Event Review: Slander – Headbangers Ball


Don’t let the name fool you! Headbangers Ball is not what you’re thinking. MTV’s classic late-night television show is long forgotten. Instead the heavy bass duo, Slander adopts the name to headline their own US tour.

Image courtesy of Headbangers

Prior to the 2-week long campus closure, I had the pleasure of stopping by the San Jose City National Civic Center to attend their show. With it being titled “Headbangers Ball”, it did not disappoint. The show feature supporting acts by Wavedash, and Eprom. Both supporting acts were able to live up to the event’s name by spinning nothing but heavy bass tracks, mixed with melodic dub-step and even some Future House records.

The venue itself reminded me of a mini-scale Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. It featured a large floor area filled with bodies head banging all night long, and the seating up top on the 2nd floor was no different. Upon arriving I was shocked to see the diversity in the demographic of the audience. I noticed a wide variety of ages, some looking like young college students attending their first rave, while others looked to be in their early to late twenties.

After making it past ID and security check points I was pleasantly surprised to see how packed the venue was. Up first was EPROM.

EPROM was a refreshing, yet heavy sound. Most notably he dropped his own remix of Porter Robinson’s “Sad Machine” that set the tone for the rest of his set. I was most impressed by the way EPROM was able to shuffle the pace of his set by bouncing back and forth between heavy Trap and Bass sounds, to melodic dub-step and house music.

Fallowing EPROM was Wavedash. I had little to no knowledge on what kind of music this duo puts out, but I found it to be a little too heavy for my taste. Wavedash played a set filled with what felt like, all Dubstep and Trap records. Within the first two songs of his set, there were many mosh pits going on all around the dance floor. While his set was over the top for my taste, I found it to be enjoyable after retreating to the balcony to avoid getting sucked into a mosh pit.

Now let’s talk about the headliner, Slander. I have been following their music since the release of their “Nuclear Bonds” EP that featured the track “Gud Vibrations” with the artist Nghtmre. “Gud Vibrations” was the summer festival anthem for the year 2015 and since then I have fallen in love with all the remixes that they have put out. Slander is a unique combination of emotional lyricism and HEAVY drops. The stage production would switch between heartfelt images during their softer records, then would immediately switch to a darker, almost devilish themes for their harder tracks.

While Slander began his set, I sat in the balcony seats. I was in awe at the production value. The crowd had so much energy, I almost felt as if I could feel building shaking every time, I heard a bass drop from his records. Seeing the crowd collectively singing along his remix of Post Malone’s “Fall Apart” was something I’ll never forget.

Overall, the Headbangers Ball did not disappoint! Originally, I was a little worried that I wasn’t going to have a good time, but I was glad that I attended. It was such a positive way to bring in the start of my birthday.  

B.A.P 2016 Live On Earth, SF


WHO IS B.A.P?

The super short and brief explanation (mainly only on their concert activities).

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B.A.P (Best Absolute Perfect) debuted in January 2012. This Korean boy band is well-known as a strong Hip-Hop group that consists of six members (Bang Yong Guk, Him Chan, Dae Hyun, Young Jae, Jong Up, and Zelo) in which their music describes self-identity and the social issues of the world. A year after their debut, B.A.P had two concerts: Pacific World Tour in 2013 and Live On Earth (first) World Tour in 2014. Earlier this year, B.A.P has released their 6th mini album ‘Carnival’ that has kicked off with their second world tour concert, Live On Earth: Awake! This concert started in Seoul for two days from February 21st to the 22nd. Just around early March, the band has released the entire destination tour dates. Starting from North America to Mexico to Europe to Southeast Asia and back to East Asia (finishing in Seoul, South Korea) from the spring throughout the summer.

QUICK BACKGROUND

I’ve known B.A.P since their debut in 2012 and followed them until the end of 2013 summer. I started to listen to them here and there and eventually became a fan in the New Year of 2014. Their music style and the way their group was constructed stood out for me, which appealed to me.

Gladly, their first stop for Live On Earth: Awake happened to be at San Francisco, California that was on Thursday, April 14th. This is my first time in (almost) six years since I’ve went to a concert. The last concert, SM Town 2010 concert, was an experience that I loved, enjoyed, and remembered until now. I would never forget that day. However, B.A.P Live On Earth: Awake was a special one because this was my first solo concert that I’ve went to. SM 2010 concert was a shared staged of various artists who were under the same music label performed for the masses. B.A.P happened to be the one to make a special memory to me.

THE CONCERT

B.A.P held their concert at the Warfield Theatre at San Francisco. The Warfield Theatre was beautiful because it has all of the elements of an old fashioned theatre. Regardless of being a theatre major, the place looks fantastic! (Just note that the Warfield staffs needed to at least smile rather than mugged.)

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Inside the theater, there were two floors. The first floor has: the pit, the general standing, and another standing (near the door entrances). For the second floor, the seats were steep and narrow towards the stage. Unfortunately, I didn’t arrive as early as I expected, so I ended up standing at the way back, behind the general standing area. When you stared at the Warfield pictures, the stage looks far from the audiences (and where I stood), but it was so much closer in reality rather than pictures.

