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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✨🍒 cherry wine ✨🍒 @hozier

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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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Now Playing: Winter 2018

Albums:

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The 1975: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

I’ve been looking forward to the release of this record for a few years now, and let me tell you, The 1975 did not disappoint. This record (“ABIIOR” for short) marks yet another new style/era for the band. (Each album seems to be a wildly different sound than the last.) There are quite a few ballads on this one, including the mesmerizing, jazzy tune about fear of commitment, “Mine,” and the haunting “Inside Your Mind.” (My personal favorite.)

IMG_1734Other incredible tracks include the Oasis-esque “I Always Wanna Die Sometimes,” and intense scream-along, “Love It If We Made It,” which centers around pretty much everything wrong with the world right now. The band has filmed 3-4 music videos to go along with selected tracks which were released as singles prior to the full album release on November 30, and my favorite by far was the video for “Sincerity Is Scary.” In addition, Matty has uploaded a few incredible acoustic performances of the new tracks, plus two of the band’s older songs, “Paris” and even “102,” from The 1975’s Drive Like I Do days. Track 1, simply titled “The 1975,” has been present on every record the band has released so far–they reinvent the song each time, tweaking the style and overall sound. (Left: The limited edition poster I received after attending a The 1975 Listening Party at my local record store!)

ABIIOR touches on the consequences of technology in the modern age, lack of genuine connections between human beings, and the current political issues going on in our world. Long story short, I love almost every single track. The record has a variety of style and meaningful lyrics to fill your time dissecting, and listening to it all makes me even more excited to see them live next April. Also, reminder that the guys are planning to release another album early next year 😉

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Hozier: Nina Cried Power EP

This EP was released in October, and although it’s comprised of just four tracks, it’s jam-packed with some notable tunes. When asked about how this EP ties into the release of his sophomore album, Hozier says: “This collection of songs is an example of what I’ve been working on and is a small taste of what is to be expected from the upcoming album.” The first track, “Nina Cried Power,” which features Mavis Staples, strays from Hozier’s usual style and is a rad protest song. Hozier says that the song as well as the accompanying music video highlights the work of Irish activists, and famous Civil Rights activist Nina Simone. Can’t wait to hear the rest of his new material!

Singles:

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Horace Bray: “How It Ends”

This single combines soulful vocals and jazz acoustic/electric guitar with a driving, heartbeat-like bass. Horace, who began playing drums at the young age of ten, is a singer-songwriter from L.A. who grew up in St. Louis. He credits his love for jazz to an after-school jazz program he attended in St. Louis, the UNT Jazz Singers he joined at the Unviersity of North Texas, the Four O’Clock Lab Band, and a few other groups. “How It Ends” is his latest single, released just last month. My favorite lyric is: “I saw your light and now it’s gone…is this how it ends…with a flicker of how it began?” Using light as a metaphor for love is a powerful image.

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Josh Gilligan: “Absent Mind”

This song has some serious Mac Demarco vibes going on–especially the intro and middle riff, which features a funky electric guitar and background synth. The song follows the story of two people who have previously been in a relationship (or perhaps never at all), yet one of them still believes they are a couple. Josh Gilligan is still a fairly new, up-and-coming artist from Nashville, TN. Surprisingly, he says he has been heavily influenced by artists like Paul Simon, Bread, America, Dawes, and The Real Efforts Of Real People–however, his music strays far from the style of these artists.

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Julianna Zachariou: “Subway Song”

This lovely, sleepy track snuck its way onto my Spotify Discover page last month, and it hasn’t left my head since. I find myself singing it at random times, and I’m even attempting to learn how to play it on my ukulele. It’s short, sweet and simple–Juliana paints a picture of an early morning subway ride in New York, where half-asleep passengers clutch the rails. They sway back and forth with the rhythm of the train, and it looks as if they are slow-dancing with one another. Julianna Zachariou is a indie singer-songwriter from Nashville, and her first full-length album, “Meanwhile,” made its debut last year.

An Interview with ROMES

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ROMES

Jacob Bitove (lead vocals), Nick Bitove (drums), Andrew Keyes (bass), and James Tebbits (guitar) make up this four-piece soul-pop band, who all met while attending school in Wicklow, Ireland. After moving to Toronto last year, ROMES was born. They’ve worked with some incredible names in the industry, including Grammy-nominated music producer Tony Hoffer, who has produced albums for legends such as The Kooks and Beck. Additionally, The Guardian has compared ROMES to iconic bands such as The 1975, Years & Years and Duran Duran. The guys find their inspiration through a variety artists like Stevie Wonder and Drake, and are even pals with Irish singer-songwriter Hozier. (Who is one of my absolute favorite artists!) After seeing Hozier’s recent tweet about Romes, I reached out to them for a little interview. Read on to hear what the guys have to say about their debut EP, their dream venue to perform in, and more!

A Perfect Playlist: Tell me a little bit about yourselves, and how the band got started.

