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Concert Review

Ranking 10 of the Concerts I’ve Attended

As concerts slowly return, I’m reminded of sweaty men, beer-covered floors, and body-rattling bass. I’ve missed it. In honor of the post-COVID concert comeback, I’ve ranked (some of) the concerts I’ve attended. My rankings are based on varying combinations of enjoyment, artist delivery, venue, and atmosphere. In descending order, here they are:

10. 5 Seconds of Summer (Opener: Hey Violet)

When: September 2015
Where: Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
With: My mom

Give me a break; I was 13. We sat in the row of chairs directly in front of the lawn, it stormed incredibly hard (which stopped the concert multiple times), and the music was terrible. That being said, I had a nice time with my mom and it was my first concert so it holds a special place in my heart.

9. Bay Faction (Opener: Superbody)

When: February 2020
Where: Cat’s Cradle Back Room
With: Friend

This concert simply wasn’t good. The opener took the stage alone, and while they tried to get the crowd riled up, it didn’t work. When Bay Faction came out, the crowd was still mostly dead. Some young people flocked to the front of the stage and the lead singer weirdly leered at them while simultaneously flirting all night long. Actually, it wasn’t all night, because the set lasted for about 20 minutes and the band refused to come out for an encore. I still listen to some Bay Faction songs, but this concert wasn’t worth it.

8. TV Girl (Opener: Yohana)

When: May 2019
Where: Local 506
With: Myself

Let’s just say they don’t sound the same in person. If they had, I would have enjoyed this concert. This was the only concert I’ve ever left early.

7. Girlpool (Openers: Hatchie, Cosmo Punk)

When: April 2019
Where: Motorco Music Hall
With: Myself

I’ve loved Girlpool since my sophomore year of high school, but I was somewhat disappointed with the concert. The band only played tracks from “Powerplant” (2017) and “What Chaos Is Imaginary” (2019), save for the last song they performed: “Chinatown.” Had they included more tracks from earlier records, I think the audience would have been happier. However, they were both still wonderful performers and kept the crowd involved.

6. Joy Again (Opener: Indigo De Souza)

When: June 2019
Where: Kings
With: Friend

Joy Again is one of those bands I always come back to. I’m a big fan of ARTHUR, so it’s sort of a given that I like them. As far as the opener goes, I was mostly unfamiliar with their music at the time but Indigo De Souza was smiley and lively. I went with a close friend and while we made the experience worthwhile, Joy Again seemed a bit lethargic when they came out. It was towards the end of their tour, however, so I imagine they were fairly tired. Despite the low-energy set, the music was great and they sound the same in person.

5. Tyler, the Creator (Openers: GoldLink, Blood Orange)

When: October 2019
Where: Greensboro Coliseum
With: Friend

GoldLink was an incredibly dynamic opener, and while I’m not as big of a fan of Blood Orange, they also delivered a solid performance. As far as the main show, Tyler is a true artist and it was clear throughout his entire set. His infamous crowd-teasing seemed especially aggressive that night, but I was able to look past that. I wish there’d been more moshing, but it was still an exciting night.

4. BROCKHAMPTON 

When: January 2018
Where: The Ritz
Who: Friends

The concert I attended was pre-Ameer exposure, so the full BROCKHAMPTON outfit took the stage with no opener for their SATURATION III tour. When I saw them, I was still fully in my BROCKHAMPTON phase, so it resonated a lot more than it would now. They played all my favorite songs, the crowd was fun, and they ended with “HEAT.” What more could a high school girl ask for?

3. The Front Bottoms (Opener: Basement)

When: November 2017
Where: The Fillmore
With: Friends

My folk punk guilty (but not really) pleasure. The Front Bottoms will always be special to me, as will this concert experience. The Fillmore was packed to the brim and it was pretty clear that everyone there had a lot of love for TFB. The members of the band were energetic throughout the night and delivered great performances. It was a sweaty, emotional, and fulfilling concert.