I remember once the lights went down, the entire fan sticks glowed and the fans started to scream. The time, I read from my watch, it was 8:09 PM. I was surprised that it has started. I was so nervous, right when their first song, ‘Warrior,’ was up I found myself blasted! B.A.P, whom I always seen on screen, has become real. They were no longer boxes, but they were circles. (My explanation of saying that B.A.P were no longer people on a flat screen TV who sings, raps, and dances, but they actually have shapes just like us and were moving at the same time and same moment as us.) The spikey leather jackets and all black outfits were the best choice for the opening. It immediately set the mood and tone that they were here to show their passion; they are serious with their performance! Besides, they were so much taller than they really look! I was so shocked that triggered me to exploded and cheered! All of the fans were pumped up. The speakers were blasting extremely loud and the red lights shined onto them. The DJ on stage right focused on his two Macs to play the music and the drummer on the stage left was pounding the drums. Every one of the members’ moves were sharp and swift. Their vocals and raps hit the absolute pitch and style, which was even better than the audio.

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The pre-show stage. Screen says, “Where are you?”

The song set list was a total of 23 songs performed: Warrior* // What the Hell // No Mercy + (Queen’s) We Will Rock You // S.N.S (Him Chan’s solo) // Spy // Be Happy // <Talk Session> // Feel So Good // Carnival // Slow Motion (Young Jae’s solo) // Hurricane (Remix) // Badman (Remix) // Dancing in the Rain (Remix)* // Crash // Bangx2* // Now (Jong Up’s solo) // <VCR: ‘No More War’> // One Shot* // Young, Wild & Free // 1004 (Angel)* // With You* // <VCR: Encore> // Kingdom (Korean Ver.) // Excuse Me // Carnival // <VCR: B.A.B.Y – B.A.P’s Thank You notes>

Note: Hurricane, Badman, and Dancing in the Rain were all together as remixes.

(Though there was fancam (fans’ video records of live performances) for the Seoul Concert back in February, I did not dare to look at them. I wanted to excite myself and see what B.A.P can pull off.)

At one point of the concert, B.A.P did a Rave theme for three songs that they had all remixed it. The lights started to go change its color and lasers all over the theatre. I am seriously not kidding, but when you go to a concert you like and especially it is one of your favorite band or artist, you will literally jump and flow with the music! That’s what happened to me. Not just only in the Rave, but the entire time of the concert I jumped up and down with the glow stick. I was all hyper because I was enjoying every moment while it still lived. I didn’t want to lose the chance to corporate such as when they say, “jump, jump, jump.” I had to take the chance! And I did! I jumped, cheered, and had so much fun that I was literally hitting the two person next to me (my sister on my left and another fan on my right)! I felt like I was punching the air and my elbow kept on crashing into these two on both of my sides. I gave it all my energy to. Jumped, jumped, and jumped all night. Cheered, sang, and screamed. I even threw hand gestures and rapped too. Yes! All that (expect for dancing because there was no space).

I was looking forward for B.A.P to perform slow songs somewhere in the middle of the concert, but they didn’t. I was sad for a while, but the concert was still enjoyable. The songs that has an asterisks were the songs that I very much enjoyed and was prepared to sing along with. These were the few ones that I highly anticipated most. The live performances of Warrior, Bangx2, and One Shot were the strong and at the same time, the other three, Dancing in the Rain, 1004 (Angel), and With You had sensibilities.

However, there were three of the six members had solo stages. Him Chan performed a B.A.P song, “S.N.S,” Young Jae covered Trey Songz’ “Slow Motion,” and Jong Up sang his own song, “Now.” All three had great stages and was able to show their own styles with the vocals, dances, and rap. I really enjoyed because it was a different from their group images, which was an impressive effort. Talking about the three other members briefly, each of them had possessed an impression even if they did not had a solo stage for this tour stop. Leader Bang Yong Guk was quiet most of the time, but he was no joke on stage. Once the stage lights are up, Bang just killed the stage like it’s nothing! Main vocalist Dae Hyun took the lead in speaking (alongside with Him Chan) during the talk sessions. His high notes were awesome (way better in live than the audio, no kidding). As for the last member Zelo, he was able to shine on stage even more than before with his powerful fast raps and twisty body dances! These six gentlemen each carried out their own personas!

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The end of the concert. Text: “We were here! B.A.P Live On Earth World Tour U.S. Awake!”

Throughout the concert, B.A.P continuously pulled the audiences to participate in their songs and to sing along. It was amazing because there were times where some of the members would literally look at my section intensely. They would have the most ambitious or the happiest faces on ever. I was connected and knew that they were considerate enough to include us. One of the reasons that made B.A.P and their performance more powerful was all thanks to the live instrument of the drum! He did an awesome job in banging the beats! (It makes me now really want to go to a rock concert!) Which made me really hoped to see them on stage with an actual live band one day.

B.A.P has come back after a while to San Francisco to kick off their World Tour all until the end of the summer! Even though they had returned this year with a bright and colorful image, B.A.P was still able to perform at their best to continue on their stand for humanity and their strength as individuals. Their live performances are still alive and I truly appreciate that I was able to participate to be the first crowd of their tour! It was all about living it, not dreaming it. This was the experience that I would never forget.

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Here are some piece of advice:

Advice 1: Remember, if you are to go to a concert, make sure that you write down what you experienced right after the concert. You do not want to wait a few days later because you may not remember what had happened (because it was that much fun).

Advice 2: DO NOT worry about not recording any performances because you know that someone in the audience would definitely post videos of the concert up! So don’t worry about it! (I am serious!!) When you are there, the memories and live counts much moreyou have to live it to feel it!

Advice 3: Once the concert ends, do not say, “It feels like a dream.” If you do, your mind will start to develop the thought that the concert was a dream rather than a reality. Keep it real, record / write it down!

Advice 4: Have FUN!

