live show review

SNOWDEN DESIGNS SMARTPHONE CASE THAT DETECTS HARMFUL MALWARE
September 23, 2016 9:18 am

According to a projection by Statista, the number of people using smartphones worldwide in 2016 is expected to be nearly 2.08 billion.  While the advantages of smartphones are numerous, they also present numerous opportunities for harmful attacks.

Malicious apps can transmit metadata to ad agencies, cyber criminals and identity thieves.  Hackers can access your phone’s native functions, such as the camera and voice-recorder.  These are merely a few examples.  There are numerous ways in which your phone can make your information vulnerable.  That said, there are several steps you can take to make your data more safe.

For example, recently Edward Snowden, and Andrew “Bunnie” Huang launched a malware detecting smartphone case, that can help protect your information and make you aware if your phone is at risk of unwanted surveillance.

In their paper titled “Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance,Snowden and Huang discuss the implications of smartphone attacks with specific regard to journalists, stating that surveillance and access to metadata from unwanted third-parties “leaves journalists, activists, and rights workers in a position of vulnerability.” – Snowden, Huang 

Snowden and Huang developed an open-source tool called the introspection engine, to be attached to a phone and used to determine if the device is secure.

“As the project is run largely through volunteer efforts on a shoestring budget, it will proceed at a pace reflecting the practical limitations of donated time.” – Snowden, Huang

According to the article, Snowden and Huang plan to prototype throughout this year.  Although the introspection engine was designed specifically with regard to the iPhone, the processes involved could potentially be applied to other mobile devices. Snowden and Huang proposed that in the future these processes could be more quickly retrofitted for other operating systems.

References: Andrew ‘bunnie’ Huang, Edward Snowden.  “Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance.”  PubPub, (2016)

Featured Image Source – Flickr

JULIEN BAKER TURNS PHILLY INTO THE QUIETEST CITY
September 21, 2016 11:09 am

It’s no secret that ATYPICAL SOUNDS loves Julien Baker. She was our November Artist of the Month last year, so when I found out she was playing at Underground Arts in Philly I knew I had to be there.

The two show line-up was Tennessee-based Baker and Philly’s Grayling. As much as I don’t want to admit it for the sake of losing “punk cred,” two show lineups are sick. You get to go see some bands, feel some feels and still not be too tired for the next morning (I was still late for class but that’s just because of who I am as a person).

Grayling came on around 8:30 and played about a 7 song set that shows me that this band is here to stay. They are pretty badass and if you haven’t checked them out you need to do so ASAP. They will make you feel badass too.

Julien Baker started playing around 9:30 and while her set was only about an hour, for that one hour the small venue on 1200 Callowhill, was the quietest place in all of the city. Baker played songs of her record Sprained Ankle, which is a powerful testament to love, heartbreak and realization. It was just Baker and her guitar on the stage with one spotlight that made the singer look like an angel. Just like on her record, her voice quieted down and then tore through the quiet, each time taking the crowd with it.

There was not a dry eye in Underground Arts, I can guarantee it.

POP ETC GETS DOWN IN TOKYO
August 29, 2016 11:13 am

As  summertime rolls around, artists travel around the globe to perform at the biggest music festival. It’s about time a New York native band come perform in Tokyo, and POP ETC finally made their way halfway across the world to bring their American indie-rock vibes. They were actually in Japan not even a year ago, but who cares? They’re rad, and they deserve to be back as many times they want.

Some of you may know POP ETC from the The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2 soundtrack (ha!). Some others may have seen them supporting big time indie musicians like The Black Keys, Death Cab for Cutie and The Kooks. Either way their music blurs the lines between indie pop and indie rock, sitting just in between those two genres. They create music that makes you want to chill with a beer in hand, but also wave your hands in the air and dance at the same time.

Their show in Tokyo was surprisingly filled with an unusual mix of fans ranging from young females in late teens to middle aged business men. And like any other show in Japan, people watched them quietly, showing major respect to the band and their music. I was surprised with front man Chris’ fluency of Japanese – who knew! Because of that, the band members were able to connect with the audience on a whole other level. I was amazed to see the lack of phones in the crowd, trying to record precious videos of the show on their iPhones so they can upload it on their social media. Literally nobody. Nobody had their phones or selfie sticks (thank goodness) out which made this show an even more superb experience. We’re hoping they’ll be back again sometime soon, but if you’re in the big apple, don’t miss their next gig!

