Beach Goons/Super Whatevr

Knitting Factory, Brooklyn

It was a perfect fall day in New York City. A perfect day to walk about Brooklyn and go to a show. Beach Goons, from San Diego, California, and Super Whatevr, from Costa Mesa, California blessed our ears with a fantastic show. It was Beach Goons first time here, and they did not fail to bring their Cali swag to Brooklyn. The three-piece band consists of guitar/vocalist Pablo Cervantez, bassist David Orozco, and drummer Chris Moran. If you’ve never heard of Beach Goons before, your earbuds are truly missing out. Their sound is a mixture of surf punk, with their latest album including more of their Hispanic roots. I first heard of them in 2017 and instantly was obsessed with them, playing their one album over and over again.


The trio played a mixture of songs, old and new including Tar, Grimey, She’s Dead, Reservoir Dogs, and Anirak from their 2016 album, Boisad. From their new album that they released this August, they played hits like A.M., Hrsb, The End, and Miedo. Although the venue was small, the crowd was able to get very close to the stage with plenty of room to dance about. Beach goons were so pure in that they wanted everyone close and dancing and singing along with them, like with the song, The End, Pablo told us the lyrics so we could sing along with him. I highly recommend seeing them live, and you still can catch them on tour here.


Super Whatevr is an emo-punk band also from California, so although they weren’t the same style as Beach Goons, they were sweet in personality and humble, yet packed a punch when it came to performing. Guitar/vocalist Skylar McKee has the voice of an angel, sounding so crisp, clean, and articulate during their set. He would stand on his tippy toes at some moments and it was awe inspiring. Skylar showed his spirit through the band’s performance and not many musicians show that vulnerability while on stage. Sure, you get great stage performance and sound, but not all musicians open up like Skylar did.


Guitarist Nick Wickander and bassist Josiah Beason had great energy throughout their set as well, jumping around on stage and thrashing about at just the right times. Not to leave out drummer Josh Gomez, who also was full of high energy and throwing those arms at the drum set. They played songs like Benjamin Alphabet, Someone Somewhere Somehow, Bloomfield, and more from their latest album Never Nothing. What was beautiful about Super Whatevr’s set was that they were playing dark songs and embracing it completely. You would think that this would make the crowd feel sad, but the energy was not that at all. It was inspiring and moving, full with life. If you were somebody struggling with anything and saw Super Whatevr live, you would feel something within you awaken and make you want to battle your inner demons. Catch Super Whatever on tour here.


Interview with Handsomebeast

I sat with Handsomebeast before their show at Pianos in New York, the third stop of their September tour. The venue is homely, with a romantically lit bar area. With music blaring downstairs from band Tygersounds, Nick(singer) and Jacob(bass) decided to go to the lounge-like upstairs area to find somewhere we can actually hear each other.


Nick and Jacob of Handsomebeast

What can you tell us about your new song, “Playboi”, the first released song in two years?

Nick: It was a conscious seat change for us to go from making stuff that was a hundred miles an hour, to something that was more minimal and direct to the mind and the booty.

Jacob: It’s definitely more on the sleek, stylish, music you could make love to.

What’s the difference between this song and your older work?

Nick: This is the first time we’ve had music where there’s outside inspiration besides, “let’s just get into the studio and make a song”. We were really into watching these heist movies at the time, so we wanted to see if we could distill that vibe into music. At the same time, we wanted to experiment with more minimalism, compared to what we used to do. We’d also use some beats from old Houston hip-hop from the early 2000s, late 90s to make something more sexy and soulful.

Stylistically, have you guys adapted to this mentality to reflect in your everyday lives?

Jacob: It definitely changed out stage presence and the way we present ourselves as a band. We want to make sure we stay in character. We’re all about trying to look sleek and fly, especially when we play. We want to create this dreamworld like a movie. Before it was kind of all over the place, we didn’t really have a direction, so everything is more compact.

Nick: To speak for Jacob, it’s not dreamlike. This is who we are, we commit a lot of crimes, so we needed some music to creep along to while we’re doing that! (Laughing) But yeah, we’re all into unique fashion, and this is the type of music people want to listen to. The hip-hop influence is mid-tempo, sexual backbeats to the song to add to the story we are telling.

