Concert Review: Tai Verdes

Photo Credits: Faren Holland

Tai Verdes performed on the main stage of San Diego’s House of Blues on 4/20

Tai Verdes got his start on Tik Tok with his song “Stuck In The Middle” which quickly became a viral hit. He has also debuted songs such as  “A-O-K,” “Sheesh!,” and “DRUGS,” which have all seen success on Tik Tok and even made their way over to mainstream radio. With Tai’s newfound stardom, he has been able to turn his Tik Tok hobby into a music career and was able to quit his job at Verizon Wireless.

Tai Verdes had a fantastic set that had fans dancing and singing to every song. When looking into the crowd, it was very obvious that Tai has many dedicated fans. It is quite rare for an artist who starts on Tik Tok to have a big and dedicated fanbase outside of social media, but it appears that Tai Verdes was able to break that barrier. 

Tai Verdes, photo credits: Faren Holland

His music style is very happy and positive. He even took time during his set to speak to the audience and encourage everyone to follow their dreams, just like he did. I have never felt so uplifted by an artist; it was like a concert and a motivational speech all in one. 

Tai Verdes brought his own band with him which consisted of a bass player, guitar player, and drummer. They did a great job performing and interacting with each other. The energy between Tai and the band was contagious and just watching them have fun up on stage made me have an even better time in the audience. At one point during the set, Tai even jumped down into the audience and walked around while singing.

Tai Verdes, photo credits: Faren Holland

Tai Verdes has a song called “DRUGS” which is about doing drugs to “change his mind up,” as quoted from the lyrics. Since the show was on 4/20, obviously, this song was a big hit. It was such a crowd-pleaser during the main set that when the crowd was chanting for an encore, Tai and his band performed “DRUGS” again and it was just as big a hit. He even lit up a blunt and passed it around the stage with his band to celebrate.

Overall this concert was very good and entertaining. Tai Verdes’ ultra-positive personality and music paired with the crowd’s energy made for a very enjoyable night. I would highly recommend going to see Tai Verdes live. Whether you’re a superfan or just know a few songs, it will be a great time.

Written by: Faren Holland

Concert Review: Tai Verdes at the House of Blues

Photo Credits: Katerina Portela

What better way to spend 4/20 than with the positive energy of Tai Verdes? His San Diego show took place at the House of Blues on April 20th, 2022 for his first-ever “HDTV” tour following the release of the debut album “TV.” To say that it was a lively crowd would be an understatement. Something about his music inspires bright colors, which was clearly present in the style among his mostly young fans. The opener was an 18-year-old from Toronto who went by “renforshort,” cooing her music in an airy voice that echoed the likes of Phoebe Bridgers. She was chatty and kept the crowd alive with quips between songs. A memorable one was before her song titled “Moshpit,” which she described as “being about a bad relationship and not at all about a real moshpit because I have crippling social anxiety and wouldn’t last a second in one.” The smooth, indie-pop sound of renforshort coupled with her relatable sense of humor perfectly set the stage for the main act everyone was waiting for, Tai Verdes. 

Before the show, I did some research on Verdes and found his unique story of starting out as an unknown phone salesman dreaming of a career in music, releasing a song on Tiktok that went viral, and getting a jumpstart on his career from competing in (and winning) an MTV dating show. Through all of this, the main thing I learned about Verdes is that he never stops trying, a mantra he said himself at one point between songs— “One thing I’ma tell you guys,” he shouted. “Is never f**king give up!” This relentless spirit was apparent tonight in his performance. 

Tai Verdes stepped on stage a little after 8:00 with a dramatic pause and immediately launched into “Happy Til it Hurts,” a track from his album “TV.” The lyrics described his experience starting at a low point and working his way up with big aspirations. This seemed a fitting start to his show both lyrically and musically as it was passionate and groovy. Verdes made sure to give every song a fun edge and as you might find listening to his discography, most of his music is perfect to sing along to. His recent album TV captures the catchiness and summery feel of poolside pop. He constantly encouraged the crowd to sing along and had an expressive way of delivering every lyric. Verdes also incorporated his talented band, giving them the spotlight to shine and bring the energy to his instrumentals. The bassist I remember especially for bouncing around behind Verdes and absolutely killing the backup vocals. You may have heard Verdes’ viral first single, “Stuck in the Middle,” which starts off with a bouncy riff and the catchy lyrics: “She said, you’re a player aren’t you, and I bet you got hoes.” The bass took on an important role then, leading the way for the song while the crowd screamed along. 

Tai Verdes performing at the House of Blues San Diego
Photo Credits: Katerina Portela

Part of the reason that this show was so enjoyable was because of how fun his music is: every song had the crowd dancing while Verdes himself smiled the entire time. The colors flashed between electric blue, scarlet red, and shades of yellow and orange: vibrancy shone through the entire show. For his two most well-known songs, Tai Verdes went to the crowd and asked an audience member a question, the answer to which would segway into the music. For example, in “Stuck in the Middle,” he actually leaped down and weaved his way to the center of the crowd to ask a young fan, “Hey, do you know what she said to me?” The fan, bursting with excitement, replied “You’re a player aren’t you!” and the song started with a bang. His fresh take on participating with the audience kept everyone engaged and when he stepped off the stage, it didn’t take long before everyone was screaming for more. He returned for a final encore for a song that he had already played, but somehow managed to make it even more energetic, namely because the song was called “Drugs,” and because of the occasion, it makes sense why the audience got so into it. 

