PREVIEW: Celebrasia

Come to Mason Hall tomorrow night to celebrate CSA’s Celebrasia! In the beginning half of the event there will be a huge array of food stalls (like orange chicken y’all) provided by multiple student organizations all along the posting wall; in my opinion though, the food stalls are not the best part of Celebrasia. After all, we save the best for last: the free performances! It wouldn’t hurt to grab some munchies before the show though.

From 6:30-8, dances and live music will be provided by (in order):

Qingyun Chinese Music Ensemble (Co-ed traditional Chinese instruments orchestral group)

Blue Records (Live music)

DB3 (Male Kpop dance group)

Moli (Female Chinese cultural dance group)

Konnect (Co-ed Kpop dance group)

akDPhi (Multicultural Greek Sorority)

Flowdom (Co-ed hip-hop dance group)

VeryUs (Female hip-hop and cultural fusion dance group)

Revolution (Co-ed Chinese Yoyo team)

~Intermission~

Seoul Juice (Live music)

Kappa Phi Lambda (Multicultural Greek Sorority)

Female Gayo (Female Kpop dance group)

rXn (CSA’s hip-hop and cultural dance group)

Funktion (Male hip-hop dance group)

K-Motion (Female Kpop dance group)

Photonix (Co-ed glow-in-the-dark dance group)

I provided the descriptions above to give insight into what kind of event Celebrasia will be, but those few words doesn’t do each group justice. You’ve probably seen a good amount of these groups practicing alongside the posting wall these past couple weeks, all of them grinding for Celebrasia. Their practices are multiple days a week and hours long at a time even though their sets are usually max 10 minutes, so I’m super excited to see how their hard work pays off in their performances tomorrow night. Actually, a couple of these groups aren’t even formal dance clubs, but I’m sure they’ll be amazing too.

If you’re interested in Kpop, dance (hip-hop and cultural), live music, and experiencing a cultural event, come to Celebrasia tomorrow night November 6th from 5-9 pm at Mason Hall!

REVIEW: Conduct Us

Even though mornings are always rough, especially on Fridays, attending Conduct Us made waking up worth it. Contrary to what I assumed in my preview, the weather was very warm: suitable for the festive and relaxed atmosphere at the event. Warm cider and donuts were provided too, so I even got free breakfast with the free live music (not to mention the free “Ono. Oh, Yes!” stickers)! I’m sure it was a very welcoming sight for the students heading to and leaving the MLB as well. Surprisingly, though, most of the audience was actually adults: most likely because it was a Friday morning.

Out of the many song choices, I recall hearing the Carmen Suites and In the Hall of the Mountain King the most. To those not well-versed in classical music, these titles may sound very unfamiliar, but trust me that if you look it up you’ll definitely recognize the tunes. Although I myself didn’t get to conduct, if I had the opportunity to I would have chosen In the Hall of the Mountain King too for its fun and exhilarating melody (in addition to The Victors of course). It’s a piece that starts quiet and slow like you’re sneaking inside the halls of a castle before rapidly speeding up when the king spots you! It was a lot of fun to listen to the giggles of the conductor and musicians accompanied by the sight of the conductor aggressively waving the baton (which at Conduct us, was a clothespin).

One of my favorite performances had two friends take upon the challenge of conducting the Michigan Pops Orchestra as a duo. It was very creative and inspiring to see people so interested in participating and enjoying the event: it really emphasized the point that the event is simply to create good vibes. It’s hard not to say, though, that Ono’s conducting was the highlight. Saving the best for last, the event ended with The Victors. To be honest, it was funny to watch him be flustered about conducting. It was also very endearing that afterwards the cellists invited him to play their part on The Victors, which unfortunately Ono declined. I’m sure we’ll see him play the cello one day though (he does actually play cello and pretty well too).

If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend this Conduct Us or want to attend once more, there will be another one coming up soon. Unfortunately, I don’t think Santa will be coming to town again. You can also support the Pops Orchestra at their end of semester concerts!

PREVIEW: Conduct Us

Santa’s coming to town! Specifically, Santa is coming to Ingalls Mall outside the League this Friday morning. During Santa’s meet-and-greet, the Michigan Pops Orchestra will be providing festive music for all to enjoy. They’ll be holding Conduct Us, an event where anybody (literally anybody) can take on the task of being their conductor. A variety of pieces will be at your disposal, like Les Mis, E.T., Forrest Gump, Star Wars, How to Train Your Dragon, etc. In fact, Santa himself will be conducting The Victors: it’ll be a sight I don’t want to miss out on! Conduct Us will be a good opportunity to also hear the pieces Pops has performed at their past concerts if you missed out, and also give you a sneak peek into what kind of atmosphere their next concert will be.

I’m very excited to come watch and hopefully conduct their ensemble, and I’ll be getting two birds with one stone by also taking this chance to see Santa.

Come watch and conduct the Michigan Pops Orchestra this Friday Morning from 11:30-12:30pm! Make sure to dress up warm too, since it’ll feel like the North Pole.

