Concert Review

Concert Review: Greg Mendez

Valentine’s Day is a day of reflection. We reflect on the people in our life that we love, have loved, and will love. Stories of varied pasts are brought to mind, and we reflect on the stories we will make in the future with our favorite people. In the thick air of this sentimentality, I could not think of a more suitable act to see on this contemplative day than Greg Mendez.

A stalwart member of Philadelphia’s indie music scene, Greg Mendez’s singer-songwriter style music is marked with acoustic instrumentation, effective melodies, and thick emotions that lend themselves to an atmosphere which gladly accommodates a variety of feelings for a variety of audiences. Like many singer-songwriters in his category, and with his autobiographical and acutely personal songwriting, Greg’s music draws obvious comparisons to Elliott Smith; however, a deep dive is not necessary to find that he has carved out his own immediately recognizable niche.

Arriving at the entrance to the Cat’s Cradle Back Room, I noticed Greg at a short distance, partially obscured, treating himself to a quiet moment during the final moments of the opening act’s performance. This is when I immediately understood that this set would be an intimately nuanced evening. 

As he and his partner walked on stage, one could sense Greg’s nervousness about beginning his performance, and the handful of attentive members of the (still somewhat chatty) crowd held respectful consideration for his hesitation. After some supportive pats on the back from his partner who joined him on stage, Greg picked up his acoustic guitar, found his seat, and with his head down, prepared to present his experience in the lusciousness and pain of life.

A hush promptly fell over the crowd as he started playing, intuitively, without an introductory word or notice. 

The personal and dramatic energy of the narratives told in his songs were, unlike many similar artists, not lost in the allure of live performance. In fact, the connection to Greg’s lived reality felt viscerally tangible. The emotions were raw, and you could almost physically feel them coursing through the audience in waves. The notes of Greg and his partner’s deeply fervent and stunning harmonies pulsed throughout the space, making it unbearable to even consider looking away. In the fleeting moments between the ends of Greg’s songs and the passionate applause of the audience, I’ve never felt more deafening silence come from so many people.

As the set progressed, Greg quickly became more comfortable with his stage presence, quietly riffing on “thank you” and “you’re welcome” with audience members between songs. The tone of the performance may have slightly loosened, but the sense of admiration from the people in the crowd never remotely faltered, and the songs felt as impassioned as they did from the start.

Greg never skipped a beat, never had a crack in his voice, and always stayed true to the songs. During “Rev. John”, the half-opener to his self-titled album, I at first thought that Greg was playing the organ melody from a mysterious backing track because of how thoroughly identical it sounded to the studio recording. Peeking over the heads of the audience, however, I was surprised to see that Greg was hunched over his keyboard, playing the melody himself. The guitar parts throughout the set were just as eerily accurate to the studio versions as well, despite the lack of some of the additional instrumentation found on the album.

At the end, I walked outside on an emotional high, truly unable to come to terms with the fact that the set was already over.

Considering the straightforwardness and minimalism of the music, it was an unbelievably outstanding performance. I have never experienced such sensitive, intuitional power come from a single artist and his supporting musician as I did that night. 

Our daily love is rarely as evident as it was on Valentine’s Day at the Cat’s Cradle. 

Concert Review

Mitski- The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We Tour

By: Ellie Feaga

The fall of 2023 was a time of tremendous regrowth in Mitski’s life and career. For over a decade, Mitski has had a significant “cult following” for her emotionally raw ballads with a signature, genreless sound. Her defining 2018 album, “Be the Cowboy, gained more mainstream success in the alternative scene, with hit singles “Washing Machine Heart” and “Nobody.” But this past fall, her new lead single “My Love Mine All Mine” brought an entirely new audience to her music. Thus, seats to see her spring 2024 tour filled up extremely quickly with fans both new and old.

Mitski is joined by Belgian-Egyptian artist Tamino, whose unique style proved to be an excellent complement to hers. Tamino performed completely solo, accompanying each of his own songs with a guitar or mandolin. The quality of his voice can only be described as ethereal, and upon comparison, identical recorded and live. Among all of the opening acts I have seen blindly (without previously knowing the artist), this was likely the most powerful one I have ever experienced. Undoubtedly, I would like to see him perform as a headliner in the future.

