The Moth and The Flame, Bear Hands, and Atlas Genius at The Catalyst | Santa Cruz, CA | August 4, 2016
What makes a solid lineup? Lately, my kinds of shows have featured one emo band after another or one indie artist after the next. It’s something I’d rejoice, because it’s like all the musicians I adore formed some sort of dream team catered specifically to their niche scene.
But everyone tonight had songs that explored different dynamics, lyrically and musically, and that was actually the part I loved most.
The Moth and The Flame kicked the night off with lots of energy. This was my first encounter with their music and some things I immediately picked up were lead singer Brandon Robbins’ super resonant vocals plus the band’s dreamy, synth-heavy wall of sound. It was perfectly 80s. The neon-lit up
side-down ampersand was a subtle, yet super sweet visual as well. My favorites from their set were “Red Flag” and “Young & Unafraid,” for its slight reminiscence of The Pixies and the line, “we were just tuning you out.” Definitely relate to that on an everyday basis.
Next up was Bear Hands, who master pairing edgy and attitude-packed lyrics with deceivingly fun and catchy sounds. I dig it so much. Hearing “Agora” live was the highlight for me, possibly due to the fact that my brain finally processed what the back-up vocals were chanting during the chorus (it’s “Agora”)… Also, the song was one of many that seriously demonstrated how solidly the band plays together live. Other favorites from their set were “Bone Digger,” “What a Drag,” and when I’m pretty sure was Dylan saying “Boss” is about BDSM and it kind of flew over everyone’s heads, except mine. Rad dudes.
Atlas Genius played last. The last time I saw them in concert was when they opened for Imagine Dragons in 2013. They’ve definitely grown in stage presence since as everyone was in total command of their instrument and the stage. Their set also featured an intense light display in sync with the synthesized pulses of each song, which transformed the venue into one huge dance party.
Every band that night had its own way of making their music heard. Felt. Resonated. And I think that’s what collectively made the show such a great experience. It’s been a week and the songs are still in my head. Check out the gallery below to relive the night with me.
Words and photos by Rianna Chloe Catajan.