Live Review: American Aquarium in Winston-Salem, 10-12-2018

American Aquarium proved that ‘Things Change’ with a near hometown show over the weekend…

American Aquarium lead singer B.J. Barham stepped to the stage backed by his new ensemble for the first time in a while at The Ramkat in Winston-Salem. Having formerly played the venue, then known as Ziggy’s, there have been numerous changes to the event space leaving Barham to comment that, “it was nice having a venue ran by music lovers.”

On the heels of a cancelled show to open the NC State Fair in Raleigh, American Aquarium played a free show at The Pour House on Thursday night. The site of numerous AA shows and album release parties, in addition to being where Barham and his wife wed, it was packed with 300-plus patrons eager to see the band perform.

Despite a disappointing cancellation, the excitement from a show where he now calls home (Raleigh) was carried west to Winston-Salem, just a few miles from Barham’s hometown of Reidsville. At one point in the evening, Barham was sharing the backstory of Crooked and Straight, saying no one knew him when he was a kid – to which one audience member yelled, “I did”.

Barham debuted a Fender electric guitar for the first time at The Pour House and brought the new ride with him to Winston-Salem. Pulling it out for the second song of the evening, Tough Folks, Barham proved that while “things change,” his band, what he plays, the venue – critical constants remain.

Whether in 2012 or 2018, American Aquarium is going to provide a wonderfully entertaining show. Experiencing a roller coaster of emotions from the deeply passionate, hard life lessons, bitter breakups, to a more promising time, the songs represent a sliver of the transformation Barham has taken as an individual over the past decade.

Dedication, determination and an appreciation for his fans – Barham stayed late after his set to shake hands and express his gratitude for those willing to spend their Friday night with him – in addition to seeing a few familiar faces.

One group of patrons even broke into their own rendition of PBR Promenade immediately after American Aquarium left the stage without the song making into their set. Not just the chorus, these guys knew it from start to finish.

Continuing to thrive behind their latest album, Things Change, the first with a new lineup, American Aquarium displayed their ability to connect with an audience and prove their shows are not to be missed – then, now, or ever.

FULL SETLIST 10/12/2018

The World Is On Fire
Tough Folks
Casualties
St. Mary’s
Losing Side of Twenty-Five
Wolves
One Day At A Time
Jacksonville
Crooked + Straight
Betting Man
Lonely Ain’t Easy
Louisiana Beauty Queen
Hurricane
I Hope He Breaks Your Heart
Unfortunate Kind (solo)
Katherine Belle
Rockingham

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