Concert Review and Full gallery of K.Flay from her first night of tour at The Observatory, OC
CONCERT REVIEW & PHOTOS BY MAKENNA MAGDALENO-MAGUE
CONCERT REVIEW & PHOTOS BY MAKENNA MAGDALENO-MAGUE
Concert Review and Full gallery of K.Flay from her first night of tour at The Observatory, OC
Guestlisted for a Grouplove and Imagine Dragons show only a couple hours before the doors open? You're going to want to read this story
Review by Alexa Mancilla
Two sold out shows at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. The first show was in such high demand that the band had to add a second show a week later. Obviously, this shows that people like Bad Suns. It shows that they are talented and their music is well-received by fans. And yet, the band was awestruck and incredibly gracious throughout both shows. I couldn’t help but stare at Christo, the lead of the band, and see the complete shock on his face that his band, this small band from Woodland Hills, sold out the Fonda. It was magical and inspiring to see the amazement on the guys’ faces as they performed. It was as if they were born to play together.
I have had the opportunity to see Bad Suns three times now. Once when they opened up for Halsey on her Badlands tour, and twice when they headlined on their Outskirts of Paradise tour. Yes, I didn’t get to hear as many songs as I would have liked to when they toured with Halsey. Yes, I saw them twice in two weeks this year. And yet, I feel as though they perform even better with each show they play. Bad Suns put on such an amazing show, and I can’t wait to see what amazing things that they will do in the future.
//JUNE 16, 2017//
If we're perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I got in line (four hours early) to experience this concert. I knew that Bad Suns’ new album, Disappear Here, was incredible, and I knew that I was about to have a fun night with one of my best friends. That being said, I was skeptical of the opening acts. I had never heard of Field Medic or Hunny before, and the people sitting near us were adamant in telling those around them that the opening acts were less-than-ideal. So, it is safe to say that I was a little apprehensive going to the concert to hear two small bands for a few hours while I waited for Bad Suns to come on.
Field Medic was up first. When the lights turned off, and the curtain came up, I was surprised to see that the “band” was composed of a skinny, ginger-haired guy, his guitar, and a cassette tape player. He started off the show with an acoustic love song, with an off-tune guitar and a folk-like voice. It was peculiar, to say the least, and I jumped to conclusions, quickly, in thinking that this set was going to be a long one. However, he re-tuned his guitar and started rocking out. It took him a hot minute to get the hang of being on stage, but his self-deprecating love songs and unapologetic realness about life were relatable and refreshing. While his set was a bit more mellow than expected, it was enjoyable and refreshing. My friend equated him to “Vance Joy if he was drunk and/or high more often,” and I think that that is the best way to describe Field Medic. I don’t relay this information as a way to be mean; I simply feel as though that is the perfect description of Field Medic. The music was enjoyable, relaxing, and whimsical, and I think it perfectly exemplifies his self-proclaimed persona of being a “dead kid from the golden state.”
Shortly after Field Medic came Hunny. The crowd was visibly (and audibly) more hyped for them, so I was excited to see what I was in for. The band sauntered out in some peculiar outfit choices; the lead singer, Jason Yarger, came out in a leather duster jacket, the keyboardist, Kevin Gerimmett, donned a sparkly bomber jacket and some high-waisted jeans à la 80’s rock band. Joey Anderson, the band’s drummer, rocked a rad pink, cow print cowboy hat, and the guitarists, Jake Goldstein and Greg Horne, chose simple suit jackets and slacks. Their outfit choices definitely made things interesting, but their music was where I really became hooked. As soon as the music started, I felt as though I belonged in a cliché 80’s film, and I was totally here for it. The band put on an amazing show, and the music was upbeat and incredibly easy to dance to, despite me not knowing the words to any of the songs. Perhaps the most memorable song from their set was a medley of, quite possibly, the most random mix of songs ever played together (included, but not limited to “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley, “All Star” by Smash Mouth, and “Oops!...I Did It Again” by Britney Spears), and it was incredible. As random as it was, it really made everyone that much more ready to party once Bad Suns came out.
//JUNE 23, 2017//
If we're perfectly honest, I bought tickets for this show on a complete whim. I left the show the week before wanting more, but being hesitant to buy a ticket, for I had no one to go with (and very little money). Somehow, magically, a friend reached out to me after seeing pictures from the concert, and invited me to see them again! Obviously, I immediately jumped at the chance to be able to experience another night of magic and wonder with Bad Suns. I was bummed to hear that Field Medic and Hunny weren’t the opening act again, but I was intrigued by The Marías and The Chain Gang of 1974.
