Why I Go to Concerts: Beach Fossils at In the Venue

It’s seven thirty on a Saturday night. The doors to In the Venue were supposed to open thirty minutes ago. Instead, the line wraps around the corner and half way down the block. The heat is almost unbearable. The people in line squeeze together trying to hide under any shade they can find.

An hour passes. The heat has somewhat subsided as the sun begins to set, but everyone just wants to get inside. Ablebody begins to play. The sound echoes through the windows with hundreds of people still outside. I hear some voice their frustration saying they came just to see this band. The line slowly begins to move. By the time I get inside, they are wrapping up their set list and I hear only one song.

The second band, She-Devils, only has two members. Their performance struggles to captivate the attention of the audience. The instrumentation sounds disconnected from the vocals and the music unpracticed. Some listen silently while others converse.

The headliner of tonight’s show is Beach Fossils. The indie-pop band from Brooklyn, New York has experienced moderate success since their formation in 2009. They are currently on a world tour showcasing their June release, Somersault.

When Beach Fossils gets on stage, there are issues equalizing the music. Frustration sweeps over their faces as they converse with the engineer. “Can I get some more keyboard in this monitor?” “More guitar over here.” The lead singer, Dustin Payseur, leaves the stage to try and mend the situation.

After thirty minutes, everything sounds good and the band begins to play. The tired audience has little energy during the first couple songs. After a slow start, a couple people start to dance and their excitement radiates throughout the rest of the crowd. Within seconds the entire vibe changes. “I was wondering when you guys were gonna wake up”, Payseur asks.

I somehow find myself three rows from the stage with nothing to do but enjoy the show. For the next hour, I dissipate into the crowd. I am entranced by the music and the motion of those surrounding me. The outside world seems disconnected and my entire existence seems limited to the five hundred people under the same roof.

Many artists love playing in Utah solely for the passion of the audience. Utahans always show their appreciation for a good performance. Several concertgoers hopped on stage then surfed off into the crowd. While mosh pits may not be customary at indie-pop concerts, in Utah it is expected. When the enthusiasm of the crowd went up so did the band’s. They played a variety of fan favorites including Saint Ivy, Daydream, and This Year.

At the show, I was reminded why I go to concerts. Despite the heat, the long lines, and the problems with the tech, I genuinely enjoyed myself. For a short time, I was able to forget about everything outside of the venue’s walls. I didn’t have to worry about school, work, or the current state of our country. I could just listen to music and dance with my friends.

Twilight In Ogden: Miike Snow & Klangstof

Ogden Twilight has not disappointed me yet. If you’ve ever driven to Ogden from Salt Lake City, you may know how bad traffic can get between Farmington and Ogden. On the way to the Miike Snow concert, the traffic doubled due to an automobile accident. That did not stop me from seeing Swedish band Miike Snow and Dutch/Norwegian band Klangstof with a spotlight on local heroes New Shack.

Driving an hour north is usually worth it when going to the Ogden Amphitheater. It’s a very nice, friendly, and welcoming venue. When I arrived, I bought myself a frozen pink lemonade, and smoked while I waited for Klangstof. A very clear day, only a few small cirrus clouds in the sky. The place was getting packed. Due to the traffic, I only caught the last few moments of New Shack’s set. I listened to their music on SoundCloud when I got home. New Shack is from Provo, UT and they have a very new age indie pop sound.

Klangstof is a progressive/indie/alternative-rock band. The drummer would go back and forth from drum pad to traditional drums. Sometimes, you can tell when a band stumbled into the music industry; Klangstof is not one of those bands. These guys look like they have been on the grind for a while, and they are now on tour with Miike Snow. I fell in love with Klangstof‘s singer Koen Van De Wardt. He said the band, Miike Snow, had an incredible Swedish tobacco, but it stops working. The joke fell flat but I laughed.

From what I can tell, it can’t be easy to keep a band together. The way Koen kept all of his band mates engaged and relaxed showed me how real this band is. Very dual-sided, beautiful, light at times, with droning tones and complex shredding. This band was perfect for helping me release the built up tension from the awfulness of the world. After Klangstof‘s set, I felt like maybe things aren’t that bad.

