A Spooky Good Time

by The Cowl Editor on November 4, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

A Spooky Good Time

Local “Moon Raid” Festival Provides Halloween Entertainment

Jack Downey ’23

Obviously, there were quite a few events happening this Halloween. Not only were there fewer COVID-19 restrictions than last year, but the weather was also immaculate despite all the terrible weather in the past week, with the sun bursting forth from the sky. It could only be described as peak fall. Under the smiling sun and the falling leaves, a music festival took place in a backyard in Wakefield, RI. It was called Moon Raid, and it was legendary.

Even before the show itself began, the staggering array of groups associated with it turned heads: there were twelve bands and nine vendors present at the festival, which, for a local show, was astounding and unprecedented. Set construction began at 1:00 p.m. and the stage came together quickly, with the setup of gear being completed efficiently and conveniently. 

Leading off the event was Wave Goodbye. Building the sound of a full band using nothing but a guitar and a loop effect pedal, Wave Goodbye’s set received a warm reaction and helped draw in the audience. Following Wave Goodbye was Rather Nice, who recently released a new EP, Diane’s Van. Playing all the songs off that EP and more, the funky indie rock band had people dancing along to their mellow tunes. 

After Rather Nice was Fort Revere, a fairly new indie rock/surf rock band based out of Providence. While their sound was sparse, the songs were catchy and had some people singing along. Occasionally, the band would turn up the distortion, keeping things interesting. However, their distortion had nothing on The Gotham Lights, who were up next. Despite only having two members, their sound was enormous and blew people away, almost literally. Lead singer Jake Draven’s howling vocals only added to the wall of leaden noise that filled the entire backyard for the duration of their set. 

Continuing the wall of furious sound was Bozo Brain. Another two-piece band, this group was a female duo and their sound was more based around hardcore and metal. The crowd truly came alive during this set, moshing furiously to the distorted bass and pounding drums. At one point during their performance, the two members switched instruments to showcase their dexterity and indeed continued to bring the power. Considering this was their first show, it was rather impressive. 

With the energy of the audience mostly spent after Bozo Brain finished their set, Harrison Dolan provided some soothing, if not incredibly melancholy, relief. Despite being another one-man act using a loop pedal, Harrison’s music was jazzier than that of Wave Goodbye and featured far more guitar effects. His soft voice carried with it an undercurrent of sincerity that drew many people to his music. Multiple people commented afterwards about how they had become emotional during his set and, as if Rhode Island was responding to this shift in mood, there had been several sirens audible during Harrison’s set, creating a strangely alluring ambience.

After this brief lull in the energy, Bellyache came in screaming, literally. Not much was known about this band prior to the show, since they have no social media presence and have not played many shows. However, they blew people away with their talent. They had an interesting mix of hardcore and indie rock, with the hardcore songs featuring a singer and the indie songs being instrumental. Whichever sound they choose to play in the future, Bellyache are an intriguing band.

Cameleopard was next in the lineup. Echoing some of the blusier aspects of The Gotham Lights’ set, the crowd was immediately captivated by the group’s melodic yet crunchy guitar, flowing bass, and impressive drumming. The band functioned like a fine-tuned machine; they had people moving and grooving to their tightly-wound style of rock. 

This rock sound continued with the following act, Depopulate Montana. While their sound was straightforward, their songs were interesting and captured the audience. The sound had many elements of nineties indie rock as well as those of earlier rock icons such as Bruce Springsteen, with some punk rock thrown into the mix. Their set ended as the sun fully disappeared beneath the horizon.

Although the sun had departed, the show went on. The Park Hill Romance took the stage and ripped through several beloved covers, such as Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” and Green Day’s “Holiday.” Their fans ate it up, dancing and singing along, illuminated by the car headlights which were being used to light the stage. After them were Alligators On Acid, who delivered a gloriously ramshackle punk performance that included bassist Luke Kelley throwing his bass aside and running into the crowd, starting a tidal wave of a mosh pit that resulted in him getting punched in the face. Considering this might be their last show for some time, they went out with style. Last but not least were The Moon Rakers, who hosted the entire event. The band’s sound was remarkably minimal in the most interesting of ways, and many people seemed to be drawn in by the dry guitar sound and the unorthodox drum beats. It was a fantastic way to end such an insane concert.

