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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Ryan Cabrera and Secondhand Serenade’s Radio Revival Tour

As the crowd slowly poured into the House of Blues Anaheim Saturday night, the opening bands prepared them to get excited for the supporting act Ryan Cabrera and the headliner, Secondhand Serenade.


The show was off to a very mellow start with an acoustic set from Evan Pharmakis of Wind in Sails who drove all the way from Boston just to be apart of this tour.

“I’d like to thank you guys again tonight for getting here early to see my set,” laughed Pharmakis, referring to the venue being only a third full.

The audience was pleased with the music he shared from his album, Morning Light, which took three years in the making. Then he closed his set with a song he wrote about his proposal to his new fiancée who was out on the balcony selling his merchandise.

Up next was Runaway Saints, a band based in Nashville. Lead singer and guitarist Johnny Gates excited the crowd with an upbeat country vibe, while Jamie Jarbeau and Matt Scanlon kept up on the bass and drums.


Their roots stem from Rhode Island so their music was an infused experience of rock and country, which the crowd enjoyed dancing to. At one point they switched out the bass to begin a song using a mandolin, and the crowd went wild.

All their lyrics spoke of the love and hurt they’ve endured in their lifetime, and Gates referred to himself like a male Taylor Swift, jokingly.

“We got love! We can’t lose!” shouted the crowd along with Gates, as they performed their final song, leaving the audience in good spirits for the next act.

Nick Thomas, front man of the band The Spill Canvas, was on the road solo since the band has remained inactive since 2012.

He opened his set crooning with strong R&B-like vocals to an alternative rock sound. Then after doing a song acoustically, the band joined him again to do a “cover” of one of the songs from his old band, even though he wasn’t planning to.

“This is where the circle pit would be,” he joked, but added that it was something they wouldn’t be able to do at the venue.

His style went back and forth between crooning and an emo-screaming sound, but the music got more progressively hard-core. He did however, have the strongest vocals up to that point in the show, so he was able to keep the crowd engaged.

Time seemed to drag on during the break between Nick Thomas and Ryan Cabrera, when the curtains finally moved to their sides and Cabrera stepped on stage. The crowd quickly moved back closer to the stage and more people spilled into the venue.

The audience cheered as he said nothing, but began to sing one of his original singles from 2004 entitled “40 Kinds of Sadness.”

Cabrera, originally from Texas, had a few guitar changes between songs, cracked jokes about him being awkward with the ladies, and kept an upbeat vibe, even while singing a few of his love songs.

Most of the crowd realized they knew many of his older songs, including “True,” a song that he wrote about a girl because he was so nervous to speak with her. He decided to sing the song to her, and she put him in the friend zone. Cabrera pointed out that it “got other guys laid, though.”

At one point, Cabrera became so wrapped up in having fun with the audience that he almost forgot to continue singing his song. He slipped on the rug on the way back to the mic, but it worked in his favor, as it glided him back in place as if he did it on purpose.

Before his final song, he teased the crowd with a snippet of “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and they went wild and began to dance.

“Just say f*ck it and dance with someone you don’t know!” He exclaimed before switching into last song, “House on Fire,” off his newly released EP.

As soon as Cabrera left the stage and the curtains closed, the crowed slowly made their way upstairs to the merchandise table, to the bar, and to the restroom, leaving the venue half empty.

Less than 20 minutes later, the lights dimmed again and the audience quickly made their way back into the venue, filling up all the available space all the way to the bars on the side.

Secondhand Serenade, took the stage as the crowd went screamed for the headlining act, the one they’ve all been waiting to see.

Bay Area native, John Vesely barely was able to speak as they continued to cheer and scream their love for him as he sang a few of his new songs with a full band. He then did a few songs acoustically as well.

Singer Veronica Ballestrini joined him on stage to sing three of his new songs that she’s featured on from his album “Undefeated.” Together their voices were perfectly harmonized and complimented each other, creating a happy atmosphere for the crowd.

A lot of his new album has more of a country and upbeat vibe to which he thanks Ballestrini and Nashville for, claiming that they’re both rubbing off on him.

Before the show ended, he asked the audience if they wanted to do a cover of one of his songs, “Fall For You,” and he handed them the mic and the entire venue sang at the top of their lungs.

He then said his final song would be a cover of “Fix You” by Coldplay, and left the stage without saying anything. The crowd was not yet satisfied and they kept screaming for him to actually sing, “Fall For you” and to have an encore.

Vesley slowly walked back on stage to a cheering crowd, saying he wrote a special song for a woman named Diana, and invited her to sit on stage while he sang for her.

“What you don’t know is that I wrote that song for you… by the request of a very special guy in your life!” said Vesley, as another man walked on stage and asked Diana to marry him.

As the newly engaged couple left the stage, the audience continued to cheer with big smiles and a few had tears rolling down their faces.

Vesley finally set down his guitar, walked to the piano and began to play the first chords of “Fall For You” to close the show.

Overall the experience was inspiring, and the audience expressed their satisfaction as everyone exited the House of Blues and made their way upstairs to meet all the bands and buy their merchandise.

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