Concert Review Festival Coverage Miscellaneous Music News and Interviews

Outlaw Music Festival 2024: Cheers to the Old Gods and the New.

We’re witnessing the musical changing of the guard and it could not be a more excitingly bittersweet time to love music.

The 2024 line-up for the Outlaw Music Festival was nothing short of legendary rolling into Raleigh’s Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek; Celisse, Alisson Krause & Robert Plant, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson all taking the stage.

But as best laid plans are apt to do, the line up fell through.

The danger, you see, is in relying on octo- and nonagenarians for your entertainment is the general precarity of old age.

Friday, June 21st Willie Nelson’s team released a statement announcing the country singer’s departure from four of the ensuing tour dates due to medical concerns.

In his place, son Lukas Nelson and the Nelson Family Band stepped in with an abridged tribute set.

But it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing to let the younger Nelson take the stage in his father’s wake.

If anything, it reaffirmed what we already knew about Willie’s songs — they’re timeless country-western staples for a reason.

And more importantly, Lukas Nelson is far too talented to stay in his father’s shadow.

Freed from the albatross of an elderly father, Nelson’s voice quite literally soared through the shortened tribute set – simply put, he sounded like his father for a new age.

Waffling between original compositions and Willie-standards, Nelson was able to effortlessly bridge the divide between new fans and old, bouncing between the soulful growl present on Promise of The Real track “Find Yourself” to his father’s signature warble on songs like “Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain.”

Speaking of soul, I would be remiss not to mention one of the freshest faces amongst the lineup: Celisse.

The Oakland born singer and guitarist easily won over unsure and unfamiliar audiences with more than just sweet talk and charm, she won them over with her sound.

Bombastic in every sense of the word, her belt and her shred equally silenced the normally rowdy “lawnies” of Coastal Credit Union – her cover of Bill Withers’ “Use Me” met with earthshaking applause and shouts.

For a woman who has been making music for well over a decade, touring as supporting acts for some of the biggest acts in folk and easy listening rock both old and new – Brandi Carlisle and Joni Mitchell, to name a few – I have a sneaking suspicion that Outlaw Music Festival is only the beginning of her just desserts.

So yes, Bob Dylan and Robert Plant were once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list artists to see, but perhaps more importantly, I walked away with not just hope, but a feverish excitement to see what the next wave of Americana, Soul and whatever-the-hell-else-you-want-to-call-it will be.

Long story short, it is sad to see the old god’s fade away, but my god, I cannot wait to see the nebulous eruptions of the new.

– Bodhi

Band/Artist Profile Concert Review Miscellaneous Music News and Interviews

Justin Timberlake and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Oh, Justin Timberlake.

It’s been a rough year or so hasn’t it, bud?

From Brittany’s slightly dubious tell all to an ill-fated romp in the Hamptons, he’s has had a tough go of it as of late.

And my, what a sight to see.

Celebrity implosions, especially of such long standing figures, are always a spectacle – but I’ve yet to see one that reeks of desperation quite like Timberlake’s.

From the hallowed halls of the Mickey Mouse Club to Gen X thirst trap World Tours, Timberlake has a knack for keeping himself in the spotlight.

For better or worse, the common man has a half-baked notion of what — or rather, who — he is.

But there’s something that feels different about this latest scandal.

Perhaps it’s because I had the pleasure of seeing him at PNC Arena a week before his DUI.

Or maybe it’s the comical coverage of the incident — considering the pouty celebrity mugshot, perp walk and the beautifully oblivious cop making the arrest.

Either way you spin it, there’s something distinctly and pitifully funny about Timberlake’s snafu.

Rockstars and rappers go through their own legal issues and brushes with the law, but when it happens to a pop star, people pay attention.

Even more so to someone of Timberlake’s caliber.

For people 35 and over, he’s been a tried and true standard for a large part of American pop-culture.

From childhood to adulthood, he’s been a prominent spotlight feature, and he’s desperately grasping at the edge of the stage as he’s being played out.