Concert Review

Concert Review: Dead Cool, Tenderlash and Feyleux

The end of the fall semester was rough.

It usually is, existing in a strange liminal space between fall and winter where the days are shorter, the nights are colder and our collective laps bear the crushing weight of finals.

While some people began their post-semester recovery in the comfort of their parents’s houses or their own apartments, I found my own solace at the steps of The Wicked Witch, a Raleigh club located above a tattoo parlor (and one of my favorite spots).

Photo by Pim Myten on Unsplash

I usually find myself at the WW on their monthly goth nights, during which I inhale copious amounts of incense smoke and fog and pretend to be a reanimated corpse.

However, the venue is also a great place for live shows.

I didn’t catch many shows this semester, but I’m definitely glad I dragged myself to the December 8 performance of three local goth bands: Dead Cool, Tenderlash and Feyleux.

One of my favorite things about local shows is the sense of closeness between the performers and the audience.

The Wicked Witch was no exception. While the turnout was certainly decent, the floor was far from crowded. Fog machines puttered on full blast, filling the room with a haze colored blue, red and pink by overhead stagelights.


The first performance was by Tenderlash, a solo artist I saw for the first time at the same venue back in May.

According to her personal website, her music draws inspiration from 80’s darkwave, synthpop, coldwave and vintage horror soundtracks. The result is a chilling, eerie sound that rumbles through the ribcage and calls out to the forces of darkness.

Cover for “Zombie” by Tenderlash

My favorite part of the performance was Tenderlash’s proximity to the audience.

Several times throughout the set, she stepped down from her podium and sashayed around the front of the crowd, entering the audience’s ranks. The result of this was a deeply intimate, almost conversational atmosphere that left me fully immersed in the music.


Following Tenderlash was my favorite set of the night, the second-ever live performance of darkwave duo Feyleux.

Announcing their start on August 1, Feyleux is so new that their online presence remains localized to a sparse Instagram page. As a result, I am positively desperate for the band to release some tracks online.

And since the band hasn’t yet uploaded any of their music, I went into the show totally blind. I left the show, however, absolutely riveted

Photo by Hamish Weir on Unsplash

Feyleux’s sound is dreamy, dramatic and highly tactile. As the duo started their first song, I could feel the energy race throughout my whole body.

The music filled the room like a pale and vaporous haze and as the vocalist began to project her voice out to us, my skin erupted in gooseflesh.

How had I not heard of this band before? I asked myself, blinking back tears. Later I would ask myself in a mixture of rage and despair, Why haven’t they posted any music online?

Dead Cool

The final act of the night, and perhaps the most anticipated, was that of Wilmington-based duo Dead Cool.

As someone who used to live in Wilmington, perhaps I would’ve found it more enjoyable if I’d been aware of this band’s existence. Probably not, though.

Cover for “Strange Kind” by Dead Cool

I was pretty familiar with this band going in, as I follow them on everyone’s favorite green music app.

I liked their music for its high dramatism, dark energy and danceability. I found that these qualities translated well into their live performance and were only elevated by the band’s cool (one may even say dead cool) stage presence.

Concert Review

THE FINAL JUBILEE: A Conclusion of Japanese Breakfast’s Two Year Celebration

On October 31st, the Jubilee era came to its vibrant and energetic conclusion. The show took place at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, the city that birthed Japanese Breakfast. This was my third time seeing Japanese Breakfast on the Jubilee tour, which spanned from June 6th, 2021 to last weekend. Every single time I have been nothing less than blown away by these hometown heroes. This particular show, however, was possibly the most impeccably conducted tour conclusion that I have ever been lucky enough to bear witness to.

