Oscar winner Juicy Jwrecked my soul at The Neptune Theater last night. Oh yeah, yes, it’s true, Juicy J and Leonardo DiCaprio have the same number of Oscars.
Project Pat brought out Nasty Mane and they performed some
booming bass music with predictable yet catchy lyrics.
Belly came out next. Never heard of him before. He does boast a bit of a belly though, which could point to the origins of his stage name. His
real name, according to the internet, is Ahmad. Further perusal of the internet
reveals that Belly was born in Palestine. Diversity! Yay!
Okay, that’s enough with the facts. Here’s more opinion:
Belly’s set was damn good. I now follow him on Spotify. His song with Travis
Scott bangs confirmed.
Then the stage was empty for a while. Anticipation hung in
the air thicker than the sweat—and there was a butt ton of sweat.
Juicy J is a distinguished dude with an enviable career—Three 6 Mafia
and an Oscar then a TGOD comeback with Bandz a Make Her Dance then a really
good album and now mixtape after mixtape of roof rattlers.
Anyways he stormed on stage, scarf draped over his head just like my mom wears a dupatta. Instantly I declared him my newest role
model. My list of role models was 29 pages long on Microsoft Word. Now it is 30.
I’ll be honest—I don’t know that many Juicy J songs. But
that didn’t stop me from leaping around like an electrified monkey. Bass on The
Neptune’s speakers exploded my brain into dripping mush—Beautiful. I still
haven’t recovered. At one point Juicy played a bunch of Three 6 Mafia numbers and
I knew the words so I screamed them and it was great.
Times like those, watching awestruck as an Oscar winner
screams down at you “YOU SAY NO TO DRUGS, JUICY J CAN’T,” you wonder what life
is really all about. Because maybe, just maybe, all you have to do is keep doing
your thing—whatever that thing may be—and you’ll eventually win.
Juicy J, legend, you inspire me to be the best possible me. Safe travels.
For a British electronica band that was founded in 2010, released
their first single in 2012, and signed to Polydor Records in 2015, releasing
their debut album just this past July, we expected Years & Years to
have a pretty humble audience size.
But when we walked into Neptune Theatre for Years & Years’
first show in Seattle, we were shocked. Every nook and cranny was packed with a
person. There was hardly room to breathe, let alone dance, but the crowd was
there for a reason and that was to groove all night.
With a upbeat, dance vibe, the British trio ties together their
90s R&B influences with modern dance pop, reminiscent of fellow contemporaries, Ben Khan, Kwabs, and
Iyes. You catch the more somber tempo with songs like “Take Shelter” and “Real”
that have a James Blake balladry to
the melody and R&B hint to them—songs that have a great visceral feeling to
the lyricism and background beat. And using their set time to play the entirety
of their debut album Communion¸ that
visceral feeling lasted the entire night.
But where Years & Years thrives is in frontman Olly Alexander’s high pitched, well
controlled vocals in tracks like “Worship”, “Ties”, and “Border”—songs that are
subtle in their background instrumentals and hints of synth. They’re songs that
focus solely on the act of listening to his voice smoothly sing every lyric,
and although aren’t explicit in working as a dance pop song, they cause your
body to move.
The song that Alexander executes best is a wild card on the
album, “Foundation”. Not a dance song at all, but also not a soft ballad, this
song has overlaying synth and a mystical, almost surreal instrumental overlay.
Yet, it’s even better life with Alexander’s yearning, almost pleading vocals
that give you chills as he bends over his microphone on stage in front of a
packed theatre of wide-eyed fans.
In a live show, the trio flows well, leaving a brilliant
stage presence–making it no surprise that just in the past year, the band has
been nominated and won a handful of awards and topping charts across the UK. The
synthesis and connected energy between the performers and audience was almost
electric, everyone on-stage and off moving together in synchrony.
There’s something about this trio’s music that is unlike any other electronic-pop artist. Perhaps it’s the ‘90′s R&B influences, perhaps it’s the subtle way
the dreamy synth and smooth vocals work to make you dance almost subconsciously—
or maybe it’s the way the artists are compassionate and human enough to pull
two men up on stage to watch a marriage proposal play out, bonding the
community within the theatre ever more so.
Whatever it is, we were honored to see a band keep the
energy up among their fans for the entire set as that’s a feat in itself, and
when they finished their last encore, we were sad to see them go.
But we’re excited to see what they have for us next.
When we were offered the opportunity to cover a Ben Rector
show, we couldn’t pass up the chance. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the 29 year-old
musician began playing piano at a young age, picking up guitar additionally
later in high school. After becoming the youngest person to win a pop award
Grand Prize of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest due to a self-titled EP in
2006, Rector knew he had a shot. After playing 200 shows and releasing two
full-length albums during his college career, Rector made the transition to Nashville
to give his career the full effort.
And it’s worked: releasing three more albums after that,
Rector has recently topped Billboard 200 charts and has sold out shows across
But what makes Ben Rector so likeable and so popular? His
music stylistically is simplistic and predictable with expected catchy tunes
and lyrics we can all relate to. And within the last 10 years Rector has been
in the industry, he hasn’t made waves of unique change among the pop
singer-songwriter genre. With a pretty standard voice that can sometimes reach
heights in his range (in tracks like “Paris” on the most recent Brand Newalbum), Rector is a
boy-next-door sort of artist.
