Cal Scruby

We drive by the venue & see a line. We had no expectations of what this show was going to be like. Our (more so mine) experiences have been opening shows or local Ohio shows, where Cal is from. His first headlining tour. HEADLINING.

This. Is. A. Big. Deal.

His first stop of tour: this show. Denver, CO. I can’t explain to you how exciting it was to be at a show outside of Ohio surrounded by other Cal fans (even though people still think his last name is pronounced SCRUB bee – it SCREW be, people).

It’s snowing…not ideal for waiting outside before the doors open. We get there early – my friend & I of course bought VIP, the only way to go to a show when you’ve been following him since 2012.

Eventually we are able to enter the venue & make our way over to the man himself. It had been a few years since I’d seen him, so I was nervvvvvvy. Why? Prob cause I’m a big Cal supporter, but a sucky fan (I sorry Calvin). We catch up, get our picture & then plop our butts on the speakers in the front row. This venue (Lost Lake Lounge) was so small & intimate, which is my favorite kind of venue. You can get an up close & personal show in this kind of place, it even had a disco ball in the middle of ceiling!

Let me start by telling you: there was NO OPENER. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good opener as it gives me the opportunity to see someone I may not have heard of or known otherwise. But, getting right to the nitty gritty & the person I came for: that is the icing on top.

Performing almost all of his legendary Unsigned album, the show starts with none other than: Shut Up. The beginning of the song inundated with a monologue of Cal talking about how people didn’t believe in him, how his old label was BS, & everything people try to tell him about making it in the music industry. Proud of you Cal – you do you, booboo.

Clip of Cal performing Shut Up

The entire show, Cal just spit fire, with everyone around us in the crowd spitting game right along with him. I cannot describe what a cool feeling it is to be at a show where EVERYONE (except me: bad fan, remember?) is rapping all the lyrics along with Cal. An artist who deserves everything he’s worked for. Although, I’ll never personally experience that feeling (thanks to my terrible voice & non musical abilities), that has to be one of the coolest things to experience as an artist.

Continuing to take us through a musical experience: Cal hit us with some upbeat songs [Taylor Swift, Kobe with the Fro, Who are you?], took us down with some very real, very emotional songs [My Anxiety, Worst Day of my Life], & got WeIrD in between them all. I’ll never forget Cal referencing a tweet that he would take a shit on stage if he sold out the show (JOKES, OBVI – if you followed Cal, you’d get his weird humor) & a fan next to us yelling “let’s all shit our pants together.” Let me tell you….that was fckn weird.

Clip of Cal dancing like he’s Taylor Swift

Even though I spent most of my time in the front row pretending to know the lyrics (my brain & mouth cannot compute the lyrics & raps that encompasses Cals songs), I had a very real moment when it got to the point in the show for the song: My Anxiety. I’ve been in a weird season in life, more anxious than normal, more stressed than normal, & a lot of change happening outside of my control. I’ve felt off balance & sometimes not like myself. God is definitely testing me & teaching me to rely on Him right now, but this song really resonated with some of how I’ve been feeling. I shed a few tears listening to the lyrics, these one’s especially:

I’m looking happy online but it’s not what you think
I’m losing touch if I’m touching a screen
One minute, I think I love everybody
And then I’m like fuck everything

For anyone who struggles with anxiety or depression, the lyrics of this entire song put so many feelings into words. It’s crazy how perfectly Cal describes it. If anything, I hope this song can help anyone who may be feeling that way, to help them get out of that head space, & to make people realize they’re not alone, even if it may feel that way.

We eventually find ourselves at the end of the show: Kobe with the Fro. Cal expresses that he is unable to do an encore, but whaddya kno, he comes back out & performs one of his classics; Wasted. Us bitches for sure got basic. It was the BEST way to round out the first night of tour. To top it off, his manager advised against hanging after shows with fans, but here we were: waiting in line again to spend some quality time with Cal himself.

The amazing night still lingering in my mind, a month and a half later. That is post concert depression, y’all…

Photo with Cal Scruby & his DJ Tron after the show

Matt Stell & Tyler Dial

FRIENDS FRIENDS FRIENDS. We’re back & gonna give you a good ole review of a countrayyyy concert (woo!). Want to first start by thanking BBVA for putting on a FREE mo’freakin concert cause FREE CONCERTS ARE WHERE IT’S AT, am i right or am i right?

I was super pumped to hear about this show because I got the lovely pleasure of being introduced to Tyler Dial the last time he was here (with BBVA as well – brand ambassador, what upppp). He impressed me so much the first time, had to go back for seconds (why am I talking about him as if he a snack? haaaaaa).

