Thursday, September 1, 2016
Columbia City Theatre; Seattle, WA
Written by Kristen Schell
Sex appeal, drums that give you chills, and crisp vocals. Night Argent live is an entirely different experience than say… listening to their EP via Spotify, with a bottle of wine and two cats, which is what I did before going to their show at Columbia Theater in Seattle, WA.
Not only does the band have a clean performance, Night Argent also handled their sound check perfectly – and, I must admit, it is flawless. No mic-squeaks or pitchy vocals, they are basically perfection.
The first song of their set was amazing, all thanks to their heartthrob drummer, Zac Burrell. Drums pounding, full of emotion, yet equally steady and confident. It immediately drew doting fans to the front. The set included the cleanest vocals and guitar riffs I’ve heard in a while and it’s safe to say Night Argent has their stage performance down to a T!
The highlight of the night was when Night Argent circled around the drums at center stage. BOOM BOOM, I immediately find myself inching to the front of the stage. All of the band members begin beating the drums and explode out right into their hit “Widowmaker,” off their self-titled EP!
Talk about a show that ends with every fan pressed up against the stage, props to Night Argent! While frontman Chase Manhattan was a bit jumpy (not in a bad way – just hard to get a good IG pic in all honesty), I loved the overall vibe of the show! I highly recommend you check out their latest EP, Night Argent available on Spotify here. I also suggest you look out for their tour dates… or at least hang a band photo on the wall because these guys are hot, in every sense of the word!
Preoccupy My Brain Tour
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Lola’s Room; Portland, OR
If you find yourself witnessing an excessive amount of hair flipping, spastic jamming, and a uniform of tie-dye and Vans, you’re most likely at a King Shelter show. The foursome commanded the small stage in Portland on Tuesday night with a natural ease and exuberant presence. The Southern California-based group coined the term “salad rock”, best described as a combo of surf/indie/grunge/pop music.
Opening the night with their playful track, ”LuvSub”, the bond of the group was clear from the start with their youthful energy that couldn’t help but put a smile on your face. The night started on a lighthearted note with the theme of failed love and cheery guitar. The vocalist, Taylor, is extremely animated and entertaining to watch as the consistent pang of emotion emerges with each quivering lyric. King Shelter accomplishes a truly organic sound that doesn’t forced when on stage.
The three guitarists Taylor, David, and John bounced spastically along the stage during the majority of the set, colliding into each other, and at one point, dismantling a few speakers and tripping up cables from Adam’s drum set, all in the end brushing it off like it was a normal occurrence.
Their set had a few micro guitar jam sessions sprinkled in that let their more grunge-rock side come through with shouty vocals and heavy drums and guitar, and some more hair flipping. The tracks “People Change” and “Failure” was a genuine, blunt portrayal of their sassier, emotional sides. The trembling, imperfect vocals mixed with their surfer-edge guitar aesthetic is what differentiates this group among other cookie cutter indie-rock out there.
The group played a new track titled “Everything Hurts” they introduced: “To David, R.I.P., man”, which was a lighthearted, comedic track despite its title. Ending the show with the catchy track “Holy Ghost” brought their fun-loving demeanor full circle. These guys have an automatic, natural likability and edge that oozes West Coast cool. They know how to have fun and how to command a room with their versatile sound that keeps listeners engaged.
Love Train Tour, Pt 2
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
New York, NY
Written by Jon Hecht, Photos by Gina Garcia
I’ve lived in New York City for 6 years now. It’s a city of the interlocking concrete grid, the Great White Way, the screech of subway brakes, and some not-bad dive bars that sometimes have good music. I realize that people who don’t live in this city are probably sick of people living here ranting about how great it is, especially considering how much it’s also what happens when a bunch of exceedingly rude cockroaches all start arguing about who has the best pizza.
But there’s a part of this metropolis that is somehow overlooked, despite all the annoying people talking about how great this overcrowded rat maze is. It’s interwoven by water. I’m obsessed with it. I have a roommate who works with boats, and most of my life is just living vicariously through her. I have a book called Gotham Unbound sitting on my coffee table, tracing the history of the city’s waterways ever since the Dutch came to this swamp. I have on numerous occasions read the Walt Whitman poem, “Mannahatta,” and relished in his version of an old (olde?) New York, when it was a “City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts!/City nested in bays! my city!”