As far as the soundscape of popular culture goes, he’s by and far left behind.

His stage show proves it to, sadly: asses really only left seats for old standards like “Sexy Back,” “Suit and Tie” and “Cry Me A River” — even more so for the throwback reliant DJ opener.

Not to besmirch the opening band, but there’s something wrong with your act if more people are amped for a DJ playing the dancehall classics of yesterday than your set.

Consistently, he’s released albums every four to five years since 2002. Yet, his sound hardly changes.

Since he’s left NSYNC, the only evolution I can truly see is a semi-annual media scandal of either infidelity or inebriation.

When your entire career is based upon the affection of young girls, what happens when those girls grow up?

What happens when you grow up?

Somewhere within the pandering, paltry pastiche of the “Forget Tomorrow” world tour and the relatively tame release “Everything I Thought I Was,” you’ll find the answer.

It was a good show, don’t get me wrong.

Justin Timberlake is an entertainer first and foremost, to which he most certainly delivered.

But as the times catch up with the now 43-year old, fading pop star, the whirling dervish of past and present controversy seems to loom large over him.

From Britney to Janet, inebriation, infidelity and unknown world tours, perhaps Timberlake should take to the mirror himself and truly reckon with his next steps.

Because let’s be fair, humoring an aging audience in flights of fantasy feels like a desperate cash-grab preying on the hardwired need of women past a certain age to feel relevant — to feel important.

In a world where artists are more accessible than ever, feeling more real than ever, the thin line between artifice and artistry has never been more apparent.

And artists who are unwilling to step beyond their predestined imagery are not only doing their audiences a disservice, they are doing one to themselves.

The official “Mirrors” music video from Justin Timberlake’s official YouTube Vevo page.


Concert Review

Quasi Comes to Motorco

Quasi burst onto stage amidst a flurry of bird sounds, with bandmates and former spouses Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss taking places behind their respective instruments, huge grins on their faces.

Concert Review

Concert Review: Knocked Loose, Speed, Show Me the Body and Loathe

On June 7, 2024, Knocked Loose played at The Ritz in Raleigh for their tour promoting their new album, “You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To.” The metalcore band hailing from Kentucky has properly solidified itself over the past half-decade within the hardcore hall of fame. With their brutal riffs, poetically miserable writing and satisfying band synergy that beckons stadium-spanning mosh pits, Knocked Loose is truly a force to be reckoned with.

Blog Concert Review

An Evening With Wilco

I first heard of Wilco when I was about fifteen years old. 

At this age, I was meeting with a weekly writing workshop to share our own work and discuss the work of those we admired. We would print out poems and short stories to pour over and pick apart. Our small group was led by the local author Frances O’Roark Dowell, who still to this day provides me with a fountain of wisdom and inspiration.

One summer day, Frances brought the lyrics from Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.” She handed out the printed sheets of paper and we took a moment to read.

Concert Review

Talking About Vaporwave: i2K Electronic Music Festival

This past weekend, I took a drive out to Richmond, Virginia to go experience what is likely the most surreal concert (or festival) I’ll ever attend.

Around the beginning of the year, prominent vaporwave artists V4NGOE and Roge Corp conspired to create the VaporVA collective as a means of bringing more vapor related events to Virginia. The i2K festival would serve as the very first live event they would organize, being hosted at the Ember Music Hall in downtown Richmond.

I can’t exactly recall how I had heard of the event initially, I just remember seeing a collection of some of the most well-known vaporwave artists all coming together in one place. The festival gathered 12 artists in one night for about thirty dollars, so it just seemed economical to go, honestly. With that said, I did hesitate for a while to get a ticket as I couldn’t find someone to go with. I was eventually able to convince a friend of mine who flaked on me prior to go with me though, so I wasn’t alone this time.

The event was centered around the artstyles and vibes of the late 1990s and early 2000s, as is visible on the artwork of the promotional flier. In an effort to play along with this, I tried to dress the part as well, wearing a t-shirt with a faded print of the mythical Pokémon Mew. In all seriousness though, the theming around the event did play a big role in my overall experience thanks to the visuals that were provided, which I’ll discuss in it’s own paragraph.

