Pentatonix Brings the Beat Back to Bayou Music Center

pentatonix

Photo by Sarah Hoffman

 

The fact that there were absolutely no instruments on the stage of the Bayou Music Center on Wednesday night hinted towards the fact that it was going to be a different kind of show. No other band was needed to get the audience hyped up as Pentatonix hit the stage without an opening act. The sold out show was all for the Grammy-winning a cappella band alone, and they did not disappoint!

Kirstie Maldonado Photo by Sarah Hoffman

Starting out the show with their cover of Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” complete with Iggy Azalea’s rapping by Mitch Grassi,  Pentatonix  had the crowd singing along with them from the start. After that, they transitioned into an  amazing medley of Beyonce’s hits that included some Destiny’s Child favorites like, “Survivor,” “Bootylicious,” and “Say My Name,” as well as the Queen B’s singles like, “Crazy In Love,” “Girls,” and “Single Ladies.” The band delivered a range of Beyonce’s old school classics to current chart toppers to the diverse crowd, all in one brilliant mash-up.

They continued with their cover of “Telephone,” which they explained was the very first cover they ever recorded, and then electrified everyone with their own Sam Smith special, “La La Latch.” The band clearly loved being back in Texas and felt the love coming back from the audience. In fact, the love was so strong that they performed “Love You Long Time” for the first time on tour.

Afterwards, each member talked a bit about their beginnings in Arlington, Texas (Scott Hoying also mentioned that two of his former music teachers were in the crowd that night, and that he felt the added pressure). The band went from winning the NBC show, The Sing-Off, to having a record label, to being dropped by the record label. Mitch Grassi explained how this was a blessing in disguise as it made the band turn to YouTube, where they now have a whopping 7.6 million subscribers and resulted in them being signed by a new label.

DSC_5829-Edit-Edit

Scott Hoying Photo by Sarah Hoffman

The show continued with Kevin Olusola breaking out his infamous “celloboxing” solo and amazing everyone with his talent. The rest of the band joined him after a while with a cover of Imogen Heap’s “Aha.”

DSC_5802-Edit

Kevin Olusola Photo by Sarah Hoffman

They continued with “FourFiveSeconds,” and much to the delight of everyone, the band went off stage and walked out into the audience while singing (this being the closest I may ever come to Grammy-winners). After making a huge sweep all the way to the back of the crowd and back to the stage, Mitch had to share what was going through his mind while among the crowd. I quote,

“Oh My God. Everyone here is SO. CUTE.”

We think you’re pretty cute too, Mitch!

Mitch Grassi Photo by Sarah Hoffman

The night went on with their cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” but that song isn’t really complete unless you’re serenading to someone. Pentatonix didn’t overlook the fact, as Avi Kaplan brought a lucky lady from the audience onto the stage!

Avi Kaplan Photo by Sarah Hoffman

I definitely can’t skip out on mentioning the band’s amazing “Evolution of Music,” which includes everything from Gregorian chants from the 1100s to “Call Me Maybe.” After singing a few of their originals “Standing By,” “See Through” (a mash-up with Ariana Grande’s “Break Free”), and “On My Way Home,” the band said goodnight.

However, the audience was not satisfied and chanted for an encore. Pentatonix ran back out to appease and asked everyone in the audience for pin-drop silence as they sang “That’s Christmas To Me,” unplugged. It was probably the only time I’ve heard of a concert crowd not cheering being a good thing. The band ended the night with a mashup of Daft Punk songs that left the Bayou Music Center on a high note.

The concert was definitely one to remember, and as many times as I see music performed a cappella, the talent always astounds me. So it is safe to say, Pentatonix blew my mind.

Were you at the concert? Leave us a comment and tell us about your favorite part of the night!

All Photos by Sarah Hoffman

Posted in Bands, Concerts, Reviews

Artist Spotlight: Smallpools

1-smallpools-lovetap-promo-album-art-2015-anna-lee-media-tour-photographer

Photo credit: Anna Lee

Who doesn’t love fun music right? Music in itself is fun no matter what artist, band or genre you are listening to but sometimes you just stumble upon that one band who’s music just makes you happy and you can’t explain why. That was my experience with the wonderful band; Smallpools.

