Gallery: Sabrina Claudio and Gallant @ Hammerstein Ballroom (30 Photos)

Photos by Grace Prachthauser (@graceprock) for Early Bird Music:

Urban contemporary queen Sabrina Claudio brought her sultry Truth Is Tour to Hammerstein Ballroom, with Grammy-nominated R&B crooner Gallant along as the opener.

Both artists performed new music from their sophomore LPs – Claudio’s Truth Is and Gallant’s Sweet Insomnia, both out now on all music platforms.

 
Sabrina Claudio:
Gallant:

Review: BENEE @ Rough Trade (24 Photos)

Completely uninhibited by any instincts of self-preservation or pretention, 19-year-old Stella Bennett is comfortable on stage in a way most brand-new artists would kill for: she’s devoid of nerves as she stands in front of 250 fans at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade, despite being on her first-ever live tour run roughly 9,000 miles away from her home in New Zealand.

BENEE’s carefree attitude on-stage ensures everyone has already checked their ego at the door – this is a safe space. It’s that way because BENEE doesn’t even seem to register her status as one of the most buzzed-about rising “anti-pop” stars: she’s making quirky music that’s born of the internet but certainly doesn’t just live and die there – this music has legs. Combining fun storytelling with shimmery production, BENEE’s brand of pop ends up replaying itself over and over in your head.

As she panders between songs, BENEE’s down-under Kiwi dialect serves as a device for breaking down any sense of awkwardness that you might expect from a rookie artist, by turning each transition into a moment for her to charm the sympathy out of you. The overall production of her show isn’t flashy, but each gem of a moment, and each little quip reminds you that BENEE doesn’t care about making a big affair out of any of this – she’s just having fun being a goof, embracing each silly moment.

Whether fumbling mightily for the right words to properly translate her Aussie-english phrases like “sleep-out” (guest house) or referring to her own corny dad-jokes with the self-reflective, yet laughable “that’s SO cheese!” you can’t help but love the moments between each of her songs because she’s a perfect example of what the new generation of music’s anti-stars embody: relatability. The crowd feels like they’re a part of the show, not just there to worship their new favorite singer (even though they do.)

Whether fumbling mightily for the right words to properly translate her Aussie-english phrases like “sleep-out” (guest house) or referring to her own corny dad-jokes with the self-reflective, yet laughable “that’s SO cheese!” you can’t help but love the moments between each of her songs because she’s a perfect example of what the new generation of music’s anti-stars embody: relatability. The crowd feels like they’re a part of the show, not just there to worship their new favorite singer (even though they do.)

Along with every bop from her debut EP Fire on Marzz, BENEE also played some new tunes, like her latest bop “Find An Island,” and noted that the unreleased music isn’t far from being in the hands of her emerging fan base. Expect another fun, light-hearted EP from BENEE before 2019 wraps up.

Check out photos from the show and her latest EP below:

Gallery (Slideshow):

Highlights: Rick Ross @ Gramercy Theatre (25 Photos)

On Wednesday night, rap legend Rick Ross took Gramercy Theatre’s stage for a second sold-out night in a row. Amid his Port of Miami 2 Tour, the rapper and business Mogul is celebrating his 10th studio album over the course of his illustrious career, no small feat in today’s day and age where a rapper can be “a thing” for a moment before disappearing into the clutter forever. To have 10 studio albums spanning 11 years is an achievement worth celebrating, and Rozay did as much on Wednesday night.

Rozay had the crowd locked in all night, despite mostly rolling with verse-chorus snippets of hiss catalogue of hits, as opposed to full songs. At the end of the day, it was actually more fun hearing a wider range of songs, rather than full versions of fewer songs – doing so kept the energy up and the anticipation high for what would come next. Ross was able to perform the majority of his most popular songs, giving fans a buffet (no pun intended) of familiar songs to vibe out with, alongside music from his latest album, Port of Miami 2.

To share in the celebration, The Boss brought out a number of longtime friends and confidants, including fellow legend Busta Rhymes, friend and Miami-native Jim Jones, New York Trap Lord A$AP Ferg, and members of Maybach Music Group including Gunplay, Spliff Star, and Whole Slab.

