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Exclusive Interview Live Review

Chat With Jaguar Jonze at NYC Colossus Festival

Before the world and the music industry came to a screeching halt last week, I had the opportunity to be a part of the Colossus Music Festival in New York City. The conference and festival were set to run from March 11th through March 15th with artists from all over the world. The Coronavirus chaos launched a huge disruption into the plans. Bands and panelists were forced to cancel and then by Friday full events and venues were forced to close. 

Fortunately, I made it out on Thursday to catch some informative panels and performances. One amazing show that truly stuck out was from Australian artist Jaguar Jonze. The multi-talented artist had recently performed in front of millions as part of Eurovision AustraliaDecides. A performance in which she dislocated her shoulder. This only intrigued me more so I made sure to make it to her US debut on Thursday, March 12th at Bowery Electric. I was not to be disappointed. 

Jaguar Jonze dominated the stage even without the large crowds she has become accustomed to back home. The energy was immediately infectious and the people in the room took notice. As she went from playing flute, to guitar, to bouncing around the stage, the attention was solely on the music and the art that was in front of us. This show will be a memory that anyone there will be bagging about as Jaguar Jonze hits mainstream success in the not too distant future. 

Even more honored, I had the chance to chat with Jaguar Jonze before the show. Here is some of our conversation:

Required pre-interview selfie

When asking about the name jaguar Jonze she explained that fans had given her the name due to her stage persona being so different than her everyday life. A mysterious cat became who she is organically.

She explained the other Jonze personas as well. Spectator Jonze is an illustration project where she interviews individuals and then a colorful portrait comes together of what was shared. Dusky Jonze is a photography element where she exposes the reality and beauty of bodies that should be celebrated in every form, bumps and all.

When asked to describe her sound, the atypical response was ‘spacy cowgirl’. That could be a perfect description. According to Jaguar Jonze this sound is influenced by a wide array of artists including Johnny Cash, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, The Last Shadow Puppets, and War On Drugs.

Music for her is like a conversation with herself. When she stops creating she stops talking to herself and loses the mental well being she wants to be at. 

She explained the February shoulder injury during the Live National TV final of Eurovision AustraliaDecides. It happened at a moment that seemed so innocuous in her primal performance. Just leaning on her shoulder and then it popped out. She managed to drive on after spending a little extra time on the floor due to the fact that she couldn’t get up. After taking the actual video to her doctor he was able to pick out the spot where the shoulder popped out and then popped back in. After questioning how this could happen on live TV, she just said “no’ let’s go and crush it. Still 4 months of rehab to do.

She stays true to herself and is fine with playing the long game. Her advice for other unique artists is to be authentic and keep doing what you do. Eventually, people will fall in love with your world, but that takes time.

She was depressed with the SXSW cancelations but still planned to continue her US tour through Houston, San Francscothe world pandemic and make the best of the situation. It is a weird and unknown time where we will follow the new hour by hour.  (Unfortunately, all shows were canceled and the band had to find a way to get a flight back to Australia before all international flights were grounded.) 

She gave us a deadline for a new EP due out in April. It was done and dusted back in Australia and is ready for the world to hear. We are definitely waiting impatiently to hear it.

Learn more about Jaguar Jonze and keep tabs on the new release on her WEBSITE and social media channels.

FACEBOOK  –   INSTAGRAM

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Live Review

Chelsea Cutler Live At Franklin Music Hall – Philadelphia

“How Lucky Am I?” couldn’t help but play through my head as I entered Franklin Music Hall on a Wednesday night. Hot off of the release of her debut album How To Be Human Chelsea Cutler packed out Franklin with fans eager to hear the latest songs live.

Fans have come to know and love Chelsea for her unrelenting vulnerability with her audience, creating music that is the most authentic to her. How To Be Human was written, recorded, and produced by Chelsea herself, pouring every ounce of her journey of being a young adult into an album. Upbeat and catchy, yet honest and vulnerable. That kind of relationship to your music helps foster a great connection to your fans, giving them a deeper sense of who you are as a person. And it was abundantly clear as soon as I walked into the venue that every person in that room was ready to escape the second Cutler walked on the stage.