2. Alex G (Openers: ARTHUR, Tomberlin) 

When: October 2019
Where: The Grey Eagle
With: Friends

Seeing ARTHUR open was one of the best concert moments I’ve experienced. His set was gorgeous, fun, and special. I was already fully satisfied after ARTHUR, so Alex G’s nearly three hour set was just the (very long) cherry on top. The room was electric when he played “Bobby.”

1. The Garden (Opener: Cowgirl Clue)

When: April 2018 (4/20 to be exact)
Where: Local 506
With: Myself

It still surprises even myself that this is my favorite concert I’ve been to thus far. I went by myself, got into the venue fairly late, and felt anxious leading up to the main act. Somehow, however, I ended up right in front of the stage and had an amazing time. The Garden are the best and most vibrant performers I’ve ever encountered. They’re delivery was loud and gruff and the instrumentals were overwhelmingly impressive. While I don’t listen to much of The Garden anymore, I’d go to one of their shows again.

Here’s to concerts: The Good, The Bad, and Those To Come,

Silya Bennai

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Concert Review

Zoom Rave 101

Ah yes…an internet rave…the seventh circle of pandemic “hell.”

Upon first glance, a Zoom call and a rave may sound like they are on opposite ends of the human interaction scale. However, after attending my first Zoom rave, I can assure you they are far more similar than not.

Last Friday and Saturday, I attended two back to back Zoom raves organized by Bien Agiter, a nightclub based in Vancouver, Canada. Embarrassingly, these events came to my attention because of my TikTok For You Page which has gotten scarily accurate in the past few months. What initially drew me in was that rave-goers could win prizes for being the most “on-theme” with their attire (I really like winning prizes).

The first night, the theme was “Pink and Silky” but the second night, which I was most excited for, was “Hackers” themed. Friday night I was pretty nervous before I logged on, as I had absolutely no clue what to expect. I ended up signing on 30 minutes after 11pm, the expected start time. Unexpectedly, I was one of the first people on the call because, in typical rave fashion, there were “technical difficulties.”

Looking at all of the individuals present at the rave, I immediately felt at home. The organizers, DJs and ravers were all so welcoming and it was obvious that this was a safe space for all kinds of people. My screen looked like a kaleidoscope of beautiful people, neon lights, and moving backgrounds. To put it simply, it was beautiful.

In terms of the music, DJs from all around the world tuned into the event to perform 30-minute sets. The sets were primarily electronic and no different from what you would see at a pre-pandemic rave. Since the event was online it allowed a lot more freedom in terms of who was able to perform and attend. It also gave rave goers the opportunity to go all out with their attire, as there was far less external social pressure to present a certain way.

While Bien Agiter did an absolutely fabulous job putting this event together, there is something to be said for in-person raves. Yes, the music was great and the energy was high. However, there is a sense of camaraderie that comes with being around a group of people that simply can not be replicated via a computer screen.

All in all, internet raves truly are a blast. They are a great way to enjoy live DJs sets from the comfort of your own home and see DJs from around the world perform. Even with the current state of technology, I don’t see them overtaking in person raves anytime soon. However, I am not saying never.

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Concert Review

Laser Floyd

What’s going on Butcher Crew?! It’s your Master Butcher, The Saw, and we are going to talk about a laser show that I went to this past weekend. The light show was hosted by Cabin Fever and this drive-in laser show is the best way to get out of the house with you family or friends while during the Pandemic! There are two different light shows that you can choose from: A regular laser show, which played 40 second snippets of songs, paired along with some lasers! These songs can range from classic hits, to what is trending and popular today! This is even great for those with young children. The other light show that you can choose is Laser Floyd. That is the one that I chose. What is Laser Floyd you ask? It is the most action packed 40 minutes that will leave you mesmerized!! This light show consists of the play-through of Pink Floyd songs with the visual effects done by lasers. 
 
