sean.liao.dev

cultural site

SEAN K.H. LIAO

sean.liao.dev

cultural site

hi

I'm sean. This is me, away from all the tech stuff.

shows impressions

Mostly music gigs, occasionally something else to spice things up.

note: dates using the Holocene Calendar

upcoming plans
12024-06-16 IVE

My eardrums almost burst with the amount of screaming I heard from the fans... This time, I prepped for a two whole days listening to their songs, and I think it paid off, I was familiar with what felt like over half of them. Of course, being kpop, the visuals were probably the important part and they didn't disappoint either.

12024-06-10 ATARASHII GAKKO!

Fun, though it didn't feel like it fell into any particular genre. I did feel like a lot of the songs sort of blended together, but maybe that was from all the pre-listening I did the day before. Maybe digital pop? I think the visual component was a big part of it, not just the sound.

12024-05-29 Spirited Away

The second time I was seeing this, this time higher up and further away. Maybe it broke the magic a little to see more of how things were acted out, especially places where I didn't notice there were body doubles. Since the last time, I had rewatched the original animation. Still it was pretty good. Kanna Hashimoto as Chihiro, Kotaro Daigo as Haku.

12024-05-28 Allie X

Electronic music? Certainly interesting.

12024-05-01 Spirited Away

This was such a magical experience. Even though it had been forever since I'd seen the original animation, this brought back so many memories. The set design was wonderful, as was the masterful use of the rotating set piece, who knew that a single odly shaped half building could turn into so many locations. I cannot sing enough praises for the actors, there was so much emotion, that even though it was all in japanese and I kept having to glance at the subtitles on the side, it didn't really distract me. The lavishness of the setup and costumes left me in awe of the whole thing. The fact that the puppeteers didn't hide at all were an endearing part of the show. Mone Kamishiraishi as Chihiro, Kotaro Daigo as Haku.

12024-04-24 ITZY

I can't say that I was really in to their music, I just saw an ad on the tube and thought why not.... There were a lot of screaming fans, I hope my eardrums are still ok. The performance itself was quite glitzy, with every part choreograhed with good dances.

12024-04-23 Tate McRae

With charlieonnafriday

Tate McRae slayed the evening with a mix of song and dance. There was some alternating between fast and slow songs, which was different from the usual fast-slow-fast sandwich. The singing was good, though with heavy use of prerecorded parts, enabling some more energetic routines. It was interesting to see there was a fan in the center to make her hair flow in the wind, really reinforcing the glamour look.

12024-03-25 Madison Beer

Such a lovely performance, This was another one with the entire crowd singing along for most of the songs. There was a cutesy elegance to Madison Beer, which I felt was a bit unique compared to all the other shows I've recently seen.

12024-03-19 Cannons

With NINA and Radio Wolf.

Relaxed, cool, and sensual was the vibe tonight with NINA and Radio Wolf. Much like Cannons though I'd replace relaxed with laid back. It wasn't intense, but still had a positive, upbeat feel. I was honestly surprised that not many people seemed to be dancing...

12024-03-09 Cloudy June

With King Mala.

I didn't have high hopes, but Cloudy June was pretty good, apparently I knew quite of few of her songs. I remember first noticing her from a very slow, sad song, but this set was mostly fairly energetic. Though the lighting was bad when I wanted to get pictures...

12024-02-29 RØRY

With lleo and Uninvited.

Sadcore? I guess that's the genre we're in now. RØRY was interesting but it just never felt quite aligned to what i was feeling.

12024-02-22 Zara Larsson

With Yaeger.

Chill and energetic, not quite words that go together, but that was the overall vibe I got from Yaeger. It was fun, relaxing, and got us all hyped up for Zara. Zara Larsson came in popstar style, with the usual 4 backing dancers and giant screen in the back. With only a slight lull in the middle, it was high energy singing and dancing, both on the stage and in the crowds. So fun.

12024-02-20 Poppy

With Wargasm.

We open the night with a mosh pit, and we have one for almost every song (well mostly electronic sounds). It makes me wonder if I should have gone down into the stalls instead for Wargasm. Poppy was a bit softer on the electronic, but I liked it better, with the higher dynamic range. It did feel a bit impersonal with the chatter in-between being pre-recorded, at the same time, very on brand. The dancing felt a bit in the uncanny valley, but overall a pretty good time.