Before the concert even started, I was already stoked to see where the night would take me. I met some amazing people while waiting for The Marías set, and we bonded throughout the show. Although I didn’t know much about the band, I was excited to see The Marías; before they came on, I learned that this show would be their biggest yet, and it was the one-year anniversary of them being a band! As soon as they stepped out, I was enamored by the band’s lead singer, Maria Zardoya; her pixie-like stature and adorable choppy bob and bangs were beautiful, and she pulled off a (homemade, I would later learn) red velvet jumpsuit like it was her birthright. Her siren-like vocals were entrancing and beautiful, and the jazzy feel of the music made it easy to bob and sway along to the new band’s tunes. The unique vocals and eclectic musical accompaniments gave a soothing and sexy feel to the set, and I was left wanting more. As if the set couldn’t get any more magical, Zardoya sang two songs in Spanish, making me a delighted and proud Latina. As unbelievable as the set was, I was super bummed to find that The Marías only have one song available on SoundCloud, Spotify, and iTunes. But, I cannot wait to hear their debut EP, coming out this fall.
The Chain Gang of 1974
With The Marías slaying their (way too short) set, I was excited to see what The Chain Gang of 1974 would bring. As soon as their set began, however, I became incredibly disillusioned. They began the set with alarmingly loud guitars and drums that left my ears ringing after each song, and the lead singer’s constant flailing made it difficult to focus on the music. I really, really wanted to enjoy the set, but the off-pitch singing and overt cockiness made that difficult. Even though the set was only 15 minutes longer than The Marías’, it felt as though it went on for over an hour. As difficult as the set was to listen to, I came to the conclusion that their pre-recorded pieces are more bearable, but are still not necessarily my cup of tea.
Once the opening acts were done, it was time to be graced by Bad Suns’ presence. The energy in the room was absolutely electric, and the crowd went wild as soon as the band stepped on stage. Tonight was the last night of the Outskirts of Paradise tour, and the excitement in both fans and the band was undeniable. The band played all of their hits and were incredibly interactive with the crowd. Christo had gone into the crowd at the previous show, but it was much less terrifying this time around; the crowd was much stronger and ready to hold him up, and Christo’s excitement and pride only made fans that much happier to hold him up. Throughout the concert, the band was sure to share their pride to be from LA, and their pride was reflected on locals, as well. Their gratitude for fans was beautiful to see and was only heightened when we got to spend the first few minutes of Language and Perspective’s third birthday with the band. As if the show couldn’t get any better, Christo’s girlfriend was in the crowd, and each love-struck look he gave her gave fans an insight into their relationship. The electric and supportive vibe throughout the concert made everyone feel so comfortable, as though we were all family, as though we all belonged to something bigger. Fans were able to forget about their problems with ease once the band started playing, and love shared between the band and the fans only made the concert all the more unforgettable. Although the show was much too short, it was apparent that Bad Suns’ gratitude and love for their fans would go on for a long time to come. As rough as it will be to wait for another tour to come to LA, I cannot wait to see what amazing things Bad Suns will accomplish next.
Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend Alt Nation’s Advanced Placement Tour in Austin, Texas.
The night started off with a set from 888, who instantly made the crowd dance with their punk-filled electric sound. From their newest release “Older Now” to songs off their “Critical Mistakes” EP, 888’s entire set was full of nothing but energy and fun.
After they performed, Coast Modern hit the stage. Instantly, they made an impression, with an odd stage set up full of plants and fog machines. Playing songs off of their yet to be released album as well as previously released singles such as “Guru” and “Pockets Full of No”, Coast Modern brought an interesting yet diverse vibe to the room. With their eclectic and psychedelic sound, Coast Modern’s upcoming album is one to watch out for.
After they wrapped up their performance and the plants were cleared off the stage, it was Missio’s turn to play. As an Austin-originated band, it was a performance bursting with energy for their hometown show. Missio will be playing their hometown once again in October for ACL Festival.
Overall, the night was one for the books; all of the performers were unique in sound and in stage presence, yet all left an impression and were fun to listen to. If you are looking for new music, I would definitely recommend checking out all three of these bands, as they are for sure ones to watch.
On October 21st, I had the pleasure of seeing, photographing, and interviewing Dreamers, a 3 piece cosmic rock band hailing from Brooklyn. With their recent release of their new album "This Album Does Not Exist," Dreamers have been climbing the alternative charts with their psychedelic sounds and themes of existentialism and existence.
