The Greeting Committee and Bombay Bicycle Club at the Observatory North Park

The Greeting Committee brought high energy opening for Bombay Bicycle Club at the Observatory North Park on September 27, 2019.

This show was my third time seeing The Greeting Committee, and in the largest venue yet. My favorite thing about The Greeting Committee has always been their stage presence; which has not been lost at all from a 400 capacity venue, to the 1,100 capacity Observatory. Even from the very back of the venue, the band’s energy and movement make you feel as much a part of the action as the members themselves.

Opening with a cover of the intro of Nirvana’s “Aneurysm” leading into powerful “She’s a Gun”; as singer Addie Sartino ran on stage to join guitarist Brandon Yangmi, bassist Pierce Turcotte, drummer Austin Fraser, and touring guitarist Noah Spencer; The Greeting Committee immediately brought the message that the night was going to be an electrifying one. 

Next was “17“, followed by “Dancing To Nothing At All”. “Dancing” is one of my all-time favorite live tracks because it starts out slow and somber before picking up and having a killer saxophone solo by Pierce while Addie takes over on bass. Pierce kept his saxophone for “You’ve Got Me”, which kept the crowd excited and intrigued. New song “What If Tomorrow Never Comes” feels more emotional and raw, similar to older “Birthday Song” and “I Don’t Mind”.

Another favorite thing about The Greeting Committee is their ability to connect.

One of my favorite moments of the night was seeing two friends embrace each other during “Hands Down“, a song about “the joy that comes from unconditional, ever-present loves, whether that takes place in a family or romantic setting”. During this song, I am always reminded of my best friend and feel like they’re right next to me even though they’re on the opposite coast. Between the song itself, the band’s performance of it, and fans’ interactions in the crowd, “Hands Down” evokes some of the sincerest feelings about favorite people. 

During the last song “Don’t Go”, the band took a pause after the bridge while Addie asked “please San Diego, take one giant step forward…please San Diego, this show is going really well, I think we all know what’s about to come” before performing the strong last chorus and rocking out until the very end. 

While The Greeting Committee captured attention, Bombay Bicycle Club held it. 

Compared to opener The Greeting Committee, headliner Bombay Bicycle Club was definitely calmer. Most of the crowd was there for Bombay, and most likely have been established fans of the British indie rock band for many years. Just performing songs that people haven’t heard since their last tour five years ago, or ever, made for an entrancing show from the band. As I looked around the crowd, I saw only 10 cell phones out at once; San Diego was in awe of Bombay Bicycle Club. 

Classics like “Always Like This“, “Luna“, and “Shuffle” had an obvious response of familiarity from the crowd, and new song “Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)” and unreleased songs “Is It Real” and “Everything Else Has Gone Wrong” provided a renewed but still familiar feeling of fulfillment within the crowd as Bombay Bicycle Club went on to perform a show that solidified them as one of the best indie rock bands, entering a new era that will further prove that.

The Greeting Committee has a new EP I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry out October 17. Bombay Bicycle Club’s new album Everything Else Has Gone Wrong will be released January 17. 

Check out The Greeting Committee’s current releases here, and Bombay Bicycle Club’s here.

Written by: Emerson Redding
Photos by: Emerson Redding

Have Mercy and The Early November at the House of Blues

Have Mercy and The Early November brought together devoted fans to share a night of raw emotions and moments of nostalgia at the House of Blues.

If you go onto my Apple Music account, you will see a heart next to almost every Have Mercy song. That is how good they are. Have Mercy opened up for The Early November, one of the best 2000’s emo bands, at the House of Blues on September 26, 2019.

I have a best friend and her name is Paige. Paige and I have seen Have Mercy together a total of three times. This is very impressive considering she lives in Pittsburgh, PA. I was the one that showed Paige Have Mercy. The first song I showed her was “The Place You Love.” That song became “our song,” with us playing it almost every single car ride while we were together.