I was super excited to go to Laser Floyd because I love Pink Floyd. I have heard people in real life and in TV shows talk about Laser Floyd and that is what first piqued my interest. I am also a big fan of light shows. Back when shows were a thing, I would observe the light show that the bands would use and comment on them. We all know how much The Saw loves a good light show!! Laser Floyd was a light show on steroids. The show kicked off with the song “Time” and it really puts you in a trance. There were two jumbo screens that had tiny laser projecting images and pictures onto them during the songs. These images were telling the story of the songs that were playing which I found super interesting. When “Time” came on, all you see is a clock on the jumbo screen, and as soon as the vocals kick in, the lasers appeared throughout the sky and the trees. It was so beautiful when I first saw it that I got chills. 
 
They then went on to play “Money,” “Another Brick in the Wall Pt.2,” and “Eclipse,” along with many others! The colors of the lasers blended beautifully to give the viewer a type of psychedelic experience. I literally sat there in awe with my mouth wide open for the entire 40 minutes. The lasers and the laser images kept my attention the entire time and it was truly a great experience. The vibe overall was very relaxing. Attendees were free to either sit in their car or sit around their car to view the light show. They had the music playing on speakers so you could hear it, but at 11PM when the sound ordinance went into effect, the music could be heard on your radio! I ended up sitting in my car and listening to the music through my stereo during the show. 
 
It was an awesome experience to see Laser Floyd! Drive-in laser shows are perfect for children and up to adults! There is something for everyone to enjoy at the laser shows! 
 
Stay Metal, 
 
THE SAW 

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Concert Review

I went to a COVID-safe concert after one year without any live shows

Yes, you read the title right. “In the middle of a pandemic?!”, you may ask. I would have had the same reaction if I were you. As someone who takes COVID very seriously, I can assure you that the show in question was safe — and that it was far from being your typical gig experience.

A friend of mine told me a while back that her partner plays the bass in a band. “It’s too sad we won’t get to see any of his live shows together while you’re here”, she said, sad to see how COVID was ruining the American experience for a French girl like me. I didn’t think much about it until recently, when North Carolina officials announced that venues could re-open at 30% of their capacity. My friend instantly reached out to me and told me tickets were going to be sold for her partner’s band Tumbao’s show at Pour House Music Hall on Mar. 5, 2021. “They’re only allowing the venue to open at 19% capacity just to be extra safe, so we have to be quick to get tickets!”

Long story short, we got the tickets. I was both ecstatic to see live music again after a year and skeptical regarding how safe the venue would really be. We ended up receiving very clear instructions before the show: wear a mask, arrive with your entire group before you get seated, only leave your table to go to the restroom, order drinks through a QR code. Typical guidelines, but here was my favorite COVID-related instruction: “We have limited space and a very specific seating layout to adhere to covid distancing guidelines. Feel free to stand at your seat and wiggle those hips and shake those booties, but we ask you stay in place and save those wild dance moves for another day.” The absurdity of being told not to stand or dance at a concert was proof that no one was going to expose themselves to COVID that night. We were allowed to drink under our double layer of masks and stare at the musicians for one hour and a half — and that’s already a lot, considering that I didn’t think I would get to see any concert before 2022.

The venue was… empty. There were people at every table they had set up, but the venue looked empty. I was seating upstairs and had an overall view of the audience. A young couple, two guy friends, another young couple, an older couple — that’s all I could see from where I was seating. The tables were all between 6 and 12 feet apart from one another. It felt like I was attending a secret underground show held under the Prohibition in the 1920’s, except it was 2021 Downtown Raleigh and everything happening at Pour House that night was perfectly legal. I know I make it sound like it was a dull experience — it wasn’t — but I just want to make sure that everyone reading this knows the venue did everything it could to keep us safe.

