Category Archives: Live Music

“Barton Hollow” – The Civil Wars (Live at Austin City Limits)

It’s a really rare thing nowadays when a live performance is better than the recorded version, especially in this, the age of digital instrumentation which can’t really be recreated (or improved on) live by a human player–what is to me, the best, most essential part of live music.

With their live performance of “Barton Hollow” at Austin City Limits, The Civil Wars have joined The Head and The Heart, Death Cab for Cutie and Macklemore x Ryan Lewis (according to both myself and fellow blogger Taylor) as artists that have transcended the record to create an amazing live performance and earn a serious amount of respect.

Watch here and wash yourself in gorgeous:

 


I Think I’ll Do This EVERY Year; Bumbershoot From A 2nd Perspective

Sorry Kevin, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do… By which I mean I’m just as floored as you and simply COULDN’T keep all these important ideas and opinions to myself. I mean, someone’s gotta want to hear these… right?

First off, a background on my history at Seattle festivals. I’ve been a regular attendee of the Folk Life festival for the past 4 years and have always enjoyed going to the Seattle Center to run into a lot of “Oh hey let me just give you the head nod cause I don’t ACTUALLY know you”s, get just a little bit too high every year, and end up staring at the fountain for a good hour. That being said, I also enjoy the overpriced fair foods (Pirozhkis out the ying yang) and tracking down the Seattle Scarf Man for an annual Free Hugs sign. However, until yesterday I had never been to Bumbershoot. Why? I suck, that’s why. I’m a huge loser and don’t like fun.

See? Sleeping. No fun.

Continuing on, Bumbershoot. To quickly explain for those of you that don’t know Bumbershoot is a 3 day music festival held at the Seattle Center that features a mixture of local and underground as well as bigger, more mainstream acts. So when I arrived at precisely 2:34 PM (You have to keep a tight schedule if you don’t want to have any fun) I was pleased to see that music aside, this was quite similar to the Folk Life atmosphere. Girls wearing little to no clothing (some guys too), tons of drugs (decidedly did not partake this year), and yet there was something missing. Lo and behold, no Scarf Man… I shed a quick tear for my lost comrade.

But we pushed forward! Now then, the music:

Oh hey M83, what’s that? I’m sorry I can’t hear you. One more time? [Insert sounds of head exploding]

If you don’t know who M83 is they’re that French band that’s been all over the radio with that one song that has the random scream-like sounds that sound exactly like the Forest Temple in Ocarina of Time

Yes that one. Anyways, I wasn’t a huge fan of them at first (partially because that sound reminds me of sleepless nights waiting for this) but also hadn’t really taken a good listen yet. Well guess what, I’m fucking stupid, because these guys kick absolute ass. We started out in the nosebleed section of seats and decided we were better than that, so we found some seats lower down (where the above picture was taken from), and then eventually made out way onto the floor like the rest of the sane people there. And again, seriously, M83 put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Their whole performance has this crazy mix of electronic keyboards and synths with a very pure set of drums, guitar, and the occasional saxophone. It’s very French, very nuanced, and very catchy. Not in an obnoxious sort of way though. The band sort of sneaks these incredibly addictive sounds into their songs that have left me obsessing (first person to tell me what that song is gets a post about why they’re awesome). And the band got so into their performance, climbing on drum sets, skanking for like 8 minutes straight, and just giggin. They also did something I hadn’t really seen a lot of previously, which was a consistent switching of roles and instruments. Which was cool, it was like each band member wanted a different piece of the action for each song. Along with this whole crazy performance they had an amazing light show. The band was staged in front of a dozen or so lit up poles that resembled what I can only hope is the awesome hybrid of bamboo and LEDs (let’s go scientists). The crowd was frequently assaulted by euphoria inducing waves of lights that only egged us on even more. Oh yeah, I forgot. Speaking of egging us on, the band was so incredible, that this happened.

Dear Lights, Can I have your number you Canadian vixen of song and dance? Love, Seth

After a long late-afternoon hanging out by the fountain and catching up with some old friends (shouts out to Emma Spence) we made our way to the Tune In stage to watch Canadian singer Lights perform. 

