Hozier at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre

Hozier gave a powerful performance that evoked moments of catharsis from the crowd at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre on Saturday, October 26, 2019.

The stage was basked in red light as Hozier and his band members appeared. Accompanied by Rachel Beauregard, Jessica Berry, Cormac Curran, Rory Doyle, Emily Kohavi, Kristen Rogers, and Alex Ryan, Hozier began the show with “As It Was” followed by “Dinner & Diatribes”.

Behind the band, images of protests and fighting for rights were shown during “Nina Cried Power.”

The song is “a thank you note to the legacy of artists from the 20th Century whose work still inspires us” and would not be the first instance of protest music during the night. Hozier played his new song “Jack Boot Jump,” after politely asking the crowd to not record it and just “be present.” The rest of the band members left, leaving only Hozier and Doyle on drums for this “not subtle” song inspired by the protest music of Woody Guthrie and named after George Orwell’s quote “‘if you want to imagine the future, imagine a jack boot stomping on a human face forever”.

While Hozier’s newest album, and namesake of the tour, Wasteland, Baby!, is beautiful and had the crowd singing all night, his old material is what gained the most excitement.

Songs like “Someone New” and “Jackie and Wilson” from his first album seemed to receive the most reactions. Personally, these were some of my favorite songs of the night because his first album as a whole is special to me so it was quite fulfilling to finally hear some songs from it live.

Classic “Take Me to Church” was the last song before the encore and probably the one with the most overall energy to “end” the show. For the actual end, Hozier performed “Cherry Wine” and “Work Song”, and the stage was now adorned in vines to complement the beautiful feeling created by these songs musically.

Hozier made a point throughout the show to thank the people helping him; introducing the band members with a spotlight, saying their names whenever he had a chance, listing members of the crew, and displaying their pictures after the show as a final thank you.

Listen to Hozier here.

Written by: Emerson Redding
Photos by: Emerson Redding

You Should Know: SPINN & Lewis Watson

This week on You Should Know, are two of my favorite British artists: SPINN and Lewis Watson who are unafraid to dabble in a mix of sounds.

Photo from Facebook

Self-proclaimed “#ApproachableLads” from Liverpool, SPINN, make some of my favorite dreamy indie tunes.

Songs like “Foundations” and “Notice Me” perfectly capture a carefree feeling of warmth you would expect to find in indie pop. Drawing inspiration from The Smiths, “Who You Are” and “Is There Something That I Missed?” are a couple of my favorite SPINN songs that are not only fun to listen to, but also to dance to.

Their self-titled debut album, released earlier this May, is full of tracks with many different vibes.

As lead singer Johnny Quinn said, “there’s a song in there for everyone”, whether you prefer more upbeat songs or more emotional sounding ones like “Heaven Sent” and “July at a Glance”. My personal favorite SPINN song “November” from their first EP is a perfect mix of multiple moods, and definitely worth multiple listens.

SPINN has continued to gain more popularity within their home country of England, and internationally, since releasing their first music in 2017. The band has also continued to produce great songs that are easy to fall in love with, which is why I’ve been a fan of them for over a year now. 

You can listen to SPINN’s newest acoustic EP (which has an alluring cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games”) here and follow them on Instagram here.

Photo from Facebook

In addition to indie pop/rock, I also love the acoustic/pop/folk genre, which singer-songwriter Lewis Watson does beautifully.

The first song I heard by Lewis was “halo” off his debut album the morning and I instantly knew he was something special. His earlier music especially manages to feel both delicate and powerful at the same time and I strongly commend him for that.

Departing from his softer first EPs and album, Lewis’ sophomore album Midnight takes on a fuller sound.

In contrast to his mainly acoustic previous music, Midnight incorporates electric guitar, stronger drums, and overall a more upbeat feeling in songs like “give me life” and “forever.” His acoustic guitar can still be found in the album, primarily in songs “When the Water Meets the Mountains” and “run.” Every song on the album and their unique sounds complement each other perfectly. However, if you prefer his acoustic sound, he also has an entirely acoustic version of the album, which is equally as beautiful as the original.

Some of my favorite Lewis Watson songs are actually covers. 

Lewis started out on YouTube posting covers and since then has mastered the art of taking a song and making it his own. “lamplight,” originally by Bombay Bicycle Club, and “made up love song #43,” originally by Guillemots, have remained at the top of my favorite songs for years now. 

