Easy Star All-Stars Concert Review

The Echoplex welcomed reggae bands The Elovators, The Late Ones, and Easy Star All-Stars on Memorial Day 2017 as the three bands embark on their West Coast Tour.

Opening the show was The Elovators from Boston, Massachusetts, who brought the beach sounds from the east coast to this side of the country on their first ever performance in California. They performed songs from their recently released album “The Cornerstone,” setting up for what would be a very funky night. Throughout their set, the band was friendly, even asking everyone to step in closer to the stage to create a more intimate setting. From clean vocals to the groovy trombone, The Elovators successfully brought their authentic sound to the Echoplex and showed what their hometown was all about. Overall, they were a great opening band and enjoyed themselves on stage just as much as the crowd enjoyed watching them perform.

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The Elovators. Photo via Isiah Reyes

The Late Ones came out onto the stage next with a different approach. They brought a lot more energy and instantly got everyone hyped. Based out of Laie, Hawaii, brothers Tui Avei (lead vocals), and Tau Avei (vocals), along with cousin Josh Brunson (vocals) brought their rapid-fire rhymes and rap-infused style to give everyone a chance to let loose and truly enjoy the night out. Some of their songs were full of high-octane ferocity, while others were slower jams. Either way, The Late Ones managed to get their new fans swaying to their hypnotic rhythms in no time. The youthful band is taking hold of the reggae torch and infusing its flame with dashes of Jazz and R&B in new and exciting ways. They got everyone pumped up for the final act and the headliners for the night’s show.

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The Late Ones. Photo via Isiah Reyes

Before the Easy Star All-Stars took the stage, there was an undeniable energy in the air. I believe those in attendance had an idea of what to expect, but no one was prepared for just how hard they would rock out. A thunderous applause followed as each member finally stepped out. The opening song started as a long instrumental that allowed for everyone to get accustomed to the band’s versatility. Soon after, the collective force of all eight members on stage playing off each other began to shine and they started playing their reggae cover hits by legendary acts Pink Floyd, Radiohead, The Beatles, and Michael Jackson. The highlight of the night was when they performed Pink Floyd’s “Money” leading into “Billie Jean” and just when you thought it was over, they went back into “Money,” with a flourishing end that had everyone head-banging to the dynamic rhythm section and outstanding vocal harmonies from the multitude of vocalists on stage. This performance proved the Easy Star All-Stars are indeed one of the top reggae performing acts in the world right now. As someone who doesn’t listen to reggae regularly, the entire show for me was a gateway into a new sound that I’ll be keeping an ear out for.

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Easy Star All-Stars. Photo via Isiah Reyes

If you’re ready to experience The Elovators, The Late Ones, and Easy Star All-Stars, three reggae bands that know how to put on a good show, be sure to check out their tour dates to know when they’ll be coming into your town so you can enjoy it all for yourself too.

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Anieszka – Solo Artist Interview

Born in Papua New Guinea, Australian-native Anieszka has been making waves with her latest single “Vibe” released earlier this month. Today, Anieszka spoke with ETV about her musical influences growing up, the making behind some of her songs, and why she thinks 2017 will be her year.

Growing up, Anieszka said she listened to a wide variety of music, especially Bob Marley, citing his “Legend” albums as one of her all-time favorites. Alicia Keys was the female artist that had a profound effect on her songwriting due to her ability to not be afraid to sing about the truth. This is something Anieszka has taken and applied to her own music so that her listeners can feel the authenticity in her songs.

“Coming from a Mauritian background, I also listened to a lot of Sega (Mauritian music) and seggae (Mauritian infused reggae), so I was surrounded by those island sounds from a very young age,” Anieszka said. “Apart from that, R&B was very popular in our household. My brother and sister would always be playing that good old school R&B so that really shaped my music preferences. The classics weren’t too far, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder are also huge influences for me, they really embody what it is to be an artist and speak through music.”

Her interest in music and performing comes from an early age, as Anieszka recalls performing in front of a live audience for the first time at age 9 where she sang a verse of “Wind Beneath My Wings” at school.

“I remember feeling so nervous right before I started singing, but once I was singing, I felt so at home,” Anieszka said.

She would go on to sing in larger school talent shows and would give her first real singing debut at a five-star hotel in Fiji as a guest, which happened to be an impromptu performance.

“The band found out I sang and asked me to sing a set,” Anieszka said. “Before I knew it, there I was singing ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ by Alicia Keys in front of a big, foreign crowd. It was an amazing feeling. I feel like I am my truest self when I am singing and performing, it’s who I am.”

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Photography: The Jitana

By the time she became 14, she had decided to take her music to the next level. Her brother was making music at the time and she walked into his room demanding that he give her a beat to write to. She wound up writing “Boy,” a track produced by her brother Steffan Rayne in 2008. The song made it to German charts and on local radio stations in Sydney, Australia. Preview the beginning of it all with “Boy” here.

“My brother listened to what I wrote and had that ‘wow this is actually good’ look in his eyes,” Anieszka said. “He tweaked it a little and ‘Boy’ was born. The song was fresh and people were loving it. As a young’n who was starting to notice guys more and more, I found that guys my age lacked confidence and chivalry, so the song reflected what the ‘perfect boy’ would be like.”

Through the success of the song and having it played on national radio, she knew she wanted to pursue singing as a career. She released her self-titled EP in 2012 featuring five songs, including “Boy,” and soon after she released “How I like It” and collaborated with Dominican producer Eduardo Baldera on the dance/house single “Lost in You,” which was a unique change in sound for her. During this time, she also got the opportunity to be a co-host on a local radio station.

