LET’S CHAT

Greetings!

It has been quite some time since we have last spoken and I have no explanation to offer other than that I took a necessitated, although unintentionally prolonged, break. The past few months have been some of the most hectic I have ever experienced and while I cherish this outlet dearly, I decided to temporarily put it on the back burner for the sake of my own mentality. As a senior in high school, my typically uneventful schedule has been occupied with endless college applications and repeated SAT’s, restricting me to a monotonous routine, lacking the freedom I once obtained. While the guilt of my neglect sits upon my shoulders, I finally feel as though I am in a stable enough state to return to the comfort of regularly uploading.

Rather than going back to my previous strategy of accumulating songs for a monthly playlist, I have tampered with the idea of no longer limiting myself to a strict agenda and transitioning to occasional themed playlists instead. Unfortunately, I find myself unmotivated when acting upon a timeline, causing the joy of sharing my music each month to become a burden. I also hope to continue writing reviews of concerts that I attend, and fortunately, I have a few pretty extraordinary shows on the horizon.

Next month, I will finally be fulfilling a six-year dream of seeing Two Door Cinema Club live, as they tour their newly released album, Gameshow. Also in December, I will be attending The Growlers’ City Club tour, which happens to be my latest obsession. Foxygen awaits me in the new year, as I will be seeing them for the first time in April with one of my dearest companions, and I am sure that many more are to come.

Since my last concert review of The 1975 back in April, I saw them two additional times, along with HUNNY, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, Halsey, Bad Suns, Peter Bjorn and John, and Tame Impala twice. It’s been quite the year and I anticipate sharing my upcoming events with you.

While my intentions of curating this blog were solely music based, I find interest in discussing other topics as well. I would really appreciate your feedback, as this blog is just as much yours, as it is mine. I cannot thank you enough for your understanding and patience, as I sit at my desk typing this on my day off, I can assure you that I’ve never felt more at home.

THE 1975: A LIVE REVIEW

Welcome back!

Last Monday, I had the wonderful honor of witnessing The 1975 perform live for the second time. Since I last saw them at the Club Nokia in December, the crowd had increased by roughly 4,000 people, transforming the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall into a room overflowing with passionate fans; many of whom endured the California heat for multiple days whilst waiting in line for the chance to be up close and personal with the band. Amidst the entrancing lights, enthralling vocals, and mesmerizing dance moves, a The 1975 concert is the epitome of pure ecstasy.

April 18, 2016

I arrived to the venue at 10:30 AM, roughly eight and a half hours before doors opened. To my surprise, over half of the parking lot was already accompanied by fans adorned with umbrellas and blankets to help beat the blazing sun. Joining them, I began to prepare myself for the night I had been anticipating for months. The Shrine neighboring the highly prestigious campus of the University of Southern California made for a convenient bathroom location, as well as the opportunity to witness college life first-hand considering the majority of the audience were adolescent. After several hours of homework and anxious waiting, the doors finally opened to reveal an open floor of possibilities. I made my way to the far left of the stage, as close as I could get which ended up only being about ten rows back. Within minutes, the entire banquet hall became a sea of integrated smiling faces.

Opening for The 1975 was The Japanese House, a dreamy electronic band from the United Kingdom. Being signed to the same record label, Dirty Hit Records, the two bands had become familiar with each other long before touring together. Their debut EP, Pools to Bathe In, was actually co-produced by Matty Healy and George Daniel, providing similar 80’s influenced synthetic beats. Accompanied with fanciful fog and euphoric charisma, The Japanese House successfully won over and prepared the crowd for the upcoming act.

Introduced by their hit single ‘Love Me’ off of the new album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It, the boys took stage as the room suddenly became doused in a vibrant pink hue.  My heart’s beats fell into sequence with the overwhelming echoes of George’s drums, as I jumped up and down in excitement amongst the various other bodies surrounding me. Healy’s voice rang through the building as thousands of others echoed, united in the name of music.

After singing fan favorites such as ‘Ugh!’, ‘Heart Out’, and ‘Menswear’, the energy was at an all time high. The crowd was especially rambunctious, being the first official show on the North American leg of the tour. People were getting pulled out of the pit left and right, disoriented from dehydration and complete lack of personal space. At one point, Healy had to order the crowd to take three large steps back as precaution to any further casualties. Despite the scare, the venue’s security took complete control of the situation as they helped free people from the crowd and distributed cups of water at an alarming rate.

Prior to performing one of their most intimate songs, ‘Me’, Healy preceded to preach about modern technology and it’s innocent distraction from the present. The entire floor was perpetually illuminated by the glow and flash of cellphones, which I’m admittedly guilty of contributing to. Although I cherish the videos that I did document, I’ll never forget the moments that I wasn’t worrying about keeping a steady hand and instead, was dancing as if my life depended on it.

“Just be here now, for like, five minutes. It’s just to be us and you, no phones. Honestly, the memory of these next five minutes will mean way more than a f***ing video on your phone. This song is about me, I love you.”

Before performing ‘Paris’ for the crowd, time was taken to discuss recent world events and put the American audience into perspective with tragedy-stricken Europe. As a popular advocate for equality and freedom, Healy establishes a personal connection with his fans through his passion for humanity and expression of beliefs. The room’s ebullient energy immediately shifted to reverence, as he began to empathize with the three hundred of those who suffered on the morning of March 22.

