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lostboycrow

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Conversations with Lostboycrow: Feels Like Home Tour

Concert Reviews, Conversations with Lostboycrow, Indie Artists, Interviews, Photos, Tours, Uncategorized

February 1, 2017

This is the first part of a series of conversations with Lostboycrow. I first spoke to him in 2015 (read here). This series is dedicated to following his path since then and into the future.

Words and photos by Jenna Million.

A cold night in early December, a small line forms outside of a dimly lit hole-in-the-wall venue in the heart of San Francisco. Inside is a surprisingly drafty bar with a small stage, home to many up-and-coming touring artists. The Feels Like Home tour featuring Lostboycrow and flor claimed that stage on December 6.

A shy but welcoming crowd watched at a safe distance when flor, Los Angeles-based alternative band and friends of Lostboycrow, took the stage for the first half of the co-headlining show. Flor serenaded the audience with soft energetic melodies and sugary synthesizer, brought to life by guitar solos and underlaid with sweet bass and percussion.

In the middle of the set, Lostboycrow joined flor on stage to perform “Still Standing Still,” a collaboration between the two artists that lends itself to the creativity behind both flor and Lostboycrow, becoming something entirely different than each artist’s sound. Lostboycrow says this tour was a long time coming for both artists.

“Lostboycrow was birthed so much around flor – them getting started and us bouncing ideas off of each other,” he says. “We’ve always kind of been side by side, even with the blogs and the hype and now with the next step as well.”

 

lostboycrow with flor

Lostboycrow performing “Still Standing Still” with flor in at Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco.

Based in Los Angeles, Lostboycrow says he’s been able to build a special, welcoming audience at his L.A. shows over the past few years, but has reached new audiences after touring for the first time with VÉRITÉ in May 2016.

Closing the night, Lostboycrow gave a heartfelt performance that showcased his talent and versatility as a singer. I was impressed to hear Lostboycrow had every deep, sultry croon and falsetto melody in the pocket. His electronic-heavy songs were well fitted to the live setting with a back up band adding support on guitar, keys and drums. Zach Grace, front man of flor, also joined Lostboycrow on stage for a unique acoustic rendition of Lostboycrow’s “The Lost Boy” and Coldplay’s “Warning Sign.”

Lostboycrow details the special experience of the Feels Like Home Tour:

Touring with your best friends is just exactly that. It was fun, incredibly productive, helpful, and so meaningful for me to be able to bring Zach up on stage every night, and for me to be able to walk up on that stage with them every night and sing and look back at my best friend in the world, [Kyle Hill] playing drums. We grew up in the suburbs of Portland, [Oregon] together and were in awful metal bands together. It was pretty surreal. To play to a packed out crowd in Portland and see people from way back in the day, it meant a lot… I feel very lucky to have done that and I hope it makes sense to do it again some day.

Lostboycrow says playing his music live has been as much of a journey as recording in the studio. He says, “It’s really cool to be surrounded by such incredible musicians… and take these songs that I love and pour myself into and be like ‘Okay how can we reimagine these and make these something to really behold live?’”

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AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 28:  Gary Clark Jr. closes out a successful 2016 Hilton Concert Series with a private show for Hilton HHonors members and fans on October 28, 2016 in Austin, Texas. The concert, which took place at the Hilton Austin, is the final of seven shows being held at hotels within the Hilton portfolio this year. To find more ways you can rock out with Hilton this year, visit HHonors.com.  (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Hilton)

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Gary Clark Jr., an Austin Icon

Concert Reviews, Rock Artists, Uncategorized

November 2, 2016

Words by Jenna Million. Photos curtesy of Getty Images for Hilton.

Tucked away in a private room at Hilton Austin, an invite-only crowd yelled, whistled and whooped in awe at a guitar solo lasting what felt like half a dozen minutes, and very likely was. The blues-inspired solo was wrought with such passion and precision that it could only be performed by an artist with years of mastery and a profound understanding for music. The artist – Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr. performed at Hilton Austin on October 28, closing out the 2016 Hilton Concert Series, a show any music lover would jump at the chance to attend. Open to Hilton HHonors members, the mostly-adult crowd witnessed a legend in the making.

