Aly & AJ brought both nostalgia and future to The Fillmore Silver Spring recently with support from Armors. Anyone who came-of-age in the mid 2000s has probably heard of the duo, consisting of sisters Aly and AJ Michalka. They released their pop-rock debut album Into the Rush in 2005 and Insomniatic in 2007, including the single “Potential Breakup Song.” After a decade-long break, Aly & AJ returned in 2017 with the ’80s infused, indie-pop Ten Years, and released Sanctuary on May 10.
Watch the official music video for “Potential Breakup Song” by Aly & AJ on YouTube:
On their Sanctuary Tour, Aly & AJ performed both Ten Years and Sanctuary in their entirety, along with a mix of older hits. They opened with two tracks from Sanctuary, “Church” and “Star Maps,” before taking it back to 2007 with “Closure.”
Watch the official music video for “Church” by Aly & AJ on YouTube:
Hearing a rock song immediately follow a synthpop song, the differences in genre between Aly & AJ’s older and newer work highlighted an amount of change that the sisters experienced over the years during their hiatus. However, on May 22, they didn’t fully depart from their younger selves, ending “Rush” with heavy instrumentals and flashing lights that brought an extra burst of energy to the crowd — believe it or not, they went hard.
“Shows are a sanctuary for our fans,” Aly previously explained in a press release, “Hearing their stories about how they came to our music or how it impacted their life — it really touched us and we wanted to give something back.” The duo created a personal feeling in the packed venue, from introducing many of their new songs to discussing their partnership with The Trevor Project, an organization that works to prevent suicide among young LGBT individuals. Before playing “Good Love,” they encouraged the audience to take out their phones and donate to The Trevor Project.
Aly & AJ began their encore with a stripped down setup, their vocal harmonies shining as they covered Kacey Musgraves’s “Slow Burn” followed by Into The Rush’s “No One.” They brought full instrumentals back for the show’s final songs, the anthemic “Sanctuary” and iconic “Potential Breakup Song.”
Though nostalgia is powerful, Aly & AJ asserted that the past was not the end of their glory days and proved that they can connect with fans now more than ever.
Here are some pictures of Aly & AJ performing at The Fillmore Silver Spring on May 22, 2019. All photos copyright and courtesy of Angel Kim.
Here are some pictures of Armors performing at The Fillmore Silver Spring on May 22, 2019.