CONCERT REVIEW: Aaron Carter @ LA's The Mint

Aaron Carter photo by Jessica Klausing

Aaron Carter photo by Jessica Klausing

Aaron Carter was the “flyest kid on the block” in the early 2000s with his teen party anthem, “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It).” He wooed teenage girls worldwide with “I Want Candy” and rapped about winning a basketball game against Shaquille O’ Neal in “That’s How I Beat Shaq.” Flash forward to 2019, Carter is back with new music and a more mature image. He proved at Los Angeles’ The Mint that Aaron’s Party never stopped!

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Aaron Carter is offering Pizza Party Soundchecks and after show Meet n’ Greets for his 2019 tour!

Aaron Carter at soundcheck. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Aaron Carter at soundcheck. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

I’m a sucker for artist VIP packages so I decided to try them both out. The pizza party sound check was literally announced a few days before Aaron’s Los Angeles show. I had already bought my ticket and the meet n’ greet pass, but I thought, ‘hey, it’s my childhood idol plus pizza. What could possibly go wrong?’

My night started with a text instructing me to be at the venue at 6:30PM sharp. Upon arrival at 6PM, I received another text informing me that soundcheck had been bumped to 7:15PM instead. No biggie. I killed time at a neighboring café until it was time for check in. A few of us had gathered in front of The Mint’s main doors eagerly awaiting check in and…no one was there.

Confused, I decided to text back the number for advice and…no reply. To make matters worse, it started to rain. Go figure. Thankfully, The Mint had a canopy big enough for all of us to fit under. I was a bit frustrated and cold but determined to not let this little mishap rain on my parade, so to speak. At about 7:35PM, Aaron’s entourage arrived to finally let us into the venue.

Inside The Mint venue. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Inside The Mint venue. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

We were told that Aaron was running late and would be here in 10 minutes. I did find it a bit odd that no one checked us in or gave us a wristband. That’s usually the protocol at meet n’ greet type functions. Aaron’s entourage was busy setting up the merch table but assured us that we were fine without a wristband. The venue staff did at least come by to stamp our hands.

The last time I saw our soundcheck pizza.  sigh  I didn’t even get to gaze upon it’s cheesy magnificence. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

The last time I saw our soundcheck pizza. sigh I didn’t even get to gaze upon it’s cheesy magnificence. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

The venue manager even handed me the pizza for some reason. He took off before I could ask any questions. I looked around for guidance but everyone was just as puzzled. We decided to put the pizza at the bar. Big mistake. That was the last time I saw that pizza. We didn’t even get a slice. As soon as soundcheck started, the venue took the pizza away. First rule of pizza party soundcheck –never turn your back on pizza!

Aaron Carter sets up for soundcheck. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Aaron Carter sets up for soundcheck. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Aaron Carter had arrived around 7:45PM. He was proudly sporting his black LøVë sweatshirt with a blinged out diamond studded LøVë necklace around his neck. Everyone had quickly gathered at the stage for the soundcheck performance. Aaron smiled kindly and waved to all of us.

“Why aren’t you two wearing your LøVë sweatshirts?” He asked me and another fan.

Aaron Carter’s merch booth. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Aaron Carter’s merch booth. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

We looked around and noticed we were the only fans not wearing the shirts. The peer pressure was on so we decided to check out the merch booth. Unfortunately, the booth was only taking cash and we brought credit cards instead. The black LøVë sweatshirts are cute and looked quite comfy. I made a mental note to order mine after the show.

The sweatshirts are $45 dollars. You can order one HERE.

Aaron performed brief 30 second snippets of “Fool’s Gold,” “Bad 2 Good,” and “Dearly Departed.” I enjoyed watching Aaron but the screeching speakers made the audio unbearable at times. Soundcheck had to be rushed in order for the venue to open their doors on time at 8PM.  

Despite the hustle and bustle, Aaron still managed to make some time for his fans. He didn’t have too much time to chat but he at least made sure we all got a selfie with him before he had to leave.

