Choker at the House of Blues

On October 28th, 2019, up and coming artist, Choker graced the stage at the House of Blues San Diego to deliver an intimate and beautiful performance. His mix of R&B, Indie, and Rap created a mix of emotions and ultimately left his crowd wanting more.

After hearing about Choker from one of my close friends we decided to go see him live at the House of Blues. Fast forward to Monday night, we made it to the House of Blues and waited in line to enter the Voodoo Room. I had never been to the House of Blues before, so it was interesting to have the Voodoo Room as my first experience. It was a very intimate room composed of paintings that, I am assuming, have something to do with voodoo culture. I noticed that Choker pulls a variety of fans, individuals mainly interested in R&B and Rap and a few Indie fans.

To my surprise, the opener for Choker was bLAck pARty. He is also an up and coming artist, that fuses R&B, electronic sounds, and Rap. He started off with “No Complaints” which created a mellow vibe where you could find yourself swaying. Next, he performed “Bloom” which picked up the energy and got the crowd moving and grooving. Throughout his performance, he mentioned how grateful he was to be on stage. Something I admired about bLAck pARty was his passion for each song. His passion was noticeable and made the crowd appreciate every word that was sung to them. After his performance, he hung out in the crowd as we waited for Choker.

Around 8:40 PM, Choker arrived on stage and immediately started his set with “Brown Steel” from his debut album, PEAK. After performing “Brown Steel” he shook everyone’s hands that stood in the front of the crowd. He captivated his crowd and manifested for all of his fans to be present at the moment.

Choker continued his set with a few slower songs from his PEAK and Honeybloom album. He decided to pick up the energy with “Suzuki Peaches” and got the crowd jumping with him. Keeping the energy up he delivers two more songs “Gradient” and “Petrol Bliss,” which successfully kept the crowd singing and moving.

After leveling the energy with slower songs like “El Dorado,” “Juno,” and “Lucky” he decided to go into the middle of the crowd to perform “Starfruit NYC.” When the beat dropped everyone started jumping and screaming, “S.D IS AN AIRPORT WITH NO WALLS.” After jumping and getting push around, he returned to the stage to wrap up his performance. As the show neared its end, Choker thanked everyone for coming out and said to meet him at the merchandise table.

We asked Choker if he had any advice to people that want to farther their music career and he said,

“Remember to be passionate and genuine about the music you make, the moment you lose your passion others will notice.”

Choker is as honest and genuine as his music. Check out his music here! If you are going to Camp Flog Gnaw this year he will be performing on Saturday at 3:35pm!

Written by: Jasmine Alexander
Photos by: Jasmine Alexander

Clairo at House of Blues San Diego

Clairo played a sold-out show at the House of Blues San Diego on October 18th and certainly did not leave her fans disappointed.

The 21-year-old lo-fi bedroom pop singer, Claire Cottrill, has recently blown up after the release of her debut full-length album, Immunity, gaining positive feedback from fans and critics alike. It was only about two years ago since Clairo released “Pretty Girl” on YouTube and took the world by storm. 

Being a huge Clairo fan myself, I was excited to see what type of crowd she would attract to her sold-old show. I have only seen Clairo perform once and it was at Coachella 2019, where the crowd was small and her set was short. While it was clear that the show was all ages, there was a large representation from Clairo’s young fanbase. At first, I was surprised to see so many young teens in baggy pants and oversized graphic-tees, but I realized they matched Clairo’s aesthetic almost perfectly. Regardless of age, the crowd had high energy that radiated throughout the venue. There were smiles all around, and I could tell that everyone in the room wholeheartedly loves Clairo and that they were ready for a memorable night.

First to take the stage was Oakland-based band, Hello Yello. This punk-alternative-rock band came on stage with high energy and even got the crowd moshing at some points. The band recently released their first EP, Love Wins, and played a few tracks before getting the audience ready for what’s to come.

The next opener was Beabadoobee, staring Filipino-British indie singer Bea Kristi. It was no surprise that she is touring with Clairo because they both have a soft 90’s-alternative sound in their music. The crowd roared as Bea took the stage with her two bandmates, playing hits like “Dance with Me,” “If You Want To,” and “She Plays Bass.” Since the band produces soft and somewhat-emo music, their stage presence relayed accurately as they kept a calm demeanor throughout their set.

Clairo, House of Blues San Diego 10/18/19
Photo by: Brittany Roache

Finally, it was Clairo’s turn to take the stage and you could literally feel the energy of the crowd buzzing from wall to wall. When she finally graced us with her presence on stage, the venue shook and the screams seemed to never end. My heart was racing as I stood in the photo-pit, staring directly at one of my favorite female artists of all time.

This is the first (unedited) picture I took of Clario at the House of Blues San Diego. I find this picture special because it captures the raw essence of her beauty and the angelic glow that she constantly resonates.

