“Happy. Sucks Live!” Show Review

Photo Credit: @whackkat

In the fall of 2020, Happy. released their sophomore full-length album, titled “Imposter Syndrome.” Many bands have been performing virtual shows during the pandemic, and Happy. jumped on that bandwagon to do a virtual show of their own in support of this new record.

They opened their set with one of their newest tracks, “Dullboy,” an upbeat, carefree track that highlights life on the road, followed by “Hooky,” a more midtempo song that talks about the struggle of trying to maintain a balance between work and home life. 

The band’s set quickly reached its midpoint, and they decided to throw in an older track, “Don’t Overdose And Drive,” a fan favorite from the band’s debut LP, “Cult Classic” that’s quickly become one of their most popular songs. After this, they slowed things down a little bit and played the closing track from “Imposter Syndrome,” “Black Picket Fence.” The song is primarily acoustic, and will certainly have fans waving their cell phone lights in the air when the band performs this in front of an in-person audience one day. 

Before we all knew it, the set reached its conclusion, and the band closed out the show with another song of theirs that’s gained quite a bit of popularity lately – “Liarliar.” The energy and raw emotion found throughout the song grab my attention with every listen, and it’ll undoubtedly be one of the best songs of theirs to hear live.

The title of this show is ironic, because Happy. definitely does not suck live. The band put on a performance that captivated me throughout (and I think the rest of the virtual audience would agree with me on that), and I’m happy (pun definitely intended) that I finally got to see this band live for the first time.

The Word Alive’s “Searching For Glory” Virtual Show Review.

Since the pandemic began, The Word Alive has put on quite a few virtual shows. I attended one a few months ago where they performed their album “Deceiver” in its entirety in honor of its ten-year anniversary, and the night before Halloween, I attended their “Searching For Glory” virtual concert.

The band opened their set with their standalone single, “Misery,” followed by its counterpart, “Numb Love (Misery II),” a song from their most recent album, “MONOMANIA,” which dropped earlier this year. “Numb Love (Misery II)” was one of quite a few songs that were performed live for the first time during this virtual show. Most of the songs that were performed for the first time were from “Violent Noise” (“War Evermore,” “I Don’t Mind,” and “Stare At The Sun”), but the band also performed another song off of “MONOMANIA” for the first time – “I’m Sorry You’re Sorry Now.” The setlist also consisted of a lot of songs that haven’t appeared in the setlist in a while, such as “Red Clouds,” “Entirety,” “Play The Victim,” and (one of my favorite songs of theirs) “Face To Face.” Towards the end of the set, they played one of their more popular tracks, “Why Am I Like This?,” as well as the track that this show was named after – “Searching For Glory.”

The Word Alive’s live shows have gotten better and better each time I’ve seen them, and overall, the Searching For Glory livestream contained yet another fantastic set from them.

A dollar from every ticket or ticket bundle purchased was donated to Save Our Stages. For more information on the organization and how you can support local music venues in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, visit www.saveourstages.org.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Hawthorne Height’s Stay Home Virtual Tour 2020 | Review

With virtual shows becoming more and more popular, quite a few bands have put together some virtual tours, and one of these bands is Hawthorne Heights. The band put together a three-date run where they stream a show from local venues in different regions of the United States, with the proceeds from tickets and merch giveaways held throughout the night going towards various local venues within those regions. 

The opening act for this tour was Mark Rose, a solo musician and the former vocalist of Spitalfield. His setlist primarily consisted of Spitalfield songs (“Texa$ With A Dollar Sign” from 2005’s “Stop Doing Bad Things” and “Stolen From Some Great Writer,” “Those Days You Felt Alive,” “Kill The Drama,” and “I Loved The Way She Said ‘L.A.’” from 2003’s “Remember Right Now”), but he also performed a cover and a song from one of his releases as a solo artist – “Like A Dark Sky Holds The Moon” from 2015’s “The Wild Type.” Mark’s vocals really grabbed my attention, and the set showed how talented of a musician and performer he is. Although I wasn’t familiar with his music and had never seen him live before, I really enjoyed his set. 

A little while after Mark’s set concluded, Hawthorne Heights took the stage. Despite a technical difficulty later on in the set, the band soldiered on and still put on a fantastic show. They played a wide variety of songs from throughout their entire discography, starting with three tracks from their debut album “The Silence In Black And White” – “Life On Standby,” “The Transition,” and “Silver Bullet.” The band performed one song from their third album “Fragile Future” (“Rescue Me”) before going back in time a bit and playing a handful of tracks from their sophomore LP “If Only You Were Lonely” (“We Are So Last Year,” “This Is Who We Are,” “Saying Sorry,” “Pens And Needles,” & “Where Can I Stab Myself In The Ears”). The setlist also included “Crimson Sand,” a song from the band’s most recent album, 2018’s “Bad Frequencies,” and after that, the band stripped things down a bit to do a few songs acoustically. This portion of their set consisted of acoustic renditions of “Oceans” (from 2011’s “Hate”) and “Decembers” (also off of “If Only You Were Lonely”), as well as an acoustic cover of “Pet Semetary” by The Ramones, and after the acoustic performance, the band did an encore consisting of two of their biggest hits from “Silence” (“Niki FM” and “Ohio Is For Lovers”), as well as an extra song to compensate for the technical difficulty earlier on in the evening – “Hard To Breathe.”

The sets from Mark Rose and Hawthorne Heights were both very entertaining to watch, and between the incredible performances and the fantastic efforts the bands made to support the music industry throughout the evening, the Stay Home virtual tour was a special one.
For more information on how to support local venues during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the websites of Save Our Stages and the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA).

