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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.

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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. 

-KONDE

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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

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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.

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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
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Concert Review

Concert Review: Liturgy, .gif from god and The HIRS Collective

On Monday, a fellow DJ and I took a drive up to Richmond to see Liturgy perform live at the Richmond Music Hall.

Everything about the experience was surreal.

Richmond is a beautiful city. It’s a real city with a real city feel unlike that of Raleigh or Durham. Something about it felt historical, or perhaps I was just exhausted from the drive up and easily impressed by cool architecture.

Photo by STEPHEN POORE on Unsplash

Liturgy performed in Raleigh a couple nights before, but we’d decided to catch the all-ages Virginia show instead. It became something of an adventure, driving over a hundred miles to catch a live show in a small bar.

And by the time we headed back to North Carolina, we were both haunted by the majesty of what we witnessed at the Richmond Music Hall. Though the trip itself was tumultuous (read: exhausting, physically and mentally), it was ultimately worth it.

.gif from god

The first openers of the night, .gif from god are a 6-piece whitebelt screamo band. Based in Richmond, the band were comfortable on their home turf. It was interesting to see a “local” band play in an area that was foreign to me but familiar to many of the other attendees. There’s a special sort of liminality to such spaces.

I actually didn’t realize until they took the stage that the band’s members had been leisuring outside the venue when we arrived. That’s another thing I really like about smaller shows; you end up sharing the space with the artists rather than merely intersecting for a brief time and then moving on.

cover for “.​.​.​defragmented​.​.​.​reformatted” by .gif from god

.gif from god was ravenous. Between the distorted guitar, brutal drums and virulent vocals, the room became something of a hornet’s nest. Even when the bassist snapped a string and was forced to briefly play without it, the band (and audience) never lost its energy.

Things became so unrestrained at points that several audience members took to the pit to gesticulate wildly in a frenzy of fists and feet. By the end of the set, my neck was sore and my heart was beating ferociously.

The HIRS Collective

The first thing I noticed about The HIRS Collective was the magnitude of amps they set up onstage. Like some kind of IRL tetris, the assemblage mystified the audience. I can remember hearing people behind me comment on the likelihood of long-term hearing loss following this set, and I was glad I’d brought my earplugs.

The HIRS Collective, based in Philadelphia, dedicate themselves to the defense and celebration of “any and all folks who have to constantly face violence, marginalization and oppression.”

Cover for “The First 100 Songs – Remastered” by The HIRS Collective

They made this fact abundantly clear as they prefaced their set by dedicating their work to all trans women who exist, have existed and will exist.

The HIRS Collective delivered a unique and heavy performance, blending disco-inspired dance music such as Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” with visceral metal vocals. As expected of a queercore band, The HIRS Collective was unabashedly hardcore and unafraid to have fun onstage.

I’m not sure if I will ever again have the privilege of witnessing a room of metalheads hesitantly headbang to Whitney Houston.

Liturgy

Liturgy is a “yearning, transcendental” black metal band from Brooklyn. Headed by vocalist and guitarist Haela Ravenna Hunt-Hendrix, Liturgy is both a musical project and a work of experimental, theologic art.

Upbeat strains of guitar and bass coalesce with Hendrix’s icy screams, creating something that punctuates the concept of music as an experience.

Cover for “93696” by Liturgy

The show was ritualistic. Moving to the music was like moving in accordance with a divine heartbeat. The audience became a single entity, thrumming rhythmically like a complex piece of machinery, waxing and waning like seagrass buffeted by the tides.

Such is the effect of Liturgy’s music, self-described as “[existing] in the space between metal, experimental, classical music and sacred ritual.”

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Concert Review

Joyce Manor with Teens in Trouble at Cat’s Cradle

If you frequent the WKNC blog, you may have seen me post a few weeks ago about an upcoming concert featuring Joyce Manor, a personal favorite, and Teens in Trouble, a WKNC favorite. Their show was on June 26 at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC.

As I wrote in my concert preview, Joyce Manor has been one of my favorite artists since middle school. I love going to concerts but often feel like a poser of some sort when I don’t know every song an artist might play. Joyce Manor is the group that I can say I would feel confident in my ability to sing every song, knowing almost every word.

