After opening with the abrasive lines of “Self Spoken,” New Diplomat broke into a series of new tracks that ranged from bursts of rumbling guitars to more experimental effects where synth and guitar fused into one formidable wave of sound, similar to Muse songs like “Map of the Problematique.” The vocals of singer Horacio O’Brien-Ferres carried throughout the Rickshaw Stop as he went from soft melodies to ferocious screams, as the band played to a backdrop of custom animations stitched together with scenes ranging from sultry models to war battles.
As New Diplomat left the stage, the crowd was then thrown into middle school nostalgia as Beta State’s emo wails and power chords took over. Even though their music was nowhere near the realms of *NSYNC, Beta State had some sort of boy-band swagger about them. Maybe it was the flashy multi-colored lights they brought on stage, or the smiles they had throughout the performance. Regardless of the band’s music or style, you couldn’t deny the energy that they brought out. Bassist Justin Kastner and vocalist Matt McDonald were both especially ecstatic as they leapt around the stage, almost accidentally smacking the audience with a mic stand in the midst of their fervid antics. The band’s playful attitude made their set — and the hearts of some of the girls in the front row — swoon with emotion as they blasted their way through two albums worth of material.
Opening with the muted string chucks and powerful musicianship of “Deliver Us,” Bay Area band-mashup Seeking Empire closed down the show with a house-shaking performance. The commanding voice of the stunning Nikki Aclaro soared over the guitars and drums, beautifully carrying notes significantly larger than her petite stature. After debuting some new material and raffling off some tickets to BFD, the band closed with their short yet sweet track “Fairytale,” ending one of the most diverse, enticing local showcases from some of the best of the SF music scene.
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