Looking for a new alt-pop group? Enjoy upbeat, groovy songs that get you dancing? Well, let us introduce you to the three-man band by the name of COIN, who paid a vist to Los Angeles’ own Wiltern on March 1st. If there is one thing you must know about this group, it’s that attending one of their concert is a truly mesmerizing experience. Visually, their set design and lighting played heavily into the mood of each song. In turn, this influenced the way the crowd perceived the band as a whole. One of the first few songs, “I Don’t Wanna Dance” was accompanied by low red lights that silhouetted each member on stage. This was something that was carried throughout many of their whole set, allowing the symbiotic instrumentation and vocals to be the center of attention, rather than simply the lead singer. This is something that is rare in bands like this, as a dynamic was made between fans and artists simply through the pretense of music, not through the star status of the group’s members. The intense energy of the crowd in each passing minute of the show mimicked such a relationship of audience to performer. Although attendees were part of a relatively younger demographic, the crowd was electric for the duration of the show, which not only amped up the band members (head-banging included), but also created an atmosphere within the theatre that was unforgettable. This is a band who truly puts their heart and soul into their music, which was meant to be heard live.
Article + Photos for Daily Trojan Newspaper
Groovy guitar riffs. Perfectly synchronized harmonies. High-kicks. Unforgettable choruses. All this and more can be found at one of The Aces’ live shows.
The four-woman alt-pop band made a stop in the City of Angels on Thursday to sell out the famous LA venue, The Troubadour, for the fifth show of their month-long “Waiting for You” Tour. Upon entering the venue, it was clear that this band has forged a community through their music. Even before the show began fans were socializing with each other about the song that “slaps the hardest”, how soothing the vocals in “Hurricane” are, or how much they loved Jill, two of band members’ mom, who was live streaming before the show from the balcony above us.
This collective compassion for these artists was reinforced the moment The Aces entered the stage. Their confident, inviting demeanor brought a smile onto every fan’s face amidst their excited screaming. It was clear the rest of the night was going to rock. The moment the lights dimmed, The Troubadour was their space for the next hour and a half. This being said, their strong group dynamic and morale comes from playing music together as friends for 10+ years, with each member bringing their own musical inspirations to the table to create the idiosyncratic sound that is The Aces.
As “Put It on the Line”, their show-starting song, came to an end, it was clear what makes this group so unique. Lead vocalist/guitarist Cristal Ramirez took advantage of the venue’s intimate fan-artist distance to interact directly with the crowd. From hopping up on the stage’s platforms to leaning into the crowd to sing along with attendees, the emotional investment of everyone in the Troubadour was present through the way the crowd & the singers reciprocated each other’s energy. However, it seemed as if the energy of the crowd could continue for another week as fans belted word after word from every high-spirited, boogie-inducing chorus to each coda (outro).
Even so, each band member had a turn on the mic between songs, sharing their gratitude for the response their music has received, and amping-up fans again and again by hinting at the following song through clever anecdotes.
While sonically The Aces can be categorized as alternative-pop music, much of their live performance had a lot more high-energy excitement that was reminiscent of pop-punk bands like Paramore mixed with a little bit of Grouplove’s sporadic nature and MUNA’s powerfully delivered lyric-beat synchronizations. This is something that separates their studio songs from their live renditions. In the future their stage production could definitely match this to create a show unparalleled to any other band of their caliber. However, the money to create a more produced show simply doesn’t mean it will be a better one, and the creativity & passion that this band displays will be present regardless of whether or not they have large screens or designed sets. With that, it would be wise to get out and experience one of The Aces’ shows in their current state because the intimacy of smaller venues will be a thing of the past for these soon-to-be music dignitaries.
Photos and Words by Dillon Matthew for Daily Trojan Newspaper
In the span of her burgeoning music career, 18-year old Carlie Hanson has transformed from a normal girl from Wisconsin to a budding pop sensation with viral singles reaching over 50 million Spotify streams and spots on multiple nationwide tours with artists like Jeremy Zucker, Troye Sivan and Gnash.
On Wednesday night, she opened for pop singer Troye Sivan at the Greek Theatre as part of his “Bloom” Tour.