Opening with “Are You Listening,” Chelsea came out holding nothing back and utilizing every inch of the stage to help access every eager fan in the crowd. Fans erupted in dance, singing every lyric of the latest hit back to Chelsea. The high energy did not cease when Chelsea adorned a guitar to help in the second song of the evening, “Love You More.” A back lighting set-up gave levels to the stage and kept the crowd further activated with fun and interesting visuals.

The evening was a perfect blend of exposing the new and celebrating the old. Crafted to please fans of all types, the setlist provided a number of hits from the 2018 mixtape, Sleeping With Roses II like “Cold Showers,” “310 Bowery,” and “AF1’s” and then combined them with a number of the singles off of How To Be Alive. The audience clearly very pleased with the choices in the setlist, as every body in the room could be caught singing along and erupting into dance whenever the chance was given.

Selling out shows in Boston and New York City, it’s clear that there is no stopping the momentum that Chelsea Cutler has going right now. Her fans have fostered an undying love for all that she is, and will continue to follow her as she gains success. If you’ve somehow missed out on the memo, you can listen to How To Be Human below. Keep an eye for the remainder of the How To Be Human Tour as it continues to take on the United States.

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Live Review

Hozier Evokes Joy With His Performance At The Anthem In DC

Hozier kicked off his North American tour in Portland, OR on October 17, 2019. This tour ends with a New York Residency where Hozier will be playing a total of 5 shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom from 11/21-11/26. Accompanying Hozier on this tour is the incredibly talented Angie McMahon, an Australian singer songwriter. It’s worth noting that guests should arrive early enough to catch her perform. I was lucky enough to catch the November 19th performance at The Anthem in Washington DC.

Hozier started off his DC performance with “As It Was” off his latest record Wasteland, Baby! Hozier played a range of music from his self-titled album Hozier which was released in 2014. He also debuted a new song titled “Jack Boot Jump” which is a track about the current state of the world he hopes to release in the coming months. And fans cheerfully sang along as he covered Stevie Wonder’s “Living For the City.”

My personal favorite moment of the night was as he was singing his hit song “Take Me to Church” holding up the bisexual flag. You could feel the whole room become warm with joy as the crowed finished the song along with him. The finished the set with an encore of “Cherry Wine” and “Work Song.” Fans left The Anthem feeling enlightened by his performance and keen to see what else is in store for Hozier.

You can catch the remainder of this tour at the following shows:

11/21 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom (SOLD-OUT)
11/22 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom (SOLD-OUT)
11/23 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom (SOLD-OUT)
11/25 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom
11/26 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom

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Live Review

The Struts Bring Electric Energy To Their Performance At Higher Ground

The Struts performed at Higher Ground in South Burlington, Vermont on September 17th and were absolutely phenomenal! The band formed in 2015 in Derby, England and have quickly risen to become one of the best rock and roll bands today. The style they perform in is very unique to the modern music industry as they transport fans to the 1970’s and early 80’s with their glam rock sound and lively attire!

The Struts have opened for The Rolling Stones, The Who, Guns N’ Roses, Foo Fighters and Mötley Crüe. At their recent performance at Higher Ground, opening for the band was Des Rocs, who gave a captivating performance as well. 

If you aren’t familiar with the band, you’ve likely heard some of their tracks, including “Body Talks”, “In Love With A Camera”, “One Night Only” and “Could’ve Been Me.” Their writing alone is incredible and they bring their already vivid stories to life with instrumentals and lead singer Luke Spiller’s jaw dropping vocal range. 

The Struts Deliver Unparalleled Live Performance

The entire concert was filled with such high energy from the moment they stepped on stage until after they had finished. It was clear that the whole crowd was very familiar with the music and the band eagerly played to the hyped energy by interacting with the audience the entire time. The lighting, the band’s costumes and their movement on stage made for a very colorful experience. I didn’t hear a single note out of place as they brought us from one track to the next.