Want to know more about POP ETC? Click here to check out our exclusive interview with them.

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A NIGHT OF CHOCOLATE AND CHEVAL
July 28, 2016 6:50 pm

When walking into any small time club, you can expect some loud popular music while waiting for a band to go up on stage to have fun and play some cool tunes. But last night at U Street Music Hall in Washington DC, a small club turned into a musical hot box.

20427_620380401430800_4122135562059143816_nStarting the night with some cool DJ work from local artist Dirty Chocolate, he pumped out some of his own music while playing club hits with elegantly twisted remixes. From metropolitan city Gaithersburg, Maryland, he taught himself how to make music while going deep into the internet. From humble beginnings (graduating the same high school that I did) to sick clubs, Emmanuel Osemene has a strong future ahead of him. I had a minute to chat with him about his experiences with music after the show:

I’ve always been a huge fan of music…I love discovering music and finding people who push boundaries. It’s cool to see talented people use their imagination to make music better. You wouldn’t hear it in my music but Pharrel, Timberland, Daft Punk, Juicy J, Kanye West, Justice, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and Tame Impala have been some of my biggest influences.

After him, the crowd turned around to the main stage and there were so many switchboards and keyboards that I honestly had no idea what to expect. Then the band started to play and I was immediately blown away as the four of them played musical hacky sack, taking turns on solos and bits of the song while perfectly supporting each other.

Their name is Club Cheval, they live in Paris, France are in the states for a bit to tour. Theyed play song after song of fantastic electronic sound and mixing with a superb drummer in the back who ended the show with the gnarliest drum bit I had ever heard. I had a chance to talk to Panteros666 (the drummer) right after their set list.

Tell us about yourselves…

We live in Paris, but we we are from a little city called Lille…We have a lot of influences there from Britian and Belgium so we have that kind of culture where we just mix everything together.

Where do you get you unique sound from?

Literally everywhere. We don’t put any genres on any pedestal and have no hierarchy with our music. We listen to stuff like Hip-Hop, Balie Funk from Brazil, Slow Jam and experimental stuff. I’m into trance and lots of other stuff. Each one of us has our own certain sound and we like to mix it to create something different. It doesn’t really work well in France though, so that’s why we’re here, we can relate better with the people. Sometime we are just too powerful for them and that’s probably why we are bigger here.

How did you guys meet?

To cut a long story short, we were all doing our high level studies which actually including political sciences, sound engineering and other areas. But we got together in our small city and were really obsessed with making a new breed of electronic music. We did well in our little city and then moved to Paris and met a lot of people and now were here playing music.

It was amazing how humble and relaxed Dirty Chocolate and Club Cheval were. It was a fantastic show, great start and great end with happily ringing ears all the way home. Check out more Dirty Chocolate here and Club Cheval’s tour dates here and new album here.

TWITTER ACCOUNTS YOU NEED TO FOLLOW NOW!
July 13, 2016 12:13 pm

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Social Media is EVERYWHERE. Even my grandmother has a Facebook page.

What’s your @? Is basically the new way of asking someone for their phone number, more and more people are meeting their partners, making connections, and pretty much discovering anything they want at the tap of a finger (literally, my way of flirting with an old flame was obsessively liking his pictures for 6 months until he noticed me).

Sometimes your feed gets a little boring and you want to freshen it up. Luckily for you, you’re in the right place! Here is an official list of Twitter accounts you should be following, approved by a 20-year-old who just got done binge watching Rick and Morty for 4 hours!

Screen_Shot_2016-07-13_at_1.44.48_AM (1)5. Emergency Kittens (@EmrgencyKittens): What’s the internet without Cat Pics?! @EmrgencyKittens has you covered for your Cat-Pics-Based needs! It’s an account of little words, but who needs words when you have KITTENS. This account is recommended for cat and dog lovers alike but be cautious— time has it’s way of creeping up on you when you’re looking through feeds like this.