Ask anyone and they will say the same thing about Clark – that he’s good. Really good. But expecting really good and seeing it for yourself are two different things. Clark isn’t just really good. He becomes the music he is playing, overwhelmed by the rhythm and communicating only with the blues. The guitarist is a thoughtful performer. The music embodies him, speaking through Clark as if he is merely a tool in producing such effortless, powerful melodies.

Living in Austin, you quickly learn the list of Austin’s icons. It’s a short list, but a list that any true Austinite will boastfully brag about, as if they personally know every person on the list. (Willie Nelson, Matthew McConaughey, and Bevo are the legends.) Clark is arguably on his way up that list.

In 2015, Clark played a homecoming evening slot at Austin City Limits Fest, to tens of thousands of people, while simultaneously fortifying his golden spot on the list. Just a year earlier, Clark became a name among the Grammy’s, with a nomination for Best Rock Song and a win for Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Please Come Home.”

The Hilton Concert Series is a worldwide exclusive event for HHonors members to enjoy some of the best, current talent in music. Other performances include Tegan and Sara at Hilton Toronto, Halsey at Tokyo Hilton Odaiba, and Jason Derulo at Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

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Two Door Cinema Club

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ACL Fest Late Night: Two Door Cinema Club

Concert Reviews, Festivals, Indie Artists, Photos, Rock Artists, Uncategorized

October 14, 2016

Photos and words by Jenna Million.

Ahead of their ACL weekend two performance, Two Door Cinema Club played a late night show at Stubb’s on October 7 with support from Jack Garratt. See all photos from the show here.

Two Door Cinema Club

It’s been a long time coming for Two Door, and a long time for many fans. In 2014, the band was set to headline a UK festival but was forced to stop due to physical and mental health issues, as the band told DIY Mag. Now back on the scene with a few tours and festivals completed, Two Door Cinema Club are releasing Gameshow on October 14, their first album since Beacon in 2012.

A Friday night gig on the weekend of ACL is the place to be – even members of Catfish and the Bottlemen and Cage the Elephant, fellow festival artists, were in attendance. Two Door teased the crowd, playing “Sandstorm” and testing strobes before taking the stage. Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday and Kevin Baird, accompanied by two more live members, sound as if they haven’t spent a day off of tour. Racing guitar melodies and syncopated synth and percussion are so precise, it’s captivating how effortless it sounds and looks.

Having seen this band on four occasions in previous years, I felt that all of the talent was there but a spark was missing. The crowd was undoubtedly elated to have them back, but there was a lack in sincerity from the band wanting to be back. Even the new material felt tired. Playing new and unreleased music is hard for a band of any size, but the audience wasn’t connected. New singles from the album were greeted with less enthusiasm than any song from Tourist History or Beacon. The dissonance between the band and fans is only a side effect of time spent away, and the release of the album will resolve it.

Gameshow is representative of the new era for the band. They will continue to build where they left off, hopefully with a fresh breath of air, to earn their well-deserved spot in the history of indie rock. Die-hard fans will ultimately follow Two Door anywhere.

Two Door Cinema Club Two Door Cinema Club Two Door Cinema Club Two Door Cinema Club Two Door Cinema Club

Jack Garratt

The solo artist is quickly turning heads after the release of his debut album early this year. Many of Garratt’s songs build on gentle vocals and simplistic piano or electronic melodies, adding guitar and percussion, to create power soul-pop. | Listen | Follow |

Jack Garratt Jack Garratt Jack Garratt

 

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Fitz and the Tantrums

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Fitz and the Tantrums Light Up Austin

Concert Reviews, Photos, Pop Artists

August 2, 2016

Photos by Jenna Million. Words by guest writer Tiffannie Shively.

Fitz and the Tantrums returned to Austin for a sold-out show July 24 at Stubb’s. Opening with “Get Right Back,” pop band Fitz and the Tantrums gave Austin a night full of energy and power, despite the Texas summer heat.