12024-02-16 Alessandra

Pop music is back on the schedule, this time with Norway's Eurovision 2023 representative Alessandra. It was good, though not particularly special, just an energetic night out.

12024-01-26 Mystery Ensemble

Some light instrumental music from the Witcher game and tv series. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention but I may not have recognized most of it. At least it was mostly pleasant.

12023-12-16 FEMM

We open with 2 Japanese mannequins in latex maid costumes carried on stage. It was a very visual performance, the robotic moves of the first part, the slightly more fluid but still precise and fully choreograhed remainder of the show. With their last show outside of Japan, the crowd was a bit smaller than expected, though there was an afternoon show as well.

12023-12-09 Halestorm

With Black Veil Brides, and Mothica

I came to see Mothica and I was not disappointed. My favourite dress I've seen this year, maybe vampire core? For her style of music, it was a bit different from the recordings, maybe a bit less clarity and more backing vocals? But it felt emotional. Black Veil Brides were... fine I guess? Halestorm were... cool. It felt old school rock and roll, no need for flashy stage props, just a clean, empty stage, with lights and music.

12023-12-08 Communion Xmas Party

With Nectar Woode, Bear’s Den, Christof Van Der Ven, Jack Garratt, Jasmine Jethwa, Lucia & the Best Boys, Maisie Peters, and The Staves

Film music, and explicitly not christmas music or films, though 2 christmas songs did sneak through, hosted by Communion Records. It was quite a joyous occasion, though with the age of the artists and them referencing their "teenage dreams", I don't think I recognized too many songs. Maisie Peters was awesome as always, Lucia was someone I might consider listening to again.

12023-12-01 Against the Current

With Call Me Amour and LØLØ

I started off wondering if this was the same LØLØ that I had seen a few months before, but the second half of her set did awar with those thoughts. Fun and energetic. Seeing Against the Current again brought me a warm, comforting feeling as if I were coming back home (they were the first band I was really into). So much energy, this is really a show you should be in the stalls for. Chrissy's stage presence has changed a bit I think, less plain left/right movements, more bending down; also she reminded me of a lion... To top it all off, they ended with Legends Never Die, the song that made me think: "i wonder who's behind this", and pick up on music as a thing.

12023-11-30 Ashnikko

With Hemlocke Springs

I honestly had no idea what was going on during the support act. Ashnikko on the other hand was amazing. It was more of a pop/dance style performance, and I loved the little (mildly disturbing) stories she used to introduce each song. I knew more of these than I expected, and even jumped around a bit. Very fun.

12023-11-24 Chloe Adams

With ili

The glaswegian accent from ili was so cute to listen to, definitely recommend. Chloe Adams was an interesting mix of styles. I came here after hearing Seasons too many times on ticktock, the live version did not disappoint (though the crowd was much smaller and quieter than I expected).

12023-11-20 Echosmith

With McKenna Michels and Larkins

I think McKenna Michels was fine? Slightly on the slower, sadder side, which was in contrast to the positive personality. Larkins sounded like a typical pop/rock band, not very memorable, I may have drifted off for a bit. It really was a dream for me to see Echosmith, they were one of the first bands I was into, and by the time I got around to seeing live shows, I didn't think they were still active. Anyway, the music was amazing, brought back so many memories. Though I did think I should have refreshed my memory of their discography beforehand. Soft pop/rock, it felt like a gentle embrace, and throwback to a more carefree time.

12023-11-09 Melanie Martinez

With UPSAHL

I get to see UPSAHL again, what's not to love? We open with a barrage of pop, slow down for a few sad songs, then get back into fast paced music. Melanie Martinez on the other hand felt quite different. It felt less about the music (whuch was different from the more dreamy style in recordings), and more the entire experience of the show. Every single moment felt planned and choreograhed, there was no small talk besides a thank you to mark the encore, and more thank yous at then end; each piece flowed into the next, and the use of the digital backdrop in combination with physical setpieces was quite impressive.

12023-11-03 Maisie Peters

With Gretta Ray

Gretta Ray was slow(er) sad(der) pop. What went through my head was: she looks a bit like taylor swift? Maisie Peters was way better than I expected. Usually I don't care too much for the talk between the songs, but the cute, bubbly energy she gave off was infectious. The music was different from the recordings, but in a richer kind of way, and I was pleasantly surprised by how many songs I knew.

