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You’ll Love Us The Duo No Matter Where You Are

You might have heard of them since their appearance on the hit television show, America’s Got Talent. You might know them from the video that went viral in which they sing one of their earliest hits, “No Matter Where You Are”, during their wedding. Either way, odds are whether you remember their name or not, you’ve heard of Us The Duo.

Soon to be a trio with the birth of their child in the near future, Michael and Carissa Alvarado have set off on tour across the United States ready to blow people’s minds with their artfully crafted lyrics and killer harmonies. As far as concerts go, this is one you won’t want to miss because their set is jam-packed with just about everything. From slow ballads to music fit for dancing, Us The Duo has made sure to provide a little bit of everything.

Thursday night, they took the stage at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis. Walking into the venue forty minutes before the opener, Justin Nozuka, took the stage I could already tell this was a group with a dedicated fan base. A sizeable portion of the venue was filled with individuals vying for top spots at the front to watch the duo and their band.

As I walked around taking in the calming atmosphere of the venue equipped with everything from chandeliers to disco balls, I listened to excited fans rave about the group. “This is my third time seeing them in concert!” proclaimed one excited concert goer. She went on to explain that she’d gone as far as to see them in Rome as they toured with Pentatonix during her time studying abroad. I was tempted to ask her further questions. However, the lights were dimming, meaning it was time for me to photograph the show.

Unfortunately for me, I’d never heard of Justin Nozuka until the night of the show. This is a pity because had I known about his music he would have made an appearance on my Spotify playlists long before July 27th. His vocal range is astounding and his music makes for perfect relaxation or late night drive music. In fact, I was so impressed with Nozuka I found my way to the merch table after his set to purchase his latest record, Run To Waters.

The rest of the audience was equally as impressed with his vocal capabilities as I was. He had them clapping along by the end of his first song. One fan even went as far as to say, “Damn guy can sing! Can we pay him to stay on stage for a little longer?” By the end of his set, it became clear why Michael and Carissa had chosen Nozuka to open their show. He’d done an amazing job getting the crowd ready for the main act. Let’s just say I’ve very grateful I remembered the earplugs I wear when shooting photos for this concert.

Michael and Carissa didn’t help the noise situation either. They’re experts at getting the crowd to wait with anticipation. Their set opened with their backup band jamming quietly in the dark before Michael entered under blue lights. Finally, Carissa made her entrance as the lights exploded on the stage.

Their set was filled with numerous classics, covers, newer hits and a top-secret surprise well work the price of a ticket to the show. I watched in amazement as Carissa danced the night away as heavily pregnant as she was. She never missed a beat.

At one point the band and Michael went into a Mario jam, allowing both the bass player and drummer to showcase their talents. After the song was over Michael announced, “Yo I hit the keyboard so hard it broke a key!” It was a go hard or go home kind of night.

During their performance of “(Stop) Just Love” I watched a couple hold a poster that read, “Been together for six years because we just stopped”. This highlights the impact Us the Duo has had on the lives of their fans.

All in all, the duo’s performance at the Varsity Theater on July 27th stands as the best show I’ve had the chance to attend since the start of the summer season. I’d highly suggest grabbing tickets to anyone considering attending one of their performances during the rest of the tour. EchoMe is excited to follow Us The Duo’s journey as they proceed through their whirlwind adventure on America’s Got Talent. We wish them all the luck in the world when it comes to family and music.

Kate Nash Teaches Us That Yesterday Was Forever

“And in case you have any rage inside because I do, let’s face it head-on. It’ll be like group therapy!” belted Kate Nash during her show last night at the Royale in Boston. Nash is currently on her North American, Yesterday Was Forever tour. The album that the tour is named after was released on March 30th and if you have yet to listen to it, you’re missing out.

Walking into the venue, it was clear fans were ready for Nash. As I was prepping my equipment I heard one young concert-goer share, “This is the best day of my life. I can’t believe I’m here, I can’t believe she’s going on soon, I can’t believe this entire night is happening!”

It’s no surprise her music has had such an impact on so many lives. She’s got songs discussing mental health, songs talking about feminism, and songs about being yourself. Whether you’re old and grey or young and naïve, one of her songs will have a message you can personally relate to. Don’t believe me? The audience distribution last night was filled with people of all ages. I watched a married couple dance together in the back and some twenty-something girls belt the lyrics to “Merry Happy”. Regardless of the large spread in ages, everyone was having a wild time.

The opener, Miya Folick, started things off with a bang. Her vocals were a nice mix of smooth/jazzy and gritty hard rock. She commanded with some killer moves and guitar playing. Her band was equally amped up and left the audience buzzing after their set. As I sat talking with one girl after the set she mentioned, “Miya totally gave me that vibe of the character Julia Stiles plays in 10 Things I Hate About You. You know? With the whole feminist rocker vibe.”

Her song “Dead Body” discusses someone’s refusal to be silent after experiencing sexual assault. It’s a song with a powerful message and skillfully crafted lyrics like, “It’s my sunny disposition that you liked / You poured me coke and vodka / Drink it baby, be nice / And you knew you would get away / So you didn’t try to hide.” Although a dark song, Miya deserves massive applause for using her platform to discuss issues that plague many people.

After leaving the stage it was Nash’s turn to engage the audience. She bounced on full of energy in sparkly fishnet stockings and an oversized green Bruins jersey. Nash spent the entire concert jumping from each side of the stage, making sure to interact with everyone. Her band was vibing, there were smiles all around. Much like Miya, Nash also uses her platform to discuss important issues. Before her performance of Musical Theatre, a song about mental health, she took the time to share “there’s no shame when you put a sling on a broken arm, so why is there shame when there’s a broken mind?” It provided deep insight into society’s mental health misconceptions and left the audience cheering.

As far as repertoire goes, Nash made sure to include classics like “Agenda” but also put emphasis on her newer content. Her energy persisted throughout the entire show and I left amped up with less of a voice than I had at the beginning of the night. All in all, it was a fantastic show and I would highly suggest purchasing tickets if given the chance.

 

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