The drive up to Richmond could likely be it’s own story in and of itself, solely based off the conversations you’re more or less forced to have when starting at nothing but open road for a hundred miles. The same held true for the ride back, but with a few extra steps. I tried to prepare a playlist for both trips containing my favorite songs from around the early 2000s as well as plenty of vaporwave. I especially remember VAPERROR being cued a good number of times, as he was likely the one I was most excited to see on the lineup.

After a two and half hour journey, we arrived in Richmond a bit before the venue’s doors opened. Upon opening, we were greeted by a bunch of vendor’s tables from the various artists who were performing in addition to some labels. As a token of appreciation for my driving, my friend who I was with got some merch for me, including a secondhand cassette copy of “Night Coverage” by Meteorological Agency, a solid signalwave album. Aside from the merch, a couple of vendors had some CRT TVs set up with game consoles, which may or may not have distracted us through some of the first set.

We would eventually make our way to the stage after perusing around for enough time. The first artist we saw in full would be that of Heaven Sample, who played a variety of electronica during their set. While it didn’t exactly appeal to me, I came to respect them more when I heard them accompany several of the following artists with live drumming.

During much of Heaven Sample’s set, I found myself moreso distracted by the visuals that had been set up both behind the stage and on a large screen off to the side. I might have the mind of a toddler, but it was just something about those displays that felt hypnotizing. The overly saturated colors, the flashing text, the mirrored and manipulated clips of old commercials, it was all just enamoring. It was honestly my favorite aspect of the whole concert, and it weirdly kept me both distracted from and focused on the music, it’s hard to explain.

The next artist to play was that of BECAREFUL, who played a set of deep house remixes of some familiar 2000s hits. Their set felt most in character for the event when you only really focused on the music. It was relaxing and chilled out, but quite danceable too, as deep house sets usually go. The energy honestly felt a little scattered, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from taking a genre like vaporwave and putting it into a live format.

The next artist to come out, That’s Matt, would do the job of exciting the crowd some more with a set of some future funk tracks. Nothing exactly remarkable as the set wasn’t very long, just some fun tunes and a fun stage personality, rocking a rhinestone cowboy hat. Definitely got me ready for the next set.

I guess it’s understandable that the person hosting the event would want to hype everyone up as much as possible, and they definitely succeeded. V4NGOE’s set started out with a more hypnogogic sound, with trippy vocals similar to that of George Clanton. Funnily enough, his set somewhat mirrored that of the George Clanton concert that took place this past October. The energy kept gradually increasing until he quite literally just jumped into the crowd, causing a moshpit to start. Interestingly, I believe that V4NGOE was the only artist in the lineup that stuck to their artist persona. This is something I noticed as in some prior vaporwave events, many of the artists in the scene would choose to keep their identities hidden. It’s something that became a key aspect of the genre to a degree, so it was just curious to me. Regardless, their set ticked all the boxes for me, and it alone made me feel that it was definitely worth coming out here.

The next artist to perform, FrankJavCee, was one that I really don’t know how to describe. FrankJavCee used to be a content creator on YouTube some time ago, being most prevalent around 2016. I had spent a lot of time watching his videos that would comedically teach you how to create a certain genre of “internet” music. Of course, vaporwave and it’s subgenres were heavily discussed. If I recall correctly, he’s since ceased to upload onto his channel and has mostly minimized his social media presence. So, yeah, it felt strange to see one of my favorite content creators from eight years ago to come out on stage and start shredding a saxophone. Still though, it was a great set and a nice change of pace.

Perhaps YouTubers are going to become a theme here, with the next artist, Whitewoods, who isn’t exactly a YouTuber themselves, but gained a lot of traction due to their song Beach Walk being used in a good number of videos and being remixed several times. It could be said their music helped to bring vaporwave out of the niche esoteric corner of the internet it developed from. Their set was more stripped down as compared to the others, but felt easier to vibe to. It’s a different type of feeling to hear a song you’ve listened to for years and years be played live in front of you by the person who made it.