 

Blockbuster – Block B in the USA 2015 Tour


Block B

Yo yall, life man, seriously… life is so good!! LET. ME. TELL. YOU WHY!!!

Block B!! I loved them since they first debuted in 2011. I’ve been following them and they’ve seriously grown immensely with their music, especially Zico, who’s my top 3 bias of all biases! My boo! *swoooooon* ANY WHO! What drew me to them was the mere fact that they weren’t your typical kpop-“pop”-group. They were more hip hop! That was completely new to me, because during that time hip hop wasn’t that big in Korea as it is now, so the music I’ve listened to was mostly pop songs. Although, I’ve always been into American Hip Hop/Rap, I just never ventured to that genre when listening to k-pop.

So KPOP like to do this thing where they like to spring on their fans that they’re coming to the states with very little time for anyone to prepare….mentally and financially. It gets pretty chaotic when news break out that the groups I love are coming… like its a combo of whirlwind-hurricane-earthquake-volcano eruption in my mind and heart.

When SubKulture announced that they were bringing Block B to the states I screamed, then I panicked. In the last span of 6 months I’ve been 5 concerts! 5!! They’re not cheap!! KPOP IS EXPENSIVE YALL!! Yes flowers are ridiculously expensive. So out of those 5 concerts, I did see them at KCON, but it just wasn’t enough. I sat so far away and they only performed a few songs. I needed more Block B, More Zico!

Sadly, my wallet wasn’t having none of it. As it coughed up dust with a dead moth inside, it was like “Ha-ha-ha have you seen your money?! Because I haven’t.” *cries*

Then last week Zico dropped his new single “Boys and Girls” and I’m like.. Is this a sign?!!? Should I go?! I kept asking pestering my friend Sue, who loves Zico as much as I do, (I don’t mind sharing biases, I’m nice like that lol) if we should go, but she was in the same situation as I was, poor-ness. I told her that a lot of the time, when it gets closer to the concert date, people start selling tickets for dirt cheap. She said if it was cheap enough, she’d be down.

So I found a group on Facebook and asked around to see if anyone was selling cheap tickets.

A girl posted saying that KORE was selling tickets for 40% off. I was like Oh my gah.. perfect! However she messaged me and told me to email an employee from SubKulture with how many tickets I wanted and which section. So on Monday, I did as instructed.

Tuesday morning I woke up to a reply from SubKulture saying that they’ll give me two comp tickets to GA and just pick it up from Will Call!!!

HOLY MOTHER OF KPOP!!! I SCREAMED SO LOUD AT 7AM!! I. COULD. NOT. BELIEVE!!!!!!

Like YALLL!!!!!! I was freakin out!! LIKE I HAD A SMILE PLASTERED ON MY FACE ALL DAY!!!! I felt like I was walking on cloud nine! I was like, this was meant to be! Zico and I were meant to be. This is how we’d meet and he’ll fall in love with me. We’d get married and have little rapping babies. Perfect. Just perfect.

The day of the concert we went and lined up 3 hours in advanced since it was GA. They were letting will-calls in one by one to pick up their tickets… as I got to the front, I said my name and THEN the girl handed me my ticket and said, “Here you go,” then she pointed at another table, “go towards the prize tables to see if you won.”

I was like … “Wait what?”

She said, “See if you won photo opp, hi-touch, or other merchandise.

I almost fell to the floor, literally! I was like “WHAT?!?! THERE’S A CHANCE FOR ME TOO?!” I thought it was only for those who had bought their tickets. Sue and I started hopping over to the other tables like excited minions. I didn’t want to expect much because the free tickets were ALREADY  too much for me to handle, I couldn’t imagine getting any more because life doesn’t work like that… not for me at least.

Sue handed her ticket over. They were quiet and shook their head apologetically, “Sorry, you didn’t win.”

My hands shook a little as I handed my ticket.

“You got Hi-touch!”

“What?” I thought I was hearing things.

“You got hi-touch.”

I dropped to the ground and then I screamed as I popped back up!!

LIFE IS TOO AMAZING!!!! UGH!

I WAS GOING TO MARRY MEET ZICO!!!

The concert was so lit! From their first song, “Very Good” to their Encore songs!! Their stage presence and vibe was pure fire. I’ve been to two shows at the Warfield before for Got7 and Epik High, but man, Block B’s stage set up was just WOW!! The stage itself is pretty small, but you would never have guessed after seeing Block B’s bright TV screen and lightings. I got lost in their music. I personally loved that it wasn’t a packed house! I was able to stand in front of second level of GA and was able to see them perfectly. I’m 5’1 so I hate GAs, but it was just perfect, where I stood. We danced and hopped around so much because where we stood, barely anyone was there, so I wild out to my heart’s content! I’m limping today because my calves are on fire, just like the show — HAH! They’re so freakin amazing live. All the energy that you feel watching them in videos just don’t do them justice, but I knew that! Their songs always pumps me up when I listen to it, but hearing them live and seeing them that up close was a whole new crazy awesome experience. 

When Zico performed “Okey Dokey” though, I went nuts!

Zico is life.

I wished I could brag about Hi-Touch more, but unfortunately I wasn’t prepared for it. I knew it’d go fast and it did. Like herds of fast moving cows, as quickly as we got up on the stage to Hi-five them, we got off. It took no more than 5 seconds for the whole thing. I’m shy… so when I saw Zico… I couldn’t even look at him or anyone else for that matter. Honestly, I would’ve needed weeks to prepare for those 5 seconds. A few hours just wasn’t enough, but I regret nothing.