 At this point, The Struts have released two albums, titled Everybody Wants and Young & Dangerous and in the concert they brought us the very best from both! This is a band that both excels in the studio and on the stage! Their love for performing was very evident and they had the entire crowd dancing and letting out their inner “Primadonna” with them! You can find the above video as well as many more on their Youtube channel as well as Spotify. Be sure to also check out their website to learn more about The Struts!

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Live Review

Pronoun Stole Hearts At The Brooklyn Bazaar

– live review by Nick Galasso

Alyse Vellturo started her one-woman band known as Pronoun in 2016 simply as a way to chronicle some of her most recent life experiences. However, while it started as a personal project, Pronoun soon gained momentum, with an increased popularity that led to appearances in major festivals such as SWSX and Riot Fest over the next two years. 2019 has been Pronoun’s biggest year so far, with the release of her debut album I’ll Show You Stronger, and she’s on the road now more than ever, with multiple tours through the United States already, and a European tour on the horizon.

Pronoun’s latest tour – supporting pop punk act Real Friends – has been traveling all across the Northeast, and included a stop in the singer’s hometown in Brooklyn, with a show in the neighborhood of Greenpoint at the Brooklyn Bazaar. The venue has plenty to offer, including a restaurant, and private rooms for karaoke, with its ballroom on the top floor to house its musical guests.

Photos by Joseph Marinaro

The actual ballroom was fairly compact in size, though it was the perfect venue for Pronoun to perform. The stage was only slightly elevated, with nothing separating the performers from the audience, while its warm red and blue lighting set the tone of the show. There was a sense of intimacy as audiences were able to stand up close to hear Pronoun’s deeply confessional lyrics of bad breakups and other heartaches. It was the feel of a group of friends gathered together.

Photos by Joseph Marinaro

Pronoun’s set was in between opening act Keep Flying – a big-band ensemble with elements of both pop punk and ska punk – and the headlining Real Friends. Most of the night was filled with fists raised, headbanging, and circle pits galore. The crowd was enthusiastically jumping around, crowd surfing, and screaming the lyrics along with the other two bands, while cups were flying across the room after someone would chug their alcohol in a frenzy.

While Pronoun’s style wasn’t exactly in the same vein as the other two acts, there wasn’t any issue with keeping both the crowd’s attention and interest. There was a laid-back feel to the show that served as a nice break between the two wildly energetic bands. “Are you ready for your guilty pleasure of the night?” Vellturo giddily exclaimed as she took the stage in a white jump suit. She was joined on stage by her friends Eric on bass, and Steven on drums, who also had matching blue jump suits.

Photos by Joseph Marinaro

And she was certainly accurate with her assessment. Her set consisted of lo-fi pop tunes with an energy that evoked a meditative feel. The guitar riffs were simple, yet powerful, and often lingered in the air for a moment after being softly strummed. Despite the change in pace, the audience was still actively engaged, quietly dancing along the entire time with wide smiles, even though it was clear not everyone was as familiar with her work. This just goes to show how much power the self-proclaimed “teeny tiny” singer/songwriter has over a crowd.

Photos by Joseph Marinaro

It wasn’t always easy to decipher all the lyrics, as Vellturo’s humming-like vocals – sometimes delivered at just above a whisper – were dominated by the instrumentation, but it didn’t matter, as it was her passionate spirit that really captivated the audience. It was very easy to get lost in the music, especially during certain synth-heavy tracks that had this spacier, other-worldly feel to them, transcending the room.

Photos by Joseph Marinaro

Despite her songs revolving around such deeply personal subject matter, Vellturo wasn’t without a sense of humor, as she took the time in between most songs to crack jokes to the audience. She seemed well aware of who her audience was in this show and poked fun at the style of a typical pop punk show. “You guys ready to rock?” she exclaimed to wild applause, only to follow it with, “well too bad, because this is a slow one.” There was a sweetness to the way in which she was clearly having so much fun onstage.

Photos by Joseph Marinaro

Vellturo finished her set with “Run,” off her new album, which – like many of her other songs – was about a past relationship of hers, and it’s clear the subject matter meant a lot to her, as there was this underlying pain evident in her delivery. Ending on such a note serves as a reminder as to why Pronoun was started in the first place, as a means of simply being honest and vulnerable with an audience. Pronoun is sure to have quite a journey ahead of her, and it’s clear she wants us to come along for the ride, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us.