We were lucky enough to see them on two dates of a tour back in 2017, once in Buffalo and once in Toronto. Leading up to the show, we would tweet Have Mercy often, begging them to play and dedicate “The Place You Love” to us. This was at the end of our five shows in six days extravaganza, so we were tired. The Buffalo show came and went, and we did not get our dedication. We kept tweeting them over the next day before the Toronto show. The Toronto show came and they played “The Place You Love”, and was dedicated to us, but as the “twitter girlfriends.” We had to explain to Brian after the show that we are not dating, we are just long distance best friends. Of course, we thanked him and also apologized for our excessive tweets.

Now, if Paige or I go to a Have Mercy show without each other and they play “The Place You Love,” we facetime each other. No matter when or where I hear that song, I always think of my best friend. That is one of my favorite things about Have Mercy.

Have Mercy played nine songs live: “Heartbeat”, “Clair”, “Mattress On The Floor,” “This Old Ark,” “Coexist,” “My Oldest Friend,” “Let’s Talk About Your Hair,” “Dressed Down,” and “So Like You.” The majority of these songs are from their newest album, The Love Life, which came out in August.

This album was, to me, very different than anything they have released before. The album seemed more polished, in a good way. One thing that I really liked about this album was how different each song is from each other. Yet, the album flows so well together and sounds like a whole. I feel like with the two past albums, they have stepped out of their comfort zone and made different music than what they are known for. They also incorporated a lot of drums into this album but stuck to their typical melody.

Every song is super catchy, and I grew to love this album almost as much as I love “A Place of Our Own,” My favorites on the new album are: “We Ain’t Got Love,” “40 OZ” (which I think is my favorite), “Clair,” and “Mattress on the Floor.”

Another one of my favorite things about Have Mercy is how honest they are in their music and in their lives. If you have never listened to a Have Mercy song, now is your time to do so. Their lyrics are so raw and make you feel the same feelings they had when writing the song. I am not going to say that Have Mercy is my go-to crying band, but it really is (besides Safe Bet).

At the show, Brian, the singer, talked about how their drummer recently passed away, and how that affected him and the band. It brought the original members of Have Mercy back together, but obviously, it also brought a lot of sadness. Brian was alone on the stage and dedicated “My Oldest Friend” to him, which was a very emotional performance.

On a lighter note, Brian also talked about his past experience with doing shrooms. He said he was tripping so hard, that he did not notice his contacts fell out. This made him stare into a sink for an extended amount of time, and he convinced himself that this was how he was going to see the world from now on.

Have Mercy opened up for the Early November. If you were alive in the early 2000’s and loved emo music or post-hardcore music, this band is nothing new to you. The Early November formed in 1999, in Hammonton, New Jersey. By 2002, they were signed to Drive Thru Records, played Warped Tour, and released their first EP, For All of This. The following year they toured with Brand New and released their first full length album, The Room’s Too Cold. They continued to tour and released their next album, The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Path in 2006. The album debuted at number 31 on the Billboard 200, which is their highest-charting album.

In 2007, they announced they would be taking an indefinite hiatus. Rumors flowed for the next couple of years, and some of the members teased that there would be a reunion. In 2011, the band announced that The Early November would be back and that they signed with Rise Records. They released an album called In Currents, their only release since their last album six years ago. The Early November kept releasing music, such as their fourth studio album, Imbue. Their newest full length album came out on September 27, 2019 called Lilac.

This was my first time seeing The Early November, and they blew me away. This band has been around for as long as I have been alive, and they still can draw out a crowd of die-hard fans. They played a total of 17 songs: “A Stain on the Carpet,” “A Little More Time,” “I Don’t Care,” “Decoration,” “Guilt & Swell,” “Hit by a Car (In Euphoria),” “Boxing Timelines,” “Ave Maria,” “Tell Me Why,” “Baby Blue,” “The Mountain Range in My Living Room,” “I Want to Hear You Sad,” “I Dissolve,” “Call Off the Bells,” “Ever So Sweet,” and “Narrow Mouth and Frayed in Doubt.” The singer, Ace, asked the crowd who had been fans since their first album. Almost the entire room had their hands raised. It is crazy to me that a band that has been around for 20 years still has this dedicated of a fan base.