All in all, great concert! Just UGH! AMAZEBALLS! I came with literally no expectations except enjoy the awesome music and walked out feeling blessed.

Seriously. LAST concert of the year. LAST!

My heart is concert-ed out.

….unless they’re free, again.

DJRONAROCKSS is a DJ with KSSU

The Moments that made TBD Fest


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My good friend Jerel and partner in crime for TBD Fest just put up his all encompassing TBD wrap up blog, which you can check out here. In it he covered all the broad strokes of the festival experience, highlighting all the different bands we saw, food we ate and artistic installations we witnessed. So in interest of not covering the same ground I bring to you a more microscopic look at TDB through the lens of my favorite individual moments of TBD. Each festival is a collection of miniature moments forged by the fires of the collective consciousness and frenetic energy that is unique to each individual event. This is a celebration of those moments which helped to make the second annual TBD Fest the powerhouse of artistic expression it ended up being.

I’ll start with the first and altogether funniest moment I experienced at TBD. During Joywave’s entire set they had kept the crowd entertained, not only with their killer and perfectly sequenced set but also with the jokes and witty charisma of lead man Daniel Armbruster. However, nothing that came before it was quite as funny as when Armbruster began the chants of “one more song,” essentially calling for his own encore. Armbruster feigned surprise at such an outpouring of support and proclaimed that this had to be the very first encore in TBD Fest history. Having got his laughs and the “encore” he wanted, Armbruster and his fellow band mates kicked off the last song and tore down the house in magnificent style.

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The next moment comes to you in the form of a song, more specifically a cover song. Even more specifically Tears for Fears cover of 1992 Radiohead mega-hit “Creep”. Now this moment really resonated with me for two reasons, even outside of how brilliantly it was performed. First and foremost, as any good rock historian will tell you, there is no way in hell you will hear “creep” performed by it’s original makers. With all the vitriolic hate Radiohead have for for the song it might even be best experienced as a cover. Despite all of the negative vibes surrounding this song it still holds a special place in my musical history and I’m glad to have seen it live in one capacity or another. Secondly and perhaps more deeply, I could not help but feel a sense of a changing of the guard occurring. No Tears for Fears are still clearly a cultural powerhouse being able to headline festivals in 2015 and Radiohead aren’t exactly the new kids on the block anymore but to me this cover signaled a nod of respectful appreciation from the 80s to the 90s. A retroactive vote of confidence and plea of appreciation for carrying the tradition of odd outsider music for the next generation. Perhaps that’s me just being sentimental though.

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This next chewy morsel of festival good will has less to do with a particular artist and more to do with the festival goers themselves. Allow me to set the stage. The Black Lips had been putting on quite the show for their whole set, talking in weird voices, shouting out to their potentially imaginary friend Luna, and generally being quality showmen. A bit of a light mosh pit had been forming and had slowly been gaining speed as the set went on. This caught the eye of someone who I assume was The Black Lips roadie, as he was up on stage with them at one point. This man, who was a larger individual, came down off the stage to provide a buffer between the rowdy moshers and the people near the front of the stage who had no interest in moshing. As The Black Lips counted off their last song Jerel and I jumped into the pit, correctly predicting it would be the final mosh of the festival. As we aggressively pranced about I noticed a particularly wild mosher continually slamming around and getting pushed back by the resident “larger man” mosh boss. As the song continued on they began exchanging heated words and I immediately smelled a fight brewing. The tension did not subside but managed not to boil over for the remainder of the fight. As The Black Lips said their goodbye and the crowd began to disperse, before I even knew what was happening both men were in an lovingly respectful embrace! I could not quite hear what they were saying but I imagine it was along the lines of “thanks for keeping me in line man, I really respect that,” “I respect you too man, take care of yourself and have a good festival.” Now that might be a little far off but the crux of why I liked this moment so much was the way in which festivals can bring out each person’s camaraderie and I certainty felt that camaraderie at TBD.

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Lastly but not leastly we come to none other than Chicago native Chance the Rapper. My personal favorite performer of the entire weekend. This moment ends up being a bit more aqueous than the previous moments but it started as soon as Chance kicked off his set. Bringing an energy and closeness to the audience unmatched throughout the whole festival, Chance immediately had us on his side. Even though I was not familiar with every Chance the Rapper cut, I would sing along every time that I could halfway catch on to the choruses.  The crowd seemed to be giving all the energy they had and Chance was dishing it right back at us in a monumental showing of skill and passion. Suddenly the mood slowed down as Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment began to chill down and vibe. Chance then proclaimed he was gonna play a song we never heard before but one we all knew the words to. I immediately assumed it would be an old school rap/R&B throwback, one of which I was hoping I would in fact know the words to so that I would not let my new found hero Chance the Rapper down.  However, I could not have been more wrong as Chance began to sing “And I said hey.” Now I will give you a second to ponder what that line might be from…but I myself immediately recognized it as being the Arthur theme song. For those that are not in the know Arthur was a PBS kids show in the 90s era and it had arguably one of, if not the best theme songs of the decade. Along with being a killer tune, the Arthur theme song has a wonderful message of learning to work and play and get along with each other. At this point I am ecstatic along with the rest of the crowd as Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, and The Social Experiment throw down a deconstructed and all around awesome rendition of one of my favorite childhood memories. Needless to continue to say, that was my favorite moment of TBD Fest.

Beautiful Noise, Exquisite Tastes, and Creative Minds: The Complete TBD Fest 2015 Experience


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This past weekend TBD Fest has left a mark of music, art, design, food, and ideas in the city of Sacramento. The festival drew in thousands of diverse people, locals and visitors alike, to experience the unique Sacramento festival that is TBD.