All the above acts sans Bellyache have Instagram accounts and deserve attention, so give them a follow.

A Closer Look at The Life Support Tour

by The Cowl Editor on November 4, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

A Closer Look at The Life Support Tour

Madison Beer’s Authentic Connection With Her Audience

Talia Rueda ’23

Madison Beer has finally made her touring debut eight months after her first album, Life Support, was released. She has added an exuberance to the world of pop, not only with her histrionic tendencies, but also with her eagerness to relate to her audience. Beer has had a devoted online fan base since 2013, when she was discovered by Justin Bieber.

Beer’s first string of live shows proves the potential that Bieber saw in her eight years ago, while also finally allowing the connection that has been developing between her and her followers since 2013 to manifest itself into a tangible experience. 

Throughout the album, Beer works to evoke emotions from her listeners through an expression of her own experiences. Although she succeeds in doing so throughout the entirety of the record, it is quite possible that this endeavor is even more powerfully realized during a live performance, hence fans’ excitement for The Life Support Tour. 

Beer’s lyrics display a universal nature that perfectly relates to the young generation that mostly comprises her fanbase. For example, one track from Life Support, the third song she performs during her tour setlist, is “Stay Numb And Carry On,” which includes the lyrics, “Stay numb and carry on/Too young to hate someone/Truth is, it was never love/Your fault if you thought it was.”

These lyrics hold great importance. Obviously, they are the first words in the song, so they are the first that the crowd hears. More notably, however, while they appear to be quite standard lyrics for an artist such as Beer, her audience knows the significance these words hold for the artist and her personal experiences.

Beer’s online fanbase has followed her through her seemingly iconic but apparently emotionally abusive relationship with fellow social media star Jack Gilinsky. Additionally, she has been questioned by the media for years about her stunning appearance, with rumors circulating about whether she had undergone plastic surgery procedures and snide remarks that she should just “stick to modeling” rather than pursue a music career.

With this knowledge of Beer’s personal life in mind, the crowd is already on their toes as those lines open the third track as they are well-aware of their meaning. Audience members know why Beer has preferred to stay numb to the pain instead of reacting. 

Fans also relate the feelings she describes to their own lives. Indeed, Beer’s main fanbase, members of Gen-Z, are around the same age as her.

Beer has done a fantastic job of not only forming her community of fans, but also maintaining it. Indeed, she has birthed an audience that is receptive to her life experiences and journey as an artist, and she shares these moments with fans on stage. On social media, videos have circulated in which she demonstrates her intense gratitude to her fans during her live shows, visibly crying while thanking them.

Since Beer’s first performances on The Life Support Tour, she has posted several remarks on social media that showcase the magic of an artist’s developing career on their first tour. She writes, “What an absolute dream come true,” and, “Can already tell I’m probably gonna cry tonight sheesh I’ve sprung a leak.”

Aside from her evident emotional connection with her fans, other notable aspects of Beer’s tour set include those that showcase a more fun side to the artist. “Girl power” anthems including “BOYSH*T,” “Baby,” and “Good In Goodbye” offer the same emotions as songs like “Stay Numb and Carry On” but take an entirely opposite approach to expressing them. Indeed, although Beer discusses similar ideas in these anthems, such as ending relationships or false rumors, she addresses them with more power and capability in the former than in the latter. Performances of such songs are the moments of Beer’s set that are the most pulsating: when her strength is exemplified in her jolting bass rather than her wallowing chords.

Throughout the first half of her set, Beer appears inside of a clear rectangular cube and is pulled around the stage by her dancers. As the show progresses, she ditches the cube and inches closer to the audience. This choreography unfolds as she sings her more intimate songs—the tracks that listeners fell in love with in the first place.

