Concert Review: The 1975 at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater

The 1975 brought all their heavy hitters and fan favorites to their set at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater on Tuesday, April 25.

The massive, dedicated community of The 1975 fans gathered in excitement, screams piercing from the band’s first sign of movement to the final bow.

The night began with “Love Me,” the first single from “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it.” With the first distinctive guitar riff, the audience’s enthusiasm was palpable. Matty’s dancing was the sporadic movement of lanky limbs.

“UGH!” and “Heart Out,” the latter from their eponymous debut album, continued the high energy start, but the band soon slowed down for the more personal tracks, “A Change of Heart” and “Robbers.”

Aside from fan favorites, the band pulled out deep cuts (songs) throughout the night, like “Menswear,” “M.O.N.E.Y.,” “Me” and “fallingforyou.” The fans’ excitement did not waver, and their dedication to The 1975 was made even clearer with their knowledge of these more obscure songs.

Healy talked to the crowd in between songs, praising the audience’s liberalism and compassion, before dedicating the “I like it when…” single, “Loving Someone,” to the LGBT community. He also made sure the fans knew that a percentage of the revenue made from the band’s merchandise was going to be donated to charities supporting the LGBT community.

Despite Healy’s showmanship, the excellent music and the crowd’s energy, the show stealer was the lighting design. Each song had its own lighting scheme: rainbow during “Loving Someone,” a cityscape during “UGH!” and “I like it when…,” and pink during “She’s American.”

“Somebody Else” proved to be a favorite performance among the audience, as Healy led their shouts of “F—k that, get money!” during the song’s bridge. Even Healy himself noted that the crowd reached peak energy during that song.

The set rounded out with the bona fide anthems “Girls” and “Sex,” two of the most famous tracks from The 1975’s debut album. The band members walked offstage, but were quickly ushered back for an encore by the passionate crowd, who was not ready to let the night end.

The encore brought about the best, and last, performance of the night, “The Sound.” The shouts of, “I know when you’re around ‘cause I know the sound, I know the sound of your heart,” almost drowned out Healy’s own singing.

The 1975 ended the night with their most vigorous performance, and the fans were left more than satisfied after hearing every song a 1975 fan would have wanted to hear.

Featured Image by Julianna Ress.

SDSU choir and symphony orchestra concert

San Diego State University choirs and symphony orchestra took the stage at the College Avenue Baptist Church on Saturday, April 22, to perform Brahms’s “Symphony No. 3” and Dvořák’s “Mass in D.”

Conducted by SDSU music professor Michael Gerdes, the concert consisted of the SDSU Chamber Choir, Aztec Concert Choir and University Chorus, along with the SDSU Symphony Orchestra.

Gerdes introduced the show, emphasizing his genuine gratitude for the audience being there.

“If it wasn’t for you, this would just be another rehearsal,” he said.

The the first half of the two-hour concert featured the symphony orchestra performing without the choirs, playing Johannes Brahms’s “Symphony No. 3,” which was originally written in 1883. The piece is divided into four movements, “Allegro con brio,” “Andante,” “Poco allegretto” and “Allegro – un poco sostenuto.” The performance was largely driven by the sharp melodies of the string section, especially the violins.

The most famous movement of the piece, the third movement, opened with the low, rich sound of the cello and moved into a solo horn before entering the fourth movement. The climax of the entire piece was reached during this finale, peaking with the mightiness of the cellos and horns. The theme of the first movement was brought back before the piece ended in the most complete and satisfying way possible.

An intermission followed before the choirs joined the symphony orchestra onstage for Antonin Dvořák’s “Mass in D,” originally written in 1887. The religious Latin song is divided into six sections, “Kyrie,” “Gloria,” “Credo,” “Sanctus,” “Benedictus” and “Agnus Dei.” The audience was given English translations of the lyrics, but the power and emotion from the choir was enough to transcend the language barrier.

