With Confidence at the House of Blues

With Confidence

With Confidence bounces back in 2018, giving an intimate, emotional performance at the House of Blues Voodoo Room.

Just three days into their co-headlining tour with Broadside, With Confidence brought the energy to the House of Blues‘ Voodoo Room on Saturday, November 17. Despite the small stage size and numerous technical difficulties, Jayden Seeley, Inigo Del Carmen and Josh Brozzesi delivered a stellar and memorable performance that even moved some fans to tears. To those unfamiliar with the band, it seems like they were one of the lucky ones to find their niche in the pop punk scene early on in their career, but the journey was not always smooth sailing.

Jayden Seeley, lead vocalist and bassist.

In November 2017, the band announced that they had split with their lead guitarist Luke Rockets due to sexual misconduct allegations. Afterward, the remaining trio took a step back from touring before finally returning to the stage at Warped Tour. Now, alongside other talented musicians, With Confidence appear reinvigorated to play the songs they have worked so hard on to their beloved fans.

Walking on stage, the audience’s screams greeted the band as they began to play the lead single from Love and Loathing, “That Something.” Jayden’s bright vocals sang the opening lines and the crowd couldn’t help but sing along. Accompanied by vibrant guitars and a driving bassline, this was the perfect opening track to warm up the crowd for a thrilling yet exhausting night.

Inigo Del Carmen, backing vocalist and guitarist.

“Keeper” followed suit, demonstrating the aggression and angst With Confidence had in their previous releases. This song holds great meaning as it tackles the stigmatization of mental illness and how essential it is to speak up about this issue. With its jabbing guitars, heavy drums, and Jayden’s throaty growl, “Keeper” successfully translates the frustrations of this stigma, further proven by the reactions of the crowd. Fans were so lost in the words and music that they did not have time to prepare for the next songs. The crowd sang along to the opening lyrics of “Sing to Me” and got rowdy during fan favorite “Archers.” At one point, a crowd surfer nearly landed on a photographer but the fall did not crush his spirits. Immediately, he got back on his feet and jumped right into the crowd just in time for the band to start playing “Godzilla.”

Josh Brozzesi, drummer.

First starting off slow and somber, “Godzilla” crescendoed into an anthemic ballad that had fans screaming along to the honest lyrics and lively instrumentation. At that moment, as Jayden and Inigo harmonized while accompanied by Josh’s punchy drumming, they revealed their talent as live musicians unafraid to be vulnerable in their performances. The crowd also recognized this as a few girls even began to cry. The tears continued to flow when Jayden pulled out his acoustic guitar and serenaded the audience to the tunes of “Long Night” and “Paquerette (Without Me).” The intimate moment shared between the vocalist and his fans was something so special, not even a broken mic and sound system could have ruined this memorable sight.

Unfortunately, every concert must come to an end but With Confidence was able to finish strong with “Voldemort” and “Icarus.” As Jayden sang “Despite the weather, it gets better / you won’t do this alone” a mosh pit opened up and a couple crowd surfers flew through the air. There were a few pushes, shoves, and crushed toes but it was well worth it for a band that knows how to put on a show.

Written by: Rica Perez

Sitting on Stacy at Soma

The existence of software programs, music sharing sites and social media has encouraged the growth of independent music production. These opportunities allow for complete creative liberty and control, invigorating a movement of aspiring DJs, producers and musicians. Sitting on Stacy is no exception. They wrote, recorded and produced the music found on their debut album, “Obsessed.” Their DIY music has led them to play at venues like Rocky City Studios and most recently, Soma, alongside Mt. Eddy.

I had the pleasure of attending their show on Sat. March 31 where they put on a stellar, high-energy performance. This Venture County-based band has developed a sound comparable to those of Green Day, Nirvana and even the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Guitarist and vocalist Hoyt Yeatman, bassist Kyle Hart and drummer Jeff Demorest owned the stage and drew the crowd in with their blaring instruments.

The trio’s performance of “Mailman” livened the audience and was a personal favorite. The intensity of the music paired with the crowd’s upbeat attitude electrified Soma’s sidestage venue. The technicolored lights, as well as the tiny mosh pit, made the experience an even better time. Other performances like “Apple Pie” and “Piece of Me” showcased the band’s dynamism and ability to blend genres. “Apple Pie” is reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili pepper’s distinctive rock sound, especially Hoyt’s mellowed vocals. On the other hand, the guitar intro and upbeat rhythm heard throughout “Piece of Me” is comparable to the surf rock/ska music scene. Finally, their closing song “I Can’t F—” is a perfect mixture of both. The rhythmic verses and punching chorus were enthralling to watch.

Local bands like Sitting on Stacy deserve a platform to express their creativity. Through SDSU and organizations, the trio has played at open mic nights, backyard shows, fraternity events, a Nooner and even a KCR gig in Montezuma Hall.