Opening with her lead song “Alewife” off her debut-album, Clairo draws the crowd in and keeps their attention focused on the music. Some artists like to open their show with a bang, but Clairo needed to start off the night with something emotional and real – and it was perfect.

Throughout the show, Clairo kept the crowd engaged, frequently taking a knee to get face-to-face with her fans in the front. Playing a mix of songs both old and new, it seemed as if the crowd knew the words to everyone. If her fans weren’t dancing, they were in a trance hearing the melodic tones of the young singer’s voice.

Halfway through the show, Clairo paused and did something that left me speechless. Since Cottrill’s rise-to-fame started on the internet, it is only fitting that she made a joke that recently went viral on Twitter. On the count of three, she made the entire crowd sing Kylie Jenner‘s “Rise and Shine” meme. Even if you were unfamiliar with the meme, it left everyone laughing after hearing the audience sing the words “Rise and Shine” in a high-pitch tone.

This interaction was only the beginning of how Clairo chose to engage with the crowd that night. After singing hits like “Flaming Hot Cheeto’s,” “Bags,” and “Sofia,” she asked her band to leave as she brought out a stool and guitar to switch up the mood. Clairo told the crowd that she has only recently started doing this, but she wanted to end her shows by playing an unreleased song that she wrote on tour in Brooklyn. The song was charming and vulnerable, with lyrics stating “if timing was everything, I’d make some more time.”

As she began to close the concert out with the final song off her album “I Wouldn’t Ask You,” the crowd sang peacefully in unison, getting ready to say goodbye to the beloved singer.

After saying goodbye, it only took about a minute of cheering from her fans until Clairo and her band came back on stage for a three-song encore. She started with her hit “4EVER,” which effortlessly got the crowd dancing.

Before singing her biggest hit “Pretty Girl,” Clairo decided to do something different. She asked the crowd if she could bring a few audience members on stage to host a dance party with her, and it didn’t take long for everyone’s eager hands to shoot up in the air. It was a really special moment to watch as Clairo brought five fans on stage, greeted them with a big hug, and danced their hearts out on stage together.

Clairo and fans on stage during “Pretty Girl” – House of Blues San Diego

Clairo officially ended the concert with her song with Mura Masa, “I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again,” and allowed fans to get one final dance in before ending the night. This may have been Clairo’s second time headlining a show in San Diego, but it definitely won’t be her last.

Written by: Brittany Roache
Photos by: Brittany Roache


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



Tobi Lou at the House of Blues

Up-and-coming artist Tobi Lou delivered a memorable performance that seamlessly merged rap and melodic pop into one lighthearted and fun show on Saturday, September 28.

I arrived at the House of Blues, the hottest venue in all of San Diego, about two hours before Tobi Lou got on stage. A little too early if I must say, as I sat around for an hour before the employees let me in to the event. The show was held on the smaller stage called “The Voodoo Room” which I had never been to before.

The show began with the artist named Lil Trxptendo who brought a lot of good energy into the early hours of the performance. At the young age of 17, Lil Trxptendo has brought his music into the limelight, a feat that he was very proud to discuss in between songs. At one point, he even invited four audience members on stage where they all danced together and had a “woah” off. For those of you unfamiliar, a “woah” is a popular yet easy dance move that has come into the limelight during 2019.

The next artist to hit the stage was Femdot, a rapper out of Chicago. With the recent release of his project 94 Camry Music, the energy was off the charts. His live performance consisted of a mix of hype songs that had the crowd jumping and smooth, introspective tracks about his struggles. 

As I waited for Tobi Lou to come on stage, I stood outside the venue to get a little bit of a break. Sitting there going through my photos so far, I turned to see Tobi Lou, with his easily recognizable four puffs of blonde hair, himself just hanging out with his squad getting ready for his performance. He was approximately 5 feet away for a solid 20 minutes, and I wanted to say “what’s goooood bro can I get a pic” so bad but felt like that would be annoying right before his performance. Maybe I was just too deep in my own head.

Anyways, Tobi started his performance with one of my personal favorite songs “I Was Sad Last Night I’m Ok Now” and it was nothing short of great. The audience had been waiting a long time and knew all the lyrics to every song. He emits a bubbly, lighthearted, yet confident stage energy that was rare to see from an artist that is still considered “on the come up”.

I hadn’t heard of Tobi before going to the concert, but I actually consider myself a fan now. His style of music is right up my alley, and many of his songs have since been added to my go-to playlist. His “Happy + Extra Sad” nation-wide tour will be continuing until 10/20, where his final show will take place in his hometown of Chicago. If you like upbeat, modern rap music with a taste of bubbly pop, check out Tobi Lou here.

Written by: Justin Neeley
Photos by: Justin Neeley