4. Click Hole (@clickhole): “Because all things deserve to go viral.” This account is a site created by The Onion and it’s a satirical account that parodies websites like Buzzfeed and its absolutely hysterical (well it’s either that or my brain is destroyed from getting internet access at 11 years old and never looking back). The articles range from quizzes like “ Can You Identify These Candies or Are You An Idiot?” to articles like “So Apparently There Is Something Called A Salmon And It’s Freaking Adorable.”

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3. Mitski (@mitskileaks): You’ve probably heard of Mitski before, she’s an indie musician who’s new album Puberty 2 (along with all of her music) is nothing short of incredible, you have to listen to it. Her twitter feed (Mitski if you are reading this please don’t roll your eyes at me, I’m sensitive) is pretty great too. In other words, I came for the music and stayed for tweets. Again, please take my advice and take the time to check out a very,very talented individual and listen to Mitski’s music. Listen to her music while scrolling through her feed.

2. Hannibal Buress (@hannibalburess): Is it a cop-out to put a comedian on this list? Isn’t it their job to be funny? Maybe, but if you’re not following the comedian Hannibal Buress, you’re missing out. One Chicago press even called Buress the funniest man alive. Don’t you want to know what the funniest man alive is tweeting or ate for breakfast?Here’s another Drake tweet that made me follow someone: “@hannibalburess: I wonder if Drake ever goes to the club incognito and says “damn they played 6 of my songs back to back. This is fun.”

1. So Sad Today (@sosadtoday): “She died as she lived, tweeting while crossing the street,” I would follow this account into the void. The account, ran by author Melissa Broder, is a collection of sad tweets that Broder began in 2012. Since then, various tweeters including Sky Ferreira and Dev Hynes of Blood Orange discovered So Sad Today which helped the account grow. At times it can pretty controversial and some claim she just uses the account to be promote sadness as a trend, however many people turn to social media and humor in order to cope. Broder is also a published author and her collection of essays “So Sad Today” is in stores now.

Do you have any favorite Twitter accounts? Tell us @AtypicalBeasts.

Tweet on friends!

LAST NIGHT OF TOUR FOR WAXAHATCHEE AND KISSISSIPPI
June 23, 2016 12:21 pm

The Chameleon Club was the tour stop for Waxahatchee (the usual musical baby of Katie Crutchfield played with a full band), joined by Ali Crutchfield and Kississippi and I couldn’t think of a better bill for a warm June night.

Philly band Kississippi opened the show around 6:45 and if you’re like the couple next to me who missed the set to pregame, you made a big mistake. I’ve been a fan for a while but was never able to catch a set until last night. Dreamy, yet intricate and raw, Kississippi sets the bar high for Philadelphia DIY. Vocalist Zoe Allaire has the power to silence an entire room and building up drums and guitar will sweep you off your feet. The loving and well crafted sound makes it clear why Kississippi is one of the most talked about bands at the moment.

Allison Crutchfield played next (and then played next again, joining her sister in Waxahatchee). She played a set full of heartfelt longing backed by lo-fi electronic music. Crutchfield paints a picture of yearning without saying a word, the slow pulse of her synth does it for her. She is authentic, sincere and unapologetic, something I think resonates with an audience.

Lastly, Waxahatchee took to the stage playing mostly a set of songs from Ivy Tripp (an album that I feel so strongly about I’d staple it to my forehead if I could, maybe that’s a little too excessive but you get the idea, its a great album). Waxahatchee’s set definitely felt perfect for a June night, as her warm, delicate yet husky voice sang over defiant chords.  I watched her take control of the audience like a force to be reckoned with (I literally felt the burn as she scolded a group of obnoxious, drunk people who were talking loudly over her set with her eyes, rightfully so). I’m not sure if many people could deliver heartbreakingly poetic songs as well as Waxahatchee does, with music so simplistic and yet as if she were drawing your tears out of your eyes with her own hands.

Overall the night was a mix of beautiful voices, dreamy tones and heartbreaking words, if you missed it, I am so sorry for you.

GO LOCO FOR HEYROCCO
June 8, 2016 5:36 pm

Do you ever just need a shot of some straight-up rock? Something new that fills your need for strong guitar, fast drums and a slick bass? Heyrocco comes from South Carolina with tons of energy and gumption. With songs like “Yeah and “Elsewhere,” they will fill your cup to the brim with attitude. Nathan (Nate) Merli leads with vocals and guitar, Christopher Cool struts the bass and Tanner (Taco) Cooper keeps it together with the drums. Their new EP Waiting On Cool is a breath of fresh air that brings the listener to rock that sounds straight from 1990.