"This Album Does Not Exist," a much anticipated album released on August 26th, 2016 by an upcoming band known as Dreamers, delivers exploding melodies and tunes of the smart pop genre. Whether you want songs to dance to, or you want to travel down a road of existential thoughts, this album has it all.
All 12 songs on the album have something special to it, and we start off strong with one of their hits Drugs, full of heavy guitar riffs and soft piano transitions. After the dance vibes brought on by Never Too Late to Dance, the album continues to another hit song, Sweet Disaster, which has been in the Alternative Nation's top 18 chart. Painkiller entrances us with upbeat and catchy melodies, Wolves (You Got Me), will have you howling for more, and Cry Out For Me will leave you dancing to the beat of the drums. Their energetic vibes continue through Lucky Dog, Shooting Shadows, and Last Night on Earth, shown through the cool guitar riffs and sing-along choruses. The guitar riffs start to become lighter as the album reaches To the Fire, the harmonies drawing people in, making the lyrics in the song, "drawn to the fire" very true. Come Slow Down, as the title says, brings down the high from earlier in the album and takes us to a place full of airy, floating vibes. After a small break from the high, the band pulls you right back in for the last song of the album, Little New Moon. Heavy bass and drums start off the song, leading to a chorus that would make any person lose control into a dancing frenzy.
Overall, "This Album Does Not Exist" brings a new kind of energy to the music scene. The thing about this album that makes it so interesting, is the fact that while a person can enjoy themselves and stay on the surface of the music, many can fall through and find deeper meanings, a connection between the listener and the lyrics of the band. If you enjoy crazy pop and entrancing indie music that toys with mind bending themes, be sure to check out Dreamers, and become a dreamer for yourself!
What inspired your album name?
Often on long sleepless drives we find ourselves having philosophical discussions on the nature of reality, existence and consciousness. "This Album Does Not Exist" is an extension of those themes. What is an album? What does it mean? It's a bit tongue in cheek.
If you had to pick one song off your new album to represent what your band is, which song would it be?
It's impossible to pick a favorite, but "Sweet Disaster" is a good representation of who we are and what we are trying to say with our music. We think it has all the elements and ingredients of our vibe.
Was there any songs on the album that almost didn't make it? Or songs you originally planned to put on the album but decided not to?
There are definitely songs we love that didn't make it onto this record, but we're keeping them in our back pocket. Little New Moon almost didn't make it but we are so glad it did. Now we see people singing all the words at shows!! At any rate, we have more songs brewing that we are eager to share.
What are some pre-show routines you do before you get on stage?
Usually about 30 minutes before we hit the stage we disappear into dark green rooms and cultivate the vibe. There are vocal warm-ups, hugs and genuine expressions of gratitude to each other that we get to do this together. It's always a semi-private love-fest between us right before we hit, no matter what else is going on.
Have you ever had anything strange or funny happen to you on tour?
Every day on tour is strange and funny!! Whether it's Detroit Papa Smurf bestowing upon us magical beads, a massive tornado heading straight for our van in Oklahoma, which we were compelled to Snapchat once confident we had escaped its path. The entire experience of literally living your life in a different city every day is strange. So many strange and beautiful people and places. Why we try to document so much and share online.
What was your favorite part of this past tour and what are you looking forward to with the next one?
This tour was a blast. We had so much fun with The Mowgli's and Colony House. The sold out show at The Troubadour in LA was a highlight. We've been friends with Mainland for years and love their music. We adore Night Riots and have all become friends. It felt like a homecoming and powerful celebration of new music and supportive, inspired vibes. Another love-fest!! Next tour, we look forward to sharing the stage with Great Good Fine Ok, meeting and making more friends and fans, and sharing those strange and funny moments which are bound to be plentiful.
Be sure to check out Dreamer's website below to find their music, tour dates, and more!
(written August 5th, 2016, live review and photo gallery featured in issue 3 of Uncover)
"Whenever we come to Santa Ana, we always seem to have a great time!" lead singer Matthew Murphy yelled after finishing the first song. And a great time it was indeed.