Teens in Trouble onstage at Cat’s Cradle. Photo by bel$

Before the headliner went on, Teens in Trouble put on a great show as an opener. My partner and I had seen them play at Double Barrel Benefit 19 and were probably some of the few in the crowd to have seen them twice this year, along with other WKNC DJs at the show.

The crowd was very clearly thrilled to be there and Teens in Trouble provided a fun set that got people moving but still allowed us to conserve some energy for the incoming Joyce Manor pit.

Joyce Manor did not disappoint. Starting their set off with “Heart Tattoo” was a strong choice, and the many of us in the crowd with heart tattoos on us from the influence of that song raised our hands high immediately.

Surprisingly, Joyce Manor only played three songs off their most recent record, “40 Oz. to Fresno”– “Gotta Let It Go,” “Don’t Try,” and “NBTSA.” They made sure to dip into older obscure songs like their cover of The Murder City Devils’ “Midnight Service at the Mutter Museum.”

The band went off stage, then returned for a three-song encore. Before the second song of the encore, frontman Barry Johnson asked the crowd, “Are there any ‘Cody’ enjoyers out there right now?”, referring to their 2016 LP. Many hands, including mine, shot up, and the band broke into their song “Stairs.”

It was impossible not to move at The Cradle that night. I’d gone into the venue with a full face of makeup, and by the time I got home my face was bare. The venue floor was sticky when people cleared out from PBRs dropped and pit sweat. My bangs were soaked. I have a few bruises and my feet are still sore days later. It was fantastic and it makes me sad that I’ll never be able to see Joyce Manor for the first time again.

— bel$

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Concert Review

Concert Review: Paranoid Maniac, Reckoning Force and Public Acid

Taking a brief detour from this month’s Pride-based content (because I’m very sick and incapable of concerted research) to cover a recent show I attended.

This show was special, not just because it was insanely fun and had a great line-up, but because it was the first show my younger brothers had ever attended.

Taking place June 18 at Kings in Raleigh, this three-band show was a wildly good time and a great way to kick off a fresh work week.

Paranoid Maniac

Composed of Raleigh locals, Paranoid Maniac delivered a frenzy of hurried, untethered sounds.

The five-piece group were the first of the three headliners to go on, and their performance certainly set the tone for the rest of the night.

With an unceremonious start, the vocalist and band quickly mobilized to flood the room with a slant of distorted guitar, gnarling bass and reverberating drums that thrummed in the ribcages of everyone in the audience.

Cover for “Hold Your Own Leash” by Paranoid Maniac

The vocalist, clad in a vest and large pair of opaque black shades, wailed barely-comprehensible lyrics into the mic as they paced back and forth across the stage.

Amid the swell of music that pounded against the venue’s concrete walls, certain phrases rang out with clarity, such as “f– the alt-right.”

The crowd was (frustratingly) still during this performance, headbanging and swaying in place despite the palpable energy that electrified the air.

At the end of the set, we’d all sufficiently woken up from our perpetual daytime half-slumber.

Reckoning Force

Reckoning Force is a rapid and rabid group based out of Norfolk, Virginia.

My first impression of the band formed while watching a roadie unceremoniously duct tape a flag on the venue wall.

Reckoning Force at Kings, Raleigh, photo by J

Everything following was perfectly intense and chaotic.

As Reckoning Force started their set, patrons who’d been tucked away at the bar began to flock to the stage.

The vocalist lurched around in a torn-up yellow shirt with a frayed, screaming voice that paired nicely with the frantic music. Shortly after the start of the set, the crowd parted as two individuals darted back and forth across the floor.

The energy in the crowd changed instantly. Everyone moved at once either to dart to the sides of the room or to slam as hard as possible into the nearest person. I went for the second option and was promptly knocked to the ground by someone twice my size.

Two massive punks in studded vests immediately grabbed me, pulling me to my feet and checking to make sure I hadn’t broken something. I was fine, if not a bit embarassed, but felt better after watching several others take a similar tumble later.

Though the pit was small, we were sufficiently invigorated by the sounds — or maybe the force — of Reckoning Force.

The highlight of their set was certaintly when they covered Minor Threat’s “Screaming at a Wall,” a track well suited to the vocalist’s particular brand of angsty screams.

