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Cute Is What We Aim For | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

The year was 2006 and your middle school scene phase was probably very much alive and well (at least mine was). Pop-punk band, Cute Is What We Aim For, had just released their debut album, The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch and literally took the music scene by storm.

The year is now 2016; it’s 10 years later and these dudes still got it. Last week, the band set out on a month and a half long tour in support of the album’s 10th birthday and on Thursday night, the tour made its way to Philly.

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Grayscale | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Although Cute Is What We Aim For didn’t bring any official support along on this tour, in Philly, two local bands opened the show and set the scene for CIWWAF. First to play were the dudes in Sleep In., rockers from Cherry Hill, NJ who made their way over the Ben Franklin bridge to open this set.

Next up were the beloved guys of Grayscale, Philly based pop-punk band. Majority of their consisted of songs from their new album, What We’re Missing, which was released earlier this year through Anchor Eighty Four Records. These guys are pretty well known locally, so the crowd was super into their set from beginning to end.

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Cute Is What We Aim For | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Now, I had the super cool opportunity to hang out with CIWWAF and their adorable tour pup, Sebastian, backstage, allowing some insight as to how the band prepares for their set each night. Lead singer, Shaant Hacikyan, cut the sleeves off of his iconic “Make America Cute Again” (an obvious play on the the band’s name), then made his way into the bathroom for some vocal warmups. Other members, Tom Falcone, Jeff Czum, and Christian Adams (who wasn’t in the original CIWWAF lineup, but playing bass on this tour) were hanging out backstage as well, talking about how excited they were to play that night, waiting for the clock to hit 9:45 p.m. so they could run out onto stage and start their time machines take Philly back to 2006.


Cute Is What We Aim For | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Making their way onto stage, the band brought the crowd to a deafening roar and began playing the first song off of The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch, “Newport Living”, followed by playing the entirety of the rest of the album from front to back. As I stood side stage, middle school me was absolutely geeking out, and, of course, very eagerly awaiting the band to play “The Curse Of Curves”, and when they finally did in the middle of the set (as the song is in the middle of the album), the entire room erupted and sang along with Hacikyan.

Upon the ending of “Teasing to Please [Left Side, Strong Side]”, the band ran off stage and huddled in a tight circle at the bottom of the stage stairs, listening to the roars of the crowd chanting “ONE MORE SONG, ONE MORE SONG”. After about a minute the band ran back on stage and took their instruments, but Hacikyan took a minute to take it all in before running back up the stage stairs and playing a three song encore, including “Marriage To Millions”, “Doctor”, and fan favorite (besides TCOC of course) “Practice Makes Perfect”, all songs off their second release from 2008, Rotation.

A lot has happened since 2006, artists have come and gone, but people still love this band and this album, which seems to leave Hacikyan and the rest of the band completely speechless every single night. Taking a few moments to talk in between every few songs, he kept extending his gratitude and utter amazement to every single person in that room that night, for remembering them 10 years later. You can check out more photos from this memorable show below!

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