Okay MOVING ON. My anticipation was at an all time high for this show because I (& most of the country world at the moment) am obsessed with Matt Stell’s #1 Hit “Prayed For You.” It just hits you in all the feels & I was so excited to hear it live. He was just an added bonus of getting to see Tyler again!

Concert time arrives & my friends & I enter da venue, get our super official laminates/credentials because it was a private, RSVP only event (it sounds bougier than it was, but ya know, it’s called enhancing the truth). We head on downstairs where the concert awaits. Me, the concert nerd that I am, immediately clock Tyler chin chillin in a booth with his guitar player. But then here I am, nervy AF but thankfully he comes walking right out, only for us to bump into each other & me to introduce myself.

We eventually find our way towards the stage, awaiting Tyler to start his set. Lucky for us, he gave us some insight into some of his new music that he’s been working on. I always find it awesome to hear a song live before an artist actually releases it. Makes me feel special & being able to experience that before anyone else just has a special place in my heart. My absolute favorite part of his set list, though, was his newest release, “About Last Night,” where crowd interaction was involved (heyyyyyyyyyyyy HEYYYYY, alright ALRIIIIIGHT – just watch the video below if reading it doesn’t satisfy your desires). I, as a fan, failed to have listened to this song before but it is for sure my new favorite. He also threw out Tshirts that said “about last night” on them & myself & another girl caught it at the same time. She gave it up pretty quickly though, soooooo I scored on that front.

He also performed “Repaint” which I think highlights that country twang side of his voice & is one of my favorite songs of his. VIDEO BELOW.

I really want to touch on one of the last songs he performed called “Damn Denver” (because HELLO IT’S GOT MY CITY’S NAME IN IT). Not sure why but I always take much pride in representing places I live or have lived. Anyways, he starts out by telling us how he wrote it about a girl he used to date who moved to Denver & that it didn’t end up working out for them (at least I don’t think so but the song lyrics seem to point to that). He talks about how Denver “made her dream up a mile high” (UM CATCHY PLAY ON WORDS, TYLER, I LURVE IT) & how he couldn’t compete with such a beautiful city (you right, Tyler, Denver is BEAUTIFUL). The song just has good catchy vibes for the “heartbreak-ness” tone of the song. Y’ALL, it comes out in the spring so BE ON THE LOOKOUT. If you can’t wait that long (because neither can I, I’ve got a short clip below for your viewing pleasure)

Wowza, I typically never write that much about the opening act but obviously I enjoy his music & had a lot to say, OKAY.

The great thing about this private event, though, is that it wasn’t like a typical concert where you have to wait at least 30 minutes for the next artist. 15 minutes flew by and Matt Stell came roaring on out to the stage (with his dope ass band btw – one with a silver sparkly guitar and another with a fro. I was into it, f’sho). First impression: he was a lot taller than I was expecting him to be. Though I couldn’t tell you most of the names of the songs he played, he had MAD ENERGY the entire time he was playing. He even got so hype I think he kept stepping on his guitar line (I think that’s what it’s called where it connects into your guitar and the amp but…I ain’t no artist so my knowledge of that is lacking lol).

Lots of things to note, though. I was listening to him on Spotify (Spotify > Apple Music, am I right?) before the show & came across a song called “Last Habit” which I am obsesssssed with. I thought I got a video of him performing it, but I guess not (LAMEEE). He also played a song called “Everywhere But On” which is the title of his latest EP. I enjoyed the lyrics of this song as he talks about traveling everywhere and doing everything but moving on (lyric: moving “everywhere but on”). Just a nice play on words, ja feel meh?

He also did a cover of “God is a woman” by Ariana Grande & let me just tell you, HIS VERSION WAS FIRE. A slowed down, acoustic cover & his ability to “adlib” (is that the word for singing really fast?). I’m not sure but he absolutely CRUSHED it.

Matt also OBVIOUSLY, played his banger, banger “Prayed for you” towards the end of the set & my favorite moment was towards the end of the song where he had the crowd sing it back to him (which is still one of the coolest things to experience, I would think, as an artist). It’s hard to put into words, so just see if for yaself below.

After this, Matt left the stage & my mind was, oh show’s done. NOPE, he comes back out for more (which I’m not complaining about at all – but check out my thoughts on encores here). He ended with a cover of a Travis Tritt song & also one of his own songs. Again, couldn’t tell you the name but it was hypeeeeee as hell (wow great content Jess….lol).

Once the show was over, they set up a FREE (there’s that word again) meet and greet with Matt so we obviously had to jump on that. When it came to our turn, I walked up and gave him a big ole hug (hopefully I don’t scare artists when I do this but it seems less personal any other way) & discussed hopefully getting to see him when he comes back in a couple weeks to play the Grizzly Rose (a staple country venue here in Denver). Also, hey Matt, wanna hook me up with tickets? (cc ya manager Cory. P.s. sorry if that’s not how he spells his name). We took our photo & then I ended it with YO CHECK OUT MY BLOG. So Matt, if you find yourself reading this, HEY.

