Capital Cities burst onto the scene in 2011 with a radio-friendly synth pop sound that you’ve no doubt heard in countless commercials. Founded by two former jingle writers, Sebu Simonian and Ryan Merchant, who were brought together by a Craigslist posting, Capital Cities channeled their creative chops to produce their wildly successful album, “In a Tidal Wave of Mystery,” in 2013. Their show at Atlanta’s historic Tabernacle concert hall was a banger, with a young crowd looking for a reason to dance and Capital Cities happy to oblige.
Overall, the Capital Cities show had a little something for everyone as Simonian and Merchant brought energy to upbeat tunes like “Origami,” and danced in unison to more low key tracks like “Chartreuse”. The night was extra special to the band as it marked Simonian’s five-year anniversary to his wife, Tamar, who joined him on stage for a cameo that included their adorable son Rafi.
Capital Cities definitely believe in putting on a show for their fans and there is a tongue-in-cheek quality to their performance. During their performance of “I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo,” they pulled out toy boomboxes and thrust them into the air just like John Cusack in “Say Anything.”
Covers featured prominently in their show, with references to Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees, and my personal favorite, an encore performance of Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You”. Another highlight was trumpet player Spencer Ludwig; a fantastic element to their dynamic live show.
The show closed out with the Cash Cash remix of their biggest hit, “Safe and Sound,” and as the crowd sang in unison, and the night came to a close, it was clear that if fun is what you look for in a band and a performance, then Capital Cities is for you. You can catch them on their North American tour this fall.
Photography by Nora Artinian