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Reviews

Sara Kays at Launchpad

American singer-songwriter and TikTok sensation, Sara Kays, opened for MAX at Launchpad in Albuquerque, NM on Wednesday night, giving us a taste of the intimate show that was coming next.

Throughout her set, Sara’s artistry as a solo songwriter shined through her beautifully raw and soft vocals. She also displayed her talent as a guitarist and ukulele player through her soulful acoustic set. She played a mix of both previously released and new songs and surprised the crowd with a cover of a “song about bugs!”

“I think you all know this one,” Sara said before she started to sing Owl City’s “Firefly.” And as soon as she began singing it, the crowd went wild!

Throughout her set, Sara was super interactive with the crowd, telling them about her inspiration behind her lyrics. “Have you ever been walking on the sidewalk with a group of friends, and there’s not enough space for all of you to walk side by side, so you have to step off or walk behind everyone else?” Sara asked the crowd. “Yes!” they replied. “Well, that’s never been me, but this next song is about you guys,” Sara jokingly said causing the crowd to burst out in laughter before she began playing “Chosen Last.”

Next, Sara played a song that resonated with many individuals in the crowd. She explained that the lyrics summarized her experiences with body dysmorphia and wanting to fit into society’s standards of beauty. “Let’s get in our feels before MAX comes out and makes us forget sad,” she said as she began a beautifully emotional performance of “Smaller Than This.”

“Before MAX comes on, I have one more sad song for you guys” she said before ending her set with the song that started it all for her, “Remember That Night.

Sara Kays put on a great opening show for those who came to see MAX in Albuquerque. Not only was her performance, vocally, musically, and lyrically, on par, but her interaction with the crowd was intimate, relatable, and fun. Sara Kays is a force to be reckoned with and we can’t wait to see what comes next from her!

Make sure to stream Sara Kay’s here and give her a follow on socials @sarakaysmusic.

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Reviews

MAX at Launchpad

Have you ever listened to MAX’s “Basement Party” and wondered what it would be like to be at that party with him? Well, MAX took the stage at Launchpad in Albuquerque, NM on Wednesday night and to say that it was the best basement party is truly an understatement!

The show started with a beautiful set by Sara Kays, which got the crowd up on their feet and ready for the big show coming next. The venue buzzed with anticipation and excitement as the lights started to flash, signaling MAX’s arrival to the stage. The crowd went wild as he ran on stage and started his set singing “Wasabi” from his newest album, Color Vision.

“The vibes are so good in here! You’re a small crowd, but you are LOUD! I like it, I like it,” MAX told the audience. With a crowd of about a hundred people, those who attended experienced a super intimate show. MAX constantly interacted with the fans, whether that be drawing out some tattoo designs on a poster, taking a selfie with a fan, or just having fun conversations with everyone throughout the show.  

It truly felt as though we were just hanging out with MAX and having a little party, dancing and singing along to our favorite songs. The crowd became a part of each song as MAX gave them a chance to shout out the lyrics, resulting in a constant back and forth between them all night.

Before he went down memory lane with a nostalgic track from Nickelodeon’s Rags, Max sincerely thanked everyone there saying, “whether you’ve been with me since the very beginning, starting ten years ago, or if you’re a new fan, I’m so grateful for every single one of you!” He went on to sing the intro of “Someday” for his OG fans.

“This next song is definitely fitting for this venue, its small and it feels like we’re having a ‘Basement Party,’Max told the crowd. And this track had everyone jumping and having a good time. Before performing one of his most popular songs, he said “For the next one, I want to see a sea of lights because this song is called ‘Lights Down Low.’” When MAX thought the crowd couldn’t get any louder, they proved him wrong during this song!

If you are ever looking to attend a show that will leave you a hundred and ten percent satisfied, MAX is the way to go. MAX really knows how to put on a performance that will only leave you wanting more! Make sure to stream MAX’s music here and catch him live in a city near you. He puts on a show that you surely won’t want to miss!

