January 29, 2014
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I stepped into Rochester’s Water Street Music Hall to see the band Lotus perform. I had heard great things about their instrumental-electronic sound, but I was still on the fence about them going to their show. After witnessing their talent in Water Street Music Hall, however, I can say that has officially changed for the better. Lotus rocked Water Street with their highly infectious beats and killer bass drops. Papi Chulo opened up for the group with a DJ set. His beats were funky and fun, a combination that got the growing crowd hyped up and ready to dance. You could feel the bass drop surging through the floor as Chulo created original beats with samples and synths. He used different instrumental sounds over his beats to create a unique sound, much like Lotus did. He put samples of djembe drums and whistles (as well as some rap verses) in his beats to create sound that the audience was going crazy for. Although no one could really tell when one of his pieces ended and the other ones began, no one cared. All they were focused on was how Chulo’s music made them want to dance, and dance they did. Chulo did a great job at getting the audience hyped up. By the time Lotus took the stage, the crowd was definitely ready for them. They opened up with some music from their latest album “Monks.” The music they played was funky and heavy with synthesizers, a combination that may sound odd, but once you put them together, it sounds pretty good. You could feel the bass throbbing under your feet as they played their hearts out for a truly dedicated group of fans. Lotus had a really nice variety of songs, which was great because the audience never got bored with their music. Some songs were heavy with intense build-ups and epic bass drops, while others had low-key electronic vibes and funky guitar riffs that were reminiscent of the ‘70s. When they played, it was as if the whole place stepped out of reality and let loose. With every bass drop came a breaking-out of dance moves that were as unique as the music being played. One of the things that made this show so great was the atmosphere Lotus and their fans created. Everyone was friendly and just doing their own thing. There were even some people who brought props to the show, like glow necklaces and light-up hula hoops, which added a nice touch to the show and proved how many different people were in the audience. There were some who stood in the back and just listened to the music, while others were dancing like it was their last night on Earth. Normally there might be some tension when these types of people came in contact with one another, but not at this show. Everyone was friendly and bonded over their love for the music Lotus created. If you can say your music brings different people together, you’re doing something right. Lotus, keep rocking out with your funky guitar riffs and synthesizers. If you get a chance to catch them live, do it. You will not be disappointed.
Review written by: Kelly Kuehn
| Pretty in Pink, Parachute, Sara Bareilles and The Fray
December 8, 2013
Going to a concert headlining Parachute, The Fray, Sara Bareilles and the opening band, Pretty in Pink, I expected nothing less of perfection. Pretty in Pink opened the show, showing a lot of power, confidence, along with a groovy sound that brought everyone back to the 80’s. They sang a few of their debut songs off of their new album Sincerely. Their set list included “American Dream,” “Hold On,” “This Labyrinth” and another song that held a lot of meaning to the band. They brought a lot of energy to the stage and left the audience wanting more and cheering in anticipation for the next band. As the suspense of the next act built up, the dull chats turned into loud roars as Parachute walked on stage. They started off with one of their newest songs “Can’t Help” which got everybody on their feet and ready for a great show. Their next song played was “She is Love” which slowed everything down, only to rev things up once again, as they did a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s own “Dancing in the Dark.” They played several more songs before closing with “Kiss Me Slowly” which I personally feel is the best song they could have chosen to end with, since it’s one of their classics. Again after Parachute, eagerness for the next act, Sara Bareilles, to come on stage, was obvious through the audience. She walked on to the stage with incredible confidence, looking great as always. She opened with “Chasing the Sun” and brought a lot of power to her next song “Many the Miles.” Besides her performance being phenomenal, the lights that were flashing everywhere made for a beautiful, one of a kind, concert experience. She decided to play a throwback, “Love Song,” which everyone screamed for since it was one of her first songs that helped her get where she is in her career as an artist today. After that song, the crowd found a few seconds in-between to start singing “Happy Birthday” to her, which was on December 7th. She was flattered and went on to thank everyone for their support, especially since she had just unexpectedly been nominated for not one, but two Grammy Awards. “I Choose You” then