When the iconic 2000s pop-punk single “Check Yes Juliet” released to platinum-certified success, today’s Iowa State students were experiencing the turbulent times of middle school. Travis Clark, lead singer and guitarist of We The Kings who penned the song, was far from the person he is in 2019.
“I don’t think our style has changed as much as we have as people,” said Clark on the band’s trajectory since their breakout song.
Between six studio albums and nine children born among members of the band, We The Kings has maintained an energetic pop-punk sound still connecting to audiences today. Requiring several years of buffer to reach a college audience, fans who grew up on “Check Yes Juliet” and follow-up singles such as “Heaven Can Wait,” “We’ll Be A Dream,” “Say You Like Me,” and “Sad Song” can catch these hits performed live at the Memorial Union Great Hall this Thursday.
Approaching a show on a college campus is different than playing a club or festival for We The Kings. Whether or not you’ve heard of them, their live show is sculpted to satisfy any type of concertgoer.
“We really like playing in front of people that have never heard of the band in order to challenge ourselves to impress that person,” said Clark. “Expect a good time whether you’ve heard of us or not. Expect us to give you a memory that will last forever.”
Previously performing in Iowa at the Iowa State Fair and other large festivals, this performance for We The Kings marks the first in an isolated setting.
“It will be cooler to play in a more intimate setting and be able to spend more time with everyone that’s there,” said Clark.
Constructing a setlist has increasingly become a challenging task as the band amasses more material. The band will actually dive into the archives of what songs worked well when they last performed in the area or check what songs are streamed the most in the area on Spotify. Expect the band’s biggest hits with deeper cuts sprinkled in from each album in their discography.
“It’s a really sentimental thing for us to see people sing the songs we’ve poured our blood, sweat and tears into,” said Clark. “In a three and a half minute song we are playing live, we think about where the song came from, where we were when we wrote the song, where we recorded it, the very first radio station that played it and how that made us feel hearing it. It’s all in this envelope of our greatest accomplishments and then we get to play it live and see people singing it and it all validates it all over again.”
Growing up, Clark turned to music as an escape from everyday life and never envisioned himself doing anything other than playing music for a living. He hopes to bring the same chance of escape to a live audience.
“We’re just offering a place where they can come and be themselves, listen to music, have fun and ignore the real world for a second,” said Clark.
Pop singer/songwriter Anna Clendening will support We The Kings as the opening act.
Doors for the show open at 7 p.m. with the performance beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($14 with an ISU student ID) and are available online via www.midwestix.com. A 3 percent service fee is applied to all online purchases. Tickets will also be available in the Maintenance Shop Box Office in the Memorial Union in person or by phone, weekdays from 11 a.m.to 5 p.m.