To start off, this weekend was incredible. Everything from the acts to the food was something to look back on. The lineup fit the flow of the weekend; starting Friday off with bang, reaching a pinnacle of epicness on Saturday, and concluding with a sure sense of satisfaction on Sunday       (sorry for the tongue twister).

 

Festival Grounds

A vital part of any festival is to get a feel of where you will be for the next few days. The first thing to do is find a schedule and a map. They weren’t readily available, but the customer service tent had no problem handing out printed schedules (nothing too fancy, just a print out). Since there was no map, the only option was to explore the grounds.

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Having fun with the displays!

The grounds weren’t too vast and the layout was simple: a main stage on opposing sides with smaller stages near them. In between there was the “Rise + Create” space. A vendor village, complete with local vendors selling food, drinks, art, and clothing. All the food and drink being carefully crafted, the clothes being hand-made or hand-pressed, and beautiful pieces of art being created. This section of the festival truly shows the creative and tasteful minds of Sacramento. Near and around the “Rise + Create” space there were some awesome displays. Changing pillars of light, painted pyramids, murals, and the great display by PORTAL SAC. the perimeters of the grounds had the bars and food trucks. The festival even had it’s own giant ferris wheel (which all the proceeds from went to helping those recently affected by the California wildfires). There was a lot to see and do at TBD Fest besides watch the musical acts.

 

Demolicious Derby

If none of the musical acts were catching your attention or it was just too hot for you to be standing outside, then the “Demolicious Derby” was the place to go! It took place under a shaded tent with a nice patch of grass (I’m assuming so none of the dirt or dust flies into your food). It’s a cook off between two Sacramento chefs of the fine dining scene. They both have to use a certain ingredient. They also have to cook and serve out of a food truck. The food was completely free and completely delicious.

While waiting for the food, festival goers could watch the cooking from a live video feed screened on a large screen outside. The visuals and smells would make the audience even more hungry. Some moves such as adding the spice would make the audience “ooo” and “ahh.” A comedic MC would be hosting the event so it’s not just two dudes cooking food. Attendees would have to partake in both dishes and place their used forks in their respective choices. Both competitors were always good and humble chefs.

A little example of a cook off: both chefs had to use lamb. One made street tacos, but instead of a tortilla, he a used flattened and fried pork bun. The other made a greek style lamb poutine. Drooling yet? We were.

 

The Music

As mentioned  earlier, each day had a lineup that made a great flow for the weekend. Little disclaimer: I’m not really a big fan of EDM, so I didn’t catch much of the DJ sets.  

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Toro Y Moi

Friday was explosive. The first artist was the band, Cathedrals. With their chill, new wave sound, and heavy bass, Cathedrals gave the crowd something great to vibe to. Then I was able to catch Towkio, Chicago based rapper associated with Save Money and Vic Mensa. Even though the crowd didn’t know the words, Towkio and his DJ were able to pump up the crowd. Head back to the main stage and you would be able to catch the dreamy set of Toro Y Moi. This was one of the artists I was looking forward to watching the most, and they did not disappoint. Playing a good blend of the newest album, What

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Tyler, The Creator

for?, and their older stuff, the set was great. Ty Dolla $ign got the entire crowd dancing or jumping to his songs. The best part of his set was when he pulled out a bass and started groovin out (I didn’t know he could even play instruments). He was even able to stage dive into the crowd during the end of his set. The only EDM set I caught on Friday was some of was RL Grime’s. Playing a heavy trap set for the festival, he had everyone moving. The craziest crowd goes to the set of Sacramento native, Death Grips. The experimental industrial noise rap group made the biggest mosh pit of the weekend, bringing the first big dust cloud into the air. Being in the mosh, I breathed in a little too much dirt. The night ended with Tyler the Creator bringing  energy to the stage. Although he couldn’t bring the visuals he wanted, the set was still crazy. The crowd moshed, jumped, and sang along to the words. It wouldn’t be a Tyler the Creator set without his comedic side comments. The day really set the mood for the rest of the weekend.

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Chance the Rapper

Saturday was big. With the longest day of TBD Fest, there was a lot to do. Although the day was spent mostly walking around the grounds, eating, and hanging out, all the musical acts were great. Dark pop duo, ASTR, started the day off for me. They gave an electrifying performance with some heavy bass hits, melodic scales and licks, and some crazy dance moves. I even had the pleasure of interviewing them backstage (interview coming soon, really cool people). Joywave, an electronic indie band, drew one of the larger crowds for the small stages. Before playing, they took time to perfect their sound and it was worth it. The crowd was very responsive with each song and it was awesome to be apart of. Ratatat was one of my favorites for the weekend. The electric guitar duo had holograms and lasers, putting on one of the best visuals for the weekend. Porter Robinson had some nice visuals as well. Although I couldn’t really vibe to the music, he still put on a good show equipped with anime graphics and massive confetti shots. The crowd loved it. I was able to catch the tail end of Magic Man’s set on the opposing small stage. Although there weren’t that many people watching the set, they still gave it their all and ended with their hit, Paris. Chance the Rapper was the main act I was looking forward to for the whole weekend. The set was amazing. He came with his full band, Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment, which made for a much fuller sound. The visuals weren’t top notch, but it didn’t matter because the music and energy put out from the performance was, to me, the best for this weekend. Sing alongs, jumping around, crowd participation, amazing trumpet solos, it had it all. Even though he admit to go out of order of their intended set due to excitement (Chance would become a father two days later) they still made it the best. Saturday had something big for fans of all different music genres.

