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


Sleeping With Sirens and Bring Me The Horizon at Viejas Arena

Sleeping With Sirens and Bring Me the Horizon, two veterans in the alternative scene, returned to San Diego with full force at Viejas Arena on Saturday, October 19.

Thirteen year old me is living by having the opportunity to photograph both Sleeping With Sirens and Bring Me The Horizon. Now, I want to paint a picture of thirteen year old me. I loved One Direction (still do) and stumbled across a Sleeping With Sirens video on YouTube. “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn” changed my music taste and life. Now, I am thrown into my emo phase, wearing beanies so far on the back of your head that it is about to fall off, along with two arms full of the rubber band bracelets from Hot Topic. I credit Sleeping With Sirens as the band that got me into this music and I thank them for that.

My freshly fourteen year old self decided to beg my mom to let me go to Warped Tour since both Sleeping With Sirens and Bring Me The Horizon were playing that year. She said yes, which led to one of the most fun days of my childhood. I got to meet Sleeping With Sirens, and you guessed it, I cried. My friend Amanda, who also dragged her mom along, also cried along with me since we just met our heroes. Now, this was my first ever concert that was not pop music. I was at barricade for Sleeping With Sirens, and when my mom saw all the crowd surfers, she was blowing up my phone. She thought I was going to get absolutely crushed, but I was just mad at her for interrupting my recording of “Congratulations.”

Later on in the day, we all got to see Bring Me the Horizon. This was shortly after their album Sempiternal came out, so they played “Antivist.” If you don’t know that song, I recommend listening to it so you can understand my mom’s horror. The crowd was filled with people with their middle fingers up, screaming the lyrics back. After that, my mom told me I was never to listen to them again, and I am pretty sure Amanda’s mom said the same thing to her.

Apparently the “never listening to them again” thing did not last for long, because Amanda and I saw Bring Me The Horizon again in the following February. This time we got to see them at their own headlining show. We both thought it was a very smart idea to wear shorts, in Toronto, right next to Lake Ontario. An even better decision we had was to wait in line outside for an hour or two before giving up and heading back to our moms in the car. That show still lives up as one of the best concerts I have ever been to.
It is really funny to think about how my mom went to tell me that I could never listen to Bring Me The Horizon, to now loving them. “Can You Feel My Heart” is her absolute favorite song. She is a way bigger fan of Sleeping With Sirens and even had me download their cover of “Iris” to her phone off YouTube.

Since then, I have obviously grown up, being twenty years old. When I saw that these two bands would be touring together, I was excited. I became even more excited when I found out that I would be photographing the show. This threw me back into my emo phase, and I had never been more pumped for a concert.

Sleeping With Sirens started out the night. The majority of the songs they played came from their new album, How It Feels to Be Lost. They only played five old songs, coming from albums such as Let’s Cheers To This and Madness. The songs they played were: “Leave It All Behind,” “Never Enough,” “Tally It Up: Settle the Score,” “Better Off Dead,” “Blood Lines,” “Medicine (Devil In My Head),” “Break Me Down,” “Agree to Disagree,” “How It Feels To Be Lost,” “Kick Me” and “If You Can’t Hang.”

Being up close in the photo pit was amazing. I love all the energy that they exude when on stage. After leaving the photo pit, I got to sit in the stands and watch the rest of their set. Seeing how wild the crowd was going for them was absolutely awesome. I had never seen them play at their own show, only at Warped Tour. It was so exciting to see how they interact and hype up the crowd.

Following Sleeping With Sirens, Bring Me The Horizon headlined the night. Since I have not seen them since 2014, they have majorly upgraded their shows. They have an amazing stage set up, matching outfits, and even dancers. They played a total of fifteen songs: “MANTRA,” “Avalanche,” “The House of Wolves,” “Medicine,” “Wonderful Life,” “Shadow Moses,” “Sugar Honey Ice & Tea,” “Happy Song,” “Nihilist Blues,” “Antivist,” “Mother Tongue,” “Can You Feel My Heart,” “Follow You,” and “Throne and Drown.”

Getting to see one of my favorite songs from the photo pit was an experience I will never forget. Also, shoutout to the lovely people I met at the barricade. Once I left the photo pit, I made my way down to my seat to watch the rest of the show. General admission was absolutely insane. The pits were constantly going crazy, with Oli Sykes, the singer, hyping everyone up.

They brought a fan up on stage for their song “Antivist,” which is something that they have been doing on this tour. Oli also thanked the crowd for being the reason he is alive, which was very touching. My favorite part of the show was during their last song. Oli came down into the general admission area, walked around, and sang “Drown” with fans surrounding him. He even made his way up to the seated area, right next to me. He finished the song on the stage and thanked the crowd over and over again.

