Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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

Categories
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?” 

Categories
Concert Review

The Big Lebowski Ball at Kings, 3/23/2024

“Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, man”

Jeff Bridges as The Dude, “The Big Lebowski” dir. Joel & Ethan Cohen, 1998

I’m sure most of you are well aware, but Kings is a gem in the middle of downtown Raleigh. 

The sound is good, and the beer is cheap — what more could you ask for? 

On Saturday evening, March 23, 2024, the Kings stage transformed into an altar of bowling pins and White Russians in honor of “The Big Lebowski’s” 25th Anniversary. 

Categories
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. 

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Tenderlash

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.

Feyleux

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.

Categories
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. 

Categories
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