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Tears For Fears

Sunday was a great way for the weekend to wind down. Up and coming rap/r&b artist (who recently made a song with Kanye West) Post Malone put on a good five song set to start off our day. Although he has blown up due to the success of his hit song, White Iverson, Post Malone still kept it humble, and kept it entertaining. He even performed White Iverson again for his closer, having the crowd sing the entire last verse to closer. After, we were walking and on the nearby small stage, this band O began to play. They were able to keep us and the others for their whole set. They’re an indie band from San Francisco, do check them out. I was sad to have missed Dr. Dog and A Place to Bury Strangers due to attending a Demolicious Derby, but I heard the sets were amazing. Right when we got to A Place to Bury Strangers, the lead singer had just smashed his guitar to end his set. Sad to have missed that, but it was on to the 90’s alt rock band, Dinosaur Jr.! Although they are getting old, they can still play flawlessly. With great

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tunes and heart reaching solos, Dinosaur Jr. had a high-caliber set. After, Black Lips took the smaller stage. This goofy garage rock outfit from Georgia had a really fun set. After some jokes and moshing ensued, it was time for the OG (an older act, usually more famous in the 80’s)  headliner (every festival has to have one amiright?), Tears for Fears! Watching their set was like jumping back into the past, a time where most of the people attending TBD were either not alive or too young to go to a concert. Of course, the crowd sang along to classic hits such as Everybody Wants to Rule the World and their closer, Shout. They even surprised the audience with a slower yet full version of Creep by Radiohead. Madeon electrified the crowd as the last EDM performance of the weekend. I had to jump around a few times for that performance. I wasn’t able to stay, but I heard and read that crowd favorite Chromeo properly wrapped up TBD Fest with their funky tunes.

 

Closing Remarks

2015-09-22 04.01.12Overall, TBD Fest is a must-go for anyone in Sacramento, the surrounding Northern California area, or anyone in the world that wants to have a good time. Although not as big as famous festivals such as Cochella, TBD Fest is able to provide some of the top acts in music today in a comfortable yet enthralling environment. Everyone from the acts to the volunteers to the workers to the security to everyone else helped make this weekend what it was. It wasn’t just  about the music, but about the local artistic minds and tastemakers coming together to bring entertainment to Sacramento. It’s exactly what this city needs, a positive driving force in today’s creative culture.

 

 

Check out our mini Instagram Vlogs of the Festival!

If you liked this article, be sure to tune into KSSU.com on Wednesdays from 6:00pm-7:00pm for the 30/30! 30 minutes of music followed by 30 minutes of talk with me, Jerel Labson! 

Also be sure to follow my personal blog, jmbldup.wordpress.com!  

 

Dissecting The Plot In You


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Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of “The Plot In You” because one of their new songs popped up in my feed on YouTube, and I opened up my brain to see what I can recall of TPIY. Basically, I liked one of their songs a whole lot, but never took the chance to really check them out. The Plot In You is a four piece metal-core band from Ohio, with One EP and two Albums out. Notorious for their harsh lyrics and calling out particular groups of people while keeping that metal vibe, TPIY quickly gained fame after releasing their debut song Wifebeater from the EP “Wifebeater” (which one could assume was about his father). The Plot In You is signed onto Invogue Records, and will be releasing a new album which currently has an unknown release date.

The song that popped up in my feed was called “Crows”, which is about Landon Tewer’s (the frontman) life and how he has changed, but so has everyone else. The “Crows” symbolizes death and how in the end, everyone faces it. This is emphasized with the line “The crows are waiting on me”. This song was an unreleased track from the b side a 7” they never released. My curiosity took me further, so I played the album stream from “Could You Watch Your Children Burn.” I had already heard tracks from their album “Firstborn” a long time ago, but this album really got to me. Most songs consisted of talking about how people who are hypocrites and live a mundane existence should separate themselves, or simply die, from society. Tewers talks about religious folk, lustful males, rapists, and his own family very unkindly. One of my favorite songs is “Troll” which I also saw live when TPIY was on the “About That Life Tour” with Attila. The song basically empowers the listeners individuality and gives the belief that you are a juggernaut and will not take any flack from anyone. Another song that was a favorite by TPIY on YouTube was the song “Premeditated”. In this song, Tewers talks about his plan to kill a rapist who violated someone very dear to him. With clean vocals, dark breakdowns, and the usual “I will destroy you” moments from TPIY, I could easily see why this was a favorite by fans.
All in all, TPIY is a very angry band. Their song “My Old Ways” that was released in a music video on February 23rd seemed to be quite lighter in comparison to “Troll”. To hear that kind of change and it still be a good song makes me very excited to hear their upcoming album. To make a long explanation short: The Plot In You is a band full of angry dudes, relatable stories, great songs, and a uniqueness that I have not heard from any other band. They are probably not sane people, but hey, who is really?

Thanks for reading you lovely people! If you want to hear music from The Plot In You and other bands that I just so happen to enjoy, tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” on www.kssu.com Tuesday mornings at 8 o’ clock!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

The Zombie 5 Tour Review


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Last Sunday, I went and saw (in order) Secrets, Born of Osiris, Word Alive, and the Devil Wears Prada at the Ace of Spades in Sacramento. The name of the tour was the “Zombie Five Tour” because it has been five years since the Devil Wears Prada released their “Zombie Ep”- one of their greatest achievements. There was laughing, crying tears of joy, and a lot of sweat in a human sardine can. Here’s how my night went.