Minus the painfully unfunny comedy set performed by Sarah Sherman, colloquially known as Sarah Squirm, which I think a majority of the audience would have preferred to have never seen. This substanceless set only really consisted of Sherman repeatedly making grunting noises for an uncomfortably long time, and disses at Philly sports. Not a great move in a room full of Philadelphians. Genuinely, this was one of those moments where I wished a comical amount of tomatoes would have been thrown on stage.

The only appropriate way to describe a Japanese Breakfast show is as a massive celebration, thrumming with a whimsy and joy that is nothing short of a festivalian atmosphere. I have watched non-fans fall in love with indie rock’s sweetheart Michelle Zauner in real time. Their eyes, glued to her as she gracefully dances across stage; a persimmon-shaped mallet in her hand. Then, mere moments later, she proceeds to rip into the most enchantingly raw guitar duet with her husband and bandmate of Japanese Breakfast, Peter Bradley. 

Concert Review

A Non-Fan’s Review of the julie Concert

On a Monday night, I stood at the edge of the moshpit- the event horizon, my body delineating physical security to those behind me- a perfect location from which to drink in the atmosphere and peruse the faces of fellow young people as they melted into the ferocious wall of noise and flesh they were so vivaciously facing. Guitars shrieked, people thrashed, the room got darker, the walls closed in, and the sea of hair and sweat rose, and rose, and rose…

Then, in a shocking moment of clarity, I realized: I hardly know this band.

Well, they’re called julie- with a lowercase “j”- and they rocked. Despite their recent clout (approaching 28 million streams on their first single, and a few others creeping towards ten), despite their student radio buzz, and despite their October 30 gig at Kings selling out shockingly quickly, I didn’t go into the show knowing exactly what to expect. I’d heard of them… but never properly heard them.

A friend of mine got a ticket before they sold out, and after I was offered an extremely last-minute ticket (I sent the money during class the same day), I decided to ride along. 

It was the right decision.

Like a bunch of new-generation artists, julie’s Spotify discography is notably short. Since 2020, they have released four singles and a six-track EP clocking in at a combined thirty-five minutes, making for interesting expectations going into the show.  It’s natural to survey your thoughts before walking into a concert, and I certainly did; how long was the set going to be? How will they fill the space? Will they play every song?

While I can’t say which songs they played, and as such I can’t tell you if they played everything they had on Spotify, their set was nonetheless fantastic. The energy was raw, the emotions were real (and validated by the audience, who, by the way, were pretty exclusively around college age), and the playing was tight. 

There’s three musicians in julie, and despite being a trio, they managed to bring an enviable sonic fullness and delightfully looming stage presence to bat. Their music is done in a ragged grunge-esque style; they take momentous distortion and occasional bouts of atonality and whip up thematically and texturally rich (and addictive) tunes which didn’t fail to cause a stir at the gig.

Their angsty, dark aesthetics did not go unnoticed; the band’s artistic sensibilities played into the music seamlessly, and these sensibilities were not challenging to pick up on. The bassist/lead vocalist brought the popular nu-gaze, Gen-Z-grunge rotten-doll aesthetic to the forefront, channeling heavy Kim Gordon vibes with her twisted yet on-the-nose vocal performance and rock-solid bass duties.

The guitarist spun distorted melodies and executed beautiful intermissions with ease (and sung wonderfully too), and the drummer (seemingly a budding Zach Hill fan) kept things impeccably tight throughout, with brief yet effective solos that complemented and magnified the band’s loving harshness.

On the topic of noise; julie were very noisy. In between many of their songs were intermissions of beautiful, pedal-y feedback, mainly led by the guitarist and the bassist. Song outros were added, extended, amplified and experimented with in real time. The huge walls of din and moments of electronic sampling managed by the bassist added needed tension to the relative sameness of the set and contributed to the band’s readily apparent dark aesthetic.

Herein lies my sole complaint.

As a non-fan (and this goes for almost any artist with a cohesive sound, really), I began to notice something. Recall how I noted their short discography? The set was, ultimately, long. Surprisingly long. I believe it went close to if not over an hour.

While this could be passed off as artistically valid fan service- and to be fair, I did find it pretty impressive- I found that many of the songs began to blend together, with similar tempos and vocal lines, and dynamics that were roughly the same throughout the set.