She put on quite a show for us if I do say so myself. For those of you that don’t know her (shhhh, it’s ok. Don’t be embarrassed, I didn’t either… There there) Lights’ music consists of poppy, electro beats and cute, love songy lyrics to accompany them. Her whole set was actually pretty spectacular. She’s got a really great voice and totally knows how to work with the crowd. She sort of reminds me of a more indie, less commercialized, more Canadian Katy Perry. Not to say she’s a KP knock off, she’s totally got her own sound and persona. Keeping with the theme of new experiences here, Lights threw me and I think the whole crowd off when she started throwing dubstep drops into the middle of her songs. The first time was sort of a knock to the head: “Whoa…, hey wait what was that?” but by the second and third time it was more of an outstretched hand that said “Hey there, it’s ok, I meant to do that.” at which point the crowd was like ksweetthanx. Overall, she’s an excellent performer and a perfect act to open up for…

Passion Pit. So let’s get the record straight here. I originally had planned on attending Skrillex. Yup, I said it. Having been to enough electronic concerts I figured a Skrillex show would be nothing short of an insane 2 hour long dubstep orgasm (according to reports, it was). Anyways back onto topic, the friends I was with convinced me to stay (“C’mon Seth, be cool, for once in your life”). So Lights ended and we had about 45 minutes in between sets. We (along with every-fucking-one else around us) wanted good spots close to the front for PP and decided to stay and wait. But don’t worry it was worth it. The whole band came out and opened up with their latest hit Take a WalkNeedless to say, everyone got pretty pumped up at the point. Their set as a whole consisted of mostly new songs off their just released album Gossamer aside from their older hits Sleepyhead and Little Secrets. The band was spot on and the whole crowd was jumping and swaying to every song. Also, if you haven’t ever seen these guys perform, the lead singer is hilarious. I assume it’s because of how high pitched his singing is, but his mouth is stretching in ways I thought not possible and his tongue flails about in all directions.

Meh, I guess we thought they were alright

Although Passion Pit wasn’t quite as nuts as Skrillex might’ve been, they made up for it with a killer performance and a sensational positive vibe about the whole thing. My only big disappointment was the lack of a significant light show. Maybe it’s too difficult to set something like that up outside in the open but I was bummed there wasn’t more trance-like visual effects. Ah well, maybe next time.

Go like some facebooks: M83, Lights (Also check out her new album Siberia), Passion Pit

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For those wondering, yes I did have fun. I also got Dicks afterwards. Suhhhhwagggg


Bumbershoot 2012! – The Musings of a Floored Fan

Although this review is only my own opinion and what I perceived the whole event as, I am pretty sure that I can speak for most, if not all, attendees in say that Bumbershoot is the fucking shit. Yo this year was absolutely nuts. Closing day of this 3-day September adventure, you can feel a definite buzz in the air. Oh and also the tired look on the faces of the people running the booths. Now I had the fortune of attending another big music event a couple weeks ago (107.7 The End Summer Camp) and as much fun as I had at that one, Bumbershoot will always prevail. The cool thing that sets Bumbershoot apart from other music events is that while you do come for the vast amount of popular artists, and their music, you end up staying for the entire vibe of it all. There is such an overwhelming sense of pure bliss whilst walking around, hearing music blasting from every corner of Seattle Center, seeing the vast crowds of thousands, jam-packed onto a lawn. It’s just so…damn beautiful. Now that may either be the legit vibe you get or the smoke from the weed wafting up into your nostrils. Whatever the reason, Bumbershoot is just so damn fun. It is the greatest culture event out there. Nothing makes you feel cooler than walking around, strutting your shit, and listening to some of your favorite bands with some fellow fans. Not only is the music great, but the people (except the obnoxious drunk dudes), food and booths are as well. Bumbershoot should never be relegated to just music, as there is so much to do, it’s just fun to explore and look for things. There are booths out there where you can get a bunch of free stuff. Who doesn’t like free stuff right? Just cruising throughout the entire Center is fun in itself. I mean people take your photos for free too!

