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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

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Concert Review

Concert Review: Turnover & Men I Trust (11/14)

Yesterday I made a quick trip down to Cat’s Cradle to catch the Turnover and Men I Trust show. Despite the cold and the rain, there was a huge turnout! 

The opener was an artist named Renata Zeigeur. Having heard nothing by her prior, her set proved to be the unexpected highlight of my night. As her record label writes, her music was “both wonderfully dreamy and strange”. One song especially stood out to me, a new single called “Whack-A-Mole”. As a daytime DJ for the station, it would’ve fit right into one of my sets. Overall her set was a phenomenal, and I plan on introducing her music into the WKNC daytime rotation.

Next up was Men I Trust. I was super excited to see them live for the very first time. I actually found out about them while listening to WKNC…Tailwhip came on the radio in my car, and ever since then I’ve been a fan. With the recent release of their 2019 album, Oncle Jazz, I knew we’d be in for a treat getting to hear lots of new music. My favorite song they performed was “All Night” off of Oncle Jazz. They were amazing live, and I hope I can see them again some time soon. 

Finally, the main act. I had seen Turnover at Cat’s Cradle a few years ago, but that didn’t make me any less excited to see them again. They opened the show with “Still in Motion” from their new album Altogether. Although people sing along with every song, at every show, (this one included), the crowd goes insane when they play songs from their older albums. I survived the mosh pit for “New Scream” another year. I was happy because they also played “Pure Devotion”, one of my favorite songs off their 2017 album, Good Nature. I always think it’s funny how the crowd can go from moshing to one song to standing completely still for the next one, and the whole time the members of the band stay completely chill and act as if nothing changed. 

This concert had quite the lineup, and I’m glad I was able to go! Every act was great, and if you haven’t heard any of their music you should definitely check all the artists out. If you’re too lazy to look them up yourself, don’t worry, because I’ll be playing them all on WKNC daytime hours. 

-miss monet

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Concert Review

Concert Review // Omni

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This past Sunday I got to go to see the band Omni at Kings and it was a pretty amazing show. I (thought) I first heard the band a couple of weeks ago while I was at work. I’m the daytime music director here at WKNC so I get albums to listen to pretty frequently, but I definitely remember first getting their new album and listening to it. I immediately figured it would end up on air from the first listen because I really enjoyed it (and from what I saw online under their music video a lot of people feel that way too). The band is from Atlanta Georgia and they seem like really cool guys. After the show I spoke to the lead singer, just to tell him that I really liked his album, and he was super nice and chill about it all. Looking online they are categorized as ‘Alternative Indie’ and ‘Rock’. That’s pretty accurate, but there’s also a pretty classic and kind of old school style about them that really made them stand out to me. My favorite tracks off of the new record are ‘Sincerely Yours’ and ‘Skeleton Key’. 

To get back to an earlier point, I thought this was my first time hearing the band but when listening to my Ultimate Indie playlist I realized I had their song ‘Wire’ in there. That track is amazing and I definitely recommend listening to it if you haven’t heard it yet. The show was also amazing and made me like the band and new album even more. The opening acts were Blacker Server and Moonland and they really helped set up the scene, it was quite the show the entire time and I’m really glad I was able to go.

– DJ Psyched

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Concert Review

Knocked Loose, Stick To Your Guns, Rotting Out, Candy, and SeeYouSpaceCowboy @Cat’s Cradle