Heyrocco is ATYPICALSOUNDS’ Artist of the Month and in honor of that we got an awesome interview with Taco:

Can you tell me a little about the band?

I met Nate in 6th grade, he was playing guitar and we would play together and go skateboarding, your average bad boy stuff for 6th graders. We met Cool in high school and played blues with him and a girl named Sarah, but we parted ways with her and started up Heyrocco.

How was it different playing in Europe compared to the States?

Its weird, one of the biggest differences was the hospitality from the venues. We’d show up and have an apartment or room for us, [they’d] feed us and [offer] free drinks. They really just tried to make us feel welcome, it was really cool even though we were pretty small.

What is your secret formula for creating music?

Keeping in constant inspiration. If we sit around in the house too long it shows in our music. [When] we are on tour or visiting a place, meeting new people or anything exciting, that is the fuel for our music. We also do the fresh ears, trying to cleanse the palate with ATL Trap music and really hardcore hip-hop.

What is the song that best represents your band?

(Chuckles) That would be a different answer from everyone. I’ll check with them and let you know. I would say “Slice of Life.” It started with trust and it is about trust. I think it represents us and what we’re going to be doing.

*Christopher Cool’s: “Perfect World

*Nathan Merli’s: “It hasn’t been written yet.”

Was there anything that inspired Waiting On Cool specifically?

It wasn’t a person or band. It was an area. We spent two months out in Venice Beach recording a lot of music. It was mostly being in that area and listening to West Coast music, whether it be hip-hop or grunge. That is what really influenced the EP.

You guys have a very specific style, do you try and keep it that way? Or are you open to different stuff?

We just write a lot of songs, there are a lot of outliers on the albums, but there are way more weird ones that we keep in the garage. It gets pretty crazy and weird. We like to try to release a lot of different music, we like bands that have a large variety. I don’t like picking up an album where every track is pretty much the same four chords.

Would you ever consider making a B-Sides Album?

Oh yeah! It’s going to happen for sure. It’s just a matter of time.

Has Heyrocco’s growing fame affected how you write or the band in general?

Overall, it has given us confidence in our writing. With that support we can write new stuff without real hesitation.

13263672_1131803193508394_6257844899282959215_nWhat are you listening to now?

A lot of 2Pac and Miles Davis. Oh, and this band called Rehab, they have this hilarious song called the “Bartender Song.”

Do you see the band moving into different styles in the future?

There’s no way to say exactly. We are going to start recording LP two next month, and are super excited about that. Maybe not a new sound, but new instruments and new arrangements of music. The next one won’t be your standard album, it’s gonna be a lot more experimental.

A lot of focus on tones, I think that the next album will represent the band and what it will be from there on out.

Any new instruments that you’re excited for?

I got Conga drums! They are great, and adding them to any song just makes it funkier, which is awesome.

What are some albums or bands that are essential for rock enthusiasts?

Slanted and Enchanted by Pavement, and Jimi Hendrix, all of his work. If you haven’t listened to his stuff, you need to right now.

As a band, is there anything that you want your fans to walk away with?

Out of everything, we want them to walk away with positive inspiration.

 

Now I need to brush up on my Hendrix, but we were grateful for his time…Heyrocco just got home from a 16-hour drive from Chicago.

After finishing up a European Tour last year, Heyrocco are working on some shows but focusing mostly on recording and hanging out at the beach. Waiting on Cool is a fantastic blend of quick and powerful anthems and slow, thoughtful pieces. I particularly love the slower songs like “Slice of Life.” They have a certain depth that is really hard to achieve for most bands but for Heyrocco, it comes with ease.
Check out their new EP and look out for their new LP hopefully coming out later this year. Listen to it on their site, and check out their other amazing songs like “Mom Jeans” and “Melt” and you’ll have new music to rock out to for the month.