After playing with the Pepsi Patrol, there was a brief introduction to the indie/pop/electronic band, Miike Snow, from the same host who introduces every Ogden Twilight I’ve been to. She introduced the band and then about ten minutes later Miike Snow came on.

This band had been apart for a little while working on solo projects. At first, they seemed to be very okay with me taking photos. It seemed Andrew Wyatt was even giving me some poses. I got carried away and kept taking photos. I’m very enthralled with this band in general. Towards the end, he seemed to break the pose he was making as soon as I lifted my camera (I don’t think bands like it when you watch their sets through your phone screen).

He kept a great and electrical energy the whole time; this band is so cool, Pontus Winnberg is my favorite.  The drummer, whose name I can’t find, had the key to my heart. the other band member, I can’t find his name either, absolutely stole the show with his sick licks. He was not regular bandmate Christian Carlson, he was not there on this particular night, however, he is a very important part of Miike Snow.

These guys are some real and professional musicians, which don’t always go hand in hand. I caught a glimpse of the setlist taped to the stage after the show and they had the encore they did on the set list. The encore song was “Animal”, a very popular song of theirs and I’m glad I got to see them play it.

This music definitely does not look easy to make happen every night sofor that, I thank you, Miike Snow. I can tell this band has made a real difference in people lives for the better. I’ve been a Miike Snow-Flake for a while now, it’s absolutely great music for dancing out the feels. Overall, a stellar end to the Ogden Twilight concerts.

 

New Shack- Soundcloud

Klangstof- Spotify

Miike Snow- Spotify

 

 

 

On the Radar – Glass Animals

“Twee vole go dig your hole/Squish squirmies in your nose/Tree hairs in your eyes/You smile so super quiet.” I have heard some strange lyrics before, but none as poetically odd as the ones featured in the song “Wyrd” by Glass Animals. Dave Bayley, the lead singer, is a genius when writing intriguing lyrics that’ll make your ears tickle with delight. Of course, the music itself is enough to do that.

Glass Animals are an English indie rock band that have entranced many due to their hip-hop inspired beats and trippy tunes. It all started in St. Edwards School in Oxford when Bayley would occasionally spend his free time writing songs and lyrics. It wasn’t until after college that he was able to convince his friends to start a band with him. Despite never being in a band before, Drew MacFarlane, Edmund Irwin-Singer, and Joe Seaward joined him by playing guitar, bass, and drums respectively. In 2012, they released their first EP Leaflings which caught the attention of producer Paul Epworth (Foster the People, Bloc Party, Crystal Castles, etc.). From there, they proceeded to work on their first album.

Their debut album Zaba was met with great reviews by critics, and it was well worth the praise too. Zaba happens to be one of my favorite albums because of the curiously phrased lyrics and minimalistic, psychedelic instrumental compositions. Zaba is exotic with a very jungle infused theme rhythmically all the while being a bit seductive with its soft, somewhat electronic ballads. The creatively made ambient sounds throughout the album are enough to make you want to really listen to what’s actually happening. It’s rare to find an album where all the songs are likable and mesh together so well, and yet Zaba does this almost effortlessly. “Gooey”, one of the band’s more popular songs, is deeply R&B inspired with some weird verses such as “Right my little pooh bear, wanna take a chance?/Wanna sip the smooth air, kick it in the sand?/I’ll say I told you so but you just gonna cry/You just wanna know those peanut butter vibes.” “Hazey” is a soothingly simple song filled with pops and snaps that make it hard not to dance to.

How To Be a Human Being, the band’s second album, was released earlier this year being the complete opposite of what Zaba was. It wasn’t shrouded in mystery or a dreamy atmosphere. On the contrary, their lyrics were more straight-forward, the tone was happier, and it felt like more of a groovy indie pop album. They decided to take a different approach and make a concept album where each song is a story about a different character. “Life Itself” for example takes the listener through a peculiar man’s life and the downward spiral it takes because he refuses to live in reality. “Youth” is a bittersweet melody about a parent giving up their child in hopes that they will live a better life. “Mama’s Gun” is a particular favorite from the album because of the sweet flute samples from The Carpenters and Bayley’s delicate vocals contrasting with the morbid subject matter of a woman with a mental illness, probably schizophrenia, murdering her husband.

