Twenty One Pilots wow fans at Colours of Ostrava with nod to Czech folk song
Czechia’s largest and most popular music festival, Colours of Ostrava, closed its gates this weekend after four days of concerts and events held in the industrial complex of Dolní Vítkovice. Attendees were treated to headline acts such as The Killers, Franz Ferdinand and LP. But one act in particular went the extra mile to impress their fans.
When big-name international acts come to perform in smaller lesser-known cities, a sign that the performers know where they are and have made an effort to engage with the local culture is especially appreciated. The engagement at this year’s long-awaited Colours of Ostrava festival ranged from a shout-out to Czechia’s third-largest city to a word or two in Czech to the audience.
But the hands-down winners of audience engagement at this year’s Colours of Ostrava have to be American musical duo Twenty One Pilots. Their efforts to sprinkle their show with a dash of local flavour went above and beyond the usual repertoire of “hellos” and “thank yous”.
The pair, who hail from Columbus, Ohio, began by impressing the audience early on with a few words in Czech. Frontman and lead vocalist Tyler Joseph called out in Czech “Hello Ostrava, how are you?” – even using the vocative case correctly.
Later on, drummer Josh Dun said “Good evening, welcome to our concert” in Czech, with admittedly not perfect but still fully understandable pronunciation, and the effort was appreciated – the crowd went wild.
Overall, the show was high energy and visually spectacular, with lights, lasers, and acrobatics such as Dun doing a backflip on stage and Taylor standing on the hands of the crowd and being held up by fans as he sang. But the musicians gave the audience a brief respite in the middle, including a more low-key section where they sat around a campfire and sang covers of old American folk and pop songs. And once again, Joseph didn’t miss an opportunity to throw a bone to his fans.
“We’re not here for very long but I just want you to know that you have a very beautiful country,” he said as he strummed a ukulele.
Towards the end of the concert, Joseph mentioned his Czech roots, telling the audience he had a great-grandmother from Czechia who lived to be, in his words, “like 205” and wishing the crowd similarly long and happy lives. But the highlight had to be when the band wowed their fans by playing beloved Czech folk song “Co jste hasiči” on the trumpet, surprising them and whipping them up to a near feverish pitch.
It was small touches like these that made the fans feel valued and like the performers had truly made an effort to do some research about the place where they were going and prepare in a way that not many big-name acts do when touring.
From talking to people at the festival, it was clear that a large proportion of the festivalgoers were excited about seeing Twenty One Pilots and that they were certainly not disappointed afterwards. A common sentiment was that the duo’s eclectic musical style, pulling together elements of rap, hip-hop, pop, and electronic music, was perfectly suited to Colours, a multi-genre musical extravaganza in itself.