State Champs at the Observatory

On Sunday, April 23, State Champs put on a stellar performance at the Observatory in North Park. Openers included London based rock band Don Broco, newcomers With Confidence and fellow New Yorkers, Against the Current.  Although I only knew a few songs from the opening bands, I can say they were successful in hyping up the crowd for the main event.

Don Broco energized the crowd with its heavy guitars, groovy bass line and Rob Damiani’s unique vocal melody. Up next was With Confidence. This Australian pop punk band first started by uploading covers onto Youtube and playing local shows. Now, they are running with the big kids. They expanded their fanbase after performing at the 2016 Vans Warped Tour and releasing their new record “Better Weather.” This pop punk quartet takes a soulful approach to the genre’s sound – a similar vibe to State Champs. This band is going to get big, just wait and see. The last opening band to take the stage was Against the Current. The major problem I have with them is not their music itself but their sound system. The bright guitars, synth sounds and instrument effects drowned out Chrissy Constanza’s vocals. Despite the cohesive sound made by the band, the singer’s vocals were not my cup of tea. Overall, the performance was mediocre at best.

Finally, it was State Champs’ turn to blow away the audience. And they did. From start to finish, the group put their all into the show, playing old songs, new songs and fan favorites. Their setlist included oldies such as “Stick Around,” “Deadly Conversation” and “Mind Bottled.” They even played a new song, “Slow Burn,” and “Around the World and Back” from their latest record. Opening with “Remedy,” Derek’s vocals blasted throughout the venue as he sang “I got no time…” over and over again. Arguably, he has the best vocals in the pop punk scene, and his performance merely solidified that. Each note, each verse, each vocal run he sang was perfect, and hyped-up the crowd. However, with the rest of the band included, State Champs becomes an unstoppable pop punk act. Each member has their own musical finesse and is capable of creating magic in the studio and on-stage.

By the end of the concert, the crowd was going insane and the atmosphere was electric. Crowd surfers were flying through the air, stage lights were flashing and everyone was going wild. I, for one, was right at the barricade, dripping with sweat and having the time of my life. After the show, I even had the pleasure of meeting Ryan Scott Graham, the bassist, and had him re-sign my inhaler. You could say I was overwhelmed.

This was my third time seeing State Champs and they never disappoint. Pop punk is not dead, kids. It is bands like this who keep that spirit alive.

Featured Image (State Champs @ Masquerade 11.21.15-52) by Nicole Kibert. No changes made. 

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.

 

It’s The 1975 at SDSU

If you haven’t heard of The 1975, they’re a pop rock band from Manchester, England. The group consists of Matty Healy as the lead vocalist, Adam Hann on lead guitar, Ross MacDonald on bass, and George Daniel on drums. Their first album, “The 1975,” debuted in 2013. Their second album, “I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It,” was released in 2016, and they’re still promoting it. Both albums topped the U.S. and U.K. Billboard 200, and this year they won the Brit Award for Best British Group.

The 1975 performed at the Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheater, right on campus, last fall semester. Getting to see my favorite band live for the first time was one of the most incredible and memorable experiences of my freshman year here at SDSU. Their setlist had a mixture of songs from both of their albums. They played my favorite song from each album: “Girls,” from “The 1975,” and “Loving Someone,” from their most recent album. My favorite part about this concert (besides Matty’s English accent) was how simple it was – it was just about The 1975, their music and the people.

If you haven’t had the chance to go to the Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheater, the smaller venue makes any performance more intimate, and any seat you’re assigned is a pretty good one! They’re coming back this month on Tuesday, April 25th, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see them again. If you haven’t already, make sure you snag a ticket!

Featured Image by Rafia Rehman.