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Live Review Review

A Balloon Ride Over Williamsburg: Devon Welsh Live @ Union Pool

-live review by Tom Scarcella – photos by Joe Marinaro

Returning to the stage last Friday for the first time in nearly a year, singer/songwriter Devon Welsh treated fans to an intimate set on a balmy night in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Welsh, previously the frontman of electropop indie-standout Majical Cloudz, delivered a soaring and spectral performance at Union Pool, the pool-supply store turned divey hipster mainstay.

It was a fitting location for Welsh, as he’s also gone through quite a metamorphosis. After his previous group disbanded, he forged a distinct new identity and solo career — truly solo, as he’s abandoned institutional support in favor of releasing music through his own record label. That steadfast commitment to individual expression undergirds Welsh’s output, marked by vulnerable musings on love and life, and Friday’s show was no exception.

Lending his heart and time to the crowd, Welsh laid it all on the line.

An army of one, he played the set entirely by himself, with no instruments other than his electric musical box. This minimalistic approach helped concertgoers connect with Welsh unobstructed as he showcased tunes from his debut album Dream Songs and a handful of dazzling recent releases, including songs that, according to him, he was playing live for the first time. Even in a packed-out room, it felt as though he had invited a cadre of close friends to see how he’d evolved and what he’d been working on.

A delight it was, to be one of those close friends. Welsh came to Williamsburg ready to unveil the latest incarnations of his confessional style and signature optimistic melancholy. His full-bodied vocals — reminiscent of Morrissey’s crisp, buttery tenor — seared through the lush chamber-pop backing tracks, carrying the crowd ever farther away over the course of each hypnotizing number. By the time he reached the solemn, introspective “Uniform,” one of the new tracks from his upcoming LP True Love, I found myself feeling oddly calm, drifting skyward in a hot air balloon to transcend the grit and grime of the city. “I’ll Be Your Ladder” is an apt title for another uplifting dreamscape well-performed at this set. A certain soothing yet upbeat energy was maintained throughout this ride: the pulsing rhythmic undercurrent, harkening back to those Magical Cloudz origins, kept the set caffeinated even as the tempo slowed amid a few overly dirge-like indulgences.

While the sounds and textures skewed cosmic, Welsh himself displayed a refreshingly grounded stage presence. “Earnest” is the best way to describe it. Dressed in a black tee and black jeans, upright and confident about his message, he resembled a humble, softer version of Steve Jobs. He’s clearly proud of his creations and eager to reveal new directions, but this self-assurance was tempered by a striking humility. Welsh made a point to introduce and explain each song, peppering in earnest expressions of gratitude. (These sentiments may seem obligatory for any talkative showman, but somehow, he really seemed to mean it.) This sincerity began before his show even started: I was surprised to find that Welsh — or maybe just Devon, here — was easily mingling among the audience while the opener was playing. And after his set, he jumped right back to Earth to wax casual with anyone who cared to chat.

Clearly, I very much enjoyed this performance; it was my first time seeing Devon Welsh, but it won’t be the last. At some moments, I did wonder if any additional musicians would have created more balance and cohesion — and I couldn’t tell if the acoustics of the venue were off, or if he’s just not quite mastered the art of volume control when it comes to dynamics, especially those tricky sustained notes. Minor gripes. Welsh gave his heart to this crowd, marking a triumphant, cathartic resumption of his live performances. If this show is any indicator, the next major milestone on his solo journey, the sophomore LP, is going to be excellent. I look forward to having a fast-track ticket to float above the clamor of city living, as I did at this memorable concert.

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Live Review

Chase Atlantic – The Fillmore Silver Spring

On Thursday, July 25th Chase Atlantic concluded their massive heading, Phases Tour, with special guest Lauren Sanderson at The Fillmore Silver Spring in Baltimore, MD. Scaling across the United States for over a month, this act has been captivating fans across North America with their high octane and larger than life performances.