The band started with hits from their debut and sophomore albums. With each song, the audience came alive, cheering, waving and dancing. Early 2010 and 2013 classics “Break the Walls” and “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” were greeted with excitement and enthusiasm from eager attendees.

Michael Fitzpatrick, lead vocals, worked the crowd like a seasoned veteran. Not a single person in the audience was not moving to the beat of the drums. When songs from their most recent self-titled album, released June 10, were performed the crowd went wild. “Roll Up” lit a fire throughout the audience, with everyone jumping and screaming along.

All attendees, from the die-hard fans to the casual radio listeners, were enthralled. With the show’s heightened energy, saxophonist James King delivered an extended solo before the encore that was greeted with only more cheers from the crowd.

Fitz and the Tantrums closed the encore with “HandClap,” “6AM” and “The Walker,” leaving fans ready for the next time this explosive band graces Austin.

All photos can be seen here.

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BORNS

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BØRNS Woos Austin

Concert Reviews, Photos, Pop Artists, Uncategorized

June 9, 2016

BØRNS performing at Stubb’s on June 7. All photos by Jenna Million.

On one of the first warm nights of summer last Tuesday, people filed in one after another at Stubb’s outdoor amphitheater to be serenaded and hopefully catch a glimpse of BØRNS, an up-and-coming artist who’s honey vocals and cotton candy music land him on the edge of pop. The sold-out show was moved to Stubb’s after selling out Scoot Inn, a big accomplishment for any artist who played Stubb’s 450-capacity indoor room less than a year ago as one of Austin City Limits Festival’s after shows.

The cool-headed 24-year-old graced the stage with ease that comes from months spent on the road performing nightly. BØRNS floated back and forth across the stage through out the set, eliciting cheers and screams from the many teen boys and girls in the front of the crowd. The idealistic pop music and mostly falsetto vocals create a dream-like sound-scape. Oversaturated lights bathed the singer in blues, greens and reds. The added visual stimulation transformed the musical experience into an stellar wonderland, where BØRNS is an ethereal pop sensation.

As BØRNS made his way through Dopamine, his 2015 debut album, many audience members sang every word in a passionate cry, challenging the volume of the singer himself. As he belted out a David Bowie cover of “Heroes” to end the night, it was obvious he wooed Austin.

See all photos from the show here.

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Cage the Elephant

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Edgefest 26 brings alternative rock to Texas

Concert Reviews, Festivals, Indie Artists, Photos, Rock Artists, Uncategorized

May 8, 2016

Cage the Elephant performing at Edgefest. Photos by Jenna Million.

Each spring Dallas radio KDGE 102.1 brings the best in alternative rock to Edgefest. The single-day festival in Frisco, Texas, always promises an eye-catching lineup. Last year was stacked with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, The Kooks, Banks, Hozier, Death Cab for Cutie – need I go on? This year the festival blew it out of the water with Foals, Chvrches, Silversun Pickups, Bastille, The 1975, Cage the Elephant and many others. The irresistible lineup landed me at the festival for a second year. Here are my highlights.

All photos from the Edgefest can be viewed here.

Bastille

Following time off from touring to record their second studio album, Bastille made a triumphant return to a cheering crowd. Starting with “Flaws,” frontman Dan Smith immediately looked for the quickest way off stage and made his way into the crowd, visiting the front, left, middle and right before returning to the stage just before the end of the song. It is obvious the band has missed playing shows as much as the fans have.

The 1975

The front row was lined with teen girls anxiously awaiting The 1975’s first appearance in Texas since November 2014. The band is touring the U.S. in support of their second studio album “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” released in October 2015. Accompanying the new and old songs was a vibrant, mesmerizing light setup that created an entirely new way of experiencing their music. I will let the photos speak for themselves.

Cage the Elephant

Immediately following The 1975 with a quick change over, Cage the Elephant closed the night with a rocking blow. Singer Matt Shultz transforms on stage – the music visually courses through him as he runs, jumps, dances across the stage. The rest of the band executes heavy rhythms, speedy percussion, and tight riffs with precision and ease that comes with years of musicianship and work. It culminates into a performance that is unparalleled by any rock band today.