INTO IT. OVER IT., TWIABP AND MORE ROLL THROUGH PHILLY
April 26, 2016 5:23 pm

Mostly everyone feels what my mom calls “Sunday night blues,” not wanting the weekend to end, especially if your job is particularly taxing.

Into It. Over It.,The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, The Sidekicks and Pinegrove made a stop in Philly on 4/24 at the TLA, packed it from wall to wall and made everyone (even me— a militant hater of Sunday nights) forget their dread for Monday morning.

It was my first time seeing the New Jersey band Pinegrove but after listening to Cardinal enough times to challenge its physical value, I was due.

pinegrovePinegrove is definitely one of the most talked about and most loved bands I’ve heard about in a while. Not often do you see entire crowds singing along to the first band to play but that wasn’t the case for them. The Run For Cover Records band has a “they’re from Jersey?” twang that makes them stick out from most of the cookie cutter indie bands. One might describe their sound is “alt-country” or “emo folk.” However you want to describe Pinegrove’s sound, this band is seriously sick. I’m pretty good with my predictions, and if I’m correct they’ll be selling out their own headliner at the TLA in no time.

Ohio band The Sidekicks came on after and played a guitar heavy, high-energy set. A throwback to old school Indie, The Sidekicks are definitely one of the most exciting, and coolest bands in the indie scene today. Steve Ciolek, the band’s frontman has the perfect vocals (often compared to Ben Bridgewell from Band of Horses) for venues like the TLA.

Shortly after, TWIABP followed. Every time I see them play I am in constant awe and if I had to use one word to describe their live sets it would definitely be intense. And then if I could use more words, they would probably be something like, beautiful, unique, captivating (…alright I’ll stop before I embarrass myself). TWIABP is truly a band you have to experience in live and person, but I’ll try to do them justice. They mostly played songs off of Harmlessness, their Sophomore album. The set showcased David Bello’s striking vocals, which are as comforting as they are vehement.  Every musician in the band is talented and they all add to the puzzle that is The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die. It’s also worth mentioning that the band has a hilarious online presence.

Lastly, Into It. Over It. took the stage. It’s safe to say that Evan Weiss is one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever seen or heard. Being 5 weeks into this tour can be tiring, but with the energy he brings to the band’s sets, he’s cemented his place as a tremendously good frontman, but anyone who listens to them already knows this. Touring after recently releasing Standards, there’s as much spirit in the live performance as on the record. Whether it’s the honest song writing or just his charisma Weiss passionately connects with his audience.

It’s aways very refreshing to see an artist who puts as much so much of themselves into their art, and genuinely appreciative of everything he as accomplished. As with a lot of artists who roll through Philly, Weiss (originally from Cherry Hill, NJ) shared fond memories of the city, and thanked Philly for being so good to him always.

It’s things like that which make me truly love Philadelphia (and forgiving that there’s so many Wawa’s and zero Sheetz in the area, ah East Coast gas station wars.)

 

THE KILLS: WHEN DOING IT TO DEATH IS A GOOD THING
April 13, 2016 11:04 am

The Kills came out with their first new single in 4 years last month.

It’s about damn time.

And the good news is “Doing it to Death” is sick. The new album Ash & Ice is slotted for a June 3rd release, and if their single is anything to base it off, we should be in for a treat.

Furthermore, their live show is straight bitchin.

Alison Mosshart (who you may know through her work with Jack White & The Dead Weather) and Jamie Hince have been working together since 2001 and it shows. They share an onstage chemistry that is truly infectious. These two clearly enjoy not just performing, but performing together. While Mosshart puts on a clinic of “How to Behave as a Lead Singer When Not Singing,” Hince plays the part of “the Rest of the Band.” Yes, The Kills do perform with a backing bassist and drummer, but the songs are still built around Hince’s ability to blend tones and textures into exciting songs. Mosshart brought a fiendish energy to the room with her vocals, and the two stomped all over the stage of Exit/In in Nashville.