Started off with the usual tradition- Dutch Bros. drive thru coffee in Davis. Got myself a strawberry and lime iced Rebel, which is their trademark energy drink, so I was ready for the long night ahead. Accompanying me was my girlfriend while the rest of my crew was saving us a spot at the front of the line. Walking to our spot in line, I could feel the teenage angst staring me down while everyone is decked out in gear ranging from Goth streetwear to gym clothes with band logos. I myself went in some nice khakis and a windbreaker. After hanging out in line and farting on some teens behind me, we quickly hurried inside the venue when the doors opened.

Usually, Ace of Spades has a band open up for the other bands, but Secrets was the first band to go on. The last time I saw Secrets was also at the Ace of Spades, but when they had their old vocalist. For being the first band, Secrets did great. They played some classics, some new stuff, and even a song that has yet to be released. Aside from some ear-piercing highs from the singing, they did a good job.

Born of Osiris

Born of Osiris came next and they straight up murdered the stage. Stage presence out the ying-yang, sound effects on point, and the heavy/technical guitar skills from Lee McKinney reminded me why Born of Osiris is one of my favorite bands. Born of Osiris was like a shot of espresso after the creamer, started off sweet and escalated to a level of strength that even Goku would be impressed by. Well done BOO, well done once again.

The last time I saw The Word Alive was at Warped Tour, and they were all hyped about their newest release, the “Real.” Album. Some of those songs are pretty light, so I thought, “Aw man, I’m gonna see the same performance twice.” I was proven wrong. The Word Alive played a lot of heavy songs, including oldies like “2012” and “House of Anubis”. Before the breakdown to 2012, Telle Smith (the frontman) split the whole entire front half of the crowd like the Red Sea and told them that when he counts the breakdown in, that everyone run at each other as fast as possible. This is what we call a “Wall of Death” and the last Wall I partook in ended up with my shirt getting ripped in half, fighting some fat guys, and almost passing out in the crowd. Fun fact: that was also during a Word Alive set in that very same venue.devil wears prada

Last but certainly not least, the men of the hour, The Devil Wears Prada. I thought that TDWP would only play their EP and a couple more songs. Then I found out from an outside source that their set list was 16 songs. 16 SONGS. The first five were some classics, then the next five were the Zombie EP all in order, all with the sound effects in between the songs as well. After the EP, I did not stay for the whole set list, but I was okay with that. Also, the stage had crazy light displays, including a giant symbol from their album 8:18. The Devil Wears Prada was the very first band that got me into Metal, and to see them live almost eight years after I heard their first album made the night all worth it. They were the best band up on that stage, and I cannot wait to hear what they have next.

Speaking of that, I heard a rumor (which has yet to be confirmed) that The Devil Wears Prada is back on Rise Records and is going to release a Space Ep.

We will just have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading my lengthy memory written onto this blog! If you want to hear more music from these bands and bands alike, or if you know of a band you want on my show, listen in on Tuesday mornings at 8 o’clock on www.kssu.com or contact me via Instagram @gingerbeardthefoot

Much love,

DJGingerbeard

Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, A Smashing Good Time


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I know the game has been out for a while, but I just wanted to give credit where credit is due. The older Smash Bros. fans will shout “Super Smash Bros. Melee was the best and will always be the best”, but what Nintendo did for SSB for Wii U has taken this series to another level. Enhanced graphics, new characters, different combo options, even more dangerous maps, and 8-player mode all come with the new and improved Super Smash Bros. Also, a player can still use regular Wii remotes on the Wii U, so this makes it easier for lazy people (like me) who do not wish to adapt to the new Wii U controller, which has a screen in the middle of it in case you wanted to use the bathroom without interrupting the game for everyone else.

A list of the new characters include: Mega Man, Wii Fit Trainer, Animal Crossing Villager, Rosalina & Luma, Little Mac, Greninja, Customizable Mii Fighters, Palutena, Robin, Shulk, Lucina, Pac-Man, Dark Pit, Bowser Jr. (with all other koopa kids), and the duck and dog from duck hunt. Also, Zero Suit Samus is available as a starting character as opposed to Regular Samus from SSB Brawl, where you would need to hit a “special ball” in order to become zero suit samus. As for DLC characters, there is only one: Mewtwo. Mewtwo from Melee and Lucario from Brawl had very, very similar attacks so I hope that this new Mewtwo comes with new attacks or other surprises. I personally only got to play as Palutena, Little Mac, Bowser Jr. and Shulk. Palutena you have to get used too. Little Mac is HIGHLY powerful and if you can hone in on timing his attacks, you will be unstoppable. I played as a Bowser Jr. who had a cannon and could also detach himself from his little vehicle thing to place a bomb inside it before returning, which killed my friend about eight times. Shulk is a swordsman character, but his “B” move allows you to use a sort of perk with choices of speed, power, or defense. Trust me, they really do help.

This is pretty much the extent of my knowledge because I just spent thirty minutes in a GameStop doing a trial run of the game and now I wish i wasn’t a broke student so I could purchase a Wii U just for this game. If you live a life without regrets, buy this game and you will not be disappointed.

Thanks for reading! To hear some awesome music and more shenanigans coming straight from my pie-hole, tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” Tuesdays at 8am only on http://www.kssu.com!!!