Now that I’ve made it clear that Tumbao’s show was COVID-safe, let’s talk about how fun it actually was. I had no idea what kind of music the band was going to play that night — I didn’t look them up on Google before the show to keep it a surprise. Their Facebook bio describes them as “a New, Fresh Latin-infused Funk, R&B, Jazz & Rock head turnin’ blend”. Well, from what I saw live, I can tell you that their music is indeed a blend of Latin, Funk and Rock music; it’s fun, fast-paced, uplifting and would make even the shyest person in the room want to dance the night away to their rhythmic beat. The guitarist was celebrating his birthday that day, and I’m pretty sure that getting to play a live show in the middle of a pandemic is probably the best birthday gift any musician could ask for. Turns out that the girl from the young couple in the front row was celebrating her birthday that day, too. “Pisces!”, she shouted, and I couldn’t help but smile. How I had missed the surreal one-word conversations one can only witness between an audience and artists on stage. The band played a Latin-Funk version of “Happy Birthday” right after, and everyone in the audience sang in unison.

I stayed at my seat the whole show, just enjoying the music and drinking my local craft beer, but the two couples downstairs would dance whenever they could. Don’t worry, they had their masks on the whole time and stayed at least 6 feet away from everyone else. They were “wiggling their hips” and trying to pull off moves mixing rumba and waltz while still standing at their assigned seats. Everyone else at the show was seated the whole time, so both of their romantic dances were, in addition to being very cute to watch, safe, although barely compliant with Pour House’s guidelines. The whole time I was listening to the music, I couldn’t believe I was there. Live music. Instruments. A band on stage. I could mostly see the bassist and the drummer from where I was seating, and I still couldn’t help but think: is this concert even real? Yes. Yes it was. It was amazingly real. At some point, I got so lost in the music that I almost forgot that I was wearing two masks and that I was sitting in an almost empty venue. My body had been craving the sensations of live music for too long, so I let myself feel them all fully. The band ended the concert by playing a Latin cover of “Electric Feel” by MGMT, and everyone screamed the lyrics along, just like in the good old days pre-COVID. The last thing I remember about the concert is another friend of ours at the show telling us, “I have a Pour House gift card I’ve been waiting to use for a year now, so drinks are on me.” Free drinks at my first gig in forever. What a way to end this surreal night.

– Lise Nox

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Concert Review

DJ Butter’s Favorite Concert Recordings

It doesn’t look like concerts are going to make a comeback any time soon, but why should that stop you from enjoying ones from the past? There are a million reasons to love concerts, but one of the best has to be when artists experiment and develop songs further than their studio recordings. There’s something so inexplicably powerful about hearing music live. It doesn’t seem like we’re going to be moshing in the near future, but here are some of my favorite concert recordings to get you through until we can.

1. Led Zeppelin – How Many More Times (Danmarks Radio 1969)

I don’t even want to admit how many times I’ve watched this video. Shot before Zeppelin became the rock superstars they’re known as today, it’s hilarious to see only about 100 confused teenagers sitting at their feet cross-legged. Nevertheless, it’s an otherworldly performance. Their extended solos and improvisations add so much depth to “How Many More Times,” the last song on the first album.

2. Thundercat – NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert (2017)

This was the first Tiny Desk performance I’ve ever seen, and it’s honestly been the best. Thundercat is an incredible performer, live and in the studio. Though this video doesn’t quite meet “concert” criteria, it’s great to see Thundercat and his band performing together. They’re so wonderfully in sync, which really highlights Thundercat’s talent as a vocalist and bassist.

3. Greta Van Fleet – Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer) Live in LA (2018)

I have mixed feelings about the up-and-coming rock group, but this concert is fantastic. It was filmed shortly after the release of their first album, “From The Fires.” I love how they seamlessly transition into different songs, creating the effect of the concert being one long track. My absolute favorite part is when they cover Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin.'” You can really tell how powerful their sound is, especially from their guitarist, Jake Kiska.

4. Erykah Badu – Planet Groove Live (1997)

Wow, wow, wow! Miss Badu really came through on this one. She always has had the most amazing energy to her performances. This live recording shot for Plant Groove in 1997 is filled with so much emotion and power. Her backup singers are amazing too! Even though this specific video cuts off at the end, my favorite part is when she performs “Other Side of the Game.”

