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

KCR FEST 4/23

Live, local music and great times to be had with KCR!

On Saturday, April 23, KCR College Radio is holding a music fest at the OB Rassle House from 2-5 p.m. Tickets are $10 if you use the QR code and $15 at the door. Come through for some great live music and to support KCR and local artists!

Performances by:

  • T Rexico
  • Wizaerd
  • The Renters
  • The Martens

Which U.S. States are the Most “Vegan?” [A 2021 Study]

Veganism has gained a lot of support in America in the last 20 years, with many people making that lifestyle change for both health and ethical reasons. 

As with most human behavior changes, trends towards veganism have been very different from state to state.

That’s why we had our team focus on researching and gathering data from all 50 states to come up with a definitive list of the most vegan states of 2021.

How Did We Rate Each State?

Our research approach focused on four indicators that we measured for every state, and with that complete data set, we could then rank all 50 states.

1. Vegan Population per Capita

To assess the vegan population of a state, we looked at online search trends published by Google. 

We measured the average monthly search volume for the phrase “vegan restaurants” for each state, as this is the clearest indication of how interested the local population is in vegan dining. 

The final step in this research involved weighing the search volume of each state on a per 1 million people basis to achieve a data set that allowed for clear comparison and ranking. 

2. Number of Vegan Restaurants

The second most important data point in this research involved gathering details about the total number of dedicated vegan restaurants in each state. 

Our team approached this using online resources to gather details from Google Maps, HappyCow.com, and Yelp.com. 

The critical part of this research was that we strictly focused on vegan restaurants and excluded vegetarian ones where we would have had to make subjective decisions about how vegan each restaurant was. 

Weighing the number of restaurants against the population provided a clear objective ranking. 

3. Number of Vegan Meetup Groups

The third part of our research data looked at how many vegan meetup groups are registered in every state to gauge how active the vegan population is in promoting this lifestyle. 

We were able to quantify this data by using online resources at Meetup.com and Google search, which proved to be the most reliable sources. 

In order to be able to compare states of different sizes, we also weighted the data per 1 million people. 

4. Number of Animal Welfare Groups

And finally, we looked at how many animal welfare groups were registered in each state as an indicator of people’s support for animal rights. 

Google Maps proved to have the most reliable information about animal welfare groups and shelters. 

The final step was again to weigh this number per 1 million people to make a comparison between states possible. 

The Top 10 Vegan States in America

1. Nevada

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 942 per 1 million people 

• Vegan Restaurants: 14 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 8 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 4 per 1 million people

The most significant driving factor for Nevada achieving the top ranking came down to very strong growth in search traffic among the local population. And once we added a fourth-place ranking for the number of vegan dining options, we got data that put Nevada marginally ahead of California.

2. California

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 838 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 11 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 6 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 3 per 1 million people

With a slightly lower search volume, and a number of vegan restaurants per 1 million people than Nevada, California still ranks very high with a growing trend in both data sets.

It’s also a state that has a lot to offer vegans who want to grow their circle of vegan friends through organized meetup groups. 

3. Oregon

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 688 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 16 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 5 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 21 per 1 million people

Oregon has a solid ranking in the top 5 for search volume, but it was the third-place ranking for vegan restaurants that pushed it up into the overall third place. 

The one area where there seems to be the most opportunity to gain some rankings is through organized meetup groups. 

4. Hawaii

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 622 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 19 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 18 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 40 per 1 million people

The data point that stood out the most for Hawaii is the density of restaurants. It seems like both locals and people vacationing on the islands have a significant demand for vegan dining experiences. 

Combined with the eighth-place finish for the number of people using vegan search terms, the data supported a strong overall ranking. 

5. New York

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 622 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 9 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 6 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 4 per 1 million people

One thing we noted during our research is that NYC has the highest density of vegan restaurants. However, that density doesn’t continue throughout the state.

The strong overall search trends have supported a top 5 finish for NY, and there are many active meetup groups to find more like-minded people. 

6. New Jersey

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 405 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 29 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 16 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 17 per 1 million people

What stands out the most for New Jersey is that despite only ranking in 18th place for local search trends, it’s the highest-ranked state for the selection of vegan restaurants. 

With 29 vegan dining choices per 1 million people, New Jersey is well ahead of second-place Hawaii with 19 restaurants. 