Much love,

DJGingerbeard

The Secret Someones and Laura Marling: Female artists you should be listening to in 2015, part 1


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The Secret Someones

I live for the beautifully rare times when I go to a show to see a group I know and adore, and end up absolutely floored by another group playing the same venue. The Secret Someones, in their wild style and their stunning girl power harmonies, are one of those hidden gems I uncovered while in San Francisco to catch Jukebox the Ghost live at Slim’s on 11th Street, during their January 30th tour show.

From the very beginning of their set I was absolutely in love with their joyful and cut-loose Weezer inspired harmonic lyricism combined with infectious Talking Heads style musicality, all wrapped up in a sense of showmanship that can only be described as pure, confident swagger. If I were to use a dated term, I would call it moxy.

The Secret Someones is a new four part alternative rock collaboration composed of indie guitarist and vocalist Bess Rogers, vocalist and bassist Leila Broussard, vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Hannah Winkler, and drummer Zach Jones.

All of them hail from the metropolis of New York City and came together to release their four track EP I Won’t Follow in August 2014 under Cherrytree Records. They began touring in January in collaboration with long running D.C. area indie rock group Jukebox the Ghost, with whom they recorded a cover of the iconic Bangles hit “Walk Like and Egyptian”, which pays homage to the original with a cheeky guitar and retro sounding keyboard combination.


Laura Marling

After being part of the original line-up for popular British indie-folk band Noah and the Whale, Laura Marling debuted quietly but forcefully onto the British folk music scene at the tender age of 18 with her critically acclaimed album Alas, I Cannot Swim, which was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Prize.

Marlings traditional acoustic style of guitar and mandolin is paired with a breathtakingly deep lyricism that is equal parts beautiful and brutal, chronicling the inner turmoil Marling faced growing up and finding both her place as an artist in a music scene typically dominated by older men, and her place in the world as a woman.

I had the privilege of attending a Laura Marling show at the John Anson Ford theater in Los Angeles in July of the summer of 2012, following the release of her second and third albums I Speak Because I Can and A Creature I Don’t Know  and preceding the release of her fourth album Once I Was and Eagle, which gets inspiration from classic American folk. I had only ever heard of Marling through a friend, and it was this friend who has offered me a ticket to this show in exchange for my driving us to LA. After this simple show with Marling and her band framed only against the setting Southern California sun and the scent of cactus blooms.

Even though she has played to massive crowds at headliner festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella and has won several BRIT awards, Marling plays with such a quietly vulnerable air that it feels as if she is playing for herself and the people she lets into her sphere, the people she trusts with the deeply personal aspects the stories she spins with her lyrics. The progression of how she has grown and what she has overcome in the span of the years is clear in her lyrics; they are annals of her experiences that she chooses to share.

I had only ever heard of Marling through a friend, and it was this friend who has offered me a ticket to this show in exchange for my driving us to LA. After this simple show with Marling and her band framed only against the setting Southern California sun and the scent of cactus blooms, it felt as if she and her music had been my friend for years.

Her fifth album, Short Movie, debuts on the 23rd of March in the US.

 

DJ KIKI is a dj with KSSU, listen to her and stuff.

Hands Down for Impending Doom


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Hands down, my favorite band of all time is Impending Doom. Not only have they been around for a while, they were one of the first bands that got me into metal. Their first album “Nailed. Dead. Risen.” is a classic Deathcore album with a little twist, they are Christian. The took something evil and made it into something good, and it does not sound terrible! The song though that started it out for me was “My Nemesis” which basically describes destroying evil in the world and stomping on Satan. It sounds cheesy that way, but trust me, it is brutal. Impending Doom has gotten progressively lighter over the years. They went from grindcore/death metal to beat down/metal core music today. Less blast beats, more structure, more discernible lyrics, but still bringing the heavy. Impending Doom has stayed fantastic throughout the years and I cannot wait to hear more from them. With Five full length albums out, the latest being “Death Will Reign”, I do not see impending Doom breaking up anytime soon. In fact, they are writing new material as I sit here typing, and that makes me sweat… sweat for joy. I thought about writing lengthy paragraphs on why I love this band, but i felt numerical points would be sufficient.

  1. They call themselves “Gorship” which is a mixture between Gore Music (Guttural screams, blast beats, super drop tuned guitars, fast tempo, etc.) and worship, which is pretty dang tight.
  2. They are amazing live. The first time I saw them live was in Walnut Creek in a small venue called “The Red House”. It was pretty cramped, but it did not matter because my feelings of discord were replaced by feelings of euphoria filled my heart and frission overtook my body. Then on the very last breakdown of the very last song “There Will Be Conquerors” I got sucker punched by a drunk man in the back of my head. Even that punch could not keep me from being in the front of the crowd and devastating the floor with stomps as Impending Doom broke down the stage.
  3. They are very friendly and very humble. Meeting them afterwards was like talking to a close friend. Not only that, they knew some of the guys I used to jam with and gave me free clothes!
  4. They invented the “Repentagram”, a symbol of Repentance and casts out evil. The Repentagram is a 9 pointed star which forms an “X” over a pentagram. I have a giant one on the back of my windbreaker.
  5. Last but not least, they are consistent with their music and beliefs. All their newer songs are carefully and beautifully written and they can actually back up their lyrics. Some metal music talks about killing and death and revenge on ex girlfriends, but none of them even seem capable of such. Brooke Reeves, front-man of Impending Doom, is also a preacher along with the other members of the band. These guys have credibility.

If you guys want to hear some more music like Impending Doom, check out my show “Shred the Gnar” Tuesday mornings at 8 o’clock on http://www.kssu.com! Thanks for reading!

DJGingerbeard