FLETCHER: Girl of My Dreams Tour Concert Review

LOS ANGELES — Closing night of her sold out tour and first debut album, “Girl of My Dreams”, FLETCHER (Cari Fletcher) takes the stage at the Hollywood Palladium.

After playing over 100 shows this year, 2022 has proven to be a transformative year for the queer 28-year-old pop-rock artist. She released her first debut album, “Girl of My Dreams” which made its way to #15 albums on the billboard 200, performing 4 sold-out tours around the world and selling over 100,000 tickets. Tonight she performed many songs off her new album, a cover of Britney Spears’ song “If U Seek Amy”, and past singles off of her EP tracks, “you ruined new york city for me” and “THE S(EX) TAPES”. 

FLETCHER posted on her socials before the show, “LA night 1 you were magical. i dreamed about playing shows like this my whole life. i’ve played over 100 shows this year, and tonight is the last one. night 2 bring me every bit of energy you have, i’ll be giving you everything i’ve got.” 

…  and that’s exactly what she did. 

Following an exciting night one in Los Angeles, FLETCHER came on stage just before 9:30 PM for night two, opening with her song, “Guess We Lied…”. Looking as stunning as ever she was dressed in an all-white outfit with her usual fun and flirty top and baggy pants that would be later stripped off to reveal the matching set. 

Fans came prepared with energy and showed FLETCHER just how well-rehearsed they were with the new album. It was a surreal feeling being able to experience how FLETCHER connects with her audience and the confidence she exudes both on stage and in her voice. In her songs like “All Love” and “Her Body Is Bible”, she hit and held high notes all while being supported by her talented band members on stage. 

A crowd filled with so much diversity and love for the artist made for an unforgettable experience. A perfect example of the fans’ dedication to FLETCHER took place after an interlude of the artist opening up about her struggles with mental health and performance anxiety. The artist was talking about how she found her place on the stage and provided words of wisdom to fans inspired by her healing journey. A smooth transition to the next song, “For Cari” is based on her self-love journey and celebrating herself. As the first couple of chords strummed on guitar, the fans in the front five rows all held up signs with a baby picture of Cari (FLETCHER) with the phrase “This one’s for her ♡”. Immediately after she noticed the signs, the artist burst out into tears and stepped back from the mic.

As a fan in the crowd, it was a very emotional moment and I caught glimpses of those around me tearing up as well. The room filled with cheers to show support and she returned to the mic to say “You guys are gonna pull out my baby pictures and then expect me not to bawl my eyes out? We gotta run this back real quick”. With the signs still being held in the air, the song started over again with the audience serenading along the way. 

Fletcher performing “For Cari”

A night packed with love, music, and emotion made for a special conclusion for the “Girl of My Dreams” tour. Being able to attend her show was a dream come true for a longtime fan like myself. It has been fulfilling to see how she has grown over the years with her music and newfound self-love. I am eager to see what the future holds for the artist as these sold-out shows will most likely lead her to book bigger venues. Things are just getting started for FLETCHER. 

Alvvays Concert Review

A dreampop resurgence has swept the music scene as of late. The sonic landscapes of classic bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, Lush, and Slowdive have caught the attention of a younger generation who needs something to drown out their worries of a disgruntled society that is slowly falling apart. The chorus-laden, overdriven guitars that wash over the mix with their bombastic reverb; the steady drone of the ride cymbal that somehow cuts through the mix to steady the band; the anchoring root notes of the bass that perfectly compliments that kick drum; the soft, bittersweet vocal lines that are barely heard underneath the wall of sound– these are all hallmarks of the dreampop experience. Contemporary bands have taken this torch from their forebearers and made the genre pop-focused through an emphasis on danceability and vocal hooks. 

Two bands at the forefront of this resurgence, Alvvays and Slow Pulp, graced the stage at Observatory North Park on October 30th. Alvvays was touring in support of their latest album Blue Rev, which picks up where their sophomore album, Antisocialities, left off. The band finds themself settling into their own sonic territory with their meticulously crafted compositions that feature classic synth strings and soaring vocals. Blue Rev should be heralded as frontperson Molly Rankin’s magnum opus of power pop songs. The cliches of classic song structures do not hold down the album, but elevate it to a greater level of artistic achievement. Alvvays finds a way to reinvent the monotonous intro-verse-chorus formula into something fresh and exciting. 

Slow Pulp took the stage first and immediately grabbed the attention of the sold out crowd. They opened up their set with “Idaho” off of their latest album, Moveys, which showcased their signature sound. Singer Emily Massey’s overdriven, dark guitar tone perfectly complemented lead guitarist Henry Stoeher’s chimering, bright leads that floated on top of each arrangement. Massey’s vocals were spot on as well, gracefully singing the chorus hook of “I’m losing all the while” that made the crowd feel like they were elevating to an ethereal plane. 