Social media, music sites and open-minded audiences have made it easier to share music created by aspiring musicians. I hope the SDSU community and the rest of southern California will continue to give Sitting on Stacy a chance to bring back an edge to modern music.

Featured image from Sitting on Stacy

HalfNoise at the Echo

Alternative rock project HalfNoise is an ambient effort fronted by current Paramore drummer, Zac Farro. After quitting the band in 2010, Farro took a different musical route than his former bandmates. Instead of the guitar driven melodies and head banging tunes, the HalfNoise sound is mellow, vibrant and synth filled. I had the pleasure of attending their LA show on March 12 at the historic concert venue, The Echo. The show was groovy, high energy and, to be completely honest, unexpected.

Albacore Club opened up the show with their gimmicky, sea-oriented music. Adorned in sailing hats and boat captain attire, the band played a variety of songs pertaining to shrimps and swabbing the poop deck. I am still not sure whether or not it was meant to be ironic. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the music. Afterwards, The Gloomies took the stage with tracks like “Fire Escape” and “If We Were Older.” This San Diego-based group heavily submerges itself into the atmospheric beach-y rock outfit: washed out guitars, tri-chord synth effects and reverb drenched vocals. These acts successfully warmed up the crowd for the band we were all waiting for.

HalfNoise put on an awesome show. They opened up strong with “Sudden Feeling,” a track that takes influence from Tame Impala and the likes. The distinct bass lines coupled with Joe Mullen’s drumming made the performance vibrant and undeniably groovy. Standout performances include “Leaving,” “Scooby’s in the Back” and “French Class” because of the band’s high energy that kept the crowd movin’ and groovin’. Throughout the rest of the night, the group never missed a beat and continued to spread good vibes all around. It was definitely one of the most carefree and happy shows I’ve ever been to.

Not only was the crowd feeling the music, the band was too. It’s amazing to see bands love the sounds and experiences they create live. During the concert, Farro admitted, “sometimes I don’t like to play shows because we do it all the time, but when I see smiles on people’s faces, it reminds me why I love to play music.” And one could really see that. Armed with his trusty tambourine, Farro danced and grooved onstage alongside smiling bandmates and even invited family friends onstage for their encore. The show was genuine and is a reminder that artists are people too. To create unforgettable content, they must also love what they do and follow their own ambitions. Zac Farro and his project HalfNoise exemplifies this authenticity in a compromising music industry.

Check out their new single Flowerss and keep and eye out for their new EP, which will be released on May 4.

Underrated: Roy Blair’s Cat Heaven

Art is a form of self-expression that requires consistency and patience to perfect. LA based singer/songwriter Roy Blair took his time in creating and releasing his debut project, “Cat Heaven.” Set to release in the summer of 2017, Blair admits the final product’s quality was not up to par with his expectations, ultimately postponing its release. The artistic decision to push back the date was met with recognition and praise, as this project feels personal and nearly perfect.

Roy first hit the scene in 2016 alongside alternative rap boyband BROCKHAMPTON and even provided backup vocals for Kevin Abstract’s solo project “American Boyfriend.” That same year he released his first single “Thunder.” Opening up with mellow vocals and guitar strums, the track crescendos into an emotive and vibrant final production. Produced by BROCKHAMPTON’s Joba and Bearface, “Thunder” depicts the struggles of a teen transitioning into adulthood which sets the tone for the rest of the album.

“Cat Heaven,” released in December 2017, takes an indie-pop approach with a tinge of RnB. He bounces back and forth from his angelic vocal abilities to his upbeat rap delivery. Standout tracks like “Alex,” “Grow Up,” “Switchblade” and “Kansas” show off Roy’s honest lyricism and top-notch production quality through creative vocal effects and samples.

Roy proves he has artistic potential but there is always room for improvement. From the lyrics to the sampled beats, songs such as “Jane,” “Grand Theft Auto” and “California” feel awkwardly delivered. They lack the catchiness and ear-wormy sounds heard in “Thunder” and “Kansas.” They are decent songs but not my cup of tea – a cup I cannot even finish.

New to the scene, Roy Blair has the bold creativity and talent to make it in the industry. With his strong ties to BROCKHAMPTON and other producers, Blair is an underrated artist who deserves more recognition for his work. “Cat Heaven” is a stunning effort from 2017 and I regret not listening to him sooner. His lo-fi style with RnB influences bears a similar sound to those of Rex Orange County and Yeek, yet maintains its originality. I am a big fan and am excited to see his future projects.

Favorites: Grow Up, Alex, Happy, Thunder, Kansas

Least Favorite: Jane, Grand Theft Auto, California

Featured Image from Pinterest.