2018 Concert Recap

2018 was a great year for new records and live shows. Here’s a little recap of the concerts I attended in 2018!

George Ezra: 5/8/18, Roseland Theater

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetI saw UK artist George Ezra perform in a small, local venue in Portland long before the success of his breakout single, “Budapest” in 2014. His booming, distinctive voice stuck with me after the performance, and I instantly became a fan. I won tickets to this concert in May through a contest his label created. I participated in various “fan activities” like watching George’s music videos multiple times, tweeting about him, and sharing his social media pages. I earned “points” that translated into number of entries, and I was my city’s winner! The concert was amazing–George played a full set of songs from both his debut record, Wanted On a Voyage and sophomore album, Staying at Tamara’s. I was thrilled when George performed my most favorite song of his, “Song 6.” This is a bonus track that appears on the deluxe edition of Wanted On a Voyage. It was magic to watch George perform it. Purple and blue lights on stage swirled around him as he sang, his eyes closed the whole time. I MAY have gotten a little emotional… 😉

Lucy Dacus: 5/26/18, Bloodworks Live Studio

Lucy, an indie rock/alternative singer-songwriter from Virginia, captured her audience from the very first song, “Night Shift.” (From her latest album, Historian.) Instantly, it became my favorite track. It tells a story of raw heartbreak and the conflicting feelings partners feel amidst the aftermath of a breakup. Immediately, Lucy reminded me of a few other of my favorite artists, like Phoebe Bridgers (whom she has performed with) and Courtney Barnett. Like these artists, she also seems to follow the “talk-singing” style, which reminds me a lot of when people read poetry out loud. I had the opportunity to meet her after the show, and she was so kind! (I’m not going to include the meet and greet picture here though, I look awful lol.) If you ever get the chance to see Lucy live, definitely check her out!

Dermot Kennedy: 5/27/18, Bloodworks Live Studio

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Dermot Kennedy, an R&B/alternative singer-songwriter from Dublin, Ireland, was the most unique artist I saw live in 2018. According to his online bio, “the young Dubliner draws inspiration from all the moments of brightness and darkness this world has to offer, crafting music that’s at once soaring and intimate, stripped-back and explosive. Stuttery hip-hop and R&B-influenced percussion underpins his weathered vocals as he combines organic and electronic elements into an arresting, emotional blend that calls to mind the adventurous arrangements of Bon Iver, and James Blake.” Dermot is a huge fan of Glen Hansard, another favorite of mine, who he ran into by chance on the streets of Dublin. A few months later, Glen invited Dermot to open for him on stage at a huge Christmas show! Dermot had a crazy strong stage presence when I saw him, and his voice really bounced off of the walls in the small studio. He mostly performed tracks from his 2017 EP, Doves and Ravens, plus  his most memorable song, “Young & Free.”

Death Cab For Cutie: 9/24/18, Hult Center

I’ve been listening to Death Cab since I was little, so when my friend offered me his extra concert ticket, of course I said yes! DCFC put on a great show, and engaged the crowd in between every song. It was so fun to hear some old classics in addition to new, like “Soul Meets Body,” which I’ve listened to forever, but also “Gold Rush,” from their latest record Thank You for Today.

 

 

Hozier: 10/20/18, Roseland Theater

Hozier played this Portland venue two nights in a row, and I caught the second show. My friend and I are both huge fans of Hozier, so naturally we lined up early and ended up being in the front row. (While waiting in line, we pressed our ears against the doors and could hear him soundchecking inside) It was insane–standing that close to Andrew (Hozier’s real name) and his band was a dream come true. He started off the show with his hit single, “Nina Cried Power,” which I wrote about in an earlier post. Hozier also graced us with what was an unreleased track at the time, “Movement.” Andrew was accompanied by his incredible band which is composed of some insanely talented musicians from all over the globe, including Kristen Rodgers (backing vocals, percussion, keyboard) and Suzanne Santo (fiddle, guitar, vocals) from Ohio. Suzanne first sang with Hozier as part of the alt-country-blues duo, Honey Honey, when they joined him to perform Work Song at a benefit concert in May 2017.

 

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Concerts I’m attending in 2019 (so far):

The 1975, 4/27/19: This will be my third time seeing my favorite band, and I’m ecstatic! I’m crossing my fingers that they play a mixture of new and old material, especially a few of my favorite songs, like “Robbers,” “Paris,” “If I Believe You,” and “Inside Your Mind.” Each time I’ve seen The 1975, they sweep me off my feet. I completely forget where I am, and I get lost in the music. Matty and the boys put on an incredible show, and they always come through with a stellar stage setup.

Bad Suns, 3/1/19: This will be my first time seeing Bad Suns live, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been listening to them for a few years now– they were the first record I was gifted when I received my first record player for Christmas a few years back.