Smallpools is a four-piece based out of Los Angeles California consisting of Sean Scanlon (Vocals/Keys), Michael Kamerman (Guitar), Joseph Intile (Bass) and Beau Kuther (Drums). Vocalist, Sean Scanlon and Michael Kamerman made the move to LA in 2013 where they meet the guys that would later become their rhythm section, Beau and Joe and that’s where Smallpools began.

In May 2013, Smallpools released their first single; Dreaming and shortly after that the band released their debut self-titled EP on July 16th 2013 on RCA Records. Their 4 track EP consisted of the previously released single, Dreaming along with Over & Over, No Story Time and Mason Jar.

The band headed out on tour and constantly made the joke of playing half of their discography after only playing two songs. I had the pleasure of seeing them for the first time at Edgefest 2014 in Dallas after a good friend of mine introduced me to them. In July 2014, the band released their 5th track entitled Killer Whales, and with it came another joke that the band likes to make about how after googling themselves (it’s something everyone does right??) they found articles about people saying how messed up it was to keep killer whales in small pools so they named this song after that.

The band gained a very loyal fan base besides the fact that they only had 5 songs under their belt. In November 2014, they headed out on their first headlining tour with the band Magic Man. A lot of people were curious as to how their set was going to keep fans’ attention considering such a small discography but they made the most of it by playing new songs from their album Lovetap! which was set to released in a couple months and even throwing in a cover of “Real Hero” from the Drive soundtrack. I was lucky enough to get to see them 3 times on their headliner and got to experience their set from different perspectives including watching from the front row and I was completely amazed by their incredible performance each night. Smallpools has the ability to get everyone up to dance and sing along (even if it is to songs they’ve never heard, I know sounds crazy right??). Remember when I said fun music? Smallpools is totally fun music, they get you in a good mood, and in the end that’s the best thing to be able to achieve from listening to music.

29-smallpools-lovetap-promo-sparklers-album-art-back-cover-2015-anna-lee-media-tour-photographer

Photo credit: Anna Lee

On March 24th 2015, Smallpools released their full-length album entitled LOVETAP! a week after their TV debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers and a crazy run of shows at their first SXSW appearance in Austin.

Smallpools will be in our neck of the woods on April 14th on their second headliner in support of LOVETAP!
You can catch them at Fitzgeralds with Grizfolk!
Tickets on sale here!

Buy LOVETAP! on iTunes. 

Recommended tracks: “American Love,” “Dyin’ To Live,” “Mason Jar & Dreaming.”

@Smallpools on Twitter.
@SeanEats @MichaelKamerman @JosephIntile @BeauKnowsDrums

25-smallpools-lovetap-promo-album-art-center-fold-sunset-2015-anna-lee-media-tour-photographer

photo credit: Anna Lee

http://www.smallpoolsmusic.com/

(Big thanks to Anna Lee (@AnnaLeeMedia) for allowing me to use her photos!)

Posted in Artist Spotlight, Bands, Local Events, New Releases

Action Bronson feat. Chance The Rapper “Baby Blue” Music Video

If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you’ve probably seen the humorous tweets featuring Chance The Rapper such as:

Have you seen the actual video from which that clip is from though? It’s featured in Action Bronson’s music video “Baby Blue,” a song from his newly released album, “Mr. Wonderful.” In  the video Bronson and Chance The Rapper attack this soulful song in the most best way possible – Action Bronson talking to himself with a Queens-esque “Nyew Yuork” accent as he gets a haircut from himself, Action Bronson fighting a robber with a broom stick, girls getting hypothetically screwed over as Chance raps, and a talent show where Action Bronson shows off his tattooed body in nothing but a baby blue suit as he performs. The music video is anything but boring! I highly recommend you watch it and check out Action Bronson’s new album as well.

Watch “Baby Blue” below!

BONUS: Action Bronson just recently did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit.

