Interpol @ Open Air Theater

People thought rock was dead; Interpol showed us otherwise.

Legendary post-punk band Interpol came to shred underneath the disco ball at the CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theater, just one of many stops on their North American tour promoting their sixth studio album, Marauder. Completing the night’s bill were indie-rock trio Sunflower Bean and punk duo The Kills – a lineup which had several of my friends drooling with envy when I told them I’d be in attendance. Which, if I’m being honest, left me more than a little confused. Who listens to rock anymore? Punk hasn’t been cool since the Arctic Monkeys abandoned ship and indie-rock is teetering on the edge of irrelevance post-Mac Demarco. Although these claims may border on outrageous, it cannot be denied that the rock genre has been eclipsed in recent years by pop, EDM, and hip-hop.

Clearly none of the groups on stage got that memo.

Kicking off the night in outfits that would make any art hoe scream “yassss queen,” Sunflower Bean came to rock n roll. Straying from the Fleetwood Mac-influenced sound of their studio recordings, the trio amped up the energy with ripping solos from guitarist Nick Kivlen and raw, throaty vocals from singer/bassist Julia Cumming. With their blonde heads a-banging and trousers a-sparkling, Sunflower Bean’s entire existence pays homage to the genre which birthed them. Unfortunately, the band did suffer from the Indifferent Crowd Syndrome (ICS) that commonly plagues opening acts. Despite seemingly fazing the band, they still left the stage with this bold statement: “We’re Sunflower Bean and don’t you forget it!” Don’t worry, girl, I won’t.

Tunes to scope out: I Was Home, Twentytwo, I Was a Fool

Up next came the skinny-jean clad duo The Kills. The most notable aspect of their performance was the “the strut;” considering it’s been 15 years since their first LP, singer Allison Mosshart’s ability to own whatever stage her leather boots find themselves is downright impressive. Limbs rolling, long blond hair flowing, her control and ease over the environment is almost enough to compensate for the incomplete sound produced by the two guitars and drum kit. With moody, analog interludes, experimental guitar synths, the Kills are looking to take the genre somewhere. Where exactly, they have no definitive answer.

Tunes to scope out: Doing It to Death, Baby Says

At this point in the show, I was still inclined to believe that rock n roll is dead. Sunflower Bean and the Kills were both great bands, but neither seem to have the potential to revive the ailing genre. But as I furiously typed notes into my phone, I heard it. Life. The audience roars and rises to their feet as Interpol arrived to save us all.

Photo credited to the San Diego Union Tribune

Let me paint the scene for ya. A dark stage. Simple white spotlights cast light from behind the band, creating an eerie shadow of a band already dressed black. Then a single white light behind center stage rises to meet the disco ball, splaying light out to the crowd. It’s a simple set-up, but effective; Interpol’s music can speak for itself. You get the feeling they are at the service of the music. The band has mastered a suave rock sound that seduces you with every melancholy lyric singer Paul Banks wails with his haunting twang, and I am hit by a wall of sound, filled with textures and colors I’ve seen before, but perhaps not in this combination. Every song “bangs” and I can’t help but move my body to the beat, swaying my head back and forth so that I could hear every note. You can listen to Interpol’s entire set with your eyes closed, the music is a show in and of itself. And then it’s over, and I feel as if I’ve been abruptly woken from a sweet dream. The band humbly exits, it’s duty to the music completed: “We are Interpol, and that’s what we got.”

So, much to my chagrin, rock does live! It has bands like Interpol to keep its heart beating, and an audience desperate to consume it. The problem is that we’ve heard all these sounds before. Interpol’s music is superb, but the band has done little experimenting in their long career. I guess it’s true, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, but sticking with a sound that just works isn’t enough to compete with pop and hip-hop artists who cater to fans with an incessant appetite for new content. Interpol’s Marauder is enough to keep rock alive, if only just alive.

