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Not Out Of Love For Two Friends

You might have heard of Two Friends, a DJ/producer duo consisting of Eli Sones and Matthew Halper. Based in Los Angeles, the pair has mixed everything from party classics like “Mr. Brightside” to jams by Tori Kelly, Lana Del Rey, and The Chainsmokers. They’ve also gained notoriety for their hour-long “Big Bootie” mixes. No matter which of their mixes you find yourself listening to, you can be sure you’ll be dancing and moving. However, while this is one of their goals, they are equally hopeful that their music will also resonate with their audiences on an emotional level. After listening to their entire library on Spotify, Echoes in the Industry has determined it does.

When it comes to influences, Two Friends is all over the place in the best of ways. They mix different elements across all genres from dance music, pop, alternative rock to hip-hop. This means Halper and Sones have done something special. By taking elements from so many genres, they manage to create music that attracts a spectrum of listeners and thus have a large audience. This is evident from their 877, 927 monthly listeners on Spotify and 149,000 followers on SoundCloud.

While their musical journey began during their senior year of high school, they’re still a relatively young group considering Sones is 24 and Halper is 25. As both attended college, Sones at Vanderbilt University and Halper at Stanford University, Two Friends has been a long-distance project. The group has only been working together in LA post-graduation since 2015. This makes their 2015 “Award of Independent Excellence” from the Hollywood Music in Media Awards and their 2017 “Top DJ Set” honors from SoundCloud all the more impressive.

Their song “Out of Love”, an original track, featuring Cosmos & Creature is their most listened to track on Spotify with over 10 million streams as of February 26th. It consists of a nice mix of both electronic and real instrumentation and clear flowing vocals. Somehow, the song manages to be both danceable and relaxing at the same time, an impressive feat. Additionally, the lyrics are cleverly crafted and incredibly relatable as most people have felt that feeling of wanting to be the more to someone than they are. Released on their Out Of Love EP in 2017, it’s clear we can expect great things from the duo as they continue their music making journey. Currently on tour, Two Friends had dates across the US. With danceable and relatable music, it’s clear The Just A Kid Tour is set to be an experience unlike any other.

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Lovelusting over Nate Chung Project

Nate Chung might be one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. An acquaintance from work, I knew about his passion for music and that he’s the frontman of his band, Nate Chung Project, but I was completely unaware of how talented he and the rest of the group truly are.

A college band from Holy Cross, Nate Chung Project is made up of Nate Chung (vocals/guitar), Casey Dawson (guitar/vocals), Sean Horan (bass), Zach Sowerby (banjo), and Frank Dwyer (drummer). Sure, their covers are great, but it’s their original music you’ll want to take the time to listen to. Their repertoire is extensive. Although a young group still in school, they’ve already got an album and EP under their belt. The EP was just released today, February 23rd.

Talking to Nate, it’s clear this group is approaching the music industry from a different angle. “We know that our acoustic pop/rock music isn’t necessarily for everyone, but if we can find the people that appreciate it or connect with it in some way we absolutely want to. We don’t need to be famous to realize our vision for this project. Organically finding our audience and growing together is our focus now,” he shares. This is what makes them so special. Many artists get wrapped up in what feels like a race for fame because with fame comes money and money is what pays the bills. But Nate Chung Project seems completely comfortable staying true to their current vision and sound. “If in time I can build a career around my music and working with EchoMe that would be amazing. But for now, I’m pumped that my job with PwC just got moved from New York to Boston, where both EchoMe and my band are based.” 

The band is dedicated to making music: “As soon as Casey returned from being abroad in Sri Lanka I knew we should begin recording music together. I approached him after Chinese class one day suggesting that we should meet up in the studio to work through some originals. We began recording that week.” Recording originals within the first couple days of playing together? I think anyone can agree that’s impressive.