Going forward, is this the direction your new music is headed?

Nick: Yes definitely. It’s not a linear story, but you will hear sonically a lot of things that would belong in the same evening, the same city, late night Houston, late night Miami Vice, if you will, maybe New Orleans, some debauchery like that. After releasing the video for “Playboi”, there’s going to be more visuals that kind of centers around the character of the Playboi and his Goons.

What’s your favorite part of being a musician: writing music, performing, or creating a music video?

Nick: The best moment of making music is when you have a song down, and write before you record the first demo that the song is gonna be dope and see the natural progression of what’s gonna happen next. To get the recording and live version right.

Jacob: It’s really fun to see friends, family, and fans react to the video that we spent all this time on. We kept it secret for a while, so when it came out people would come up to us and say, “That was really cool”, “That was really funny”, “What happens next?”. Nick came up with this beat and words, so we played with it, flushed it out, and it became this funky groovy thing. After recording it, we started talking about video ideas. Richard White, from New Orleans, filmed it and it became this whole Playboi and his Goons thing.

Nick: It became cohesive, where the songs meet the visuals. Musically, we became a lot more simple and it was challenging to not fill up every space and make it breathe.

Jacob: We really wanted to keep it raw and put in some of our favorite things about playing music. There’s a lot of groovy riffs, making it funky, and psychedelic nature.

What are you guys looking forward to after this tour?

Nick: There’s a lot more music in the chamber, but I don’t want to go too far and reveal, because you need, as you know, the element of surprise.

Jacob: Before we used to try to make stuff fit for an album and sometimes it was rushed. This time we wanna make sure everything we put out is catchy, fun, and cohesive.

If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Nick: Paraguay. Asunción, Paraguay. That’s where my mom is from.

Jacob: I think for ⅘ of the band it would probably be Austin City Limits. Because we grew up watching Austin City Limits.

Nick: Oh, ahh! Ahh! There’s only one place we wanna play: It’s on Hot Ones. The show with hot questions and even hotter wings! We just wanna be on that damn show. Sean Evans, get us on there, dude. We have what it takes, especially Peewee. He’s bred for Hot Ones.

Jacob: We love hot sauce.

Do you all live in Houston now?

Nick: Yes we all live there. Everyone grew up in Houston, except for me. And they all grew up playing music, they all taught each other how to play multiple instruments. Some of them are related, some of them might as well be related, we all might as well be related at this point. We’ve been friends for over ten years now. The band started in 2009 when we were going to school in New Orleans, but it didn’t start going consistently until I graduated in 2013.

Why Pianos?

Nick: Our good friends in Tygersounds, shout out to them are killing it right now. They are the 80s distilled into a syringe full of futuristic nostalgia. Isn’t that interesting? They helped us choose this venue.

What do you think about New York?

Nick: We adore New York, New York destroys us because we’re slow-moving Texans. And whenever we get into the city, traffic moves at a different rate than we’re used to. I’m from D.C. originally and I have a lot of friends and family that live in New York. It’s the best rock and roll band in the history of time and we love it!

Jacob: It does scare us Texans, though. Where’s all the yards and livestock? Haha, it’s beautiful, it’s just crazy how many people are jam packed over here. It’s a little overwhelming.

Nick: You would think there would be a moment where someone was like, “we’re good”, but they weren’t! They were like keep building! Do the highways need to make sense? No. Don’t worry about that.

Fall is approaching, what is your favorite and least favorite thing about the Fall?

Nick: Favorite thing is football starting. Fall is the shit. Fall is the best time of the year in Houston it’s super gorgeous.

Jacob: I love Halloween. Least favorite would be my allergies. We live in a swamp. And hurricanes! They always come, especially in Houston. And you think, “oh, it’s just gonna be some rain. Wait a minute, then the next day it’s a tropical storm and the next day it’s a Category 4.

What would your alter ego name be?

Nick: We have a LOT of alter egos. The characters that we help portray, who are based in reality, is the Playboi and the Goons. But if you wanna get more in depth, we have a lot of different characters if check out our Instagram @handsomebeasttx. There’s two super duos of the Eurotrash ElectroRAVE Supergroup: Nite Luvr called Teslo Delorean and Ferraro Maserati.