 

See you in 2019, fellow music lovers!

(All photos, videos and gifs are mine.)

 

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Spring Tunes

Helloo! It’s been a while.

I’ve been incredibly busy these past few months, so I haven’t had much time to sit down to write a post. However, no matter how hectic things get throughout the school year as I drown in homework and activities, there’s always time for music.

Now that it’s spring, my favorite artists seems to have decided now is the time to release new music and mix up their sound–and I’m loving it. Check out what I’ve been listening to below!

Singles

leon-bridges-good-thing-620x620Leon Bridges: “Bad Bad News” & “Bet Aint Worth The Hand”

The release of these two new singles teases Leon’s fans with a tiny taste of what’s to expect from his upcoming album. Unsurprisingly, I love both of these tracks–especially “Bad Bad News.” It’s an innovative, jazz-alternative track featuring some killer bass guitar, sizzling drums and of course, Leon’s beautiful lyrics. Although the two singles he released are very different from the style of his debut album, Coming Home, released in 2016, the new tunes are still true to his sound and immensely unique.

album-packshotGeorge Ezra: “Pretty Shining People,” “Hold My Girl,” and “Saviour” (ft. First Aid Kit)

I’ve written a lot about George Ezra, an English singer-songwriter, podcaster and musician. He’s got a lot going for him right now–George started a podcast called “George Ezra and Friends,” last month, in which he’s interviewed some big-name artists like Ed Sheeran and Hannah Reid (London Grammar). They’ve chatted about their creative process, what they love about music, and more. Check it out here! “Pretty Shining People,” “Hold My Girl” and “Saviour” will all be featured on George’s upcoming album, Staying At Tamara’s, which is set to release on the 23rd of this month. I am particularly loving “Saviour,” right now. This haunting single features the band First Aid Kit, and the heartbreaking, repeated lyric that I love: “all of me is all for you, and what I have to give is not enough.”

James Bay: “Pink Lemonade”

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This single, which came out on March 7th, is incredibly different from anything James has ever released–especially considering the fact that his debut EP “The Dark Of the Morning” (2013) is all acoustic. Although he’s released Chaos And The Calm since then, a pop-alternative album featuring his most popular song, “Let It Go,” this single strays far from James’ usual style with its harsh electric guitar and a more gruff vocal style from James. Check out his SNL performance of “Pink Lemonade”  here!

Albums

a4082023118_10 Little Chief: Lion’s Den

One word to describe this record: cathartic. Little Chief is a folk band from the Ozark Mountains who are often compared to artists such as The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons and the Head and the Heart. The song “Lion’s Den” on the record is about mustering the strength to put your faith in things that are unseen, and let go of what may happen in the future. Every song on this album tells a story of perseverance, resilience, and finding peace in the most difficult moments.

HONNE: Warm On A Cold Nighta93acfc2563cf68c465f554ef956a292.970x970x1

I’m OBSESSED with the vocals on this album. Lead singer Andy Clutterbuck’s voice is low, hypnotizing and perfectly complimented by the backing guitar and piano on this record. My absolute favorite song right now is “It Aint Wrong Loving You.” A catchy, sweet pick-me-up tune.

Soundtrack to my Summer 2017

My summers at home are made up of memorable sunsets, vibrant colors, favorite foods, lovely smells, special people, the books I get lost in, and notable music. I remember each of my summers differently through these things, and looking back on them brings back the feelings I had during that time.

Every summer, I like to give you a little sample of what I’ve been listening to. I’ve got an extra good feeling about Summer 2017. ❤

alt-J: Relaxer (album)

alt-j-relaxer-album-artworkListen to this album while drinking lemonade in a hammock, or laying out on the grass in the evening. Each song on this album is expertly formulated–with slow, dramatic melodies and soft guitar slides paired seamlessly with their trademark maraca and echoey guitar riffs, this album incorporates these aspects in addition to celctic-esque harmonies in order to create the sound that makes alt-J so unique. According to MTV, the band also apparently tackles themes of climate change in this record. Also, the name of this album is extremely fitting–it’s a great record to simply chill out and relax to, and I’ve even fallen asleep to it a few times.

george-ezra-dont-matter-now-1George Ezra: “Don’t Matter Now” (single)

This is the perfect song to sing along to in the car with friends on a warm summer night. It’s been a while since George released any new music since his debut album, Wanted On A Voyage in 2015. This single, which he launched with a fun music video, is about remembering the fun things in life, taking time to yourself, traveling and being carefree. This song is a great way to remind yourself that the past year is in the past–let it go, it don’t matter now!