Two guys digging the event! The guy on the left smells bad too.

It is just a wild party that everybody should go to. Doesn’t matter how old you are, what music you like or whatever else. Go for the good times and the memories. Now about the music. Although I liked many bands that were playing, I did not go to many of them because I prefer discovering new things. Also I hate lines. Speaking of lines, before we get into music, I was considering going to Skrillrex. But it cut into Passion Pit time. So no go. Thank goodness not. Skrillex’s act started at 9:30. The line opened up at 6:00. By 6:30, there were already at least 1000 people waiting in line. By 7:30, hoards of people were waiting and the line stretched way past Key Arena. So yeah, you get the idea.

THE WOMBATS

The Wombats performed twice during the last day, once with KEXP at the Toyota booth and later at the Exhibition Hall. I didn’t make it to the exhibition hall one and I was surprised. The performance at the Toyota booth had less than 75 people watching. The line for The Wombats for their main performance was  around 3000. Yup. This 3-piece band from Liverpool is mostly known for their super upbeat, dancefloor hits that’ll get you moving, but on that day, at a special 20-minute performance, we were treated to a softer side of them. Relying on acoustics, everything was definitely toned down, but still pretty awesome. Best part had to be when they played their hit song “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” in what they called a “Hoe-Down” version, essentially an acoustic, country sounding song. Pretty damn cool. Since they were doing their acoustic thing, no real jumping around, but still had the crowd sing along!

DEBO BAND

I had no idea who these guys were. I walked over right after The Wombats and came face to face with this World/Ethiopian Funk type band. It sounded kind of weird at first and I strolled over to check it out and was definitely surprised. At first I thought it was some abstract band just making some kind of A capella song, but they were actually playing with violins, saxophones, guitars, drums, accordions, trumpets, sousaphones! And they sounded really great! Good enough to make me jump straight into the middle of the crowd and start to do some stupid dances with a bunch of hippies. As ridiculous as it sounds, it was very very fun! The funk of the band was overwhelming and just engulfed me. I couldn’t stop dancing to them. They had me paralyzed or something. Paralyzed with Dance-Fever! Something was entrancing about the band and I am sure I can say it was the funk. Damn, I loved it. Hippie dancing is fun too haha. But the lead singer actually came out into the crowd and danced with us! How often do you get that? Mad respect.

THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART

LIGHTS

I stood off to the side and admired her. She’s real good at singing and playing the crowd. For a more in-depth analysis of the performance, check out Seth’s post!  He saw the whole thing!

HEY MARSEILLES

PASSION PIT

Passion Pit was flipping awesome. From the beginning to when I had to leave early, the crowd was rocking along with the band. By that point in the night, there were so many people just high out of their mind, either from self-stimulation or second hand. But no one needed that to enjoy Passion Pit’s performance. Just really damn good. Great stage presence the entire time up there as well as a lot of crowd interaction as well, which was very cool. For a more in-depth analysis of the performance, check out Seth’s post!  He saw the whole thing!

To be continued later. I am tired now.


107.7 The End’s Summer Camp 2012 – Review

August 25, 2012. Marymoor Park. Redmond, Washington. 107.7 The End’s Summer Camp 12. Stuff just went down. Washington’s biggest alternative radio station just threw one of the biggest concerts of the year with big names throughout. And boy, was it good. The lineup (in order) for 2012 was Adventure Galley, Husky, Milo Greene, Animal Kingdom, The Features, Morning Parade, Atlas Genius, The Royal Concept, Walk The Moon, fun., Alex Clare. Here comes a review of the entire series (in this writer’s humblest opinion of course!)

Adventure Galley

I missed them completely. Sorry. Here is a cool song called Addict anyway.

