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

Hoodie Allen at the House of Blues San Diego

Hoodie Allen brought fun, food, and games alongside a fantastic set at the San Diego House of Blues!

The House of Blues San Diego welcomed rapper Hoodie Allen for his Hanging with Hoodie Tour 2018 on Friday, September 21, 2018. This tour allowed all fans who purchased a general admission ticket to meet Hoodie Allen at no cost, as well as releasing VIP tickets for dedicated and long-time fans. The small and intimate venue was decorated to highlight the carnival theme of this tour with circus games, raffle tickets, and prizes for fans to enjoy.

To start off the show, the opening act, Gianni & Kyle, energized the crowd with a few of their popular songs like, “5 Shots” and “Do You Even Miss Me At All?”. The duo’s 45 minute set allowed fans to build up enough adrenaline to prepare for their favorite headliner, Hoodie Allen.

Kyle of the rap duo, Gianni and Kyle, singing to the crowd

 

Gianni of the rap duo, Gianni and Kyle, patting his chest while following along to their song, “Do You Even Miss Me At All?”

 

Now, as an absolute “super-fan” of Steven Markowitz (aka Hoodie Allen), I had to opt in for the VIP purchase to get the ultimate experience. With the purchase of VIP, fans are able to take photos with the artist, obtain a signed Polaroid photo memento, receive a drawstring bag with small goodies from the tour, get the opportunity to purchase merchandise first, and were given “first dibs” for standing in the front row when the artist performs. Based on my experience, I was very pleased with the organization of this concert, including Hoodie Allen’s very respectful crew. I was able to talk to him in-between photos and, to my surprise, he even remembered me from the last time I saw him back in 2016.

Front row view before Hoodie Allen performs

Before the set, I had the pleasure of noting that this particular fan base was incredibly friendly. And contrary to typical concerts, their was not a single form of violence or negative behavior even suggested . Everyone amongst the crowd, including myself, made new friends and discussed how long they had been fans of Hoodie Allen. Based on my quick survey with the fans around me, a majority of fans wanted to hear Hoodie perform his 2012 single, “No Interruption.”

When the show began, I’ll admit, I had my own “fan-girl” moment and started screaming in excitement when he began his performance with his 2012 single, “Eighteen Cool;” a song which set the tone his the remainder of the night. Considering the fact that this venue was intimate enough to fit approximately 150-200 fans, concert-goers were consistently able to get clips and photos throughout his set. Additionally, two of the songs which Hoodie performed came straight from his new EP that will be announced & released sometime this year; the tracks, “Wasting All My Time” and “Operation”, were performed for the very first time on this tour in preparation for the release of his as-of-yet unnamed EP. As the night continued, he performed the short version of older tracks such as, “The Chase Is On”, “James Franco”, and “You Are Not Robot”.

Hoodie Allen talking to fans and crew about what song should be played next

In addition to performing, Hoodie Allen included multiple interactive event for fans to participate in. For this show, Hoodie Allen brought out some games for fans to play. The first game had fans spinning his carnival wheel, which allowed 1 lucky fan to determine which bonus song would be performed on this leg of the tour. For San Diegans, the wheel landed on the song, “Show Me What You’re Made Of”, which brought immense happiness to his older fans. He also included a trivia buzzer game, where two fans competed one-on-one on their knowledge about the the artist; the prize being Hoodie Allen caking the loser of the trivia game.

Now, if you are not educated on the Hoodie Allen tour traditions, here’s a fun fact for you. Fans will purchase cakes and decorate them to give to Hoodie’s backstage crew for one sole reason: to throw them into the audience during the show. This tradition started because of Hoodie’s well-known song, “Cake Boy,” which later lead to fans preparing ahead of time to avoid getting cake all over them.

As we have all learned over-time, all concerts must come to an end with the most popular song the artist has released. To my surprise, Hoodie Allen performed two encore songs to ensure this concert ended at an all-time high. The songs, “No Faith in Brooklyn” and “No Interruption” were the absolute best song choices to end Hoodie’s San Diego tour stop.

Overall, I was very happy with my experience seeing my favorite artist, Hoodie Allen, perform once again in San Diego. The atmosphere remained positive all night long thanks to the fans’ respect towards the artist and one another. Anyone whose interested in listening to an up-and-coming artist should definitely give Hoodie Allen a chance. Hopefully he’ll make you a forever fan as well.

Reviewed by: Sofia Gomez
Photos by: Sofia Gomez

Etsy out of the Screen

Etsy has expanded far from its frontiers. It went from being an online website where self made artist, and crafters sell their own creations, such as necklaces, unique Disney inspired ear headbands, paintings and much more, to becoming a mobile app, to now something even greater. Etsy served as an inspiration to Stephanie Payan and other artisans to form the SoCal Etsy Guild community.

With the creation of this community they offered an opportunity that went beyond Etsy’s option of buying on the go. The SoCal Etsy Guild made tangible Etsy markets available to the people of California. This markets are made up of local artists and crafters, serving as vendors, that come together to sell their items in person.

SoCal Etsy Guild markets hit San Diego in mid summer of 2017, and within a short period became extremely popular that they can now be found in two locations in San Diego. On the first Saturday of each month the market can be found in Mission Mall in between Michaels, and Nordstrom, while on the third Saturday of each month it is located at Horton Plaza on the waterfront patio.

Instead of browsing online San Diegans can now browse through the rows of stands filled with a variety of the same goods available online, but with less worries. One gets to see the product finished, and in person, leaving no space for weird, and unexpected surprises. Also, customers get to take it with them the moment they pay, no waiting time, and no need to pay a shipping fee. Can’t get any better than that, well no, it does. At this markets, some artists place their items at a lower price with great offers. SoCal Etsy Guild markets rise above expectations when it comes to benefits to the customers, and it’s great. People love to see the products before buying it, and what puts the cherry on top of everything is that one is able to meet the artists in person. Shining light on local artists is amazing, and it’s always great to know who your money is going to. What better way to help our communities than by supporting our local artists, instead of high corporates.