On May 17th the Echo showcased artists Chloe x Halle and Faulkner. The venue created a cool atmosphere with low lighting, relaxing fog, and plush seating. Blue and purple lights bounced off the dual disco balls in the center of the room before performers came out. The patio located at the back was a chill spot with string lights hanging and illuminating the area in a warm glow. Between sets people would gather around, take a smoke break, and talk about the last performer.
After grabbing a drink from the bar, I moved toward the stage. Swearwords, an alternative electronic DJ, started the night with some psychedelic tunes. The fog onstage seemed to mix the blue and green lights into a tie-dye pattern behind him. Swearwords takes inspiration from hip-hop, reggae, and funk, and he created some smooth tracks that mellowed out the room as people arrived.
The night kicked off when Chloe x Halle went onstage. Chloe Bailey (keys, production, and vocals) and Halle Bailey (guitar and vocals) make up the pop R&B duo. The audience packed in tight and screaming in anticipation. Chloe held several chords on the keys and the two sisters vocalized a few harmonies. People were melting during those first few seconds.
The sisters transitioned into long, echo-y vocals. Their singing seemed to dance around the beats Chloe created. Colorful rainbow lights twisted around them as they sang and danced in sync. The lyric “Is this simple enough for you?” couldn’t feel anymore ironic as everyone in the room saw a polished first number. Chloe x Halle knew how to get the room excited by playing off the audience. They used their easy and exciting dynamic to their advantage.
I’ll be honest, the entire set I was fingerling. I couldn’t help but wonder how it was possible for these girls to be so astonishing live when their EP had already given me goosebumps beforehand. Choosing just a couple songs that excelled out of their set is tough. During “Thunder” their rapport with the audience was amazing and Chloe’s production was exceptional. “Lazy Love” seemed to meld two different styles with cyber-pixie-esque keys and gritty guitar. Halle’s guitar playing during the intro of “Drop” was impossible to turn away from. And of course their last number “Think About You” was as captivating as the rest of the set. Rough, deep rap vocals from Chloe again played a beautiful contrast to Halle’s softer, fairy tale-esque soprano. The audience responded eagerly. A lot of people were dancing along to the music and several were even singing along. The purple and blue lights behind Chloe and Halle glowed ethereally, as they moved to the front of the stage.
The bi-coastal alternative rock band, Faulkner ended the night with a powerful set. Though at times the vocals were a bit tough to hear, the band’s performance was strong. Eric Scullin’s performance on the keys was dynamic and intense during “These Kids Nowadays,” complimented well by Chrisitian Hogan’s drumming. Live, the song’s sound was a lot more raw and rock-heavy than the studio version. Dimitri Faougias (bass) was energetic onstage. He moved around the stage as he played, completely lost in the performance.
When the guys played “All I Wear is Black,” Farougias’ energy highlighted his outstanding playing. The audience rocked back and forth throughout the number, while the guys all played off each other’s energies. The number had a strong drumming intro by Hogan. Which despite not being present in the studio version, I really enjoyed it. But, just like in the studio version the keys and vox solo by Scullin was a highlight.
Lucas Asher lead the set with a fun and engaging energy as he played, sang, and moved at center-stage. Asher’s gritty vocals during “Revolutonary” matched his edgy guitar playing. The punk-style anthem ended the entire night on a high note. The stage lights even bounced off the dual disco balls enthusiastically Throughout Scullin’s killer guitar solo.
The venue and all three artists ignited the night. It’s worth noting that Chloe x Halle and Faulkner have both released their debut EPs this year. “Sugar Symphony” and “Revanchist” respectively. Check them both out and, I cannot emphasize enough, if you ever have the opportunity to see either perform live take it. That night at The Echo was well worth remembering.