 

Check out highlights of Ross and each special guest below:

Review: Lauv with Bülow @ Terminal 5 (30 Photos)

In February of 2018, I saw Lauv perform for the first time ever, and I wasn’t all that impressed. The songs were alright, but overall he sounded vocally exhausted – maybe because his New York date on that Winter 2018 tour was his 12th show in less than 21 days, and vocal fatigue had probably already started to set in. He was also still getting his legs under himself from a visual/personal brand perspective, so the live show production wasn’t overly compelling, consisting of a lone backdrop featuring his logo, plus some stock stage lighting. It was early in the rise of Lauv, but it wasn’t a mind-blowing start. I wasn’t sold.

Exactly 18 months later, Lauv’s scheduled return to New York was one that I went back and forth on in terms of interest: based on that first performance, did I want to see it again?

On one hand, I knew that Terminal 5 presented an opportunity to see Lauv with one of his biggest North American crowds yet, giving him the chance to go all out in front of what was a hometown crowd. On the other, would it just be a bigger version of last time, and would it cement my perception that maybe he just wasn’t that good live?

In the end, I knew I needed to find out – he did have some new bangers like “i’m so tired” and “fuck, i’m lonely” that I really enjoy, and so I decided I wanted to give it another shot. I’m glad I did, because he blew every expectation out of the water with a tour de force performance in his triumphant return to the Big Apple.

The first thing easily noticeable was the massive LED riser that graced the stage – it had to be at least 20 feet tall and 40+ feet wide. It also had two curious cutouts where his drummer and keyboardist would eventually fit, but it was behind them to open the show The massive screen also lit up around the edges the second the show started – a nice visual treat but nothing I hadn’t seen before.

What I wasn’t expecting, though, was that this screen moved – and I mean that it went in the second act of the show from 20+ feet back of the stage to ultimately covering the keyboardist and drummer in what was effectively a shadow box, just ten feet or so back from the lip of the stage.

The visual effect created by the moving screen made for a really dynamic set when combined with the variety of visuals cast upon the stage throughout the night, making for a much more engaging visual experience while watching Lauv perform.

The second thing that you could notice was how much energy Lauv seemed to have this time around. Since NYC was fourth on this fall tour, Lauv was bursting with charisma and whirling himself around the Terminal 5 stage in front of his most dedicated New York fans – the place he loves to remind people that he went to school and wrote many of his first songs, including “The Other.”

The first act of the show kicked off with a few familiar hits, including “Drugs & The Internet,” “Paris in the Rain,” “Paranoid,” and “Reforget” to immediately hook in the crowd.

With the support of screaming fans and an entire album of new songs in toe (of which he performed many during the second act) the night was as epic as it was refreshing, a clear-cut affirmation that pop still has its place in the music world, and that still sits within the modern palette of a progressive place like New York City. Lauv’s great performance instincts really shine on stage with the pop hooks of his songs, as fans sang along to each word as Lauv continually engaged them and encouraged them to join in partying with him all night.

Lauv’s debut LP ~how i’m feeling~ doesn’t come out fully until March 6 of next year, so if you want to catch what the album will sound and feel like, be sure to make it out to one of the shows on this North American tour while you can. You can find tour dates below.

Check out photo highlights from Lauv and opener bülow’s sets in the galleries below:
bülow:
LAUV ~how i’m feeling~ TOUR DATES:
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Watch: DJ Snake’s Tasty, Fiery “Fuego” Video is Finally Here

Anitta looks fuego, Sean Paul and DJ Snake look fuego, the video’s visuals are muy fuego, … no need to waste any more time – JUST WATCH:

This video is a tour de force of creativity, combining the incredible production of DJ Snake (with the sultry vocals in english AND spanish) of Brazilian superstar Anitta, and one the millenium’s biggest icons in Sean Paul – and everyone delivers. Complete with backup dancers, hair flipping, sexy closeups of Anitta, and lots of fire, there’s nothing else they could have done to make this video incredible. 10s across the board.

Watch: Young Bombs Show Off “Loyal” Adoptable Puppies In Latest Video

WARNING: ADORABLENESS AHEAD. YOUR HEART MAY MELT.

Electronic production duo Young Bombs have finally dropped the music video to their great new single “Loyal,” and, boy (no pun intended,) it does not disappoint. Complete with feature singer GiGi and a slew of adorable rescue puppies, the cuddly video has a DIY aesthetic that makes the entire video feel very authentic and fits the feel-good nature of the song. Check out the video below – I’ve watched it at least six times in a row at this point.

To adopt any of the puppies in the video, visit wagsandwalks.org