Koa – Nashville – November 14th, 2014
The Koa boys are known for their hard work, whether it be connecting with their fans or promoting their shows. I know this firsthand, from seeing them around campus selling tickets for at least a week before a show. The fact that the boys sold out Nashville’s own Mercy Lounge goes to show that hard work really does pay off. Koa started the show off right by playing a killer opening number, “Maybe Next Time,” which is one of my personal favorites. The boys had the sold out crowd on their feet from the very beginning. Alex Matthews’ saxophone skills really add to the entire aesthetic of the band, particularly on this song. Next came “Smoking for a Second,” which encouraged crowd participation via the “heys.” This song also did an incredible job of showcasing Conor Kelly’s mad crazy guitar skills. Serously guys, the kid is golden. Later in the set, “Gemini,” the “closest thing that the band has to country,” also exemplified Kelly’s talent. After a couple more fast paced songs that made you want to dance, Koa “cooled it down,” so to speak, by playing some slower songs. A song that stood out for me was “Eyes.” Although it was a slower tune, the band kept the audience’s attention by having them sing along at the end. It’s sometimes tricky to hold an audience of 20 year olds’ attention when you start playing slow songs, especially when you play so many in a row, but the boys did a good job. Another personal favorite from this section of the performance was “So Many Times,” because it was a truly beautiful song, I felt like this song in particular showed Chase’s ability to sing a ballad flawlessly. When you compare a song like this to a song like “Maybe Next Time,” it is abundantly clear that Chase is incredibly gifted vocally. During the second half of the set, Koa played a cover of “Lisztomania.” Usually, I’m pretty skeptical about any bad covering a song like “Lisztomania” because it’s such a bold choice. Thomas Mars’ voice is so unique, and that would be hard for any artist to pull off. That being said, I think that Chase sang the song really well and put his own spin on the song, making it sound authentic to Koa as opposed to an imitation of Phoenix. “Lisztomania” was the perfect choice for the band, and I’m honestly not sure if anyone else could have pulled it off. Koa’s encore was their ever-popular song, “False Calls.” During the entire set, members of the audience kept yelling “PLAY FALSE CALLS” in an effort to get the band to play it sooner. I think that it was a smart move on the band’s part to play this song as their encore, as it’s one of their most popular songs to date among the Koalition. The anticipation for “False Calls” definitely kept the audience alert, especially through the slower portion of the set. Overall, Koa has an excellent stage presence, and you can definitely tell that they love what they’re doing with all of their heart. Koa appeals to such a large audience. I saw grandparents and 20 year olds dancing their behinds off. I saw teens and women in their 50s at the merch table. Whatever the formula for success is, Koa has it. I would definitely recommend seeing a show if you get the chance. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.