Husky

First time I’ve heard of them and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much when I first heard them start playing. But this folk band did wonders and actually was a pleasant surprise. Their overall performance left me with a good first impression. This four-piece band from Melbourne, Australia with a folk-alternative sound has this soft, melancholy feel about them. That’s the first vibe that I got from them, but then later they actually kind of rocked as well, so look for them to be a soft band with a rockin’ side to it. The greatest aspect of their performance had to be the vocals though. The singing was very, very good. I might even go to argue it was one of the best voices of the night.

Milo Greene

This five piece band has been one of my favorites within the past year, so it might be a bit biased to say that I really liked their preformance and thought it was good. Wait scratch that. It was good! They started off their set with a flawless transition from an opening number into “Don’t You Give Up On Me” and from there, the rest of their time on stage was damn good. With reverbing guitars that echoed nicely, to the change in tones with the switch up of the lead singer, Milo Greene kept it nice and steady until it rocked out in the end with a cover of Sufjan Steven’s “Chicago”. The only knock on an otherwise, very solid set, was the difficulty in hearing some of the singers at times, especially the girl. This was a bigger problem for Milo Greene than the harder bands because they rely a lot on their soft vocals to carry them through songs, but it gets hard live. Other than that, I enjoyed the consistent performance.

Animal Kingdom

I was first exposed to this band a long time ago when their track “Tin Man” was a free single on itunes. I forgot about them and I was reminded that they are actually a quite solid band. But I was really surprised by the way their sound has evolved. I liked “Tin Man” but compare that to a track 3 years later in “Strange Attractor”. Not gonna lie, I first thought the lead singer was a girl when I first heard “Tin Man” but now he definitely sounds like a man. Interesting fact about them that Summer Camp was their first ever show in Washington, yet their first record was recorded in Seattle. But the thing I liked about their performance was some strange beat machine that kept on mixing their sounds. But one thing I can take away from them, is that I know I won’t forget about them now.

The Features

These four rockers from Nashville, TN came and blew me off of my feet. Not literally but pretty damn close. Throughout their performance, my shorts were shaking from the bass’ power. Their sound is quite interesting as they call themselves modern pop/indie/rock, but to be honest, the sound a bit like some abstract folk rock that relied heavily of synths. Whatever they are, they really brought it that afternoon. Their energy level was insane. As their performance went on, their energy grew and it was damn fun to watch and rock along with. It also really helped that the singer could really freakin’ belt. They had the best energy the whole night, hands-down.

Morning Parade

Their performance was absolutely flawless. That’s all I can say. It was just perfect. The crowd was in sync perfectly with the band and they had every fan out there eating out of their hands. The beats were super energetic, upbeat and hella catchy. You could just see people mesmerized by the performance. I know I was. I had an absolute pleasure watching every second of the performance. Now thing I liked most about them was their pure joy of just playing. They looked so damn happy just being up on that stage, rockin’ out while the crowd went nuts. Great show by them. Best Stage Presence.

Atlas Genius

Coming off of the high that Morning Parade brought, it was a bit weird to get switched to the slower-paced Atlas Genius, but it was still alright. They started out with a little funk sound, but they eventually sped up and gained crowd support, as well as energy. Big props to them for gaining the crowd back after a kickass performance. By the end, their ending “Trojans” had the entire crowd bouncing up and down, the first time all night that it happened. Must’ve been pretty cool for the Australians that are touring in the US for the first time.

The Royal Concept

I had previously known them as The Concept before they changed their name and when I saw them as The Royal Concept, my perception of them changed. They went from being really cool to freakin’ kickass! That night yielded very little similarities to the voice of Thomas Mars and the rest of Phoenix and The Royal Concept made a nice job banging out a name for themselves. Absolute great vibes from the crowd the entire time and people were just bouncing around digging the high-octane energy of the group. By the time their finale came up, the crowd was already pretty pumped. “D-D-Dance” came on and the place just about blew up. Freaking crazy.

