On November 17, American Pop Rock Band The Wrecks came to San Diego’s House of Blues on Thursday to perform one of their last remaining shows for their long awaited tour, “Back and Better Than Ever”. With Indie Pop band Arlie opening with an amazing set, featuring hit songs, “didya think” and “big fat mouth,” the crowd was immersed and ready to hear more from the energetic band. Arlie frontman Nathaniel Banks delivered incredible vocals while his bandmates danced and elevated the crowd with their contagious energy.
There were groups of dedicated Arlie fans scattered in the crowd screaming along to the lyrics of their songs. Those who didn’t quite know the songs were still bobbing their heads along to the music. Banks even brought out a saxophone in which he performed a chilling yet immersive solo throughout the song “crashing down”. I had never heard Arlie before the show and my favorite song from their set ended up being “water damage” off of their EP “Wait”. I was thoroughly impressed with everything about this band and their attitudes. They are definitely worth a listen.
Carrying the same attitudes to amp up the crowd, The Wrecks opened their set right off the bat with “Out Of Style”. While drummer Billy Nally electrified the crowd smashing on the drums, singer Nick Anderson jumped around stage while giving his all with his voice. Everyone was smiling and having a good time, band and audience.
Immediately starting off the set with their popular and earliest songs, “Panic Vertigo” and “James Dean,” it allowed the crowd to quickly connect with the band as everyone knew the words. Performing songs off of their most recent album “Sonder,” The Wrecks brought their pop roots to life.
Although the songs on their new album are a little bit softer than the ones off of their debut album “Infinitely Ordinary”, the music doesn’t fall far behind their staple rock sound. At one point, the band grabbed props and costume decor from voluntary fans and performed while looking festive, and what a sight it was to see. Nick Anderson interacts with the crowd so well and it is easy to tell that the band appreciates their fans. I loved the show and hope to see them again in the future with new music.
See what she did “October 13th, at 10:15.” Stopping in San Diego for her tour “emails i can’t send,” Sabrina Carpenter kicks off her show with opener “girlhouse”.
Sabrina Carpenter started off as an actor best known for her break-out role on Girl Meets World, but she has shifted to musical pursuits. From the release of her first album “Eyes Wide Open,” Sabrina Carpenter has added a total of six different albums under her expansive discography. With her most recent release, “emails i can’t send” has become the star of this tour. The stage is set with her band and a custom drum set with her initials “SC” in gold cursive as a red illuminated heart takes center stage alongside Carpenter. Carpenter opens an unforgettable night on the piano at the Observatory, North Park. Fans pull out their phones and burst into screams as they sing along to her hit tracks. Moving from a slow-paced song of heartbreak, to a viciously upbeat set, Sabrina Carpenter moves swiftly from performing songs from her newest album to “Can’t Blame a Girl for Trying,” which stems way back to her first album, released in 2015.
Sabrina Carpenter has extremely dedicated fans as some camped out over nineteen hours to catch a glimpse of the songstress. Each fan was seen passionately screaming her lyrics for the entirety
of the setlists, while others danced with friends and fellow fans. To feed the dedication, Carpenter had a segment in the midst of her show dedicated to fan interactions, hoping to give them advice on hardships and heartbreaks that she has experienced. Following her brief dedication to her fans, Carpenter shifted to performing a cover of Madonna’s famous single, “Like a Virgin”.
Additionally, she performed another top streaming song “Nonsense” of her newest album. Adding additional ending lyrics that pertain to each city as the song winds down, Carpenter improves adding, “You’re face alone could get me preggo, Millie Bobby Brown leggo my eggo, I’m in motherf***ing San Diego” at the end of her track “Nonsense”. Fans are sent into a spiral of screams in response to Carpenters’ freestyle.
Sabrina Carpenter wraps up the night with “Fast Times,” alongside thank you’s to her fans and crew.
The crowd refuses to disperse as Sabrina Carpenter calls her show to a close. Fans persistently call for Carpenter to return to stand for an encore of her hits “decode” and “because i liked a boy”. Sabrina Carpenter returns, performing an encore that sends fans into a frenzy, and red heart-shaped balloons descend from the roof and blanket the crowd below.
Growing up as a fan of Sabrina Carpenter’s music and shows, being able to see her perform in person was an entirely different experience. Definitely, nostalgic. Her stage presence radiated throughout each fan in attendance at North Park. I am genuinely grateful for the experience to attend and photograph the “emails i can’t send” tour on behalf of KCR.
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of seeing “Celebrating Billy Joel” at the Magnolia in El Cajon. A cover band for one of the most iconic songwriters/rockstars of the last decade, the band did an amazing job of encapsulating his timeless songs. They had the audience, including myself and my sister, singing along the entire time, leaving my voice strained by the end of it.