Romes: We had been playing music together in various arrangements for over 10 years. Then, last year, we realized there was a special chemistry between just the four of us…so we started ROMES and got cracking on writing our EP. We’ve been friends for so long now, it’s almost like a family.

APP: How would you describe your sound?

R: We’re 2 cups of raw energy with 1 cup Pop; a pinch of electronics, infused with 2oz of soul; garnished with some RnB.

Hozier tweetAPP: What’s your relationship with singer-songwriter Hozier? I saw that he posted about you on social media praising your debut EP. (See left!) How did that feel?!

R: We’ve been friends since we were wee lads. It was very good of him to tweet about the EP. He’s as sound as he is gorgeous!

APP: What’s your favorite song off Believe, your debut EP?

R (Jacob): The song “Believe.” It has a strong place in my heart. It was written from past experiences I’ve had when people doubted my life choices, my dreams, my goals, and my passion. I got fed up, and wanted to finally stand up for myself. The only way to do that for me was to write….and “Believe” was the result. Have patience and positivity and you’ll always shine through.

APP: I really love the track “When The Night Comes” on your EP. Is there a story behind that song?

EPR: We were fascinated with the idea of having very minimal and sparse verses with mainly drums and three-part harmonies, and contrasting that with a huge explosive chorus. “When The Night Comes” was the result of that. Sexy and tasteful was the mission for this one.

APP: Who are a few artists in the industry today that inspire you?

R: Most of them have passed away, sadly. But those still alive – Drake, Andre 3000, Lauryn hill, Stevie Wonder…. There are too many to list them all.

APP: Are you planning to tour anytime soon? Dream venue?

We’ll be touring later this year, but nothing that’s been announced at this time. Stay tuned. We would love to get back to Ireland and play the Olympia in Dublin.

APP: If you could bring back one artist from the dead, who would it be, and why?

R: The late Prince and David Bowie. Two terrible losses to the the world of pop music this year. Oddly enough, their deaths brought us closer to their music and made us want to see them each play one last gig. May they Rest in Peace.

APP: What was the last text you sent?

R: What happens on Whatsapp stays on Whatsapp… 

APP: Anything else you want to say to readers of A Perfect Playlist?

R: Shout out to A Perfect Playlist for reaching out to us and showing an interest in our music. It’s been a pleasure answering your questions!

Thanks, guys!

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Find ROMES below!

Website

YouTube

Twitter

Spotify

HOW TO: Create a Music Time Capsule

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetLike I’ve said so many times before on my blog, music/songs can represent memories. Listening to a specific song can bring back so many good memories from various times in your life!

For this post, I decided to do a something a little different. I’m a very sentimental person, and I also absolutely love time capsules. I have so many hidden around my house–one from kindergarten that I’m supposed to open when I graduate from college, one for when I graduate from high school, and one I’m set to open in just a few weeks. Because I love time capsules so much, I decided to combine my love of memorabilia with my passion for music & its power to spark memories.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to create your very own music time capsule. You can decide to open it whenever you want–during a major life milestone, next year, whatever. When you open this time capsule, it will help you remember the music you loved and the memories that you made because of it. It makes your memories a bit more tangible, and is super fun to hide, then discover later. Read on to find out how you can fossilize your favorite artists and albums.

THE IDEA: If you’ve never made a time capsule before, the idea is to find a box or some sort of container, and fill it with significant objects that will spark memories when you open it years later. Ideally, you are supposed forget what’s in the box until you open it. Decide on a specific date or a certain year that you would like to open it, and mark it on the outside, then HIDE IT. Don’t open it, touch it, or peek until your target date.

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9 ideas of what to put inside:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset1. Tickets from past concerts.

Collect tickets from a few (or one) of the best concerts you’ve attended. On the back, write who went to the concert with you. That way, you can call your friend and reminisce about that perfect night after you open your capsule.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset2. Concert & festival bracelets.

These are so much fun to look at years later. Try to save them instead of throwing them away after the concert/festival you attended. I kept my V.I.P. bracelet from when I met The Wanted.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset3. A lotion or small lip gloss that you wore the night of your favorite concert.

Scent evokes strong memories. One sniff of a perfume that you wore the night you met your favorite band will transport you right back to the moment you finally hugged them.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset4. Pictures, pictures, pictures!

Throw in pictures you snapped of your favorite singer on stage, at meet-and-greets, and of you and your friends after/during concerts. One thing that’s super fun to include: Pictures of your reactions after a concert, or after meeting your favorite band/singer. Make it habit to snap a picture of you and your friends after each concert–you’ll have genuine smiles and you’ll capture the excitement of the night on camera. (In the picture below, on the right, you will see a picture of my friend and me after we met Ed Sheeran. We were a little excited…)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset5. Buttons, stickers, articles and other mementos.

Cut out an article of an interview or photo shoot with favorite singer, and include it in your time capsule. You’ll love reading it years later, and it will help you remember why you loved that particular artist so much. Stickers, buttons and notes are always fun to look at, too.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset6. Albums, album booklets, or a flash drive.