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Jet Black Alley Cat Virtual Show | Review

Jet Black Alley Cat presented by Music City Bandwidth

Jet Black Alley Cat is a band that I’ve been a fan of since sometime in 2018, after finding out they were playing a show near me and checking out the record that they released a year prior. The band recently put on a virtual concert, and I finally got to see a performance of theirs for the first time.

The show began with an instrumental intro as the band walked on stage and prepared to perform, and they followed that up with one of their most recent tracks, “Ex Lover Syndrome.” This song is off of their brand new EP “The Black Era,” which came out earlier this year. They also played three more songs off of this EP throughout the rest of their set – “Fight XVIII,” “Rewind,” and an interlude called “Unrealistic Love/Us.” The rest of the setlist consisted of a mixture of songs from both of their albums. They played almost the entirety of their 2017 debut “Part One” (except for the interlude and introductory track), which includes some of my favorite songs of theirs – “Poison,” “She’s Alright,” and the track that got me into their music in the first place, “Roxy.” They also played their debut single “Pretty Girl” early on in their set, as well as a few songs from their 2018 album “Motel” (“Nightlife,” “Foolish,” “Miami Baby,” and another interlude called “Pretty Magic”).

The vocalist put on a captivating performance throughout the entire set (and the vocal harmonies added more emotion and emphasis to the performance), the instrumentalists brought so much energy, and the entire band just brought so much charisma to the stage and were really engaging performers. This was technically my first time watching a live performance of theirs and it did not disappoint.

SETLIST:

1. Intro 2. Ex Lover Syndrome 3. Golden

4. Nightlife 5. Electric Raazors 6. Pretty Girl

7. Unrealistic Love/Us (Interlude) 8. Memphis Blues 9. Fight XVIII

10. Roxy 11. High Class Women 12. Pretty Magic (Interlude)

13. Foolish 14. Miami Baby 15. Rewind

16. She’s Alright 17. Poison

The show was streamed at The End in Nashville, Tennessee, and was hosted by Music City Bandwidth. For more information on their virtual live shows and how you can support The End and other local Nashville venues, go to www.musiccitybandwidth.com.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Free Throw Virtual Show | Review

October 25th, 2020 presented by Music City Bandwidth

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person concerts haven’t been going on for the large majority of this year. However, virtual shows are becoming more and more popular, and in recent months, more and more bands and artists have started to put on shows in this particular format. A few weeks ago, a handful of local venues in Nashville, Tennessee – known as “Music City” – began hosting a series of free virtual shows with local bands and musicians, and one of the bands performing was emo quartet Free Throw.

I saw this band perform in Denver, Colorado last September, and over the past year, I’ve become a bigger fan of them, so I decided to watch this virtual performance.

They opened up their set with one of my favorite songs of theirs, “The Corner’s Dilemma.” This is arguably one of the most popular songs off of their latest full-length, last year’s “What’s Past Is Prologue,” and they played a couple of other songs off of this record as well: “You Don’t Say That,” “Tail Whip, Struggle,” and “Cerulean City.” To follow up that release, the band also dropped two new singles earlier this year, and they played one of those two songs – “Motorcycle, Motor?.”

While the band incorporated some of their most recent hits into their setlist, they also played a lot of older material. In addition to playing some of their more popular songs from their first couple of albums (“Tongue Tied,” “Pallet Town,” “Two Beers In,” “Randy, I Am The Liquor,” and “Better Have Burn Heal”), they also played some underrated tracks that haven’t been in their setlists as much (“An Hour Pissed,” “Weight On My Chest,” “Andy And I, Uh,” and “Hope Spot”). Similarly to the last tour I saw them on, their setlist spanned across all three of their LPs, and I liked the fact that they put so much variety into this sixteen-song, hour-long setlist.

One thing that I love about this band’s music is the amount of emotion that they put into it, and I think that in a live setting like this, that raw emotion gets to shine through even more. Musically, I really like the dynamics and intricate instrumentation found within their songs, and those aspects of these tracks really stood out during the performance as well.

I thought that Free Throw put on a really good live show when I saw them for the first time last fall, and I can definitely say the same for this virtual show as well. This performance incorporated everything I love about the band’s music and live shows, and overall, it was an entertaining one to watch.
The show was streamed at The End in Nashville, Tennessee, and was hosted by Music City Bandwidth. For more information on their virtual live shows and how you can support The End and other local Nashville venues, go to www.musiccitybandwidth.com.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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The Word Alive hosted a 10 yr anniversary of “Deceiver” virtual show | Review

Just over ten years ago, The Word Alive released their debut album, titled “Deceiver.” Last summer, they did a tour where they played this album in full, and recently (just over a year after that tour), the band did a virtual show to commemorate this anniversary one final time.

The band’s setlist consisted of “Deceiver” in its entirety, from the popular singles “Epiphany,” “The Hounds Of Anubis,” “The Wretched,” and “2012,” to some of the more underrated tracks like “Dream Catcher,” “You’re All I See,” “Consider It Mutual,” and “Epiphany,” songs that didn’t appear much in their setlist until the tour they embarked on last summer (which I attended the Denver date of), where they played this album in full. One major difference between the setlist for that tour and the setlist for this virtual show is the fact that this time around, the band also played a couple of the tracks that were on the deluxe edition of this album – “Lights & Stones” and “Apologician,” as well as a cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless.”

There were quite a few things that stood out about the performance in this virtual show. For instance, this record has many impressive guitar solos, and those solos really grabbed my attention during this performance. In addition, this band puts a lot of emotion and passion into not only their music and lyrics but also their live performances, and this performance was no different; I feel like that emotion and passion really shined through during this show.

“Deceiver” is an important album in The Word Alive’s history as a band and this virtual show was a great way to celebrate a decade since its release.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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