12023-11-02 Fall Out Boy

With Nothing,Nowhere and PVRIS

PVRIS felt a bit off... compared to the many times I saw them this year. The start of each song felt a but raw, but generally ended strong. Fall Out Boy was very flashy. Lots of big sets and props, like a spinning starfish, a giant talking dog, and just stuff on stage. Also plenty of fireworks and flames. As for the music, I felt a distinct lack of bass or just lower frequencies in general. Being around for as long as they have, there was quite a bit I've never hear of, the ones I knew were just the popular ones that bookended the set.

12023-10-25 deathbyromy

With July Jones

I might have stood too close to the stage and half the time all I heard were drums... Halfway through I really did wonder if I was at the right place, I obviously hadn't gone through their discography beforehand, but it was still an interesting evening of loud alt music.

12023-10-03 ari abdul

With Deadbeat girl

babydoll was the song stuck in my head all summer, and it was great seeing it live. There was definitely a difference between the sweet quiet parts and the louder, coarser parts we don't get in the recorded version.

12023-09-13 eundohee

With Sadie Fine, and Chloe Levaillant

Sadie Fine was... fine? I came for the one song on my spotify playlist (Detox), and got it. Others sounded a bit rougher than expected. Chloe Levaillant was my favourite of the trio, it felt calm and relaxing, giving off ocean or forest vibes. eundohee was ok? It took a bit for me to catch on what language I was listening to...

12023-09-07 flamenco

Lively, and loud clapping, but I can't say I understood the singing parts.

12023-08-29 UPSAHL

With clarence

UPSAHL was one of my favourite shows last year, and it is most definitely making the list this year. The atmosphere was what can only be described as electric, even the slow songs turned into energetic dances. The crowd sang almost every song, thankfully we didn't have to jump for every one, but when we did, it was fun. Standing at the front edge, there's definitely peer (crowd?) pressure to join in, plus you get to have Taylor lean into your personal space...

12023-08-28 All Points East

With Kaeto, Unflirt, Mae Stephens, Isabel LaRosa, Valencia Gtace, Nieve Ella, Griff, Paris Paloma, girl in red, and HAIM

I wandered into the festival grounds and saw an empty main stage, wondering where everyone was and if I got there too early. Making my way to the other end, I saw Kaeto who set the mood for the rest of the day. Mae Stephens I was wondering who that was until she got to her last song, If We Ever Broke Up, and I doubted if I could ever escape the repetitive tiktok musoc.

Isabel LaRosa was coverying BABYDOLL as I approached the stage, in the set were quite a few covers of songs currently at the top of my playlist, I loved it. girl in red was just as good as I remember, maybe slightly more relaxed than last time, still very active and jumpy. HAIM sort of had a face of shock for most of their performance, I didn't really know their songs, but it was still enjoyable.

12023-08-19 Field Day

My legs were sore after this. I feel like I could sort of distinguish between things I liked and things I didn't, but it did sort of all blur together a bit too much.

12023-07-04 Oslo Danse Ensemble

A ballet performance in Oslo. GONE felt like a collection of scenes, no strong single thread of a narrative, but pretty overall. THE RING felt stronger story wise, though I can't say I enjoyed the music as much. Both felt modern-ish, with a bit more focus on expression, and less on precision choreography.

12023-07-02 Blackpink

With Sabrina Carpenter, Rebecca Black, The Rose, Peach PRC, Caity Baser, and Annika Bennett

Annika Bennett, the sad songs set of the festival, but I liked it. Cool and relaxing. Caity Baser had a joyous african/caribbean vibe(?) Not bad, but not my jam. Peach PRC was, by contrast, wilder, with fairy wings and catchy songs (I think). The Rose, a K-POP boy band, it was fine I think. Just fine. Rebecca Black felt like forever trying to outrun a dark history (Friday...), which came back as a remix(?) in the penultimate song. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but she gave off a feeling of wanting to be more mature. Sabrina Carpenter I could barely see her on stage (sooo many people), but I still loved the set. I think her speaking voice was slightly deeper than expected, singing was just like the records. Blackpink was... so much screaming and singing from the fans. I think I recognized a surprising number of their songs, and the visuals were over the top in a good way. High production at its best.

