Tyler, The Creator at The Anthem

Photo By (Sasha Toophanie/WGMU).

Photo By (Sasha Toophanie/WGMU).

On February 25, all hell broke loose.


By: Jackie Reed

On February 25, all hell broke loose.

The Anthem hosted an epic, mind-numbing show with Taco (of Odd Future), Vince Staples, and Tyler, The Creator.

Taco shared a DJ set of hip-hop tracks that embody radio charts today – think Drake’s “God’s Plan”, Kendrick Lamar’s “Backstreet Freestyle”, and Goldlink’s “Crew”. What a fantastic start.

About 20 minutes after Taco’s set, a red microwave countdown pierced the stage. When the countdown reached the end, Vince Staples came through. The Compton rapper dropped tunes off his most recent album, Big Fish Theory (2017). In-between songs, news gathering footage mingled on the screen. Video static filled the auditorium inevitably, like white noise. Lyrics and chants from “745”, “Yeah Right” (feat. Flume, Kendrick Lamar, Kučka, and SOPHIE), and “BagBak” echoed in the crowd, along with older tracks like “Prima Donna” (feat. A$AP Rocky) and “Norf Norf”. To conclude, Staples’ live set was atypical, offbeat, and immeasurable in style.

By that time it was 9:30p.m. Upon Vince Staples’ opening, stage crew adjusted the set, prepping for Tyler. Though the stage was small, its colors and natural elements truly brought it to life, even from afar. Green turf wrapped along the floor and realistic trees were placed kindly at each direction.

At around 10:05p.m., all was dim. The cinematic interlude of “Where This Flower Blooms” (feat. Frank Ocean) started to loop. And then there he was. Tyler, The Creator. That is when all hell broke loose. Time gone stagnant. There was nothing but joy, but anxiety, but love for his appearance. Thousands of music lovers sang along in unison, to “Where This Flower Blooms” and to those following. Though he only dropped a couple verses from “Pothole” (feat. Jaden Smith) and “Boredom” (feat. Rex Orange County and Anna Of The North), the flow was still there. At points, he continued his rap flow without musical accompaniment – just the sound of thousands of voices following along. Along with his expected Flower Boy tunes, fans got a listening glimpse from the archives, with icons like “SMUCKERS” (feat. Lil Wayne and Kanye West), “Tamale”, and “IFHY” (feat. Pharrell Williams).

During breaks, he addressed his mood to the crowd – he was sick yet continued to thrive. Likewise, his character came through when acknowledging everyone in the crowd – those in the pit, in the stands, and in transit (those in attempt of meeting him by pushing through the already crammed space).

Without an encore, his send-off was “See You Again” (feat. Kali Uchis). A fitting departure.

Overall, Tyler, The Creator is an unconventional character that’s made a name for himself in the hip-hop industry over the years. He is best known for his connections to Odd Future (aka OFWGKTA), his GOLF fashion line, his silly YouTube videos, his artist collaborations, and recently, his Grammy-nominated rap album Flower Boy (2017). Last night at The Anthem was one for the books. It was a collection of everything that Tyler is made of, and so much more.

 

 

Jordan Rakei at Union Stage

Photo By (Jackie Reed/WGMU).

Photo By (Jackie Reed/WGMU).

Though Rakei is well-known for his collaborations with artists like Disclosure and Tom Misch, this show exclusively fronted his own works, rather than reminiscing along to his previously successful singles with such deejays.


By: Jackie Reed

Jordan Rakei performed at Union Stage on Saturday, Feb. 24. His show was a jazzy set which emulated his most recent album release, Wallflower (2017).

Moroccan-singer Dounia opened up the show at around 10 p.m. She sang tracks off of her debut album, Intro To (2017). Her vocals surpass hazy tones and youthful attitudes, similar to singers Halsey and Willow Smith. Her cheerful and bopping performance was complete with fresh songs like “Status”, “Casablanca”, and “So Cool”. Dounia impressed a relatively tame crowd, and audience members ultimately came to appreciate her bubbly, high-energy character when she took the spotlight.

