A NGHTMRE Before Xmas at the Observatory North Park

Although Halloween has passed, it was most definitely a NGHTMRE before XMAS at the Observatory North Park.

The American EDM DJ/producer NGHTMRE, made his anticipated NGHTMRE before Xmas tour stop in San Diego the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, bringing a crowd of headbangers to break their necks to the electrifying drum and bass, trap, bass house and dubstep bass lines.

Coming from a college student who was glad that Thanksgiving break was finally here, Wednesday night felt more like a weekend night out with NGHTMRE providing the sounds such as his classic “Street,” to his “GUD VIBRATIONS” collaboration with Slander, to his more recent work with The ChainsmokersSave Yourself.”

He definitely brought the atmosphere to the crowd with the LED panels behind him displaying his zombie, pumpkin head skeleton and demon visuals, the synchronized lights and strobes flashing right in front of your face and even the vibe he would put out either by talking into the mic, or just him moving and dancing to his own music.

As all other DJs/producers, NGHTMRE had some in developments (IDs) that he teased the crowd with. One that stood out was his surprising collaboration with A$AP Ferg. Although he completely stopped the music and brought the room to a blackout to announce the collab, Ferg’s voice is definitely one you cannot mistaken.

As he starts playing the track, you start hearing Ferg rap over the beat and into the buildup, adding to the intensity when all of a sudden, the beat drops. Right away, you realize the utter filth of bass, brass and synthesizers that was just unleashed to your eardrums; filth that you want to be released already but probably will not happen until another six months from now (EDM DJ/producers take a long time to release their work).

Overall, NGHTMRE did not disappoint and brought some light to the souls of the undead and told his story of the NGHMTRE before XMAS.

Review by: Gustavo Cristobal

Kodaline at the House of Blues

Kodaline gave their audience a taste of the weekend with their thrilling and riveting performance at the House of Blues.

 

The concert was opened by Ocean Park Standoff, a band consisting of Samantha Ronson, Pete Nappi, and Ethan Thompson. The group was energetic throughout their entire set, especially Thompson, who couldn’t help but jump around the stage. It was hard not sing along, especially as the singer about to dive right into the audience. Plus, the band members chemistry was impeccable, as the three cracked jokes throughout their set. They got right along, offering words of advice before continuing onto their next song, “Good News:” “If you had any bad news this week, fuck ‘em.” With their youthful spirit, Ocean Park Standoff encouraged us to let go and enjoy. It just made everyone excited for the rest of the night.

Kodaline’s entrance was silent, but their entrance caused the crowd to go wild. They started with “Follow Your Fire”, a song from their newest album “Politics of Living”.  Known originally as 21 Demands, the group started in Dublin, Ireland with Steve Carrigan (vocals, guitar) and Mark Prendergast (guitar) as founding members of the group. The name later changed to Kodaline with the addition of Jason Boland (bass guitar) and Vinny May Jr. (drums).

 

With the moody lights and simple stage set, Kodaline focused on what was important: their music. Seemingly in his own world, main singer Steve Garrigan had his eyes closed for a majority of the songs. Though it was a contrast from Ocean Park Standoff’s interactive stage presence, Kodaline’s style of performance was just as captivating.

Listening to their music in such an environment made their vocals sound even more raw. I had always loved their music, listening on my phone or through Youtube, but to hear it in person, was an experience. Being apart of the audience felt like a dream, with everyone swaying in a trance to a deep pulse. If I had another chance to go listen and see Kodaline, I would not need a lot of convincing. Not only is their music amazing, their performance and stage presence must be seen in person. Kodaline has come a long way since their humble beginnings as a two-man band, and their fans and other music enthusiasts should look forward to their future projects indefinitely.

Review by: Veronica Yoo

Rex Orange County at the Observatory North Park

Rex Orange County brought his signature timeless energy and love to the Observatory North Park.

As I approached the Observatory North Park to see Rex Orange County on November 13, my mouth dropped once I saw how long the line was to enter the venue.  It was fascinating to me to see so many people that were all here for the same artist and who have been touched by his music in some way.

Everyone in the crowd carried positive energy and were talking about what they were most excited for during the show.  I was lucky enough to see Rex during the summer at Mo Pop Music Festival in Detroit, so I felt as if I was familiar with his show and set before it had even started.  However, during his show in San Diego I felt a whole new aroma and experience.

Once the lights went off and the cheering started, an audio recording from a vintage film began to play.  Rex walked out on stage and colorful rainbow lights flashed on, also revealing a backdrop with a picture of a peach.  The opening song was nonetheless “Apricot Princess,” which is on my favorite album of his called, “Apricot Princess” as well.

During the middle of the show, Rex decided to switch moods with the audience and play “No One” by the one and only, Alicia Keys.  I could not believe how amazing this cover was, especially because he made it sound like his very own version of the song. He played his acoustic guitar throughout the show, including during this song, which gave it a unique twist.

After Rex left the stage to prepare for the encore, the crowd cheered “Rex” as loud as they could, waiting for him to make another appearance.  When he came back on stage and the encore had started, Rex told everyone to shout the words to “Loving is Easy” and jump as high as they could throughout the chorus.  

The energy during the entire show was through the roof and everyone in the audience left the venue out of breath.  The show was an hour and a half, but felt as if I was there for barely an hour. I felt connected with the people around me because we were all bonding over the same music together.

 

Check out Rex’s website for more on the artist.

Review by: Kylie Buckfire

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