Concert Review: Trevor Hall @ The Gothic

Last Friday night I went to my first live show in quite awhile, and damn was it good! Genre blending Dustin Thomas opened the night performing an impassioned set filled with reggae, hip-hop, and folk influenced protest songs, and sent a message of peace and tolerance. I had listened to a bit of Thomas’ music before, but seeing him live was a whole different story. Right off of the bat he impressed the audience with his incredible beat- boxing skills, and captured the attention of everyone at the venue. His songs continued to be filled with beat-boxing and high energy playing, but transitioned to a more socially conscious theme. The audience was very receptive to these tunes, including ones pertaining to the Dakota Pipeline. Thomas was an incredible performer, and had an amazing stage presence. He put everything he had into the set, and even broke a string on his guitar at one point. This did not faze him, though, and he finished out the remainder of the set without switching instruments. If you’re not familiar with Dustin Thomas, I highly recommend listening to some of his songs, especially “Strong Like Jah,” “Let It Go,” and “Try Try Try.” 

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When Trevor Hall took the stage, the already energetic crowd came to life. For those of you who haven’t heard of him, imagine a more Rastafarian, less “surfer dude” version of Jack Johnson. Dustin Thomas put on a great show for sure, but his set did not come close to Hall’s. It was really interesting seeing the contrast in performances between the two, and it really illustrated how big of a difference there is between the raw energy in Thomas’ set and the polished nature of Hall’s. Hall’s set was short and sweet. He only played 11 songs, but made sure to include some of his best. He played a variety of new and old songs, and even brought out a Native American friend to perform a special dance. He also worked in a neat cover medley by injecting verses from various songs, including M.I.A.’s hit “Paper Planes” and Nahko and Medicine for the People’s “I Mua,”  into one of his own. This, as well as his performance of “Green Mountain State,” were definitely my favorites of the night. The show was incredible, but I did leave a little disappointed that he didn’t play my favorite of his songs, “The Mountain.” But all in all, the night was amazing, and the show was a must see.

New Guitar (Epiphone Casino)

I have been listening to a lot of Beatles music lately, as well as some blues rock stuff like Mt. Joy, and have been lusting after a semi-hollow guitar to get the sounds that I just couldn’t with my Telecaster. So, in an impulsive move, I posted my guitar on an instrument selling/trading page on Facebook to see if anyone had what I was looking for, and I struck gold. I got a couple different offers, but tried out this 90s Korean Epiphone Casino made in the Peerless factory (renowned for its build quality), and fell in love with the sound, not to mention the gorgeous Lennon style natural wood finish. I have only had this guitar for a week, so I have yet to fully explore all that it offers, but I am been super happy with it thus far. It has a deep, warm tone that is far different from the twangyness of my old Tele. I am not a very knowledgeable or skilled guitar play, and cannot accurately describe the sound fully, but the tone is definitely what I have been looking for in an electric guitar.

“Islands”- Rynn

I’ve been listening to the Underground Hits playlist on Spotify a lot recently, and I cannot recommend it enough. I have discovered tons of great new artists and songs, one of my favorites being “Islands” by an up and coming artist out of Nashville called Rynn. Based on this song, it won’t be long before Rynn breaks through and becomes a household name in the alternative music scene. “Islands” opens with a melodic, electronic beat and pitch-modified vocal samples. Rynn’s voice then comes through to match the downtempo beat and create a somewhat dark vibe. This completely changes though when the beat pauses for a slight drop, and the chorus comes through like a ray of sunshine turning the song into a much brighter track. I haven’t had time to fully listen to the rest of Rynn’s debut EP, Nightfires, but I definitely plan to as soon as I get a chance.

If you like this, you might also like: Purity Ring, Grimes, Phantogram

Noisetrade

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-11-52-58-amMusic is without a doubt my favorite thing. I love listening to a great song more than almost anything. But while listening to a great song in itself is extremely enjoyable, listening to that song is even more satisfying after having sifted through a bunch of mediocre ones. YouTube has always been my primary way of doing this. Throughout high school and college I would spend hours hopping from video to related video. This is a great way to hear new music and it has yielded some awesome finds over the years. More recently though, I discovered the site Noisetrade. Noisetrade is a quality resource for many reasons. First and foremost, everything is free, which means that unlike music on YouTube, you can download it and access it more easily. The music offered on the site is mainly from smaller bands, but there are some bigger name artists on their as well. Second, because Noisetrade is composed primarily of less known groups, it offers a platform for up and coming artists to have their content displayed more prominently than on YouTube. While their music may be on YouTube as well, when sifting through related videos like I often do, more obscure artists do not appear as regularly. Finally, the layout of Noisetrade is super easy to navigate. You can browse by genre or popularity and there are even some useful aspects like location of the artist, their social media, tour dates, and even a “for fans of” description on the side bar of artists page that gives the user an idea of what popular artists are similar to the one they’re viewing. I have found lots of good music on the site, but one that I’ve been listening to a lot recently is Robinson.  Robinson has a calming, coffee house vibe that really fits the late fall season. Download their EP, Fits & Starts, and be sure to check out all the other great music Noisetrade has to offer.

Concert Review: STRFKR

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of seeing STRFKR at the Gothic Theatre here in Denver, CO. I went into the show without having listened to much of their music and so I did not have extremely high expectations. However, my expectations were far exceeded as soon as my friends and I walked into the venue. We entered as the first opener, Psychic Twin, was mid-set and their music definitely set the mood for the rest of the night. Their Stranger Things-esque arpeggios and illuminated wire dresses quickly had us in an 80s trance. The second opening act, Gigamesh, continued the hypnotic spell, adding a more upbeat, dance friendly element. STRFKR expanded upon both previous acts, combining high energy and a syn-driven sound to create night filled with dancing and confetti. To top off their set of fun-filled music, their performance featured a crew of backup dancersdressed as spacemen! Check out this short video recap of the show and be sure to catch these guys in person if they come to your city.

Recommended songs from the artists mentioned:

“Strangers”– Psychic Twin

“The Music”– Gigamesh

“Rawnald Gregory Erikson the Second”– STRFKR