Concert Review: Descendents at the UC Theater

Written by: Sierra Grindstaff


On their 2018 Tourage, the Descendents proved that after nearly 40 years of touring they still know how to put on a killer show.


Opening up for the Descendents at the UC Theater in downtown Berkeley, Radkey, a three piece band from St. Louis, Missouri, brought the energy and guitar solos. The trio made up of three brothers, powered through tracks “Love Spills” and “Cat & Mouse”. While guitar solos have never been a custom in punk rock; lead guitarist and vocalist, Dee Radke, had the whole crowd in awe, placing the solos at the right moment, and never over doing it.

The moment lead singer, Milo Aukerman, stepped out on stage with his glasses tightly strapped around his head and the words, “I want to be stereotyped / I want to be classified”, were spoken, it was over. The crowd erupted into excitement and floor opened up. The age divide was ever so present as a young audience member went to end his ride of crowd surfing, but was met by an upset older fan who was in the cross hairs of the crowd surfer’s ride, and punched the surfer in the face. The UC Theater security tolerated zero violence and escorted the abuser away from the front of the stage after the incident occured.

In the crowd, the Descendents had fans of all ages in attendance. Fans that were probably present at the same show as the one my dad attended in ‘95 were there to see their favorite band, some were even joined by their children. Young kids with earplugs and the look of shock in their face as the craziness of the circle pit broke out.


Their music proved to not be outdated as young fans belted out the lyrics to songs such as “I Don’t Want to Grow Up” and the unofficial, official theme song “Descendents”. Also promoting their newest album, Hypercaffium Spaziznate, the newer songs had calm the crowd down for only a few minutes before the pit opened up again for old favorites like “Myage”. Finishing the set with two encores, the crowd exasperated, the intensity of the Descendents followed through until the very last song, “Pep Talk”.

Proving that age is just a number, the connection that the Descendents has with all of their fans, of all ages, made for a memorable performance for everyone participating.  

Concert Review: Ghastly at the Catalyst (4/20/18)

Review by: Killian Fay

Ghastly played at the Catalyst last Friday, the 20th of April. The show can be aptly described as intense. I got there in time to see one of the openers who performed before Ghastly, who was called Riot Ten. Every song in his set was heavy dubstep, all sounding suspiciously similar, almost to the point of monotony. He did nothing innovative, in production or performance. By halfway through his set, I was ready for it to be over. Adding to that experience was the crowd. The catalyst was extremely full, and one was constrained to the space by the stairs at the back if they enjoyed having any room to move at all. The individuals making up the crowd also seemed to lack any particular amount of spatial awareness, bumping into their neighbors and pushing their way past people if they wanted to get somewhere.

The beginning of Ghastly’s set was a welcome change to the atmosphere. This is his first headlining tour, called the ‘Mystifying Oracle 2018 Tour’. The title comes from that of his debut album, releasing May 4th. The first half of Ghastly’s set seemed well put-together,  and had me and the rest of the crowd moving. He spoke to the crowd a decent amount, but not excessively so. It wouldn’t have hurt though if he had counted down from three just before the drop one or two fewer times. In the middle of his set, he played Avicii’s song ‘Levels’, in honor of the popular artist’s passing. This was received well, and had the whole room enthusiastically singing along. After that, his set felt disorganized, as he played mediocre dubstep songs, sprinkled with an occasional emotional, female-vocals-and-synth-heavy track. His set continued well past an hour long, and by the end, felt like it was falling into redundancy. Ghastly is a good producer, and not a bad DJ, but given his popularity and the time he has spent in the world of EDM performance, I was expecting a little better.

The Green Hill Zone — I mean The Garden

If you like Shadow the Hedgehog and getting wild to sleazy electro-punk music, do I have the album for you. The Garden is the name under which twin brothers Wyatt and Fletcher Shears dress up as jesters and sleaze around in sleepy southern Californian towns (see their music videos linked below). Their new album Mirror Might Steal Your Charm makes the spooky synthesizer sounds from the Time Splitters cabinet at the arcade in your local laser tag arena into a series of unique electro-punk tunes overflowing with personality. Mirror Might Steal Your Charm is a card reading from a cheat deck of playing cards. Its tricky and ambiguous, but still may provide you with some sort of meaning whether intended or not, long as you are open to that as a possibility.

I know what you’re thinking – “But why Shadow the Hedgehog?” Bear with me. Shadow the Hedgehog is a video game character from the Sonic the Hedgehog universe who is presented as a foil to Sonic – Shadow is morally questionable and obsessed with revenge. He acts as a medium between good and evil as he embodies a bit of both. The Garden is they same. The band acts as a medium between two forces as well – punk music and electronic music. If punk music is the side of morally righteous Sonic and the animals, and electronic music is the side of evil Dr. Eggman and his robots, then The Garden is Shadow the Hedgehog, the anti-hero.

