Tame Impala at Treasure Island Music Festival

Seeing Tame Impala live at Treasure Island Music Festival was an opportunity I’d never dreamed of experiencing. 

Led by record-producer and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker, Tame Impala is one of the world’s greatest mysteries. After being blown away by them, I wrote about the whole experience for those looking to experience it themselves.

The show:

Opening with the short interlude “Nangs” gave the perfect vibe of what the show would be like. The crowd was enticed by the fog pouring in from both sides of the stage, while the slowly changing lights immersed us all into the trip we were about to undertake. Slowly but surely, Kevin Parker’s voice began to sing “but is there something more than that?” Who knew 7 words could elicit such a feeling of love and excitement from a group of fans.

Tame Impala followed this moment with their hit single, “Let It Happen.” At this point, lasers began to shine, which seemed almost close enough to touch. The lasers bounced to the bass, following the sound at each turn as if they were magically being shot out of the band’s instruments. I felt as if it was the first time I was hearing the song even though I knew all of the words. As the song transitioned, Kevin did something we didn’t expect; He had the audience clap along, something you usually wouldn’t see at a psychedelic rock concert. He transformed us into instruments, adding percussion with our hands.

“Are you ready?” Kevin asked. And suddenly, confetti was covering the sky. The visuals at this concert were nothing short of breathtaking, seductive even.

Tame Impala’s lasers

Tame Impala proceeded to throw it back with “Sundown Syndrome,” their first official 2009 single. Being a sultry song, the band shifted the music into having a jazzier flow, while Kevin’s soft spoken vocals taught us how to sway.

The Moment” started and at this point we were all in our own little worlds. It’s such a fun and easy going song, it’s hard not to dance along. The band followed this with a snippet of  “Sestri Levante” to get us into the mood for something amazing: “Elephant.” This ultimate classic had us all on another level. If you’ve ever seen the Disney movie Dumbo, the song is literally like that one scene with the elephants where you think you’re on drugs. It’s crazy and hypnotic, and Kevin was throwing us through the ringer.

Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?” was a very hardcore song compared to the others. It was almost like we were in the studio with Kevin as he wrote out the words, unsure and scared of what the feelings he was having meant. Next, “Eventually” came on with its’ distorted and romantic chords. The visuals for this song were also out of this world. The layers of lasers were immersed into a moving cloudy sky of light, flowing with the sound of the guitar. This song is heavily drum based compared to the other songs, so it was amazing to see how they added everything together in person.

Afterwards, “Yes I’m Changing” threw everyone into a reflective mood, as the song holds feelings of love and heartache. This song is about growing and becoming a better person, but not forgetting about who you are and not letting your past hold you down. “There is another future waiting there for you” he sang, telling us all that there is so much we can do to change. This song is the perfect mix of nostalgia and yearning. If you’re going through anything right now, this is the song to listen to. It’s hopeful, and it really makes you think.

The almost romantic but somehow savage song that is “The Less I Know The Better” started playing and we were all in a daze. If you haven’t heard this song before, I would stop what you’re doing right now and look it up. That’s it, I can’t ruin it, you’ll have to listen to it for yourself.

Amongst the excitement and shock of hearing that song live, the audience was blown away by something none of us expected. Tame Impala’s first performance of “Jeremy’s Storm” since November 2012. We were truly lucky to be there and be witnessing something like this. Kevin even said himself that they didn’t even soundcheck it and they were just going to go for it. This song had the most simple visuals which really showed off the bands’ roots. 

Love/Paranoia” was like a lullaby to us all, waking us up to the dreams that the song emitted. For a song about cheating, it’s one of their most beautiful songs. It feels almost as if you’re trapped in a loop, trying to push out and escape. And somehow, Tame Impala makes it feel like you want to be there.

Alter Ego” felt like we were all going through some sort of time machine into the past. And it was almost as if we were all traveling together, on a journey to trying to go back to the beginning of the show, knowing the end of it was near. “Apocalypse Dreams” rang out like a cry as we all danced, not wanting it to ever end. One of their longer songs, it was perfect to end on.

Beginning the encore, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” played with a feeling of hope. Right as the song started, confetti filled the air and we were all moving in the air with it. I was realizing in this point that it really was the end of the show, and this was Tame Impala in their purest form. I didn’t want it to end.

Their last song was introduced with Kevin saying some parting words. “We will see you real soon, I promise,” he said, as “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” began. Everyone was holding onto his words of ‘seeing us real soon’, because he was still in front of us! During the interlude, Kevin spoke: “Alright guys. This is it! This is the last one. We will see you really soon. We love you! Thank you.” Confetti filled the sky one last time. It was the hardest goodbye.

WHAT NOW?

If you ever have the chance to see Tame Impala live, DO IT. Tame Impala has perfected this art of psychedelic, sexy, but somehow distorted way of catching your eye and making you never want to turn back. It was one of the most magical shows I have ever experienced, and for that I am so grateful, and excited, for what is to come with Tame Impala’s future. According to Kevin, we’ll be seeing them “real soon”, and I’ll be sure to hold him to that.

Photos by: Brittany Roache
Written 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

Miguel at the Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheatre

With an incredibly smooth and sexy aesthetic, there’s no wonder Miguel sold out his show at the Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheatre.