Slow Pulp performing “High”

However, the highlight of their set was a heavy version of their biggest hit, “High”. The intro featured Massey alone in the spotlight gently singing and softly strumming the guitar, singing about the woes of consuming too much of an unnamed substance that has led to a state of anxiety and paranoia. Massey subtly trails off vocally before regaining herself to exclaim the main refrain “I just think I’m too high” which prompted the band to explode in sound. Drummer Teddy Matthews was hitting the cymbals with such force and intensity that he hovered high above his seat in the frenzy. The crowd couldn’t help but follow bassist Alex Leed’s lead of bobbing their head to the chugged downbeats of distorted guitar chords. All in all, Slow Pulp’s performance was extremely memorable and even rivaled that of the headlining act. 

Later in the night, Alvvays arrived and assumed their position on stage. With the musicians in the foreground, the back wall featured VHS projections of winding country roads and psychedelic imagery of distorted shapes that quickly moved across the background. Everything about the stage setup was so eloquently thought out and showed the lengths the band took in creating the best show possible. After a five-year hiatus, Alvvays has grown to understand their image and the best way to portray it in a live setting. 

The band opened up by playing the two lead singles from their latest release, “Pharmacist” and “After the Earthquake”, along with “In Undertow” from their sophomore album. From here, it felt like the band, along with the sound mixing, was finally settled in and the show was ready to begin. Rankin expressed her gratitude for the crowd and gave a brief praise for the city of San Diego before leading the band into “Very Online Guy”.

This performance was one of the best I’ve seen in my brief, yet dense, concert-going experience. Throughout the entirety of the song, Rankin crouched down to fiddle with a Memory Man pedal (a device that adds a modulated delay to the input signal, which would be Rankin’s vocals in this case) where she made drastic changes to her vocals. Foreseeing this move, the band attached a camera to the mic stand that projected a live-feed to the back wall, allowing the audience to understand why the vocals sounded so warped and otherworldly. In conjunction with this, Sheridan Riley’s post-punk inspired drumbeat, reminiscent of The Fall, drove the song with its awkward grooves. Lead guitarist Alec O’Hanley opted to play a synth in tandem with his bandmate, keyboardist Kerri MacLellan, rather than his usual Fender Jaguar for the song, adding to the 8-bit aesthetic. The ending featured Rankin suddenly putting her eye underneath the camera that added an additional level of commentary to her woes about reply guys. “Very Online Guy” showcases Alvvays at their best and the live performance felt surreal.

Alvvays playing “Very Online Guy”

The rest of their setlist was mostly songs from Blue Rev peppered with a few fan favorites from their first two albums. Alvvays did a great job at finding a way to have smooth transitions in between songs and avoiding the awkward silence that loudly presents itself during tuning breaks. Choosing to have the heavenly vocal-organ duo of “Fourth Figure” lead into restlessness of post-grad life in “Archie, Marry Me” is one of the many examples of the band’s attention to momentum when building their setlist. 

Alvvays capped off the night with an encore including “Atop A Cake” and “Lottery Noises”. During the former, a small mosh pit broke out in the middle of the crowd which garnered dirty looks from the band. Despite this, the band still seemed to enjoy their time on stage and make the experience worthwhile. Their memorable performance made attendants leave from smiles on their faces and positive chatter of how the band has truly come into their own.

Review by Adam Remmers

Alex G Concert Review

By Adam Remmers

On October 22, we had the pleasure of seeing Alex G live at the North Park Observatory. Alex G, a once underground artist with a cultish following that has now found mainstream success, was touring in support of his new album God Save the Animals. The album marks another change of form in the artist’s discography as Alex G dives deeper into the sounds of hyperpop, ambient, and jangle rock. In tandem with the impactful brevity of his lyrics, the album is a must-listen for all music fans and a contender for one of the year’s best.

Excitement filled the room as the crowd anxiously awaited Alex G to take the stage. People were chatting about what songs they were dying to hear; some ready to hear the live interpretations of new songs  such as “Ain’t It Easy” and others were eagerly hoping to hear deep cuts such as “Message” that would acknowledge the hardcore fans in attendance. Despite the mix between old and new fans, there was a sense of community among concertgoers. The deeply personal lyricism found throughout all of Alex G’s music served as a common thread for all to relate to. 