Walk The Moon

How was Walk The Moon supposed to surpass any of the great bands from before? Well they do it by doing a little something like this: Make the crowd wait 30 minutes to preform (even though they were already set-up), get to the stage with the hype and excitement rippling through the air, start playin some bitchin’ music, get into it with the crowd, throwing stuff out, including the crowd in with the music (during Quesadilla, it was magical) and just getting everyone to go nuts. I didn’t know how the energy could go past what The Royal Concept brought, but it was done. Walk The Moon made the crowd just go ape-shit crazy. Everyone was jumping up and down and just whooping like no tomorrow. The best part of the set had to be during “Anna Sun” where pretty much every single person was screaming the memorized lyrics at the the top of their lungs. Best Overall Performance.

fun.

Now even though fun. was the headlining act, they preformed second to last because Alex Clare refused to play unless it was dark. So fun. took it in stride and played a fucking awesome set. They had the best set-up and atmosphere during their set. There was even a point where they blew a whole bunch of confetti up in the air and the crowd went wild:

fun. played with such a passion and the lead singer maintained his awesome singing voice throughout the entire set. Yes, “We Are Young” and “Some Nights” were freakin’ awesome too, don’t worry. fun. basically got their shit done. Coolest part asides from the confetti exploding and the awesome light show in the background, was when the crowd was given the chance to croon out the chorus to “We Are Young”. That was cool listening to 1000+ people sing together.

Alex Clare

Skipped him completely. Why not just suck it up and play during the day? Also I wanted to beat the traffic. But apparently it was good!

Overall:

There was not one bad artist there. I ended up loving each and every performance, regardless of my original thought. All the bands genuinely wanted to be there and you could really see it in their performances. A whole bunch of them came out after their sets to sign autographs and talk with the fans. It’s always cool when groups realize their fans supporting them is what got them big, so showing  little love never hurt. It definitely made the experience much greater because if the artists were happy to be there, the fans were sure as well ecstatic to be there. Asides from the heat and a bit of anger from inside the mosh pit from the swarming pile of bodies, I have no complaints of the night. Everything just kind of fit together perfectly to create an awesome cultural experience. Everything, from the music, to the weed smoke wafting up in the air, the dude holding a cardboard sign that demanded people have a dance party, to the idiots that went crowd surfing and eventually being dropped, all fit together like a perfect puzzle to put an exclamation mark on the just amazing 2012 107.7 The End Summer Camp.


Live Review – Sigur Ros in Portland

I, along with two friends, made the trek down to Portland to see one of my favorite bands. As one would expect, McMenamin’s Edgefield Theater was transformed into a hipster Disneyland. The venue, a beautiful outdoor estate waxed by 80 degree temperatures and the hue of the setting sun, was splashed with a variety of plaid unseen since Seattle in the early 1990’s. In the merch line, I listened to people conversing about the trips that they made to see their favorite band. Two men up from Los Angeles. Another from Missouri. The excitement was tangible. The grounds were marked by sun bathers on blankets, PBR’s tipped back, basking in what was akin to a slice of heaven. The music only enhanced this mood.

Sigur Ros started playing at 7:30, with the sun still beating but beginning to retreat. The group’s hymns of hope and love emanated with emotion, feeling and touch. Jonsi’s reverb laden croon spoke clearly. I closed my eyes and listened, falling into and out of total absorption,  losing myself and finding my consciousness again. I listened to hear what makes Sigur Ros’ music beautiful. The band often centers around the tonic, the melodic and harmonic center of the key that they are in, and twists and winds themselves around it. There are layers – the bass and drums hold down the center and rhythm, they are the core. Ambient noise from Jonsi’s bowed guitar and from keyboards and electronics provide a floating texture. The orchestra, three strings and three brass instruments, along with the keyboard instruments, guitar, and Jonsi’s voice, bends and expounds around the tonic. One voice submerges while another rises, a counterpoint that expands and swells. Then climax. A meeting point. A new direction.

Sigur Ros’ music is subtle. It lends itself to repeated listens. While some have dismissed the band for being too bland, not rough enough, “white” in the words of one Seattle critic, I question whether those people have taken their time to delve into the band’s catalog. Once there, once immersed, I have found a depth of emotional exploration. They are affecting. They are polished, but maintain an edge that some critics have said they lack.

