Ryan Beatty at the House of Blues San Diego

On Monday, March 18, Ryan Beatty performed an intimate yet memorable concert at the House of Blues that turned out to be something completely unexpected.

Many remember Beatty as this formulaic teen heartthrob with the Justin Bieber-esque side-swept hair who made multiple appearances on Radio Disney. Today, that person no longer exists. In his place is an open and authentic artist who has perfected an album that embodies his tumultuous journey in life and music.

Boy in Jeans experiments with synthetic sounds, jazzy basslines, and RnB expressions, a style similar to that of Frank Oceanand a total change to his former clean-cut radio releases. Due to the limited selection of songs, Ryan played through his album in order and respectively opened with “Haircut.” This track, a mellow tune that represents Ryan’s acceptance of his sexuality, sets an ambient and relaxed mood for the remainder of the show. Simply adorned in red shorts and a black crewneck, Ryan’s vibrant stage presence compensated for his casual appearance as he made the spotlight his own. The crowd was practically breaking through the barriers, soaking in every word he sang.

Songs such as “Cupid” and “Bruise” are simple compositions that are, nonetheless, stunning to witness live. “Cupid,” for one, highlighted Ryan’s soulful voice while accompanied by a delicate piano. His ability to belt out riffs with ease and create minuscule inflections during a live performance is a sign of vocal maturity and indisputable talent. “Bruise” is another fan favorite and tells the familiar story of a gay boy who is in a secret relationship with his “superstar,” in-the-closet man. As his audience screamed out the lyrics “Pony boy ride on, ride on, ride on me / In my dreams, in my f*cking dreams,” Ryan was having the time of his life, and repeatedly thanked his fans for their unconditional support.

The show continued with sanguine performances of “Camo” and “Money” driven by earwormy falsettos and headnod worthy beats. To match the quirky lyricism and funky instrumentation, Ryan was, according to him, “moving onstage like a crazy person” but that just made the experience even more enjoyable. “Powerslide,” however, was my favorite performance of the night because Ryan and the crowd were simply lost in the music; so lost, in fact, that he played it twice with unwavering energy.

Unfortunately, every show must come to an end, and the end was bittersweet. The audience was serenaded with the emotional tunes “Pink Floyd” and “Flash” that describe the struggle of discovering one’s identity and how hard it is to say goodbye.

Before the concert, I had no idea what to expect of Ryan Beatty. I had listened to the album and genuinely enjoyed his releases, but never would I expected to be blown away by this former teen-pop act. His past works with BROCKHAMPTON on their track “Bleach” as well as with Tyler, the Creator should have been an indication that this kid is all grown up. I look forward to his future projects and hope to see this grossly underrated artist gain more recognition as an up-and-coming star.

Written by: Rica Perez

Rica Perez

Hey! My name is Rica Perez and I like M&M's: Mosh pits and Memez. Catch me on KCR @ 1 pm on Fridays.