Public Acid

The final band to perform was Public Acid, based out of Richmond and North Carolina.

Like Reckoning Force, the band set up a flag before their performance. To my absolute delight, they simply taped their flag — baring a Rorschachesque skull — over the one left up by Reckoning Force.

Cover for “The Beat Sessions” by Public Acid

Public Acid was my brothers’s favorite act of the night, as they said the music reminded them of the DOOM franchise.

The band’s straight-up heinous sound compelled my brothers, both teenagers “too cool” to do much of anything, to bob their heads and sway around. I consider that a massive win.

Though not many patrons entered the pit, this allowed for more movement and dynamism as people kicked their legs around, spun and knocked into each other. The energy in the room was magnetic, even for those outside of the pit.

Public Acid was a great way to end off the night, leaving the audience sweat-drenched and shaking with adrenaline. After the show, I felt both like I could run ten miles and sleep for ten years.

Closing Thoughts

Paranoid Maniac, Reckoning Force and Public Acid are three bands with small online presences.

They make up for this by totally dominating the stage and plunging the audience into a landscape of chaos, insanity and vigor.

Familiarity with the bands isn’t necessary to enjoy them. Their vibrant sounds and captivating stage presence strike you right through the ribcage in the best possible way.

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Blog Concert Review

100 gecs & Machine Girl: Concert Review

If you were wondering when and where the world’s largest gathering of gay people wearing Doc Martens was, it was May 2, 2023 at The Ritz Raleigh. The 10,000 gecs tour, featuring Machine Girl as the opener, stopped in Raleigh during its nationwide run.

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Concert Review

Best of Double Barrel Benefit 19: A Recap

As many of you may be aware, Double Barrel Benefit 19, a WKNC fundraiser, happened recently. Each of the two nights featured four local artists playing their hearts out to a packed venue at Kings Raleigh. The energy in the place was incredibly lively, and the whole concert was just a great time. I want to showcase some of the best acts from both nights here that I believe deserve more support and a larger fanbase.

Chainletter

Chainletter performing at DBB19. Photo courtesy of Alena Lewis Photography.

Night one premiered with techno act Chainletter, who brought the initially stagnant, uninterested crowd to an energetic boil. This silent DJ didn’t need to interrupt their set to bring the crowd back to their music. They knew how to keep adding on more and more depth to their sound, ramping up the intensity over time.

Juxton Roy

Juxton Roy performing at DBB19. Photo courtesy of Lizzy Novelli.
Jess Ray of Juxton Roy performing at DBB19. Photo courtesy of Lizzy Novelli.

Juxton Roy closed out night one of DBB19 as its headliner with the most dynamic set of any artist that night. This queer, emo rock group kept up much of the energy from previous act Fading Signal while infusing a richer emotional core. They swerved from crowd-pleasers like “The Road” to trauma-dump session “Elephant” with ease.

Teens in Trouble

Lizzie Killian of Teens in Trouble performing at DBB19. Photo courtesy of William Flathmann.

Night two featured artists such as Teens in Trouble, whose set felt most familiar to other indie rock artists . Their music felt perfectly crafted for a party setting with a lively on-stage performance contrasting lead vocalist Lizzie Killian’s shoegaze singing. Although their lyrics can get quite melancholic, their sound never failed to keep the crowd engaged and moving.

Khx05

Khx05 performing at DBB19. Photo courtesy of William Flathmann.

Khx05 (pronounced “chaos”) might have been my favorite act across all of DBB19. This black, trans artist from night two put on by far the most invigorating on-stage performance of any artist through their dance. With music emphasizing sexuality and power, their dance felt like a really well choreographed thirst trap in the best possible way.

Although seeing any artist live tends to be a more enjoyable experience than listening to them online or through radio, Khx05 was incredible to see in-person in a way that can’t be appreciated otherwise. Additional help was provided by WKNC’s own Plover, who did DJ work during the set.

Concluding Thoughts

Double Barrel Benefit 19 was an absolutely fantastic experience to share with everyone who came out for it. I wish the artists I’ve mentioned here, as well as the others who performed, all the best in their future careers. There’s so much good music in local music scenes, so support local artists when you can.