After Whitewoods’ set, it was time for VAPERROR to come out, and as I stated prior, I was more excited for him out of everybody. I genuinely would’ve payed to just see him alone. Around the time we got into the venue, I had spoken to him briefly about basic things like how much I appreciate his music, how much I play him on my sets, how he needs to re-issue some albums, stuff like that. His set was pretty much everything I had hoped for, consisting of tracks from all throughout his discography. I’d say the highlights were some of the remixes from his collaborations with vaporwave giant Telepath. Overall, very bouncy, I was indeed bouncing. However, before his set came to a close, he broke out a couple of unreleased hardcore tracks with artist Sage Hardware, and I never would’ve expected that one of the most intense moshpits I’ve ever been in would come from a vaporwave concert. My friend who I was with nearly had to sit the rest of the festival out in the aftermath of it. When all was said and done though, we both agreed that that set alone made this one of the greatest nights of our lives.

We both needed to take a breather, so we missed a bit of the next artist, Trapcry, who was the most hip-hop and trap adjacent of the lineup. My friend didn’t exactly feel like moving all that much more, understandably, but I decided to hop back in the crowd and get hype one more time before the festival started to slow down. I’d say Trapcry also had one of the best stage personalities out of the lineup, and just brought non-stop energy for what I was able to enjoy.

With the both of us still extremely tired from the pit, we decided to watch the next set, which was Fake Fever, from a distance. He brought in a more ambient sound, which sent me into a trance as I watched corrupted footage of Halo 2 gameplay on the side screen. I do have to say that that pit absolutely did a number on both of us, who were majorly starved and dehydrated, and who also agreed to get food after the festival was over with.

The last artist that I wanted to see perform would be that of FM Skyline, who provided the perfect score for an end to my night. My friend decided to head back to my car early, but I stayed through the majority of his set, thankfully being able to hear my favorite songs from him. I would almost describe his sound as the tunes of a jukebox from a far future cyberpunk bar that’s attempting to mimic the styles of the 80s and 90s. I was aware that there were a couple more DJ sets to be played after him, but I decided to call it for the night, heading back to the car.

We began our drive back exhausted and beat up, but moreso ready for that 2 a.m. Cookout to hit. It definitely did hit. I got back home at about 5 a.m. and instantly whisked myself to bed and decided to let the signalwave tunes carry me to sleep that night.

I’m very excited to see the future events that VaporVA has in store, and while it could be a bit closer to Raleigh, I’m grateful that live vaporwave is starting to grow more and more, and it’s good to have some kind of “guide” for the east coast.

Blog Concert Review

Concert Review: MIKE

In my preview for this concert, I wrote very briefly about my relationship with a more poetic style of song, the kind of style that MIKE employs in his work. It’s a type of sentiment that I share with a couple of my close friends who also enjoy a more mellow style of rapping. I mention this again because I never exactly realized the exact degree to which an artist could make me feel connected with their words (and their beats). I could continue on about this, but for now, I should probably discuss what the actual show was like.

I had initially planned on attending this show with a couple friends of mine, one of which was very familar with MIKE and the openers and another who wasn’t at all. In my opinion, if you plan on attending a concert with a pair, this is the exact dynamic you should go with. In my case, I was only really versed with MIKE, only being vaguely aware of the openers. Unfortunately, conflicting schedules let to my friends being unable to come along, so I was forced to go alone.

I arrived at the venue a little late, but still before any of the performances began, I still wish I could’ve gotten a better spot in the crowd though.

Prior to the performances starting, the venue staff had some quite enjoyable house tracks playing with R&B elements, which I may or may not have attempted to ID at certain points. Usually I feel like time is dragging on during the pre-show of a concert while my anticipation builds, but that wasn’t the case here.