32c0dc1effb1c4cbc5068a10bb591eac.1000x1000x1ARIZONA: Gallery (album)

Woah woah woah. This album, lemme tell ya, sounds incredible live. I had the pleasure of seeing ARIZONA open for the band Coin a few days ago in Portland, and they did not disappoint. Their sound is R&B mixed with electronic and dreamy pop, and a few of my favorites off of this album (which is their very first) are “Annie,” “Electric Touch,” and “Oceans Away.” Their opening set was rad, and I absolutely loved the backing guitar in every single song.

jap houseThe Japanese House: “Saw You In A Dream” (single)

I first heard this song when Matty Healy, lead singer of The 1975, tweeted about it. The Japanese House has a very memorable, distinct style–reverberating vocals and dreamlike electric guitar and piano. Definitely one of my picks this summer as a refreshing, new band that are rising onto the music scene.

 

COIN: How Will You Know If You Never Try (album)

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I saw these guys live with my friend and sister a few nights ago, and they rocked! Lead singer Chase Lawrence had crazy amount of energy that kept the crowd engaged the entire show. The band’s stage set was amazing, too–complete with a neon hand hanging from the ceiling, reaching towards a large cardboard cut out of a gravestone with the words: “How Will You Know If You Never Try?” written on it. Coin have a sound similar to the band Bad Suns–alternative rock with a hint of Saint Motel vibes. I love pretty much the whole of their new record, but a few of my favorites are “Boyfriend,” “Are We Alone?” and “Don’t Cry, 2020.” Their fans loved these songs too–they screamed the lyrics back at Chase, seeming to overwhelm him with surprise and love.

16227a22a29ffaf90eaa55a24d26bdd3.1000x1000x1Liam Gallagher: “Wall Of Glass” (single)

If you think you don’t know who Liam Gallagher is, you do. He was 1/2 of the band Oasis, the iconic 90’s band who released the hit single everyone and their mothers know, “Wonderwall.” Liam debuted this new single during Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester benefit concert a few weeks ago in anticipation of his first ever solo record, As You Were, set to release later this year. Although Liam (and his brother, Noel) are known to be pretty bratty, I gotta admit, their music is stellar. If this new single is anything like the rest of Liam’s upcoming album, it’s sure to be a hit.

The Vinyl Revival

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“As CD and digital sales decline in the wake of streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, record sales are on the rise. In fact, the format has seen 260% growth since 2009. While CDs sit on shelves, vinyl supply is having a hard time keeping up with demand. It may not have seemed possible 10 years ago, but vinyl is back.” —Forbes Magazine, July 2015

record playerFor Christmas this year, I got a record player. I had wanted one for months but wasn’t expecting to get one, so my parents really surprised me. It’s a Third Man Records turntable designed by Jack White, and fortunately, NOT a Crosley. (Crosley turntables tend to break within a few weeks or ruin your records with their harsh needles.) Since I started working in a record store last year, I’ve become fascinated with vinyl and the culture surrounding it.

Since receiving my first turntable, I’ve been working on expanding my record collection. So far, I own Language and Perspective by Bad Suns, Talking Is Hard by Walk the Moon, Revolver by The Beatles, For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver (my favorite one to spin), 5 AM by Amber Run, Quadrophenia by The Who, Wanted On A Voyage by George Ezra, and a few of my dad’s old records. I brought my turntable with me to college after Christmas break, and it’s attracted quite a few people into my dorm room. Since most people my age listen to their favorite albums on Spotify, my turntable has become a fun, unique (and nostalgic) way to listen to music in our dorm.

I love the experience of listening to music on vinyl. The slight crackle of the needle hitting the grooves of the record before it begins is one of my favorite parts, and I absolutely love watching the record spin…especially if the record is a picture (or colored) disk, like George Ezra’s album I purchased from a Record Store Day sale. (See below.)11951563_430420080485911_916543637205630510_o

I have come to love vinyl simply because it encourages the purchase of physical, tactile music. I  believe that the act of holding your favorite record in your hands before listening to it results in a unique, and overall more meaningful connection with the music.

Over the past year or so, vinyl purchases have expedited due to the current generation of teenagers and young adults who now own their own turntables. Honestly, I think that this trend first arose due to the aesthetic, visual appeal that vinyl and turntables present…specifically for posting to social media outlets like Instagram. Many young teenagers seemed to utilize posting pictures of vinyl as a way to get likes, since not many people were listening to music that way. Although this may have been the initial case, I think that vinyl purchases among young adults has evolved into a genuine passion for music and appreciation for the physical representation of a favorite record.

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Getting lost in record stores is one of my favorite things to do. I could spend hours browsing through records and examining album covers. Now that I have my own record player, I can actually buy albums to play…which is so much fun. If you have any suggestions of records that sound great on vinyl, please feel free to tweet me!

 

Photos of me by Kendra Siebert