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Reviews

Noah Cyrus at The Historic El Rey Theater

After four years, Noah Cyrus has returned to the stage for The Hardest Part Tour, and we’ve never been more excited! On Wednesday night, Noah performed for a sold-out crowd at The Historic El Rey Theater in Albuquerque, NM with a beautiful and heartfelt opening performance by gigi.

Excitement and anticipation circulated through the crowd as they chanted “Noah! Noah! Noah!” moments before the singer came on stage. Noah made an entrance with the first song on the setlist, Noah (Stand Still), wearing a stunning red leather dress. With a minimally dressed stage, Noah and her riveting vocals were surely the stars of the show.

The setlist mainly included songs from her debut studio album, The Hardest Part which was released last month, as well as from THE END OF EVERYTHING released in 2020.  Noah surprised the crowd by playing Again and Make Me (Cry) for her OG fans. The smaller venue allowed the crowd to feel a more intimate and personal connection with Noah as they sang along with her.

Throughout the night, Noah stopped between songs saying, “I am so happy to be on stage with you guys.” She was not afraid to get personal while sharing her struggles and mental battles that led to the creation of her new album, saying, “I was almost afraid and felt like I was running away from creating this album, but I was really just running away from myself. I had a lot of time to work on myself while writing this album.”

Noah ended the show with a three-song encore that included an emotional performance of Lonely where everyone in the crowd sang their heart out. Noah put on a great show for her fans and left them wanting more by the end of it.

Make sure to stream Noah’s album The Hardest Part here and catch her live in a city near you. She puts on a show that you surely won’t want to miss!

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Concert Photography Reviews

Jeremy Zucker and Babygirl

Jeremy Zucker returned to New York City for the first time since moving to L.A. on Thursday, November 18. Performing at Terminal 5, the artist was supported by the fast-rising Toronto-based pop punk band, Babygirl.

Describing their music as “pop songs with sad guitars”, Babygirl has quickly amassed a dedicated following. With a pocket of enthusiastic fans packed into the front of the crowd, the band played singles such as “Easy” and “Million Dollar Bed” from their latest EP, Losers Weepers. Their fans sang back every word without missing a beat, singing particularly loudly for Babygirl’s 2018 hit, “I Wish I Never Met You”. In between songs, the crowd professed their love for the band and screamed in support. 

As the night progressed, the anticipation grew for the packed Terminal 5 crowd. Chants of “Jeremy! Jeremy! Jeremy!” began filling the room as Jeremy Zucker’s set time approached. As the lights dimmed and Zucker’s intro song rang out, deafening screams filled the air.

The New Jersey-born artist initially gained major traction within the music scene during his senior year of college in 2018. Torn between completing his degree and pursuing music full time, Zucker chose to finish off college and immediately went on tour upon graduating. It’s safe to say this choice has not held the artist back whatsoever — since that time, he’s amassed an incredible 5.3 million global streams and sold 3 million albums.

Unable to tour his 2020 album, Love Is Not Dying due to the global pandemic, and releasing a new album, Crusher in 2021, Zucker performed a carefully curated mix of the two albums with other singles interspersed. Starting with “we’re fucked, it’s fine” off of Love Is Not Dying, Zucker managed to contain the wildly enthusiastic crowd during the opening number. Zucker then transitioned into “Therapist” off of Crusher — the more upbeat song perfectly matched the audience’s excitement and allowed the artist to showcase some of his dance moves. Though Zucker faced sound issues as the set progressed, he did not skip a beat and continued on.  

Towards the end of the night, Zucker took a break to call out the fact that he grew up right across the pond from New York City. Pointing to the second level, he gushed that his family and close friends were all in attendance, making the night extra special for him. One of the close friends was fellow musician, Chelsea Cutler, who came out to perform “you were good to me” off of their joint EP, Brent. 

It’s safe to say the audience thoroughly enjoyed the night, as almost each and every face was lit up with a smile as the crowd dispersed from the venue. 

Photos and article by Ana Medvedeva

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Concert Photography music festival Music News Reviews

Deep Tropics 2021

Nashville danced all weekend long during the Deep Tropics music, art, and style festival, paying no mind to the sweltering heat. It was a collective agreement that we were all grateful to be together, sharing love and sweating it out on the dance floor after a year where we were all so far apart.

