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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.

 

For the entire photo gallery click here

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!

 

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.

For the full photo album of the concert visit this website

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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

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