featuring Austin Prince and joan
January 25, 2019 @ Brighton Music Hall
Every college student has gone through the “mid-college crisis” where you rethink every decision you’ve made and wonder if you’re on the right path towards what you want to do. Joshua Taylor, frontman of half•alive, went through this in film school when he decided to take a semester off to focus on his passion for music. His mentor at the time challenged Taylor to write 50 songs during his college hiatus, three of which became the first EP of his new project half•alive. It’s no surprise the band took off the way it did – from its infectiously groovy beats, relatable lyrics and beautifully filmed and choreographed music videos, it’s hard to not fall in love with the music of Joshua Taylor.
With only five songs released, half•alive managed to sell out Brighton Music Hall, which was mostly filled with excited high schoolers donning X’s on their hands. Oakland native Austin Prince, Josh Taylor’s cousin, took the stage first. Austin’s soul and hip-hop fusion vibe kicked the night off right, inviting the crowd to sing and dance to songs that were new to most.
Next to take the stage was indie synth-pop duo joan. Hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, joan’s music makes you feel like you’re in ninth grade at a 1980’s prom, as they described in their WRBB interview. Their music is borderline cheesy, but fully nostalgic. Unfortunately, vocalist and guitarist Steven Rutherford was under the weather and wasn’t able to match the energy their music needed to perform. Luckily, the songs are simple enough that the crowd sang along to bring the energy up. Joan performed all their popular songs like “love somebody like you,” as well as new tracks like “drive all night” and “lose your mind.”
Half•alive’s set began with a screen and video projection, highlighting the artistic side of the band and their music. While they struggled with many technical difficulties, including a guitar connection issue and imprecise levels that didn’t bring Taylor’s vocals out, their show was nothing short of impressive. The band consists of vocalist Josh Taylor, drummer Brett Kramer and J Taylor Johnson on bass and synths. They also brought two dancers along on tour who incorporated the same choreography style that is littered throughout their music videos. It is safe to say that Joshua Taylor is just as talented a dancer as he is a singer. Their set included all five of their released songs, a couple new tracks, and a medley of Alicia Key’s “If I Ain’t Got You” and Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.”
While I’m typically not a fan of concerts that are filled with a significantly younger crowd, half•alive put on a show that was enjoyable for anyone. They were infectiously energetic and passionate, and I cannot wait to see how their music and band grows.
Photos by Juliette Paige