Last Saturday (10/26) I had the privilege of seeing the litany of bands listed in the title. Obviously, it was a stacked lineup. Knocked Loose has been making waves for quite a bit now, and their recent album, A Different Shade of Blue, shows exactly why. It was my first time seeing them, and they made an excellent first impression. Stick To Your Guns was also great, although I had never really listened to them before. They brought a super positive energy that only a few bands can manage to do. It was also my first time seeing Rotting Out, West Coast legend with a fully latinx lineup. Their vocalist, Wally, is also a powerlifting monster so his stage presence was top notch. They were one of the bands that initially got me into hardcore, so finally being able to see them live was a real treat. Speaking of treats, how about Candy. They’ve also been gaining major traction, and as of their last single “Super-Stare” are signed to Relapse Records. They have origins in Richmond so you already know they’re going to be great. This was my fifth time or so seeing them, but this was one of the largest crowds I’ve seen them play to and the energy was through the roof. SeeYouSpaceCowboy opened, and anyone who showed up late definitely missed out on perhaps the heaviest set of the night. Their unique vocal style and penchant for a more mathy metalcore led to a unique and intense set. Along with this, their guitarist is local to N.C. All in all, the show was amazing and although way more crowded than the typical area hardcore show, it still had the same tight-knit energy that any legitimate show within the scene should have. As for other local shows, one huge one coming up is at Break Time in Winston-Salem on November 12th. The bill includes Sanction, Queensway (who just put out an absolutely insane EP-keep your eyes peeled for a review), Vatican, Fuming Mouth, Riot Stares, and The Burning Wind. Thanks for reading.

-Dylan McGee 

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Concert Review

Flo Rida, TLC, Nelly Concert Review

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Does anyone else ever go to a concert where you know the artist but you don’t really KNOW the artist? Well, that’s what me and some friends did when we went to this show. We all joked about how we know these artists, but we definitely couldn’t just name off all their songs from the top of our heads. But once the show started we had a lot of those ‘oooh that’s their song?’ moments. 

When we went into it my friends and I were so excited to hear TLC play no scrubs, because you know that songs a whole classic bop. We knew we would enjoy the other artists too, but we were pleasantly surprised by just how much music we knew from the show. That’s when things became a very nostalgic and good time. It was as if everyone was going on a trip through time together.

I will say, aside from nostalgia, the show had plenty of highlights of its own too. Nelly and FloRida put on some very energetic shows and with those pop 2000 classics like ‘Hot in Here’ and ‘Low’ the crowd was dancing and singing their hearts out like crazy (my friends and I included). My absolute favorite moment of the show was the moment my friends and I we were waiting for… 

TLC had the best intro to no scrubs I could’ve ever hoped for. Rozonda Thomas and Tionne Watkins knew the crowd was anticipating their hit song so they started off subtly by telling a story ‘You’re going to be out one day minding your own business…’ which was based on the theme of the song and they kept the story going on for about 3 minutes. They really knew that they were doing because the tension and excitement just kept growing and building on itself. When they actually got to performing the hit it was like a mixture of that great feeling you get when you finally get to eat after waiting a long time and when someone says something to you that makes you just want to shout YES. It made an already amazing show just that much better.

Overall I would have to say this was a great introduction into a different genre of music, in a concert setting, for myself. Before this just about every show I’ve been to has been more Rock and Indie styled. But I really appreciated the change of pace and the nostalgia that came with it. After this, I’ve definitely been listening to ‘Hot in Here’ and ‘No Scrubs’ a lot more than before and i’m glad WKNC gave me the chance to experience this show.

– DJ Psyched

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Concert Review

Afropunk Festival: my experience

*Like most experiences, mine is extremely unique. This review will be an honest take from my own experience”

I went to Afropunk Brooklyn on August 24th and 25th, 2019. For those who don’t know, the festival, according to Wikipedia, “was created as a safe space for black alternative-minded punks to freely express themselves and build a community with one another.” The definition of the word “punk” is disputed across many circles, I like the phrase “alternatively minded” a little better. This year’s fest was held in Commodore Barry Park.

 I wanted to go to Afropunk because of three reasons of equal weight: fashion, music and because it offered a space for black people that were like me. I had been seeing Afropunk outfit pictures amongst other festival fashion inspiration pages for several years and have always wanted to go to just for the festival fashion aspect. I thought about my outfit for months during the planning stages of the trip to Brooklyn. I never definitively decided on anything until it was too late of course. It was my first time in any state north of Virginia so I was really taking it all in. 