12023-06-20 Beth McCarthy

With lleo, and carpark

I think the music for the night was fine. Beth was palpably excited.

12023-06-13 Taylor Acorns

With Uninvited

Active, intense. I don't think I've heard much of her songs before then, but it was good fun for the night.

12023-06-09 PRINS

With Jayd Marie, Detweiler, and Lekna

My hopes weren't high when I saw the venue was one of the smaller ones, but it was surprisingly good. Catchy and energetic, with a cooperative audience that danced along.

12023-06-06 Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

With Aisling McGlynn

A concert of video game music played by an orchestra, it was as amazing as it sounds. Having been to way too many rock converts recently, it was a good reminder that there are a lot of other instruments than a guitar, bass, and drums. A few moments were, "oh so that's how those sounds were made". To top it off was the ethereal voice of Aisling McGlynn for some truly memorable songs.

12023-06-03 PVRIS

Apparently already my third PVRIS show of the year. This time an acoustic solo session by Lynn. It's lovely to hear the focals so clearly. And the contrast between her voice in talking (soothing), and singing (strong?), is just so cute.

12023-05-27 Slam Dunk Festival

With LØLØ, Scene Queen, Charlotte Sands, Maggie Lindemann, and PVRIS

With 5 main stages (3 of which were double stages with to minimize downtime), I thought I'd have a nice variety, but I pretty much ended up just staying at a single stage for most of the day. LØLØ was a fun, energetic performance that set the mood. Scene Queen was interesting (bimbocore?), though I'm not sure if I'd voluntarily listen to it again. Charlotte Sands was once again a set I loved, noticeably messier this time. Maggie Lindemann was who I came for (front row anyone??). A solid, powerful voice, though with less deviation from studio versions. And finally, PVRIS on the main stage, maybe I was too far on the edge but the crowd didn't feel as into it, but I enjoyed it.

12023-05-25 Cherry Dream

I think the real audience was just me and 4 other people, with everyone else being either one of the performances or staff. Slightly uncomfortable experience tbh.

12023-05-17 Nessa Barrett

With briskin

In a narrow room with bright lights (Heaven is a nightclub after all...), I could barely see Nessa through the crowd, but the show itself was still great. Sad-ish pop songs hits the feels, and the audience sang along for almost all of it. An experience for sure.

12023-05-09 Avril Lavigne

With phem

phem was... fine? Not bad, but also not especially memorable, besides the oversized mask she came on stage with. Avril on the other hand... so many memories. Someone next to me said: "everyone here either has Avril as a childhood hero or childhood crush", and i could totally believe that. There were a lot of throwbacks in the music, and they weren't perfect deliveries of the studio versions, they all had that live twist. Every song was a hit, and i think this ranks among the best show i've been to this year along with PVRIS.

12023-04-30 Harvey Parker trust: love in mind

With Clean Bandit, Chineke Orchestra, National Children's Orchestra, and more

The launch event for a trust dedicated to the mental health of artists (musicians). There was a wide range of shows, some things that I can appreciate, like orchestras, and others that I wouldn't go see on its own (spoken word, solo instruments). Of course the highlight was the final performance, a combination of the orchestras, a choir or two, and Clean Bandit. It was a full, rich sound, but I can't help but feel the distinctness I expected was drowned out by everything else.

12023-04-26 girli

With Louis III

Chill, smooth were the vibes I got out of Louis III, good, but doesn't really hook me in. girli on the other hand felt better than expected, with contrast between the quiet and loud parts. It was... therapeutic.

12023-04-22 Delain

With Xandria

Xandria was... noise like a stormy day, with a ray of sunshine piercing through the clouds. Or at least that was what I thought of the vocals, and a bonus point of the voice being more like an instrument is that they don't ask the audience to sing along. Compartively, Delain was a more rowdy, less contrasty affair. Popular sounding, but less distinct.

12023-04-19 Ava Max

With emlyn

Ava Max was pure pop ecstasy, fun and energetic throughout, though it did seem to lean more heavily into dance compared to a pure music show. The music was a pretty faithful reproduction of the recorded versions, with a heavy mix of backing vocals. Oh, and for some reason, there was a dense population of gay male couples.

