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

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