More recently, he released a three-song cover EP nineties, noughties, tennies with a song each from the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. My favorite out of the three is his take on Post Malone’s “Congratulations”. 

Listen to Lewis Watson’s newest release “Fly When I Fall – Acoustic Version” here and follow him on Twitter here

Written by: Emerson Redding

flor at the Music Box

On Saturday, October 12, 2019, flor ended their tour presented by Ones To Watch at the Music Box for a night of dancing, good music, and memories.

I first saw flor earlier this year as an opener and I had honestly never heard of them before, but I instantly fell in love with them and their music. This time, flor headlined the Music Box and I was more than excited to see them again.

Anticipation began to build up once fans at the barricade started getting prepared; passing out paper money to throw during “money,” and receiving photos of a bird that flor’s tour manager handed out to hold up as a surprise for the band later in the show. These little projects brought the crowd together and made the show feel more like somewhat of a family reunion, which I know is how a lot of flor’s fans see their shows, and rightly so.

flor kicked off their set with “slow motion” and “heart” and saying the crowd was excited for them would surely be an understatement. At every corner of the Music Box, people were dancing and singing along. flor is quite talented at creating an atmosphere where you feel more than welcome to just let go and have fun.

One of my favorite songs off their sophomore album ley lines is “dancing around.” Its refrain “I can’t wait I’ve been longing to be dancing around again” had been playing over and over in my head since I found out I’d be seeing them again, to hearing this song live.

The night ended with three of flor’s most popular songs: “rely,” “hold on,” and “warm blood” off of their first album come out. you’re hiding. These three tracks were also my favorites when I first heard them live, and are still some of my favorite live songs.

From beginning to end, flor knows how to put their all into an energetic show; and so do their fans in the crowd, making for an incredible night full of dancing and of course, good music. Their San Diego show was a bittersweet one, being the end of the tour, but still packed with an intensity that kept me from wanting the night to end. Being at a flor show is definitely a special feeling, and I cannot wait until they’re back.

Listen to flor here.

Written by: Emerson Redding
Photos by: Emerson Redding

Dodie at the House of Blues

On October 9, 2019, English singer-songwriter Dodie brought her fairy-like presence to the House of Blues for her “Human” tour.

Better known to some as “doddleoddle,” Dodie began on YouTube posting original songs and covers, mainly with her ukulele, or her “extra limb.” I have been watching her since about 2012 or 2013, and she has been one of my main and longest inspirations when it comes to music and songwriting. It has truly been an honor to be able to watch her grow and grow alongside her, and finally, see her perform in concert.

Dodie started out her set upstage with beautifully hopeful “Arms Unfolding” going into “Monster” as she finally ran to the front. I wish I could describe the happiness that the fans at the barricade radiated as Dodie came closer. I could feel that this moment was important for them, too, which made the show even more enjoyable.

Dodie has a certain aura to her that beckons you to pay attention, while still staying soft and effervescent.

“Sick of Losing Soulmates” and “She” are some of her slower songs, and I think they pack the most punch. In these two she tells very personal stories through her lyrics, wrapped up in melodic guitar plucking, that leave you in somewhat of a trance. Especially if you can relate to them, these songs will most certainly strike a chord in you, while maintaining a sense of airy beauty while you listen. They can serve as sometimes painful reminders that we are indeed “human” and have to deal with losing people in different ways, and possible struggles with sexuality; but just like “She” says, it can feel “oddly good to hurt.” Having Dodie performing them herself in front of me added another level of ‘personal’ that I never thought could be unlocked; because of that, I’d say these two songs were my highlight of the night.

Another highlight was the lighting.

I’m always one to appreciate more than just the performance itself, and Dodie’s show definitely did not disappoint. I loved the string lights that decorated the stage, the neon “dodie” sign in the back, the rainbow lighting, and how the spotlights changed to focus on which musician had a special part (cello, violin, etc.). That being said, every member of her live band was amazing as well and each felt important, especially when they came to the front for their solos. Dodie was accompanied by guitarist (and another one of my favorite singer-songwriters) Orla Gartland, bassist Pete Daynes, drummer Ross Craib, cellist Sophie English, and violinist Will Harvey.

Listen to Dodie here.

Written by: Emerson Redding
Photos by: Emerson Redding