One of the coolest parts about Deep Tropics was that it was set to be the greenest festival in the world. If you were there you noticed there were zero trash cans. That’s right! Everything was compostable or recyclable, including all the cutlery and even free ash try pouches. The commitment to being sustainable was refreshing to see, and it was incredible to see so many attendees who were passionate about the environment as well.

The Friday lineup included Clozee and Whethan on the Meru main stage, and the amphitheater was packed for both of their sets.

Hourglass kicked us off on Saturday. The crowd was slowly trickling in, but she had everyone up and dancing and ready for Day 2 in no time. Cassian and Young Bae followed on the main stage while people flaunted their outfits and much-needed fans.

And let’s not forget about the Congo Soundsystem stage! This stage was close to the heart of Tennessee. Memphis-native Qemist performed, as well as several hip-hop artists from Nashville such as A.B. Eastwood, $avvy, Brian Brown, and Tim Gent. The energy around this stage was always a vibe no matter who was playing!

As the night rolled around, more and more people streamed in. Bubbles filled the air, the VIP section was bouncing, and folks were captivated by the poi spinners around the park. Unfortunately, Moon Boots had to cancel on Saturday, whom I know many fans were looking forward to. But CharlestheFirst and Claude VonStroke kept the spirits alive, so any momentary sadness at that news was soon forgotten.

Deep Tropics was an incredible way to close out summer and celebrate the return of music festivals. Hopefully this helped pave the way to making all festivals sustainable, showing that we can do all of our favorite things while saving the planet, too. See you all next year!

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Reviews

Concert Review: Dean Lewis

There’s an allure that concerts have. Maybe it’s the palpable excitement in the air, maybe it’s the magnetism that draws your eyes to the artist on-stage. No matter what it is, it’s an allure that we miss in these pandemic stricken times but online concerts have an allure of their own. 

April 30th, 2021.  The artist playing is Dean Lewis. If you don’t know Dean Lewis, you’re almost sure to know his song “Be Alright” that was released back in 2018. It reached 10x platinum in Australia and 2x platinum in the US.

It’s a smaller, more intimate setting decorated with Edison lights and lights that color the stage depending on the mood. Opposed to the distinctive artist and band facing the audience, concerts are known for, they face each other and through this arrangement we see the connection and communication that an artist has with the other musicians on-stage. 

The first song that plays is “Waves,” which begins with Dean and his guitar but gradually progresses to something with more impact when the band comes in to supplement. 

Another song he plays is “Used to Love” which is the first time that it has been played live. A charm of the live version is the bass line coming through and the use of a shaker. The song builds up with the sounds of an orchestral and eventually comes to an end.

The middle of the concert becomes slower with Dean moving to the piano. A memorable moment is when the band leaves the stage and Dean is left on stage alone to sing “Half A Man”.

The second to last song comes around and Dean is again at the piano and this time to play “Be Alright”. The emotions of the song are tangible even through the screen of a computer.

The last song finally comes and it’s his newest song “Falling Up” and it is a new sound from Dean Lewis. The song touches on the negative emotions that he is feeling but combats them with a sense of optimism.

Listen to “Falling Up”!

Big thanks to the team at Island Records for giving us the chance to see this concert!

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Music News Reviews

Dancing With Nobody: NOTD

With its rhythmic beat and the anti-drop in the chorus, “Nobody” is an electronic dance song through and through and that is expected from Swedish production duo NOTD (pronounced noted). Known for their energetic songs that cause their listeners to want to get up and dance, NOTD have had massive success with 1 Billion streams on Spotify and a nomination of Best Dance Song at the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards.

For this track, they team up with new artist Catello, who is as mysterious as his spotify biography suggests:

Out of chaos came light.

Out of will came life.

Stemming from The Egyptian Book of the Dead, this quote with the depiction of a man with a canine head directly invokes the impression of Egyptian god of death, Anubis. Another little detail that we admire is the fact that Catello derives from the word “Catulus” meaning young dog.

