Young The Giant, Cold War Kids, Joywave 9/13/17

I photographed and reviewed this show at The Pop Break, so here it is recreated below.

Pop Break Live: Young the Giant, Cold War Kids & Joywave at Central Park Summer Stage, New York City

There’s nothing like a triple-header at the Central Park SummerStage to close out the summer. On September 13th, Young The Giant played one of the last shows of the season, still supporting their 2016 record Home of the Strange, with fellow Southern Californians Cold War Kids and Rochester, New York-natives Joywave. This was the first official NYC stop for Cold War Kids and Joywave, each playing material from their newest albums LA Divine and Content, respectively.

Joywave opened the event in the early afternoon with a concise but energetic set led by singer Daniel Armbruster and his usual wry humor. Playing tracks off both the band’s smashing debut How Do You Feel Now? and their most recent effort Content, Joywave gave the crowd a reason to dance before the sun went down. Their most recent single “It’s A Trip!” fit right alongside their hit from two years ago, “Tongues.”


It’s a Trip!
Little Lies You’re Told
Somebody New

Cold War Kids, in usual form, brought soul and grace to the stage, opening with their classic, “All This Could Be Yours.” Singer Nathan Willett and bassist Matt Maust were in top form, playing Cold War Kids’ standards while still remaining fresh and on their toes. The lead single off their sixth studio album LA Divine, “Love Is Mystical” was a notable standout; the crowd was eager to join in and clap along with Willett’s tambourine. The highlight of the night, however, had to be the band’s sultry, jazzy, and sexy rendition of Rihanna’s “Love On The Brain” – an unusual cover that, by the end, sounded as if it was originally written for and by Cold War Kids.


All This Could Be Yours
Miracle Mile
Hang Me Up to Dry
Can We Hang On?
Love Is Mystical
Mexican Dogs
Love on the Brain (Rihanna cover)
Lost That Easy
So Tied Up
Cameras Always On
Hospital Beds
Something Is Not Right With Me

Young The Giant, the night’s headliners, wasted little time before immersing the SummerStage crowd into their album’s lead single and hot-topic conceit: America. Or, as the band brands it: “Amerika.” Singer Sameer Gadhia took the darkened stage backed by a track of famous American songs in pop culture, including Ray Charles’ “America The Beautiful,” Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The USA,” and Springsteen’s “Born In The USA.” With each “patriotic” song layering into each other and the bright, angular stage littered with flowers and modern geometric shapes, Young The Giant embodied true headliners. Their performance wasn’t keen on being nostalgic, but relevant and timely in the best way possible. Classic singalongs “Something To Believe In,” “Cough Syrup,” and the closer “My Body” left everyone in Central Park that night feeling like they had just witnessed something truly special. I can’t wait to see where Young The Giant goes next, because it’s only up from here.


Something to Believe In
I Got
Titus Was Born
Mr. Know‐It‐All
It’s About Time
Cough Syrup
Firelight (acoustic)
Nothing’s Over
Mind Over Matter
Home of the Strange

Jungle Youth
My Body

Muse 7/24/17

(a) setlist

  1. Dig Down
  2. Psycho
  3. Interlude
  4. Hysteria
  5. Map of the Problematique
  6. Bliss
  7. The 2nd Law: Isolated System
  8. The Handler
  9. Supermassive Black Hole
  10. New Kind Of Kick (The Cramps cover)
  11. Madness
  12. Undisclosed Desires
  13. Starlight
  14. Time Is Running Out
  15. Mercy


  1. Uprising
  2. Knights of Cydonia


(b) highlights

  • this was my first time officially shooting a show for a real publication!!! and it was shooting MUUUUSSSEEE. literal dream come true. (you can check out some of my shots at The Pop Break – I have more below here, as well.)
  • this show was for the Coalition for the Homeless in New York City, which is cool af; Muse always knows what’s up
  • setlist was fire – into all the songs here, don’t care what haters say
  • Map of the Problematique!!!!
  • for real, getting to shoot this – even though it was a complex layout – was exciting and thrilling and scary and freaking awesome

(c) lowlights

  • I was originally supposed to shoot right in front of the stage, but then it was switched to just in front of the tech booth. eeek.
  • it rained before the show and for the the first couple of songs. not the end of the world, but I had a brand new lens on my camera and that was….stressful.
  • nothing else because Muse is flawless; Matt and Chris and Dom for life.