I guess that all of this is a roundabout way of saying that I really enjoyed seeing Nikki’s Wives and CeeLo Green on a boat in the Hudson River.
Boston Calling Music Festival
May 27th, 28th, and 29th City Hall Plaza; Boston, Massachusetts
Even before the first note was played, we went into Boston Calling last weekend knowing it would be the biggest one yet.
Early Friday morning, the heads of the festival revealed that this May would not only be 2016’s only edition, but also the final installment of Boston Calling to take place at City Hall Plaza. In an effort to expand the festival in both size and what it offers, this year was a bit of a trial run before making the big move in 2017. With the addition of a smaller stage tucked into the back, a handful of local music acts and comics performed throughout the day, lending a sample of what we can expect next time around – more stages, with more to see.
But, hey, that’s not for another year. Another long, long, what-are-we-going-to-do-with-no-festival-this-September year.
Let’s talk about this year, here’s what you missed; the Good, The Bad, and the Uhhh….
The Mindsweep Tour
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Ace of Spades; Sacramento, CA
Written by Bryce Hoffman
I’m going to level with you, Internet reader. Prior to this show, I had listened to a grand total of 3 Enter Shikari songs. I know, I know. Why am I the one writing a review on their live show? In some ways, sure, I’m the least qualified person to be writing this piece right now. I’m sure there are other attendees who would be much better suited for this task. I had heard the opening bands before (The White Noise and Hands Like Houses, which I’ll get to in a second), so I knew what they sounded like and there was a level of anticipation in that regard. Enter Shikari was a band I had certainly heard of, but just never really listened to. Until after this show. Look, when you can walk into a show having no idea what the headliner sounds like, and can leave that same show equal parts impressed, energized, and on your phone syncing their latest album on Apple Music so you can listen on the way home, then clearly this is a band worth paying attention to. Continue reading Show Review:: The Mindsweep Tour 4/17
Emo Night LA: Taking Back Tuesday
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Hell, The Masquerade; Atlanta, GA
After a year of watching friends on the West Coast attend Emo Night, I was beyond excited to see Taking Back Tuesday finally head south to Atlanta on April 19. Bringing together a few hundred 20-somethings, the night was filled with the songs that made us cry and feel things as teens. Despite the night getting off to a shaky start – I never want to hear “club goin’ up on a Tuesday” ever again – it was Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” that got the party started. Which, for anyone who knows me, is the perfect way to
start a party.
As the Emo Night crew spun hits by Hawthorne Heights, Say Anything, and other hitmakers from the mid-2000s, scattered expletives and raised drinks could be heard and seen as former scene kids recognized the songs of their youth. The invitation to take the stage was taken advantage of as several people made themselves stage regulars to lead singalongs while reaching out to grab hands and going all out to perform to old favorites, like “Seventy Times Seven,” “The Black Parade,” and more. I took advantage of this myself on multiple occasions, fulfilling a dream of mine to sing “Misery Business” on
stage (with a handful of strangers, no biggie) and turning up to Panic! At the
Disco’s breakout, “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies.” Here’s a picture to prove it – taken by Ryan Purcell.
Other highlights of the night included a pit starting on stage to “Fat Lip,” a dancer popping and tutting all night, and a rousing singalong to MCR featuring a dude dressed in his best bulletproof vest.
A few internet celebs were in attendance, such as Aaron Chewning and Sara Hopkins, but it was Cartel’s drummer and Atlanta native Kevin Sanders’ presence that got the crowd hyped as “Honestly” rang through the speakers.
Though Emo Night boasts merch with slogans like “Sad as Fuck” or “ride or cry,” I left in higher spirits than I came. Even though the music still gets to me and makes me emotional from time to time, there’s nothing like being in a room full of people who feel the same way as you, singing the songs that said what you needed to hear as a teenager. For just a moment, everyone was back in high school and thoughts about bills, work, and school were tossed aside to dust off lyrics memorized back in the days of straightened hair and studded belts.