Thereafter, Jordan Rakei kickstarted his show. This was his first appearance in Washington, D.C. and at Union Stage. Though Rakei is well-known for his collaborations with artists like Disclosure and Tom Misch, this show exclusively fronted his own works, rather than reminiscing along to his previously successful singles with such deejays.

His R&B vocals share chords with other soul artists, like Sam Smith, Sampha, and Khalid. In this performance, Rakei shared Wallflower intimately and with a more streamline interlude of jazz, guitar, and piano-driven songs. Rakei opened with “Eye To Eye”, following with other tracks like “Goodbyes” and “Chemical Coincidence”. Overall, Rakei’s performance as a multi-genre artist excels as he continues to build himself around a community of music lovers that actually care and take notice.

 

STRFKR at 9:30 Club

Photo By (Jesse Benitez/WGMU Radio).

Photo By (Jesse Benitez/WGMU Radio).

In a matter of minutes, however, the numbing dreamscape synths spliced into electrifying energy, along with beautifully synchronized patterns and projections blazing among the crowd.


By: Jesse Benitez

Indie electro pop band, STRFKR, made waves through D.C. during their sold out show at the 9:30 Club on Saturday, February 17. They began their performance with “Hungry Ghost” off their third-studio album, Reptilians (2012). Commencing in utter darkness, with merely a captivating display of their iconic Jupiter (2009 & 2012) logo as a backdrop, it was evident that this show would eventually take a drastic angle. A fourth of the way through their set, the level of simplicity and sophistication was easily recognizable in “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second,” from their first and self-titled album, Starfucker (2008). In a matter of minutes, however, the numbing dreamscape synths spliced into electrifying energy, along with beautifully synchronized patterns and projections blazing among the crowd.

Accompanied by their touring band, the Reptaliens, the audience rejoiced to the bouncy beats of “Millions” while the Reptaliens froliced across the stage, dancing provocatively with one another, all while wearing eccentric astronaut suits. It was interestingly bizarre, but quite an indulging sight to witness, particularly when they blasted confetti onto the mass of concert-goers. The lively bunch went on to retrieve props, one of which happened to be an inflatable raft shaped like a swan. One by one, they crowd surfed through a pumped crowd while “Girls Just Want to Have Fun (2009)” reverberated off the walls of the venue.

STRFKR ended their set with the title track from their fifth studio album, Being No One, Going Nowhere (2016). Initially, a delicately nostalgic and melancholic tune such as this one seemed almost inappropriate to end the night with. But upon further reflection, they proved themselves to be truly unforgettable and it was undoubtedly a clever move from their part. This ignited the crowd to demand an encore, to satisfy their crave for one more galvanizing gimmick and fuel them with one last drop of exhilaration. And surely, it worked.

Cold War Kids Set To Perform At GMU’s Homecoming Week

 

Photo By (Student Involvement/Official Website).

Photo By (Student Involvement/Official Website).

Cold War Kids

Students: $20, $30
Faculty, Staff, Alumni: $30, $40
Guests: $40, $50

Tickets

Thurs, Feb 8
Doors 7:30 pm // Show 8:00 pm
GMU’s Center for the Arts // Fairfax, VA

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By: Jackie Reed

For over a decade, California-based soul rock band Cold War Kids has performed on countless stages, made festival appearances, released viral singles, and taken the indie scene to uncharted territories. Now, they will be the first-ever performance group at Mason’s Homecoming Week.

Anthony McLean, marketing and communications coordinator for the Office of Student Involvement, shared that having a concert for Homecoming Week was in hopes of acclimating new students to Mason, whilst maintaining consistent awareness about what their office offers. “We’re trying to think of new ways that would be more exciting to students”, said McLean. To keep a constant flow of programming between Welcome Week and Mason Day, they figured that adding a show in-between these large-scale events is another opportunity for students to explore their campus in a way unseen before.