On day one, I was extremely tired after walking around Brooklyn all day before the festival. I also didn’t know what to expect so I was really going through a lot of emotions. I saw Leikeli47, Tierra Whack (who brought out Alicia Keys), Leon Bridges and Jill Scott. Like a typical music festival, the artists performed on different stages around the park and we all scrambled to see our favorite artists on time. Leikeli47 had the whole crowd shaking their asses and bobbing their heads to her songs. Tierra Whack had a wonderfully weird stage presence and I was very surprised to see Alicia Keys come out there with her. Leon Bridges sung his heart out for 2 hours while I waited in line for a vegan BBQ sandwich; he really gave us all a show. The last performer of the night was Jill Scott and she was fabulous. Her onstage presence was magical, her vocals were amazing and she played a lot of the songs I grew up listening to. The fashion from day one was amazing! I saw some really well curated, creative and bold looks from all kinds of people. The energy in the air was chaotic, but I felt safe like I was right where I was supposed to be. 

On day two I came in tired again after another long day. We arrived late to Toro y Moi, but heard his last two songs through the gates. On this day I brought a camcorder I checked out from the library and it was the best decision I’d ever made. I got a chance to bring home a lot of what I saw at the festival with me. This day I saw Scarlxrd, Lianne La Havas, Masego and another act whose name I don’t know. The energy from the crowd and Scarlxrd was so exciting to watch happen in front of me. His fans are dedicated and his stage presence is one I won’t forget. Lianne La Havas’s show was sweet, chill and romantic. Her voice was like pillows. After Lianne, we saw Masego. He was my favorite performance of the night because I knew the most of his songs, he played the sax and because the crowd around me was so engaged while we all danced our asses off together to his music. Also Masego’s rendition of Andre 3000’s “Prototype’’ was very well done. The outfits on this day were fantastic. I saw so many people and they really did a terrific job at coordinating colors, creating stories and expressing themselves with their outfits. 

What I love the most about Afropunk is that it was a space that was created specifically for black people. What happened in Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn was an amazing thing. It allowed all kinds of people to come together to present a culmination of styles, cultures, lifestyles and music tastes. It was a beautiful experience for any black person to have. 

-Makayla 

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Concert Review

SHOW REVIEW: WAXAHATCHEE @ CAT’S CRADLE

A few minutes into her set, after blazing through “Under a Rock” and “Misery over Dispute”, frontwoman Katie Crutchfield noticed the visibly positive crowd reaction and remarked “I guess I should keep coming back”. That Tuesday night was the third time Waxahatchee has visited the Triangle in the past year; one previous show at Cat’s Cradle and one at this year’s Hopscotch Festival. Crutchfield’s songwriting is versatile, ranging from the haunting low-fi ballads of her debut American Weekend to grungy 90’s rock of her first Merge release from earlier this year, Ivy Tripp. In contrast to her solo acoustic set at Hopscotch, this show leaned heavily towards the latter. Neither Crutchfield nor her bandmates touched an acoustic guitar for the duration of the set.

The high point of the show was a rearrangement of the somber American Weekend highlight “Grass Stain” to fit into the sound and attitude of the new record. Many of the lyrics, such as “I don’t care that I’m too young to be unhappy” felt more rebellious than melancholy in this new context. While I would not have complained if more of the gorgeous acoustic songs of Waxahatchee’s early work were performed, Crutchfield showed how capable and confident she at delivering this new sound. Closing the show with a performance of my favorite Cerulean Salt track “Dixie Cups and Jars”, she displayed the powerful lyrics and great guitar riffs that make her such a fantastic songwriter.

The opening acts Weyes Blood and Try the Pie also put on solid performances. Try the Pie’s upbeat and straightforward rock music to get the night rolling was contrasted by the wistful atmospheric sound and winding vocal melodies brought by Weyes Blood. Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood showed up for her set alone, bringing just an acoustic guitar, effects pedals, and an iPhone. The guitar was run through a variety of pedals that are more often paired with an electric setup, and the iPhone was used to supply airy synths and percussion. It was an unusual but hypnotizing performance that provided a great segue into the main act.

