Blog Concert Review

Concert Review: Machine Girl (1/8)

In concerts, especially indoor ones, it’s pretty hard to make out what a singer is actually saying. The combination of overblown acoustics with the instruments that hit the exact registers as the vocals makes it so that, even in songs that rely heavily on songwriting, the live experience is mostly about the vibe. Studio versions of Mountain Goats songs that are restrained and contemplative roar to life when John Darnielle is ten feet away from you.

For Machine Girl, it’s all about the vibes, and the vibes are immaculate. The combination of live drummer Sean Kelly who sounded straight out of a metal show and frontman Matt Stephenson who continued that spontaneity with the controlled precision of someone whose set revolves around pounding electronic beats. Every strut, leap, and individual howl was scripted spontaneity, a balancing act that’s very hard to achieve and intoxicating when done right. A guitar came out and immediately fit right into the soundscapes being sculpted, and the ending where Stephenson leapt onto a speaker set high above the crowd felt so right, the perfect way to cap off a wild night.

As the show went off the chain, the energy of the crowd rose to the occasion. The pit was wild; during the most hype moments everyone just started sprinting in circles like a running of the bulls. The absolute climax of the show involved someone climbing into the rafters and later being told over the PA system that they could have broken $20,000 worth of equipment, which sums up the vibe at the time better than I ever could.

The opening acts fit this manic metaltronic energy to a tee. I arrived part way through No Parking’s set, a bouncy house set with a healthy amount of screaming. While it was early on and people weren’t as hyped, the fun beats and especially the engaging stage presence kept everyone swaying and anticipating what was to come. And my favorite part of the show might have actually been the second act, Austin’s Johnnascus. Their first song involved walking onstage with bandages on their head and slowly peeling them off, and this hard-hitting dial-to-11 brand of trap was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had at a concert. Towards the end of the set I found myself thinking “how is Machine Girl going to top this?”, and I don’t think they did, instead taking a different approach that ended up being just as satisfying.


Concert Review

Concert Review: The Mountain Goats (12/18/2021)

If you live in the Triangle and are into music, you’ve probably found that the Mountain Goats are more than just a band. They’re a force of nature, whose mere name being mentioned causing any fan in the room to talk about how good they are. I’ve enjoyed their music for awhile but never to the point of considering myself a diehard fan. So when I saw they were coming to Cat’s Cradle, I figured I should check it out and see if the hype was worth believing. That was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.

It turns out the presence of the Mountain Goats overshadows even other artists in the lineup of their own shows, as it felt like even opener Bowerbirds just wanted to see the band play. This was maybe the only slight downside as I think it took the air out of what was a great opening set; singer Phil Moore brought the kind of brooding yet energetic vocal performance that was perfect for their indie folk sound and songs like “Moon Phase” were quite beautiful while also displaying a steely guitar line. I’m not at all saying that Mountain Goats intentionally took attention away from Bowerbirds; lead singer John Darnielle made it very clear that he was a big fan of their work and went into detail about how Moore in particular greatly influenced certain songs, it just felt kind of awkward when the loudest cheer by far came when Moore said they only had a few songs left.

When the Mountain Goats finally came in, anticipation had reached a fever pitch, especially as their stage entrance came on the back of a dramatic dimming of lights and instrumental intro. This fever pitch was answered with a fiery rendition of “Michael Myers Resplendent” that turned that anticipation into joyous celebration. Throughout the show they got as loud as the best of them but what really stood out were individual moments, a steely guitar attack or an individual drum line, dislocating themselves from the cacophony to make a statement.

Much like the history of the Mountain Goats, the center of this sonic universe is John Darnielle and the wondrous narratives he spins. These are not straightforward arena-ready bangers, but winding tales filled with despair and hope, with concepts ranging from intricate descriptions of wrestling moves to fantasy quests. Before the show I was concerned that the subtleties of the songs would be lost in the roar of a live show but it was the exact opposite: seeing the Mountain Goats live is the absolute best way to experience their work. I have never seen an audience so transfixed that they had to be told when to clap. At one point, I was so locked in to Darnielle’s words I didn’t notice that keyboard player Matt Douglas got up, walked away and came back with a saxophone until it came in with a thunderous line. The versatility of instruments on display here was impressive; after putting down the saxophone Douglas picked up a guitar and Darniella used at least three different guitars throughout the show and sat down at the keyboard himself. Everything about the performance was extremely fluid, with songs blending seamlessly into one another and everyone onstage clearly having a blast being around the crowd and each other.