The encore. Fifteen minutes of “Untitled 8”, the closer from their () album. The best fifteen minutes of live music that I’ve ever experienced. The band’s sound grew and grew, reaching for the heavens and building an anticipation that ended in an explosion of pure bliss. If the trip wasn’t worth it before the encore (it was), then these fifteen minutes cemented the value of a day spent in pursuit of an unrivaled musical experience. I’m lucky and blessed.


The Human Jukebox | cdza Opus No. 9

The latest musical video experiment from Joe Sabia and friends at CDZA: “Donations as votes. A fun and democratic way for street musicians to receive money.”

Charles Yang on Violin. Michael Thurber on Bass. Eddie Barbash on Alto Saxophone.

Money was sent to Wingspan Arts, a non-profit that aims to expose diverse and young groups of people to the arts.

Music experiments that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face, while also presenting an interesting take on how we spend money to listen to music.


Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange Tour: Show Review

Channel Orange Tour

Tonight, the audience in Seattle got an enjoyable experience of having a few unique factors play into Frank Ocean’s performance at the Showbox Market. First off the news about Frank’s revealing his first love to be a male. Secondly, releasing his album a week early. When Frank Ocean first revealed his latest album Channel Orange to a close group of friends, family, and record company representatives,  all electronic devices were not only turned off, but they were confisicated. Tonight I went in with the same approach. Tonight was not only about listening to the music, but taking in the experience of watching a man perform only after revealing some deeply personal things on his tumblr. In his music, Frank sings about the least controversial things, yet his personal life has generated the most publicity outside his companions Earl and Tyler. Of course it is important to stress that one should base the evaluation of the show mostly on the performance, but I cannot help but feel that this context further contributes to the discussion, especially later in this review.

To say that there was an air of excitement in anticipation for the opening kickoff to Frank Ocean’s tour would be an understatement. I showed up thirty minutes before the doors opened at 8pm and the line had already stretched not only one, but two corners. The build up was further compounded by the fact that it took thirty minutes just to get in.  The ticket scalpers were in full force, moving block around block, up and down the line, hawking their requests to for any spare tickets and eventually make a killing off of that. I saw a couple pay a hundred bucks each to get tickets for one reason only: Like all of us waiting in line, they couldn’t wait to see Frank Ocean.

Here’s a general outline of the setlist for the night. I skipped over mentioning a few songs not to mention I probably messed up the order because I either don’t know some of the songs performed and I was too focused on enjoying the show.

  • Thinking About You
  • Novacane
  • Sweet life
  • Forrest Gump
  • Strawberry Swing
  • Made in America (chorus)
  • Super Rich Kids
  • Crack Rock
  • Bad Religion
  • American wedding
  • Voodoo
  • Pyramids
  • White

So let’s hit up the main observations from the show!

There was no opener so as soon as the lights dimmed, everyone started screaming for Frank Ocean as he walked into a warm bask of adoration. The intensity of the crowd’s passion was so extreme that whatever song Frank Ocean was singing in the opening was drowned out by the cheers and screams. I think one element that cannot be understated is that Frank chose to showcase his well-known crooning with acoustic guitars backing him up. That’s a definite sign of his versatility, not to mention his eagerness to expand the musical boundaries of what R&B sound entails.

