Alive Through Sound: Briston Maroney and Medium Build

By: JoAnn Snavely

On Monday, Sep 12, 2022 at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, Briston Maroney played his 5th show on the final leg of his Headlining All Aboard Tour, which is a segment of his latest album Sunflower’s world tour. I was lucky to quite literally have a front-row view of what I can without a doubt call “the show of a lifetime.” For some general context for prospective attendees to his shows, it was all General Admission and I showed up at 2:30 pm (doors were at 7:00pm), I was third in line and there weren’t too many people in line (about 8 or so after the first 4 hours), but it did pick up as it was a sold out show.


Medium Build (Nicholas Carpenter) was the opener for Briston and was without a doubt one of the best openers I have ever had the honor of seeing. The Georgia native turned Alaskan brings such unique vocalism paired with some of the most powerful lyrics I’ve ever heard; lyrics that are even better live.

The energy brought by both Nicholas and his band was so unmatched. There was raw emotion displayed that I genuinely wanted to sob throughout the entire show. His set consisted of many amazing hits of his such as Rabbit, comeonback, ALONE IN MY CAR, and an unreleased (now released) song titled Rage. Just by watching the show, you could feel the excitement. The crowd came ready with energy that would last from the first song Nicholas played to Briston’s closing song. Not only was the musical part of the set amazing, so was Nicholas just being Nicholas. The stories he told and the way he brought every song to life beyond its lyrics was something truly powerful that takes talent to make happen–talent that Nicholas so clearly possesses. His vocals genuinely transcended any expectations I had of Nicholas as an opener, and I was left mind-blown and on my way to an existential crisis! I personally had taken it upon myself to listen to Medium Build a few months before the show, and I had already fallen in love with the sheer talent exhibited by them. His music talks about some of life’s realest emotions, with the most prevalent of those being love, and consequently losing it. However, it isn’t just about love, it’s about grief, the light at the end of the tunnel, and everything in-between, which is something any human can connect to.


Briston Maroney is a musician from Knoxville, Tennessee who began his rise to fame after he became a quarter-finalist on American Idol a few years back. He has released many songs with some of his most popular songs being Freakin’ Out On The Interstate, Small Talk, and Caroline. He has a sound like no other, with an indie foundation that is perfect by itself.The additions of folk and country influences make his music an experience uncontainable within any genre, one that is hardly replicated in music. The feelings of comfort and heartbreak that follow his genius lyricism and vocal talent truly are an experience no one wants to pass up, not to mention some of the most unique and uplifting instrumentalism.What’s icing on the cake is that Briston Maroney is an experience that is only amplified live.

I have been to a few concerts over the years, and I can wholeheartedly say that no show has ever matched the energy and pure adrenaline that I felt in those few hours while seeing Briston. Even while he was playing songs I would typically sob over, I found myself jumping around and screaming  the lyrics like I had never before. 2 days later, as I’m writing this, my voice is still gone. It was such a cathartic experience that seeing many other musicians live can replicate, but I can’t stress enough how Briston Maroney live does just that. The set list consisted of my favorite songs like Fools Gold, June, Cinnamon, Under My Skin, and a couple unreleased songs that were absolutely mindblowing to hear for the first time. Included in the set, was a 3-song acoustic performance included with a banjo! So many different musical variabilities were present throughout the show that you do not want to miss next time around. 

And if you’re a fan of crowd work, you’re in for a treat. There were so many beautiful moments shared by both Briston and the audience. Briston Maroney frequently interacted with his fans where he had conversations, took BeReals, played rock, paper, scissors, and even brought a long-time fan on stage (this does not include the extremely lucky moment I had where he took my disposable camera mid-show and snapped a pic!). The audience kept these interactions going–whether it was clapping along to any song with a beat, to jumping around during nearly every chorus, or doing the classic flashlight wave during Cinnamon. It was also special singing lines Briston forgot during Under My Skin, and swaying arm-in-arm with the entire audience to Freaking’ Out On The Interstate I was surrounded by people I hadn’t met until a few hours prior, and it was such a unifying experience, but also so beautiful to think about. All 750 or so people that stood inside the sold-out venue were unified by one thing– our love for Briston; and with that, these strangers felt like a family for those few hours as we all came together with our collective grief and pain set aside to have a good time and hear one of the most life changing shows I had ever and may ever have the pleasure of attending.


Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to at a minimum to check out both of these talented musicians. If my influence has reached that far, I have created two of the ultimate playlists (see links below) in which to get into both Briston Maroney and Medium Build. Although their discographies aren’t large in quantity, the quality is truly something you don’t want to miss. Their musical talents are so beautiful and unique, and I will never stop recommending either artist.


Over the next few months, I have the honor of seeing quite a few of my all-time favorite musicians, and through this, I will be birthing a brand new series at the Herald that as you may have noticed will be titled Alive Through Sound. This series will contain live music reviews , concert tips, album reviews, and everything related to music! Some of the musicians that will be featured in the live music portion of this series will be: Dayglow, COIN, Ritt Momney, The Greeting Committee, The Wrecks, Arlie, Narrow Head, and many more! I can’t wait to show my passion for music–specifically live music–throughout the course of this series! 


Set List

Introduction to Briston

Introduction to Medium Build


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