slowed everyone down and put a mellow tone over the entire venue. She had the same affect with her song “Gravity,” one of my favorites, which I’m sure brought a tear to everyone’s eye with her incredible vocals and outstanding emotion throughout the song. She closed with two songs, “Manhattan” and one of her latest singles “Brave.” She explained how “Manhattan” is about how she recently adjusted to her new home in the big city and how she felt about starting a new life as a well-known artist. “Brave” had everybody dancing and singing along as she practically exploded with joy while performing it. As sad as everyone was to see her leave, we were happy to see the mayor of Rochester come on stage dressed as an elf to introduce The Fray. The Fray began with a new, powerful, song called “Hurricane” and then two old songs, “Heartbeat” and “You Found Me.” The oldies pumped up the audience and had everyone yelling every single lyric. Isaac Slade, the lead singer, went on to explain how the song “Be Still” was actually written for his younger brother “who couldn’t sleep. And Wanted to.” It was a beautiful song played on piano that was filled with a lot of emotion and sincerity for his brother. Slade introduced the next song, “How To Save A Life” by telling the audience the story of his day; he visited a local library, and witnessed a man who seemed to be homeless near a vending machine. He knew the man was of great wealth even though he had nothing to his name. Slade thought about the man’s personal story and legacy and soon began thinking about his own. The band powered through that song and then rolled right into another classic “Over My Head.” After that, they did a cover of the original Christmas song, “White Christmas” with a twist that only The Fray could pull off. Their last song was “Love Don’t Die,” another new song, which was their best song of the night. The entire band was full of energy and released all of it to the entire room. At one point, Slade jumped on top of his piano and gave a stellar vocal performance, as an avalanche of white balloons fell from the ceiling, marked with “#LoveDontDie.” They put all of their energy into this last song and then thanked Rochester for their love and support. As they left the stage, the crowd cheered for more until The Fray came back on stage, only to play yet another new song called “Hold My Hand.” Slade went on about their new album, “Helios” and how it’s expected to come out in early February of 2014. Once again the band poured their energy out through the song and made for a great close to the show. Overall, I think this was one of the greatest shows I’ve been to in a while. Each band had a different sound, but each was also full of energy and enthusiasm, along with love for the audience that was shown through every song. The acts together made for a killer experience, and the light show and balloons towards the end made for a perfect night at Rochester’s Main Street Armory.
Review written by: Nikki Lawrence
| B.o.B & Dante
December 3, 2013
If there was one statement that could be made to describe this concert, it would be pure pandemonium. As the clock got closer and closer to the start time, the crowd grew extremely anxious and started chanting. From the first bass drop that Dante threw at everybody, it was quickly realized that this concert was more than just a concert; it was a party. Dante mixed together songs and made them flow almost effortlessly combining today’s pop and rap music with old school hip hop and rock and roll; to create one massive dubstep song that got the entire crowd off of their feet. His lack of physical energy and excitement while on stage definitely took away from the performance, but a random team of mascots; SpongeBob, a minion, Po the Panda and the Burger King, helped to liven up the show by dancing and going crazy on stage. Everyone had a blast with it. When the lights dimmed down and B.o.B. came running onto the stage, the roof blew off of the SERC. He started off with a bang; fast rapping, jumping, heavy bass that shook the building, and a great deal of time spent in the crowd with the fans. Multiple times, he jumped off of the stage and landed on top of the fans while he rapped, embracing everyone who was holding him up. At one point during the show, B.o.B. started to throw free shirts into the crowd, and that’s when the frenzy started; people pushing and fighting each other to the point where they started to kick people out of the establishment. Also, for one of the songs, he called up the “Brockport Twerk Team,” 6 girls who attend this college, to basically just twerk for the entire song. B.o.B. brought so much energy and rapped so flawlessly that it made for a very fun concert to be at. He is extremely talented at what he does, and this concert is a great example of his talent.
Review written by: Nick Winger
| Grouplove with Saints of Valory and the Knocks
October 29th, 2013
This time last year, Grouplove was performing at the Water Street Music Hall in downtown Rochester, and this year they returned with just as good of a show as before. They, along with opening bands Saints of Valory and the Knocks brought down the house with their high-energy performances, despite a few technical errors.