Posted in Music, Music Videos, New Releases

Review: Earl Sweatshirt’s “I Don’t Like S—, I Don’t Go Outside”

Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt opens up in his second album, released digitally Monday March 23, and gets deep into the tiny corners of his mind. Even though the album was originally planned to be a “surprise,” fans were ecstatic to finally have new jams, either way. So I, in my haste to listen to the album, bought earphones at the University Student Center– mine sat on my bed back at home–since I was also ecstatic to explore Earl’s new work; his work is “out-of-the-box” and much more chill compared to other Odd Future artists. My jam sesh began. First, I am welcomed by the first track, “Huey,” with the sound of an organ as Earl confessed “Foot and hand on the gates/We was jumpin’ em, f—, I’m like quicksand in my ways.” As the album begins its trip, he vents on fame and his ex-girlfriend in “Mantra” followed by “Faucet” which literally fills one’s ears with Chef Sweaty’s braised imagery and sound of running water, a jam with words you want to soak into. “Grief” slowly wakes us up with sounds of slow motion, creaking gears as Earl hisses “I been living what I wrote/And all I see is snakes in the eyes of these n—-s” sending chills up your spine; the music video for this song only adds more to its eeriness with x-ray like images.

Earl coughs into the next song, “Off Top”–apparently he needs to “stop smoking backwoods”–but other than that, he’s clear he doesn’t trust many females which could stem from a rough upbringing he says; a song that’s short and to the point. Rapper Da$h joins Earl in “Grown Ups” as they switch off verses to a chill beat that puts you in a deep trance, it almost feels like a ride through his conscious. Wiki, a rapper from New York, jumps in with Earl afterwards in “AM//Radio,” a track that is half instrumental with skipping sounds and pounding bass. “Inside” touches on the loneliness that comes with fame and touring far from home. At the end of the song Earl says “I blow a spliff before the ink dries on the paper/And lately I don’t like s—, I been inside on the daily” expressing this inward seclusion, a common theme in the album. Next in line, “DNA” links up Nakel Smith and Earl once again, the pace picks up a little here along with a faster beat, a nice change that wakes you up from the trance induced by earlier tracks, To wrap the album up, Vince Staples joins in and ends the album in “Wool” with Earl saying he doesn’t “Give a fuck about the moves all these loser n— making now.” UHH!

Overall, this album was pretty straightforward, blunt and chill that had the ambiance of seclusion that you could feel. A much different style from typical hip-hop that, in the end, is refreshing. Maybe not an album to get pumped to before going to work or going out on a Friday night, but definitely an album to sit back and relax to as you dive into Earl’s world. Enjoy the trip!

Buy the album here on iTunes!

Rating: 4.1/5

 

Posted in Albums, Artists, Music, New Releases, Reviews

Songs You NEED To Listen To Before You See Cher Lloyd at Frontier Fiesta

This Image Is Courtesy of University of Houston Digital LibraryFirst, I am going to start off by stating facts. I know that today is  a good day! It day two of the biggest event on campus, Frontier Fiesta ,which, by definition means more cook offs,more  food, and most of all, Cher Lloyd! If you don’t know who that is well, let me take you back to school (no pun intended, okay maybe a little bit). Cher Lloyd first gained fame by being on X-factor U.K. Although she didn’t win, it help to shine a spotlight on her personal funky style, which, can only be described as unique. She is able to give a pop music a edgy feel with her mix of both singing and rapping  of her lyrics.Image Courtesy of CherlLloy.com

It’s hard not to both sing and dance to her super catch lyrics. Personally, I’ve been anticipating this weekend of festivities all year long, so for the past couple days I’ve been getting pumped to see her with Cher Lloyd Spotify playlist! Although “I Want You Back” and “Swagger Jagger,” has to take the cake for my favorite. Below, click to hear some of my personal faves by Cher Lloyd, on Spotify. Comment below on what has been your favorite song by Cher Llyod!