In many ways, the concept of the cube confining Beer at the beginning of her performance, but then no longer being able to contain her, shows her growth as an artist. Life Support deals with serious subject matter, such as Beer’s battles with borderline personality disorder, abusive relationships, and detrimental false narratives about her. Beer has emerged victorious from these fights and rid herself of the means by which the industry has tried to confine her.

An artist’s first tour aims to showcase an ability to conquer the muddled exterior of the world and focus solely on a connection with fans for the first time. Beer has done just that.

A Change of Scenery for the 2021 Governors Ball

by The Cowl Editor on October 7, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

A Change of Scenery for the 2021 Governors Ball

The Iconic Music Festival Celebrates Its 10th Birthday at a New Venue

Riley Coyne ’24

The Governors Ball is back and better than ever for its 10th anniversary. In previous years, the three-day music festival took place on Randall’s Island in New York. However, this year, it was held at Citi Field. Despite fans’ excitement to see their idols perform live, they could not help but wonder: why the change of venue? 

It seems as if the organizers knew that there would be questions regarding their decision to change the location when they decided to make the switch. The GovBallNYC YouTube channel posted a video titled “New Venue, New Experience” to explain why Citi Field would make for a great live music experience. Organizers also published a lighthearted statement on their website: “Besides, you’re not a real New Yorker if you haven’t moved a couple times ammiright?”

Despite the jokes, one of the major reasons for the location switch-up is because Citi Field is much more accessible via public transportation. The subway and Long Island Railroad stop right outside of the stadium, and it is only a 14-minute ride from Penn Station. When the festival was held at Randall’s Island, the only way to get there was by ferry, car, or bus. Public transportation makes it much easier if there are any emergencies or weather complications, like that of 2019, when unexpected thunderstorms led to an immediate evacuation of Gov Ball and festival-goers scrambled to find a way to get home. 

One of the most notable changes in the festival in its new location is that the stages were set up in a 360-degree layout to prevent sound bleeds from occurring. Attendees also had to show either proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to be admitted into the venue. Organizers certainly took safety protocol very seriously this year, especially after having to cancel the event last year due to the pandemic, to make sure everyone could have an enjoyable and safe experience.

Despite the change of venue, the 2021 Gov Ball experience was just as much of a hit as the event has been in past years. The iconic New York festival encompasses music, art, and food all in one. 

The art itself at Gov Ball is enough to motivate people to purchase tickets. The colorful signs, décor, and even the outfits were totally Instagram-worthy. 

 Gov Ball is also well-known for the delicacies that the food and beverage vendors have to offer. Milk & Cream Cereal Bar, Big Mozz, and Sweet Chick are just a few of the delicious options to choose from at the festival.

These are all part of the experience of Gov Ball, but most attendees come to see live performances from their favorite artists. This year’s headliners included Billie Eilish, Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone, and many other talented artists. 

Notably, well-known rapper DaBaby was supposed to perform but was dropped from his record label for making homophobic comments about HIV and AIDS on his Twitter account. As a result, he was removed from the Gov Ball lineup as well as that of Lollapalooza, another major music festival. 

While fans of DaBaby were certainly disappointed, those of A$AP Rocky and Rihanna likely felt the complete opposite. Rumors of the pair dating have been swirling around the media for quite some time now. Their relationship was officially confirmed, however, when he referred to her as “the love of my life,” in a recent interview with GQ. To the delight of many Gov Ball attendees, sources speculate that Rihanna was present at the festival when A$AP Rocky winked at someone backstage during his performance of his song “L$D.”

One of the most memorable moments of the festival was when 24kGoldn came out onto the stage and performed his hit single “Mood” featuring Iann Dior.

It was one of the final guests at the Friday night section of the festival, Billie Eilish, who gave the most memorable performance. Eilish recently released a new album, Happier Than Ever, and fans were eager to see some of the new songs live for the first time. When she sang the title track of the album, the audience screamed along with her on the iconic lyrics, “Cuz I’d never treat me this s****y / You made me hate this city.” Eilish’s powerful show, as well as the amazing performances from her fellow musical artists, made the 2021 Gov Ball one to remember.