High Zenergy at Now & Zen

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There is something about live concerts that makes music’s mere existence all the more enjoyable. It only gets better when said concert is free and open to all, including but not limited to the poor college student like myself. Alice’s Now & Zen Festival just turned 15 this year and certainly did not disappoint. It had all the necessary elements for a good festival: delicious food, fantastic weather, and even greater bands.

The first band to play was Larkin Poe, with southern roots that could be heard in every song its members performed. These two sisters clearly know how to make music, and I look forward to hearing more from them. The following band was Walk Off The Earth, which is most well known for its cover of “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye. The group is a unique blend of alternative and pop, which left me wanting more and disappointed when its act ended.

Speaking of disappointment, that was exactly what I felt once I heard the Plain White T’s. They failed to live up to any popularity they have achieved in the past couple years. Truly, I was underwhelmed. The Goo Goo Dolls, eighteen years after their first album release, have not lost their touch. Their music is something I will still be looking forward to for years to come.

The biggest surprise came from OneRepublic. I had never been a huge fan, and I did not expect to ever see the band in concert. Needless to say, I was blown away. Ryan Tedder awed me with his powerhouse vocals and a stage presence that not even The Goo Goo Dolls had even after years of experience. OneRepublic truly was the highlight performance of the event.

My only other complaints, besides the letdown of the Plain White T’s, would be the large crowds and long lines that come with going to a free concert. Alas, they are to be expected and hardly put a damper on my time there. Overall, Now & Zen was a great, fun experience that I hope to repeat as soon as I possibly can.

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