Their startup story is equally interesting as they’re supported by Holy Cross, a college in Worcester, Massachusetts.When Nate wasn’t able to enroll in a class he planned to, he began looking around and found something under the Interdisciplinary Department. “I came across this offering CISS496 Special Project and I just clicked on it and the description was exactly what I wanted it to be. It read, ‘For third and fourth-year students that have a passion or project outside of their regular academic curriculum,” he explains. In addition, Holy Cross supports them with the Ignite Fund, an endowment at the school dedicated to supporting student projects.

At the end of the day, Nate Chung Project in an incredible music group well worth checking out. Nothing they perform is subpar. Their original content is made up of well-crafted lyrics and their unique sound makes listening to them engaging, while their covers are incredibly well done as they change it up just enough to make it their own while keeping the integrity of the original songs.

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X Ambassadors Provides A Happy Home At The House of Blues

“One of the reasons we’re here tonight is to play you guys some new songs. This one’s called Happy Home,” shouted Sam Harris during Sunday night’s X Ambassadors concert at the House of Blues in Boston. For the record, Happy Home did not disappoint. neither did any of the other new unreleased music.

From everything that was played, I can tell you with certainty that the new album being crafted by X Ambassadors is set to blow everyone out of the water. Happy Home slaps you in the face with killer lyrics, soaring high notes, powerful belting, and foot-tapping beats. It’s incredibly danceable and profound at the same time. A rare find among both modern pop and modern rock.

Admittedly, I was debating on making this article and extended photo gallery when I first entered the House of Blues. Unlike most, I had work the next day and was craving sleep, but after watching Sam command the entire stage I was sold. There was no way I was leaving until the encore. He’s well aware of how to put on a captivating performance, entrancing audience members until the last chord of the final song.

Sam opened the show in a full suit and was left in a tank-top by the end of the third song. Sweat was pouring off his body from running back and forth across the stage. During one song alone he switched from singing, to guitar, to saxophone. Clearly a talented musician, it was hard to pry your eyes away from his electric performance.

However, his brother and bandmate, Casey, is equally talented and gave him a run for his money. Casey is impressive in his own right and an inspiration to many as he’s legally blind. He might be one of the most talented pianists I’ve had the fortune to watch and proves that sight is not necessary to master an instrument and jamming out. This was proven as he improved the intro to unsteady during his brother’s speech in which the song was dedicated to the victims of the Parkland shooting. There was not a single chord out of place or a clunky note that didn’t belong and Casey’s fingers flew across the keyboard. It was truly captivating.

Overall, I’d say the X Ambassador concert experience is well worth the investment. It’s always special to go to a show and come away having listened to unreleased music. This performance has the perfect mix of new material and old classics. The quality of the live vocals and instruments was beyond my expectations and the energy brought to the stage only improved the experience and made leaving the show early impossible. Additionally, from a photographer’s perspective,   the lighting of the show was done tastefully. It’s incredibly difficult to shoot concerts that have a heavy focus on blue lighting. Unfortunately, this is a current trend I’ve witnessed throughout shows I’ve shot this year. The X Ambassadors performance included a wide array of lighting from blues, to pinks, to white light. It was refreshing to see such variety in a performance.

Photography by Patricia Jackson

GERALD “G-EAZY” GILLUM and The Beautiful & Damned Tour

Gerald Gillum, better known as G-Eazy, hasn’t stopped breaking ground since the release of his sophomore album When It’s Dark Out. The album features his seven-time platinum single, “Me, Myself, and I”, a song discussing what comes with fame and the struggles faced while trying to make it to the top. With intelligently crafted lyrics and a relatable refrain featuring Bebe Rexha, it’s clear to see why this track became an anthem for many throughout 2015 and 2016.

Since his initial breakthrough, Gerald, a multi-platinum recording artist and producer, hasn’t stopped conquering the music industry. He’s been selling out shows worldwide, was named “Favorite Hip-Hop Artist” at the 2017 People’s Choice Awards, and he’s performed at countless award shows such as the VMAs.  The release of his latest album The Beautiful & Damned in December of 2017 established that he’s here to stay and he’s not slowing down. It debuted at #3 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and paints the picture of Gerald vs G-Eazy. The album is incredibly raw and gives the listener a glimpse of the personality behind the stage persona. With this ensemble of tracks, we see into the mind of a man who’s mastered the hustle.