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To top off the evening, I also got a photo with Tyler himself & then ended up meeting him & his friends out after for a little. We did a “mini interview” on my Instagram stories but a follow up interview should be to follow (STAY TUNED).

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I am on cloud nine right now, but when that post concert depression hits, man it’s gonna be hard to bear…


AJR

Get this – imagine standing on a stage, immersed between / in the mountains, looking up at 9,000 people who paid to come watch YOUR show. Imagine then remembering back to how it all started: street performing in New York City. Busking. Random strangers of the city passing by as if you were nobody. NOW, you are performing for 9,000 people who came to support. To feel the energy. To sing along to every song.

“We made it” is probably the phrase AJR has been saying ever since their song “Weak” flowed through the radio world & sky rocketed as their biggest hit a few years back. But this time, after playing Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO, the words “we made it” probably hit harder than ever. One of the most iconic venues (in my opinion) in the world & AJR sold that bitch out. Hell, it was sold out even before I bought my ticket to go.

I can’t even begin to tell you peepholes (peoples) how INSANE their show was. I’m still in utter and complete AWE of how creative these guys are with every. single. thing that they do. From the production. To the crowd interaction. To the creative thinking that went in to the performance of each song. I wish I could just post a video here of the entire show because honestly, words can’t even being to describe the magnitude / greatness of the show. They had lit up platforms on the stage. A massive screen [what I will refer to as the “big ass screen”] behind them with graphics that were out of this world. A dope ass trumpet player. & let’s not forget their killer dance moves – so nerdy but just AJR vibez for sure.

To start – the lights (obvi) go dark, the crowd goes wiiiiiiild (of course), & all we see is typing on that big ass screen I mentioned above. I don’t remember the exact wording but it went somewhat like: “Hey. Can’t come out yet. Gotta push the show back (awkward pause) fuck it lets start the show” – and the next hour and a half, I blacked out.

JUST KIDDING. Where to start, though. Let’s just rattle off some highlights & hopefully I can convey this to you as great as it was to see live:

First off, on the rocks in the venue, they had “Welcome to the Neotheater” displayed for all to see. I’m not sure if they do this at their other shows in the venues, but it almost felt as if Red Rocks was transformed into the actual Neotheater. I was LIVING for it.

During “The Entertainment’s Here,” Jack was walking on a treadmill (YES, A TREADMILL) on the stage in front of some graphics showing him “walking” through the city. Check the vid below.

They also created a setting during “I’m Not Crazy” that portrayed that of their street performing days in NYC, even having people in their crew walk across the stage and putting “money” in their guitar case. Jack even saying “thank you, man” as if they were still street performing. Made for a funny, lighthearted moment during the set.

There was also a part during the show where Jack & Ryan explained/showed us their creative process when they are making a song (different samples, editing, what sounds they choose & then mixing them up from there). I love when artists do this during a show that explains and gives a background to their thought process during the making of a song. I feel like it’s rare these days to see that & gives the fans a little more insight into them (because the average person has no fckn clue what goes into making a song). I unfortunately didn’t video this part because I was so in the moment.

One of my [second] FAVORITE parts of the show was the segue way leading into their performance of “Come Hang Out.” Jack uses the big ass screen to give the illusion that he is painting. He “paints” two larger versions of himself who he then uses to clap with to create the beat of the song. As I said before, the creativity of their set: MIND BLOWN. If you didn’t watch any of the previous videos, you CANNOT skip this one.

Another part I unfortunately didn’t get a video for was a part in their set where the trumpet player [who killed it, btw] played little snippets of other songs that they didn’t play the fuof during their set [because as Ryan said, they have too many songs these days that they had to pick and choose what to play during the set – sad day because they didn’t do “I’m Not Famous” and I go so hard to that song].

LAST BUT NOT LEAST – the most INCREDIBLE part of the show was the finale. A few songs before their final song, everyone on stage came back out wearing these all black jumpsuits with white lines. I immediately knew – they’re going to blackout the stage and light up themselves. JUST WATCH FOR YOURSELF, PLZ. So magical & the most insane way to end a show.

I first saw these guys play at a venue in Columbus, OH in 2014, at a radio show, to probably less than 100 people. The tiniest of venues. Going from that to seeing them play to 9,000 people at Red Rocks – my heart is just so happy for them. Such genuine, humble dudes, changing the world with their music, one day at a time.

I am severely suffering from post concert depression after this show. If you get a chance, check them out on the rest of their tour: ajrbrothers.com/tour