Saints of Valory came onto the stage with no real introduction or lead in, but as soon as they were onstage the bass dropped and they went straight into their first song. They played several of their own songs, an alternative-rock style of music, but they also did a cover of the hit “Royals” by Lorde. Surprisingly, the slow, swingy tune worked well as a rock song when Saints of Valory covered them. This band was a really good match for Grouplove because their sound was pretty similar, albeit a little more rock-ish.
The second band to go on was very different from the others. The Knocks is a New York City based duo that does electronic dance music, commonly known as EDM. The Knocks used the Water Street Music Hall lighting equipment a lot more than the act they followed. As is commonly associated with EDM, they had a lot of flashing lights that behaved like strobe lights and had a lot of the lights synced up with their music. They did have a shining moment when they experienced a technical difficulty. As the problem got looked at, member James Patterson played an acoustic version of their song “Dance on the DJ” and told the audience “you know we’re doing this for real.” However, the Knocks couldn’t finish their set as the technical glitches were reoccurring.
Around 9:00 p.m., the stage started to fill with smoke. Soon after, Grouplove came rushing onto the stage and started right into their first song of the night, “I’m With You.” While the Knocks before them had made a lot of use of the light system, Grouplove left them in the dust. They started off with lots of flashing lights changing colors, and the crowd got in on the hype. If there’s one thig Grouplove does well as a band during a live show, it’s audience interaction. Throughout the concert, they would chat up the audience a bit between songs or walk in front of the audience to high five people while performing. Some of the songs, like “Hippy Hill,” got a bit of an introduction. In this case, the band told the audience that Hippy Hill is a place in San Francisco. The song “Spun” was dedicated to tomatoes. One big change in Grouplove’s lineup was that their regular bassist, Sean Gadd, wasn’t at the concert. He had gone to England for family matters, and a substitute named Dan had learned the lineup of songs in about a day to take his place. The band announced that they might be coming back to Rochester in the spring, and here’s to hoping that they actually do. Grouplove ended their set at Water Street Music Hall with “Colours,” a song from their first album.
Review written by: Erica Neuburger
| Walk The Moon w/ Magic Man
Alt-Rock Band Walk The Moon visited Town Ballroom in Buffalo supported by Indie-Pop Band Magic Man. Both brought their A-Games to the show providing an experience filled with catchy melodies and off the walls energy. The opening act, Magic Man provided a solid block of sound to warm the crowd up to the style of Walk The Moon. But not only did they warm up the crowd to the sound styling’s of the evening, they let their own talent speak for itself with their original songs that had just come out on their EP. They were fun, high energy, and the group had great chemistry between one another. Their song “Texas” was one of note with its upbeat vocals, and catchy lyrics and I felt that every song they performed was better than the last. I could definitely see these guys getting big one day so they definitely need to be kept an eye on. When Walk The Moon took the stage however, the crowd erupted in cheers and that didn’t stop basically throughout the rest of the show. There was a great atmosphere between the artists and the audience and they played off each other the entire night. There was rarely a moment where someone wasn’t jumping around or bobbing to the beat of their many catchy songs. The band as well seemed to playing exceptionally well together and each of them nailed their respective roles and various solos they were given. Walk The Moon brought a plethora of their signature songs including “Anna Sun”, “Tightrope”, and “Shiver Shiver”, but to the surprise of the audience; Walk The Moon announced that they had already begun the process of writing new songs for their next album (which has yet to have been given a release date). So we were treated to various unnamed tracks that they had come up with during their summer writing session, and I can say it was awesome. They nailed what their audience loves about their tracks and replicated it nicely into the new songs as well as expanding and still remaining creative with the sound. When the guys preformed “Iscariot”, the night took a quick turn into a much more serious nature and it was a nice break from all the high energy beats and charm that just flowed out of this band, with a drum beat that seemed to shake your entire being and a hauntingly beautiful vocal performance from lead vocalist Nicholas Petricca. And at the end of the show when the crowd burst into a frenzied shout of repeated encores, the guys came back out to give the audience one last dance in the form of “Jenny” (my personal favorite song). Walk The Moon killed it tonight with their signature vibe and high-energy filled sound and as such I would gladly recommend that anyone and everyone check these guys out.
Review written by: Cole Monfalcone