12023-04-15 skillet

With Eva Under Fire, and Like a Storm

I think Eva Under Fire was one of the bands that YouTube just decided I must like one day, and it wasn't wrong. Their live performance was a pretty faithful rendition of the recorded versions. Like a storm was... meh. I never really got into it, and it sort of just blended together into the background. Skillet started off strong with energy and flashy visuals, but somewhere around the halfway point, they lost of a bit of momentum and never quite recovered.

12023-03-29 emlyn

With Beth McCarthy

I loved the support act, enegetic, excited, yet it gave off a relaxed overall vibe that was just pleasant to be around. On the other hand, from the moment Emlyn came on, it was a full on intense barrage. It felt a bit too much for a full night, but it was great for the more popular songs where the audience sang along.

12023-02-17 Anna of the North

With Rebmoe, and Eden Hunter

We start with a digiatl bedroom vibe, feels a bit like a throwback. Then into some pop, which was fine. Finally, we have Anna. There's a nervous/excited energy in the air and I'm there for it. The only reason I'm here has been Youtube's constant recommendations of her music videos, I guess they were worth it.

12023-02-16 Zoey Lily

With Elena Flury

Best described as a chill night out, away from the banging drums I've been hearing for the past few weeks. Both are beautiful voices, makes me want to look for more acoustic sessions.

12023-02-14 Caroline Polachek

Heavy on the visual imagery, this was I think a night of pop music. There was a DJ set as support, still don't know who it was. As for the main event, it felt good, but not amazingly memorable.

12023-02-11 XYLØ

This was a much smaller show than I expected, with no support act. Also, I happened to be surrounded by the friends and family group, which was interesting. The show itself was great, though the start/end of it all was sudden. Mostly what I remember from the released versions, and it didn't hurt that I was right up at the edge of the stage.

12023-02-09 Sonia Stein

We start with a singer songwriter, she was good. Then a band, which.... had a feel of compressed audio where everything is just full blast all the time. And finally, the star of the show, Sonia. I think it was pretty much what I heard from spotify, but live.

12023-01-27 Kimbra

A very synthetic(?) show. Lots of effects up to a point where I couldn't quite tell associate the action I saw with the sounds I heard. Also, quite a bit of talk about inner self and reflection, but I guess that's par for the course for album launch events.

12023-01-26 PVRIS

With Maggie Lindemann, and Charlotte Sands

One of the shows where I loved every part. Charlotte Sands opened with what felt like boundless energy, I expected nothing less and wasn't disappointed. Maggie Lindemann was in comparison more muted. A softer performance that ramped up as it went on, I think slightly hindered by "not my audience". And PVRIS, I'd been looking forward to this for almost a year. By the second song there was a mosh pit which generally didn't let up until the very end. It felt like every song was a hit, bringing back good memories and making new ones.

12023-01-24 Kings Elliot

With Sophia Alexa

An evening of sad, but not depressing, songs. The show opened with someone quite forgettable. Act II by Sophia Alexa felt refreshingly better, upbeat in contrast with the lyrics, mixing in a hint of country. The headliner, Kings Elliot, brought a much fuller experience. A rich sound that draws in your attention. I don't think there could have been a better end than the final song with strings accompaniment. It rounded off the night so well, like everything before but turned up to 11.

12023-01-17 Sofar Sounds

An impulse decision to go in the middle of a work kickoff week. Last minute reveals of location and artists to try and build an air of mystery? 60 people in a bar, all seated. Michael Bird - singer guitarist: not bad, but not really memorable either. Woodzy - poet: I wasn't expecting a poet for the night, but with puns abound, it was the best part of the night. Ruth Brown - singer: a powerful voice, but I did wonder if the tonal variations were in there just for the sake of it. Also, way too loud with the audio systems turned up.

12022-12-09 Pierce the Veil

With Against the Current

Pierce the Veil was the headliner, and they obviously had a very excited crowd. The performance felt more spectacle than music, with smoke screens, confetti, flying guitars, and general acting out. Something I've noticed with support acts is they usually get the short end of the stick in terms of lighting, and it detracts from the experience a bit. I also felt like Against the Current weren't quite all in for this show...