Speaking of the audience, I was probably one of the youngest people there. If you think I’m lying just look at the picture above and notice all the gray hair I captured from my pre-show picture. I have been a Billy Joel fan for many years and I absolutely loved the show. I can’t imagine what the old-timers thought as they have most likely been listening to Billy for years. While the audience was on the older side, the band themselves were surprisingly young.
Led by lead singers Rob Stringer and Alex Dee who hail from England, they lit up the stage. Not only could the duo make you think you were actually at a Billy Joel concert, they surprised me every few songs by playing a different instrument that they had yet to play yet. Alex started off the concert singing “Everybody Loves You Now”. His booming voice filled the room and left me with goosebumps. He played piano as he sang and got the crown invested immediately. Rob took over next singing and playing piano for “I’m Moving Out”. The change in singers was surprising and awesome all at once.
The two were great, bouncing off of each other the whole show. At one point they changed positions mid-song. Alex and Rob switched singing/piano positions as they sang “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”.
I have been to multiple Billy Joel concerts and what I love most about them besides the singing is the amazing bands Billy has joined. Alex and Rob had just that with a group from Charlotte, NC. The saxophone player stood out to me most. Rhi Dewey played tenor, alto, and soprano sax, and she tore it up with every single one. She had a solo during “New York State of Mind” that blew me away. I used to play saxophone and hearing her play made me wish I stuck with it. She was the highlight of the show for me.
Overall this was such an amazing concert and a phenomenal atmosphere. The band made it seem like a true Billy Joel show singing some of his greatest hits and killing all of them! They gave us an encore of “Uptown Girl” and “Piano Man” that ended the show perfectly.
If you ever have a chance to listen to Billy Joel music… do it!
Mild High Club, an indie band known for their dreamy blend of psychedelia and jazz, performed at San Diego’s Observatory last Wednesday. Most known for their indie pop hits “Homage” and “Tessellation” off of their 2016 album “Skiptracing” , the band is the solo project of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alex Brettin who performs with a changing lineup of touring musicians. Alex is an LA based musician from Chicago who has been making music since 2012. The show featured a 6 piece band consisting of a bassist, drummer, rhythm guitarist, and two keyboardists joining Alex on stage. As a longtime fan of “Skiptracing”, I was excited to see the band and curious to see how their lush music translated to the live stage. To achieve their laidback, atmospheric sound, their music is often extremely layered and rich with a mix of reverb soaked vocals and blends of all sorts of jazz instruments.
Mild High Club has attracted a loyal fanbase that created one of the more laidback yet engaging audiences of any concerts I’ve been to. By the time the opening act had finished his set, the Observatory was at full house capacity. It was an all ages show and the crowd seemed to reflect that with people of varying ages. Their wide appeal of the different genres they take inspiration from brought together a broad mix of people. The smooth psychedelic nature of their music attracted a lot of people, young and old, that I’d classify as having a hippie vibe. It generally wasn’t too pushy of a crowd, and I was able to make it to the front in part thanks to the kindness of a random girl who liked my outfit. The crowd was extremely interactive, and when they performed “Homage” most of the crowd began singing along.
The entire performance was amazing. The band members had such a unique chemistry that made for a great experience. The mellow psychedelic guitar riffs and groovy bass lines sounded as crisp and clean as they did on their recorded songs that I’ve heard. Alex Brettin’s smooth jazz night-clubesque live vocals were also impressive, as was his incorporation of guitars, tabletop keyboards, and percussion instruments throughout the show. And being heavily jazz influenced, they dedicated large portions of their performance to improvisation. All the instrumentalists got a chance to have their spotlight, and they were all incredibly talented. They also at times provided backing vocals that harmonized with Alex, which sounded beautiful with the acoustics in The Observatory. I was particularly blown away by the two keyboardists’ complex solos and beautiful harmonies. Many of the band was also multi-talented, switching instruments at times.
I discovered new music through tracks of theirs I hadn’t heard. Their 2021 release was just as good, if not better than Skiptracing. I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed the opener, indie artist J.W. Francis. His laidback energy and fun indie surf rock sound definitely set the stage for the great concert that followed.
Overall, it was a great show and I’m happy I got to go.
KCR College Radio: The Sound of State
KCR is an internet based radio station run by students at the San Diego State University that provides music, sports, and talk programs to the SDSU community.
KCR can be listened directly via the RadioFX and TuneIn apps. TuneIn is available on home, car, and portable devices, and works with Alexa and Google Home.