Cautious Clay at House Of Blues

Cautious Clay pushes musical boundaries and captivates listeners at House of Blues San Diego‘s own Voodoo Room.

When I first discovered Cautious Clay, I was instantly drawn to the unique richness in his voice. Each song I listened to seemed to get better by the minute. Later, I learned that Cautious Clay was no ordinary alternative R&B artist. Josh Karpeh is the man behind it all. He’s a singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist who coined the name “Cautious Clay” after Muhammad Ali, aka Cassius Clay. The all-in-one musician remains unsigned and continues to defy boundaries in the name of music. Karpeh attended George Washington University to study jazz saxophone and has continued to use his classically trained background as a tool to push boundaries. By keeping a “minimalist” mindset when writing his songs, Cautious gets to explore the line between keeping his music simple and clean, while making it powerful and touching.

While many listeners are drawn to his beautiful harmonies and catchy beats, the stories he tells through his lyrics is what I believe puts him above the rest. Following the release of his first EP, Blood TypeCautious was interviewed by Billboard Magazine, whom asked the musician what he hoped his listeners would gain from this EP. He responds, “I would like my listeners to be more intentional with their time and the people they hang out with. Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who are worth your time. I know that’s really heady and deep, but that’s what the lyrics are about.” Since then, Cautious Clay has appeared on tracks with notable artists like AlunaGeorge and Hudson Mohawke, and recently linked up with electronica star, Medasin, to produce his newest single “HONEST ENOUGH.”

After months of playing his songs on repeat, I felt it was only fitting to attend his concert in San Diego. The concert was hosted in the Voodoo Room at the House of Blues, and while the venue was smaller than I had anticipated, it made the experience even more intimate.

Opening with a fan favorite, “Elsewhere,” I could feel my heartrate increase with only the first few chords. Cautious expressed to Billboard magazine that this song was written about his struggles with student debt and the inability to escape tough situations, which is something that many listeners are able to relate to. I was originally drawn to this song because of the unique mixture of electronica and indie production combined with his soulful harmonies, but it is the honesty behind his lyrics that kept me hitting the repeat button.

While I was personally disappointed by the energy in the crowd, Cautious Clay maintained a steady stage presence that kept me on my toes. After pulling out a saxophone and flute for songs such as “Stolen Moments” and “Call Me,” I became only more captivated by his talent.

Following the performance of some of his most popular hits like “Blood Type” and “French Riviera,” Karpeh asked the audience to give a round of applause to his bandmates before they momentarily left the stage. As he pulls out his acoustic guitar, the crowd starts to settle down before Cautious performed an unreleased track off his upcoming EP. The song was slow, but far from boring. This ballad was deep and emotional, and will soon touch the hearts of listeners alike.

I am eager for the release of his upcoming EP, Table of Context, as well as his return to San Diego in the future. My hopes for his next tour is that the crowd is more respectful and attentive to his stage presence because my expectations unfortunately fell short this time around. While his performance was still honest and true, I believe that an audience within his age range would be more courteous to the passion he poured out on stage. All-in-all, there are many big things in store for Cautious Clay this year. Although he’s already killing it, I’d say that he is just getting started.

Review By: Brittany Roache
Photos by: Brittany Roache

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

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

The Paper Kites at the House of Blues San Diego

The Australia-based band, The Paper Kites, brought their sense of magic to the House of Blues San Diego.

With their rock-folk and woodsy forest vibes, the members tend to use their harmonies and magical lyrics to create a mood that you are immersed in the song, feeling everything the words were intended to have — even if you have never heard the song before! Sam Bentley (vocals, guitars and keyboards), Christina Lacy (vocals, guitars and keyboards), David Powys (vocals, guitars, banjo and lap steel guitar), Josh Bentley (drums and percussion) and Sam Rasmussen (bass and synthesizers) make up The Paper Kites and the beautiful music they make.

The Paper Kites are known for their melancholic tones that offer you a sense of sadness mixed with hope. They opened with the song “Red Light” off of their new album On The Corner Where You LiveThanks to artist Megan Dougherty, the stage was set up to look like you were sitting in an apartment with the band. Artist Mike Castle came up with the lighting design of lights seeping through the blinds that Megan had carefully structured. They also added the featured colors for each song, like the dark blue for ‘Deep Burn Blue’ and the mysterious red for “Red Light.”

‘Deep Burn Blue’ followed ‘Red Light’ funnily enough. This song is about the feelings inside you and your own thoughts that make you not want to leave your own room. It’s as if you are afraid of what the world has to offer. Lead singer Sam put it himself that “music is so much more purposeful and devastating when it makes you feel exposed.” “Revelator Eyes” from twelvefour followed this. It is a song where the person is still trying to hold on to their relationship even though they can notice that their partner is not feeling the love anymore. The theme of the show at this point was following a relationship, which I’m sure many people in the audience could relate to.

The song “On The Corner Where You Live” is about saying goodbye even when that isn’t what you want to do. They continued this feeling of hurt with the song ‘When It Hurts You’, a powerful rock ballad about not wanting to hurt your loved one because you will feel the pain too. I closed my eyes during this and the one following it, ‘Bloom’, which made the room feel like we were all one. It is the song of hope, and the band played it slowly instead of at the fast pace that we are all used to. It was a perfect triage of songs to follow the relationship we were all pretending we knew.

‘Bloom’ was the first song I ever heard by The Paper Kites so I really felt in that moment how far the band has come and who they have developed to be. It is still so surreal to me that the track ‘Bloom’, their most popular song, was made as a bonus track release with the first EP they made. They had no idea it would be so successful. The Paper Kites emphasize continuously in their music that sometimes you have to let go (‘On The Corner Where You Live’), and although it hurts (‘When It Hurts You’), something good can come out of everything (‘Bloom’).

The Paper Kites included an intermission song, which was the track for  ‘A Gathering On 57th’. It gave the audience chills and a familiar feeling of nostalgia. I have always felt with that song that I am on a train visiting family or on my way to see someone I love.

‘Give Me Your Fire, Give Me Your Rain’ began after the interlude, and the crowd was back to its’ original excitement and swaying. ‘On The Train Ride Home’, the song from its’ self titled album is a personal favorite. It has a great deep meaning behind the simpleness of it. “If I can’t get the things I want, then give me what I need.” With a feeling of loss under the lyrics. This song may be about the chapter of our lives where we cannot find our true direction, where most of us are not able to handle the pressure to ourselves as we go to face the reality and so we try to go back to our home where we were once settled and happy. The train is a metaphor for our means to go back and within it we try to ask for help.

Some highlights to this show include their performances of “Electric Indigo,” and “Don’t Keep Driving” which they ended with. In the end, the audience was filled with a yearning and a desire to stay in that room forever.

I would definitely see The Paper Kites again if I had the chance. Their songs are so deeply personal, and I would recommend listening to their music if you are going through anything. I’m excited to see what is coming next with this band and where they will take us on their journey.
Review by: Molly Atkins