Kickin’ The Night Off Vista-Style With Vista Kicks

Last Friday, February 10th, I had the pleasure of seeing Vista Kicks open for Southern sister-act Larkin Poe in one of their last shows ever as a band. Hailing from the small town of Roseville, Vista Kicks brings a tangy flavor to indie rock, and the contrast between their California melodies and Larkin Poe’s Southern charm blended perfectly for a great performance at the House of Blues.

Vista Kicks came out with their first EP Chasing Waves in 2016, and have since released three studio albums, their most popular being Twenty Something Nightmare, released in 2018. They have also produced a range of dynamic singles like “If I Didn’t Have You” and “Make It Real.” At the end of this month Vista Kicks is projected to release their final studio album with Hail Maries, All Hail Vista Maries. Hail Maries recently joined Vista Kicks on tour during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was definitely the right choice. The two bands together have put their own spin on modern rock by combining elements of blues and soul to refine their sound and make it unique.

Vista Kicks by Sofia Dell’Aquila

Vista Kicks took the stage at 8:00 with an explosion of romantic lyrics and structured basslines. With smiles on their faces, they performed hits like “Mona Lisa” and “Superstitions” that got people of all ages dancing. Despite being the opening act, loyal fans littered the crowd and cheered on every word, and lead singer Derek Thomas frequently called out to see who was a true V.K. fan. All eyes were on tambourine chanteuse Victoria Wymer of Hail Maries, who provided grounding vocal harmony along with her sister Makayla on guitar. Their presence on stage gave the band a 70s-esque rock n’ roll energy, reminiscent of that of pioneering psychedelic groups like the Peanut Butter Conspiracy.

Though they had a short opening set, Vista Kicks surely left a lasting impression to all in the crowd. To celebrate the upcoming release of their new album, Vista Kicks gave fans a sneak peek into what they’d be hearing by playing a new song titled “Better.” At the end of the night, they held a poll for the audience, giving them the choice between two of their most popular hits: “Twenty Something Nightmare” or “Marceline.” Diehard fans of the band roared for both, but “Marceline” prevailed, and the band jumped right in with excitement.

Vista Kicks’ final show is scheduled for February 18th in Los Angeles, though fans remain hopeful that they will make a return to the music industry in the future. It’s a shame that their run as a band is coming to an end, but their music will continue to be appreciated by fans and new listeners alike. 

Soakin’ Up Sun Room

On February 3rd, Sun Room performed their biggest headline show yet, the SOMA mainstage. The night started off with an electric opener, The Grinns, a band that also originates from Southern California, who evoked crowd surfing and mosh pits within the first song. The Grinns played a number of their own originals, gaining many new fans with each passing song. A crowd favorite was “Why Do You Lie?” in which the lead singer of the band had to ask the crowd to “back up” halfway through the song because everyone wanted to be as close to the band as possible. This of course was followed by Jackson Jarret on the guitar telling the crowd to come closer. Before introducing Sun Room to the stage, they announced their last song, a cover of ‘Someday’ by The Strokes.

The band entered the stage, each with their own classy suit and tie. The band started off their night with one of their most popular songs: Fun, which created a constant battle between security instructing the audience to not crowd surf and Sun Room’s unstoppable (crowd) surf rock. The band, whose hometown is here in San Diego, begins each of their songs with a story or motivation for writing each of their songs, and given that they live minutes away from the venue, creates an element as if they are a lifelong friend telling you about their adventures around San Diego.

 Lead vocalist Luke Asgian introduced his fellow bandmates, Ashton Minnich on guitar,  Gibson Anderson on the drums, and Max Pinamonti, apparently also known as the “Italian Stallion,” on the bass. Luke also introduced a number of family and friends who came to experience the show, after every person was introduced the crowd would cheer and raise them in the air as if it were a movie scene.

Every song was performed with a smile. The band finally announced their last song, the single that was released the day of the concert, ‘Kaden’s Van,’ a song about a van belonging to a close friend of the band who was actually in attendance at the concert. However, when the song ended, the crowd refused to leave. “One more song” echoed through the walls of the venue, which were taken over by screams and cheers when the

 band reappeared on stage. They finished their night with an encore of two more songs: ‘Red Dress’ and ‘Cadillac,’ another single that was released earlier this year. The band has recently announced that they are releasing an upcoming EP titled “Outta Their Minds,” exciting fans who are ready for more happy, sunny tunes about friendship and surfing.

The Wrecks Concert Review

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.

Concert Review by Anastasia Balmaceda

Sabrina Carpenter is so “VICIOUS”

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.