 

Posted in Artists, Local Events, Music

SXSW: Handsomebeast on Being Robbed by Aliens and Jacking Lumber

Handsomebeast2 (1)

I met with Handsomebeast, a Houston band who classifies themselves as a funky-space-rock-bump-n-grind genre, at Spider House this past weekend in Austin. In a world where everything is classified as indie rock it was refreshing that a sub-category was provided. The boys grew up in the same part of town and all ended up at Loyola University in New Orleans. They will describe their meeting as one of those beautiful movie scenes where eyes lock across the room and everything just feels right. It’s an evident bromance.

I always love asking how band names came to be.

NICK: I don’t know if we should pay homage to Will Ferrell or Ron Burgundy, but we’ll give it him. It described the music because of the beast aspect, but we are very handsome beasts at that.

TONY: There’s a lot of energy; we are gentlemen.

CARLOS: I just thought everyone was beast at their instruments and vocals.

NICK: Pee Wee is very handsome, it’s like Pee Wee and the Beasts.

Ironically enough Pee Wee was absent at the time of the interview. He was stuck in Katy due to a huge wreck. His band mates spoke very highly of him. The running term was “handsome.”

Handsomebeast21

Pee Wee performing with Handsomebeast at Love Goat

This was the first SXSW they have performed together. A few others were in a side project that performed a few years ago by the name of Group of Gancho.

Last year the lead singer, Nick, sang on the streets, or as he says, “I was working the streets.”

Handsomebeast23

Nick performing with Handsomebeast at Love Goat

Handsomebeast has a new EP, Sexy Face Reaction Time, in the works.

TONY: It’s a powerful name, we know.

NICK: It’s going to be released in all of its glory April 18th at Wonky Power Live, which is this super cool music institution. They have a recording studio where they record bands and it’s also a venue.

The boys were excited to share the lumberjack story. The single off of the new EP is “Exotic Lumberjack.”

NICK:  It is a story of a woeful, very busy, hardworking lumberjack who spends all of his time in exotic mountain top forests jacking lumber. He spends too much time away from the girl he is in love with who is down in the city. She’s cold. She’s cold as ice! …She’s not nice… She causes him a lot of frustration, but he loves her anyways. Separation anxiety….it’s a whole thing!

They are working on video for it now; keep in mind the location will have to be quite exotic.

TONY: We have the wardrobe, we just need the location.

Nick has been designated the lumberjack and commented, “The beard is started now, the steroids haven’t gotten in yet so we can’t start it.”

The steroids were a joke. The Rogaine to the face? Perhaps not. This must be authentic. Each had a bit of commentary on the tracks from Sexy Face Reaction Time.

CARLOS: “Torn” in pretty cool

TONY: It’s interesting that he brings that up. “Torn” was actually one of the first songs we wrote as a group, we just never found the right arrangement.

NICK: We have played it at every show for the past five, six years and it’s the first time we’ve gotten it onto an album.

JACOB: “Doodoo Bird” is the next sexy back, right?

Everyone agrees.

TONY: It’s better than sexy back.

Tony performing with Handsomebeast at Love Goat

Tony performing with Handsomebeast at Love Goat

JACOB: “Space Vixxxen” is a song about a sexy alien in a bar…

NICK: …who robs you…

TONY: She’s featured on the cover. She’s really…striking…

NICK: It’s a Polaroid of our friend Liz,

JACOB: They airbrushed her, it looks really interesting!

NICK: It was a four hour make-up session.

a0005484186_2

Handsomebeast also records all of their work themselves. Band members Pee Wee and Jacob have built up King Benny Studios in Houston. They all record there along with recording other Houston bands. The group not only creates a different style of funky music, a genre that is underrated, but they are committed to getting the Houston music scene rolling.

Handsomebeast19

Jacob performing with Handsomebeast at Love Goat

Great friend of the band and writer from Austin, Andre added, “They hope to see as many people as they can at the EP release party. The EP is just the next step for the band. It showcases their professionalism, the sound production and the song writing. Sexy Face Reaction Time is going to be a big deal, one for the musical history books.

Be sure to come out to the EP release party April 18th at Wonky Power Live and check out the band:

Official Website (“Exotic Lumberjack” streaming for free now here)

SoundCloud

Facebook

Handsomebeast17

Handsomebeast11

Posted in Bands, Music

Listen to Coog Radio!

Blog Archives