Now you may be wondering why we are discussing “Nobody” when it was released three months ago, and that is because we had the pleasure of receiving the music video of Nobody in advance!

The video itself depicts a man reflecting on his failed relationship with a woman and regretting his actions in the past. Much like the genre that NOTD is known for, the couple’s relationship is illustrated through the medium of dance and this allows the music video to portray the more sorrowful tone that is present in the lyrics of the song.

Something that is notable is the use of color. The use of red to represent passion along with the more heated emotions like anger. This contrasts the use of blue cutting between the man and his anger and instills feelings of forlorn. Finally ending with white, a color that is stark, cold and isolated.  

Thank you to NOTD and the team at Island Records for sending us the music video in advance! 

And be sure to watch and listen to the song yourself!

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Music News Reviews

Killed by Rock and Roll and The Pretty Reckless

The Pretty Reckless released their fourth studio album on February, 12, ending a several year wait for new music. Titled Death By Rock And Roll,” I knew that I and fans of The Pretty Reckless would not be disappointed. With 12 tracks, an average length of four and a half minutes per song, and features with Tom Morello, Matt Cameron, and Kim Thayil, Death By Rock And Roll is here to provide us with an incredible amount of rocking out.

The album kicks off with the title track, which we are all familiar with as it was released as a single previously. Somehow this means that “Death By Rock And Roll” may end up being only one of your many favorite songs on the album. So get excited.

Mixing soft, haunting melodies and tolls with headbanging drums and guitar solos, the music of Death By Rock and Roll is going to stick with you. Constantly touching on themes of life and death and with passion emanating from all of Taylor Momsen’s vocals, the album tells a story and could easily be the soundtrack of its own movie.

The Pretty Reckless graces us by turning it down for a couple of songs. One of them is “Got So High,” which both makes you want to cry and scream the lyrics joyously at the same time. And then they throw in a little interlude with “Broomsticks” that’s a little Halloween fun and sets us up for “Witches Burn.”

So what’s worth living for? And what’s worth dying for? Is it love or rock and roll, or is it nothing at all because the world is so messed up? Take a listen and you might find out for yourself.

Take a listen to Death By Rock and Roll, and then join me in impatiently waiting for The Pretty Reckless’s rescheduled tour dates to finally happen.

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Music News Reviews

Nightly’s alternative EP night, love you.

Nightly, an alt-pop band based in Nashville, released an EP today that re-imagines a few songs off of their previous album night, love you. which came out last year. This alternative EP shares the same name, so don’t get confused!

The tracks on the EP include a stripped down version of “Not Like You,” acoustic versions of “So Sly” and “Summer,” and a live version of “Older.” To the average listener, these alternative takes might not sound all that different to you. “Summer (Acoustic)” is the one that stands out the most and invites you to learn how to play the song on the guitar. But upon a couple of listens, you may grow to really appreciate the nuances between versions, especially in “Not Like You (Stripped),” just as we did.

If you’re already a fan of Nightly, you’ll be disappointed that there are no new songs, of course. But if you’re new to Nightly, night, love you (alt ep) might be the perfect bite-sized introduction to the band you need! And then you can dive headfirst into the rest of their discography, starting with the album night, love you. We know we’ll be following them and waiting on more music!

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Reviews Videos

Cat & Calmell: dramatic

Emerging in 2020 with their single “dumbshit”, Newcomers Cat & Calmell have just released their second single “dramatic” and impresses with this snappy pop song.

The song employs a strong bass line and light background vocals that often mimic the melody lines which create an interesting echo effect. Something else that was captivating about the song is the contrast of Cat’s deep, rich vocals with Calmell’s almost airy tones. 

The chorus inspires the inner cynic with the lyrics:

Shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds me

But you’re not the man

And when I stick it to you

We’ll see who’s dramatic

The pair also does not disappoint when performing live as seen in their Bedroom Live performance on their YouTube where they perform an acoustic version of “dramatic”, “dumbshit”, and a cover of “Clueless” by The Marías.

Be sure to watch their music video which contains an interesting story along with an entrancing segment which depicts delirium with incredible visuals.