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Concert Review

Show Review: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Alex G, Birds of Avalon

Arriving a few minutes before doors, there was a line of people waiting to enter Cat’s Cradle for Sunday night’s rock n’ roll show featuring Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Alex G, and Birds of Avalon. The line featured a diverse group of individuals, some presumably there to see Alex G based on their Teen Suicide shirts (a band who would be considered a peer to Alex G), but this was a sparse population as many were most likely there to see the headliner Unknown Mortal Orchestra. I have to admit, I’d never heard of the Raleigh psych rock band Birds of Avalon before the show. 

Opening, they came out with 2 drummers and a guitarist playing with a 12-string guitar. The band played a continuous set without breaks between songs. They played a brand of psych-rock that sounds reminiscent of the 1970’s, filled with many harmonies and ample opportunities to jam out. Amidst one of their songs, the keyboard player used aluminum foil as an instrument, to my disbelief. 

Up next was Alex G, the reason I was at this show. I was quite interested in seeing the contrast between Alex G (an artist known for his sparse lo-fi, bedroom pop-esque music) and the wall of sound that was Birds of Avalon. 

Alex G came out with a full band and a new haircut. He started by engaging the audience in amusing stage banter, telling us he was going to play “original songs” and such, between each set. He played a collection of songs from his discography, but most came from DSU, his most recent release. The highlight of the set was during a DSU cut “Icehead” where at the climax of the song, he diverged from the recording and yelled into the microphone to a shocked and excited audience.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra took the stage and finished the night with one of the most upbeat sets I have ever seen. 

It was filled with happy dancing from start to finish, a definite change from the punk shows I’m used to where I’m constantly watching out for fists coming my direction. I wasn’t very familiar with their material besides their first album featuring the delightful “Ffunny Ffriends,” which they played to the great joy of the audience. The set featured a jammy drum solo at one point that the audience ate up, as well as a T-Rex puppet during the encore. It was an eclectic evening of bands that all put on one great rock n’ roll show. 

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Concert Review

Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) w/ Warren Franklin @ Area Fifteen (8/3/14)

This past Sunday night I saw one of my favorite bands play Area Fifteen in Charlotte. To my surprise, the band was on an acoustic tour, and that night they played without the normal headliner, The Early November. Charlotte has been budding several emo and punk bands lately, artists like It Looks Sad. and Couches (a band that was also on the bill that night). The city is also called home for the Tiny Engines record label who have released music for many renowned emo and punk bands, including Tigers Jaw, Dikembe, and The Hotelier.

Driftwood Miracle opened up the night. They are a very energetic Durham band whose members look like they haven’t even left their teens. They seemed thrilled to be playing in front of that small crowd of around twenty people. Sinai Vessel followed. They are another North Carolina emoish band whose singer began the set with a crucial cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River”. He sang the song like it was his own, and the result was completely heart-wrenching. However, Warren Franklin became my new favorite artist of the night. He wore an Early November shirt and played a solo acoustic set that was even akin to The Early November’s work. His songs were youthful, catchy, and endearing. Couches was the last band to play before Empire! Empire! Couches’ vocalist has a partiality for wearing Hawaiian shirts, but don’t be surprised when you find a severe lack of “good vibes” in their music. There is a lot of screaming, heavily distorted guitar, and some occasional blast beats. Did I mention angst?