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Foals

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Foals creates a roaring thunder in Austin

Concert Reviews, Photos, Rock Artists, Uncategorized

May 5, 2016

Photos by Jenna Million.

In the middle of their US tour, Foals stopped in Austin, Texas, for a sold-out show on April 29. In many aspects, Foals’ live set is emotionally reminiscent of their latest album “What Went Down.”

All photos from the show can be viewed here.

The British rock group released the fourth studio album on Aug. 28, 2015. The album shows clear divide in the massive rock songs with heavy, building bass and guitar (“What When Down,” “Mountain at My Gates”) and the carefully crafted, poetic songs that let gentle guitar hooks breathe (“Give It All,” “London Thunder.”)

Friday night, Foals opened with “Snake Oil,” then “Olympic Airways” and “My Number.” With each song, the expanding instrumentals demanded the audiences’ attention. Interspersed throughout the set, “Give It All,” “Spanish Sahara,” “Late Night” and “A Knife in the Ocean” pulled back with a controlled energy that radiated through the room.

The calm buzz quickly turned to a roaring thunder during the finale of “Inhaler,” “What Went Down” and “Two Steps, Twice.” Yannis Philippakis, singer and guitarist, was overcome by the music, crowdsurfing, jumping from double-stacked speakers, and dropping to the floor – all without missing a note. Philippakis even left the stage a second time, not to crowd surf but deliberately headed to the bar for a beer before finishing the set.

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The Maine

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Another Night on Mars with The Maine

Concert Reviews, Indie Artists, Photos, Pop Punk Artists

March 14, 2016

The Maine playing in San Antonio, Texas, on March 6. Photos by Jenna Million.

The Maine was one of my first concerts in my teen years in 2011. It was the first time I saw one of my favorite bands. It was the first time I waited outside a venue with my mom to meet the band, and the first time I got a t-shirt autographed. (It’s probably still sitting in the back of my closet.) A year later they were the first show I photographed. They were the band that introduced me to new friends, who became my concert friends for years to come.

Over the years I grew up,  listened to new music and had new friends. I leaned away from the pop-punk and teen angst, but I never stopped listening to The Maine. After attending two of their shows in the past six months, it is apparent that many of their fans had the same experience as I did. We grew up with this band. We found solace in this band. And now when we see this band, it’s like coming home.

I think this feeling resonates to deeply with fans because it’s one that The Maine repeats over and over.  John O’Callaghan sang it in “We’ll All Be…” – “All we needed was some good friends / And a song to sing along / …And for the first time, I feel less along / And for the first time, I can call this home.” And he said it again in “Another Night on Mars.”

After all, “What’s another night on Mars? / With friends like ours / Anywhere is home.”

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royalblood-9

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Royal Blood’s live performance drips with talent and power

Concert Reviews, Photos, Rock Artists, Uncategorized

October 13, 2015

It’s one thing to hear someone say, “Oh my god. That band was amazing live!” and another thing entirely to experience it for yourself. This is what I had been hearing about Royal Blood for some time now. I was looking forward to seeing them play at ACL, but as the schedule gods would have it, I couldn’t make it to their set on Friday of either weekend at ACL. I was fortunate, however, to be able to photograph them at their Official ACL Late Night show on Oct. 3, and let me say, “Oh my god. That band is amazing live!”

See all photos from the show here.

Royal Blood are one of the few bands I’ve ever seen perform at such a high level. In the first half of the set it was very obvious both singer and bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher are talented musicians. They were executing heavy bass riffs and drums fills with perfection. In fact, it sounded more perfect than the album with the added surround-sound effect of the bass drum thumping in your chest and the electric riffs making the hairs on your arm stand straight. The sound produced by the two musicians was overwhelming, overtaking every corner in Emo’s, threatening to knock the walls down. It’s a wonder at festivals that their sound doesn’t magnetize every passing patron, drawing them into the electric energy.

