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Why Don’t We: The New Teen Heart Throbs

First off, it needs to be acknowledged that Why Don’t We managed to sell out a show on the same night as a Red Sox game against the New York Yankees. This is a massive feat as the House of Blues in Boston is right across from Fenway Park, Boston is first and foremost a sporting city, and the Yankees are a major Red Sox rival. Nevertheless, they did it!

Unfortunately for me, entering the venue was not as easy as it should have been. There was an error with my press pass resulting in me being unable to enter the House of Blues, and I was left waiting outside for thirty minutes frantically trying to contact those providing me with the press passes. Fortunately, this isn’t the first time this has happened and I regularly show up to gigs an hour early to ensure that I never miss a performer. At the end of the day, while it was slightly exasperating waiting for things to be sorted out between Atlantic Records and the House of Blues staff, everything ended up working out and those involved were incredibly understanding and apologetic.

Entering the House of Blues, I was shocked to see that the audience was made up of strictly teenage girls. When I say strictly teenage girls, I mean that throughout the entire venue at a sold-out show I saw maybe thirty individuals above the age of twenty. Furthermore, all the individuals of adult age were parents of the teenagers. They spent the night on the side near the bar or in the back, sitting on the floor. They were there because their daughters had dragged them to see Zach Herron, Jonah Marais, Jack Avery, Daniel Seavey, and Corbyn Besson. This just goes to show you that not all heroes wear capes. I and the other photographers present in the pit could not stop discussing how we wished our parents had loved us enough to take us to a concert they themselves has little interest in seeing. This was also a bittersweet moment because at twenty years old, I realized as I looked out at the crowd that I was no longer a child.

In short, Why Don’t We has mastered the two most crucial things that allow musicians to make it big. They’ve developed a strong following and an incredibly specific target audience. This became evident before the opener, EBEN, walked on stage. Although no music was playing, the entire audience began singing the entirety of Why Don’t We’s single, “Trust Fund Baby”.

On the topic of the opener, man was he good. Most artists try to develop complex lighting patterns for their shows. EBEN kept it simple with plain white lights and strobes. This meant it was easy to capture amazing shots of him as he commanded the stage. It also meant the crowd was easily able to focus on him as an artist and his performance. He kept the crowd entertained, with killer dance moves and solid vocals. His song, “LAMBO”, was comical as it discussed not having money and wanting it. It was something pretty much any college kid could relate to. Additionally, after listening to the released version, I have to say his version performed live was much better than the recorded track. To sum up EBEN, he’s an electric performer who’s sure to improve his trade as he gains experience and practice.

After twenty minutes of waiting, Why Don’t We took the stage. I was incredibly glad to have brought my earplugs because the cheers from the crowd were deafening. I’ve been to countless concerts and never have I been so nervous about the preservation of my eardrums. Their entrance was very well planned with the lights flashing the outline of each member’s profile. However, once the show really started I felt as though the occasional strobe lights that flashed went overboard as they were at eye level with anyone in the front, aka the photographers and first few rows of fans. It was slightly distracting. However, their vocals and flow of their set were spectacular. There was a nice mixture of upbeat songs and ballads. From what I could tell, no one missed a note. Additionally, the costume changes were well planned. The audience of ladies couldn’t contain themselves when the five members walked on stage in suits. The only other criticism I had for Why Don’t We’s performance was the choreography.

It seemed over choreographed. Every second of every song seemed to have a beat. Don’t get me wrong! This isn’t necessarily bad, it’s far better than artists who stand and sing without doing much of anything. My only wish was that there had been more opportunities for organic movement. I took time to research the group before attending their concert to ensure that I understood their vibe. These guys are hilarious and full of energy. I felt as though the choreography caused things to fall a little flat during a few moments in songs. Choreography makes things tricky (especially when it’s group choreography) because it requires a lot of thought in order to complete the movements in sync. The excessive choreography resulted in moments where the boys appeared to be too focused on remembering the moves rather than feeling the music. Again, don’t take this to mean that they were insincere. From the songs where the movements were less complicated you could tell that they resonated with their music and the messages it was sending. It was witnessing those moments that made me wish that the choreography played a less important role in their set.

To conclude, Why Don’t We and EBEN provided fans with a lovely night of music. From the special night they created, it’s clear that they value their fans and care about giving them a night they’ll never forget. As far as artists go, I’m incredibly interested to watch Why Don’t We grow as a group and can’t wait to see what they accomplish in the future.