Cold War Kids started their musical career with their debut album Robbers & Cowards (2007), a hidden gem completely trickled with anthems and coffeehouse classics. The band made attempts to change their style between albums Loyalty to Loyalty (2008) and Mine Is Yours (2011), but it was not until hits like “Miracle Mile” and “First” to where the band started to top indie charts. It’s all thanks to their fourth album, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts (2013) and fifth album Hold My Home (2014), for their greater audience reach. With influences from Modest Mouse and Florence + the Machine, their newest album, LA Divine (2017), is a piano-ridden setlist that plays off of familiar guitar riffs and beach pop undertones. They recently finished up their LA Divine tour in the U.S., and are taking their tour overseas and to music festivals later this year.

Go to Homecoming Week’s event page for full ticket information.

 

 

Angel Olsen at 9:30 Club

Olsen played many tracks from her critically acclaimed album My Woman (2016) along with some cuts from her latest release, Phases (2017).


By: Nick Wodzinski

Alternative and folk-rock queen, Angel Olsen, performed at 9:30 Club on December 14 during her winter tour. Her unique vocal performance along with her vintage rock style filled the room with ease, pleasing the ears of every fan and newcomer alike.

Although her onstage presence was static, the chilling and electric guitars shook the room. Her psych-rock melodies combine with her quivering vocal so well on her albums, but to see that combination transfer to a live performance was thrilling.

Each of her band members wore matching suits and all contributed to each track in a major way. The extra guitar work was catchy, the drums were full and punchy while the synth work created a gorgeous layer on multiple songs.

Overall, her performance was fulfilling. She played her popular rock tunes but also performed her attractive folk influenced songs.
Olsen played many tracks from her critically acclaimed album My Woman (2016) along with some cuts from her latest release, Phases (2017). Both of which you can stream on all music platforms.

Feature Photo By (Angel Olsen/Official Website).

Jaws of Love at DC9

Photo By (Julie Luu/WGMU).

Photo By (Julie Luu/WGMU).

Ayer embodies an essence reflected in the album and live that makes you cherish how special love is from the simple and difficult moments in life.


By: Julie Luu

You know Local Natives and now you get to know Kelcey Ayer. Kelcey Ayer has been a key member of Local Natives since their beginnings in California but now he takes his piano and vocals to step aside from the band to stand behind Jaws of Love.

Jaws of Love. visits our nation’s capital for his first solo tour on December 6th. DC9 was the percent venue for Kelcey Ayer. The venue matched the artist and his music perfectly, allowing the fans and the artist to connect on a more intimate level.

The show’s opener was COMBAT!, an experimental electronic solo artist, Mark Nieto, also doubled as the second half of Jaws of Love. Both from the LA area, the playful and intimate banter between Kelcey and Mark kept the atmosphere light and enjoyable throughout the show.

Ayer tours his debut album titled, Tasha Sits Close to the Piano (2017), named after his and his wife’s dog. The album possess heartfelt lyrics accompanied by his unique vocals and strong piano driven ballads. There are times I would get lost in the music and grow nostalgic of Local Natives’ Hummingbird (2013). Even though that feeling is present, Ayer proves that he can stand on his own two feet as Jaws of Love. The entire album is so pure offering a look inside Ayer’s heart in a way no other musician has done before.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Jaws of Love. live. Ayer embodies an essence reflected in the album and live that makes you cherish how special love is from the simple and difficult moments in life.

 

Cut Copy at 9:30 Club

Coming from an ill-informed music enthusiast and “blind” ear, Cut Copy put on a concert experience that truly amazed.


By: Jackie Reed

Australian electropop band Cut Copy stopped by 9:30 Club on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Their show was beautifully constructed; it featured a mixed bag of old and new synth tracks, an elaborate light setup, and a fan base that has clearly developed over the years.

Coming from an ill-informed music enthusiast and “blind” ear, Cut Copy put on a concert experience that truly amazed – their set was hyped up with methodical transitions, well-cued lighting, and offbeat symbolism that celebrated their most recent album, Haiku From Zero (2017).