Alex G opened up his set with a faithful rendition of “S.D.O.S.”. A strong opener for sure, the hypnotizing piano melody locked in perfectly with the drummer’s tight groove and the bassist’s  simple, yet conscientious counterpoint harmonies. The whole crowd went wild when Alex G began to sing the main refrain, “God is my designer / Jesus is my Lawyer / Curled up in the Shower / High above the tower”. From there, the lead guitarist noodled on some chords before landing on the main progression for “Runner”. The crowd went wild as soon as they recognized the song and phones immediately shot up in the air. It was a masterful performance and you could tell Alex G was in the zone from the quick smiles he flashed in between vocal phrases. 

Alex G playing “Brick”

As the set continued on, the energy from the crowd fed into the band’s performance. Even in spite of the mellow nature of songs like “Judge” or “Mission”, the audience found a way to dance and sway to the steady drum beats and downpicked guitar melodies. When the band broke into one of their heaviest songs, “Brick”, there was a drastic change of pace. The lights quickly changed to a dark red hue as the lead guitarist played the abrasive opening riff. Suddenly, Alex G began banging on piano keys, focusing on creating a cacophony rather than harmony, and screaming into the mic. The energy was so high that Alex G was hovering above his piano seat which nearly knocked over the microphone and keyboard at a certain point. His wide range of artistry was on display with this chaotic juxtaposition of sound and performance. 

Another highlight of his set was the live rendition of “Gretel”. The sped up, autotuned intro played longer than the studio version, building up tension before erupting into the main riff. Alex G opted for doubled distorted guitars instead of an acoustic to give the song a heavier feel. Along with the crashing cymbals, the new arrangement felt as if the band was debuting a new song that was almost Pixies-esque with the loud-quiet-loud structure. 

The crowd was very much in the mood to dance, and two heavy mosh pits opened up quite early in the set. The rest of the show consisted of a great mix of old and new songs, and for the encore, he asked the crowd to yell out songs they wanted to hear, or hold them up on their phones. The singer-songwriter ended his set with a six song encore, playing older, more well-known songs like “Mary”, “Sarah”, and “Gnaw.” 

It was very exciting to see how far Alex G has come, as he continues to hone in his sound and vary his discography with each release. The instrumentation and production quality of this concert was very professional, and the music really stood out while still having the vocals mixed in a perfect amount. We are excited to see which direction Alex G will go next as he continues to blossom as a rising singer-songwriter in the music industry. 

Claiming Cal Coast: Omar Apollo

Stopping in San Diego for his third show of “The Prototype Tour,” Omar Apollo (Omar Apolonio) takes the stage at Cal Coast Open Air Theater.

Beginning his musical career on SoundCloud, Omar Apollo has since remained in the music industry for seven years. During the span of these seven years, Apollo has released five albums, and tonight, performed at least one song off each album. The stage design, the assisting band, and the fans created an unforgettable experience throughout the night. 

Having some free time before the show, Apollo was spotted throughout San Diego State University. Fans caught him playing football, and those who were lucky enough were able to get a photo with the musician. After activities settled down, fans gathered throughout the venue and settled in their seats to witness opener Rayvn Lenae.

Entering the stage at 9:00 PM, Apollo was dressed in black from head to toe with matching sheer black gloves. Omar Apollo kicked off his set with a song specifically from his newest album, “Ivory”. Fans immediately erupted into screams and pulled out their cell phones to capture the moment. Apollo grabbed his guitar and strummed the tune to his song “Useless”. Apollo has voiced his love for his fans throughout his concert, and during tonight’s show, sung in both English and Spanish. Throughout his concert he switched languages to perform some of his popular Spanish songs; “En El Olvido,” “Dos Uno Nueve,” and “Frío”. 

Working his way through his expansive discography, Omar Apollo did not shy away from performing songs that contained features not present at the venue. A few songs of Apollo’s contain features from artists such as Kali Uchis, Ruel, and Daniel Caesar; however, their verses were performed by Apollo and a unique spin was added to highlight his vocals. 

There was no consistent flow to the show, Apollo kept his fans on their toes. The show would go from soft love songs to sped up rock, fluctuating moods throughout the show. Couples could be seen swaying to “Petrified,” then jumping to “Tamagotchi” a few moments later. Apollo has very passionate fans singing every word to his songs; they even caught his attention at the beginning of the show.  

I have been a fan of Omar Apollo’s work for quite some time, and it was an amazing experience to see him live. He is eagerly excited to share his music in a live performance rather than just streaming services. Seeing fans gather and hearing them scream to his music creates a whole different experience and gives life to Apollo’s music. On behalf of LiveNation and KCR College Radio, I am ecstatic to have had an opportunity to cover Omar Apollo at the Cal Coast Open Air Theater.