Carefully choosing Lauren Sanderson as an opener, her performance perfectly set the stage for an energetic night. Joined by Chase Atlantic and a ton of alcohol, the first song kicked off the evening with a bang. It was nearly impossible to make it through her set without dancing along.

Then finally the moment every fan had waited for, Chase Atlantic took the stage. I was lucky enough to catch the first day of this tour as a fan, and the last day as a photographer, and each night the reaction from the crowd proves that this act is truly all that. Fans erupted into dance as Chase Atlantic gave them a performance worth getting sweaty to.

Always with an aesthetic entirely their own, Chase Atlantic makes sure their sets stand out and compliment their genre-bending music. Each song set the tone for the next, keeping fans happily singing along into the night. Playing a variety of fan favorites as well as new hits off of their recent release, PHASES.

While the North American leg of the PHASES tour is complete, the act is gearing up to hit the UK and Europe in October. With all of the success of PHASES release, you can rest assured that if you missed this tour, they’ll be tearing through your hometown again in no time.

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Live Review

Donna Missal Live @ The Casbah

Donna Missal started out opening for King Princess but quickly earned her own spotlight. During that tour, her first ever, most people instantly became her new and devoted followers. One fan mentioned that after experiencing Donna opening that night she first saw her, there was no way anything could top that, she was stuck with Donna. During that tour, she ripped up the stage and stole those fans’ hearts, just like she did at her recent show at the Casbah in San Diego on her first headlining tour.

There were no fancy stage outfits, no wild tricks, just authentic Donna. During her San Diego show, the very last of the tour, many shed tears in the crowd and on stage. The very last song, the whole crew and band stood together and sang a cover of  “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne in unison. Her brother, Steve Missal, standing next to her as the guitarist in the band was an added sentimental moment.

Donna Missal is known for her strong vocals and empowering lyrics. The song “Keep Lyin” in particular is one where she not only boasts in her incredible ability to belt out challenging notes, but also in her strength to shed truth on lies. She sings, “Baby I’ve known lonely…Tell me I’m your only / Even if it hurts,” uncovering the struggle of being addicted to someone who isn’t right for you and lying to yourself about what you deserve. In the crowd was an eclectic mix of people, but somehow all of them had something in common through Donna – a bond of love, acceptance, and power – all things she effortlessly highlights in her melodies.

Specifically, Donna has spoken out especially about her struggle with her complexion, honestly revealing to her fans on her Instagram story recently that she struggles with picking her skin on her face when she gets stressed. Before filming her music video for “Jupiter,” she had decided to go without makeup. But when the day to film came up and the stress amounted, she was tempted to cover up her scars and scabs. Ultimately, however, she chose strength – the strength she inspires in all her fans. In the music video, her face is bare, and her words ring even truer because of it. She sings about waiting patiently for “a love so real,” and what could be more real than her authenticity, transparency, and true care for others.

On top of this, she directed the whole music video herself. She posted on Instagram again on her tour “got very anxious last night and picked my skin. Feeling pretty depressed. 12th show in a row tonight in Dallas but still gonna give everything I got because what else is there to do? Forgive + get a coffee + keep it moving.” This transparency is something that often artists try to hide from their fans to look more perfect, but Donna Missal finds her strength in sharing her weaknesses with others, which in turn encourages her fans to have a sense of self-love for whatever place they are in now and hope for the future.

Her “This Time Tour” was prom-themed. Fans at the shows got to dress up in formal wear, and there was even a backdrop set up for some fans to get their own own prom photos taken. This was especially important for a lot of people who never got to go at all, or never got to go with the right person. Donna said that she herself never got to go to prom because she was homeschooled, so this first headlining tour was all about those second chances. This message of forgiveness and love that she embraces for and in front of her fans is so inspiring.

Photo credit to @itscourtneylewis

She is an alternative artist, reminiscent of Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse, especially in Joplin’s “Cry Baby” and Winehouse’s “Tears Dry On Their Own.” If you haven’t had a chance to listen to Donna’s music, you can find her album “This Time” on Spotify and Apple Music. This Time on tour, Donna Missal was extraordinary, and we just can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.

-written by Hannah Rexinger

-photos by Muriel Margaret, @murielmargaret_