It was Freddy Mercury who first honed the performance aspect of live music, bridging together the audiences’ enjoyment with the artists’ stage-lit adventure to create something more universal and surreal, something completely shared by those in attendence. Cue the artistry of Kiss’ performance armor, Stevie Nick’s vulnerable and dramatic love affair with the stage, the whirlwind that was Amy Winehouse’s antithetical voice and act combo, and it is safe to say that concerts were quickly evolving. With the crave of social media tight on our flexible digits, what we do and how we portray it is what makes or breaks our online selves. And concerts are more than just another variable in our social equation, they are marketing plans and social ploys, growing audiences by the swarms and herds. The event that has engulfed concerts—outfits, photos, camping out—has become the new normal, a focus on the experience rather than the music.
But, it’s time to leave your facade at home, check your alter-egos at the door, and wear your original self out without concern. You’re going to a Half•Alive concert, a music event that truly focuses on the music and the artistry rather than those in the crowd or how many snaps you’ve already posted. And coming from an obsessive concert goer like myself, I can say that it was truly rare and unexpected.
There’s this calm atmosphere between the patrons. People aren’t lobbing between each other, sparing no lack of space, air, or personal bubbles to get closer to the stage. There was only ever a handful of phones up at a time trying to preserve the moment online. It was even quieter than other concerts, normally fans would belt at the top of their lungs with the artists. This crowd sang, loud enough for their ears, but not at a deafening volume to compete with everyone else in the small vain of being heard.
When it was announced that it was Josh Taylor’s (the lead singer) birthday that night, he requested to be sung “Firework” by Katy Perry rather than the traditional and mundane “Happy Birthday.” The audience didn’t even miss a beat, they all belted from the chorus in a startling and unexpected harmony. It was so well done that an outsider might have believed it was practice for an installment for the next High School Musical. Every single person, no matter age or social standing, sang. Only the atmosphere surrounding Half•Alive could cause that.
I can only assume that this atmosphere was created by Half•Alive flipping the switch on concerts. No longer was the audience in control of the experience, now the band was. By incorporating, what can only truly be defined as trippy, choreography in tandem with the performance and music, the audience becomes viewers again. They become free to enjoy the music, the craft, the artistry, free to enjoy the purest form of concert available nowadays.
To say that Half•Alive concerts are a must see would be a severe understatement. To say that you should see Half•Alive as soon as possible is more accurate. In August 2018, their single “Still Feel” was released to growing success. Articles have been written in Alternative Press, Time, and Rock Sound, they have performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with their patented choreography and received more rave reviews from Billboard and Rolling Stone. Just the other day, I heard “Still Feel” on the radio at a popular brunch spot in New York City. Josh Taylor, Brett Kramer (drummer), J Tyler Johnson (bassist), and their dancers are quickly ascending the charts. Not only is their concert experience singular to them, it will become a fleeting opportunity if not taken advantage of as soon as possible.
While you wait for them to come to your town, you can at least enjoy their debut album released in August of this year, Now, Not Yet.