“We just toured Europe and it was amazing. But it was kind of weird, and I’m just going to be honest with you, because we like being honest with you. It was weird because the world is a f***ed up place, Europe in particular, is a particularly f***ed up place. We went to Brussels within the week of when all those people blew up that airport, and we do this every night. We do this every night, and it makes you question when it comes under threat, the actual practice of it, it starts to make you really question everything; like why we do it and all these kinds of things- is it superficial and what matters and stuff like that. The fact of the matter is stuff like this…this is as free as it gets, a pop concert. In regards to people’s liberties and the stuff that we have in the world, a pop concert is the most free place in the world. I’ve really realized that, so if we’re gonna be this free, let’s be free in honor of people who just aren’t that free.”

Subsequent to performing quite a lengthy set, the boys expressed their sincere gratitude and exited the stage. The screams continued for several minutes before they re-entered for their encore, singing one of my personal favorites, ‘If I Believe You’. As Matty sang about questioning religion and fulfilling his “God shaped hole”, blinding white lights flashed into the crowd, resembling that as you would see when entering Heaven. Healy’s willingness to share his beliefs and person struggles is exactly what makes The 1975 so identifiable with the substantial amount of fans they possess. Three more iconic songs followed before the night concluded, leaving thousands of distressed fans to fend for themselves in the fight for bathrooms, merchandise, and transportation. Every aspect of the night- from spotting a man passed out on the sidewalk before noon, to indulging in Subway sandwiches as if it was my last meal in days- made for an unforgettable experience.

Matty, George, Adam, Ross- thank you. Thank you for working so viciously to bring your vision and dream to life, along with mine. Thank you for communicating so openly with us; I feel as though I know each of you so thoroughly when truthfully, you’re all so unique and full of depth that would be a privilege to understand. I wish you all the best of luck regarding the continuation of your tour, everyone deserves such a spiritual experience as the one provide- you truly revolutionize every city you visit. Please feel welcome to return anytime you wish; there’s a permanent home in California and my heart that awaits.

 

BAD SUNS: AN INTERVIEW

Welcome back!

Recently, I was granted the unbelievable privilege to interview Christo Bowman, lead vocals of the California based band, Bad Suns. As a fan and aspiring music journalist, this opportunity was one of a kind and I’m so grateful. Huge thank you to Christo, the rest of the band (Miles Morris, Gavin Bennett, and Ray Libby), and their manager, Stephen Ling, who graciously made this all possible. Please enjoy!

Q: Regarding your upcoming tour with Halsey, are you planning on releasing new music beforehand or premiering any on stage?

A: Yes! We look forward to playing some new music on the road this summer.

Q: What factors contribute to creating the setlist for a tour?

A: For the past two years, we’ve really only had 12 songs to choose from. At our headline shows, we play all that we have. Even with those limitations, we try and shake it up as much as we can from tour to tour. Often, this involves playing alternate versions of different tracks from the album.

Q: What is your favorite song to perform live? Is there a song you wish you did?

A: “Sleep Paralysis” is fun for me, because that’s generally my moment to get off stage and interact with the audience more personally. I love getting to do that every night. It always feels special.

Q: What should fans expect from your upcoming album, and how will it differ from Language and Perspective?

A: I don’t want to say too much too soon. We’re the same band we’ve been, but we’ve grown up quite a bit since we made ‘L&P’.

Q: How do you balance touring, songwriting, and maintaining a social life outside of work?

A: It’s not always easy. We finished two years of touring the first album in November, and we immediately got back to work on album 2, and have been clocking in 10 hour days, 6 days a week, since then, pretty much. I’ve been home for 5 months now, and I’ve only seen my friends, outside of the band, a handful of times. That’s been different. Home has changed since we left it. It’s a bit extreme, but we get to do what we love so it’s hard to complain.

Q: Do you have any artists or albums that influenced you to pursue music from a young age?

A: Countless! The Strokes ‘Is This It’ and Bloc Party’s ‘Silent Alarm’ were both very important albums for this band in our formative years. They never get old.

Q: Do you have any current favorite artists or albums?

A: I’ve been enjoying the new Porches album, ‘Pool’. Kurt Vile put out a wonderful record this past fall called ‘b’lieve i’m goin down’.

Q: If you could tour with any artist of your choice, who would it be?

A: This is always tough. I think I’m gonna have to go with Phoenix. I’ve still never seen them live and they’re one of my favorite bands of the new millennium.

Q: What’s your favorite venue that you’ve played to date?

A: On our last tour with The Neighbourhood and Hunny, we played a venue called Metropolis in Montreal. It was our first time there and it was so incredible. The venue was beautiful and the crowd was magical. All the bands had a common green room so, naturally, there was a tournament-style guitar-shred-off. In an unforeseeable turn of events, Brandon Fried (drummer of The Neighborhood) was the night’s champion.

Q: What’s your most unique fan experience?

A: One night in 2014, on tour in Calgary, I was talking with some fans after the show. The following week, we were set to play a small festival with our tour mates The 1975, as well as Bastille. One of the fans I was speaking with knew this, handed me a ring, and politely asked if I would deliver it to Dan, the singer of Bastille. I promised that I would, and for some reason, I was committed to making this happen. I held on to that ring for an entire week on tour and then ultimately ended up talking to Bastille Dan at the gig in Florida, explained the situation to him, and gave him the ring. He graciously accepted the gift. I don’t remember the name of the woman who sent me on my quest, and she will most likely never find out that I was true to my word, but I was.