And finally, Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate). When I first listened E!E! (IWALE) I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Their album What It Takes to Move Forward was my introduction to the whole DIY “emo” scene back in 2010, before emo was ever “cool”, or garnered much attention from independent music sites. The band, however, has been at it much longer than I’ve been listening to them. They’ve been putting out music since 2007, when Keith and his wife (the two constant members of Empire! Empire!) started the Count Your Lucky Stars record label. Keith and Cathy write guitar lines that intertwine, sometimes complementing, and sometimes counteracting each other to create a signature sound. I was drawn in by their nearly therapeutic lyrics that possess a strong sense of urgency. Seeing them live felt like things were coming full circle. I was finally getting to see a band that had a major impact on my life. Warren joined the ranks of Empire! Empire! that night, and they played a variety of songs from their discography. I was reminded why I loved the band in the first place, for the songwriting, and for their sheer tenderness. They were seated on fold-up chairs in front of a crowd that was quiet and inoffensive. We sat there on the dusty concrete floor of that art space, and we listened. We listened a display of emotion. We listened to those beautiful melodic guitar lines. We listened to Keith tell stories in the dark. It felt like I was back in a simpler time, the way music makes the peripherals of your life fade away. It felt like we were all children at an away camp, huddled around a fire and listening intently. It was a wonderful way to end the first day back in my hometown. 

Empire! Empire! will release their second album on August 19, their first album since What It Takes to Move Forward, on Count Your Lucky Stars and Topshelf Records. “A Keepsake”, from their new album entitled You Eventually Will Be Forgotten, is currently streaming on NPR.

-DJ Nasty Nate

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Concert Review

Merge 25 – My First Festival

Until a week ago, I’d never had an opportunity to go to a music festival, so you can bet that I was pretty stoked when I found out I was going to Merge 25. 

I figured that it was going to be awesome, but it wasn’t until I discovered the lineup that I truly flipped out. Among many other artists, two of my favorite bands of all time, The Mountain Goats and Telekinesis were playing at the three-day festival spread out across venues in Durham and Carrboro. I attended on Saturday at Cat’s Cradle, and I didn’t know then that I was going to see one of the best performances of my life.

I was a bit busy helping out the Merge staff in the morning, but I did get the opportunity to see The Love Language, the North Carolina natives who certainly rocked it on stage. They played a bunch of fan favorites including “Heart to Tell” and “Calm Down”, but “Lalita” was definitely my favorite. Something that I’ve always admired about The Love Language is the amount of soul that they put into their performances. This was my first time seeing them live, and they certainly did not disappoint. Frontman Stuart McLamb puts his heart into every verse he sings and every chord he plays; it’s the kind of passion that inspires people to achieve their own greatness. The Love Language is an icon of the North Carolina music scene, and their sound makes me proud to be from NC. 

Frontman Stuart McLamb performing Heart to Tell with The Love Language

More of the Love Language

Later in the day, I caught the very end of Caribou’s set, and managed to get a rather decent spot, dead center, but about eight rows back to see what we’d all been waiting for- Neutral Milk Hotel. I assumed that Neutral Milk Hotel live was going to be an amazing experience, since the filming and photography of their performances was prohibited. It must be pretty special, right?

Well, it was pretty special, to say the very least. I’d never seen them live, and I didn’t know what to expect. The crew feverishly raced to assemble Neutral Milk Hotel’s set in a reasonable amount of time after Caribou’s performance. The stage was littered with all sorts of horns, in an almost Beirut-esque ensemble. There was an accordion, and even saws. After the stage was readied in what I’m sure was record time (shout out to the Cat’s Cradle and Merge employees), Jeff Magnum walked out on stage alone, gripping his guitar. By the end of the first song, the whole band was on stage. They dived straight into “Holland, 1945”, a definite fan-favorite, judging by the volume that the crowd shouted the lyrics back at the band. 

The setlist slowed down a bit after that, with favorites such as “Two Headed Boy” and “In An Aeroplane Over The Sea.” People were singing, dancing, and even a few were crying during the unreleased “Little Birds.” I’ve never been to a show where I’ve seen people more connected with each other. The crowd felt like a single being, with everyone intertwined by the shared experience of witnessing such a performance. I couldn’t imagine a better way to end my first festival experience.