Verdes left in a cloud of smoke, shining in sweat from the absolute effort he puts into every song and of course giving one last signature smile. When the show was truly over, I was surprised to find myself out of breath from all the singing and dancing that his music brought out of me. Tai Verdes brought the excitement to San Diego with his colorful and infectious joy during this explosive debut tour, an energy that I’m excited to see more of as his career continues.

Written by: Katerina Portela

Soleima at Music Box

Denmark-based artist Soleima played an unforgettable performance at Music Box on Tuesday, February 25 to a sold out crowd.

I had the opportunity to head into the venue before the show and got to talk to Sarah, the singer of Soleima, about her music and what is coming up for her this year. Before the interview, I watched the soundcheck in an empty Music Box. This was like my own personal Soleima show, and it was such a cool experience. I got to hear two songs that she would later perform live.

What got you into creating music?

So I actually always have been around music. My family did music and I went to this music kind of high school. In this high school, some kids and I started a band together. It was a 7-piece hip hop band, actually. We must have been around 13 or something; it was me and 6 boys. In the beginning, obviously, it was for fun, but then we actually got a label deal in Denmark. We started doing it a bit, like not professionally, we never lifted from it. We earned money on it and we toured a lot in Denmark. So that was how I started to see it as just a bit more than a hobby. Then after that, I did a lot of other things. I have a bachelor in Anthropology and I did that for a while. Then, I was writing songs together with my friend actually. We wanted to be top liners, we wanted to write songs for others. One day, I realized that I was sitting with these songs and I really didn’t want to give them away. So that is when this project started.

What were your goals and ambitions for your music when you first started?

I think because it started out this way, I was just pretty, I don’t know surprised. I don’t know if that is the right word. I was pretty grateful that something good happened because it kind of came out of the blue. Or at least, that I was supposed to be an artist on my own. So I think in the beginning I was just very grateful and happy that I was able to do it. I guess the more you do it, the more your ambitions and your dreams around it grow. The biggest dream for me is to make the music, first of all, that I want to make, and not make something that people are trying to make me do. For people to hear it, to be able to come here and play 20 concerts in your country, and show my music to everyone. That is definitely my goal and my dream.

How has your music evolved since you first started?

I think, especially on this album that comes out in March, it’s my first full length album, I think that it has an aggressiveness to it that my previous writing has not had in it. I think it is very much about daring to be a bit more honest and maybe also showing some parts of my emotional life that maybe aren’t that flattering always. I haven’t really been daring to do that much earlier. So that is something I am very proud of on this album that I really want to keep working on, and keep being brave that way. It is also something that makes it more nerve wracking to show it to people because of that honesty. 

The song and music video for Roses came out about a month ago now, so what went into that song and video?

So that song is actually very much like a manifestation of exactly what I just said. I think I was at a place in my life where I had just signed a deal here in the states. I guess I was just thinking and worrying a bit too much about what people wanted me to make, or what they expected of me. Good songs don’t come from that. The song is a realization of that. It’s about setting boundaries and being able to say no and being able to reclaim your own creativity. It very much has this aggressiveness that I was just talking to you about. In the song, I am kind of singing to someone saying, “Do you think you could change me?”, a “what the fuck?” kind of thing. For me at least, it’s more than a song for someone else, it’s a song for myself being like, hey, people around you are always going to try to affect you, especially in a creative field. It has to be your job to be like, this is my space, this is my art. It’s going to be this way or it’s not going to be. In that way, it has kind of an almost therapeutic effect writing that song on me. It is an important song for me to write.

What is the most meaningful song you’ve created?

That’s a hard one. I think that always changes a bit because right now Roses is so important to me. It had a big meaning for me, it actually affected my life. Sometimes you feel that way with a song, sometimes it will change and you will write another one that is exactly about what you are going through at that moment. I recently wrote a song for my mom, and that means a lot to me. It is my first time writing that directly to someone from my family. That was pretty wild for me. 

Who would you consider your musical inspirations?

I have always listened to a lot of different music. Growing up I listened a lot to hip hop, especially older stuff like old school, like Pharcyde and Wu-Tang, and all of that stuff. We listened a lot to old R&B, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, all of that. Later on after listening to more pop stuff, right now I am listening a lot from a girl called Kali Uchis, it is super good. I see my music as very much a hybrid, it is a merge of a lot of different things. In the beginning when I started writing, I saw that as a disadvantage. It is so popular to be very conceptual and to have these very clean concepts around your art. I tried to do that, or I wanted to be more like that. I’m not that way. My music is very much a merge of a lot of things. I am seeing it more as a quality and I am really trying to embrace it and own it. 