The band did make an effort to separate their tracks, and to provide periods of rest (hence the aforementioned “intermissions”), but I very occasionally found my interest in the music towards the end of the set faltering at certain points. These feelings were far from the norm, but I did leave the venue with them in the back of my head.

My friend at the show mentioned that this issue could be the effect of having a discography consisting largely of singles, as opposed to album tracks that ebb and flow. But hey, I’m not a dedicated fan, so what do I know; pretty much everyone else there seemed like they’d disagree with me.

Ultimately, I’m super glad I went. The opener was killer (a fresher band by the name Deux Visages), presenting much hookier and marginally more accessible songs compared to julie, while maintaining a similar aesthetic. They had a charming (and far from offputting) air of inexperience, but still played excellently. It was the perfect opener for a more esoteric, darker lead act, and provided the perfect appetizer for what was to come. I left the show satisfied; it’s one of those sets where it leaves you curious for what the future holds for an artist. julie is a band to watch for sure.

Next time, I’ll do my homework.

-Mike Utt

Concert Review Short Stories

Are Concerts in 2023 Really A Bust?

About a month ago, I attended three concerts of different audiences: Lil Yachty, Lana Del Rey and TV Girl. All of these were amazing but, the audiences were all quite unique. Concert culture has been at the forefront of many discussions recently and I can’t help but insert my own perspective into the discourse as an avid concertgoer.

The theory is our concerts have been remodeled by the media and a new generation of concert attendees. Everyone has the right to enjoy a show they paid for in their own way, but it has felt in recent years that people are paying to be there rather than to be in the moment. There is more judgment toward singing and dancing along, with a phone screen in front of you at all times. I decided to observe this theory of concerts during my weeklong show trip across the beautiful state of North Carolina.

Show 1: Lil Yachty

Lil Yachty Singing on stage at The Ritz

The first was Lil Yachty’s Field Trip Tour on September 25 at The Ritz. Lil Yachty brought unmatched energy. He switched between his early Hip hop tunes and newest psychedelic sound from his most recent album Let’s Start Here. It seemed, however, that people were unenthused outside his most popular rap hits. Phones went down and small conversations broke out throughout the crowd. It felt a bit disrespectful, almost as if we begin to focus less on the production and live music more on grasping the moments which bring the most popularity.

When artists rise up due to the internet’s exposure, they are pressured to fit the narrative that put them in the spotlight meaning they have little room for experimentation without some judgment. In this case, it was Lil Yachty’s psychedelic sound. It was as if some audience members didn’t want to try his new sound. Regardless of how audience members felt Lil Yachty put together an amazing production that I would pay to see again.

Show 2: Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey singing on stage

Lana Del Rey on the other hand still had this phenomenon of viral fame but the experience was slightly different outside the genre aspect. Lana del Rey is a timeless singer therefore, I knew her audience would bring people of all levels of familiarity but what I was most surprised to see was a significant amount of people coming in last minute. Seriously, the person sitting next to me came halfway through the set and was annoyed by the singing fans.

Meanwhile, I sat beside him feeling reborn at seeing Lana Del Rey live. The people in front of me came in late and left twice. It boggled me a bit given tickets were so expensive and some felt nonchalant. I have a suspicion that scalpers who couldn’t sell their tickets decided to attend. There really was just a strange dynamic of people in the crowd at least in my section. The show seemed widely enjoyable regardless of the people around me I observed. I felt judged by some of the people around me but alas I did pay an unspeakable amount.

Show 3: TV Girl

Brad Petering of TV Girl on stage

TV Girl really put the theory of media shaping concerts to the test. They rapidly gained their fame on social media during the past couple of years so I expected the crowd to be a part of this new generation of concertgoers. To my surprise, it was the best crowd out of the shows I attended that week. Everyone seemed to be more in the moment, singing and dancing along. The crowd was respectful and it made the energy quite amazing. On social media, I had seen viral videos complaining about the TV Girl crowd being this model of a new era concertgoer who is always recording or may only know the most popular songs but that proved incorrect. 