As the Mountain Goats have over 20 albums to draw from the songs played were extremely varied. Darnielle specifically described artists who rigidly adhere to the same setlist every night as “the forces of evil” ahead of the “middle section” of the show, which for the uninitiated is where the rest of the band leaves and he plays whatever comes to mind. With every spotlight trained on him Darnielle went dark with his time alone onstage, with “Maybe Sprout Wings”, “From TG&Y” and “Isaiah 45:23” serving as an introspective and brutally honest trilogy. The spontaneity could be felt in every word and note played and what could have been just a gimmick was elevated into an unforgettable experience.

The Mountain Goats have been located in Durham for about 15 years now, and the roots they’ve put down in the Triangle were tangible in the performance. This was the last performance of a three-day stint at the Cradle and there wasn’t just an air of finality but of pride at having the opportunity to play there. Darnielle took every opportunity to thank the audience for their support and it was apparent what the roar of the crowd meant to him and the band as a whole. I saw some amazing live performances this semester but I think this one in particular is going to stick with me for a very long time.


Concert Review

Concert Review: Wednesday (12/16/21)

Concerts come in all shapes and sizes, and what I’ve found from my (limited) experience is that I prefer small shows to bigger arena events. A crowd that can fit into Cat’s Cradle is my preferred upper bound, as this allows for intimate and personal experiences you just can’t get in a stadium.

This was my first time in the Cat’s Cradle Back Room, a second stage you can find to the right of the main entrance to the Carrboro venue. I expected a much smaller version of the main stage, but I was surprised at how big it was, especially with how unassuming the outside made it look. This combined with an upstairs level for seating that overlooked the rest of the room made the Back Room feel like its own thing rather than a scaled down, lesser version of the Cradle. Here, the stage was lower down and closer, I was standing maybe 5 feet from the microphone and could feel the air displaced by the speaker with every kick of the bass.

The show was a masterclass in how to manage energy levels. The first act out the gate was BANGZZ, a very high energy act that brought everyone in from the back corners of the room to get the show going. BANGZZ are characterized not just by their hard hitting drums and attack guitars, but also the stream of consciousness interludes by lead singer Erika Kobayashi Libero, talking about everything from discrimination faced by people of Asian descent in America to how marriage shouldn’t be viewed as a achievement, the latter segueing perfectly into the song “Never Speak of Marriage as an Acheivement.” These interludes add a feeling of spontaneity that keeps the audience clued in and on their toes, perfect for a first act that wants to not just play good music but to prime the audience for what’s to come. The themes of standing up to unjust systems and taking care of oneself are on full display here, and they’re delivered with an eloquence and careful simplicity that really allows it to resonate even through the instrumental maelstrom.

Now BANGZZ could have been followed by an even more high energy band, but Truth Club was the perfect compliment to an aggressive punk opening as they slowed things down and created a palpable contrast that felt like its own instrument. Oh they could get loud, but Truth Club’s loud is more of an icy hot than a raging inferno, with Travis Harrington’s understated vocal delivery being the perfect conduit for the band’s songs. Truth Club’s stage presence was also a highlight, with members going back to back for instrumental sections and a general manic quality that felt like a continuation of the down to earth vibe of the show.

Which brings me at long last to Wednesday, the headline act of the show. If BANGZZ and Truth Club set the audience up for something special, Wednesday had to deliver on this potential. Spoiler alert: it did, and it did so in a way that synthesized the best elements of the opening acts while adding its own spin. The songs played out in a more restrained way like Truth Club’s, with the emotions bubbling under the surface, but also came through in massive freakouts that went toe to toe with BANGZZ’s opening performance. One several-minute long instrumental moment really stood out for me and was one of the best moments I’ve had at a concert, this perfect union of moshable energy and a crowd that was matching it beat for beat.

Wednesday’s heliocentric stage presence was a captivating element of their performance. Lead singer Karly Hartzman acted as this central presence, a constantly smouldering sun whose every word was captivating, and even through full instrumental barrages she shone through as the focal point. This isn’t to say the other performers were lacking at all, they were amazing, but it felt like they all orbited around the main mic in a way that maximized everyone’s contribution to the overall performance.

And what really allowed me to experience all of this in its raw potency was the intimacy of the venue. The merch table was several feet to my left and when Travis mentioned it he specifically called out my “coachable” clap in response. These are the kind of magic moments you get at these kinds of venues, a connection with local artists that you can’t find anywhere else, and one that was especially hard to find over the last couple of years.