Jacob: If you follow our Instagram or Youtube we like to make funny commercials and skits. There’s a lot of alter egos.

Nick: We’re SO funny.

How do you guys get pumped before going on stage?

Nick: We do interviews with someone like you! You know what’s funny is 98% of the time when you’re touring is downtime and waiting. So you learn over the course of doing it to not let your energy get to high during the day. We have done calisthenics in the past and we have to start getting back into that.

Jacob: Jumping jacks help. Couple boys in the band like to have a drink or have a smoke, fog out a van.

Nick: Sometimes we will sit in front of a mirror, all five of us, side by side, just VOGUING for 30-40 minutes. You basically just ate a bunch of Zoolanders and it gets the job done!


Nick and Jacob






Published on Stars and Scars Magazine.

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

The energy from this Sunday’s SummerStage was thriving. Afrobeat filled the airwaves and moved the people in Central Park. Femi Kuti & The Positive Force put on quite the show: the dancers entranced us, the band rocked those jazzy tunes, and Femi Kuti was born to entertain. Femi Kuti sang with his soul transparent, feeling every word he sang to his very core. His stage presence was possessing. You could not keep your eyes off of him, even with his dancers shaking their booties. He would take pauses between songs to preach about oppression, evil people, greed, and other ugly truths of the world we live in. The messages strong and demanding your attention, Femi Kuti & The Positive Force are a must watch live and if you get the chance, catch them on their US tour One People One World Tour 2018. Femi Kuti played the synth and saxophone during their performance in between singing. When you thought the song was over, Femi Kuti would sing another encore! And when you thought that was over, there was yet another encore! This is exactly why Femi Kuti is an entertainer. He keeps you on your toes and fulfills your want for more!

Although the show was spectacular, there was some drama from behind the scenes that the crowd didn’t know about. Femi Kuti’s bassist absconded right before their show began. Femi Kuti later went on Instagram to call him out, saying “My bassist Aghedo Andrew nearly ruined my concert yesterday in New York @SummerStage. He disappeared ( absconded) 20mins before show time. I want to thank the rest of the band for standing strong and giving one of the best shows of the tour”. He went on to say that his bassist fled for fear of being deported and wanting to stay in America. Regardless of being short a band member, Femi said the show was fantastic and one of the best of the tour so far.

Femi Kuti was born in London in the early 60s, and his father was an afrobeat pioneer, known as Fela Kuti. Femi Kuti started his musical career at the young age of 15 in his father’s band, Egypt 80. Femi Kuti started The Positive Force in the late 80s and has since been making music and touring with them. His sisters, Yeni and Sola are his lead dancers. Although he started his own band in order to become independent from his father, they share the same strong commitment to social and political causes, especially from their homeland of Nigeria.

Check out the SummerStage for more FREE concerts this summer!








Nana Grizol at Brooklyn Bazaar



Kim Register of Loamlands

Loamlands, an alt-indie band from Durham, North Carolina opened the show last night at Brooklyn Bazaar. Kym Register, guitar and vocals, swooned the crowd with her velvety smooth yet powerful voice. She sounded like a modern Stevie Nicks. (The band gets compared to Fleetwood Mac all the time.) Register sang with so much power and soul, her songs with themes of being vulnerable, the LGBTQ community, and the general intolerance of being yourself. Register spoke of embracing being sad at the show, for it is very important to feel your feelings wholeheartedly.


Will Hackney, Loamlands

With elements of country, classic rock, and folk, Loamlands has a unique sound of their own. Will Hackney, lead guitarist and sometimes vocals, played like a guitar god last night. He seamlessly finger-picked his guitar without the use of a pick and the skill level alone was impressive. Sliding to and fro with a slide as well as finger-picking was like hearing an angel play. Loamlands played songs off their 2016 album, Sweet High Rise like “Restless One”, “You the Mountain”, and “What Kind of Love”, a song about being in an abusive relationship and fantasizing about killing the abuser. DSC_0001.JPG

Check out Loamlands album, Sweet High Rise here.