Glass Animals are slightly weird and mesmerizing. They have the ability to awaken your senses by painting a vivid picture with their songs. The amount of detail they put into their music is so amazing that it deserves to be listened to on a nice pair of headphones or a speaker to really appreciate it. If you are ever in the mood for calm yet whimsical music, I say Glass Animals is a must.

On Your Radar: Bad Suns

The moment I first heard the band Bad Suns, I became completely entranced with their music. There was something hypnotic about them that drew me in. Whether it was the singer’s soothing voice or their dreamy melodies, Bad Suns had me craving more.

Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Bad Suns is comprised of lead vocalist Christo Bowman, bassist Gavin Bennett, drummer Miles Morris, and guitarist Ray Libby. The band is often described as 80’s new wave as they tend to get comparisons to iconic rock artists of the 80’s such as Depeche Mode or Elvis Costello. It’s no surprise considering Bowman grew up in a very musical household where he became inspired by the records his father would introduce to him. He was so inspired that he learned how to play guitar and started writing his own songs. This would later help him when the band released their debut album.

Language & Perspective was a great introduction for the indie pop band. It set the stage for the young musicians and showed people they were ready to enter the music scene. The first single “Cardiac Arrest” put the artist on the map with its mellow, almost beach like vibe. Bowman ingeniously compares extreme feelings one might have towards another person to a cardiac arrest. “Sleep Paralysis” is a personal favorite from the album as the band finds a way to make this song pleasurable yet disjointed.

With the attention they gained from their first album, Bad Suns began touring with The 1975 and The Neighbourhood as opening acts. After many months of touring, Bad Suns released their second album Disappear Here earlier this year on September 16. Sophomore albums can be a little tricky for some bands because they’ve already developed a fan base and expectations are raised. This seemed to be no problem for them as Disappear Here is a perfect successor to Language & Perspective. The songs are catchier and have more of a depth to them. The opening and title track for the album “Disappear Here” is a nice welcome back to the band with an upbeat rhythm. Bowman has an extra zing in this song especially evident during the chorus. “Heartbreaker” touches on a feeling that many young adults experience: the fear of failed relationships. He pretends that he’s okay and can go on without her, but it’s an act.

Bad Suns is a modern, retro sounding band filled with spirit. Their honest, sometimes cynical, lyrics not only make them relatable, but prove that they too are learning how to navigate life. With the amount of optimistic energy they bring to their music, it’s a band that I consistently find myself putting on repeat.

Two Door Cinema Club – Gameshow

Fans of Two Door Cinema Club, myself included, have patiently waited for new material to be released. At times, it was uncertain as to whether or not they would come back as the band members were dealing with their own problems and projects. After 4 years of waiting, Two Door Cinema Club are back and sounding more confident than ever.

Produced by the infamous Jacknife Lee (Crystal Castles, Silversun Pickups, Weezer), Two Door Cinema Club’s newest album Gameshow is a modern take on classic rock music. Singer Alex Trimble names David Bowie and Prince as major inspirations for this album and it is evident, especially in songs like “Bad Decisions” and “Surgery”. The band has experimented a bit to add more of an electronic sound to their songs while still keeping their alternative sound that drew so many fans to listen to them. Yes, Two Door Cinema Club have followed in the path many other bands are taking with the 80s music revival, however, they do it in such a way that is refreshing and pleasurable.

The first track “Are We Ready? (Wreck)” reinforces the idea that Two Door Cinema Club has returned stronger than ever. Trimble makes some brazen statements as the song opens to the lyrics, “We are the sacred cow/Stand up, take a bow, you’re wonderful/You should be comfortable, don’t think at all”. Steady choir chants and handclaps kept my foot tapping throughout the entirety of the song.

The album’s title track “Gameshow” is one that is bound to be a crowd pleaser during concerts. It’s one of the most spirited songs on the album that gave me some LCD Soundsystem vibes. Trimble sings with a furiosity that I have not heard from him before. In it, Trimble is taking back control from the record companies and finally standing up for himself.

Many people have criticized Gameshow as falling short of expectations, but I say differently. The album is not revolutionary nor is it a giant leap forward for the band, but it is a fun and funky collection of songs that is bound to get a crowd thrilled. Trimble’s vocal ability impressed me because I did not know his voice was capable of such range. Guitarist Sam Halliday also deserves recognition with his outstanding guitar solos that are more prominently featured in this album. While not all of the tracks on Gameshow are my favorite, that doesn’t detract from the fact that I think this is a wonderful album filled with creativity and ambition. After 4 years, it was definitely worth the wait.