How would you describe your sound?

That’s hard. One producer I work a lot with in Denmark, he once called it Garage Pop. I imagine me sitting there in my garage like hitting pots and pans and stuff. I thought it was such a fun description, avoiding to put it in a label. Especially because it is such a hybrid, Garage Pop sounds so cool. 

What is next for you and what do you want to accomplish in this upcoming year?

Releasing an album is such a big thing for me. I think in these single days, it is such a special thing to be able to release an album from a major label, to wanting to work a full album. A lot of songs, there isn’t singles, and would never have a life as a single. I think for me as an artist, that format is what I enjoy most, listening to them, and it’s what I want to make. It is a big thing for me, definitely. And then, I want to play a lot more. This has been my first time playing so many shows in a row. Just, both for me and my band to evolve is amazing. And to be so close to people with the music has been such a great experience. I think the music comes to life, and gets a whole new life in the meeting with someone who has never heard it before. That has been a big adventure. That is definitely one of my two pillars this year, to play as much as possible and to really focus on giving this album a good life. 

I got to spend the first three songs in the photo pit, which was an amazing experience. The first two songs, she spent jamming out, running all over the stage, always engaging the crowd. For the third song, she was behind the piano. She talked about how it was an experimental song that she was testing out. This song was incredible. It had the crowd going crazy. It merged all these different genres that we talked about in the interview. It was not like anything that I have ever heard before. 

Once I left the photo pit, I joined everyone else in the crowd. She performed the song Roses, which is my favorite song of hers. Everyone in the crowd was either dancing, had their hands up in the air, and there were some people singing along. You could really tell how much San Diego loves what Soleima is doing with her music. She kept interacting with the crowd, thanking everyone for being there, and talking about how crazy it is that she is playing in the United States. San Diego was the last date on the U.S. tour, after 30 days and 21 shows. Even though it was the end of tour, Soleima was still filled with so much energy and passion.

Soleima’s sound is so different than what other music is out there today. If you have never listened to her, this is your sign to do so.

You can watch the video for Roses here.

Written By: McCaeley O’Rourke
Photos By: McCaeley O’Rourke

Logan Mize at the House Of Blues

Sold Out Saturday Night: Logan Mize rocks the House of Blues Voodoo Room on February 8th, 2020.

I’ll say it, I’m a sucker for country concerts. Maybe it’s the plethora of attractive southern looking men in flannels or the music that reminds me of summer. Regardless, I love to support up and coming artists and when given the opportunity to attend a concert you bet I’ll be front row.

I Aint Gotta Grow Up Tour

This was my first trip to The House of Blues and I was not disappointed. The ambiance, the location, and the acoustics all made this concert such an enjoyable experience. The show took place in the Voodoo Room which was a smaller room located inside the HOB. The size of the room seemed to make this concert seem intimate and personal, which enhanced the experience. With doors opening at seven and the concert beginning at 8:30 you got to know the people standing around you and encouraged socialization.

San Diego Local Stephen Ray opens the show

The opening act Stephen Ray is a San Diego local, and country music artist who has opened for some of the biggest names in country. Names such as Chris Janson, Parmalee, and Cody Johnson. He frequents venues like Tin Roof, and Moonshine Beach so you are likely to run into him preforming at some point if you frequent bars that have live music! Stephen started the show by playing some originals like his most recent single “New Plus One” and by covering John Denver’s “Country Roads” which definitely the crowd singing.

Up Next for Stephen…

I ran into Stephen and his lovely girlfriend Devin after his performance where we chatted about their future move to Nashville, and how great his set was. I’ve already bought tickets for Stephen’s next show downtown at Tin Roof where he will be opening up for Love and Theft on February 22, I am excited to see his career take off!

Logan Mize

Logan Mize has recently found his groove and has gained the attention of country music fans everywhere. Logan has opened for country stars like Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, Erik Church, and Dierks Bentley. The singer-songwriter from Kansas has been perusing a career in music since 2010 and most recently dropped a new EP From the Vault.

Better Off Gone

Logan closed out the night by taking the crowd on a trip of all of his newest and best hits. Hits like “Better Off Gone” his biggest song to date, although being released in 2017, the song has gained traction on the country radio charts recently and almost everyone at the concert knew the lyrics by heart. I Aint Gotta Grow Up” Logan’s most recent drop ft. Willie Jones and the namesake of the tour is country radios newest find and is the perfect summer jam all about a “good time all night country kind of throwdown.” Mize has a solid stage presence, knows how to command the attention of a crowd, and had everyone singing the night away.

This concert was music to my country-loving ears and made for the perfect Saturday Night. It’s always refreshing to listen to new and upcoming talent and The House of Blues is a perfect place to do just that. Look out for Stephen Ray and Logan Mize, they are doing great things for country music it’s only up from here!

Written by: Vanessa Rock
Photos By: @jennisoncloud9, Devin Dilday