Hanson’s stage presence exuded confidence as her setlist was ideal for the upbeat, dance-filled atmosphere. The Daily Trojan sat down with Hanson to talk about her career so far and her plans for the future.
Daily Trojan: You played your first live show a little over six months ago. Where are you today as a artist compared to then?
Carlie Hanson: As an artist, I’ve grown into a more confident performer since my first show back in May. I remember that night. It was my birthday. My family was there so obviously I was nervous but, surprisingly, having them there singing every word to every song made my worries disappear. Now that I’ve been on these tours, doing this every night, I approach the stage with nothing but excitement. I’m at a point that I never thought I would be at.
DT: You’ve been on your first few tours since late September. What has it been like to play multiple shows every week?
CH: It’s way better than going to college. That’s what all my friends are doing. I used to work at McDonald’s. The fact that I can play shows every night and make a living out of that is unreal to me. It’s been nothing but fun and new experiences.
DT: It seems as if you’ve built a great network of artists and other musical influences since moving out to LA. What has it been like having a support group that includes notable pop artists like Troye Sivan?
CH: Troye is the only major artist I’ve gotten close to. It’s amazing learning from him, now being on his second tour. He’s really an inspiration to me. I haven’t really met a ton of other artists, so I’m kind of figuring it all out as I go.
DT: In an interview with Paper Magazine you said that you keep a journal with you to jot down possible concepts or ideas for future songwriting. Have you had any recent inspiration while on the road?
CH: Before the “Bloom” tour, I was touring with an artist named Jeremy Zucker. Every day we would be on the road for almost seven hours, just driving constantly so I would always be jotting down ideas. Unfortunately, some people broke into our tour van and stole a lot of gear and my bag, which had my journals in it. Obviously, all of the thoughts and ideas are still with me but having it written down helps. I haven’t really been thinking about formally writing and recording songs as much now that I’m touring.
DT: Who are your current favorite artists, and which artists are you currently listening to?
CH: Justin Bieber is the biggest inspiration for me and I grew up with him, One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer. I was definitely that girl who loved all of them, but my mom is really into Nirvana and some hardcore metal bands like Five Finger Death Punch. I think that was the first band I ever saw live.
DT: An interesting first concert to say the least.
CH: Yeah so, I have that Rock inspiration/taste. However, I like the 1975 and a bunch of rap too. Lil Skies is this new rapper who I like a lot.
DT: Do you take inspiration from other genres even though the songs you write are labeled as pop?
CH: I’m going to be putting out an EP soon and while it’s still pop, it will have a lot more guitar instrumentals, which has come from my current obsessions with indie rock and alternative bands. But also I love rap and there are some songs that go harder with urban, trap beats that all flows together really well. It’s gonna be interesting!
DT: A little under two weeks ago you released a new single called “Toxins”, in which you talk about an unhealthy relationship that came along shortly after moving to a new place. A few lines that resonated heavily with me were the lyrics “my iPhone might be bad for my health, but when its dying, feel like dying myself”. Do you think that technology, like smartphones, plays a huge role in relationships today?
CH: For sure! It’s what our life is now. Especially within the music industry there’s this strive to connect with anyone and everyone all the time, which I don’t love because I’d rather be present and talk with people in real life. It really is an addiction, but I also have a love-hate relationship with it. I love memes, YouTube, and talking to people I can’t immediately be with but I feel like eventually I’m going to need to take a break from it all for myself. It’s something everyone should do.
DT: As an 18-year-old, you have your whole career ahead of you. Do you have any specific goals or places you’ve always wanted to play?
CH: I love Justin Bieber. One day I want to meet him, but the obvious dream is wanting to play Madison Square Garden. But, c’mon, when am I gonna meet Justin Bieber? He’s the reason why I’m so into music and here today.
DT: You recently had a song in the soundtrack for “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser.” Did you write that song for the movie?
CH: No, I wrote “Goodbye” about a year and a half ago. I had the song done for a while and my manager somehow got connected with them and it was put into the soundtrack! They said it really fit the themes addressed in the movie. Unfortunately it’s not actually in the film, and when I finally watched “Sierra” there were so many spots where it would’ve fit.
DT: “Goodbye” seems like one of your most honest songs yet, not only because of its slower tempo, but also your vocals. Was that influenced by the lyrics and tone of the song?
