Waking Up Boston: Emblem3 Kick Off Summer

Keely Chisolm ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

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Emblem3 is Drew Chadwick, Wesley Stromberg, and Keaton Stromberg. Photo credit: Emblem3 website


This time last year, Emblem3 fans thought the band was done. Drew Chadwick left the three-piece pop group in June 2014 to pursue a solo career, and a year later, the remaining members, brothers Keaton and Wesley Stromberg, decided to call it quits as a duo. This Memorial Day weekend, though, it was like they had never broken up. Emblem3 played to an enthusiastic crowd at Boston’s House of Blues on May 27.

Two hours before the concert start time, the band played a fifteen-minute acoustic set for the VIP fans, doing more joking with each other and riffing on guitars rather than rehearsing, but the fans loved it anyway.

“The last time we were here as a band was 2014,” Wesley Stromberg said. “It feels great to be back, all of us.”

“We love Boston!” his brother added with a laugh.

When it comes to the songwriting process, the boys are driven by a variety of inspirations. Keaton Stromberg said “life,” Wesley Stromberg said “girls,” and Chadwick said “everything.” Wesley Stromberg went on: “We pull from every experience, because it’s all important. It all means something. Even if you think it doesn’t matter, it does.”

Emblem3 perform at soundcheck. Photo by Keely Chisholm
Emblem3 perform at soundcheck. Photo by Keely Chisholm


For the next two hours, fans saw three opening acts: Dyllan Murray, a lively synth-pop act whose backup dancers helped get the crowd excited; Megan Nicole, a singer with as much bounce in her step as in her ruffly tiered skirt; and The Ready Set, who, judging by the noise from the crowd, was the best known of the three. All acts came out with high energy, setting the stage for what was to come.

Emblem3 came out to a wall of screams from the audience, and wasted no time launching into their first song, “Girl Next Door.” Reggae-style beats and breezy lyrics about sunsets, beaches, and driving around Los Angeles made it a perfect start to summer. The three bounced around the stage with ease befitting the light, poppy songs. Better known songs like “Chloe (You’re the One I Want)” and “Just For One Day” were interspersed with newer songs like “City Lights,” which was released on an EP in February of this year. With Chadwick on guitar and Keaton Stromberg on guitar and keyboard, they proved to be versatile performers, all while keeping a constant connection with the crowd.

Polished and effortless as the show seemed, there was definitely room for spontaneity. Wesley broke into a mid-concert impromptu cover of “Often” by The Weeknd, much to the delight of fans.

They closed with “Sunset Boulevard,” the very first song the world heard them sing at their X Factor audition in 2012. It’s also an ode to youth and freedom in Los Angeles, which encompassed the entire show in a nutshell. There were no social commentaries made that night, no material with more than a good beat and fun lyrics—but that’s okay. In this world, it’s nice to step into a show that feels like fresh fizzy lemonade, and have fun.

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