Maybe it's just me, but I had not seen one iota of marketing for the Pandora Holiday Live event. I had no idea what to expect, but obviously excitement and eagerness filled my mind when I saw who would be playing. I trudged through puddles of rain to get to Pier 36 on Tuesday night, aimlessly searching for a venue the size of Terminal 5. This was not that. This event was equivalent to a mini festival. A festival with a three-band lineup, excluding DJ SNAKEHIPS, who entertained his audience with his twerk-able remixed beats that he played in between sets.
As soon as I entered the mystery venue, or Basketball City as they call it, Bishop Briggs
was already onstage. I walked into the giant space, decorated with projected white lights in the shape of snowflakes placed all over the ceilings and walls. The bathroom line was absurdly long, and people were confusing the coat-check with the bar. Green and purple glow sticks were being handed out like candy. I felt like I was back in college.
Bishop Briggs was in the middle of performing "Wild Horses" when I made my way to the front of the stage. I had been listening to the catchy track last summer on repeat so I was eager to hear it live. Everyone else seemed to know this song very well, and would anticipate the beat drop that would come right after the lyric, "Wild horses run faster, run faster, run faster."
It was a mix of trap and soul with a drop that is powerful enough to make you lose yourself. The room would shake from everyone jumping and dancing uncontrollably. Blue lights mixed with the overflowing smoke from the stage gave the performance an intense feeling.
Briggs ended strong with "River," a song that shows off multiple synths, guitar, keyboard, and belting vocals. The entire crowd listened to "River" with pure amazement. It sounded incredible live in comparison to its recorded counterpart.
Bishop Briggs seemed to come out of nowhere. She released all five songs this year and is already an indie pop sensation. After seeing this impressive live performance, I can see her having no problem filling up stadiums all over the country.
Next up was British indie pop band, Bastille
. Lead vocalists, Dan Smith came on stage with a very pure and honest energy. They began their set with "Send Them Off," a song from their 2016 album, Wild World
. It being one of the best songs off the album, it naturally started the set off with high energy. At one point Smith disappeared from the stage and showed up right beside me. He was singing and dancing in circles and anyone who was within a 2-foot radius from him couldn't help but shriek in shock, myself included.
"Good Grief," "The Currents," and "Pompeii," were just a few of my favorites from Bastille's set (come on, "Pompeii" was everybody's anthem when it was released back in 2013). I had this overpowering nostalgic feeling when they closed with the feel-good upbeat tune. I could tell everyone else did too. Between the thrilling energy and Smith's flawless voice, it was hard to limit my favorite songs down to just a few. This show was something I will take away with me for a long time and I highly encourage others to see them live.
nonchalantly walked onto the stage at around 10:15 pm. Lead singer and guitarist, Matthew Healy, was wearing what looked like Christmas pajamas. I wouldn't say it was his best look, but the guy is a heartthrob so I wasn't complaining... He's also a multi-tasker. He sings, he plays the rhythm guitar, and he holds a mic in one hand while smoking a cigarette in another. Yep, he lit up on the Pandora Live stage, and gave zero f*cks about it.
The British rock band opened with "Love Me," one of their more funky and animated songs from their 2016 album, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it.
Healy would quickly go from looking indifferent to suddenly breaking out into Michael Jackson-esque dance moves. He was not at all afraid to be unapologetically himself, which was apparent by his outfit, his dance moves, and his cigarette.
"Somebody Else," a song that I think is on everyone's Spotify playlist right now, was played halfway through the rock group's performance. Even if you aren't someone who is going through heartbreak, this song will trick you into thinking you are. It speaks to your soul, with its hard, repeated percussion, echoed vocals, and deep lyrics. Everyone would scream the line, "F*ck that get money, I can't give you my soul," as if it were a personal memorandum.
The 1975 won Best Album at the 2016 Q Awards, beating out Coldplay, Bastille, Christine and the Queens, and David Bowie. So, to say that these guys are blowing up is an understatement. They make beats that hit senses that we forgot we had. It also doesn't hurt that every single one of the members are easy on the eyes...
While my night at Pandora Holiday Live was unexpected, it reminded me why I love live music. Every band was totally different, and powerful in their own way. Now that I do know that this event exists, I can confidently say that you can find me there again next year.