Concert Review

Circle Jerks Concert Review

The chance to see Circle Jerks in 2021 felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, let alone seeing them with Negative Approach and Municipal Waste at a venue like Cat’s Cradle. The sold-out show was easily one of the best of the year for me, and believe me, it had some tough competition.

Negative Approach

As soon as singer John Brannon took the stage, I knew what this set was going to be like; loud, aggressive, and everything you would expect from a legendary hardcore punk band such as Negative Approach. The nonstop set was accompanied by the start of a mosh pit, though it seemed the venue was not at capacity at this point, and the pit was nowhere near as large as it would grow to by the end of the night. Despite the seemingly smaller crowd, the band was on fire, with Brannon’s ferocious vocals on classics such as “Evacuate” and “Hypocrite” standing out.

Municipal Waste

Seeing Municipal Waste on this billing took me by surprise, but I am certainly not complaining as I’d been waiting for a chance to see the Richmond-based thrashers. They did not disappoint in the slightest, going straight into the rapid fire riffs and short songs the band is known for. A mosh pit opened like the parting of the red sea next to me and eventually led to a circle pit around a support beam in the middle of the room (a suggestion from singer Tony Foresta). The standout moment of the set was “Wave of Death ” in which Foresta commanded us in the crowd to crowd-surf a kid who couldn’t have been more than 12 years old for the entire song. Though material from their debut album has been absent from their recent sets, the band broke out “Substitute Creature” (with guitarist Ryan Waste sharing vocal duties) at the request of members of the crowd. The set finished off with a wholesome dedication to Foresta’s family, who apparently had been able to see the band perform only a handful of times over their 20-year span.

Circle Jerks

I want to preface this by saying that Circle Jerks started in 1979, and Keith Morris sounds the exact same as he did then. While the stage show may not have been as energetic as they were 40 years ago, I’m more than willing to let that slide given just how great they sounded after such a long time playing together. The Jerks started off with “Deny Everything” the opening track to their debut album Group Sex, and throughout the night performed the whole album with the exception of the title track. The pit for the Jerks was shockingly intense, and I quickly jumped in when my personal favorite song, “Stars and Stripes” was played 4 songs into the set. The 33 song long setlist was broken up by breaks where Morris talked to the crowd, making jokes and some comments about the Tar Heels, before usually being cut short by the rest of the band continuing with the show. The band finished out their set with an encore featuring classics “What’s Your Problem” and “Question Authority” to a cheering crowd.

I’m incredibly grateful that Cat’s Cradle was able to arrange having me as a press guest for this show, and I really cannot put into words how incredible the night was. Not only were the performances stellar, but I also got to meet some new friends in the punk community, which is personally one of the best things about shows finally being back after so long.

-Ezra Kinsch

Concert Review

My favorite Songs at Hopscotch

I am so grateful that I got to go to Hopscotch last month and see so many of my favorite artists perform live, most of whom I’ve never got to see before. Here are some of my favorite songs that I heard and saw being performed at Hopscotch. 

Caroline Polacheck

It’s hard to pick just a few songs from Caroline’s set to talk about because every song she played was my favorite. I was in awe of her performance the whole time. She has an amazing voice and range, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her as she danced around the stage; throwing kicks in the air, spinning around, and mimicking her lyrics with specific moves. Of course “So Hot You’re Hurting my Feelings” is up there for my favorite performance, it was the first song I heard by her and it instantly became one of my favorite pop songs. The crowd was super into it and her energy during this song, and the whole set, was infectious. Another one of my favorites was “Caroline Shut Up” because she does an amazing vocal run during a breakdown before going into the last chorus and I was mesmerized, it’s hard to explain what she does without listening to the song, so I would suggest checking it out if you haven’t. She also played three unreleased songs that were all wonderful, and I can’t wait for them to be released so I can listen to them on repeat. 


