If You Like Mumford & Sons, Magic Giant Is Your New Favorite Band

If You Like Mumford & Sons, Magic Giant Is Your New Favorite Band

A banjo, violin, harmonica, cello, and incredible lyrics. What more could you ask for?

One of the most magical moments of a concert can be the discovery of new music that really speaks to you. If you're lucky, you might just happen across a new band opening for the main act. And last Friday night in New York, that is exactly what happened.

After a scheduling accident at the Gramercy Theatre landed our Atlas Genius concert with a door opening of 10 PM instead of 7 PM, it had already been a night of overstaying our welcome at Banter for dinner, drinking too much Starbucks, and wasting time in Washington Square Park by the time we decided to head to the concert. Needless to say, I was getting tired and needed some music to get me in the right state of mind.

We arrived in time for Magic Giant's full set, and thank God. I had heard their single "Set On Fire" previously, and thought it was great, but didn't really hear from them after that, so I didn't have crazy expectations for what this show was going to be like. To add on, they weren't the headliners, so I didn't think much of them when I saw them on the lineup, to be honest.

"Magic Giant, oh yeah, I've heard them. They're pretty good..." and that was about my whole thought process on the situation.

I can now safely say I am completely and utterly obsessed.

They are (forgive my pun) absolutely magical. There is no other way to describe them. The three-piece band, hailing from Los Angeles, combines the talents of Austin Bisnow, Zambricki Li, and Zang. Yeah, even their names alone are cooler than you'll ever be.

It was clear from their opening song "Jade" that these guys are full-on Mumford & Sons vibes, complete with a banjo, violin, harmonica, acoustic guitar, and cello. Oh yeah, and some really awesome and catchy lyrics, too.

"Hey Jade, go save the day / 'Cause somebody out there needs you / Don't stay - I'll be okay / 'Cause when I'm alone I'm with you," sang Austin Bisnow. As I looked left and right, I realized that the entire room was singing along with him. Smiling, dancing, shouting the lyrics alongside their friends, it became clear that tons of people had come to this show solely to experience this magic.

Perhaps the greatest moment of their all-too-short set came right in the middle when they slowed it down for a minute. The band began to shush the audience down to whispers.

"Okay, okay, if you guys can get absolutely silent, we'll come into the crowd and do an acoustic song," said Austin.

He grabbed his mic stand, Zang his acoustic guitar, and Zambricki his violin, and hopped the barricade into the middle of the floor. Standing among the crowd they sang "Great Divide," a song about unity, love, and loss. It was as if we were in a small basement instead of a concert venue when everyone began to softly catch onto the lyrics and Austin put his arms around fans, swaying back and forth, and encouraging a large sing-along of "la-da-das".

Luckily, they're still small enough to hang outside the venue after shows to meet fans and say hello. Don't take that for granted, because they are well on their way to sure stardom. If you're looking for more of their sound, check out the video below.

Magic Giant just released their debut album "In The Wind," available everywhere now.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Williamson on Flickr

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31 Reasons Why I Would NEVER Watch Season 2 Of '13 Reasons Why'

It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.

When I first started watching "13 Reasons Why" I was excited. I had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for a long time and thought this show would be bringing light to those issues. Instead, it triggered my feelings that I had suppressed.

With season two coming out soon, I have made up my mind that I am NEVER watching it, and here is why:

1. This show simplifies suicide as being a result of bullying, sexual assault, etc. when the issue is extremely more complex.

2. It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.

3. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention has guidelines on how to portray suicides in TV shows and movies without causing more suicides.

"13 Reasons Why" disregarded those guidelines by graphically showing Hannah slitting her wrists.

4. It is triggering to those who have tried to commit suicide in the past or that struggle with mental illness.

5. It glorifies suicide.

6. It does not offer healthy coping solutions with trauma and bullying.

The only "solution" offered is suicide, which as mentioned above, is glorified by the show.

7. This show portrays Hannah as dramatic and attention-seeking, which creates the stereotype that people with suicidal thoughts are dramatic and seeking attention.

8. Hannah makes Clay and other people feel guilty for her death, which is inconsiderate and rude and NOT something most people who commit suicide would actually do.

9. This show treats suicide as revenge.

In reality, suicide is the feeling of hopelessness and depression, and it's a personal decision.

10. Hannah blames everyone but herself for her death, but suicide is a choice made by people who commit it.

Yes, sexual assault and bullying can be a factor in suicidal thoughts, but committing suicide is completely in the hands of the individual.