7. Maryland

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 480 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 11 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 22 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 22 per 1 million people

Maryland made it to the top 10 due to good supporting search trends and choice of restaurants. It stands out on this list, especially when you consider the small population size. 

We also found that it’s one of the better places to get involved with meetup groups and animal rights support groups.

8. Arizona

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 742 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 5 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 5 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 16 per 1 million people

The surprising fact about Arizona’s data points is that it ranks in fourth place for search trends but only in 24th place for the density of vegan restaurants. 

That would suggest that there is significant scope for more vegan dining options to open up and support that growing search trend. 

9. Massachusetts

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 421 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 10 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 14 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 12 per 1 million people

Opposite to Arizona’s data, Massachusetts is one of the top-ranking states for the selection of dedicated vegan restaurants, but it only ranks in 17th place for Google searches.

Massachusetts also ranks very high when it comes to animal welfare activity and meetup groups throughout the state. 

10. Michigan

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 441 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 9 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 4 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 4 per 1 million people

The 10th place is another well-deserved one with a good combination of high search trends and the number of vegan restaurants. 

But what stood out more for us was the very high fourth place for both the number of animal welfare and meetup groups available. 

Here’s the full list of all 50 states in order:

  1. Nevada
  2. California
  3. Oregon
  4. Hawaii
  5. New York
  6. New Jersey
  7. Maryland
  8. Arizona
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Michigan
  11. Virginia
  12. Florida
  13. Rhode Island
  14. Colorado
  15. Georgia
  16. Utah
  17. Washington
  18. Vermont
  19. Illinois
  20. New Mexico
  21. Delaware
  22. Texas
  23. North Carolina
  24. Connecticut
  25. Pennsylvania
  26. New Hampshire
  27. Minnesota
  28. Ohio
  29. South Carolina
  30. Tennessee
  31. Missouri
  32. West Virginia
  33. Louisiana
  34. Maine
  35. Indiana
  36. Wisconsin
  37. Idaho
  38. Nebraska
  39. Kentucky
  40. Kansas
  41. Oklahoma
  42. Iowa
  43. Montana
  44. Arkansas
  45. Mississippi
  46. Wyoming
  47. Alabama
  48. South Dakota
  49. Alaska
  50. North Dakota

Best States by Category

A detailed look at each set of data points provides some interesting insights into where each state is performing particularly well. 

The following is the detailed ranking for the four data sets we analyzed. 

Best U.S. States for Vegan Restaurants

These are the ten best states for the number of vegan restaurants to choose from. 

  1. New Jersey
  2. Hawaii
  3. Oregon
  4. Nevada
  5. California
  6. Maryland
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Virginia
  10. Michigan

While California has the highest total number available in very densely populated areas like LA and the Bay Area, it’s New Jersey that has set a new mark for the availability of vegan restaurants per capita. 

U.S. States with Highest Vegan Population per Capita

This is the list of states with the highest Google searches for “vegan restaurants” per 1 million people. 

  1. Nevada
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Arizona
  5. Oregon
  6. Texas
  7. New York
  8. Hawaii
  9. Washington
  10. Florida

There are a few surprises in there, including Texas, which would be more famous for traditional BBQs. With Texas not on the top 10 list for vegan restaurants, that could be a good indication that the vegan population per capita has outgrown the number of available vegan restaurants. 

Best U.S. States for Vegan Meetup Groups

Here is the list of U.S. states based on the number of meetup groups per capita.

  1. Delaware
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Connecticut
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Vermont
  6. Maryland
  7. Maine
  8. Hawaii
  9. New Jersey
  10. Massachusetts

The overall rankings favor some of the smaller states, but it’s a good indication that residents of less densely populated states have become a lot more active in getting organized and spreading the lifestyle.

Best U.S. States for Animal Welfare Groups

Based on our research it looks like a lot of the smaller states seem to be leading the way when it comes to providing animal welfare services.

  1. Delaware
  2. South Dakota
  3. North Dakota
  4. Vermont
  5. Rhode Island
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Wyoming
  8. Alaska
  9. Idaho
  10. West Virginia

What surprised us the most about Delaware is that the state has almost twice as many animal welfare groups per capita as second-ranked South Dakota.

Written by: Total Shape