Final Thoughts

So, what is my take on concerts in 2023? At the end of the day, you can’t really tell someone how to enjoy a show they paid for. You just have to make the experience enjoyable for yourself and hone in on the performance. Of course, the crowd can impact how much you enjoy the show but at the end of the day regardless of the crowds, I had a great time at all three shows.

Concert Review

Lil Yachty at The Ritz September 25

I saw Lil Yachty on his Field Trip tour at the Ritz here in Raleigh on September 25. I’ve been a big fan of Lil Yachty since I first started getting into rap so I was very excited for this, and while the opening acts left some to be desired, Yachty’s performing ability and decision to play with a live band brought a great concert experience. 

This tour supports the release of Yachty’s fifth studio album: “Let’s Start Here” which was released earlier this year in January. This album was a departure from the colorful hip-hop and trap bangers with the fun, yet cutting rap flows Lil Yachty was known for, taking a psychedelic, alternative approach, and making this his first album that didn’t feature rap or trap as a forefront. 

If you aren’t familiar with Lil Yachty, he’s a 26 year old rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor from Atlanta, Georgia. He first saw the limelight in 2016 through his viral hits “One Night” and “Minnesota” which both appeared on his first mixtape “Lil Boat.” That same year he would go on to collaborate with singer DRAM on his song “Broccoli,” as well as with singer Kyle on his song “ISpy,” both of which have since gone multi-platinum. These songs were impossible to escape back then so it is very possible that you’ve heard Lil Yachty’s voice at least once before. 

On this tour Lil Yachty was supported by members of his own label “Concrete Boys,” these members being: Draft Day, Dc2Trill, Karrahbooo, and Camo. All of these artists are based in Atlanta, Georgia and primarily make trap music. The North American leg of the tour was also supported by Nick Hakim, an alternative soul artist who helped with some production on “Let’s Start Here.” 

The crowd at the concert was primarily composed of teenagers from what I could tell, which makes sense judging by Lil Yachty’s signature, auto-tune driven, trap sound is very popular amongst younger fans of rap and hip-hop. It’s a little weird sometimes looking around and realizing I am probably above the average age of the crowd, especially seeing as I would feel the inverse growing up going to shows in high school. 

The show started with a short DJ mix that came through the house speakers (I couldn’t see the DJ if they were on stage at all). It was a very confusing experience because the house speakers that were playing the music at an ambient volume as people were arriving were turned up, and the DJ mix started, but when the first Concrete Boys member came out, the same speakers were being used, and it was a very disorienting experience, making the set harder to enjoy. It was also immediately apparent that the mixing in this first set was not very good.

All four members (that aren’t Lil Yachty) performed their own solo songs, doing 1-4 tracks each. My favorite of these was Draft Day performing a song by Lil Yachty in which he features on prominently, titled “Demon Time” and Camo performing “SWAP HER BIRK.” If I were to pick my favorite part of the set, it was the energy of the performers, as you could really tell they were having fun, even if the use of backing tracks and poor mixing threw me off sometimes.

There were attempts at crowd work, some effective, some not, and towards the end of the set, the rappers threw shirts into the crowd and assured the crowd they would be present at the merch table after the show for meeting and greeting. Also, I should mention that there wasn’t really a visual component to this set outside of the main screen displaying the word “CONCRETE” where every letter was a different font from an established design (like the use of the Internet Explorer logo for e) which I thought was pretty cool.

Next was Nick Hakim. Nick Hakim was joined by an acoustic guitarist, a bassist, and a backing track that included drums and synths. I would describe Nick Hakim’s music as indie soul and alt r&b, and it was a very mellow and soulful set. Nick Hakim is a singer and though the vocal mix on specifically his mic (not the backup vocalists) was a little blown out at times, you could tell he was a very thorough and interesting vocalist. My favorite song of theirs was “Vertigo.”