11. Skye justifies self-harm by saying, "It's what you do instead of killing yourself."

12. Hannah's school counselor disregards the clear signs of her being suicidal, which is against the law and not something any professional would do.

13. The show is not realistic.

14. To be honest, I didn't even enjoy the acting.

15. The characters are underdeveloped.

16. "13 Reasons Why" alludes that Clay's love could have saved Hannah, which is also unrealistic.

17. There are unnecessary plot lines that don't even advance the main plot.

18. No one in the show deals with their problems.

They all push them off onto other people (which, by the way, is NOT HEALTHY!!!).

19. There is not at any point in the show encouragement that life after high school is better.

20. I find the show offensive to not only me, but also to everyone who has struggled with suicidal thoughts.

21. The show is gory and violent, and I don't like that kind of thing.

22. By watching the show, you basically get a step-by-step guide on how to commit suicide.

Which, again, is against guidelines set by The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

23. The show offers no resources for those who have similar issues to Hannah.

24. It is not healthy for me or anyone else to watch "13 Reasons Why."

25. Not only does the show glorify suicide, but it also glorifies self-harm as an alternative to suicide.

26. Other characters don't help Hannah when she reaches out to them, which could discourage viewers from reaching out.

27. Hannah doesn't leave a tape for her parents, and even though the tapes were mostly bad, I still think the show's writers should have included a goodbye to her parents.

28. It simplifies suicide.

29. The show is tactless, in my opinion.

30. I feel like the show writers did not do any research on the topic of suicide or mental illness, and "13 Reasons Why" suffered because of lack of research.

31. I will not be watching season two mostly because I am bitter about the tastelessness.

And I do not want there to be enough views for them to make a season three and impact even more people in a negative way.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Cover Image Credit: Netflix

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7 Reasons To Get Excited For The Orlando Fringe Festival

Aside from the obvious draw of 100+ shows to choose from, there are so many more reasons to check it out.

The Orlando Fringe Festival is a two-week performing arts extravaganza featuring all kinds of acts from this city and others. It is also the longest-running theater festival in the United States, so it’s had plenty of time to get great. If you want the basics on how to attend, there is an article in the Orlando Sentinel that breaks it down for first-timers. But as we gear up for what is basically Coachella for theater nerds, here are just a few more things to get jazzed about.

1. You’ll finally be able to support your artist friends.

We all have that friend who is constantly involved in some sort of production. Of course you’d love to go and see them all, but who has the time? At Fringe, there are plenty of chances to see a show, since there are performances at many different times for two weeks. And if you have a lot of friends who are performers in Orlando, then I have good news! They will all be in the same place.

2. Two words: food trucks.

There is pretty much no other time when it is socially acceptable to eat a bunch of fried Oreos than at a carnival or at Fringe. Carnivals seem dangerous though, so you might as well just hang out at Fringe, where it’s safe.

3. There’s something for everyone.

Even if theater isn’t your thing, there are more than just a few alternative options available. You can also find concerts, stand up comedy, storytelling, and a whole lot of things that will make you say, “I didn’t know that was a thing."

4. This year, planning is easy.

In their 27th year, the Orlando Fringe has introduced a new way to plan which shows to see. The Fringe-o-Matic allows you to input the shows you’re interested in and create a personalized schedule so you can make it to (almost) all of them.

5. You’ll never have to travel far.

Most of the shows at Fringe are located in or around Loch Haven Park, and venues include the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, the Orlando Repertory Theatre and the Orlando Museum of Art. These are all within walking distance of each other, and are separated only by a parking lot (which, by the way, is free to use). The only other shows are BYOV, or Bring Your Own Venue, in multiple locations in Orlando.

6. It’s not just local acts.

Maybe if you’re an Orlando native, you’re a little tired of the local scene. This festival includes production companies from lots of other states and countries, so it’s a great opportunity to see fresh faces and shows that are the best of their respective locale.

7. Things will get weird.

Even if you’re a veteran Fringe-goer, you’re definitely in for a quite a few surprises. Last year, I saw a Canadian male burlesque troupe led by a Justin Trudeau impersonator (caution: link NSFW), and it wasn’t even the craziest thing that happened.

The Orlando Fringe Festival runs from May 15th to the 28th, so it’s right around the corner. It’s all happening so fast! But if you’re not hyped yet, maybe you should take a trip to the beer tent.

Cover Image Credit: Orlando Fringe

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