REVIEW: together PANGEA

together Pangea delivered an exceptionally lively set last Friday at the Blind Pig, one that brought house show energy to a space that I’ve never seen so animated. The space itself was packed with fans ranging from loyal front-row occupants to casual enjoyers at the back– an impressive feat given the downpour happening that night. Cue the show itself, as the openers preceding together PANGEA were Sad Park and Skating Polly. I didn’t catch Sad Park (though I’m sure their work is worth a listen), but I was able to see the last few songs of Skating Polly and thought they were excellent. Accessing Riot Grrrl sounds with creative vocals and a dynamic stage presence, this band is definitely one I’ll be tuning into a lot more from here on out. The crowd clearly has similar sentiments, as it bopped and moved as one to the punk ensemble.

 

In terms of the main act, together PANGEA played a fantastic show. Playing a wide range of their discography, there was a clear control over the energy of the room as their set would effortlessly move between more intense, pit-stirring hits like “Badillac” and more popular rock in their newest songs. They also shifted the tone to a questionable “country” label, playing a personal favorite song of mine, “Love & Alcohol.” The change in tone and tempo was welcomed by the crowd, as the frontman’s voice had a chance to shine in this number.

 

That said, the moments where the set picked up were a blast, too. The pit was exhilarating and countless members of the crowd managed to crowdsurf during the set. It was a bit wild, but in the most perfect way. It was easy to see the band feeding off of the crowd’s energy as they stuck around for an encore, taking their time to really enjoy playing their instruments and show off their musical talents. In moments between songs or during solos, you could tell from the looks exchanged between band members that they still loved performing live, even after touring and making music as long as they have.

 

I highly recommend catching any of these bands on tour, in Ann Arbor or elsewhere, as their shows have the kind of quality that wake you up and remind you why live music is an experience like no other.

REVIEW: Lorde: The Solar Power Tour – Detroit

After a week of rain and snow, the sun launched its revival just in time for the first week of Lorde’s Solar Power Tour. 

This was her second show in four years, and man was she in good shape. From the live vocals that went off without a hitch, to her insane range, the two-hour experience in Masonic Temple Theater felt surreal. Lorde’s groovy dancing and laid-back body language made the whole thing feel like a casual jam session between friends – the perfect space to let loose and feel the stress of the semester fall off of my shoulders. An encouraging hurrah before finals kicked in; a celebration in anticipation for summer right around the corner.

My seat was perched up in the nosebleeds – the literal last row in the house – so high up that I could physically touch the peeling ceiling with my fingertips if I just reached up. I somewhat mourned the state of my view, especially upon seeing the GA pit get showered in confetti during Solar Power. But thanks to the intimate size of the theater, I could see Lorde with perfect clarity.

Thoroughly exhausted from staying up late in the sewing studio to finish the top for my concert outfit, I took a quick nap after the opener, Remi Wolf, finished her set. Lorde is one of my favorite artists, but I wasn’t feeling nerves, excitement, anything. It didn’t hit me until the house went pitch-black, her silhouette appeared, and I felt all my tiredness detox itself from my body as a beast awakened within. I was up on my feet and screaming at the top of my lungs like everyone else before I even registered that I had woken up from my nap. 

The emotions were running high this Tuesday night.

As Lorde crooned the opening song, Leader of a New Regime, I burst out bawling, unprovoked. I continued to nurse a tissue in one hand, and shakily record in the other during Ribs, and blew my nose through the chorus of Liability. 

The mood boosted when the band started to pump out the vivid strums of Mood Ring and psychedelic colors filtered through the set and on screen. Harder hits like Perfect Places, Supercut, and Green Light had everyone jumping like the place was one giant house party. 

There was such good energy in the venue. You could tell that everyone in the intimate audience (Lorde’s idea) were big fans who genuinely loved her so much. The noise in the crowd was no joke. With every body screaming to the best of its ability, I felt twinges of pain deep in my ears. They started ringing at one point, as if my eardrums were creating reverberations in attempts to shield themselves. Several scream-worthy moments included Lorde’s two outfit changes – one where she disrobed directly on stage (behind a piece of the set that kept a spotlight on her silhouette) during the Secrets From a Girl interlude. Her adorable dancing – where she kinda punches the air and wiggles around (but makes it look good) – also raised hoots. Finally, the finale. I had scoped out the setlist ahead of time to mentally prepare (and last minute memorize some lyrics) but the encore song, Team, was unexpected. See, this song and I go waaay back. In 2013, my family would blast it on the car ride to school, light up when it came up on the radio. The derailing intro that repeats the lyrics “send the call out” fades out in a rhythm that makes the order actually sound like “the call out send,” which my family always jokingly mis-sang as “the cold Allison,” during the height of my emo middle school years. To hear the wholehearted chorus of a few thousand people singing “and you know, we’re on each other’s team,” followed by Lorde flouncing away with a cute skip off stage, left me reeling.

We drove back from Detroit with sore throats, sleepy and sated, hugging overpriced merch in the back seats.

PREVIEW: together PANGEA

This Friday, Californian rock band together PANGEA will be performing at the Blind Pig. Offering a range of punk garage tunes, together PANGEA is sure to offer an energetic set, as they’ve been making music for over a decade. Come for highlights from their fantastic 2014 album, Badillac, alongside hits from their newest album, DYE.

 

Doors open at 7, and two openers will be playing: Skating Polly and Sad Park. Both openers have intriguing musical inspirations and will blend really well with the headliner. With a packed lineup, this show is definitely a great way to spend a Friday night in Ann Arbor.