Nana Grizol, originating from Athens, Georgia, is the headliner for this tour with Loamlands. They consist of Theo Hilton, lead vocals and guitar, Matt Cathcart on drums, Jared Gandy on bass, and Robbie Cucchiaro on trumpet, euphonium, and tambourine. Hilton had a powerful voice on him and accompanied with the brass by Cucchiaro, Nana Grizol put on a spectacular show. They played slow, sad songs as well as their upbeat tunes, all brought out more with the brass instruments flowing through each song, adding to the mood.


Hilton spoke about how the gay community has been so supportive of him, but before that emergence, he grew up in a small town surrounded by straight people. At the show, he spoke of political justice and criticizing political leaders, followed by their popular song, “Mississippi Swells”, a song about oil refineries in the Mississippi watershed. Nana Grizol played songs from all three of their albums, including songs like “Tambourine N’ Thyme”, “Atoms”, “Cynicism”, and “Bright Cloud”. Both bands played an incredible show, and would highly recommend catching them on tour because nothing beats a live set! Get tickets here.


To view my article on Stars & Scars, with video content, go here!

Diet Cig at Elsewhere

‘Twas the first day of March, but rain took plunder.

Diet Cig was the headliner, and they took the thunder!


Alex Luciano, Diet Cig

Great Grandpa was one of the openers for the sold-out show, originating from Seattle, Washington. With grunge influence, vocalist Alex Menne sings and screams their “snack rock” sound complaining of social constructs, entitled guys, and zombies. Menne introduced a song by feeling the need to tell the crowd not to touch anyone without their permission. These “words of wisdom” had the crowd silent, with only a few people vocally supporting the gesture. Knowing that this was a standing show and people would obviously be touched was an unnecessary ploy to shove down people’s throats.


Great Grandpa

The band played songs like the slow, melodic tunes of 28 J’s L8r, a song explaining Menne stopped smoking weed because she thought her friends were zombies going to eat her to good old-fashioned grunge jammers like Teen Challenge with lyrics: “And I drip when I swell/out in my empty room/I only wanted you so bad”. Alex’s vocal range was impressive, from soft soprano to shrieking from yelling, all smoothly transitioned into one another.

Other band members include guitarist and vocalist Patrick Goodwin, bassist Carrie Miller, drummer Cam LaFlam, and guitarist Dylan Hanwright. Great Grandpa’s songs are all completely different from one another in sound either in tempo or mood, but the differences from one song to the next to create some sort of beautiful planned chaos: but that’s grunge isn’t it? Their newest release, Plastic Cough came out July of last year and can be found here. There’s still time to check them out on tour, playing in Philly on Saturday.


Diet Cig took the stage and spoke of being consensual, friendship, love, and telling your ex off. Alex Luciano, vocals/guitar, was covered with so much glitter, you could see it all the way from the back of the venue. She posted on the band’s Instagram about bringing extra glitter for her-she wasn’t kidding. Luciano began the show with Sixteen, a song about her boyfriend at the time with the same name as hers and how he slut-shamed her. She danced around on stage with her infamous high kicks, yelled at the lights tech to let her see the crowd’s “beautiful faces”, and sang with so much soul you can feel it.


Diet Cig

Diet Cig is a pop-punk duo from New Paltz, New York, with Noah Bowman on drums and Luciano on vocals and guitar founded in 2015. Their first EP, Over Easy, was released soon after, with songs of the scene days and problems young adults face. The band’s message is about empowerment, rebellion, and vulnerability. With cutesy delivery, you would think that young women and teenage girls would be their main demographic, but at least half of the crowd at Elsewhere was males, if not more. Luciano criticised the white-cis-male multiple times throughout the night. She seemed to throw feminism into everyone’s face.

Both bands’ stage presence was impeccable.They had high energy, commanded your attention, and criticized the bad in the world from being touched inappropriately to our politicians’ corruptions. What these bands stood for was having fun with rock and roll while not taking shit from anybody. Though both Great Grandpa and Diet Cig were excessive with their feminism and peace agendas, their performances were sensational. Catch them and Spook School until March 3 at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. Tickets can be found here.

To see videos from this show go check out Stars & Scars!