CH: Pain. It was gloomy outside and I think we wrote it in someone’s garage. I didn’t have a song like it that showed off my voice in that way. I don’t really know how it came about, I wasn’t in a relationship or anything but my heart was broken for some reason.
DT: As someone who is the same age as you, I relate and understand the motifs of our generation, rebellion and strive to just “do our own thing”. Do you think that the demographic of your songs is primarily people of our own age?
CH: I definitely think that the songs I write are primarily for audiences of our generation. I find myself talking about my friends a lot in my music, and taking stories from their lives. I think it’s because I’m young and this is just exactly what I’m going through. Plus, I just continue to strive to make music that I would like to listen to.
DT: Where does Carlie Hanson go from here?
CH: I just want to keep being on tour! I’ll be putting that EP out soon, and I’m going on tour with Gnash after this tour with [Sivan] ends. After that, I’ll be going to Thanksgiving dinner and headed to Christmas. Might chop my hair off, dye it a different color, so keep an eye out!
7/18/18 – The Forum in Inglewood, CA.
Photos and Words by Dillon Matthew for Local Wolves Magazine
It’s a given that music brings people together through common interest in an artist, genre, or lyrical poeticism. However, it’s rare to find a band that exposes their own vulnerabilities in their music to the extent that Paramore does. On paper, the verses of the band’s most recent album, “After Laughter”, dives deep into the complexities and uncertainties of growing up, friendships, public image, and much more. Yet, through the means of synth-pop instrumentation and confident, optimistic vocals, this album is proof that light can be found even the most hopeless places.
This was apparent during Paramore’s sold-out show at The Forum in Los Angeles on Wednesday as lead singer Hayley Williams explained, “one of our superpowers is to be vulnerable. It allows us to make a change.” Williams, however, stressed that “change is good and change is real” but change doesn’t mean you should forget where you came from. Even 14 years after forming as a band, Paramore is hitting their stride more than they have ever been, in terms of pride and contentment in their work.
Now on tour five for “After Laughter”, songs that were once staples of Paramore’s punk methodology, such as “Crushcrushcrush”, take on new forms by transforming heavy chords into delightfully groovy riffs that are still recognizable and reminiscent of the band’s roots. Much of this collective growth has come from the departure of bassist Jeremy Davis and re-introduction of drummer Zac Farro prior to making the album, who has implemented his own style and artistic direction onto Paramore in the best way possible through his experience in his band Halfnoise.
What really stuck with me, however, was something that Williams said during a mid-show monologue. She asked the audience to participate in one thing throughout the show, and that was to simply “be here, now” in order to “put aside any existing preoccupation, anxiety, or worry” even if it was only for an hour. Being able to recognize the stresses and worries in one’s life not only show signs of maturity, but also that life’s difficulties don’t define oneself. Williams even mentioned the strength of connectivity and urged attendees to recognize the like-minded people around them and enjoy the moment they were currently experiencing, together. In this way, Paramore’s shows and music provide hope for a brighter tomorrow, through pouring their hearts out into songs that guide both artist and fan through the toughest of times.
For a group that has had people coming in and out over the years, with Williams even saying that at times she thought the self-titled album would be their finale, it truly was a heartwarming sight to see all seven members sitting shoulder to shoulder for a dreamy rendition of Drake’s “Passionfruit” during the acoustic portion of the night. One of the best things about this group is not just their passion for creating music, but their drive to overcome the obstacles in their own lives and share that vulnerability in order to help those who feel as if there is nobody to relate to.
The set design is a little different this time around on #tour5, as about five rows of mirrors, that double as LED panels, line the back of the stage creating interesting moments in which crowd members can see themselves behind the artists. This allowed the stage to be influenced by the crowd. A picturesque example was during “26” when fans held up phone-lights to envelop the stadium in a warm glow, making the stage shine from the light.
It’s no wonder that this band has had so much success over the years, for every minute of their concert had the crowd roaring louder than the last. Through a 2 hour, jam-packed show, Paramore united those in The Forum to join together to boogie, laugh, cry, and dance harder than they knew they could with the people they look up to the most. It felt like a group of friends were back in town to check up on us and just enjoy the night, the music, and the company of being together.
More photos are in the “Music” tab or on my Instagram profile.