I know I sound like I’m going off the deep end. So, I’ll try to reel you back into my Shadow the Hedgehog comparison one last time and then move on. A panel of SEGA executives designed Shadow to embody 2000s era edginess in its purest form. If he were a human he would wear JNCO jeans, Oakley sunglasses, and a backwards baseball cap, and listen to Limp Bizkit and Korn. The Garden channels this aesthetic with the same mix of irony and nostalgia that brought denim jackets from the 1980s into the 2010s. They bring the seemingly expired and uncool back into palatability with the help of a little self-awareness.

Self-awareness is The Garden’s strong suit (pardon the playing card pun). Their music is without a doubt confrontational and aggressive, but The Garden still manages to sprinkle in bits of wisdom like on the track “A Message for Myself” where they close the with the following line: “Because in the end, everyone has problems // And life tries to teach you something // No matter how many times you’ve lived // So keep in mind that everyone is equal // Nothing you do makes you more human than anyone else.” As sleazy as they may seem, the Fletcher twins are keeping an eye out for you and making sure you know that you’re great just the way you are.

Love,

Nick Amerkhanian (The Corpse King)

Concert Review: Buku at the Catalyst (4/6/18)

Review by: Killian Fay

Electronic music producer and DJ Buku performed in the Catalyst Atrium earlier this month, on Friday April 6th. Originally slated to play in March, he got sick and was unable to perform, so apologized to fans and rescheduled. The Catalyst Atrium, for me, is a more enjoyable concert experience than the main room; it is a lot smaller, and the stage lower, providing a more intimate live experience. The first opener played a bunch of trappy rap songs, which didn’t quite fit the vibe of the space or audience. The second performer, whose name I wish I could recall, warmed the crowd up well with a more EDM oriented set, and was neither too heavy nor mellow.

From Pittsburgh, and a graduate of Music Technology, Buku’s set was unapologetically dirty, having concert-goers happily headbanging until past midnight. Another advantage of the Atrium is that it is quite spacious, and never as packed as the mainroom: everyone had ample room to dance, even right up at the front. The crowd was upbeat and high energy, and many LED flowtoys could be seen around the room, including poi, light gloves, and several light whips. Later on in Buku’s set, a man in a wheelchair came into the crowd and enthusiastically rocked out with his fellow humans, headbanging and balancing and moving back and forth on the two big wheels of his wheelchair. He definitely added to the hype; everyone loved it, and was stoked to see him in the crowd rocking out and doing his equivalent of dancing.

Buku’s set was significantly over an hour long. He teased the crowd a few times with small snippets of his most popular song ‘Front to Back’, the track that fueled his fame as he started to make his way in the electronic music scene. It features a driving beat and strong synth; it is the type of song that makes you want to drive fast. He played it as the closing song of his set. After serenading the crowd with bass galore, he left the stage after coming back on for an encore, heeding the crowd’s chanting request for another song. Buku put on a solid show, and is definitely a name to watch as he continues to make waves with his music.

YID INTERVIEW 4.20.18 w/ RIZ AKA RSD

RIZ AKA RSD talks to YID quickly after his short opener for Philthy Rich at The Catalyst in Downtown Santa Cruz. They talk about: the new songs, Kane City, the message behind his music videos, Detroit, Bay Area collaborations, & plans for an upcoming solo EP. Check out the interview below!

YID – Fuck Fame (Prod. Pdot Beatz)

DIR. BY ROB DRISCAL

YID – Famous Now (ft. OMB Peezy)

DIR. BY WOOYEON

*Please note that there have been other interviews of YID. Questions asked here are done from the close research of what has been asked & has not been asked. Additionally, he got interviewed by Rap Shack before my interview.

Follow YID

Keep up w/ RIZ to see who he interviews next

-Written by Rizal Aliga

KZSC Interviews: DJ Fizzi Pop Interviews Minnesota!

Last Friday, I got the chance to sit down with former Santa Cruzian Christian Bauhofer, aka Minnesota. His hits such as “HiLow” and “Stardust Redux” highlight Christian’s unique sound of mixing heavy bass rhythms with musical elements of melodic synths and catchy phrases. His exuberant stage presence and mixing talent has made him a crowd favorite at notable festivals such as Wobbleland, Phoenix Lights, and Shaky Beats Festival. He has headlined two tours, and is currently on his third tour celebrating his latest EP, Curio (some tracks to listen to are Desert Diamond and Technique). A stop on his tour was the Catalyst Club where I got to chill with the guy and converse a bit before his 2 hour set.

 

Due to outside circumstances, the last question I had for Christian had cut out of the recording. What I could grab from my notes was this:  

 

Q: What do you what to see for the future in electronic music, and your music in particular?

C: Hmm, it’s hard to give a direct answer for that. It’s hard to tell which way music is going to go in the future. I can mostly say that I’m excited to see nationally where electronic music goes and what other producers are coming up with. I hope people keep sticking to make weirder, unheard of kinds of sounds that can go in different directions, not just strictly out of EDM.

 

As a trailblazer in the world of dance music, Minnesota is one to instantly add to your “Artist to Watch” playlist. I am looking forward to see what he will make in the future.