“Sold Out: HCR @ 5:30.” HCR, short for Hot Chelle Rae, are currently on tour promoting their newest album, “Whatever.” Hot Chelle Rae, who recently returned from touring with Taylor Swift, was the main attraction, headlining the Beautiful Freaks Tour Saturday, April 21at the House of Blues in Chicago to a sold out crowd. The House of Blues was filled with an audience spanning from age 11 and up.
Hot Chelle Rae formed in 2005 back in Nashville, Tenn., but didn’t emerge until 2009 with their single, “Bleed” from their album, “Lovesick Electric.” The band consists of Jamie Follese (Drums), Ryan Keith Follese (lead singer), Nash Overstreet (Lead Guitarist/Vocals), and Ian Keaggy (Bass/Vocals). Ryan, who met Ian in a record store, went on to say about their first encounter, “we met seven years ago in the record store and didn’t even like each other at first but we both had a passion for making music.” Putting their differences aside, Hot Chelle Rae seems to have an unbeatable chemistry both in the studio and on stage.
These boys are not afraid of the “pop” genre label either. In fact, Hot Chelle Rae’s guitarist, Nash, is quoted on the band’s website saying, ‘“It’s funny because the music we listen to has always centered around pop…And I think the success of ‘Tonight Tonight’ showed us that we could go in that direction and put out an album of music that we would listen to as well as play.”’ (hotchellerae.com). Instead of trying to back out of the “pop” scene, these boys have charged head first as a boy band come out on top of the music industry.
After the first few songs, Ryan Keith Follese, lead singer of the band, gave a little background information saying, “We used to play at bars back home but in the crowd, you would have been my sister and you would have been my sister’s friend,” he said, while pointing to audience members. “Sometimes, Jamie and I would even be in the crowd too.” It’s safe to say that Hot Chelle Rae has come a long way from playing for a family and friend filled audience to sold out shows.
All four members of the band come from a musical background, helping grasp a better understanding of the music industry. Lead singer Ryan and drummer Jamie (Brothers) are sons of A-List Nashville songwriters Keith and Adrienne Follese. Lead guitarist Nash is the son Paul Overstreet, five-time BMI songwriter, and Phil Keaggy, Grammy-nominated guitarist and multiple Dove Award recipient, is bass Ian’s father.
During their extended set, Hot Chelle Rae played crowd pleasers, including their newest music video single “Honestly,” “I Like it Like That”, and billboard topper, “Tonight, Tonight” from the album, “Whatever.” HCR also performed “Bleed,” and paid tribute to one of their favorite bands, “Weezer,” playing “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To.” Hot Chelle Rae closed out the set with an encore of “Tonight, Tonight” swapping out the songs rap section for the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air*” theme song.
Throughout the entire set, the crowd sang along, mirroring Hot Chelle Rae’s lyrics right back at the band and thus instilling their loyalty to these pop princes. After the tour, HCR is heading back to LA to finish up their next album, promising fans a new playlist of catchy, beat-bopping tunes full of swagger.