The Beautiful & Damned boasts numerous collaborations, most notably with Halsey, A$AP Rock and Cardi B. It consists of a massive twenty songs, the most streamed on Spotify is “No Limit”.  In an interview with Angie Martinez, Gerald revealed the album’s concept, “The concept of it is kinda split in half and it’s two CDs, but for all intents and purposes its 20 songs, it’s just a long album,” he explained. “The concept of it is kinda like its about the lifestyle, ‘The Beautiful and Damned’. Like being a kid, having the dream of doing this, starting from square one, from outside looking in from without having nothing — to chasing this dream, and then all these years down the road of following this yellow brick road trying to get to where you’re going, one day waking up and being like, ‘Did it take me where I wanted to go?’ This fantasy of, like, sex, drugs, & rock ‘n’ roll is kinda clichéd, but it’s clichéd for a reason. It’s dark.”

Currently on tour, Gerald (G-Eazy) has upcoming tour dates across the US and Europe, more information on his website. It’s set to be an explosive event any music lover won’t want to miss. Notoriously known for his stage presence, the Beautiful & Damned tour is sure to wow audience members with an electric performance coupled with the rawness of Gerald’s latest album. You’ll be sure to leave the venue post-concert exhausted with unforgettable memories.

Social Media:

Instagram: 5.3 million followers

Twitter: 3.36 million followers

Facebook: 1.9 million followers

Spotify: 29.6 million monthly listeners

Soundcloud: 1.05 million followers

Website: https://g-eazy.com/

PHOTO CREDIT: Bobby Bruderle

ULTRA South Africa: The Up And Coming Festival You’ll Want To Visit Next Year

ULTRA South Africa celebrated its fifth anniversary in style this past weekend, with electrifying shows in Cape Town and Johannesburg. As the first event of the 2018 Ultra calendar, and with a line-up that appealed to a wide range of electronic music fans, the event proved a remarkable success.

On Friday, February 9, the Cape Town Stadium saw 15,000 fans stream through the gates to enjoy the sounds of Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, Axwell /\ Ingrosso, Carnage, Hardwell and Malaa. Black Coffee, Dubfire and Eats Everything commandeered the RESISTANCE stage in the stadium basement, which was heaving with house and techno fans throughout.

The atmosphere at the show was exhilarating, with fans further rejoicing when the drought-stricken Mother City was gifted rainfall during Armin van Buuren’s set, which also featured a surprise appearance by Mr Probz who delivered two breath-taking live vocal performances of the global smash hit ‘Waves’ and his collaboration with Armin, ‘Another You’.

The Johannesburg show at the Expo Centre at Nasrec welcomed a record-breaking 32,000 Ultranauts through the gates on Saturday, February 10, for what was the biggest and most successful ULTRA South Africa in Joburg to date.

The RESISTANCE dance floor was moved into a new warehouse space at Nasrec, which catered specifically to the house and techno community. Local RESISTANCE artists including Da Capo, DogStarr, Ryan Murgatroyd, TranceMicSoul, and many more got the dance floor heated up before Black Coffee, Dubfire and Eats Everything blew fans away with their hypnotic performances.

The Until Until Stage with MTV hosted the best of the local hip-hop talent, and was bursting with flavour and soul at every moment. The Samsung Galaxy Experience Stage was packed from start to finish, topping off the host of successful brand activations over the weekend.

The Main Stage production and performances stunned crowds at the Nasrec, with a display that was a fitting end to a phenomenal 48 hours of ULTRA South Africa.

“ULTRA SA brings new surprises each year and this year was no exception.  It also brings new magic each time we produce the show, and 2018 was the most magical yet,” says Shaun Duvet, partner in ULTRA South Africa. “Speaking on behalf of the full ULTRA SA team and sponsors, we are blown away by the support of the fans and industry and cannot wait to see what 2019 brings.”

Follow ULTRA SA on Facebook and Twitter for real-time updates on forthcoming events.