“I co-hosted a radio show in Mauritius and it was awesome, we spoke about music and life, and I got to do a few acapella covers on live radio.” Anieszka said. “It was my birthday the next day so they brought a cake in as a surprise and this all went down while we were live so all the reactions were 100 percent real and I loved it. It really teaches you to be comfortable in your own skin, be aware of what you say, how you speak and to think quick. I learnt to trust myself more through the experience, and to let go so I could have fun.”

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Photography: GZee Pix

Later in 2012, Anieszka chose to take a break from music to understand herself better as an individual. She said that being engrossed in music and the industry from age 14 to 18 while in school didn’t give her a chance to truly know herself, something she thinks is vital for making real music. She wanted to feel inspired again to reconnect with what music really meant to her and with what she wanted to achieve with music and her voice.

“In my time away, I traveled, I spent time with my family, friends, I spent time with my spiritual teacher (Amma, also known as the Hugging Saint) and really connected with myself on a soul level,” Anieszka said. “I became a clearer version of myself. I spent 2 months in India which opened my eyes to a different world and understanding of life, then I spent time in Mauritius, which is my home country, and felt so blessed to experience my island and reconnect with my culture. Spending time in New York, London, Paris – that was just as amazing, but in different ways. Traveling enriches you as a person and lets your mind expand and grow.

“I also learnt more about meditation, made new friends, fell in love, had my heart broken, became self-reliant, let go of the need to be perfect with my music or to look a certain way, and grew to appreciate my own company. In appreciating my own company, that’s where the real, raw songwriting came through, and some of these songs will be on the album.”

Through her newfound experiences, she has evolved her songwriting and recently released the track “Vibe,” which she describes as a fun summer jam that is a blend of electro pop and R&B and dance. Enjoy the good vibes here:

“I’ve come up with a tag line for it: ‘Vibe is like watermelon, it’s the perfect match for summer,” Anieszka said. “For me, when you vibe with something or someone, could be pizza or Drake, you connect with it, there’s a natural flow. And music, well that’s a vibe of its own. Often, we come across things that we vibe with day-to-day, but coming across someone that you vibe with on a number of levels is a rarity. Mixed in with sharing a musical and physical connection, it’s the ‘perfect vibe’. When I wrote the song, I pictured a sunny, care-free day where you’ve broken free from everything holding you back, your body’s moving to this amazing music and you’re really connecting with someone. As time passes by, you’re both vibing –  mentally, physically and musically – and it’s a whole experience – that’s what ‘Vibe’ is about.”

With new music on the way, Anieszka feels like 2017 will be her year, stating that “Vibe” is only the beginning with much more to come. She said the next single she is currently working on is more in line with the R&B/soul music she wants to make.

“This next track may form as part of an EP, or I may continue working on more music and put it towards an album,” Anieszka said. “Either way – there’s more music coming. I’m also currently working on a small project with another artist, so keep a lookout. Hopefully, by this time next year, I’ll have an album out, be touring and my name will be known.”

Anieszka will be working on her album while traveling around to take in different sounds and cultures for inspiration. She is looking forward to experiencing music in different countries with different people, and ETV is excited to see what’s next in store for all of her future ventures!

To stay up to date with all things Anieszka, follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, YouTube, and her official website.

King. B – Solo Artist Interview

Montreal-native Brendan King. B has been making waves in the rap scene after having released his album “The Reign” and his subsequent EP “First Semester” last year. Today, King. B spoke with ETV about the principles behind his musical career, the making of his EP,  and why he decided to release it for free.

King. B first got into music with a track titled “Acceptance,” something he struggled with his whole life. He was a victim of being bullied and the song was his way of letting everyone know that acceptance should be for all. Equality and identifying with one’s difference became the foundation for his musical career. The follow up song “Confidence” was made because he wanted to let people know that “they can do anything they want to do with a bit of confidence.”

Coming from a musical family, King. B is most influenced by his father Carl Hamel who has been making for 35 years and makes the instrumentation and compositions for the rapper’s tracks. More recently, King. B has been inspired by the likes of G-Eazy, Justin Bieber and Chance the Rapper because they are making music exactly the way he sees himself doing it one day.

King. B’s album “The Reign” released in May 2016 and features 14 rap and Hip-Hop tracks that took him two years to complete. Check out the song “Boulevard” from the album here:

“I wanted to make it accessible to everyone while being personal on some songs such as ‘Blind,’” King. B said. “The biggest challenge was finding myself as an artist. By the end of the album I was content with my work. However, I’m still finding myself. Long nights and early mornings in the studio made for this art piece. Now, we’ll be touring with it and I’m super excited.”

With the release of King. B’s EP “First Semester” he explores the journey of recently graduating high school and entering college. The EP explores a new mature flavor of King. B and his struggles in school and love. And as an icing on the cake, the EP is available to everyone for free.

“I decided to release it for free to give back to everyone who has been supporting me,” King. B said. “I just released my first single off of my upcoming EP ‘Second Semester’ that will also be free. The college experience continues and so does the free music!”

“First Semester,” produced by Matt Mart, can be listened to here:

King. B is on the rise, so be sure to listen to his future releases as soon as they drop. As far as his message to people who may be struggling out there, King. B said, “Nothing is impossible with hard work.”

Stay up to date with all things King. B on his Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, and official website.