Needless to say, Taking Back Tuesday’s first night in Atlanta was one to remember. Hands down.
The Light in the Cave tour
Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
Soundstage; Baltimore, MD
Review by Caitlyn Willard
The Light in the Cave tour, headlined by I See Stars, hit Baltimore for the first date of the run this past Wednesday at Soundstage. The tour lineup includes Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, Get Scared, Palaye Royale, and The White Noise.
First to hit the stage was The White Noise, an up and coming band from Los Angeles. These guys set the bar high for the opening acts. They came out with full energy from the beginning as frontman, Shawn Walker, jumped into the crowd during the first song. It seemed that most of the crowd hadn’t heard of them before, but The White Noise left them with a performance they won’t soon forget.
Next up was Palaye Royale who also hail from the Los Angeles area. Genre wise, this group are definitely the odd balls on this tour, but that’s not a bad thing. Palaye have a mixture of smooth rock n roll with a slightly bluesy vibe and raspy vocals from singer, Remmington Leith. Despite having a different sound than the rest of the lineup, Palaye were still able to win over the crowd and gain fans.
Unfortunately, Get Scared had vehicle issues and were unable to make it to the show, so Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! took the stage early, but had the crowd engaged instantly. A definite crowd pleaser was their cover of “All Star” by Smashmouth. Whether they had heard of Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! or not, everyone in the room was singing along and jumping up and down. They ended their set strong with their most popular song, “In Friends We Trust.”
It was now time for the band that everyone came to see, I See Stars. This was my first time seeing them live and I was definitely impressed with their performance. I See Stars played a variety of songs, and didn’t fail to satisfy fans who hope and pray for older songs. From the die-hard fans shoved up against barricade to the mosh pits in the back of the room, I See Stars brought the house down with their never dying energy and enthusiasm for playing shows.
Brian Fallon & The Crowes Thursday, February 18th Ace of Spades; Sacramento, CA Review by Bryce Hoffman
From the early days of The Gaslight Anthem, to his various
side projects, Brian Fallon and the musicians he surrounds himself with have
always managed to give respectful nods to the classics, while adding in their
own attitude and style to the mix. While we still have to wait a few weeks for
his solo album, the singles he has released have proved that not much has
changed in that regard.
To say I was excited for his set last week in Sacramento is
a dramatic understatement. Like many
others, I was introduced to The Gaslight Anthem through the success of their
debut single “The ’59 Sound”, from their sophomore album of the same name, back
in the summer of 2008. While they’ve toured and come close to my area in the
past, I hadn’t been able to catch them. This was my first time seeing any
semblance of The Gaslight Anthem/Molly and The Zombies/The Horrible Crowes, and
it was well worth the wait.
Opening the set with the piano and organ-heavy, vocally
driven “Last Rites,” taken from his work with Ian Perkins as The Horrible
Crowes, Brian and his phenomenally talented band set the tone for the rest of
the night. Immediately following the closing notes, they jumped right in to
“Red Lights,” an upbeat song with an incredibly infectious hook that Brian
originally wrote for his side project Molly and The Zombies years prior. It
became evident very quickly that not only was the band as a whole exceptionally
talented as musicians, but they also seemed to be having a genuinely good time.
It was easy to see how much they enjoyed the songs they were performing and
they fed off each other’s energy, which only enhanced the experience for those
of us in attendance.
Brian Fallon’s set overall was a fantastic mix of songs from
The Horrible Crowes, Molly and The Zombies, as well as a handful of select
songs from his debut solo record Painkillers, out next month (March 11 via Island Records). It was great getting to hear some of those songs, like “Among
Other Foolish Things” for the first time, in anticipation of the new album. The
night ebbed and flowed nicely, with energetic, groovy songs (”Go Tell Everybody,”
“A Wonderful Life,” “Mary Ann”) balanced perfectly alongside more somber, stripped
down performances (”Sugar,” “Honey Magnolia”). Brian kept the energy up even
between the more intimate moments, often joking and sharing stories and
observations. The flow of songs was perfect, and my only complaint is based off
of my own selfish desires to have the set last another hour.