In 10 years, or whenever you decide to open this time capsule, the world may not be using CDs anymore. Putting your favorite album on a flash drive is probably good idea. If you want, though, go ahead and include a whole CD (if you can fit it inside).

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset7. Fan letters.

Make a point to scan and save letters you write to your favorite band member (before you give them away). Or you still have a letter for your fave that you hope to give them one day, consider putting it in your time capsule. (Obviously if you end up meeting the artist/band, you can still take it out and give it to them.) I scanned the letters I gave to The Wanted when I met them, and it’s fun (if a bit cringe-worthy) to read them now. 🙂

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8. A description of your favorite concert, or concert moment.

Write out your favorite concert moment, then read it out loud to someone who went to the concert with you when you take it out of your time capsule years later. Even if you’re not much of a writer, jot down some bullet points and key moments you want to remember.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset9. Tweets.

You know those embarrassing, adoring tweets you’ve sent to your favorite singers? Print them out! Have you ever gotten a reply? Print it out! You will LOVE seeing them years later when you open your time capsule. Plus, who knows if we will even have Twitter in the future? Your tweets will seem so “retro”!

Hope you enjoyed this post! Tweet me pictures of YOUR music time capsules! (@sophersc)

Artists Unplugged

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I spend a lot of time browsing YouTube…especially for music. One of my favorite pastimes is finding videos of my favorite singers/ bands covering acoustic versions of their songs. Sometimes, the acoustic version is even better than their studio version. That’s when you know you’ve discovered an artist with true talent! For this post, I compiled a few videos of my favorite artists and their unplugged performances. Check them out below, and tweet me: what songs sound better acoustically? (Photo by Ian Sane)

Taking Over Me –Lawson

Closed Hands Full Of Friends — Foy Vance

Lay Me Down — Sam Smith

Small Bump — Ed Sheeran

Noel Gallagher — Don’t Look Back In Anger

Cherry Wine — Hozier

LISTEN UP: Hozier

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Hozier

Hozier’s voice is like hot tea on a rainy day in November. Warm, comforting, and just a little bit addictive. Lately, I’ve been listening to Hozier on repeat–I just can’t get enough. (Photo by Brendan Lynch)

Andrew (Hozier)-Byrne has had a crazy successful year so far. His self-titled album Hozier (released September of this year) is growing in popularity around the world. He’s gaining the attention of Indie-rock music fans all around the globe, building himself a loyal fanbase. So far, my favorite songs from his album are: “Cherry Wine”, “From Eden”, “Angel Of Small Death & The Codeine Scene”, “Like Real People Do”, & “It Will Come Back.” His songs are mysterious; they always leave you thinking about what the true meaning behind each one is.

You’ve probably heard his most popular song, “Take Me To Church” playing on numerous alternative music radio stations. According to Wikipedia, the song reached number one on the Irish iTunes singles chart and number two in the official chart last year. He also performed the song on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago. Click here to watch his amazing performance!

hozier outsideHozier, who’s originally from Bray, County Wicklow in Ireland, is currently on a massive tour around America & the UK. (Click here to find out if he’s coming to a city near you!) Most of his shows are sold out, but I managed to catch one of his performances about two weeks ago in a small, acoustic venue. When I heard him sing, I literally got goosebumps. His voice is infectious; it filled the entire room, vibrating through the walls and leaving everyone in awe. Check out my favorite performance he did that day, “Angel Of Small Death & The Codeine Scene,” here.

After the show, my friend and I waited outside the venue to see if he’d come out to take pictures & chat. He did! I met him very briefly, but he was so sweet. He was so friendly, and willing to sign everything the fans were handing him, even when the security guards were pushing him to finish up and hop into the car to leave. When artists have such an appreciative attitude towards their fans like Hozier did, I love them so much more. (Photo of Hozier greeting fans on the left.)

imageMy friend & I meeting Hozier!

If you listen to Jake Bugg, Foy Vance, or Snow Patrol, I would highly recommend you listen to Hozier. Click here to listen to his full (flawless) album!

Browse his website here.

Check out his YouTube here.

Tweet him here.

My Rainy Day Playlist

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Fall is finally upon us. The leaves are changing colors, the air smells like trees and soil, there’s pumpkins on every front porch, and of course, it’s pouring down rain. If you live in a rainy city like I do, you’re probably used to this. Fall is my favorite season, and I personally love the rain! It’s gives me the opportunity to snuggle up on the couch with some some tea, and listen to my favorite playlist–my rainy day playlist. These songs immediately cheer me up when I’m walking home in the rain, or stuck inside doing homework while listening to the steady patter of rain on my window. So if you’re caught in a windy, wet downpour this week, or you simply want to get into the spirit of fall…click below! (Photo via WeHeartIt)

Rolling Stone–Passenger

Autumn Leaves–Ed Sheeran

Me–The 1975

All I Want—Kodaline

Strong–London Grammar

Ramble On—Led Zeppelin

Cherry Wine–Hozier

Be The Song—Foy Vance

Move Together—James Bay

Three Marlenas—The Wallflowers

Keep Breathing–Ingrid Michaelson