Unfortunately I missed Wednesday’s set on Thursday at the Moore Square Stage, but I was able to see them at Ruby Deluxe the next day and it was amazing. I just recently got into them after they released Twin Plagues in August, and seeing them live made me an even bigger fan. I loved seeing “How Can You Live If You Can’t Love How Can You If You Do,” because it is one of my favorites off that album. It’s a slower song, different from most on the album that are layered with fuzzy guitars, loud thumping drums, and strong bass lines, but this one is stripped down and the lead singer, Karly Hartzman, is at the center of the song. The lyrics are beautifully written and vulnerable, which I admire about all of Hartzman’s writing, but this one sticks out the most to me. I also loved hearing “Cody’s Only,” “Handsome Man,” and “Fate Is…” which is from their second record I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone

Dr. Dog

My dad actually introduced me to Dr. Dog a while ago. I remember he would play them around the house and I always loved hearing “Shadow People,” “Jackie Wants a Black Eye,” and more from Shame, Shame, but my favorite song he would play was always “Broken Heart.” I haven’t gotten super into Dr. Dog and didn’t know many songs they played, but I was really excited when they played this one because it reminded me of my childhood. Of course I had to enjoy the song a bit for myself, but I was also focused on taking a video of it and sharing it with my dad so he could somewhat experience it with me. They played “Shadow People” before it too, so I was excited by that two song run. The band sounded great live and were really tight. 

Flying Lotus

I don’t know many names of Flying Lotus’s songs, I really like his 2010 album Cosmogramma, and he did play “ Do the Astral Plane,” but I haven’t listened to much of his other releases. That didn’t matter though, because one of the great things about his set was that you didn’t need to know his songs, you just had to let loose and jump around. He played some remixes, one which included a Kero Kero Bonito song that made me super excited, a song off of Drake’s new album, and “Wesley’s Theory” from To Pimp a Butterfly. The crowd was super energetic and it was fun to dance with friends and watch others enjoy themselves too. 

Parquet Courts

The Parquet Courts set was so great, they were energetic and had great stage banter that made the breaks in their set super entertaining. They performed some new songs off of their album Sympathy for Life, which were all good and made me excited for the release of the album. I was most excited when they played “Almost Had to Start a Fight/ In and Out of Patience,” because I’ve listened to that song so many times and it was enjoyable to watch them play it. I also loved when they played “Wide Awake” because they had another member join them to play all of the bells and whistles that are on the recorded version, which add so much to the atmosphere of the song. The bass line is so dancey, and I did not see one person not moving around during that song. 

Archers of Loaf

This was my second time seeing Archers live, unfortunately I had to leave halfway through their set to catch Animal Collective, but they played most of my favorite songs pretty early. Like most angsty teens, discovering Icky Mettle was a very important part of my high school experience. There’s nothing quite like shouting the lyrics in your room to “Wrong” or “Might”, and it’s even better to be able to do it live with the band. “Web in Front,” was one of my favorite songs to hear live. I love the dynamic between Eric Bachman and Matt Gentling as Gentling shouts “All I ever wanted was to be your spine,” and Bachman powerfully sings over him about a failed relationship. They are still able to put so much emotion behind songs that are over 20 years old and I found that to be really special knowing they put so much effort into their performances. 

Animal Collective

Animal Collective is one of those bands that I really love, but I never thought I would see them in my lifetime. I’m not sure why, it’s possibly because I am much more attached to their earlier releases than their new ones and that’s what I’d really want to hear live, but surprisingly they did throw in some old songs in their set. They played “In the Flowers,” the opening track to Merriweather Post Pavilion, and one of my favorites from that record. It sounded beautiful live. My favorite song they played was “The Purple Bottle” from their 2005 release Feels. The song is so energetic and Avey Tare does a lot of screaming in the song, and of course I had to yell along and jump around. I made it to the barrier for their set and I had a great time watching each member make their unique sounds come to life. 

Concert Review

Spookstina: Manifest Concert Reviews

So WKNC sent a group to Manifest this earlier this month, and it was a bit more Halloween-y than initially anticipated. While genre variety was plentiful, there was an overwhelming theme of SCARY. The Local 506 had a end to end metal setlist on Friday, there was hardcore punk, a little bit of goth dance music, but most tuned to my tastes was the Noise and Dark Ambient thrills of Raleigh’s own Spookstina performing at NightLight.

Spookstina is a witch, and I mean that metaphor in the most literal way possible. She has raven hair, a high, raspy, and vaguely ominous singing voice, and a musical style that reeks of death and depression. Her SoundCloud bio is just the single phrase “The topography of an unmade bed after a restless night,” and it is awesome. Her music floats in that vague noisey electronic haze that goes by a million labels. Dark Ambient, is my first instinct, Death Industrial is another contender, but the point is that she’s very spooky.

