Anticipating listeners filled the Aisle 5 concert venue in Little Five Points on a cold Saturday night. The quaint and intimate room was consumed by fluorescent lights and the music of the opening band Dinner Time, whose sound is a perfect blend of Mac DeMarco and Pool House. When their set ended, the crowd audibly grew in excitement as the duo Hotel Fiction took the stage and began their first concert since returning home to Atlanta. “There is nothing like playing in a city that feels like home to us,” lead singer and songwriter Jade Long shouted as she took the stage.
Hotel Fiction, which consists of Long and Jessica Thompson, finds it challenging to categorize their music into any one genre. It is an effortless mix of indie-pop, with the prominent use of the keyboard and upbeat, daydreamy lyrics, and hints of alternative rock with Thompson’s heavy use of the drums and electric guitar. Hotel Fiction songs convey what it feels like to be young and lost: However tumultuous it may seem, there is a beauty within this uncertainty. The audience screamed along to each song, filled with nostalgia, bliss and longing, as if every person could relate to the shared heartbreak the duo portrayed in their lyrics.
The artists played popular songs from their debut album “Soft Focus”: “Astronaut Kids,” “Out of my Head” and “Think Twice,” as well as unreleased songs such as “Man on the Moon,” which left the crowd excited for the future of Hotel Fiction. They ended the night with a cover of “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers, which did immense justice to the original song. The audience danced with one another, screaming and chanting, “If you can’t hold on, hold on,” as the night came to an end.
Hotel Fiction began as the dream of college-aged Long and Thompson. The two were introduced through mutual friends and described the formation of their duo as puzzle pieces beautifully and seamlessly falling into place. After a month of writing demos and planning to release music, a college friend asked them to perform their first show. They wrote the majority of their debut album in anticipation of the performance. “It was the most magical night and overall experience. We met our producer, Tommy Trautwein, there, and then we knew that we could do this for real,” Long stated, as their dreams shifted towards their reality.
Long dedicates a lot of her journey to people she met along the way. Not only Thompson, but her friends and family supported her through the transition from an eager college student to an upcoming artist. She referred to her song “Steady” as a descriptor of this period of time, which states, “All I need is some company, someone that can keep this boat steady.” “It is all about friends, and it is all about needing someone,” Long said.
It was difficult for Long to reply when asked about the most prized line she had written. “All of them are special on their own; they all share such a special experience,” Long said. In the end, she chose the bridge of the band’s most well-known song, “Astronaut Kid,” a song that resonates with many other college students, including myself. The upbeat tune is about learning to love the current version of yourself, rather than saving your love until after you have achieved every aspiration. “You do not need to be better than the person you are at this moment. As long as you have the people you love, I do not need to be an astronaut in space. I am happy to be here,” said Long.
The duo hopes for their career to continue to grow in the future. Along with releasing new music, their next step is filming their first music video. “I have so many ideas in my head that I am excited about. I am so ready for this next step,” Long said.
In all, I am immensely grateful to have met and seen Hotel Fiction. Not only was their show captivating, with great energy and acoustics, but their interactions with their fans were also one of my favorite qualities. Both them and their opener Dinner Time stayed until the very end of the night and were willing and excited to answer mine or other concert-goers’ questions. Much like Hotel Fiction themselves, the concert was filled with heart and joy. I look forward to seeing what’s to come of two girls with a dream and an astronomical amount of talent.