The Wombats: An English trio that know how to put on a show. Using a fusion of indie rock and pop similar to that of bands such as Two Door Cinema Club and The Kooks, The Wombats have taken rock music to another level. Formed in Liverpool in 2003, the band comprises of Matthew Murphy (lead vocals, guitar, keyboard), Daniel (Dan) Haggis (drums, percussion, guitar, keyboard and backing vocals) and Tord Øverland Knudsen (bass guitar, guitar, keyboard and backing vocals). "A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation" (2007) was the album that started them out, following with "This Modern Glitch" (2011), and "Glitterbug" (2015) which both hit #2 on Australia's top album chart.
It was August 5th when I got to The Observatory in Santa Ana, and the line was almost out of the parking lot to get in. This being The Wombats last show of the tour, I wasn't surprised to see the amount of fans eagerly waiting for the doors to open.
After experiencing the chill vibes brought on by Coast Modern, The Wombats opened with "Give Me a Try," blue and pink lights flooding the entire venue. The crowd immediately began moshing: all the energy being thrown out by the band was doubled and thrown back by the people of the pit. The entire Wombats set was a blast, with fan favorites such as "Pink Lemonade" and "Kill the Director," everyone from the floor to the balcony was having the time of their lives. After leaving the stage and being called back for more, The Wombats joined back for a 3 song encore, starting slow with "Isabel," moving on to one of their most popular songs "Greek Tragedy," and ending with a fan favorite you can't help but dance to, "Let's Dance to Joy Division." By the end of the night, everyone was buzzing with adrenaline, and I had experienced one of the best shows of my life.
If you ever have the chance to see The Wombats, I highly recommend snagging some tickets. Whether you are in the front or in the back, this English trio will show you a good time.
Check them out here: http://www.thewombats.co.uk/home/
(written July 20th, 2016)
To most people, Shrek and Smashmouth are two words that are often associated with each other.
And rightfully so, the American rock band hailing from San Jose not only contributed to songs to the movie but are most best known for doing so. Quite frankly when asked if I wanted to attend their free concert at The Grove in Los Angeles, I was a bit reluctant because I only knew the two songs. Nonetheless, a free show is a free show and The Grove is a beautiful place.
When we arrived, the opening act had already begun and there was a bigger crowd than I had expected. People were spilling out of the actual designated standing area while others crowded around the fountain that was across from the stage. The view from there was not exactly ideal so a friend and I decided to try and get closer.
As the opening act finished and the set up began for Smashmouth, more and more people started to show up. When the band actually started playing, people kept trying to push their way through to get closer to the front. A group started a conga line and others joined in, hoping to weasel their way to the front. As the set progressed, a group in the middle began an actual circle pit. The concert camera panned all over the crowd showing people with Shrek masks over their face. Despite not knowing many of the songs being played, I found myself enjoying the concert and dancing along to the music. When they did finally play the two songs from the Shrek soundtrack, people went wild. The set ended with their hit, Allstar, and fingers and thumbs were shaped into ‘L’s as people sang along. Although my viewing angle was not the best, the music still carried itself throughout the Grove and people who were shopping even stopped to standby and watch.
I’d have to say that Smashmouth really does put on a good show and that I received way more than my money’s worth.
(Written May 14th 2016, photo gallery of The Frights can be found in Issue 3 of Uncover)
Four bands, four amazing sets, four days of sore muscles.
On May 14th, I arrived at popular Santa Ana music venue, the Observatory, not knowing what the night was going to hold. Of the four bands playing, I was familiar with two but was mainly coming to see The Frights. It would have been the third time I would be seeing them perform, but an untimely stomach virus caused me to miss their set at the Echoplex on Valentine’s day. If you are not familiar with them, The Frights are an American surf punk band from San Diego, California, who consists of Mikey Carnevale (guitar/lead vocals), Richard Dotson (bass/vocals), and Marc Finn (drums).
The night started off with the LA punk band, No Parents. From the very first strum of the very first song of their set, the crowd went wild. Even though I had never heard of the band, I moshed, danced, and screamed along to the music laughing as the lead singer, Zoe Reign, shaked his hips to the songs. Halfway through, he called for a wall of death and the mass of people in the pit charged at one another while the sound of drums banged in the background. Before their set, my friends and I were standing in the center of the pit area but by the end, we were smashed against the wall.
To be quite honest, the entirety of SWMRS’ set is a blur to me. I barely had time to compose myself after the first band and by the time they started, the crowd went wild again. All I remember is trying desperately to cling on to my friend’s hand as the people around me pushed and pulled at each other. Breathing had become a problem and as they kept rocking on, we decided it was probably best to take a breather (literally) after they finished playing. That proved to be difficult, though, because it seemed liked everyone else in the pit had the same idea.