Her performance was a wash of contradictions laid out for our viewing pleasure. She was in an intentionally catatonic trance for the whole set, barely vocalizing above a whisper in the small venue of Nightlight. Yet her theatrics loomed large in my memory of the night. Behind her was the scenery of a small apartment complete with Gen Z approved multicolor lighting. In front of her: a sewer grate ladder…. she started to whip the sewer grate ladder with chains halfway through the performance.

Yes, despite her listless, almost Shoegazing persona, her set was one of destruction. The entire venue was filled with a low electronic gurgle for more than thirty minutes, complete with a bass sound that made my organs shrivel. She smashed, clattered, and abused various inanimate objects, including a guitar which was played more as percussion that instrument. And while I cannot confirm this firsthand, a few of our other content creators swear there was a fire on stage briefly after she smashed a Christmas light.

I’m not sure this article amounted to a recommendation per se, but those of you who are into that sort of thing have doubtlessly put a full Spookstina concert on your bucket list already. She’s local to Raleigh, so you ghouls should have no trouble finding her.

Concert Review Festival Coverage Local Music

Manifest Review: A Loud Festival That Shines in the Quiet Moments

I think it was partway through Sister Brother’s set, a ski mask-wearing punk duo with anti-capitalist vocal samples and attacking guitars when I realized just how good of a weekend this would be. For reference, Sister Brother was the third set I went to.

Manifest did not pull punches. This was an event that threw punk and metal bands at you and you had to hold on and enjoy the ride. I spent most of my time in the Local 506, the main venue of the three, and the intimate size combined with the sheer ferocity of the instrumentals meant I had to pull out earplugs at a concert for the first time ever. 

Bands blurred together, but saying that sounds bad, like things were getting stale. When I say blurred, I mean that one band perfectly picked up the energy level from the previous group while adding their own spin on the rebellious under (and over) tones. Of course there were individual highlights. BANGZZ lived up to its name by getting the whole crowd headbanging and kicking off the night with interludes talking about the importance of taking up space and respecting others. Pie Face Girls described themselves as a “comedy troupe first, band second”, and their stage banter was as hilarious as their songs were captivating, with groovy instrumentals and repeated vocals that wormed their way into the brain and didn’t leave in a hurry. And Sand Pact came from left field with an experimental electronic set paired with performative dance that brought a bit of the club with them.

Of all the pedal to the metal guitars and screaming vocals this weekend, the most memorable act I saw was Raleigh “conjurer of sound” Spookstina. Their set consisted of the artist crouching over their decks and playing a continuous wall of distorted sound for over half an hour, punctuated by a couple minutes of vocals and some plucking of guitar strings and, most notably, the rattling of chains. Some of the rattling was recorded, but a lot of it came from them picking up and dropping chains that were on the small triangular stage in the corner of the room. This crescendoed into one of the most surreal experiences of my life: Spookstina picked up what they later told us was a sewer ladder, walked into the audience, and started hitting it with a chain to a beat that apparently only they could hear. 

What really made that work was how close the audience was to the action, and that was a major part of the experience. Artists were just hanging out in the bar after the show and were happy to be interviewed by a college radio station. Indie folk band Honey Magpie didn’t have any merch at the merch table; my friend and I got t-shirts by talking to them after their set and paying the lead singer on Venmo. It was adaptable too. There were plans for an outdoor day party with an art market on nearby Graham Street, but when rain started coming down, they just moved everything inside the Local 506 and kept the fun going. There weren’t many people there during the day, but those who showed up between 1 and 7 p.m. got to experience some great sets. I didn’t expect to hear much country music at Manifest, but Charly out of Lumberton NC surprised me with an emotionally resonant and personal hour of music.

But Manifest, in structure at least, was still a music festival like any other, and this means that its greatest strength is in allowing for the creation of certain moments, pockets of infinite joy, where you stop and realize just how much fun you’re having. The alley in front of The Nightlight, maybe the most underrated venue of the weekend, is perfect for squealing with your friends about how insane a set was, and the distance between venues allowed festival goers to slow down and really sit with the experience they just had. History dictates that, barring another global pandemic, Manifest will return to Chapel Hill next fall, and I’m already counting the days.

Concert Review

Jooselord Live Album Recording Video Recap

On Oct. 8, 2021, Jooselord recorded a live album at The Pour House with members of his collective Krawz Bonez.