Me and AC after soundcheck. I didn’t have time to put the camera on flash mode.

Me and AC after soundcheck. I didn’t have time to put the camera on flash mode.

I don’t want to knock the pizza party soundcheck experience for other fans. I do believe the staff could have been more organized, but I also take into consideration that the LA show was only the second stop of the tour. The soundcheck party is a brand new perk which has some kinks that I hope will be worked out for future shows.

Keep in mind:

-The experience is very quick. Ours lasted less than 15 minutes. Be camera ready.
-Aaron’s time is greatly limited at soundcheck. He does try to spend as much time as he can with fans but just be prepared.
-Eat that pizza as soon as you get it!

I will say the after show meet n’ greet was a great experience! The actual meet n’ greets are a much more relaxed experience than soundcheck. You line up at the merch booth after the show. A venue staff member will escort you backstage for your photo with Aaron. Aaron is such a sweetheart who really cares about his fans. I managed to chat with him a bit after my picture. He genuinely does appreciate all of the support. Thanks for a great show, Aaron!

Backstage with Aaron Carter.

Backstage with Aaron Carter.

SONG REVIEW: Kodacrome - "Think Of The Children"

By Wanda Whitley

Kodacrome.

Kodacrome.

I am so energized right now people! 

If you haven’t heard it already, rush right now and listen to Kodacrome’s single "Think of the Children." I promise you an awakening and a rush, a transportation into an electro pop dream, with beautiful vocals that are breathy and sexy, yet what a pristine sound! The techno-beat gets your feet moving, your head grooving, and your body shaking in a rapturous dance.

Kodacrome is comprised of Elissa LeCoque and Ryan Casey. The pair create fragmented pop with a warm electronic pulse, featuring swells and lead lines which ring from synths and throats, alike. Elissa and Ryan share a deep love for melodic composition and it certainty shows within their music.

I particularly love the horns and keyboards playing along with the beat, a joyous addition to the composition. This is the type of song that keeps playing in your head long after it ends, the kind of music you tell the D.J. to “play it again”!  

A line in the lyrics tells us to “Stretch your arms out…” Indeed. Listeners will most definitely stretch their arms out in an embrace for this one. Think of all of us, Kodacrome, and keep up your excellent and eclectic work!

SONG REVIEW: Aidan James - "What My Friends Talk About"

Written by Jessica Klausing

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Aidan James shakes up the pop scene with his Hawaiian inspired melodies.

At age 9, James uploaded a Youtube video cover of Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” while playing a ukulele. The video went viral with over 20 million views inspiring the young Hawaii native to venture into a music career.  In the last couple of years he has released an EP, “Live Again,” and a full-length album, “Echoes.” He has toured with many notable acts such as Train, Jack Johnson, Lisa Loeb, and Michael Bolton. Currently, 16 year old, James has been hard at work to release his new full-length album sometime later this year.

In his new single, “What My Friends Talk About,” James uses his ukulele to the bridge the melody gap between contemporary pop and R&B. Think sound wise similar to Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” The ukulele fades as the song progresses into an eclectic fusion of finger-snaps, hand claps, and percussion.

James’ warm vocals evoke a sweet innocence as he admits, “And you know I can’t remember anything before I saw your face.” His versatile talent and individuality shines through on this track. I can’t wait to hear what Aidan James has in store on his new album.

Purchase Aidan James’ MUSIC

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Umphrey's McGee @ LA's Wiltern

Photo by Paul Citone.

Photo by Paul Citone.

Jam band Umphrey's McGee made a legendary comeback to Los Angeles this past weekend!

Amidst the hypnotic psychedelic light show and LED visuals, Umphrey’s McGee seamlessly weaves progressive rock, jazz, disco, funk, metal, and electronic genres into a cohesive dance mix. Each band member has a keen musical ear and an uncanny talent to communicate with each other on stage.

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Special thanks to Paul Citone for allowing me to use his amazing concert photographs!