Possibly the most refreshing aspect of the show was that it dispelled a slight worry about the new album. It’s evident that The Kills have moved a little out of the punk world and more into the indie one throughout their career. This is not an inherently bad thing, and frequently a band’s best work can occur at some point along this sliding scale, rather than at one end of it (see: Blood Sugar Sex Magik). But “Doing It To Death” could give some Kills fans pause. Simply put, it’s catchier than some of their older stuff. Emphasis on some. The Kills are no stranger to electronics – they started their career accompanied only by a drum machine. While some of the synth work may be a bit more forward in the mix, the effect is no different from that of the guitars on “Future Starts Slow,” the most successful song off their last record, Blood Pressures. And if you don’t think The Kills make catchy danceable songs, then you haven’t listened to “Getting Down” off 2008’s Midnight Bloom. Put it on now and thank me later.

The point here is not “The Kills make great catchy danceable tunes so why are you worried about them just doing that?” The point is that The Kills have always made great catchy danceable tunes in addition to the bluesy punky guitar and vocal centric tunes that they do SO well. They have no plans to let go of this side of their music, which they showed by performing songs like “Kissy Kissy” off their first album, 2003’s Keep On Your Mean Side. As much of their set was dedicated to getting the crowd moving, probably more was dedicated to getting the crowd feeling.

The Kills have been writing and performing together for 15 years. They are not getting worse at either of those things. They may continue to embrace a more centric style and production, but better that than forcing an aesthetic that is played out. The Kills continue to grow and evolve as a rock band, and we should all be excited for their next step.

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GOOD GRIEF BY LUCIUS UNLEASHES THE TWO-HEADED MONSTER
April 6, 2016 3:47 pm

What is it that we Americans say? Two heads are better than one. Case in point, Brooklyn’s Lucius, and their new album Good Grief. Equal parts dream pop and indie rock, Good Grief finds itself in a nice place—it somehow sounds both new and familiar. Solid production supports some good songs and a few great ones. The album fits squarely within current the indie pop realm, but sounds different enough that it doesn’t feel tired or played out.

Lucius jumped into the consciousness after the release of their first EP and album, Wildewoman, which scored them a run of shows opening for Jack White. Good Grief is not a huge leap for them, but it does bring a different overall tone. It seems like Lucius turned down some of their Americana influence and turned up the eletro-pop. Good Grief is pretty thoroughly stuffed with hooks. There are pensive hooks like in Madness” “What We Have (To Change)” and super danc-ey hooks like “Something About You” and the infectious “Almost Makes Me Wish for Rain.” Their single “Born Again Teen” seemed a bit frantic on its own, but in the context of the album, it is a blast of energy. Ballads “Dusty Trails” and “My Heart Got Caught on Your Sleeve” bring a tender side to the album and let the two front-women Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig show of their Berklee pipes.

The combo of Laessig and Wolfe is really what defines Lucius. Their backing band are no slouches. Dan Molad on drums, Peter Lalish on guitar, and Andrew Burri, on more drums and more guitars, and they all sing. The crew consistently provides busy and interesting music that can test the boundaries of having “too much going on” without actually stepping over. But it’s the ladies that really set the band apart.

On my first listen, Good Grief reminded me of St. Vincent’s self-titled album. But, while these two acts are definitely in the same ballpark in terms of music and style, there is one pivotal difference. St. Vincent is all about Annie Clark. I know it took me probably a year to learn that her name is Annie Clark and the band’s name is St. Vincent. Blondie fans know what I’m talking about. This misunderstanding could exist with Lucius but, it gets eradicated as soon as you look at a picture of the band and see two women in matching costumes. “They can’t both be ‘Lucius’… or can they?” Wolfe and Laessig dedicate their image to being as alike as possible. Setting aside the sheer amount of work that must take (two of every piece of weird mod clothing, identical hair color and style ALWAYS…), it achieves several effects. Having two identically costumed front women is like doubling a vocal on a recording, but all the time and with everything. When they perform live the power of a doubled vocal is there, but it’s also there when they pose for a band photo.

More importantly though, having two identical frontwomen depersonalizes both of them. Annie Clark and Debbie Harry took all the attention from St. Vincent and Blondie because they are beautiful women pushed to the front of the stage in wild costumes. But when you have two beautiful women pushed to the front of the stage in wild costumes together, something different happens. They don’t come across as an individual with a backing band, because they aren’t. They come across as two people that are part of something bigger. It encourages the fans in the audience to not just “look at the girl singing the songs,” but rather actually listen to the music and experience the show. It stresses that this band is not about one individual, it’s about the band.