Brian Fallon is an important artist, and one that is absolutely
worth noticing. His writing has always been raw and uniquely his; there hasn’t
been any niche or act within the lyrics or musicality of his art, and it’s
evident that the songs he write come directly from his own experiences. While
some bands or artists may fade with the ever-changing tides of music, I feel
confident saying that the majority of music he has written will absolutely
stand the test of time, and his live set is no exception.
Everything in Transit
Tenth Anniversary Tour Thursday, February 4th 2016 The Royale; Boston, MA Review and photos by Eric Riley
A few months back, I was lucky enough to cover the
Wilderness Politics Tour when it rolled through Albany. LOLO was wonderful, New
Politics crushed it, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness was as great as ever.
Writing up my review for that show, I almost
got carried away with talking about my undying love for Everything in Transit. But, I contained myself. This time around,
however, I feel a pretty good rant building up. So strap in.
I wasn’t all that subtle last time around when I was talking
about how impressive this record is. Nor have I ever been very subtle when
talking about how impressive this record is. It isn’t just the flawlessness of
it, and it isn’t just the story surrounding it. It’s not about how I felt when
I first heard it, nor is it about how well it holds up (Hell, it’s probably
even better a decade later). It’s all of these things and then some; it’s about
all of these things coming together for one final run.
Openers Leisure Cruise did a commendable job setting the
tone for the evening. Their set was upbeat and fun, without seeming to try too
hard. Unfortunately, the 35-minute happened to drag for what felt like longer
than the half hour time slot. And while that seems like a dig at the artist, it
says far more about the headliner and the situation. Much like when NK were given
the nod as the opener for Fall Out Boy’s return tour, or Mike Herrera beginning
the nights of Anberlin’s farewell run, the openers for these special tours are
given little slack. On any other evening, the applause would have been greater,
the cheers probably a bit more sincere. But, the room was there for Jack’s
Mannequin, and anything else was just standing in the way.
Moments before the main set began, the stage began coming
together – McMahon’s piano taking center stage, setlists taped to each station,
a large, brightly-lit asterisk hung in the background. The first flash of white
light brought a surge of energy from the eager crowd.
a soundtrack of beach winds, SoCal traffic, and seagull caws playing, the
reunited five-piece took the stage beneath blue lights, welcomed by deafening
first half of the setlist was obvious – the near-dozen chapters of Everything
in Transit played in succession. While we knew the songs and the order
they’d be coming, the additions of the little soundbites throughout the record
were a nice touch – the aforementioned background noise before “Holiday
from Real,” Andrew’s spoken words throughout “I’m Ready,” the
ending monologue following the closing half of “Made for Each
help give things a nice 10-year update, some minor additions and adjustments
were made here and there. "La La Lie” was simplified and stripped
down to the basics, done so without losing any of its impact. Later, the break
between “MFEO” and “You Can Breathe Now” was transformed
into an extended vamp, giving McMahon a chance to walk around the stage,
addressing the audience and thanking them for not only coming out for the
evening, but sticking around for the last decade, making an anniversary tour
not only possible, but highly sought-after.
encore brought a mixture of songs from other JM releases, both fast and
as the band mentioned, it wasn’t your traditional encore. McMahon spoiled the
trade secret of bands exiting stage and standing off to the side, waiting for
applause to draw them back out – “it’s just a lot of extra work, to go
stand, like, ten feet over that way behind the curtain and wait; we’d rather
just keep playing music.”
or not, a grab bag of other favorites capped off the night, throwing in a few
songs fans may have not expected to hear. “Hammers and Strings” and
“Swim” tugged at the room’s collective heartstrings, while
“Crashin’” and “Bloodshot” (which gets a surprising amount
of play – it was used last time around, too) kept the floor spinning. The night
came to an end with a Jack’s Mannequin favorite – a cover of Tom Petty’s
“American Girl.” It’s interesting to see a cover song act as
such a staple in a band’s arsenal, but when it is performed this well, even
with the lead singer crowdsurfing his way around the venue the entire time, why
not keep it going?