Tunes to scope out: If You Really Love Nothing, Evil, Pioneer to the Falls

Review by: Michaela Alejandra

Miguel at the Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheatre

With an incredibly smooth and sexy aesthetic, there’s no wonder Miguel sold out his show at the Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheatre.

On Monday, September 19, Miguel came to the SDSU campus for his War and Leisure tour, alongside Dvsn. With two songs reaching the Billboard charts this year, “Skywalker” and Kygo’s ‘Remind Me to Forget”, expectations were high for Miguel’s performance. Thankfully, he was outstanding.

Miguel’s music consists of a very smooth, sultry sound with hints of raspiness and rock intermingling with a Spanish flare. He gives off a Michael Jackson vibe through his dance moves, as he effortlessly moonwalks and slides across the stage. Influences from Prince are apparent as well, with Miguel’s bold outfits, confidence, and passion all coming across in his performance. Although Miguel’s inspiration from these two artists were prevalent throughout the show, it’s very clear that Miguel has his own unique music style.

Amazingly, there was never a dull moment in the show. Despite the audience standing throughout the concert, set and costume changes remained entertaining, as the audience was treated to guitar solos from his band. Miguel had complete control over the audience as he performed and had everyone singing along with him, swaying their hands in the air. The crowd favorites were definitely “How Many Drinks?”, “Waves,” and “Pineapple Skies.” He talked about how he loves San Diego and how it feels good to be back at the beach which inspired his song, “Come Through and Chill.” Miguel additionally got up close and personal with the crowd during his medley of his past top songs.

After witnessing his stunning performance, I cannot physically restrain myself from listening to his music! It’s as though someone is forcing my brain to release endorphins anytime I hear one of his songs. Not only are the songs catchy, but their surprisingly all positive. Miguel reinforced this message as he gave several speeches regarding how society puts pressure on us to act different and be other people, which had everyone cheering in agreement. Miguel made it clear that he believes in loving ourselves and being honest as he introduced his new unreleased song “So I Lie.”

A little caveat; I had previously seen Miguel in 2016 at the Hollywood Bowl, where I witnessed him opening for Sia. This performance served to remind me of what an amazing vocalist and dancer he truly is. I’ve been to many concerts and I’d have to say Miguel is one of the best live performers. It’s difficult for an artist to sound as good as the studio versions while performing live, but Miguel pulled it off. The impressive high notes he was able to hit, while also dancing across the stage and shredding the electric guitar, shocked not only me but the entire audience as well. If you’re looking for an artist who knows how to mesmerize an audience with their smooth vocals and outstanding stage presence, then I definitely recommend that you go and see Miguel on his War and Leisure tour or any of his other performances in the future.

 

Review By: Alexandra Will
Photos By: Alexandra Will

 

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.

Dial Up for Childish Gambino this March

The third stop in Childish Gambino’s The Deep Web tour is San Diego. He’ll bless the Open Air Theatre on SDSU’s campus with his rap god presence on March 3 at 8 p.m. I anticipate this show to be a great success for both Gambino and San Diego fans alike.

With his rising success in the rap game he’s my top pick for artist to watch in 2014. The success of his second studio album Because the Internet has received great reviews from critics and fans. I can’t get his single 3005 of my head and I know I’m not alone.

Top tracks from Childish Gambino:

Although many people know him as Troy from the hit show “Community” and co-writer for “30 Rock,” concertgoers will see something new when they watch Gambino perform on stage in March.

I anticipate that the Open Air Theatre will be packed so try and get there early. The show was originally scheduled to be at SOMA San Diego, but the location has been changed to the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre. If you still have your SOMA ticket for Gambino, don’t worry! Your ticket will be honored at the event. Tickets are reasonably priced starting at $33 reserved at the box office and $35 at the door. You can buy tickets online (and pay 13 bucks in service fees) at Ticketmaster.

Follow Childish Gambino on Twitter @DonaldGlover and Instagram @childishness to keep up-to-date with all the projects this hip-hop recording artist is working on.

Photo by Loxy!! / CC BY