In the midst of me vibing out to somebody’s house playlist, the lights go red and the first opener comes out, El Cousteau. The sound of loud trap drums was overwhelming, but the energy that El Cousteau delivered was arguably the most unique out of all the performers that would follow him. He didn’t exact fit the mold of a more “mellow” rapper, instead showcasing a more upbeat and excited mood, typical of the rage style. His set was fairly short, only about twenty minutes, but definitely did the job of hyping the crowd up some.

The next opener to come out was Niontay, who on the contrary did fit the mold of a “mellow” rapper. His voice was a lot more calm as compared to El Cousteau, and his lyricism felt more poetic, leading to a drop in the overall energy. This isn’t to say he or any of the other performers weren’t energetic, but more that they all brought a very different spirit with them, which I appreciate. My favorite aspect of this set would definitely lie in the beats, which were pretty similar to that of MIKE’s. They had a hint of some vaporwave elements to them which is probably one of the biggest things that drew me to MIKE’s music in the first place. I plan on looking more into Niontay’s music for myself, hopefully adding a few more songs to the playlist.

The final opener to perform would be that of 454, who felt like a fusion between the prior two openers. The first thing that immediately drew me to him would be his voice. He had a cadence which I’m not really able to describe, but got me more invested in his lyricism. The energy that he brought was more in line with that of El Cousteau’s, as it was more excited and fast-paced. With that in mind, I was more ready for MIKE to come out than anything else.

Finally, it was time for MIKE to come out, and initially, I don’t think I had mentally processed everything that was going on. To me, it was just “MIKE is here, he’s rapping, that’s cool.” It wasn’t until the hypnotic instrumental of “Set the Mood” came in that I had entered into what felt like a whole different reality. I felt this kind of familiar feeling that I had felt when listening to MIKE’s other instrumentals for the first time. All of his beats share this mesmerizing mood that never fail to put me in a trance-like state, pairing perfectly with his style of rapping. It’s a little difficult to describe, but for me, I believe the reason for this lies in this kind of “artificial antiquity” that he employs with the slight vaporwave influence that I mentioned prior. It’s a combination I never would’ve imagined working before, but MIKE somehow makes it happen.

There wasn’t a certain album or project that was focused on during the performance, it was basically a mixed bag of tracks from his discography in addition to some fun unreleased tracks. I wouldn’t have minded if it was focused on one project, but nonetheless I’m happy I was still able to hear some songs from early on, especially “Hunger”.

Throughout the show, there was a pretty clear effort made to foster a connection with the crowd. While being a great performer for one, MIKE is also just genuinely entertaining and funny. There was an entire arc about him not being aware of his friend’s birthday despite knowing him for over a year. I take pride in saying that I am exactly like that friend. Aside from that, I had just one qualm about some of the people around me, who seemed a lot more invested in a basketball game than they did the actual show. Which I normally wouldn’t care about, but they were right in the center of the crowd and slightly obscuring my view. Regardless, I still felt connected with the people who were there to actually enjoy the music and the artistry, and I especially felt connected with the performers.

MIKE closed out his set with the song “Closing Credits,” appropriately. I felt that it was the perfect song to drift away to and put an end to my hypnosis as I sang away part of the chorus. Somebody take the wheel, for real.

Concert Review

Kyoto Punk Quartet Otoboke Beaver Rocks Cat’s Cradle

Japanese garage punk band Otoboke Beaver melted faces and absolutely blew my mind at their March 26 performance at Cat’s Cradle.

If you’re unfamiliar with Otoboke Beaver, I cover them in this recent post. Here’s the rundown of their show:

The Openers

The first act of the night was NC-based riot grrrl band Babe Haven. Fueled by “rage ‘n’ Slim Jims,” this all-girl queer quartet threatened to blow the roof off the place with their vicious musical energy.

Cover for “Uppercut” by Babe Haven

Playing tracks from their most recent album, “Uppercut,” lead vocalist Lillie riveted the audience with her aggressively gritty screams and contagious vigor. Partway through the set, she passed the mic to guitarist Naomi for “Kung Pow,” a rallying cry against orientalism and fetishization that got everyone in the room thrashing.