What makes him memorable, however, seems to be just that. His
ability to combine American folk rock, jazzy soul, and piano pop into one
feel-good pie of feelings for the heart is exactly
what makes Rector top the charts. Versatile in terms of range and skills, the
Tennessee-based musician is able to switch easily from catchy pop tunes with
echo-ey vocals, like popular song “Let the Good Times Roll,” to more heart felt
ballads, like new track “The Men Who Drive Me Places.”
And his versatility and heart shows. When Ben Rector steps onto
the stage at a sold out Neptune Theatre,
the crowd roars. When we looked around the famous Seattle venue, we couldn’t
believe our eyes to see a completely jam packed theatre, with each crowd member
joyously grinning from ear to ear at the sight of the Nashville artist.
Beginning the show on the piano, the indie pop singer-songwriter
plays renown track, ”Brand New,” a piano pump-up song that hypes up the entire audience.
Throughout the entire show, Rector switches back and forth between guitar and
piano, moving around the stage, and engaging the crowd the entire time,
grateful and in awe of so many people in front of him singing his songs.
“It’s awesome that you’re singing my songs,” he says
grinning. “These aren’t on the radio, which means you had to go out yourself and
find my music. Thank you for that.”
And it’s true, track after track, both slow and fast,
everyone joins in on lyrics. He plays a repertoire of songs on his setlist,
including popular songs, “The Beat,” “Make Something Beautiful,” “Fear,” and of
course “Let the Good Times Roll.”
It isn’t just originals however, Rector, with his boyish
preference for jazz sneaks cover songs into his performance, stating, “I get
bored doing my own stuff after a while, sometimes I like to mix it up.” Yet, regardless
of whether he plays own music or not, he is still loved among the crowd of
listeners before him, and he reciprocates that love fully. As he plays, both
guitar and piano, we see the passion and joy he derives, not just from the
music, but from performing. And as he engages his audience members, teasing,
laughing, and exchanging jokes, we see an artist who is driven by the love of
performance. At the end of the show, as Rector discusses how impatient he gets
at encores because he just wants to be back out with the audience, we almost
feel enveloped by his presence, as if in this hour of time with him and in an
theater full of other people, we’ve become close friends with the artist
Rector dances his way out of the crowd, leaving everyone on
a high, joyful in anticipation of his next album to come.
And although this artist isn’t experimental in his
composition or melodies or lyrics, we have come to the conclusion he does
create feeling for the listener, and since that’s good for everyone
else who’s helped him top charts, that’s good enough for us to give him a
This Friday brings a recent discovery for me to the nearby Neptune Theater. Destroyer, fronted by Dan Bejar of the Canadian indie band The New Pornographers, will be bringing his unique voice to fill the rafters of the local theater.
Poison Season is a showcase for a variety of lush instrumentals behind Bejar’s often imploring and questioning vocals. Ranging from golden trumpets to strings, sax, piano, flute, (yes, flute) and your standard guitar and bass, I am sure his live show will sound as beautiful live as they do on record, if not more so.
And while you’re at it, watch his amusing and oddly fitting stop-motion video for ‘Times Square’. It’s not what you would expect!
Opening will be Frog Eyes, with doors at 8 and the show starting at 9. Get your tickets here if you haven’t yet.
First of all, Glass Animals are English (and gorgeous). They’re an indie rock band. And they’re from Oxford.
Are we up my alley, or are we? But regardless, these guys are still solid musicians. For once, I don’t want to rush through an entire album for you to get a taste of these guys’ sound.
I want to talk about “Gooey,” on the June 2014 LP ZABA, because this one track captures the real essence of what Glass Animals’ sound is and what they’re about.
First of all, this song is full of sexual innuendos, so if you’re awkward about it, kindly step off. We’ve got lyrics like “Ride my little pooh bear and “You just wanna know those peanut butter vibes,” but you know what? The lyrics are smooth, and supple and lead vocalist Dave Bayley’s slippery falsetto snakes around seeping basslines and psychedelic beats.
This song feels like you’re in a dream, with these sleek, texturized lyrics and lullaby sounding instrumentals. It’s strange listening to this song, because you feel like you are personally being crooned to, with Bayley’ vocals whispering in your ear, “While my naked naked fool/Fresh out of an icky gooey womb.”
There is a level of sophistication with these guys, and I’m not surprised, when you have Dave Bayley as frontman, with a degree in neuroscience from London’s King’s College. What intelligent man wouldn’t know how to perfectly craft together such a beautiful combination of intricate beats, trippy vocals, and mellow interludes of R&B? Listen, and tell me you won’t fall in love.
Because what’s not to love when there are other tracks like “Toes” that are equally as brilliant with smooth harmonies and complex lyricicsm. You’ve got this lingering swagger that is the essence of the song, with sparse percussion and underlying bass. It’s slow-tempo and it’s stripped down, lacking lots of synth and lots of energy, but it’s what makes the song great. It’s these little nuances that make Glass Animals distinctive.
Any band that’s touring right now with St. Vincent, and was signed by brilliant producer Paul Epworth (think Florence & the Machine, Bloc Party, and Adele) is a band worth listening to. And you’ve got that opportunity to, with an upcoming show at Neptune Theatre on May 24th.