not sure what else there is to say about the show, the album, or the band in
general, really. There are plenty of classic records out there, and a handful
of them are “no-skippers,” as my sisters and I call them. Elton John’s Captain Fantastic, an album that I
heard, and I’m not exaggerating here, more than once a day while I was growing
up, is on that list. Boston’s self-titled is pretty close to perfect, and Born to Run is a masterpiece. In
more-recent history, the numbers get a bit smaller – Thrice’s Vheissu is beautiful from start to
finish, Razia’s Shadow is one of the
most underrated records of [at least] this generation, and then there’s Everything In Transit. When it first
came out, I was a skinny, pale, shy 14-year-old high schooler, and I had never
heard anything so incredible. Now, as a less-skinny, equally-pale, still
moderately-shy 24-year-old, I’ve still yet to find an album that holds a candle
to it. It’s been a decade, and I still find myself listening to it from front
to back a few times a week. And, if they decide to give us Twenty Years in Transit, you can bet I’ll be right back in the
front row once again.
So, that’s the record. … Until the next time, it’s been, uhh … it’s
been interesting. But I’m glad that we
have her done. Jack’s Mannequin.
Everything in Transit.
Setlist: Holiday From Real The Mixed Tape Bruised I’m Ready La La Lie Dark Blue Miss Delaney Kill the Messenger Rescued MFEO: Made for Each Other You Can Breathe Now Into the Airwaves — Hammers and Strings Crashin’ Amy I Bloodshot — Swim The Resolution American Girl
LOLO Wednesday, February 3, 2016 Brighton Music Hall; Boston, MA Review and photos by Kara Kokinos
Last Wednesday, LOLO took the stage at Brighton Music Hall in Boston, bringing a solid set of power ballads and dance jams. Her set started off with the angry, heartbreak driven “Heard It From A Friend,” Donning a fur coat, the petite singer belted her lungs out, welcoming the enthusiastic crowd forward. If you are unfamiliar with the singer, her 2013 video for the song is a fantastic introduction. Rhythmic and self-driving, the track carries the same energy across live. And if her killer voice seems familiar, you have probably heard it on Panic! At The Disco’s, “Miss Jackson,” “Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries,” as well as the original cast recordings of “Spring Awakening”.
Not afraid to get close to the crowd, the singer had beckoned those in attendance towards the stage and discarded restrictive layers and fallen to her knees by the middle of her second song, “Comeback Queen.” The performance aspect of LOLO’s set is not to be understated. Clapping along with the track, dramatic gesturing, eye contact with the audience, and ripping through her vocals all seemed to be second nature to Pritchard. “Comeback Queen” is an incredibly danceable track that calls for gospel backup vocalists and invokes plenty of “girl power” imagery.
This badassery was highlighted not only on her more upbeat tunes. With touring guitartist Josh Hoisington, the duo live mixed some beats and slashed through pre-recorded tracks but on the slower tracks they performed, including new track “The Courtyard” and “I Don’t Wanna Have to Lie,” there was a clear ache behind the words being sung. It would be difficult to compete with LOLO’s vocals but on her slower songs, they were given the opportunity to glisten against the more basic guitar/piano backings. That being said, there was an incredible build to every track performed that night as well as a clear narrative that went into the writing and performance.
Straddling the soul and alternative rock genres, LOLO’s writing is incredibly nuanced and with an obvious jazz atmosphere within a pop track. While on her recorded material the singer’s power is more implicit and backed by more muted instrumentals, her live material is full of raw energy. Closing out the night, LOLO’s “Hit & Run” brought the same hard hitting energy as her opening two tracks, with the attitude of a late 2000s Carrie Underwood with the gritty tone of Juliet Simms. LOLO’s unabashed gesturing and use of the smaller Brighton Music Hall Stage transformed the venue. It was impossible not to be sucked into the space she created.
While on the shorter side, LOLO’s set packed a hefty punch and her natural stage presence reminded me of a set I caught from Halsey at a small, coffeeshop venue at the start of her career. If the new tracks that were performed that night, “Devil’s Gone to Dinner” and “No Time For Lonely,” are any indicator, it shouldn’t be long until LOLO is on everyone’s radar.