For more info about Babe Haven’s “Uppercut,” check out “Babe Haven: NC Queer Punk” by Ben.

Following Babe Haven was the Drinking Boys and Girls Choir, a three-piece punk group hailing from Daegu, South Korea. The band’s name comes from its earliest members, who bonded over their shared love of drinking and singing.

Cover for “Linda Linda” by Drinking Boys and Girls Choir

Drinking Boys and Girls Choir presents an upbeat, summery take on punk, with airy beats and an absolutely sublime guitar. The band’s sound moves seamlessly along a spectrum from gritty skate punk to harmonic indie rock.

I’ve never heard anything like it. Myeong-jin Kim’s expert drumwork and Megan Nisbet’s entrancing guitar solos made my skin erupt in gooseflesh.

Otoboke Beaver

Otoboke Beaver’s performance was everything I’d hoped for. With an aces setlist, commanding stage presence and dazzling visual effects, Otoboke Beaver delivered one of the best concert experiences I’ve ever had.

Drawing both from their 2022 album “Super Champon” and the iconic 2019 “Itekoma Hits,” the group had everyone in the room at their command.

Cover for “Super Champon” by Otoboke Beaver

When lead vocalist Accorinrin — clad in a 60’s-style pink dress and matching eyeliner — raised a silencing hand, everyone clammed up immediately (except for one man whose incessant “whooping” earned him a scolding “shut the f–k up, man!” from a peeved concertgoer). Later, the audience erupted with delight as she brandished us a manicured middle finger.

Conversely, guitarist Yoyoyoshie’s ebullient orange pallette and cartoonishly cheery demeanor whipped the audience into a frenzy, her high-pitched screams and seemingly elastic facial expressions paired with an aggressive rapid-fire guitar.

Otoboke Beaver at The Crocodile in Seattle – Posted by David Lee, licensed CC BY 2.0 DEED.

Her penchant for audience engagement — compelling us to clap in time with the beat for “Don’t Call Me Mojo” — blurred the hard-set line between stage and audience. This effect reached its ultimate climax when she dove into the audience at the end of the set, crowdsurfing on a giant beaver-themed pool floatie.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes shows with multiple openers can drag, especially when they differ stylistically. However, Babe Haven and Drinking Boys and Girls Choir presented such powerful energy that watching their performances felt like shows in and of themselves rather than a preface to the “main event.”

Ultimately, the night was a showcase of several different faces of female-fronted punk music, and it was absolutely riotous in all the best ways.

Concert Review

Concert Review: Bar Italia

Often, the bands we like are located far away. 

When the opportunity arises to see a band on their first journey to your city, you take it. This was my experience with Bar Italia; upon hearing of the London-based band’s most recent tour, which included their first ever show in the Triangle (at Motorco in Durham), I had to buy a ticket. It was non-negotiable, and soon, very exciting; I was finally going to be able to see a European band that I had prayed would come to the South (many such cases). 

Soon enough, the day came. While I was taking a moment outside, I watched as large numbers of fans began to trickle into the venue. Many were dressed in typical indie garb that you’d expect from a rock show of this sort. Interestingly, many people seemed to mirror Bar Italia’s slick British style; I counted a number of mod haircuts, Britpop-y normcore fits, and pointedly English dress trends that would normally fly well under the radar in North Carolina. It was fascinating to see, as I could tell that these people were obviously big fans of the band.

The opener, named Great Area, began soon enough. Beforehand, nobody seemed to be aware of who the opener was- or what their sound was like- which made for a pleasant surprise. It was one person, assumedly also from Britain, with a backing track and a background projector, singing in an almost impressively deadpan style against hypnotic, retro electronic beats that captured the essence of a midnight ride through the streets of London.

The moody aesthetics and attitude were at the forefront, with the visuals featuring esoteric flashes of urban landscapes, dated tech advertisements, and loose snippets of pop culture edited seamlessly to go along with the music. Great Area stood completely still and stared ahead as they sang each of the songs in order. It was not a long set, but a perfect appetizer to begin a night of London scene vibes. 

