Ballroom / Bar / Crushing Vinyl / Rachel / Union Square

T. Mills and Rixton, Irving Plaza

Before we even arrived at Irving Plaza, I was experiencing major PTSD. A couple of years ago, I’d purchased counterfeit tickets to see Ed Sheeran and was turned down at the door. I’ve been avoiding the venue ever since. But if there are two things that could get me back to a place that crushed my dreams, hip-hop and Brits would be at the top of that list. Tonight I got both! T. Mills and Rixton, two acts that I’d heard about but hadn’t gotten fully into, were touring together and tonight was the night I faced my venue enemy!

The crowd was everything you would expect it to be for performers that share a similar fan base to heavy hitters like Justin Bieber and One Direction (and I mean that in the least shadiest way possible). The room, which is what this place is essentially, was packed from the stage to the bar with a racially mixed group of teenage girls clutching cell phones and signs, eagerly awaiting the guys they came to see. I think I was more excited to see the moms in the crowd react to T.Mills’ lyrics or to Rixton’s rendition of the “Thong Song” than to see the actual acts! But when T. Mills walked on stage in his long black t-shirt, tall white sneakers, and covered in tattoos, I instantly wished I had a sign…

From his look, you’d expect something heavy and more alternative, but what you get is the ideal mix of pop and hip-hop (POP-HOP?!). His set wasn’t long, but his performances were killer. Before the show, I’d read that he was a fan of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and even had their lyrics tattooed on his chest. Even though they are one of the best rap groups of all time, you don’t hear folks citing them as one of their favorites nowadays, and that peaked my Mills interest. After listening to some of his music and watching his set, it became clear to me why they are influential to him. His songs feature him both singing and rapping, classic BTNH; while their sounds are different, I respect Mills’ ability to mix both of his talents into catchy pop-rock-hop tunes. When he performed a new song, “Whatever I Want,” I was sold. This guy was jumping 5-feet in the air with his backing band (a guitar and drums) playing something that reminded me of the most perfect song of all time (lol): the Travis Barker remix to Soulja Boy’s “Crank That.” His music played to everything I love about my favorite genres right now and his performance matched his talent. I didn’t know at the time, but Mills was such a perfect opener choice and a perfect way to kick off the night!

After we grabbed some more drinks from the evil bartender, spotted Scooter Braun in the crowd and cried a little thinking about how Irving Plaza was the perfect venue to see your favorite artist, my sister and I planted ourselves in the audience and waited for the British to come.  When Jake, Charley, Lewi and Danny finally made it to the stage with their very cute entrance (they all had their backs to the crowd and played their own dramatic, but classic, show-opening music), the four-piece pop and soul band opened with their song, “Speakerphone,” and I wish they hadn’t. I knew about their more popular songs, “Me and My Broken Heart,” and “Wait on Me,” and had read about them covering Sisqo and R. Kelly. So, when I was greeted with a less R&B sounding song at the start of the show, I was disappointed. But then they started singing Ariana Grande’s, “Problem,” and I was back in the game. Even though it was one of my favorite performances, and even though they are known for their amazing covers, the show still felt cover-heavy. Rixton originals are so strong and I wanted to hear more of them! “Beautiful Excuses” and “Make Out” were my top two favorite songs/performances during their set. Jake killed it vocally and they all sounded amazing as a band.

Both of these artists were a treat to see live, especially in this very chilled out and perfect venue. I would definitely recommend going to see them on their next round of touring and can’t wait to see what new music they release. I might not have hit stan levels tonight, but I can feel it on the horizon…

RCS’ Takeaway: Alicia and I are definitely drummer lovers, but tonight—my eyes were on Danny—the bass and keyboard player from Rixton. When Jake exited the stage and Charley and Lewi faded into the shadows to take a break, we were treated to a mini-Danny show. As soon as he started playing, he instantly reminded me of my father. His sound had a strong gospel influence and the way his fingers hit the keys felt like a young John Legend or Alicia Keys. I see you Danny!!!!


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