Royal BloodI told myself I was going to leave the show early since their set started at 12:20am, but every song on the set list was better than the previous, convincing me to hear the last second. I felt like I was watching a set of Royal Blood’s greatest hits.Their 2014 debut, self-titled album is incredibly well written, so much so that any song on the album could very easily be a radio single or even a hit song. “Out of the Black,” “Little Monster,” “Come on Over” and “Figure It Out” all made it to radio release.

The second half of the set was elevated by Kerr and Thatcher’s performance and audience interaction. Thatcher, who remained mute throughout the set, methodically chewing gum and smashing drums, stopped drumming for a song to crowd surf, a ritual at every show, while Kerr continued to shred heavy bass lines. Kerr took his time sizing up the audience and yelling at different sections, awaiting praise as if the audience had to prove they wanted Kerr to give the performance of his life. Although Kerr remained impassive to the crowd’s cheers, he said “I’m going to try something I haven’t done before,” and continued to race his fingers across silver-plated bronze strings.

What exactly he was referring to is uncertain, but I am sure he poured his soul into his playing from that point on. I was left speechless, soaking up every second of every note flying off Kerr’s guitar, the sound reaching dangerously loud levels. It was very clear Kerr was not just playing the music anymore, he was pushing limits on his abilities and on the music, driving it to new heights. It takes a lot to be a good performer, but it takes more to challenge yourself to take those leaps on stage. Royal Blood is training to headline festivals, and every show is practice for the next stage.

See all photos from the show here.

Royal Blood

 

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Catfish and the Bottlemen

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Catfish and the Bottlemen brings explosive sound to America

Concert Reviews, Photos, Rock Artists, Uncategorized

September 26, 2015

It’s not often that you come across bands with only a debut album that can construct a such a full and commanding live sound. Ask Catfish and the Bottlemen and they’ll tell you they’ve been playing shows all over the United Kingdom since their early teenage years, even living out of a van. Now 23-years-old, frontman Van McCann is taking the bands to new heights. Filling 5,000 capacity venues and playing to 10,000s of patrons at festivals in the U.K., Catfish and the Bottlemen have come to make their mark in America. The band played at Emo’s in Austin, Texas on Sept. 22. See more photos from the show here.

Catfish and the BottlemenCatfish and the Bottlemen exists to perform. Their songs are built for the live setting. Heavy guitar licks and massive drums resonate through the room. McCann yells lyrics like it’s his life, blood and sweat. And it is.

What the band lacks in time, they make up for in quality. The 11 song set spanned just over an hour. A notable sidetrack from the album, McCann took a solo at the end of “Homesick” – stripped back, McCann growled the first chorus of “Homesick” with only accompaniment from his guitar. Trading up for an acoustic guitar, McCann also sang “Hourglass” solo, surrendering to a beautiful crowd sing-a-long.

The full band wrapped up the set with their radio single “Cocoon,” closing with “Tyrants.” The latter serves as the perfect finale with a built-in instrumental break to close. Cymbals, guitar riffs, chorus vocals build up to the last note, leaving fans wanting more when it’s over.

All band members are invested in playing the music, but McCann is overcome with it. It’s as if the music washes over him and turns him into another being, utterly consumed by the notes flying off of his guitar. There’s no doubt he knows how to perform, but his stage presence doesn’t overwhelm the way his playing does. Throughout the set he thanks the crowd repeatedly Catfish and the Bottlemenfor coming to the show in Austin. He is a man who knows the music. That’s what he does, and will continue to do for fans as long as they listen.

Catfish and the Bottlemen aren’t innovating like The Beatles or Bob Dylan, but they’re doing what they do really well: rock ‘n’ roll, big guitars and frank lyrics. It’s been awhile since a band has kept it simple while going out in a big way, and McCann recognizes that. They may not be the next radio-hit wonder-band but their cult following with continue to grow and sell out bigger venues, pushing them into the big leagues. At this rate, they could be headlining festivals in a few years.

 

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