Unfortunately, the crowd didn’t seem to really care for Nick Hakim, some pockets of the crowd chanting for Lil Yachty at some points, while other people in the crowd were holding up their phone displaying a stream of the current football game or a mobile app or something to display their boredom. This was pretty upsetting to me because I think it’s important to respect the performers, but I guess I can’t expect much from people who have probably not been to that many concerts before. Visually, this set just took use of the main screen by displaying two static instances of “NICK HAKIM.” Overall a pretty cool set, I just wish the crowd enjoyed it more. 

Finally, there was Lil Yachty’s set. The set began with some super cool visuals on the big screen as the band walked on the stage, and this lasted for about a minute. Then, the band began the set with my personal favorite song from “Let’s Start Here” “drive ME crazy!” complete with a female vocalist doing the first verse and chorus of the song, leading into Yachty finally coming out and singing his part of the song (the second verse and the breakdown at the end). From there I think he did a little banter and then went into some of the other more popular and colorful songs from the album like “the ride-” and “pRETTy” The live renditions of these songs blew the album versions out of the water in my opinion and I really enjoyed the visuals in this first segment. 

One stand out part of this segment was the band covering “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. This came as a surprise to me and it sounded amazing. 

After a few tracks with the live band, Yachty worked the crowd a bit, and then gave them what I could tell they were there for: The bangers. Yachty did a pretty wide selection of his hits, starting with songs off his most recent rap ep “Slide” in “SOLO STEPPIN CRETE BOY” and the title track. He then went back to back with his most popular solo songs like “Split/Whole Time” (a personal favorite of mine), a tribute to Juice Wrld in his song “Yacht Club” from his album “Nuthin 2 Prove” which prominently features the artist, and songs like “NBAYOUNGBOAT” and “Flex Up” which feature abrasive, high tempo production, which the crowd loved.

Yachty is a great performer both in terms of his stage presence and his vocal performance. It is common to see rappers just use backtracks with the original vocals of the song fully intact, and this wasn’t the case with any of Yachty’s rap songs in his set. He was really rapping, which takes practice and breath control. This brought a tangible air of passion and energy to this section of the set. 

From there Yachty did some of his older hits, like his classic viral hit “Minnesota” and even his feature verses on the multi-platinum tracks with DRAM and Kyle. 

Yachty ended this segment of the set with his current hottest track “Strike (Holster)” into a crowd focused version of the song that put him on the map from the very beginning “One Night” I should also mention that he did not shy away from performing his viral hit from last year “Poland” 

From there he brought out his band once again for the last segment of the show with more songs from “Let’s Start Here” with tracks “IVE OFFICIALLY LOST ViSiON” “THE zone~” and “WE SAW THE SUN” ending the set with a very climatic conclusion in “the BLACK seminole.”

Yachty’s set overall was stunning at best and pretty good at worst. There were some lulls here and there but the live band stole the show in my opinion. Some of me feels like he should’ve leaned into the use of a live band and maybe adapted some of his songs not found on “Let’s Start Here” into live versions with live instrumentation, and while that decision can have some hit-or-miss results in my opinion, I think it would’ve made a lot of sense here. Though all three segments of his set were great, it felt fragmented. I feel like it would’ve flowed a bit better if he started with the bangers and then did the entire second half of the set with the live band, but that’s just me. 

Overall, I had a fun time seeing Lil Yachty at this show. That’s another one off my list of artists I grew up as a fan of that I’ve seen in concert! My fingers are still crossed in hopes of seeing Childish Gambino someday. 


Concert Review

Sunny Day Real Estate Concert Review

Out  of all the days of Hopscotch, Day Three was shaping up to be my personal favorite. As a huge emo fan, I couldn’t believe that I was about to see one of my favorite emo bands of all time, Sunny Day Real Estate.

Sunny Day, for those who aren’t in the know, is one of the 90’s premier midwest emo – post hardcore – indie rock acts, and they’re absolutely incredible. Records such as “Diary”, “The Rising Tide”, “LP2”, and my personal favorite, “How To Be Something On”, have been etched into my subconscious, an inevitable result of years and years of enjoyment.