On Monday, September 19, Miguel came to the SDSU campus for his War and Leisure tour, alongside Dvsn. With two songs reaching the Billboard charts this year, “Skywalker” and Kygo’s ‘Remind Me to Forget”, expectations were high for Miguel’s performance. Thankfully, he was outstanding.

Miguel’s music consists of a very smooth, sultry sound with hints of raspiness and rock intermingling with a Spanish flare. He gives off a Michael Jackson vibe through his dance moves, as he effortlessly moonwalks and slides across the stage. Influences from Prince are apparent as well, with Miguel’s bold outfits, confidence, and passion all coming across in his performance. Although Miguel’s inspiration from these two artists were prevalent throughout the show, it’s very clear that Miguel has his own unique music style.

Amazingly, there was never a dull moment in the show. Despite the audience standing throughout the concert, set and costume changes remained entertaining, as the audience was treated to guitar solos from his band. Miguel had complete control over the audience as he performed and had everyone singing along with him, swaying their hands in the air. The crowd favorites were definitely “How Many Drinks?”, “Waves,” and “Pineapple Skies.” He talked about how he loves San Diego and how it feels good to be back at the beach which inspired his song, “Come Through and Chill.” Miguel additionally got up close and personal with the crowd during his medley of his past top songs.

After witnessing his stunning performance, I cannot physically restrain myself from listening to his music! It’s as though someone is forcing my brain to release endorphins anytime I hear one of his songs. Not only are the songs catchy, but their surprisingly all positive. Miguel reinforced this message as he gave several speeches regarding how society puts pressure on us to act different and be other people, which had everyone cheering in agreement. Miguel made it clear that he believes in loving ourselves and being honest as he introduced his new unreleased song “So I Lie.”

A little caveat; I had previously seen Miguel in 2016 at the Hollywood Bowl, where I witnessed him opening for Sia. This performance served to remind me of what an amazing vocalist and dancer he truly is. I’ve been to many concerts and I’d have to say Miguel is one of the best live performers. It’s difficult for an artist to sound as good as the studio versions while performing live, but Miguel pulled it off. The impressive high notes he was able to hit, while also dancing across the stage and shredding the electric guitar, shocked not only me but the entire audience as well. If you’re looking for an artist who knows how to mesmerize an audience with their smooth vocals and outstanding stage presence, then I definitely recommend that you go and see Miguel on his War and Leisure tour or any of his other performances in the future.

 

Review By: Alexandra Will
Photos By: Alexandra Will

 

Game of Thrones Live at Viejas Arena

Game of Thrones Live at the Viejas Arena was a phenomenal experience which allowed fans to relive all the highlights from the series.

If you don’t watch Game of Thrones… you are definitely missing out! After the concert, my excitement for season 8 has reached unprecedented heights. For those unfamiliar, German composer Ramin Djawadi is the mind behind all the beautiful, heartbreaking, and intense scores we hear during the show that always leaves us wanting more.

In addition to his work on Game of Thrones, Djawadi attended Berklee College of Music, worked with Hans Zimmer. and even won an Emmy for his work on the Season 7 Finale “The Dragon and the Wolf.” His contributions to Game of Thrones are embedded within the show’s DNA; Just as the characters and houses have evolved over time, so too has his themes. For example, Daenerys Targaryen’s theme started small, but became progressively more powerful after each season. Daenerys has proven herself to be a “Khaleesi” to many, so it’s only fitting her song grew with her. Her theme was initially built with only a cello, and has progressed into the powerful and strong song that it is now. During the concert, as Daenerys became stronger, she would say ‘dracarys’ and the stage would glow in flames.

Djawadi conducted an 80-piece orchestra along with a local choir. The set up included a screen that projected the show and multiple stages that separated parts of the world in the series. There was a stage dedicated to King’s Landing and one to Winterfell, with the Iron Throne directly in the middle.

Several soloists surrounded the stage, each dedicating their mastery to a specific song. Violin soloist Molly Rogers performed the House Stark theme while ascending into the air with a huge dress on, as rose petals fell from the sky! Some instruments were even specially crafted for the tour, including a 14-ft Wildling horn, which was used during a scene on the attack of the Wall. A lovely soloist brought fans to heaven (and tears) when they heard “The Rains of Castamere.” With scenes as heartwarming as Ygritte and Jon Snow’s cave scene, to the bloody and heart wrenching The Red Wedding, you are thrown headfirst into the very best moments of Game of Thrones. As “The Light of the Seven” was playing, the whole audience held their breath knowing the Wildfire was about to be lit. I intensely cried during a specific scene of Hodor’s (if you know, you know) as my fellow KCR member Peter Swan comforted me.

During the show, Djawadi even admitted that he had to write the music for season 7 before the writing for the show was even released. He also acknowledged that putting together the Game of Thrones Live Tour took over 3 years. This means they were continuously adding the music as the show was being released!

I am extremely lucky to have had this opportunity to see Ramin Djawadi in action and the unique experience of how the series was brought to life. If you ever have the opportunity to see or hear Djawadi’s work, whether from Game of Thrones, or any of his other work, I strongly recommend it.