In a spur of the moment adventure this past weekend, I attended the Winter Meltdown concert hosted by 98x FM in Norfolk, Virginia. This is an annual concert hosted at the Ted Constant Convocation center on the campus of Old Dominion University. I had never previously been, but the stars aligned for me as I happened to be in the right place at the right time. By that, I mean that my sister was in Virginia this weekend, giving me reason to head down and visit. That and the fact that the lineup included some very important musicians that I was not willing to miss.
BANKS: BANKS served as the first performer of the night. I do not recall if I mentioned this previously, but I feel it is important to note that I was supposed to see BANKS a few months ago, tickets in hand and all, but ended up having to leave last minute and could not attend the show. Since that day I’ve been hoping to see her this summer at a few festivals, but to my surprise and joy, she was playing Winter Meltdown! I was not missing it. Due to the fact that she served as the first act, she was only allotted a fifteen minute set time, which was a bit disappointing, but better than nothing. Vocally, she sounded exactly as she does on Goddess, very soulful and sonically pleasing. However, she appeared very uncomfortable on stage. Throughout her performance I kept liking her to Lorde, in that her actions on stage are very atypical. However, unlike Lorde who has a strange demeanor and owns it, BANKS could not quite seem to work the stage. She rarely spoke and repeatedly walked circles in a very small area. This awkward stage presence did not bother me, but might deter some people from seeing her on more than one occasion. I feel BANKS best approach would be holding intimate concerts where she sits and sings, similar to something Adele might do. The only difficulty with this, though, is that her music is electronic. However, I feel with time comes comfortability and soon BANKS will be a headlining success story.
Bleachers: Bleachers performed immediately after BANKS, and what incredible performers they proved to be. I had seen, heard rather, Bleachers at Firefly Festival in Delaware, but was about a million miles away from the stage, sleepy in a hammock. Needless to say, this was a very different experience. If there is one thing that is for certain, it is that Jack Antonoff, lead singer, guitar player, and mastermind of Bleachers, has phenomenal stage presence. Many attendees of the show were there for headliners Neon Trees and Rise Against. Thus, I imagine bands like Bleachers and BANKS were not necessarily fitting with the music they enjoy. Knowing this, Antonoff made every effort to hype up the crowd. He was all over the stage, mouthing things like ‘let’s go’ and ‘what the f***’ at the audience members. This seemed to do it’s job. Near the end of the set, Bleachers performed an incredible cover of “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac and by the time they ended with their hit “I Wanna Get Better,” almost the entirety of the crowd had been won over, or at least appeased. Not to mention, the band that stood beside Antonoff were extraordinarily talented. To emphasize percussion, their were two drummers on separate kits, something that is extremely unusual and immensely intriguing. The band also consisted of a key/ saxophone player and another band member who was a jack of all trades, switching from guitar, to keys, to bass. He kept on going even when his string broke. Well played, sir. ALSO, bonus that he plays a rad Rickenbacker bass, very similar to Jenny Lee Lindberg of Warpaint, WOOP. The things I notice because I’m a music nerd.
HAIM: Ahhhh, yaas. HAIM are just extraordinarily talented. What you expect going into one of their shows is exactly what you get. I’ve seen them twice now, the first was early in the year when they had just started their headlining North American shows for the year. At Winter Meltdown they announced they had been touring their album, Days Are Gone for two and half years and that Winter Meltdown was their last show for the album. Good for them, they deserve a very long break! Due to the fact that their set was shorter, they did not play all of their songs. The setlist included: Forever, Falling, Don’t Save Me, The Wire, Let Me Go, and a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well (it was a big day for Fleetwood Mac). Despite presumed exhaustion, Este, Danielle, and Alana still give it their all. They seemed to be taking some musical liberties as it was their last show. Danielle altered some of her riffs very slightly, which I really enjoyed. PLUS, she got a new Gibson SG, which in case you were wondering is my favorite guitar ever created, besides Fender Strats, so I was a little overwhelmed. Even the Rise Against attendees were talking about how well HAIM could play by the end of their set. Mission Accomplished.
A+ for the day.