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From Mahall’s to Blossom: a summer concert collection

Laken Kincaid
Laken Kincaid writes about the adventures they went on to different concert venues, seeing several talented artists.

As someone who has an obnoxiously large playlist of over 2,400 songs and who co-hosts an indie/alternative radio show every Wednesday night alongside a justifiable music buff, I feel as if it is an understatement to say that music has had a profound impact on who I am and how I perceive the world. 

Over the summer, I had the privilege of attending quite a few concerts for music groups I enjoy. From recent finds like Addison Grace to my childhood favorite, Fall Out Boy, I had a fun few months filled with fantastic tunes that brought more melody in my life. 

Addison Grace, The Rare Occasions and Summer Salt at Mahall’s

This concert was early in the summer season around mid-June, although I had bought the tickets for Managing Editor Grace Sherban ‘25 and I back in February. Previously, I had seen Addison Grace open for one of my favorite sad boy bands, Cavetown, alongside Tessa Violet and I have been in love with their sound ever since. When I saw that I could see them alongside some other groups that Sherban was interested in, I jumped at the opportunity. 

As always with Mahall’s, The venue, Mahall’s, is quirky and feels like a scene out of a 1970s teen movie with its pin-up diner vibe juxtaposed with the smokey scene of the dance floor/showroom. The food, while not the main event of the show, was very good and I would go back to Mahall’s just to eat at its restaurant. 

Our fellow audience members were friendly, and I think Sherban and I built strong bonds with some strangers, especially after she busted a move like no one was watching. 

The performance from not only Grace (both the artist and Sherban jazzing it up in the corner), but also the groups accompanying her were fantastic. While Addison Grace and The Rare Occasions were opening for Summer Salt, I found myself staying mostly for these first two groups. Again, I have enjoyed Addison Grace’s music for awhile, but I did find a new love for The Rare Occasions and their track “Origami.” While we did leave a little into Summer Salt’s set, mostly because the room was a functional sauna and I had to be up at six a.m. the next morning, I had a spectacular time at this show and would go again a thousand times over. 

Big Time Rush at Blossom Music Center

This concert was not one that was on my radar when school let out; I didn’t even know BTR was returning to Blossom so quickly after their previous show in Cleveland last year. I was surprised when Aliyah Shamatta ‘24 offered me a free ticket to go with them to watch the show. As a Nickelodeon kid and eternal Logan fan, I agreed to tag along.

One thing I hadn’t realized during my previous Blossom excursion to see Pitbull last August was that the cell phone service is atrocious. This is especially noticeable when you are doing your makeup in the car after work and can’t scour Pinterest boards for eyeshadow inspiration. However, this was only a minor setback and the $10 funnel cake almost made up for it.

The show itself was everything my tween self hoped for. A few other concert attendees around us got free upgrades to jam out below the pavilion so my experience was stained with a tad bit of jealousy. However, the Big Time Rush boys busted onto the stage with so much energy and immediately controlled the audience with their presence. 

Whether you like BTR’s  songs or not, there is no doubt that they’re talented performers. Although I forced Aliyah and I to leave before the encore (something I think they will never forgive me for), it was still an overall great experience.

Fall Out Boy at Blossom Music Center

The day following the Big Time Rush concert, Aliyah and I returned back to Blossom to watch my all-time favorite band: Fall Out Boy. Aliyah was mostly excited because Bring Me The Horizon was one of the openers, but my transcendence lied deep into the evening. 

To say Fall Out Boy is my go-to would be the most critical understatement of my journalistic career. For example, earlier in the day before the concert, I purchased ticket upgrades for both Aliyah and I so we could go to the green room before the show just for a sliver of a chance to meet the boys and get some free food (special thanks to Chloe Millard for keying me into this opportunity). I also begged Aliyah to go to Walmart to buy me fabric paint and a white t-shirt so I could create my own merchandise with the iconic Patrick Stump quote “thanks Pete.” Even after we arrived at the venue, we upgraded our seats until we were in Row F, which was basically spitting distance from my idols.

The fan environment of this concert was so welcoming. Like a Taylor Swift concert, fans were trading friendship bracelets and complimenting each other out the wazoo. I received approximately a dozen compliments on my home made shirt and it made me feel absolutely elated. 

Additionally, the performance was one of the best shows I have ever seen. Every member of the band commanded the stage and played their hearts out. Hearing my favorite anthems of all time live like “The Phoenix” and “Save Rock and Roll” was like a shot of adrenaline. While the magic eight ball song of the night wasn’t one I was praying for, I still enjoyed every second of the concert and hope to see Fall Out Boy again soon.


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About the Contributor
Laken Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief
Laken Kincaid is the Editor-in-Chief for The Carroll News from Beckley, West Virginia. They are a senior at John Carroll University who is double majoring in political science and communications (digital media) and minoring in leadership development. Laken has written for The Carroll News since the start of their freshman year and has previously served as a staff reporter, campus section editor and managing editor of the paper. They have received 15 Best of SNO awards, a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for Region 4 and two honorable mentions from the College Media Association. They have also been recognized by universities like Georgetown for their investigative reports. Additionally, they also write political satire for The Hilltop Show and feature stories on global poverty for The Borgen Project. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Laken is involved with the Kappa Delta sorority, the speech and debate team, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Improv club and other organizations. They also serve as the news director for WJCU 88.7, John Carroll's own radio station, and as the president for John Carroll's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.  Laken also started their own national nonprofit organization known as Art with the Elderly which they have won the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanity Rising Award for. When not writing, Laken can be found doing graphic design for their internship with Union Home Mortgage or working as a resident assistant and peer learning facilitator on campus. Laken also enjoys skiing and watching true crime documentaries. In the future, Laken hopes to become a political journalist for a national news organization or to be a campaign commercial editor for politicians. To contact Laken, email them at [email protected].

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