For the full gallery of photos click here

G-Eazy Has No Limit

The first time I came to Boston I played the Middle East Upstairs. There was like 80 people. I’m so grateful to come to Boston and stand on this stage and perform this sold-out show” yelled Gerald—better known as G-Eazy—during his show at the Agganis Arena. This venue contains 7,200 seats, a far cry from the first time he played Beantown. It’s a true testament to Gerald’s accomplishments during the past few years. He’s a real hustler.

The show itself was a hit. However, there were a number of difficulties upon arriving at the venue. The first issue was finding press passes to actually enter the event. The tickets’ location seemed to change with each staff member we talked to. This problem was exacerbated by the fact that the schedule sent out to press covering the show was an hour late. In fact, most of the press missed the first opener, Anthony Russo. Despite the frenetic start, everything was smooth sailing once we got inside.

Marco Anthony Archer, better known as Phora was the first to meet the criticism of the photographers and writers. A rapper from California, he started out as a tattoo artist before turning to music. While his stage presence was subpar, his lyrics were thoughtful and well put together. His song “Fake Smiles” was especially impressive with lyrics such as, “But, we hate ourselves because we run from the people we love / And we all hold on to the past ‘cause we miss what it was.” It was incredibly relatable. The impact of his verses left the audience in silent thought. His style of music is defined by producers Eskupe and Anthro Beats and rappers J. Cole, Hopsin and Logic. Leaving the stage, he belted one last message into the microphone, “I’m just a human being. I come on this stage and don’t know how y’all gonna react to me. Thank you!” In short, Phora is a relatable artist whose only need for improvement lies in his stage presence.

Trippie Redd was the next to take the stage. Dressed in a downright absurd number of chains, one questioned how he was able to bounce around with such ease. He swagged his way up to the stage followed by a large hype crew of at least six people. Many were stuck wondering what their purpose was as they seemed to be bodies stuck in the background. Originally born Michael White IV, he’s relatively new to the scene with his first EP released in 2016. Redd’s entrance consisted of him walking out and amping up the audience with a recording yelling, “Fuck Donald Trump! Fuck Donald Trump!” His set was explosive and he definitely took control of the stage. However, he spent a large portion of the first three songs dousing the front row of general admission and the photographers in the pit with water. Additionally, his security was less than pleasant when Redd attempted to break the barrier and interact with the crowd. Many photographers were pushed rather harshly and a few even caught a stray elbow or two. Nevertheless, this was a small bump in the road. Redd’s set consisted of high energy songs and a psychedelic projection on the screen behind him, constantly lit up with images of burning skulls and crosses

Finally, it was time for G-Eazy to take command of the stage. Initially, audience members were less than pleased with the somewhat long set strike and setup that needed to take place before Gerald could hit the stage. This was largely due to audience anticipation. Gerald’s music has gained immense popularity over the past few years, and diehard fans can rap just about every song. The moment the lights dimmed the displeasure in the audience completely disappeared. G-Eazy bounced on stage, and before the first song was even finished an eager audience member threw her bra onstage. Gerald was nice enough to hang it on the mic stand.  For the most part, the show was made up of tracks from his new album The Beautiful & Damned. It was divided into three sections with the following apt names; Act I: The Beautiful, Act II: The Damned and Act III: The Encore. The stage setup was very much worth the wait. It allowed for projections to be played across white scrim. The scrim could be left either opaque or allow for the audience members to see Gerald’s band in the back.

There was also a costume change. G-Eazy entered in an all-black ensemble finished off with a black leather jacket with an embroidered white skull on the back. Before beginning his song “Leviathan” he did a 180, changing everything from his pants to his jacket to all white. The color choices were interesting considering black was used for the beautiful portion of the concert and white was used for the damned section of the show. Perhaps this was G-Eazy poking fun at the traditional association between white and images of angels and purity. Regarding the music, the show was nothing short of spectacular. Gerald’s fans are so dedicated the show could have almost gone on without him. They know every word. At one point, the audience erupted into loud cheers after his song “Buddha”. Instead of quieting down after the initial cheer, volume level only increased. It seemed that Gerald was at a loss for words, flashing the audience a heart with his hands and bowing down to them. He also threw out, “Is it okay if I call Boston my second home? If I was able to speak to past-me and if I told him we sold out an entire arena or that we sold out a fucking tour or that Donald Trump was president he’d say ‘Fuck that’”.