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(Article and Photography Courtesy of Get In PR)

Youngr: An Interview

It’s Friday night, I’m exiting the House of Blues at the end of the Matoma/Youngr/Elephante concert in Boston and by pure luck manage to bump into none other than Youngr himself, or should I say, Dario Darnell. After talking with his tour manager for several minutes, he agrees to give us a five-minute interview. I can’t believe my luck.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Youngr, it’s your loss. His album, This is Not an Album, released January 5th, is a smashing success with stellar vocals, quality lyrics, and great beats. Check out this video for “Out Of My System”, it’s clear Youngr’s a talented artist with a vast skill set. How many other musicians can completely construct one of their songs single-handedly?

When asked about whether Youngr, was a stage persona or himself, Dario had some interesting insight stating, “It is me, but you know I think the stage me is a more extreme version of who I am.” From the five short minutes we were given to interview, it’s clear to see what he means. There was nothing fake about his interactions on stage with the audience, just as there was nothing fake about his answers to our questions. Youngr and Dario are one and the same. The difference is group size. To captivated hundreds for prolonged periods of time takes more flamboyancy. It’s much easier to form a connection with someone in a smaller setting. To be able to pull off forming a bond with each audience member is a skill only the most seasoned performers possess, and Youngr has it.

Interestingly enough, we have the lack of a growth spurt to thank for Dario’s decision to enter the music industry. “I was twelve years old and I used to play basketball for England under-sixteen. I was doing my thing and I was pretty tall. But, by thirteen, I’d stopped growing and I started playing the drums and realized that girls like drums. I was drumming along and thinking ‘This is way easier than playing basketball every weekend,” he shares. Who knows? Maybe had he kept growing we’d be watching him on the court instead of on stage. However, Dario still loves sports. He might not know the difference between zone and man on man defence, but he established that he’d want to be a professional Frisbee player were he not a musician. Unfortunately, I left my disk at home and was unable to test his skills, but with previous experience in sports, I can only assume he throws a mean backhand.

Additionally, his drink of choice pre-show is red wine, “Red wine big time, Merlot. Boom, hands down!” It’s not a surprise then, that when asked who he’d like to collaborate with, dead or alive, Youngr stated that Prince would be one of his top choices. After all, the King of Pop also fancied a little red wine on occasion and had an amazing stage presence.

At the end of the night, I was left wondering how to properly portray such a charismatic and kind artist in an article. It’s rare to meet a musician whose favorite memory on tour happens to be a moment during which everything seems to be going wrong. This particular moment was when Dario’s luggage didn’t manage to make the journey to Boston with him and the rest of his crew. “It’s my best memory because you’ve got to think on your toes. I’ve got to figure out how I’m going to make this show happen,” he ascertains. The show Friday night was nothing short of spectacular and highlights both Youngr’s skills in his trade and professionalism. He’s got shows coming up in Miami and Washington DC if you’re in the area check him out.

BØRNS Saves Our Young Blood

“Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” perfectly sums up the mood at the Boston House of Blues last night. Strutting under the lights, this is what Mikky Ekko chose to roar at the crowd as he took the stage Sunday night to open for BØRNS. The performance was a show stopper. Walking to the venue, it was clear I was in for a night. The line extended past its usual point, snaking down one street, curving to another and passing the bridge. It was a first for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m used to the lines, but this line was at least 30ft longer than what I’m used to for the House of Blues. I don’t think I’ve ever been more thankful that press can skip lines. It was rainy and cold. Garrett Borns might have one of the most dedicated followings I’ve had the fortune to witness.

Doors opened at 7:00 PM. I entered around 7:15 PM. By 7:30 PM the floor was packed. Standing next to the stage, looking out at the crowd, it was clear this was a young audience of teenagers and young twenty-somethings. Eventually, the lights dimmed, signalling it was time to get to work.

