Nick is the first to hit the stage as he sings the background hook of 'I Want It All'. Amy comes out right behind him as she quickly establishes her powerful vocal capabilities while dancing and engaging the crowd. Not to fall out of the spotlight, Nick breaks out the trombone and displays the instrumental performance skills that got him a spot on the concert band and jazz ensemble when the two initially met while attending Boston's Berklee College of Music.
They go into 'Hello' which is the first exposure we get to Amy's rap abilities. She's been called the 'female Busta Rhymes', and having now seen her perform live I can fully confirm that to be an accurate descriptor. Her timing was on point, her diction was clear, and rather than her appearing to just regurgitate meaningless words her rhymes begin to unveil to the concert-goers her background of being from Nebraska and the adherence she kept to her mother's instruction to 'chase what you're after.'
The possibility of Amy chasing her dreams looks like a reality with Nick backing her on vocals. Nick's upper vocal range is tested in 'Pulses', but his tone is unwavering as he lets loose on the background on this one. Amy's able to rap to a slower beat on this one, but it's a good display of the two together. Nice change-up on the tempo from the previous songs.
'What's In It For me' allows for Amy and Nick to work the crowd again. Amy's engaging well, and Nick's intermittent use of the trombone is fascinating.
Amy's inner-Jamaican comes out in 'Drifter'. We're beginning to see that there's more and more layers to peel back on this pair. With each new song we see a different aspect of Karmin's musicality:
- Acapella: we get a glimpse of Amy's falsetto vocals... nice.
- Neon Love: power ballad from their album 'Pulses'... strong vocals from both Amy and Nick.
- Gasoline: I'll describe this as 'harmonious reggae'.
- 'Try Me On': song you'd want to listen to on the way to the beach. Great trombone solo, and nice back and forth on the vocals between Amy and Nick.
- 'Night Like This': starts off like Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody where you can really hear the pleasant quality to Amy's voice. The song then transitions into a One Direction-style beat with a quickened tempo.
- 'I Told You So': Amy gets the crowd to participate in a sing-along and then breaks into a very fast tempo rap. She's got skills! Nick busts out on the trombone to an Egyptian-themed background while keeping up with his female counterpart.
- 'Puppet': we get both singers performing together... just singing, nothing fancy, which is refreshing now that we can just watch them interact together onstage.
- 'Hate To Love You': with a brief preface to the song, Amy announces that this one's about her relationship with Nick, where you hate somebody, but love somebody -- and that it's with the same person. The song is fun and the students in the audience are identifying with the vibe.
The main set of the concert ends here, but thankfully the duo comes back out for an encore. Amy reverts to showing off the same lingual prowess that garnered their millions of YouTube followers as they cover Busta Rhymes' 'Look At Me Now'. They pull a young man from the audience, Josh, to join them up on stage -- surprisingly, he apparently knows every single lyric and Amy is entertained. Karmin ends the night with their biggest hit-to-date 'Broken-Hearted' which sends the crowd home in good spirits.
Karmin is musically talented -- when Nick wasn't playing the trombone, he was playing the keyboards or driving tempo while playing a drum onstage. Amy's voice has a wonderful tonality should the pair ever decide to slow things down and concentrate on ballads. If Karmin decides to stay in the upbeat / pop genre, their formula with Nick on background and accompanying vocals will bode well with Amy's strong vocals and aggressive rapping skills. I'm not really certain as to how they could grow further, but am definitely looking forward to seeing what comes next from this talented pair!