(d) overall thoughts


Getting to see Muse during this little summer tour has been one of my favorite things. To see a band that normally goes all in, puts out, and brings things to the next level with every performance, it’s so refreshing to see them in another light. Relatively stripped back stage design, level lights, and nothing but pure tunes in Central Park is alllll you need.

Matt, Chris, and Dom sounded fierce as usual, and everything was glowing as the sun set over the river to the west. The crowd was a bit wet and I had snuck up on the left side after shooting in the back to find a tucked-away corner of the pit. To hear songs I’ve loved for over a decade in Central Park surrounded by friends gave me such a warm feeling inside. Dusk quickly became night and the setlist quickly evolved into older classics like “Hysteria” and “Map of the Problematique.”

Even though the setlist was nearly identical to the previous show only two nights earlier, everything felt familiar and unique in the new setting. The Central Park crowd was in high spirits, tightly packed into each other. I saw older fans and even kids lining some of the barricade, everyone joyful and glowing under the soft light. I’ll never forget this show, and not just because I got to shoot one of my favorite bands. I’ll always love Muse because they always remain themselves; they transform with every new album and a lot of people give them shit, but I get what they’re doing. They’re just Matt, Chris, and Dom. They’re having a good time, entertaining the crowd, and never fail to forget how a single song can completely turn everything around.

Bottom line: This show was iconic. The intimacy of everyone jam-packed into pockets of jumping masses made this night in the park so memorable. Moving throughout the back of the pit to capture great shots, as well as moving up close to feel myself in the music only proved that – no matter the setting – Muse shows up. And while not every band can say that, Muse can.

Joywave, The Kooks 6/24/15

(i) lineup*

(1a) Joywave
(2b) The Kooks

*Atlas Genius played in between Joywave and The Kooks and they were alright – nothing good or bad to report either way. Just filler.

(1a) (Joywave’s) setlist doesn’t have the details, but I remember them playing maybe 5 or 6 songs. “Destruction,” “Tongues,” “Feels Like a Lie,” “Now,” and “Somebody New” were definitely ones I remember.

(1b) highlights

  • all the aforementioned songs
  • I love the Central Park Summerstage shows – cool environment, good food, generally a nice venue space

(1c) lowlights

  • the crowd didn’t move, as always; as if the entirety of New York is incapable of getting into a band or performance they didn’t immediately pay to see

(1d) overall thoughts

Joywave is best when they feel they need to earn the audience’s respect, I think. They work so hard to make even the most dead crowd move and get into the music. When the audience doesn’t respond, everything just becomes funny. I really remember Daniel calling out New York City crowds for being too cool to dance and my friends and I overcompensating by being super into it, which is always the best.

Bottom Line: Would definitely recommend not only seeing a band play in this Central Park venue, but everyone should absolutely see Joywave live if only for the small chance they play “Destruction” twice.


(2a) (The Kooks’) setlist

    1. Around Town
    2. Ooh La
    3. She Moves in Her Own Way
    4. Seaside
    5. Always Where I Need to Be
    6. Sweet Emotion


  1. Naive

(2b) highlights

  • again, the environment – the middle of Central Park is so beautiful at dusk
  • they didn’t play for long, but the whole crowd was super into it – again, my surprise as hugely popular The Kooks have become over the years
  • the sound and lights were on-point, which can be difficult in an outdoor venue – major props

(2c) lowlights

  • nothing really bad to say

(2d) overall thoughts

Much like their Firefly performance, The Kooks brought such a large sound to their Central Park stint. It’s funny – I remember thinking their set was so full-bodied and resonant with the crowd for just under an hour, but claims they played only seven songs. Isn’t it funny how having a good crowd with solid as hell songs can make me remember the experience differently? Hope The Kooks get even better and continue to put out even bigger sounding songs.

Bottom Line: The Kooks are cool and I swear I’m gonna find out how so many young people have embraced them nearly ten years after they debuted.


Photo by Emily Tan