Photo of Twenty One Pilots
While people who are less familiar with Twenty One Pilots are confused by their fans' devotion to them, they will understand after attending one of their concerts. (Image via Instagram/@twentyonepilots)

The Hype Around Twenty One Pilots Is Well Deserved

While the American musical duo may seem like any other band on the surface, their electrifying performances and devotion to their fans make them special.

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Photo of Twenty One Pilots

While the American musical duo may seem like any other band on the surface, their electrifying performances and devotion to their fans make them special.

When people think about dedicated fans, artists that come to mind are Beyoncé, Taylor Swift or BTS. While Twenty One Pilots is becoming more well-known, many still don’t know about how devoted their fan base, known as the clique, actually is. Fans can claim they would do anything for their favorite band, but the fans of Twenty One Pilots truly commit to the bit.

Before you even make the joke “Oh, do they have 21 members?” — no. Actually, Twenty One Pilots is a two-member band composed of its lead singer, Tyler Joseph, and drummer, Josh Dun. Both boys are from Columbus, Ohio, and always manage to mention how special their hometown is to them. Their sound has been explained by many different people in many different ways. With that being said, it’s safest to say they are a combination of pop, rock and alternative with soft hues of rap and emo-pop. Although they aren’t as popular as other bands, they still have made quite a name for themselves. Their fourth studio album, “Blurryface,” is the first album on which every track received at least one gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. It’s a pretty great album and, if you feel inclined to give it a listen, you can do so here.

What makes them so special in comparison to other bands? Sure, others have done it better, but no one does it quite like them. There is a personal touch at each one of their shows. Just as their fans care for the band, the band cares for the fans. They search for every possible chance to get closer to the audience or to find a way to make them a part of the show. A cheesy but meaningful quote they say after their shows is “We are Twenty One Pilots and so are you.” It makes me roll my eyes and smile a dumb smile at the same time.

Counting all the things that go into one Twenty One Pilots show would result in a list longer than Santa’s naughty and nice lists combined. The show always begins with some kind of bang: On their “Trench” tour, they opened up the show with their song “Jumpsuit,” which included a flaming car on stage. I’m not talking about a Hot Wheels car or something — they set a life-size car on fire to open up one of their shows. As the night goes on, each performance is sure to bring more energy than the last. Tyler jumps off his piano, and then Josh backflips off of it. Tyler crowd surfs and stands on top of the crowd with little to no security.

A few more signature Twenty One Pilots experiences that fans live for are what they call “drum island” and “B stage.Drum island is when Josh has his drums and himself up on a platform that is being held up solely by the fans. They hold this platform up while he has a drum solo and these “islands” resurface at the end of the set when both members play drums on them. B stage isn’t as showy as the others, but special all the same. It’s a smaller stage toward the back of the venue where a medley of older Twenty One Pilots songs is played along with a few others. This is such a meaningful part of the set because if you weren’t able to get to the concert early enough to get to the front on the main stage, you still have the opportunity to get closer to the second stage. Twenty One Pilots always makes a point to include moments that every concertgoer can enjoy, no matter where their seat is located.

The “Takeover Tour” included many fan-favorite songs while incorporating fun covers and a blue dragon named Trash. As the tour came to an end, many fans were already experiencing post-concert depression. Fortunately, they weren’t feeling down for too long. They announced that another tour, “The Icy Tour,” will begin later this summer and the clique has already begun giving away their life savings to Ticketmaster for the chance to see them yet again. Many fans believe this tour will be similar to the last and almost like a second installment of the “Takeover Tour.” Twenty One Pilots are currently playing festival sets, which have people speculating about which songs will make it into the next tour. Although not much has been confirmed regarding its setlist, everyone is hyped nonetheless.

Knowing all the effort Twenty One Pilots puts into maintaining an open dialogue with their fans, it isn’t a surprise that the clique returns this effort as well. I have personally camped out in the snow in an attempt to get a good spot in the pit. I remember when I was 17, I told my dad that I had to get in line at 4 a.m. for one of their shows and my dad told me I was ridiculous and being overdramatic. However, when we showed up at 6 a.m., I was the 57th person joining an already long line that had likely started several hours prior.

Some members of the clique, myself included, argue that the camping culture is one of the biggest aspects of seeing the band live. There’s something so unique about becoming friends with strangers, but somehow you end up feeling like you’ve known these people your whole life. This band creates such a safe space and community of people that I will forever be grateful for. I have made friends from just sitting in line for shows years ago, and I remain in touch with many of these friends today. A day camping is a day spent laughing, playing games, going on food runs and just having an experience I will never experience anywhere else. Some fans have even started camping out a week in advance just because they love the atmosphere so much. If I didn’t have to worry about school or work, I would be doing the same.

I have never loved every aspect of a band like I love Twenty One Pilots. I encourage everyone to see one of their shows at least once because, while you might not be a fan, there will be some part you enjoy. Regardless of the songs they sing, the show alone is worth attending. There’s never a dull moment. There’s not a minute you don’t feel included in the family that is the clique.

Writer Profile

Tori Barney

Columbia College Chicago
Creative Writing

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