Although I was most familiar with songs like “Thinking About You” and “Novacane”, I found myself enjoying more songs like “Forest Gump” and “Voodoo”, tracks that had either been released on Channel Orange or in between the mixtape and album. The biggest reason for this was because these tracks were so fresh or relatively unknown, only a few individuals sang along with Frank, allowing for more emphasis on the vocals . The show was thoroughly pleasing in terms of the high quality of it all. Frank has the coolness you would expect of a R&B singer, but the showmanship expected from any person associated with Odd Future (but a showmanship that is more dignified and cerebral).It’s signature Frank Ocean: the anxieties of un-reciprocated love, treated through the perspective of one who either received or inflicted it. However, Channel Orange takes it to a new direction in his music. His previous work nostalgia, ULTRA could sometimes come off as a little distant, but Frank Ocean’s latest changes that around. The diversity of the music foreshadowed at the beginning of the show was out in full force tonight. There was the  dub step-inspired instrumentation in Frank’s lament about a stripper in “Pyramids”,  the wonderful transition from the reverberating guitars of “Strawberry Swing”  into the chorus of “Made It in America”.  The show was exceptional in that it encompassed such a wide variety of genres alternative, R&B, soul, rock, and some real funky moments there.  No matter what though, the crowd was enraptured, roaring with approval at the end of each song. As Frank left the stage, I took some time to scan around the room and I could not even see a single open space. From the bar section to the main floor, people were crammed together like sardines. Multiple slow claps (and in one instance slow stomp) were started to persuade the inevitable return of the night’s triumphant performer.

However, the moment that really stood was the intimate end of the show, right after Frank took the stage one last time for his encore. Before I delve into it, take a moment and check out the link to Frank Ocean’s tumblr. I highlighted some of the text that I want to discuss below.

“4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence … until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love. It would change my life […]

Before writing this I’d told some people my story. I’m sure these people kept me alive, kept me safe. Sincerely, these are the folks I wanna thank from the floor of my heart […] To my first love, I’m grateful for you. Grateful that even thought it wasn’t what I hoped for and even thought it was never enough, it was. Some things never are. And we were. I won’t forget you. I won’t forget the summer. I’ll remember who I was when I met you. I’ll remember who you were and how we’ve both changed and stayed the same. I’ve never had more respect for life and living than I have right now. Maybe it takes a near death experience to feel alive. Thanks. To my mother. You raised me strong. I know I’m only brave because you were first. So thank you. All of you. For everything good. I feel like a free man.”
— Frank

First we will all take note that although Frank wrote about his experience with a male, this episode does not singularly define him as that gay or bisexual singer from tumblr. Despite this key information, the narrative surrounding Frank Ocean will mostly be about that, for better or worse. The multi-dimensionality of Frank’s music stands in stark juxtaposition to the portrayal that people (including myself in certain aspects) have presented what had been some of Frank Ocean’s most private and personal thoughts.

Despite our current insistence to heavily invest in the parts of Frank Ocean’s piece about loving another male, I would like to reference the final line in the passages shared from Frank’s post. He wrote “I feel like a free man”, and that post was his catharsis. Throughout the night, there Frank was, being affable and barely being able to keep a smile under wraps as he took in the cheers from the crowd. This was a man clearly at peace with his past, and hopeful for his future.

I will now return back to my original point of discussion by recalling the image of Frank sitting there at the piano, all alone onstage with one spotlight shining down on him. For about a minute, he simply sat there and played, ignoring the pleas of a few young ladies for him to just sing. In many ways, I can’t help but feel that was symbolic of the recent events and attention in Frank’s life. No matter what he was doing, Frank’s actions were going to be placed under a microscope to be determined for further significance, or in the case of those demanding for him to sing, some would demand Frank to become an activist for the topic he chose to disclose earlier this month. In this final performance, Frank Ocean gently rebuffed all such attempts by continuing to play the piano before softly crooning about how he wished love between the two could just be simple. That line was repeated over and over again, with no information whether the recipient was a male or female. In that regard, it was an illuminating experience for me. Paradoxically, the casual matter in which Frank revealing his love experience is what makes it so noteworthy. It was done on his terms. The normalcy in which Frank presented this information paralleled those last minutes of his time in Seattle. The intimacy of that moment demonstrated how different and similar Frank Ocean is now. Even though that significant moment that Frank told his fan base has altered some of the soundbites in relation to his work, what doesn’t change is that Frank Ocean has the demeanor, the voice, and the production to be the biggest presence in the R&B scene. May this day be remembered not just for what he has accomplished but for what he has yet to finish. Thank God I was able to see it. Seth, my friend, you shouldn’t have sold that ticket to me because you missed out.