I was ready to see this band I loved so dearly, fully prepared to be shouting the lyrics of every song you know and love dearly right at the faces of the band. As I walked down to Moore Square, only one thing soured me – the dour weather. 

The grey skies loomed over the stage, and I was worried. Would the band I was so ecstatic to see delay, or even worse, cancel their set over this inclement weather? Luckily, as the band took the stage amid a slight drizzle, my fears were assuaged. Come rain or shine, they would play.

Eventually, the light drizzle developed into a full blown downpour, but I didn’t mind one bit. The band, to my surprise, chose not to open with a track from their most popular album, “Diary”, but instead chose to open with the opening track from “How To Be Something On”, which made me beyond overjoyed. The fact that raindrops were constantly obscuring my vision meant nothing to me, as I was in the throes of geeking out over the songs they played, like “48” and “Song About an Angel”.

The apex point for me, however, was in the middle of the set. The downpour was now almost like a monsoon, and every inch of my body was soaked. However, every part of me wasn’t focused on this, and was focused on the music. When the band announced that they were to play my favorite song of theirs, and one of my favorite emo songs of all time, “Guitar and Video Games”, I jumped up and down in pure joy. Nothing could take this moment away from me.

This year’s Hopscotch was my first large-scale outdoor concert experience, and I think it was probably one of the best experiences I could have had. Even though these types of concerts are exposed, and as such vulnerable to the elements, it really doesn’t matter at all when you get to see bands you love so much live. This was just one show out of a myriad of many, but it’s safe to say it was my favorite of the three days.

– Written By DJ Fives

Concert Review

Concert Review: billy woods & Kenny Segal

This past Tuesday (Sep. 12) I got the chance to see billy woods & Kenny Segal live in concert at Motorco Music Hall in Durham. Their collaborative album “Maps” is one of my favorite projects to release this year, so I was very excited. Thankfully, it was a phenomenal show that completely exceeded my expectations.

This was my first time going to a concert at Motorco, and I thought it was a great venue. I did not expect it to be as small as it was (with a capacity of about 500 people) after looking at photos online, but I think that definitely added to the experience. Most of my favorite concert memories are at smaller venues.

Opening for woods and Segal was former WKNC Double Barrel Benefit 19 performer Austin Royale, who brought amazing energy from the get-go. After entering the stage to a chill Sampha track, he brought the heat immediately, playing a setlist of mostly unreleased songs from his upcoming album.

Concert Review

Alvvays: The Band That Has (always) Been Outstanding

If you’re anything like me, the band Alvvays has been a staple name in your music taste. I grew up listening to their album “Antisocialites”, having been shown this my freshman year of highschool. I didn’t stop listening to the album from that day on until I graduated in 2021. 

Then came “Blue Rev”. Having been released eleven days before my birthday, this almost felt like fate. Their long hiatus between album releases did not disappoint- “Blue Rev” quickly became one of my favorite albums I had ever listened to, rivaling that same high “Antisocialites” gave me for so many years.

And then came Hopscotch. Alvvays was headlining alongside Pavement. My expectations were high, and they were exceeded. Alvvays sounded exactly like their studio recordings. Their sound was energetic and charged, contrasting their mellow and warm stage presence. Molly Rankin, the lead singer, joked about the humid temperatures us Raleigh locals are so used to. She’s from Canada, and was wearing a long sleeve. Go figure. 

Their performance of “Archie, Marry Me” blew my high school mind away. I was surrounded by others who loved the band just as much as I did which made the streets of City Plaza feel more like a community rather than just a street downtown. The sounds of the chorus being sung echoed around the skyscrapers surrounding us. I wasn’t expecting this at all, and it was an amazing surprise. I had assumed the Pavement fans would’ve shown up early and ended up taking over. 

They closed with “Easy on Your Own?”, a perfect way to send us off into the night. There was a tangible energy to the entire performance, a buzz that almost lingered in the air. Hearing them live was something I’ve wanted to witness since I first heard them years ago, and it was amazing. Alvvays always is. 

Alvvays lead singer, Molly Rankin, performing on stage at Hopscotch music festival