An outsider viewing the events of this past weekend would have little to no clue that they were taking place in the midst of students cramming for finals and stressing out about the end of the semester. This weekend was a social marathon of sorts, and I feel like I just re-experienced Hopscotch. It was packed with great music, from old names and new, and lots of camaraderie. What follows is a recap of the events that occurred.
We [WKNC Staff and friends], had a tacky sweater party to celebrate the LDoC. Aside from the fact that I was comfortably wearing shorts in December, it was good fun! Not much else to mention.
Friday – Sylvan Esso/Love Language Winter Formal:
At WKNC, we love great music, but there’s something else you should know: we are [situationally] some of the corniest folks you will ever meet. On Friday night, we all got dolled up in our spiffiest threads, got our hair just right, got our faces looking lovely, and gathered to take pre-prom pics. We went all out and did all of the awful poses that plague your high school photo albums and scrapbooks. It was just as silly as in high school, only this time it felt right. After one too many photos, we made our way to Kings. Kings was dressed up for the event, too; streamers and paper ornaments adorned the room, and a photo booth, complete with photographer and a sign that simply stated “prom,” was located near the entrance. This brings us to the important stuff, the show.
Sylvan Esso is the Durham pair consisting of vocalist Amelia Meath and electronic musician Nick Sanborn. They released their first two tracks on an EP earlier this year, and since the first time I listened to it, I was hooked. The overall sound is new, the lyrics are clever, and Meath’s voice is easy on the ears. The title track, ‘Hey Mami,’ starts out with an acapella feel, there’s merely her voice and some soft background traffic noise. As the track progresses, things pick up, and out of nowhere you get hit with this glorious bass line! They opened the show with this song, and the live performance gave me all of the same thrills, and more! Sylvan Esso is a name that I believe you’re going to be hearing a lot of in the near future. Their performance blew me away. Between Sanborn’s incredible electronic tracks, Meath’s voice (and that pant suit!), and the energy that was bouncing back and forth between them and the audience, it was an amazing night at Kings. I don’t know if any of you have had this experience before, but sometimes you get a feeling like you’re in the presence of something with great potential…this concert was one of those moments. I think they’re going to go far. I spoke to Sanborn briefly after the show, and he divulged that their first full album will be released this spring, and that they’re working on getting a few more singles out in the mean time. So, stay tuned for that.
After the Sylvan Esso set, the crowd was hyped and ready to rock out and keep dancing the night away.
The Love Language:
The Love Language is far from a new band, they’ve been a big name in the Raleigh music scene for a few years now, but they’ve still got it. Frontman Stu McLamb and his bandmates serenaded the audience with a mixed-tempo set while dressed in full prom attire. Their set was how I would have wanted my prom to be. Most of the set was pretty high energy, but there were occasional feel good, slow dance songs thrown in that let you catch your breath between all of the formal moshing. The band played a mix of old and new songs, from Blue Angel to a new untitled track. They were a nice complement to the Sylvan Esso performance. All in all, I and the rest of the audience really enjoyed them!
Friday night was the best prom I never had. Tons of friends, great music, cool people, and First Friday. I want to personally thank Kings for putting that show together. It would have been enough to see the bands in a normal setting, but the prom theme just made the night special.
Saturday – House Shows:
Saturday night, in an unassuming house near campus, there took place one hell of a house show. The night opened with a solo performance by Emma Lee Nelson. She rocked a guitar in hand, a drum and tambourine by feet, and a powerful voice that you could feel in your soul as it reverberated around the room. This one woman band is quite the talent.
Saturday night was the first live performance by the four man band known as Less Western. There was a lot of anticipation surrounding this performance from within KNC. Frontman Kevin Sweeney said that he felt a little strange performing in front of an audience, but that feeling didn’t show in his performance, it was great! Their music falls in line somewhere with bands like Floating Action, Beach Fossils, or Wild Nothing (ala Gemini). It has a psychedelic feeling that wiggles back and forth over a fine line between somber and happy. After first impressions from a first show, I’d say that I have a good feeling about their potential. Check them out here!
We all sang Happy Birthday to Less Western’s guitarist, John, after their set. He’s 21 now!
Derek Torres showed up and played a solo set of T0W3RS tracks. It was a fun set, everyone got dancey and riled up for the moshing that was to take place later. It’s cool to have a slightly bigger name in the local music scene play in this intimate setting.
Museum Mouth is always a treat. They bring great energy to all of their shows, and the crowd always turns into a big, sloppy mosh pit. Saturday was no exception! Sweaty bodies flailing into each other in the 12×12 space in the living room, crowd surfers dodging ceiling fans, and glasses flying off faces…it was good, wholesome fun!
I also got to chat with Karl who divulged that a new album wasn’t too far off (Jan-March-ish)! Keep your eye’s open for that and download his solo rap project, OK McQueen’s newest album, LIFE//EX-LIFE. It is amazing, and if you use the internet, you will love it.
Well, that was my jam packed weekend of KNC folks and music! I haven’t been this exhausted since Hopscotch, so Sunday was for sleeping and Netflix marathons. For all of you with exams coming up, good luck!
One last thing, if you’re an NCSU student, are interested in working for WKNC, and think you have what it takes, come to our training class on January 7th! It’s a great way to get involved in the local music scene, you get to know great music and even the people behind the music.