Happy Listening!

– DJ Butter

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Band/Artist Profile Concert Review

Amythyst Kiah Profile & Concert Review

Tennessee Singer Amythyst Kiah released her new single “Black Myself” this year and it made some serious waves. The song is strong and serves as a mission statement for Kiah’s work so far. “They stare at me when I pick up the banjo because I’m black myself.” It’s a striking lyric. A black woman ostracized for playing an instrument of African origin associated with white culture. Amythyst Kiah is on the come-up, and I actually had the opportunity to see her live in Raleigh before the world ended. So let’s take the time to get to know this bold new talent.

Black Country/folk singers are in vogue right now, but the genre still has enormous barriers to entry for artists of color, and doubly so for a gay black woman working in the most traditional styles of folk music. However, there’s more to Kiah than just the novelty of a black bluegrass enthusiast. She also has songwriting chops and a voice to match the heavyweights of indie. Her music checks all the boxes for indie folk: deeply personal lyrics, complex guitar arrangements, a smoky beautiful voice. But it’s her influences that set her apart, drawing from old time folk, country, and blues more than Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Her live shows are an engaging, if low-key, experience. Eschewing theatrics or hype, Kiah invites the listener into her world, sharing stories and the songwriting process. She creates an authentic experience, rather than a strictly entertaining one. Her band also seems to workshop her new material extensively on the road. She played “Black Myself,” in late 2019 when I saw her live, more than a year before its release as a single, and the song has seen some fairly significant structural changes since then. When the world finally opens back up, I recommend her show for anyone seeking a more relaxed and understated concert experience.

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Concert Review

My Concert Experiences Part 2

Written By Miranda

Check out the TikTok I made that this post is based on. 

Toro Y Moi – 8/10 

This concert was a great one. This was early enough that he was still performing songs from Causers of This. He is a talented artist with great energy live and I’d definitely recommend going to one of his shows (after COVID). 

TV Girl – 4/10 

I enjoy listening to TV Girl occasionally, but honestly most of their discography is monotone and gets dull after a few listens, so the concert was not one of my favorites. I also had an opportunity to chat with the band after the show but they seemed disinterested. 

Halsey – 3/10 

I saw Halsey during some downtime at a music festival a few years ago. It was before her “Closer” debut when she was less famous in the music industry, though she already had a great stage presence. I am not a pop fan so it wasn’t the best concert, plus it was outdoors and there were bees everywhere. 

The Joy Formidable – 7/10

I loved “The Big Roar” in middle school and high school so it was definitely exciting to see the album performed live. These musicians are really talented and the concert was a wholesome one. I recommend giving the album a listen if you have the chance. 

FIDLAR – 9/10

FIDLAR was one of my favorite bands when I was in high school, so it was amazing to see them live. The energy was great, the performance they gave was incredible, and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. I would love to see them live again.

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Concert Review

6th Annual Sangeet Sagaar at NC State

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Sangeet Sagaar is a South Asian A Capella competition held at NC State annually. The competition is hosted by Delta Sigma Iota, Inc. (the only South Asian interest fraternity at NC state) and all proceeds from the event benefit the charity Child Rights and You America. 

I attended Sangeet Sagaar this past weekend and the experience was unlike any other performance I’ve seen at State. This year, Sangeet Sagaar hosted six different competing teams and featured special performances by UNC Samaa and WDN Dance Team. Sangeet Sagaar is such a unique event because every competing team has mesmerizing choreography and they perform a fusion of Western and South Asian traditional and popular vocals. Each team filled the theatre with beautiful melodies and kept the audience enthralled throughout the entire show. 

This year, Hum A Capella from University of Texas won for the second year in a row. This team beautifully encompassed South Asian a capella with their well-practiced choreography, powerhouse vocals, and exceptional mix of South Asian- and Western-influenced singing. 

