I walked into the Lincoln Theatre, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I have been to plenty of live music events before but never at this once movie theater turned live music venue in Downtown Raleigh.
I was there to see Alejandro Aranda, better known as Scarypoolparty. The self-taught musician and American Idol alum is one of my all time favorites from the show. As an Idol superfan, I’ve seen my fair share of auditions and performances. Aranda’s is still one of the most mesmerizing auditions I have witnessed in 17 seasons.
When his Idol journey finished, I knew I had to see him live if he came to town. No matter the venue. And with tickets costing a mere $20 for this show, I also knew this would be a great opportunity to see him before he starts playing arenas. It will happen sooner rather than later.
I arrived about 30 minutes before showtime and luckily found a spot near the stage amongst the crowded space. The show began promptly at 8pm, with an opener that was equally incredible – Sucre. Her music followed a similar style to Aranda’s, mixing in electronic loops with electric guitar riffs and drum beats. For my first time hearing her, I was impressed.
Aranda came on shortly thereafter to a rousing cheer from the near sell out crowd. He performed a setlist of fan favorites as well as new selections from his forthcoming album, Exit Form, which releases November 22. Aranda commanded the stage beautifully in his own unique way, interacting with the crowd and even showing off some dance moves.
Perhaps the most striking part of the evening was Aranda playing his tune, “Beneath the Skin.” No accompaniment other than a keyboard. Normally you hear extra chatter and noise at a concert but, in this case, the once raucous room was calm. The mass of adoring fans ceased to snap photos. I, like many others, deciding to just take it all in. If there was ever a time for the phrase “you could hear a pin drop” to be used, it was now.
From there, Aranda wrapped with “Out Loud” which is the song that introduced me and millions of others to him. While I stood there listening – and singing along with him – the chills I got when I first heard the song on television came roaring back. I could not help but get a little teary eyed, thinking about the sheer greatness I was witnessing.
I cannot thank Scarypoolparty enough for coming to Raleigh. As I stated in an Instagram post – that was liked by Aranda, I might add – I did not become a fan only for the music. I became a fan for his kindness and humility as well. All of this was on full display in Raleigh on Monday night. It is something I will never forget.