The desire to "do something different" was the inspiration for Plain White T's new tour, Three Part Harmony: A Show in Three Acts.
The Chicago pop-punk outfit will come out rocking at each show, then switch to a four-song acoustic interlude, during which frontman Tom Higgenson will play harmonica, Dave Tirio will play accordion and the quintet will presumably perform "Hey There, Delilah." Plain White T's will finish with what Higgenson refers to as "a medley" of full-length songs joined together by specially created transitions and include a snippet of an as-yet-unchosen cover song. The 38-date tour kicks off Thursday in Cleveland.
"This is kind of a way to showcase every side of the band," Higgenson tells Billboard.com. "To a lot of our old school fans we're a rock band, and a lot of fans that have come over the past year or two love our acoustic stuff. So we do the acoustic thing. We do the rock thing and...show we're not just some pop band by really doing something that takes skill. That's the idea, at least. Hopefully people will get it."
Three Part Harmony is Plain White T's most extensive headlining run yet in support of the group's fifth album, "Big Bad World," which came out in September. "World" is enjoying a resurgence thanks to the second single "1,2,3,4," which sits at No. 15 on the Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks chart.
"I still think that it's the best album we've made so far," Higgenson notes, acknowledging the group's audience is in a bit of transition. " 'Delilah' got so big I think some of our old school fans maybe moved on to the next small indie band they could go to shows and hang out with. But I think the more and more people who get this album, even if they buy it just 'cause they hear '1,2,3,4,' will love it from start to finish.
"And hopefully the live show helps with that, too, 'cause we're doing a lot more of those songs live. If anybody comes to the show that doesn't have the new album, hopefully they'll leave wanting to go pick it up."
After Three Part Harmony wraps in early May, Plain White T's plan to head to Europe, where "1,2,3,4" is also making waves. "We'll just be touring for the rest of the year," Higgenson says. "I guess we have to play it by ear. If we get another single going that's really moving, we'll keep touring and pushing this album and then record the next one when it's time."
Higgenson will also be heard on "Bored of Your Love," a track he co-wrote for Meg & Dia's "here, here and here" album, which comes out April 21.