I would recommend anyone in the Triangle area to attend next year’s Sangeet Sagaar. It is truly an experience worth having, especially if you’ve never seen an a capella competition before. You can view their Facebook here and their website here.  

– Miranda

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Concert Review

Review of Scott Avett’s Exhibition

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Scott Avett, co-founder of The Avett Brothers, is currently featured at the North Carolina Museum of Art for his exhibition, INVISIBLE. Although Avett is most widely known for his contributions to the band that he shares with his brother, Seth; he has gained prominence in the visual art community as well. Many fans of The Avett Brothers recognize his signature relief print artwork which has been featured many times on album covers and promotional products. 

The Avett Brothers is a folk rock band which originated in Concord, North Carolina in the early 2000s. The band has gained national recognition including receiving three Grammy nominations and three awards from the Americana Music Association. Rooted in traditional bluegrass and folk music found in western North Carolina, they also are clearly influenced by rock & roll. 

I visited Scott Avett’s exhibition, INVISIBLE last weekend. His artistic talent is evident and the exhibit focuses primarily on his work with relief printing. INVISIBLE includes pieces of artwork found on Avett Brothers albums and posters from their shows but also showcases portraiture of Avett himself and other members of the Avett family. Both his art and the discography of the band reflect universal ideas like spirituality, love, and loss in a beautiful way.

One room of the exhibit includes a display of the music video to Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise, a song released in 2009. The song itself has been impactful to my life, its lyrics are motivational and reflect on the temporary nature of the world around us. The music video had a profound emotional impact on me, which is why I find the artistry behind the video so interesting. The artist, Ryan Mitcham, spliced together a compilation of over 2,600 images creating an animation from the canvas he physically painted. The music video depicts the rise and decline of an urban area, and its significance is indescribable. I highly recommend checking it out

Tickets for the exhibition are paired with the Mexican Modernism exhibit at the NCMA. The limited-time exhibition will close February 2nd.  

– Miranda

Sources: NPR, NCMA

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Concert Review

SOLD OUT: Snoop Dogg – I Wanna Thank Me Tour 2019 @ The Ritz

Welcome to the second post of the “You take a metal head to a hip-hop/rap show,” and in this edition I went to see the man himself, Snoop D O double G!!!! I have always been a fan of Uncle Snoop. Growing up, my mom and dad would play Snoop Dogg. My dad is a huge gangster rap fan, and Snoop Dogg is his favorite! He said that the first time he heard Snoop was on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and heard him in F**k wit Dre Day when Snoop started off with “bow wow wow yippie yo yippie yay doggy dog in the m*****f****** houseeeeee” and has loved him ever since. My mom has also always been a fan of Snoop Dogg and I remember she always had his song 1800 playing.

This was my first time seeing Snoop Dogg and I was really excited!! When we got to the Ritz, there weren’t many people there (we got there at doors); we got there early so we could get a good spot to see the man himself! We were standing in front of the sound booth and we had a perfect view of the stage. There were a handful of rappers that opened up the show and they were really good! One of the acts walks by my mom and we said “hey” to them and they gave us a hug. The crowd didn’t get into the opening acts but as soon and Uncle Snoop hit the stage, people started rocking!

I was thrilled when Snoop Dogg hit the stage. He came out rapping and did his little gangster dance (my dad can do the swaying side to side dance really well). He also had dancers on stage dancing behind him. But it gets better, Snoop had two stripper poles on stage and had strippers dancing on the poles while he played. What an O.G. move. Me and my mom danced all night, and we ran into some family friends that hung out with us during the show!

Although Snoop Dogg didn’t play my favorite song, 1800, he did play some other songs that I really liked, such as Drop It Like It’s Hot, I Wanna Rock, Gin N’ Juice, and Nuthin’ but a G thang. Overall, it was a great show and a perfect way to end 2019. I would totally go see Snoop Dogg again!

Have you seen Uncle Snoop? How did you like it?

Stay Metal,

THE SAW