Though their performance mainly highlighted tracks from Haiku From Zero (2017), nostalgia still beamed with classics like “Pharaohs & Pyramids” from Zonoscope (2011) and “Future” from Bright Like Neon Love (2004). Some songs were more recognizable than others, but transitions kept things interesting throughout. At points, it was even difficult to discern when a song ended and when another one began – it was like one, elongated story that Cut Copy successfully told.

Photo By (Jackie Reed/WGMU).

Photo By (Jackie Reed/WGMU).

In addition to the energetic setlist, visual elements kept gazing eyes peeled to the stage. Seeing “Free Your Mind”, the second song off of Free Your Mind (2013), was a trip to watch. It was epic beyond capacity. Strobe lights circulated the crowd and the verse “free your mind” morphed across the backdrop, dancing with intentional dysfunction. This is a prime example of how their visuals went down in correspondence with the night – contrasting black-and-white blocks, chromatic patterns, and geometric visuals palpitated the human psyche.

Overall, Cut Copy’s musical compass is a distortion of imbalanced sounds and earthly undertones. With unwavering swagger and an animated charisma, their upbeat nature and off-key style set them apart from other EDM shows.

Feature Photo By (9:30 Club/Official Website).

 

Bleachers at 9:30 Club

Photo By (Jackie Reed/WGMU).

Photo By (Jackie Reed/WGMU).

With lights dim low, the underlying bass purring, and the red moon cascading on the blank stage curtains, the atmosphere was a mixture of angst and excitement.


By: Jackie Reed

On Saturday, Nov. 18, Bleachers led a sold-out show at 9:30 Club – one of the last stops of the raved Gone Now tour. Bleachers, fronted by New-Jersey based singer-songwriter Jack Antonoff, did little to disappoint. His cheerful tracklist and awkwardly infectious song breaks made for an honest and appealing concert.

The Fun. guitarist and Steel Train vocalist opened with “Dream of Mickey Mantle”, the introductory song to his most recent album, Gone Now (2017). With lights dim low, the underlying bass purring, and the red moon cascading on the blank stage curtains, the atmosphere was a mixture of angst and excitement. When the reverbed drumbeat hit, it matched the queue of the lights – and there he was. In an instant, Jack Antonoff was front and center, flaunting his bejeweled military-esque outfit – timely and the right way to set the mood.

It was completely surreal. Jack Antonoff, the songwriter behind singles of Taylor Swift’s Reputation (2017) and 1989 (2014), along with Lorde’s Melodrama (2017), made a huge impression on the audience. Acknowledging his discography and being in the presence of a mastermind was an experience within itself. His lyricism and musical arrangements were known anecdotes that made the concert unlike any other.

Of course, Antonoff used passed hits to get everyone feeling universally nostalgic. He played a cover of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ “American Girl“, followed with a slower rendition of Fun.’s “Carry On“.

At one point, he spoke harshly yet comically about Chris Christie’s beach antics – alluding to Christie’s actions as risqué and a rather low representation of New Jersey’s populous.

With a mix of Bleachers’ songs both old and new – it continued to keep the energy lingering. Though there was no encore, the send-off was memorable – Bleachers ended the show with “I Wanna Get Better” and “Don’t Take The Money”.

Also, let’s mention that Antonoff took time to introduce the other bandmates – the two drum soloists, the bassist, and saxophonist. Their solos were insane! With Antonoff on the guitar, him and the saxophonist had a battle in a sense, where he would follow Antonoff’s lead. The fact that he could match those guitar chords, and go an extra step, left fangoers amazed.

Overall, the concert was a grand hit. Jack Antonoff took matters into his own hands and created a show that was built around the root of the cause, the music itself.

Read an album review on Bleachers’ Gone Now (2017) here.

Hippo Campus at 9:30 Club

Known for their quick wit indie-pop and youthful sound, Hippo Campus delivered a high energy and electric performance at the 9:30 Club.


By: Nick Wodzinski

Minnesota based indie-rock quartet, Hippo Campus, made their way through D.C. on Nov. 13 during their 2017 fall tour. Known for their quick wit indie-pop and youthful sound, Hippo Campus delivered a high energy and electric performance at the 9:30 Club.

