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Through the Eyes of a Preteen: Yaeji / Sydney is growing up / Photos and video

By MIKE LEWIS and SYDNEY LEWIS // Yaeji plays. Mike and Sydney Lewis shoot photos. Plus a video with Mike and Sydney.

Sydney has turned the rip old age of eleven as for March this year, so I suppose the first thing is that it’s no longer applicable to label her as a child but rather, a pre-teen. It also means that she’s been joining me in the photo pit for a few years now. In her mind, it’s been four years, but she forgets that we had to unintentionally take about two and a half years off due to a certain pandemic. This year has also been a little slow going as far as concerts that I’d normally cover not to mention that there have been a few she has been approved for only to learn that it was a 21+ event which immediately excludes her.

Sydney also has an infatuation with Asian artists. Last year her highlight was Japanese rockers One OK Rock while this year she’s already asking me repeatedly about Twice (some all-female K-Pop band), possibly making a road trip to Seattle for BABYMETAL, and now she’s learned that Band Maid is coming to Portland as well so if all goes as planned, she’ll get more than her quota for Asian artists. Yaeji is an artist I wasn’t familiar with, but I happened to see the flyer at the Roseland at another show I was covering and decided to go ahead and give it a shot. I knew going into it that this wasn’t normally what I would request but in trying to keep Sydney somewhat active in the photo pit, I though this might be a good change of pace for her.

Frequently she asks me, “Daddy, why do you request passes for bands who you don’t like?”
I’ve explained this to her a few times. The first thing is that every type of music presents a different approach to the live performance. Everything for the lighting to their mannerisms on stage are going to be different. What’s allowed at venues will be different as well. I’ve also told her that it is a good way for me to keep practicing and if I only requested the shows I was truly interested in, I’d probably be in the pit for about five shows a year at best.

Yaeji has a unique musical approach. She blends rip hop, electronica, house as well as a few other genres to create something that is unique as well as using both English and Korean lyrics. This is also her first tour in support of her first release, With a Hammer. While we were approved for the show, I received an email the day prior stating that she was a little nervous so it wouldn’t be until the day of the show that we’d know officially if we were still going. Luckily, Yaeji seemed to get over her initial jitters and we were approved for the show.

Visually, the lighting was a little on the dark side and not as good as what she had during her set at Coachella a few weeks later. Although Sydney wasn’t pleased about the presentation, she did her best (as did I) but she really did enjoy her music live as well as the performance. We were also allowed the first five songs whereas the norm is the first three, so that gave Sydney a little extra time.

Sydney more than likely would be interested in covering Yaeji again but keep in mind, this is a much different crowd than she’s used to. I asked her at one point which she would prefer; show like Yaeji or the rock and metal shows? Sydney stated that she would rather be in the pit for the metal and rock shows, and lucky for her in the upcoming months she’s joining me for the Decibel Tour (and her first experience at the Hawthorne as well as trying to photograph a black metal band) as well as Godflesh. While the year is already about half over at this point, hopefully she can start getting a few more shows with me as the summer moves on.


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