However, the momentum of the night was interrupted by a nearly hour-long wait until Bar Italia came on.

The crowd began to stir around thirty minutes after Great Area walked off stage. According to an anonymous source, Bar Italia had requested that the Beatles be played as the venue’s background music in between sets and during both artists’ setup times. I overheard crowd goers making mock bets as to what Beatles song would come next, and I’ve never heard more discussion about the Beatles in years. The slightest sense of tension arose in the air, and every time the door to the back room opened, much of the crowd would stare, hoping for the band to come out. There were a few whispers that the band could have canceled, or that something went wrong last minute. Fortunately, this was not the case.

The frustration nearly hit its peak by the time Bar Italia finally arose from backstage, to thunderous, relieved applause. Without an introduction, they began.

The set consisted mostly of album tracks from their most recent full-length release, The Twits, which was met with generally positive emotions from the crowd. Highlights included the raucous “my little tony” and “worlds greatest emoter”, which got the crowd moving in the first phases of the set. Tracks from their previous album- which also came out last year- Tracey Denim, were welcomed with notably more cheering and singalongs than the newer songs, but this could be primarily because the singles from “Tracey” were played. Nonetheless, the crowd was entranced all the way through; however, it was apparent that some fatigue from the wait time in between sets lingered on people. The band also played a couple older loose singles that are popular amongst fans, to much praise.

Bar Italia present themselves as a three-piece, with two guitarists and a vocalist. For the performance, they added a touring drummer and bassist (special props to the drummer, who absolutely killed it). With this being said, the live sound was much different from their studio sound. This is mainly due to the fact that none of the programmed drums, synths, and strings present in the studio tracks were accommodated for in the live set. I saw this as a good thing, as they were able to turn up the garagey-ness of their act, and the clear and concise distortion and raucousness made for an enthralling, true-blue rock and roll performance.

For better or worse, the atmosphere of their performance was not as, well, atmospheric as the opener. The main stage lights were on the entire time, leaving the band in complete view from the audience. There were no background projections. This could definitely be a positive, as it was easy to see everyone and what they were playing. It lent a bit of intimacy and casualness to the performance, and made it feel as if they were a local band playing for a local crowd. 

Despite a couple minor shortcomings, the show was excellent, and the set ran just long enough. Bar Italia played extremely tight, without missing a beat, and the excitement of seeing a cult favorite band for the first time clearly resonated with everyone in attendance. Everyone seemed to leave satisfied, albeit perhaps with newfound opinions on the Beatles.

-Mike Utt

Band/Artist Profile Concert Review

The Mystery of Authenticity and The Pale White

Yeah, the guitarist and the drummer are brothers. Once I realized this small, yet crucial fact after a quick wikipedia search, their entire performance made sense. 

The Pale White are a three-piece rock band from the United Kingdom. I saw them play as the opening act for the Pixies at the Olympia Theater in Dublin, which I was lucky enough to visit with my mom on her birthday trip. We bought the tickets last minute the day before the show, as we had previously thought it wouldn’t even be worth trying to attain them. The Pixies were playing a three show stint and the first two nights sold out instantly. We were thrilled to get seats in a stroke of fortune and went in blind about the opener. I had never heard about The Pale White. 

We went early to the venue, and it wasn’t quite full yet. Our seats were up on the balcony. The Olympia Theater is beautiful, with French-style plaster flourishes in white on the maroon walls, chandelier, and a large red, velvet curtain half-hoisted behind the stage. 

In a chaotic burst, the drummer came first onto the stage to hype up the audience. His presence was instantly frenzied as he raised his arms for applause and cheers. I think the entire audience instantly got the sense that this guy was wildly intense about his craft and meant serious business. Then, in succession, emerged the lead singer and guitarist, as well as the bassist. 

Instantly, my mom leaned over and whispered, “Who’s band do you think this is?”