Nothing seemed to die down during the encore. Gerald decided to crowd surf. How he managed to return to the stage so swiftly remains a mystery as the entirety of general admission surged forward, reaching out to touch this rap legend. Additionally, he played two of his biggest hits, “Him & I” and “Me, Myself & I”, during this encore. This forced his fans to wait until the bitter end to hear some of their favorites. He made up for it by chucking one of his black vans into the audience for one lucky spectator to take home. At the end of the day, G-Eazy is a mastermind with his tour setup and a genius when it comes to crafting meaningful music. Although his US tour is almost over, there are still opportunities to witness him is his element in Europe. If given the chance to watch one of his live performances, take it. You certainly won’t regret it.

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Judah & The Lion Make Folk Cool Again

Saturday night was unlike any concert I’ve ever experienced. For starters it was folk, a genre I   listen to, but had yet to see live. Furthermore, Judah & The Lion was far from normal folk. Sure, Nate Zuercher was rocking the banjo and the mandolin was being strummed by Brian Macdonald, but hip-hop beats and killer covers from “Booty Wurk (One Cheek At a Time)” to “Mr. Brightside” also made an appearance.

The opening acts were also insane and by far some of the most talented openers I’ve had the fortune to listen to. Embarrassingly enough, when it came to both opening acts, Tall Heights and Colony House, I was under the impression that I’d never heard of their music. Both of the groups are in fact on my Spotify playlist and have written songs regularly streamed from my phone. I am rather ashamed of this fact and advise you not to make the same mistake as I did and learn their names and music before you too find yourself in this embarrassing situation. You’re bound to hear them on the radio at some point.

Tall Heights is an electro-folk duo based out of Boston, Massachusetts. Made up of Tim Harrington (singer/guitarist) and Paul Wright (singer/cellist), they are show-stopping. For a photographer, the lighting made it difficult to get that “wow” shot, but at the end of the day, one attends a concert to listen to the music. Wright did a fantastic job of managing to captivate the audience while strapped to a cumbersome cello. He somehow pulled off the impossible, managing to make his movements look effortless and fluid and he moved about the stage. Both men have incredible singing voices as well, and their harmonies were perfectly in sync and in tune. Additionally, Tall Heights is incredibly creative. During their performance of “River Wider” they mashed snippets of “Feliz Navidad” into the mix. The tracks fit together so well one would have thought they made up one song had it not been for the fact that José Felciano’s single is so famous.

Colony House also “wowed” me beyond expectations. Their lighting was perfect for photographers and their energy made it easy to shoot stunning shots. Their music was even better. Often times, the drummer is kept in the back. However, Colony House put Will Chapman right up front with the rest of the band and his energy managed to pump the audience up tenfold. Scott Mills, must be one of the most talented guitarists I’ve ever watched. He spent the night switching through so many guitars I grew dizzy, mixing dancing in here and there to command stage left. Caleb Chapman sang with so much emotion it was impossible to focus on anything else but the music. His vocalization on “Cannot Do This Alone” was especially spectacular. The man on the bass, Parke Cottrell, also added his fair share of personality to the performance, staying true to his collected rocker vibe. Overall, it was an unforgettable performance.

Finally, it was time for Judah & The Lion to take the stage. They opened with a little speech and a countdown to their entrance on stage. It had everyone waiting in anticipation. I was incredibly confused when they first entered as they opened with the cover of “Booty Wurk”. There was twerking, synchronized dancing, and impeccable vocals. It took me until the next song, “Twenty-Somethings”, to realize that I was, in fact, watching Judah & The Lion. Their set was amazing. They made sure to play old crowd-pleasers like “Take It All Back” and also threw in their latest hit “Going to Mars”. There was crowd surfing, crazy sunglasses, and technicolour lights. They even brought members of Colony House and Tall Heights back on stage at various points of the night to continue pumping up the crowd. All in all, the three groups provided for an incredibly entertaining evening filled with dancing, jumping, and singing. At the end of the day, Judah & The Lion continue to break ground by making folk cool again. They prove that the banjo and mandolin don’t belong to a singular genre and can be used throughout to create something special.

To look for tour dates near you visit Judah & The Lion’s website

For more photos check out Patricia’s Website

For concert updates and live coverage visit ps_camera

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.