The choir was fronted by four student soloists: Carly Cummings (soprano), Mary Saffell (mezzo-soprano), Shahen Ohanian (tenor) and Zlatoslav Sokolov (baritone). Each singer brought a unique voice to the mix, but they complemented each other stunningly. The intricate and pleasing sound of the Latin language provided an additional layer of beauty to the piece, making the prayer even more compelling.

Overall, the choirs and the symphony orchestra clearly showed that they were well prepared for the concert, yet they did not lose any of the passion the pieces called for. They did not view the music as pure academia, but as art to be shared with the audience through their dedication and coordination.

 

Living with Hope: experimental theater

The San Diego State theater department recently teamed up with Playwrights Project to stage “Living with Hope” in SDSU’s experimental theater from March 16-19. The performance consisted of two short plays: Mabelle Reynoso’s “Other People’s Kids” followed by Out of the Yard Playwrights’ “Finding Our Way.” Both plays centered on the cycle and struggles of addiction.

The first play was prefaced by a series of abstract and disturbing images, such as a detailed drawing of the Grim Reaper, projected onto the stage’s backdrop. The images were adorned with provoking phrases like, “Just another hit… euphoria setting in… lifeless here I die,” and “I did things no girl should dare.”

Photo by Julianna Ress.

“Other People’s Kids” featured interconnected stories related to meth use. Destiny Girley and Nick Sandoval played Gaby and Jesse, a young couple expecting a child. Gaby is an ex-meth user while Jesse is still using and selling, which leads to abusive behavior toward Gaby. Gaby attempts to get her life together for their child, and ultimately their breakup. Jake and Gaby’s story realistically displayed the pitfalls and manipulation that come from meth use and abusive relationships.

Alex DeMarco played Patty, mother to Brown University-bound teen daughter Mackenzie, played by Paige Jensen. Mackenzie, while an exceptional student, is a social outcast due to her fierce academic dedication. She turns to drugs looking for a feeling of normalcy. Obtaining meth through Jesse, she sacrifices her health and college plans because of the drugs, much to Patty’s dismay. Mackenzie’s story ends somewhat unresolved, as it remains unknown if she recovers from her addiction. However, amidst Patty’s disgust at what her daughter has become, she realizes that Mackenzie is still human and is suffering from a disease. The ambiguity of Mackenzie’s character arc reflects the uncertainties faced by addicts’ families – will she recover? Will she die? Will she spend her entire life on the streets? Mackenzie and Patty’s relationship was a heartbreaking and accurate display of the struggle to keep hope alive when parenting an addict.

“Finding Our Way” began immediately after the final scene of “Other People’s Kids” and was a much more abstract look at addiction. The play featured several reenactments of the characters’ first time using various drugs due to peer pressure, low self-esteem and curiosity. The most powerful scene was when a mother came home with a man, both clearly intoxicated, and proceeded to fight right in front of her daughter while three other characters attempted to shield the daughters’ eyes.

“Finding Our Way” stressed that there are better ways to treat addicts than incarceration, such as rehabilitation centers, therapy and meditation. The play stood firmly against jail time for drug-users, since those laws affect the families of addicts arguably more so than the addicts themselves.

The play additionally featured “addiction” personified, who goaded the other characters into doing drugs to attempt to catch the feelings they constantly chase. The characters would fall at the touch of the “addiction” character, depicting the immense power addiction has over their lives.

The performance as a whole portrayed addiction in two wildly different ways. “Other People’s Kids” presented the many lifestyles of drug addicts, emphasizing that drugs can find anyone. “Finding Our Way” offered a look into the addicts’ minds, and the options available and steps necessary to reach recovery. “Living with Hope” treated addiction effectively and realistically, and avoided going over the audience’s heads by being preachy or cheesy, as is often true of performances about drug addiction. The show was especially powerful and relevant to students, but the stories, as “Living with Hope” stressed, could relate to anyone.

Featured Image by Julianna Ress.