The sonics were not far from the studio version and their on stage performance was fun and thrilling. The setlist was diverse, containing tracks from their latest full-length album Landmark (2017), along with highlights from their other EPs, especially their debut, Bashful Creatures (2015). From the opening song “Way It Goes” to their encore performance of 2015’s “Violet”, Hippo Campus had the club dancing, head-banging, and screaming their lyrics. Their boyish charm combined with their indie appeal and rockin’ energy to create a highly enjoyable experience.

Remo Drive. Photo By (Connor Siedow/The Show Last Night).

Remo Drive. Photo By (Connor Siedow/The Show Last Night).

Prior to their set, another Minnesota based group, Remo Drive, took the stage. Fresh off of their debut release, Greatest Hits (2017), Remo Drive delivered some the best emo/punk-pop I’ve heard in a while. Combining elements of indie-rock with straightforward punk, this trio came through with a half an hour of solid tunes.

Although they probably won’t be back to D.C. until 2018, I would highly recommend checking out this group live if you get a chance. For now, you can enjoy Hippo Campus’ latest work, Landmark (2017), along with Remo Drive’s debut, Greatest Hits (2017), on all streaming platforms.

Feature Photo By (theconcurrent.org/Official Website).

 

Mom Jeans. at Songbyrd Record Café and Music House

Photo By (Mom Jeans./Bandcamp).

Photo By (Mom Jeans./Bandcamp).

The night was jam-packed with some of the hottest emo bands in the scene right now.


By: Christian Hernandez

The indie/emo band that promotes themselves as “meme rockers” came to Washington DC on Nov. 2 to play a very stacked set at Songbyrd Record Café and Music House. The trio consists of Eric Butler on guitar/vocals; Austin Carango on drums; and Gabriel Paganin on bass. They are sometimes accompanied by their fourth unofficial member, Bart Starr, whom is also the sole mastermind behind the band Graduating Life. After releasing their first studio album, Best Buds (2016), in the summer of 2016, they quickly gained a massive following within the emo community. The band’s bandcamp page was shared amongst the community gaining the attention of many people across the country. One of them being a record label based out of Los Angeles named SideOneDummy Records. They signed the band on Oct. 4, 2017 – fifteen days before they would embark on their biggest U.S. tours yet.

The night was jam-packed with some of the hottest emo bands in the scene right now. Philadelphia bedroom pop artist, kississippi, started the night with a lovely set. She stood alone in front of a crowd of nearly 300 people and sang acoustic songs of hope, a nice start to the night. Graduating Life continued the night with another fun yet chill set where they played songs such as “Shred Cruz” and “Cold Raviolis”. Things then got kicked into fifth-gear once the next band, Prince Daddy & the Hyena took stage. They opened their set with the song “Clever Girl”, and all I remember is the crowd going into a full panic as the mosh pit began to open-up. It was during the song “I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving”, when someone jumped on me whilst stagediving, breaking my glasses and leaving me blind for the rest of the night! It was one of the sickest pits I had ever been in and we still had two killer bands left!

Just Friends, an emo ska band from Dublin, California, went on next and, man-oh-man, they really blew me away. Lead singer and hype man, Sam Kless is one of the greatest live performers I have ever seen. The energy he and the other 7 people in his band had was purely insane live. At the end of the song “Welcome Mats”, the front of the pit, myself included, rushed the stage to sing the last verse alongside the band as we all wrapped our hands around one another – a moment I will remember for a very long time.

Finally, Mom Jeans. ended the night off by playing nearly every song in their discography. They opened with “Death Cup”, which had everyone in the crowd jumping and ready for the set of the night. At one point during the song “Edward 40hands,” I was pushed onto the stage and just stayed there for the remainder of the song singing alongside Bart, really milking the moment. They capped the night off with a song off their very first EP entitled “Birks In Stock”, a song that they announced on their Twitter that they would never play live. It was a nice gesture for the crowd, seeing that this was their first time ever playing in Washington. Overall, this was the best concert I have ever been to – a very memorable night.

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