This had to have been one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. The crowd was also so into the music and so into the bands. The energy in the arena was unreal. If you get a chance to see this tour or any of these bands on tour, do it. You will not regret it.

You can listen to Sleeping With Sirens’ new album here, and Bring Me The Horizon’s new album here.

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

Stone Temple Pilots and Rival Sons at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre

Rock n’ roll was alive and thriving on Wednesday, October 9 when rock icons Stone Temple Pilots brought the house down with help from Rival Sons at SDSU’s open-air theatre.

I walked into the Cal Coast Theater to the sound of the opener, the Warbly Jets whose best song was “Alive.” True to its name it really woke the crowd up and brought a whirlwind of energy to the arena. Followed by the Warbly Jets was the Rival Sons.

During the lead up to their opening song, they had a dog skeleton with a beating heart going to the beat of the first song “Back in the Woods.” The crowd was thrown into a frenzy and was headbanging for the rest of the Rival Sons’ set. I couldn’t take my eyes off the guitarist Scott Holiday during their set either. He had the look of a younger Johnny Depp that instead of acting, took up music at a young age. The singer, Jay Buchanan, had an electric stage presence and felt like he was straight out of the 80s. As the set went on, they played their hits such as “Pressure and Time” and “Electric Man.” To finish off their set they closed it with a bang starting with “Do Your Worst” followed by “Keep on Swinging.” These closing songs captured the force of the crowd and channeled it all into Rival Sons’ rock and roll attitude. Their army of fans were headbanging and throwing out rock and roll salutes.

After the Rival Sons’ magnetic energy, 90s rock icons the Stone Temple Pilots followed suit with an equally powerful performance. They opened their set with “Silvergun Superman” and “Wicked Garden.” My Dad, a rock and roll connoisseur, came with me to the event remarked how even with a different singer than the original, the energy STP brought still felt the same as it did back in the 90s.

Towards the middle of the set they brought out Rival Sons drummer Michael Miley to play for them during “Plush” and they brought out Jay Buchanan to co-vocal STP’s hit song “Interstate Love Song.” This performance was a special tribute because San Diego was the last show of the tour and they wanted to end it with something to remember. STP ended their set with “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart.” After the lights went down the crowd was begging for more and we got it. STP came back out and performed “Piece of Pie” and “Sex Type Thing.” Overall, I was surprised by how good the Warbly Jets were considering I hadn’t heard of them before the concert and was thrilled with how much rock and roll energy that Rival Sons and STP were able to bring to San Diego.

Written by: Jacob Stephens

Big K.R.I.T at the House of Blues

Another week, another concert to cover. This makes me a very happy person. On Thursday, October 3, 2019, I had the privilege of covering the hip-hop legend Big K.R.I.T (Justin Lewis Scott) at the House of Blues.

Trust me when I tell you that this dude has been in the rap game for a long time and is a walking legend. Starting his career more than 14 years ago, he has a list of accomplishments that are staggering.

As a prominent protestor of many of the racial issues that America faces today, he has become a symbol of motivation for movements like #BlackLivesMatter.

He has performed and spoken multiple times at the BET Hip Hop Awards, and even received three nominations for “Rookie of the Year” and “Best Mixtape” in 2011, where his career really started to pop off. 

Big K.R.I.T has elements in his music that show roots to some of the more classic elements of hip-hop, such as deep soulful beats and tongue-twisting lyricism. Collaborating with big artists such as J.Cole and Lil Wayne attests to his impact and respect within the hip-hop scene.

With all of this said, I was super excited to see this man live and get some fire pictures of him! Unfortunately, I was running a little late to the show at House of Blues San Diego. I arrived at about 9 p.m (the time when the headliner usually hits the stage) and picked up my media pass. 

Literally, at the exact second I walked into the main room, Big K.R.I.T. walked on stage to start his performance. Photographers are only allowed to take pictures in the photo pit for the first three songs of the performance, so I hustled my way to the front immediately. The timing could not be more perfect, because if I was even ten minutes later, I would have missed my opportunity to cover the show.

As soon as Big K.R.I.T took the stage, you could tell he had been doing this for a long time. His energy was through the roof. I looked back at the crowd to see all of the audience in the front row singing every single word. He clearly had a bunch of loyal fans. 

He continued the next three songs that I saw with that same energy, moving and bouncing around the stage, rapping his lyrics with a passion that is rare to see. 

After three songs, security booted me out, and that is all that I saw. Being able to see a legend like Big K.R.I.T up close was really great, and I am happy with the photos that I got. 

Big K.R.I.T will continue his “From the South with Love” tour until his last show on November 16th, in his hometown of Atlanta, GA. Check out his music here.

Written by: Justin Neeley
Photos by: Justin Neeley