WARNING: Explicit Content, shot by Brandon Whippo

The show featured local rappers Buddahbby, Godrick, Austin Royale, Nunafterhours, 3AMSOUND and Jovi Mosconi, with Jooselord headlining the event. Our very own WKNC alumnus, the legendary Iron Mic, was the DJ for the show and kept things running very smoothly on the turntables throughout the night.

It was truly a unique experience with the addition of a live band to the latter half of the show. Not only that, but Joose had The Pour House record his performance and press it to a vinyl that will be available for purchase in the near future. This was another great collaboration of local artists showcasing the talent that the Triangle has to offer.

Concert Review Festival Coverage

Flying Lotus: Concert Review

Flying Lotus is an artist I first came across while working as the Underground Music Director for WKNC this Summer. I ended up loving his latest album “Yasuke” and added a bunch of his songs to the rotation, so when I found out he was performing at Hopscotch I couldn’t wait.

The Music

Throughout his set, Flying Lotus played an assortment of his more recent and his older projects. As a relatively new listener, I only recognized the tracks “Black Gold” and “Crust” which are from his latest album. Overall, his set was much more electronic than I had initially expected which was pleasant surprise. The bass was heavy, the music was loud, and the people were moshing.

The Performance

Unlike Caroline Polachek, the opener on Thursday night, Flying Lotus relied more on tech than choreography for his visuals. He stood alone behind a large DJ booth which had a transparent white tinted screen separating him and the audience. On this screen there flashed a crazy assortment of images and short videos that correlated to each song in his set. The visuals along with the heavy bass made for a pleasantly disorienting experience.

Concert Review

Concert Review: White Reaper (9/25/2021)

White Reaper onstage at Cat's Cradle
White Reaper at Cat’s Cradle on 9/25/2021

Late into the show, lead singer Tony Esposito remarked that “it feels a lot like 2019 again”. This moment of introspection stood out because it was a rare break in almost continuous stream of wailing guitars. Often Esposito would step away from the mic for extended headbanging solos powered by the three guitars, and even during breaks between songs someone would always be hammering a note or keeping a drum rhythm going. There was very little that stood between the five members of White Reaper and delivering the experience the audience paid for, which was for them to play now and loud.

This concert was a long time in the making. White Reaper was originally coming to the Cradle in March of 2020, this was rescheduled for obvious reasons to April 28 of this year, when it was rescheduled once more to Sept. 25. The hype was palpable, and one person I talked to said they drove all the way from Richmond. 

One of White Reaper’s signature traits is Esposito’s howling, passionate vocals, and they certainly put on a show that night. The Cat’s Cradle acoustics meant it was definitely hard to make every word out but that added to the experience, songs became experiences, crashing walls of sound, and everyone knew the lyrics anyway.

Their stage presence was immaculate, often someone would stand on a platform to almost come at the audience from a new dimension and there was always purpose behind actions as simple as walking around during a song, often coming within a few inches of the front row when a song reached its crescendo. 

The setlist was a nice blend of old and new, with songs like “Sheila” and “Pills” off their debut alongside “Raw” and “Headwind” off their most recent album, 2019’s “You Deserve Love”. “The Stack” was a particular crowd favorite, virtually everyone was jumping and singing along to it. And they wisely kept “Judy French”, one of their biggest crowd-pleasers, until the encore, answering the audience’s cries to hear it played with the familiar opening notes that had everyone cheering.

White Reaper are from Louisville, but they injected some local flair by dedicating “Might be Right” to two of their North Carolinian friends who are engaged to be married and were also in the audience, and their cover of “Aneurysm” was an homage to Nirvana’s 1991 concert at the Cradle. They also asked if anyone in the crowd were students and said to “stay in school otherwise you’ll end up like us”, which was ironic in the face of the absolute blast they seemed to be having onstage.

Opening act Glove set the tone for things to come and while I hadn’t heard its music beforehand I had a great time with its set. It’s a synth heavy band with a strong 80s influence and a lot of fun grooves and piano riffs. Its versatility of lineup was interesting to watch; the drummer switched from a larger drum set to synths to a smaller drum set to being the lead singer and about halfway through they keyboard player started playing sitting down, at eye level with the front row. White Reaper was the star of the show but Glove definitely earned its applause.

And Esposito was right: it really felt like 2019 again. While I along with a few others stayed in the back to keep distance between each other, the mosh pit was alive and well and pretty much the whole front half of the crowd was involved. While this concert had been rescheduled multiple times, everything about the actual event felt like a return to some version of normal, and even from the back, it was a pretty great version.