For those of you who think you don’t know Mikky Ekko, you’re wrong. Remember “Stay” by Rhianna? That guy with the killer voice, that’s Mikky. Since his performance at the Grammy Awards in 2013, his music has only gotten better. His new single “Not The One”, is a jam anyone can connect with. It discusses wanting someone who doesn’t want you back. Everyone was sucked into his set as he belted, “I’m not the one/I’m not the one/I’m just the one you want for now.” It was a magical moment. His set was lit by mostly teal and dark blue lights with shocks of red and yellow, creating a welcoming atmosphere filled with bits of mystery, coordinating well with his soulful tenor voice. Clearly, Mikky loves his craft and loves his fans. Towards the end of his set, he jumped off stage and ventured towards the audience, not just touching their hands, but actually jumping into the crowd and remaining there until the end of his performance. He also spent time at the merchandise table post-show to greet fans, highlighting once again that he’s a down to earth guy, just looking to make music.

Next came Charlotte Cardin, a singer/pianist from Montreal. She was accompanied by Ben on drums and Matt on bass and synth. After announcing that she was going to be playing love songs and listening to her set I have to say she might just be the queen of love with a smooth jazzy voice and sensual stage presence. Charlotte was a crowd pleaser. Again, her lighting consisted of heavy dark blue lights, but she opted for an occasional smooth transition towards a magenta lighting. It added to performance, creating a relaxing vibe pleasurable to every audience member. Her song “Paradise Motion” captivated everyone with its interesting backing beat and her vocal range. While the verses consisted of middle range singing she spent the chorus soaring, leaving everyone feeling as though they were actually in paradise.

Finally, it was time for the main event. The audience was squashed as close to the barriers as they could get, waiting for BØRNS to take the stage. Screeches erupted the moment the lights dimmed. Everyone lost it the moment Garrett Borns waltzed on stage in his green suit and opened with “God Save Our Young Blood”. He wound up performing the entirety of Blue Madonna, his latest album, from start to finish. It was refreshing getting to hear a disk from front to back instead of the same old songs performed every tour due to their popularity. His lighting was all over the place in the best of ways. Lasers, strobes, deep blue lighting, fully lit white light. There was so much going on, but it all had a purpose and was all clearly tailored to the vibe of each song. Frankly put, Garrett might be the Mick Jagger of alternative rock/indie pop. He gives off major ambiences of this rock legend from the hair, to the way he commands the stage, to his dance moves, to his bold suit choices. Granted, they are not the same. Garrett Brooks just manages to embody all the positive characteristics found throughout the most seasoned performers, resulting in a truly captivating show. Its clear fans agree as they threw him drawings, flowers, and even a flower crown. As a whole, from open to close, this concert was a hit. Everything was planned out meticulously and done with purpose resulting in an unforgettable experience for every concert attendee.

Matoma/Youngr/Elephante Bring The House Down

“Let’s go Boston!” It’s 2:00am on a Friday night in Boston, Massachusetts. Sipping on a pink concoction given to me by Tom Straete at the conclusion of our interview, I’m stuck wondering how this night even happened. Rarely do I have to chance to meet a performer as kind and humble as Tom or should I say Matoma? Yep, that’s right. Matoma isn’t his given name, people call him Tom, and he’s just like every last one of us. Actually, he’s one of the most genuine people and hands down the most genuine musician I’ve had the fortune to meet during my time as a concert photographer/interviewer.

 

I was able to witness this first hand, post-show, as he took time to meet fans at his merchandise table. Unlike many performers, he’s not elusive. He took a special interest in a fan, Ronald Thompson, and brought him backstage to discuss the improvements needed in order to make concert-going and day to day activities more accessible for those in wheelchairs. There was nothing fake about this interaction and it was certainly done from the heart and not for publicity. This was just a man looking for a way to use his influence to help others.

 

After watching this interaction, it came as no surprise that Charles, one of Tom’s crew, had to inform me post-interview that this string of shows is a climate positive tour. This means that Tom donates proceeds from his shows to effectively erase the carbon footprint caused during travel and performances. In fact, he goes above and beyond by donating more than enough to clear him of any environmental pollution. Few artists would do this, even fewer would do so without announcing it to the world. But, no one is here to read my raving review of a man’s character. You’re here for the music.

