"It's our last show, so you might as well stand up!" shouts KC Wells, bassist for The Day After, to the crowd Thursday at the Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip. Amidst the flashing strobe lights of the relatively new venue, the 10-year-old alt-rock band begins its adieu to the local music scene. As the audience obediently moves forward, shots are placed onstage, encouraging a round of toasts that continue flowing throughout the night. Wells' salutes — from the cheer-inducing to the teary — complement the night's mood: bittersweet.
The show isn't short on fun, however. Midway through the set, it transforms into a reunion, as four former members appear onstage to pay respect. "See how many band members we've had?" singer/guitarist Jenine Cali jokes between embraces, noticeably touched by their surprise turnout. There's even an impromptu guest performance, as Randall Logan, frontman for veteran Vegas band Corner Stone, jumps up and grabs a mic.
But it's still a goodbye show, and the waterworks begin to flow with the culmination of the trio's swan song, "Car Crash," the single that first put them on the map. As the last chord is struck, Cali, Wells and drummer Daniel Kloza come together for a group hug, while Cali brushes away tears and continually thanks the sizeable audience.
"It could have been five people, it could have been 2,000 people," she says afterwards. "The people who cared were here — the people who were here from the beginning. That's all that matters."