88Rising Music & Arts Festival at Los Angeles State Historic Park

This year marked the first ever 88Rising Music Festival: Head in the Clouds.” More importantly, this was the very first Asian-American music festival in North America.

With an attendance of 2,500 or so, 88Rising does not rival the big dogs such as Coachella or Lollapalooza, whose attendance is in the hundreds of thousands. However, this is not to say that the touring festival was not filled with an equal amount of passion. 

It was held at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, a fitting location considering the festival is a major milestone for Asian-Americans. 88Rising is a mass media company that covers all aspects of a musician’s life, from management and production to everything in between.

By representing artists such as Rich BrianKeith ApeHigher BrothersJoji, and more 88Rising is becoming more known and respected in the music industry. It is a one of a kind company that truly aims to support Asian artists and underrepresented people in music. In addition to their star-studded lineup, 88Rising brought out Anderson .Paak and MadeinTYO and had them perform some of their own original songs. L.A. natives DUCKWRTH and Dumbfoundead represented their city and introduced their fellow artists to their hometown (several of them had never been to Los Angeles). Nonetheless, all the artists had undeniable chemistry with one another.

The festival itself is very organized – especially considering it is the first of its kind.

There were the usual merchandise booths, eateries, and a second stage with local DJ’s dipping their toes into the pool of live performance. This festival was the very first stop on their tour across the nation, and hopefully the first of many more tours to come. A company with as much ambition and passion as 88Rising will grow exponentially as they add more and more artists to their unique label.

Review by: Eduardo Orozco
Photo by: Eduardo Orozco

Florence + The Machine at Viejas

 

To simply call Florence + The Machine’s performance unforgettable is an understatement.

Kicking off their “High as Hope” tour, the band brought to old fans and new fans alike a raw and riveting show, all at the Viejas Arena. The concert was opened by Kasami Washington and his crew, immersing the audience into the night with some soulful jazz. Between his songs, Washington shared some words of wisdom and encouraged people to see the beauty in diversity and the importance of culture. Washington said, “We do not tolerate our differences. We celebrate them.” Washington’s message aligned beautifully with the theme of Florence + The Machine’s tour, where they hoped their new music would inspire and invigorate listeners through a time of oppression and activism.

Watching Florence + the Machine perform is akin to watching art. Giving herself over to her music completely, Florence danced and twirled and pinned to the rhythm. At one point, she went into the crowd, and for a moment, disappeared. Not only was her music amazing, her feel was artistic and energetic. The flow of her dress and the wooden stage complimented the earthy and natural tone of her music wonderfully.

One of the highlights of the night, was when Florence herself encouraged each and everyone to turn and embrace one another. Whether it was a loved one or a stranger, everywhere, the arena instantly became filled with warmth and affection. There was so much love. Next, she asked for all cellphones to be turned off and put away. “This moment cannot be kept, but only remembered.” Miraculously, all the tiny screens and glowing lights disappeared, and the arena was filled with people who were wholly in the moment. 

That night, Florence + The Machine earned many new fans. Through her pure, yet powerful sound, Florence won over new fans and old fans all over again. Her ability to draw people, as well as create stories expressed in her music is a gift to behold. Since the lyrics are so truthful and genuine, her songs couldn’t help touching and bringing the audience together. As the band ended their set, applause filled the arena while the audience begged for an encore. Tiny, but beautiful camera flashlights filled the arena with the hope of just one more song. Returning to a wave of thundering approval, the group ended their concert with the songs “Big God” and “Shake It Out.” Overall, the entire experience was phenomenal.

Photos By: Veronica Yoo
Review By: Veronica Yoo

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