 

The concert itself was a hit. Sprinting through the cold, I grabbed my passes, skipped the line, and entered the venue as quickly as possible to have time to talk to my favorite security guard named Tony. I’ll be the first to admit that although I enjoy listening to EDM music it is not my first pick of concerts to report on. I find them difficult to shoot with the giant podiums and often times have a hard time connecting with the artists because of the separation caused by the podium. The first opener Youngr defeated all odds and left the audience jazzed and ready for a night full of music.

 

Youngr, a artist from the UK, places emphasis on percussion. This should come as no surprise since he’s been banging on the drums since the end of his basketball career at the age of 12. He’s a blast to watch as he jumps around from bass to drums, to singing. Thrusting the mic stand into the air at one point during his performance, he kept the audience holding on to his every word and movement. He was explosive, a true man of the people. Fortunately, I was able to track him down post-show and convince him to partake in a five-minute interview. When asked who he wished he could collaborate with on a track alive or dead, he mentioned Prince. After witnessing him perform, I can only imagine that this track would be legendary as the king of pop’s influence is evident in Youngr’s performances. Furthermore, he takes things like a champ. The fact that his luggage didn’t arrive in Boston in time for the concert didn’t phase him, instead, he’s quoted saying, “it’s my favorite memory on tour thus far.” If that’s not a winning attitude, I don’t know what is.

 

After Youngr came Elephante otherwise known as Tim Wu, an EDM artist based in Los Angeles. His set featured heavy bass drops that left your insides shaking for minutes after his set. Filled with mixes of popular hits, he kept the audience moving their feet and amped them up further for the main act, Matoma. However, his stage presence was lacking as the podium put a real distance between him and the audience. Additionally, from a lighting standpoint, his setup was rather boring with a heavy focus on blue lighting throughout his entire set. However, at the end of the day, the music is what matters and in that regard the performance was amazing. The press spent far more time dancing together than taking photos.

 

Finally, after hours of waiting Matoma took the stage and blew everyone in the room out of the water. His opener was one of his new hits on an album to be released in May, “One In A Million”, promoting love and acceptance. In our interview when asked about the track, he stated, “it’s the story around the person that makes them unique. When people say ‘You’re one in a million,’ it’s not because it’s a phrase that’s cliché. I believe you’re actually one in a million.” The rest of the night consisted of well-known classics, among them “All Night” and “Old Thing Back”. Niku, Tom’s tour manager, was kind enough to allow me on stage to ensure the podium did not limit the integrity of my photographs. Standing on the side, looking out into the audience was a magical moment. To see so many people crowded on the floor dancing non-stop to the music around them made me realize how someone could go through the lengths of performing most nights and being separated from the people they love for prolonged periods of time. Take away the lasers, the confetti cannons, the strobe lights and you’re left with a man with a passion for music and desire to provide others with an unforgettable night.

 

 

First Aid Kit Folked It Up

“That was a song ‘You Are The Problem Here’, and we wrote that song out of anger and frustration of being afraid. We wanted to ask the perpetrators of those crimes questions like ‘What were you thinking?’ instead of asking the victims ‘What were you wearing?’ and ‘Were you drinking?’” First Aid Kit made a statement Wednesday night by tackling the issue of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry head-on. Shining a spotlight on the mistreatment of women across the globe through their song “You Are The Problem Here”, Klara Söderberg’s passionate speech while holding her cream Stratocaster showcased continued support for campaigns like the Me Too Movement. It earned roaring applause from the audience.

 

The Swedish folk duo, comprised of Klara and Johanna Söderberg, are currently on the US leg of their international tour. They gained international recognition in 2008 for their YouTube cover of the Fleet Foxes’s song “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”. Since then, they’ve released four albums, the latest titled Ruins. Showing up to the House of Blues on a cold, rainy, Wednesday night at 7:00 pm, I was greeted with a line snaking down the street. As part of press, we’re able to skip the hassle and enter the venue straight away. The length of that line, however, signifies First Aid Kit’s international popularity and the sense of loyalty and dedication fans feel towards the band. By 7:30 pm the venue was packed, though the concert started 30 minutes later.