I finally sat down and listened to their newest album Lilac, and it was absolutely amazing. This is a band that has released five studio albums, an acoustic album, three EPs, took a hiatus, and came back with a bang. They have continued to put out album after album, and song after song, that not only keeps the old fans listening, but brings in a new wave of fans.

My favorites on the album would have to be “My Weakness,” “Hit by a Car (In Euphoria),” and “Ave Maria.” The album is very guitar and vocally driven. It sticks to their emo roots but also shows how they and their music have grown over the past 20 years. My only critique for the album is that I wish it was longer! The album is only ten songs, which comes out to about 38 minutes. Other than that, this is another magical release by the Early November.

Give a listen to both Have Mercy’s new album here and the Early November’s album here.

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

The Hunna and Barns Courtney at the House of Blues

While opening for Barns Courtney, UK band The Hunna performed a crowd pleasing show at the House of Blues on September 25, 2019.

Let’s flashback to 2016. Picture me sitting in study hall in high school with my best friend Emma. We were listening to every single artist that would be playing Wayhome in the following summer. For those of you who do not know, Wayhome was a music festival about an hour north of Toronto. Emma types into YouTube, “The Hunna.” She clicks on the first video, “Bonfire.” I am hooked by about ten seconds in. 

This is the story of how I found and fell in love with a band called The Hunna. The worst part about that story is that their former manager double booked them, two festivals in the UK that were the same time as two festivals in the US. Since this band is from Hertfordshire, England, they obviously chose the UK festivals. The Hunna formed in 2015, and is comprised of singer and guitarist Ryan (Tino) Potter, lead guitarist Daniel (BD) Dorney, bassist Junate (Prince) Angin, and drummer Jack (IK) Metcalfe. 

Now, let’s flashback to 2017. Picture me sitting in my quad dorm at my desk, getting ready to go out for the night. I am playing The Hunna, and I hear my roommate, Adrienne, singing along. I turn around and ask, “are you singing?” She of course responds, “yes,” which has me screaming at her, “you know The Hunna?” That is how I knew Adrienne and I were going to be friends forever.

I finally got to see The Hunna live in April 2018, with Adrienne. They headlined the House of Blues in San Diego. It was one of the best shows I have ever been to, and I got to talk to the band after the show. That day, Tino got a tattoo that says, “Y.D.W.I.W.M.” which is one of their songs. They are genuinely the nicest people, and they even recorded a video saying hello to my mom. My mom is a humongous The Hunna fan. Since The Hunna rarely tour the US, I really did not know when I would get to see them live again.

On September 26, I finally got to see The Hunna again, but this time from the photo pit at the House of Blues. They played a total of nine songs: We Could Be, Fever, Babe Can I Call?, IGHTF, Flickin’ Your Hair, Y.D.W.I.W.M., She’s Casual, Bonfire and D. G. A. F. They stopped to talk about a lot of the meanings behind their songs, or stories that had to do with a specific song. My favorite story that they told that night was about “She’s Casual”. It was the first song they had ever written together. It was written in a shed while they were all stoned out of their minds, and they didn’t believe that they wrote that good of a song because of how high they were. The crowd was going absolutely wild for The Hunna, which seemed to shock the band. Everyone was screaming the words right back at them, which made Tino state that San Diego was the best date of the tour yet. My favorite part of the entire show was seeing all the middle-aged women dance and sing along to them. They reminded me of how much my mom loves them, and made me smile. Their set ended with Tino crowd surfing, which was another highlight of my night.

The Hunna opened up for Barns Courtney, and to be quite honest, I had never heard of him until I saw his name on the bill. Standing in the photo pit before he came on, I did not know what to expect. When he came out on stage, the energy in the room shifted and exuded so much happiness. Barns’ stage presence is something you rarely see anymore. He was wild, carefree, and happy, all while jumping around. He reminded me of Catfish and the Bottlemen, mixed with Yungblud. I really enjoyed his music, and especially enjoyed his stage presence.

The Hunna did say that they will be back early next year, and that music will be released around the same time. In the meantime, you can listen to The Hunna here, and Barns Courtney here

Written by: McCaeley O’Rourke
Photos by: McCaeley O’Rourke