Warpaint – Heads Up

With many great women in rock and roll, it’s no surprise that Warpaint has gained attention for their dream pop aesthetic and wispy vocals. The Los Angeles quartet formed on Valentine’s Day in 2004. The bandmates have a long history with each other as lead woman Emily Kokal and guitarist Theresa Wayman have been friends since childhood. They were later joined by sisters Jenny Lee Lindberg and Shannyn Sossamon, though Sossamon would leave soon and be replaced by Stella Mozgawa, and would write and perform songs that would later comprise their first EP.

In 2007, Warpaint debuted their EP Exquisite Corpse which rose up to the Number 1 spot on the Los Angeles Amoeba Records local artist chart. Critics praised the album and were curious to hear what else the band had in store. The band listened and released The Fool three years after their EP came out. Once again the critics gave their album fantastic reviews. Word of Warpaint started circulating and they captured the hearts of many fans with their harmonious choruses and Lindberg’s artistically melancholy bass lines. Following suite, their second album Warpaint garnered rave reviews. Now, two years after their phenomenal self-titled album, they have delivered their wonderfully dynamic third album Heads Up.

The band excited many fans with the news that they were making a new album. The first single released is ironically titled “New Song”. It describes the joys of a new relationship when the person of interest is constantly in your head. While it is not the most lyrically intricate song, it is catchy enough to remain in your head for a couple of hours. This song has many characteristics of a “mainstream song” with its repetitive lyrics and poppy beats. It is a strange venture from the band’s previous songs that entranced people with their psychedelic nature.

“Whiteout” is the opening track and second single of the album. Kokal really delivers with intense, passionate vocals. The amount of layers Warpaint manages to put on every song absolutely blows me away. For this track, every instrument playing blends so magnificently together bringing about a song that is a mixture of indie pop with hints of R&B.

Heads Up is a great listen when you want to relax. It’s a calming album filled with the mystic idiosyncrasies that the listener has come to expect of Warpaint. However, they have seemed to have expanded their sound with faster paced songs and rhythms. In a way, this album reminds me a bit of music from the 90s with reverberating guitar notes and hypnotic melodies. This album steps away from the dark mood Warpaint usually has, but never strays too far from what has made the band a cult favorite.

No Wonder Oh Wonder is Amazing

Oh Wonder released their debut album, Oh Wonder, on September 4th in 2015. Immediately upon release, critics were raving, fans were screaming, and Oh Wonder embarked on a worldwide tour which only increased their ever-growing popularity. Oh Wonder is an upcoming indie-pop band based in London that is grabbing attention everywhere. The band is a duo, Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West. This album was made in a very non-traditional way. The two members wrote, produced and mixed each song in their home studio, and then released one song per month, beginning in September 2014. The official album was then released, along with two extra songs. Despite the majority of the songs being available before the album release, it still did extremely well in the charts across several countries including the UK, US, and Canada.
The album begins with Livewire, is a song about love that has passion within every word. The lyrics in the chorus “make me feel like I’m set on fire” is not dark or creepy, but rather entrancing. Technicolor Beat is a chill, electro-pop song that makes you feel calm with its simple piano and synth sounds, mixed with the pair’s vocals. Drive is exactly the song you would want to listen to on a drive as the sun sets with its nice backbeat and smooth strings. Lose It is a simple piano song with a basic beat and snaps, but the unique rhythm and lyrics such as “You got to give yourself a moment, let your body breathe” will make you want to just take a step back from life, and just dance for a moment. The Rain has melody that is reminiscent of old music while seamlessly combining it with newer synth melodies, and makes for a perfect song to listen to on a rainy day. Midnight Moon has a nice melody, some claps, and lyrics that will cheer you up. The album closes with Plans, which talks about times being tough, but yet it still conveys a feeling that everything will be alright and that the journey is worth it. Oh Wonder has a unique style, a unique approach to the music industry, and has a great future for them. If you are looking for a calming album that will make you feel happy, give this album a try. It’ll be worth it.