The night began with LA-based singer/songwriter Van William, who recently released his debut LP Countries. Before his set on Wednesday, I found William at a table, selling merchandise and signing CDs. We discussed his upcoming performance and his new song “Revolution”, featuring the women of First Aid Kit. His trio commanded the stage. Kera spent the night jamming on bass and Brian Andrew Marquez was ever-present with the pounding drums. Folk as a genre is often perceived as simple, quiet and relaxing. Singers stand still, strumming their instrument of choice, but Van William was electric. He and Kera brought movement back into the folk/rock, hopping and dancing around the stage to songs such as “Never Had Enough of You” and Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl.” He’s a huge fan of Neil Young, signing his CDs with the quote, “Keep on rockin’ in the free world.”

Van William ended. We the photographers and journalists were left waiting on the side for the main event as the crew came forward to set up the stage. During this time, numerous fans came forward attempting to come into our segregated press area. The night was not easy for security. Eventually, after two or three fake outs First Aid Kit took the stage.

Klara was clad in a high-low red dress with ruffles, while Johanna took the stage in a shorter leopard print dress. Both were wearing black boots. They looked phenomenal. The music started and I was left more than pleasantly surprised. With all the vocal editing that can be accomplished in the studio, it’s rare to find artists that sound exactly the same as their recorded tracks during live concerts. First Aid Kit is one of these rarities. Klara and Johanna are even more impressive when considering the fact that they’re singing harmonies throughout the majority of their songs. That’s twice the likelihood of experiencing a hiccup. As someone with singing and duet experience, my ears were ready to pick up the slightest falter. Nothing. My eyes were also ready to watch two women stand in place, singing at me for an hour and a half as both girls played various instruments. Wrong again. First Aid Kit, like Van William, was electric. Bouncing around to jams like “The Lion’s Roar”, it was easy to dance in the crowd as Klara and Johanna danced on stage. To close the show there was even a sing-along. The two women quieted the audience before standing around a single mic with their backup band, ending with an encore made up of fan favorites. The concert was amazing and everyone in the audience was left folked up.

Cheat Codes: Rave or Concert?

“If you like to have sex make some noise!”, screamed Trevor Dahl of Cheat Codes during their Saturday night concert at Boston College. While technically advertised as a concert by the Campus Activities Board, Cheat Codes’ performance would be more accurately labelled as a rave. With spazing strobes, bass drops, and dollar bills regularly shooting into the crowd, it’s no wonder the crowd became incredibly rowdy.

The trio that makes up Cheat Codes (Trevor Dahl, Matthew Russell, and KEVI) is currently on a world tour, but it played without any of its collaborating acts through the course of the night. As a result, the DJs

had to rely on remixes, hard bass drops, and most surprisingly, a lot of crowd interaction to make up for the lack of artists such as Demi Lovato and Fetty Wap. Over the course of the night, one of the three members, Dahl, stepped out from behind the podium to pump-up the crowd. The other two DJs also exited the podium on occasion, but Dahl went above and beyond by crowd-surfing, holding students’ hands, and tossing dollar bills into the audience. Whenever Dahl’s presence was impending, the audience reacted by swamping into the area. There was no escape.

The live performance varied greatly from their studio recordings. Cheat Codes’ recorded music is known for its distinguishing clean sound, upbeat vibe, and mild drops. It an easy listen for those that like electronic music and the DJ style. This weekend, they intensified their stage presence by relying on much harsher drops and remixes of popular songs. They played remixes of songs such as “Mask Off” by Future and “Peanut Butter Jelly” by Galantis intermixed with their own content. These remixes managed to hype up the audience more than their personal material.

The members of Cheat Codes were there to facilitate fun, energize the crowd, and leave audience members exhausted after a night of jumping around. As a whole, they were successful, though it’s unfortunate their remixes of popular songs seemed to do the job better than their own material.

 

Streaming Stats:

Instagram followers when published: 222k

SoundCloud followers when published: 49.6k

Spotify Monthly Listeners when published: 18,449,779