Aly and AJ at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH

Aly & AJ @ Newport Music Hall, Columbus | Photo by Erica Beatey

Tuesday night at Newport Music Hall never sounded so nostalgic! Aly & AJ headlined a night at the Columbus venue with support from The Brummies. 

The night kicked off at 8 pm with an opening set by indie-rock group The Brummies. Donning matching lilac boiler suits, the group hit the stage with their song “After Midnight.” The electric squad was unafraid to command the stage with their rockstar vocals and gut-punching riffs. Jacob even broke out a trumpet for some brasswind action. They spoke to the heart of the mostly college-aged crowd with their song “Do It Tomorrow.” Though a short one, clocking in at only 1:31 on the studio version, the quirky tune about procrastination hits home.

Jacob explained before playing “Lovers Do,” that it came from a place of joy in a past relationship. This was well juxtaposed in the setlist by the next song, “Wrong Idea,” which was written about the same girl, though through a much different lens, a lens of heartbreak. They introduced “Alone With You,” a sickly sweet piece, by encouraging everyone to hold tight to the ones they love. The group’s biggest hit, “Drive Away,” features Kacey Musgraves on the studio album and was met with high energy by the crowd. They closed the set with their newest single “Cosmic Space Girl.”

The Brummies consists of John Davidson (vocals, guitar), Jacob Bryant (vocals, guitar), and Trevor Davis (drums), as well as touring member Warren Lively (bass). They grew up playing together outside of Birmingham, Alabama and simply never stopped. A tried and true indie band, the group’s debut album Eternal Reach came out in 2018 and has organically produced over 17 million streams on Spotify. Their success was followed in 2020 with the release of their sophomore album, Automatic World. New music from The Brummies is expected soon.

Anyone who was alive for Disney Channel’s early 2000s era knew that Newport Music Hall was the place to be on Tuesday. The crowd went wild for Aly & AJ as they slipped on their guitars and hit the stage at 9 pm with “Pretty Places,” the introductory song from their 2021 album. A Touch of the Beat Gets You Up on Your Feet Gets You Out and Then Into the Sun is their first full-length studio album since 2007.

Aly & AJ, briefly known as 78violet, consists of sisters Alyson (Aly) Michalka and Amanda Joy (AJ) Michalka. The pair created their musical duo in 2004 and released their first album, Into the Rush, in 2005. Catering to their then-young audience, they starred in Disney Channel Original Movie Cow Belles in 2006. Perhaps one of their greatest hits from the Disney era was “Chemicals React.” Thus, it was no surprise when the song was met with deafening cheers at Newport. 

Aly cleared the stage, leaving AJ to sing “Dead on the Beach” with one of their incredible band members. She prefaced the song by explaining that it was written after a traumatic experience in 2020 in which she literally died on a beach. Luckily, she is still here to tell the tale. Though she doesn’t opt to go into much detail, AJ exposed the depths of her heart to a receptive crowd in the emotional piece and was met with applause dripping in love. 

Aly & AJ’s most successful song to date, “Potential Breakup Song,” was released over a decade ago in 2007. However, it surged back into the public consciousness with the re-release of an explicit version in December 2020. It would’ve been a crime for the duo to leave the stage without singing their greatest hit. So, when the girls took the stage for an encore, the crowd went wild. The song started with a bit of a slowed-down intro from Aly on the keys before smashing into the synth-y and pop-y chorus that makes it so well-loved. As an ode to the childhood of almost everyone in the room, the final song brought the evening to its climax. 

The A Touch of the Beat World Tour continues through the end of May.

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About Erica Beatey 3 Articles
Erica Beatey is a Project Manager who loves photography, writing, and music. In fact, she's a bit of a concert addict. She's been sneaking cameras into concerts since 2007, but decided it was time to go the legal route. So, she pulled up her camera straps and made it happen. It’s always been her dream to tell stories through photos and words. She's shot dozens of acts in incredible venues across the United States and doesn't plan to stop any time soon. Erica is also interested in fan engagement and how to create meaningful connections between artists and their audiences. When she's not taking photos or writing, you can usually find her playing bass (badly) or guitar (even worse). But she loves it anyway!