The Frights at the Observatory North Park

The Frights Sell Out The North Park Observatory to Sweaty Teens, Bringing True All Their Frightening Dreams.

San Diego’s own The Frights played a sold-out show at The Observatory North Park on August 24th, which served as the kickoff date for their fall tour featuring HUNNY and Hot Flash Heat Wave. This hometown show served as a record release party for The Frights’ third full-length album, Hypochondriac, and, unbeknownst to all, as a birthday party for lead vocalist Mikey Carnevale. And what a party it was.

Hypochondriac is The Frights’ first record released on Epitaph Records since signing with the established punk rock label earlier this year. For the most part, the tracks feel softer and more personal than those on The Frights (2013) or You Are Going To Hate This (2016). “Goodbyes” and “Alone” are acoustic and full of raw emotion. Conversely, “Crutch” stands out as pure pop-punk, even bordering on emo territory. Gone is the “dirty doo-wop” sound The Frights were first known for, now replaced with slower, sadder songs about heartbreak.

I started my evening at M-Theory Records for a surprise acoustic set prior to the Observatory show. The Frights played through a lot of their new songs from Hypochondriac (a sound well-suited for an acoustic record store show), as well as some older favorites, such as “Of Age” from You Are Going To Hate This. The show felt intimate and wholesome, standing in stark contrast to what I’d experience later on.

At 8:00 P.M., I embarked to the Observatory for the real show. Supporting The Frights were Orange County’s The Grinns and Los Angeles’s The Marias. Typically, opening bands play for an unenthusiastic or nonexistent audience. Thankfully, tonight was not one of those times.  Towards the end of The Marias’ set, the band announced that they’d never had crowd-surfers at one of their shows and invited us to change that. The crowd obliged, establishing the rowdy energy that would continue for the rest of the night.

Around 9:30 PM, The Frights took the stage. Numerous floor lamps and suitcases had been arranged between the instruments and equipment, creating a visual reminiscent of the album cover for Hypochondriac. The floor was tightly packed as the sold-out crowd moved in for the main attraction.

It had been a while since I’d been to a show like this – Southern California, all ages, that perfect blend of surf/garage/punk rock that you can’t help but move around to. In my usual concert-going locale (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, eh?), all-ages shows are rare. Furthermore, the stereotype of Canadian politeness usually extends to concert-going and mosh pit etiquette. “Excuse me, sorry, may I bump into you a bit here, bud?” “Sorry, of course, give’r.” Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but the crowds I’m typically in are either of the mid-twenties hipster or late-thirties dad-punk variety, and it’s never anything I can’t handle. Based on these experiences and the level of “punk” that I ascribe to The Frights (maybe a 4/10 – sorry, guys), I thought that at most I’d be doing some low-key jumping around and singing, with a mosh-pit or two thrown in for some of their faster songs.

I was immediately proven wrong, as three seconds into The Frights’ first song, “Kids” (from You Are Going To Hate This), and I was inadvertently screaming for the first time in years and grasping valiantly (and unsuccessfully) for whatever nearby seventeen year old’s limb I can find to avoid drowning. There was a fleeting moment where I felt myself being swallowed up by the crowd and I wondered “Is this it? Is this how it ends? Trampled to death by teenagers at the Observatory, a mere nine days after arriving in San Diego for my second study abroad semester?” A sense of calmness washed over me as I accepted my fate. Thankfully, I quickly remembered that I’m a grown adult as I found my footing, and forced myself to push around with the best of ’em.

For the rest of the night, the crowd didn’t relent in their rowdiness, which the band reciprocated by putting on a wild show. The setlist felt like an even distribution of songs from their discography, including older favorites like “Makeout Point” (from 2013’s Fur Sure EP) as well as the surf punk tunes from their self-titled debut record that The Frights are most known for. The songs just seemed to keep coming, extending the set for almost a full hour. By the end of the show, crowd and band had bonded in hoarse voices and sweat-soaked t-shirts.

After the requisite chanting of “one more song,” The Frights returned for their encore and played through the entirety of their debut EP, 2013’s Dead Beach. Additionally, two wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tubemen (staples at any Frights show) were revealed and erected, mirroring the crowd’s enthusiasm as the final crowd-surfers of the night sailed overhead. Sweaty and bruised, we all used the last of our energy for one last hurrah in the mosh pit. As the show ended, I had no other wish in the world than to do it all over again.

Written by: Andrea Renney

DaniLeigh and Teyana Taylor at the North Park Observatory

DaniLeigh and Teyana Taylor Release A Year’s Worth of Pent Up Sexual Energy Within Two Hours.

Traveling to San Diego as part of the Keep That Same Energy tour, DaniLeigh and Teyana Taylor’s performance at the North Park Observatory was an absolute visual phenomena. Despite drama surrounding the tour, fans needn’t have worried, as all the performers brought their A-game in delivering what was undoubtedly the sexiest performance the Observatory will see this year.

Bringing out an assortment of DJs and performers throughout the shows two and a half hour runtime, the show never let up once it began. Although the performers seemed more present than the crowd itself, each performer managed to distinguish themselves in their sets. While Jade Novah’s performance lacked the same visual flair given to DaniLeigh and Teyana Taylor, Novah’s performance was nevertheless great. Accompanied by a few musicians, Novah’s onstage romp filled the room with a mix of trap beats and live instruments. If nothing else, the rapper asserted her identity as an artist to soon be reckoned with.

Surprisingly, DaniLeigh’s performance was actually more defined by the dancing rather than the music. The 23 year old performer was clearly utilizing all her skills to put on the best performance possible; everything from the visuals to the musical elements was fantastic. Complete with a choreographed dance routine and support from a backing DJ alongside her own singing, DaniLeigh left no stone unturned in her quest for a perfect performance. Her skill as a performer is not to be understated, as songs such as “Lil Bebe” resonated with a youthful energy that only young musicians can create. And her choreography was something else — witnessing something that well rehearsed is a feat you rarely see in younger or newer artists.

As much as I could praise DaniLeigh, Teyana Taylor was the absolute sensation of the show. Honestly, her performance was so enthralling that the crowd must’ve been too entranced to remember how to move. And it’s probably due to the fact that visually, Teyana and her crew were absolutely stunning. With a variety of outfits which left little to the imagination, their style was something you’d glimpse out of the flashiest fashion magazine. Aided by the perfect unity in which they moved across the stage, every moment was breathtaking from start to finish. Even the improvised moments of the set managed to set jaws on the floor, as Teyana (literally) seduced a female audience member, vogued with possibly the most fabulous man alive, and sang to her child.

And that’s not even mentioning how the music was! Reinforced with multiple musicians, each were merely pawns in Teyana’s seduction of the audience. Songs such as “WTP” pulsed with same heart-pounding energy as the digital recording, whereas slower songs such as “Gonna Love Me” and “Issues/Hold On” maintained their melodic intimacy. Meanwhile “Rose in Harlem” closed the set with one of the best closers I’ve ever seen, as the previous performers gathered once more on stage amidst a flurry of lights, bodies, and noise in what was nearly an overwhelming experience.

If this is what future performances from these artists can look like, then people better keep them on their radar, if they’re not already there. They exhibited, for lack of better words, a true visual feast for the senses!

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.