walking away from the Let’s Start Degeneracy experience. Released on April 26th, 2024, the newest full length record from Atlanta’s “award-winning critically-claimed adult mid-tempo psychedelic contemporary rock band” (did you get all of that?) Microwave was the band’s first in five whole years, leaving fans eagerly awaiting the opportunity to witness its meaningful mastery live. In honor of the release, the band embarked on a nationwide headlining tour this spring that came to a very special finale, bringing the magic of the record to life for one last night at Franklin Music Hall in Philadelphia.

Microwave New Album Let's Start Degeneracy
Microwave New Album Let's Start Degeneracy

The glow of four inflatable, Alice in Wonderland-like mushrooms illuminated the stage as if they had been plucked off the tour poster banner and planted right before us. With them, a portal to the world within Let’s Start Degeneracy opened up as we stumbled down the rabbit hole and into its mystically contemplative aura. Here, we were greeted by a mysterious man proudly carrying a banner of the album cover, its reddish purple swirls calling to our eager eyes and ears.

The banner dropped to reveal drummer Timothy “Tito” Pittard. Everyone’s cheers guided him to a keyboard where his fingers gracefully swept over the keys to Concertito in G Major. With its conclusion, vocalist Nathan Hardy, bassist Tyler Hill, and touring guitarist Lucas Daniel Jones emerged from the dark, marking the start to what would be a night of weight-ridding reflection through new and old Microwave music celebration.

Microwave New Album Let's Start Degeneracy

Bored of Being Sad” was the perfect introduction to the evening. Its message of wanting better for yourself and moving past old habits to do so fell perfectly in line with that of the new record which Nathan once described as

“letting go of attachments and behaviors that aren’t serving you and trying to shake off your programming and not be motivated by fear and guilt and shame.”

It was this message that would inform the discoveries we’d make about ourselves throughout the night on our trip into the human psyche led by Microwave’s shifting thoughts and sounds.

Experiencing the band live felt akin to entering the process of floating into a dream’s daze. “Huperzine Dreams” and “keeping up” were glinting lullabies that rocked everyone into the hazy stage of flickering consciousness that occurs right before drifting off into slumber — but not all slumber is peaceful. In their carefully crafted world of sonic dreams live the songs that serve as a reminder that nightmares of insecurity and uncertainty may be lurking.

Microwave New Album Let's Start Degeneracy

The grungy, thundering chorus of “Float to the Top” from 2019’s Death is a Warm Blanket crawled out of the corners of the room and struck everyone into movement, filling us with the frantic energy of a dream that finds you endlessly running from something that’s hurling itself at you faster than your brain allows your drowsed legs to move. “Mirrors” was just as fraught with frenzy which escaped through Nathan’s cyclone of motion and latched itself onto everything in the room. Before the quickness of the crisis-charged lyrics caught up to us, the band directed everyone down a different one of the many winding roads of introspection.

Microwave New Album Let's Start Degeneracy

In this moment, it was the new record’s message of encouraging listeners to break out of negative patterns and ascend toward liberation from them that shined. The calm and twinkly “Ferrari” floated into our brains, its lyrics “I refuse to act on fear” awakening this very sentiment in everyone bearing witness to Microwave’s performance.

As the band gave us the opportunity to recognize the autonomy we often forget we have when handling our thoughts, fears, and feelings, we stopped and turned to face our mental monsters, collectively shifting the hellish dreamscape into one of lucid control. With this, what felt like a world of opportunity opened up to and became ours.

Microwave New Album Let's Start Degeneracy
Microwave New Album Let's Start Degeneracy

A fitting reward for reveling in the purpose of Let’s Start Degeneracy was hearing the title track of the new record live. The echo of its electronic-fueled beat sent dozens of neon green glow stick-filled balloons bouncing above the crowd and prompted dozens of smiles to follow. As a spark of excitement pierced the balloons, fans grabbed the glow sticks and began to wave them around in a triumphant display of conquering difficulties and floating in the fulfilling weightlessness that comes from doing so.

The end of the set drew near with fan-favorite “Vomit” off of 2016’s Much Love. Capturing everything Microwave is capable of, this song’s tranquil build to explosive energy had everyone singing and swaying before shouting and jumping with might. Included in this fit of music-inducing release were all of the opening bands who joined the members of Microwave on stage for one final moment of the tour together.

This moment made the friendly and genuine nature of all of the acts evident (which even inspired Nathan to humorously complete three outfit changes as he shed an Origami Angel shirt to reveal a Heart Attack Man shirt and then shed a Heart Attack Man shirt to reveal a Carpool Tunnel shirt) and made us all feel thankful for attending to witness it.

Microwave New Album Let's Start Degeneracy

Moments following the band’s exit, a roar of chants pleading for more filled the room. This and a story from the past inspired the band to come out to perform an encore. “Funny story, we never used to do encores,” Nathan began before referencing their sold out headlining show at Union Transfer in 2023 where fans refused to leave without an extra song. “For seven minutes, ya’ll kept going.

It was one of the coolest nights of my life.” It was here that the band gifted us with two more fan favorites to officially close out the night. “Lighterless” and “But Not Often,” sounded as we all participated in one final moment of appreciation for everything Microwave has accomplished with their newest record and what they are bound to accomplish moving forward.

Microwave New Album Let's Start Degeneracy

As we walked out of the venue that night and woke up from a dream we wish we’d been able to float through for just a little longer, we were equipped with a unique and powerful knowledge fit for facing our conscious lives through reflection, growth, and liberation. We can only hope for the band’s return so we have the opportunity to drift off into another daze in the world of Microwave.

Microwave New Album Let's Start Degeneracy

Show Date: 06.08.24 // Philadelphia, PA @ Franklin Music Hall // Microwave’s New Album ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’ Shines at Tour Finale
Photos & words by Suzanne Leszczynski

Suzanne Leszczynski
Suzanne Leszczynski
Hi! My name's Suzanne and I like to capture the world of live music in Philadelphia; immortalizing moments between music lovers is what motivates me. I'll catch you at a show soon!

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Suzanne Leszczynski
Suzanne Leszczynski
Hi! My name's Suzanne and I like to capture the world of live music in Philadelphia; immortalizing moments between music lovers is what motivates me. I'll catch you at a show soon!

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