Rising boy band returns to Seattle


Julia Henning

Why Don’t We, an American band, wrapped up the North American leg of their “8 Letters” Tour last Thursday, April 18th, with a packed venue at the WaMu Theater in Seattle.

The lights went down on the WaMu theater at 8:35 pm, and all you could hear were the high-pitched screams of girls. My dad said that he could tell from his table in the restaurant across the way that the show had started because the windows were shaking and the floor was pulsing. The screen came up, showing silhouettes of each of the boys. The tension built. Finally, “8 LETTERS” displayed across the screen. The room exploded with screams and cheers as the boy band took the stage.

The band’s five male singers, Jack Avery, Daniel Seavey, Jonah Marais, Zach Herron, and Corbyn Besson, were all solo artists before uniting in September 2016. They met up for a weekend to collaborate, not planning to make anything out of it, and in the end they all moved away from their families at ages 15-17 to live together in California.

Avery, Herron, and Besson toured together for a small social media tour in 2015, and they met Marais through social media. Seavey agreed to join them after making the Top Seven of American Idol. They came from all parts of the country – Texas, Virginia, and Oregon – but they ultimately landed in Los Angeles because of access to top managers and record labels.

The band went on their first tour after releasing their first EP only four months into meeting each other. Each of them had their own prior fan bases, which gave them hope for a good turnout at their concerts. The fanbase was later called the “Limelights” after the first lyric of their first song, “I need you in my life like limelight.”

I had the opportunity to see their Invitation Tour last year at the ShowBox Sodo, a venue of 900 people. This year, Why Don’t We upgraded for their tour; they sold out Radio City Music Hall in just two hours. In Seattle they played at the WaMu Theater, a venue of 5,000 people.

Why Don’t We had two opening acts: Brynn Elliott and EBEN. Elliott, a 24 year old solo singer-songwriter from Georgia had live guitar and piano onstage with her. EBEN is a 22 year old rapper from Ohio. His set was not live; he was just singing along to himself singing on his tracks. EBEN’s set was less impressive, as his live performance was the same you could find from your Spotify.

The overall performance was well organized. Light effects and a huge screen in the background that gave illusion and dimension to the performance. The choreography was on point as well. Compared to their last tour, this time you could see the effort that went into each boys’ presence on the stage.

The whole performance consisted of 20 songs and two outfit changes. 19 of the songs were their own, with “Trust Fund Baby” as the opener and “I Don’t Belong In This Club” as the encore. They also made a live mashup with a laptop and synthesizer of five songs: “Taste” by Tyga, “Finesse” by Bruno Mars, “Lucid Dreams” by Juice WRLD, “MIDDLE CHILD” by J. Cole, and “Better Now” by Post Malone. The mashup was made that day and every city had a different mashup on their tour.

The boys interacted with the crowd, making the show personal to each city. For example, they talked about how Seattle was important to them because it is close to the home of one of the boys and they have filmed two music videos up here, including the one with Macklemore. At the end, they gave an inspirational speech talking about following dreams.

“Dedicate time to doing what you love,” Besson said. “And progress – get better, get better for yourself. Everything that the limelights are is amazing. Pursue your dreams. Chase your dreams, because we are living proof that dreams come true.”

They might say this at every concert, but these words moved the audience and shifted the atmosphere in the room in a positive way.

With this leg of the tour concluding, the band will go on to tour Hawaii and Japan next month. They teased in a video on their Instagram (@whydontwemusic) that they were heading to Europe next as well.