By Kaylee Poynter
The music starts and the audience is already hooked — Chris Whyte especially. The whole room is in a trance watching the singer and the drummer who are fully masked and dressed like skeletons. As the beat picks up, they remove their masks. Whyte and others scream loudly and start jumping. Red and blue lights illuminate the stage, syncing with the music. All that’s on the stage is a drum set, a microphone and a piano.
“It’s different because I’ve never experienced a concert where everyone is screaming the lyrics to every song and having the time of their life,” Whyte said.
Experiencing a Twenty One Pilots concert is unlike any other live show. Their fans, the Skeleton Clique, come together for something different yet relatable at the same time.
The Ohio band has 253,600 followers on Twitter, and 241,000 on Instagram. Most of their live shows sell out. The 26-year-olds are signed to Fueled By Ramen, a label described as punk inspired pop and rock bands. The band was formed in 2009, but the current drummer joined the group in 2011.
Unlike other bands, such as All Time Low, whose fans have to pay monthly fees to join their club, the Skeleton Clique is free of charge.
“From the lighting to the musical instruments utilized, the amount of thought needed to create their show is felt,” follower Jaime Therese said. “The band members themselves also give such a feeling of pride in their work. I think it’s this unwavering faith in their movement that has encouraged their audience to have that same faith in them.”
The confidence Twenty One Pilots brings to the stage inspires their fans. The band’s goal is to encourage their listeners, not necessarily to get radio play. When they release a new song, the band posts it on their social media pages, and refers to it as “your song.” Many bands have followings, but Twenty One Pilots puts its Clique first.
With only two people in the group, the singer, Tyler Joseph, and the drummer, Joshua Dun, their music is still catchy. They sway away from the sounds of traditional alternative rock bands. A piano, drums and synthesizer helps create a unique sound.
“I like the sound they have and their use of unique instruments,” Jeffery Lanphier said.
Most of Twenty One Pilots songs mix genres within them, including rock, pop and rap. Their sound varies. The song Ode To Sleep starts with a synthesizer, then adds in the drums and piano. In the first verse, the singer is rapping. The chorus sounds more like alternative-pop. The second verse goes back to rap. The chorus is repeated with a pop outro.
During live shows, Dun and Joseph catch the crowd’s eyes and ears.
They interact with the Skeleton Clique by having them hold a wooden platform so Dun and his drum set can literally be in the audience. Joseph stands on the hands of the audience and sings. The drummer sometime does back flips on stage.
“I think that uniqueness is the supreme goal of the Twenty One Pilots concert experience — as well as the band in general. For me, the thing that I always notice about the band is their passion and their movement — things that are both evident in their concerts,” Therese said.
The way this band performs is a phenomenon that takes the crowd to a different place.