After clawing ourselves out, my friends and I managed to cool ourselves off in the lobby area, our shirts drenched with not only our own sweat but that of others as well.
We came back as The Frights took stage and getting back into the pit proved to be harder than getting out. The stage lights and the movement of the crowd proved to be so disorienting that I could not even enjoy the music because I was attempting to stay alive. The amount of times I was kicked in the face and the beer poured down my neck was enough to get me to me give up and try to get out. Fortunately, it was less difficult this time around because whatever higher power exists above us sent a blue-haired punk girl to pull me out of the Pit of Hell.
Watching from a distance was proved to be enjoyable because I could actually sing and dance along without having to dodge the flailing body parts of the others around me. The Frights are truly one of the best bands to see live. Their energy and their sound makes all of the above worth it.
The lights, when seen properly, were actually pleasant and illuminated the faces of the bandmembers in cool greens and blues. The music, the lights, and the atmosphere all seemed to blend together nicely like watercolor painting of the ocean. (Which I would say is fitting for a surf punk band.)
And after three amazing sets, FIDLAR, the actual embodiment of skate punk, took stage.
If I thought the crowd was wild before, it was nothing compared to how they reacted to them. Every single person in the venue was singing along like their hearts depended on it, those in places other than the pit started moshing, and we all became one with the music.
Guys and girls danced, people were giddy,and the music played loudly. All of this reminded me why we put ourselves through the tumultuous crowds and rude people, through the spilled drinks and bruised arms. Music draws us all together and allows us to open our ears and not think. At one point, everyone was told to sit down and simply listen, creating a moment of serenity amongst a night of chaos.
But as all things do, the night came to an end. Overall, I’d have to say that it was one of the most memorable and wildest shows I have ever gone to. The bruises I had days after a reminder of that. Be sure to check out the bands below if you want a taste of punk music, and be sure to catch them at a show for a wild but memorable night!
No Parents: http://www.noparents.la/
The Frights: http://www.thefrights.com/
(written May 4th, 2016, also featured in Uncover)
If you know and love bands such as The 1975, Arctic Monkeys, or Circa Waves, this group of English cuties is a band for you to check out. Catfish & The Bottlemen, an indie rock band hailing from North Wales, formed in 2007 and has been climbing the charts ever since. Their album such as "The Balcony" hit number 10 on the UK Album charts, and number 9 on the US Alternative charts. Their new album "The Ride" is set to release May 27th.
For those who don't know, the band consists of Ryan Evan "Van" McCann (lead, guitar), Johnny "Bondy" Bond (guitar), Benjamin "Benji" Blakeway (bass), and Robert "Bob" Hall (drums). Around about 7pm, Van and Bondy hit the stage for a small acoustic show, exclusively for those who preordered their new album, which you can preorder here:
It was held in a music store known as Fingerprints, in Downtown Long Beach, where bands such as The 1975, Cage the Elephant, and Grizfolk have preformed as well. It was my first time here, and I fully recommend checking this record store out. Not only do they often have acoustic shows, their selection of music is one of the most diverse selections I've seen in a store. Packed into the back of the record store, fans from all over cheered and screamed as Van and Bondy walked on stage. They smiled and waved back at the enthusiastic fans, and sat down with their acoustic guitars to start the show. Once the first few chords of their song "Cocoon" started playing, the crowd immediately started singing along, swaying to the beat of the song. The entire performance was completely intimate, and it was nice to hear what is usually heavy guitar riffs of their indie rock music turn into the beautiful sounds of a guitar and a voice. Through most of his time singing on stage, Van had his eyes closed, lost in his own music. Every once and awhile he'd pop open his eyes and scan the crowd, pausing to sing to the fans in the audience who were singing right along with him. Every little smile or high note hit was enough to make the audience swoon and break out into small cheers.
After ending with their hit song "7", Van and Bondy left the stage to join the rest of the band in the front of the store to start the meet and greet. The once organized crowd suddenly turned into a giant mass of people gravitating towards the front of the store. By the time I got to the front, I have had waited almost 2 hours.
The entire night was exciting, and it was fun to see Catfish preform in such a laid back atmosphere. If you ever have a chance to see an acoustic show, I highly recommend taking the opportunity. If you love yourself some indie rock, and enjoy overly enthusiastic crowds, make sure to snag some tickets to one of Catfish's live shows.
Check out Catfish and the Bottlemen's setlist of the night below!