Can't Be Contained: A half·alive Live Review

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When half·alive first garnered attention with their “still.feel” music video, they essentially changed the game of how low budget videos turned into algorithm-changing content. They’ve been able to turn the messages of their songs into narratives through choreographed dance moves and subtle stage props, which they’ve also been able to bring to life during live performances.

The stage of their current world tour involves a high rise platform, a backdrop of circular LED lights and not a single set list in sight. It doesn’t take long to wonder how much of their choreography will come to life on stage because  once the lights go down, the first person to make their way to the stage is not Josh Taylor, Brett Kramer or J Tyler Johnson. They walk out once of their two dancers make it to the corner of stage left and meet him there as the beginning of “ok ok?” starts. The stage remains dark except for the light held by their dancer, and while lights are usually distracting from the quality of music, this isn’t the case here.

Their two dancers make multiple appearances throughout the night, even to teach the audience some of their moves. They aren’t entirely in sync during their performances, but that’s the point. Part of their narrative is to feel the music individually and bring the lyrics to life through their own interpretation. Each dancer and band member has their own take on the song, and depending on who the audience is watching, those different interpretations speak to different people.

In addition to their dancers, lighting plays a major component of their storytelling performance. The backdrop of lights move both by the hands of the dancers and to encourage audience interaction during various sing-along opportunities. The night ends with glowing beach-style balls, the last one illuminated being held in the air by Taylor before making the stage dark once more.

As mentioned before, despite the busy stage, it merely amplifies the talent that radiates from the three band members.  Their performance style does speak to their audience in a way that almost can’t be described, but the same is to be said of their physical performance. They are each talented in their own right and have found a style of songwriting that causes anyone to stop what they’re doing and pay attention.

half·alive has helped take the idea of a traditional performance and turn it into something that speaks louder and to a larger audience. As they continue the rest of their world tour, it’s no mistake that their catchy lyrics and out-of-the-box narratives speak to a diverse group of music lovers.