12022-12-03 Halocene and Halflives

This was fun, and I was jumping around quite a bit for both of these. I witnessed crowdsurfing and playing a song again for the music video. As the final show of the tour, you can see them all letting go and just enjoying it. Halflives' music seemed most aligned to my taste, while Halocene seemed a bit more all over the place.

12022-11-24 UPSAHL

With Lizzie Esau, and Eyelar

Someone certainly knows how to leverage a live show to create an experience. Apparently I liked a lot of her songs. The live versions don't aim to be pitch perfect recreations of the studio versions, but emotion filled variants enhanced by the stage presence.

12022-11-15 Nina Nesbitt

With LonelyTwin, and Katelyn Tarver

It counts as pop (I think), but it's slower than I expected. Not bad, but not amazing either.

12022-11-10 renforshort

With Valencia Grace

Such an exciting little show. Not sure what I was expecting but this was fun and energetic and actually knew most of the songs. Maybe a bit of it is just standing in with the crowd instead of sitting up somewhere far away, but I loved it either way.

12022-11-06 Frayle

Another small bar / music venue, all the scary looking people outside made me wonder if I had walked down the wrong alley. 2 heavy metal bands, then... witch metal? alchemy? For all 3 bands, many of the songs just felt the same, with no real differentiation.

12022-11-05 The Pretty Reckless

With The Cruel Knives

They were amazing. For once, I felt the music pull its weight, and going to the show is a balance of the music and the experience. The songs were revitalizing and the crowd was hyped for them. I think this is the frequency I'm on, I havent changed much since I found them. O2 Academy, circle front center off right.

12022-11-03 The Rasmus

With Overlaps

It was okay for the night, but a bit bland. The songs sound like they should have energy, but I just wasn't really in tune with them. O2 Forum, balcony center.

12022-09-16 BANKS

With Maeve

The roundhouse, as the name suggests, is round, and gives off circus vibes. This is the second show I've been to where there are 2 backup dancers dancing around, they still feel a bit weird... The lighting felt on point, cementing our focus on Banks. Alternating between high energy and slow (love?) songs, overall a bit of a throwback for me (Gemini Feed).

12022-08-25 Nadeah

A cozy little bar, a little reminiscent of times past. Halfway bwteen acoustic and rock.

12022-07-29 London Grammar

Outdoor festival, and with a song catalogue that's a bit ethereal. Hannah forgetting the lyrics to a song (and feeling bad about it) is fine, the joy she shows when the crowd also forgets the lyrics to another song makes it much more human. Front centre.

12022-07-26 The Seagull

A theatre show, superfically about playwrights, but maybe really about feelings around success (or lack thereof). I went into this blind, having picked the show based on the lead Emilia Clarke. There are no fancy settings, just a box, chairs and actors who never leave the stage.

12022-06-29 Billie Eilish

With girl in red

Seated centre back in an arena full of screaming teenage girls (and their guardians)... The songs flowed well into each other, and even with the high production experience, it didn't feel artificial or detached. With a crowd this size, they could just be an amorphous blob, but it didn't really feel that way, maybe except when she stands to take in the adoration showered onto her. Bonus points for coming out much closer to the crowds in a swinging crane arm.

12022-05-19 Charli XCX

With Yeule

We're into the more mainstream hyperpop territory, and it shows. Polished high production with more focus on the performance and spectacle, less on the music and crowd. Front centre right.

12022-05-15 Fletcher

With Gracey, and UPSAHL

In a female domninated (90+%?) audience, I stuck towards the back of the crowd near the sound tech. Fletcher certainly knew who her fans were, addressing the crowd directly.

12022-04-10 Against the Current

With Halflives, and Yours Truly

After a pandemic and a move to country with way more events, guess who's back first? Around mid centre in the crowds, the energy is as high as ever.

This time I actually knew the openers: Halflives were very similar to ATC, working up the crowd in a similar fashion (high energy bounces). Yours Truly had a slightly stronger metal lean(?), I think it took a while for people to recognize them from their songs.

12019-12-08 Against the Current

ATC again, this time I got VIP tickets because why not? That got me a 2(?) acoustic performances, a poster, and a photo op. In the crowd, close to front, the energy levels are high.

12019-03-19 Against the Current

One of the first bands I learned to recognize by name, for this show I sat on the upper floot and mostly just enjoyed the music. Chrissy is a bundle of energy bouncing around the front of the stage.