Kevin Abstract Focuses on Inclusive Love

By Veronica Liow, Deputy Multimedia Editor

The Studio at Webster Hall is a rather intimate venue. There are no barriers between the audience and the stage. There are no security guards pushing the crowd away from the artist. And when Kevin Abstract performed there on Friday, March 10, audience members — ages ranging from barely-teens to those who were twice their age — were able to get close and personal with the rising indie pop artist.

Kevin Abstract, whose real name is Ian Simpson, is a musician based out of Los Angeles. Though his debut album, “MTV1987,” was released in 2014, he has been making music since the age of 14. Most recently, he released “American Boyfriend,” an album that fixates on finding love in a world in which people always seem to hate. And during his show, it was clear through the artist’s interactions with the audience that the focus was on love, not hate.

Throughout the concert, Kevin Abstract reached into the audience, holding the hands of many, as his unique sense of music penetrated the underground venue. Songs such as “American Boyfriend” were clear crowd favorites, as the crowd sang along and grooved to the distinct rhythm of Kevin Abstract’s music.

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Perhaps what made the concert most intimate was not only how he interacted but also the setup of the stage. With mannequins, a life-size astronaut figure and pinned hats on walls, it was as if the crowd was peering into a bedroom window, watching Kevin Abstract jump and dance around as he sang. And with such fitting lighting — red, yellow and blue colors scattered throughout the venue — the vibes at the concert could be described almost as mystical and otherworldly.

After the concert ended, Kevin Abstract came back on to perform “Miserable America” due to the roaring shouts persuading him for an encore. Throughout the piece, the crowd all chanted along to the lyrics, “I don’t no more,” as they proceeded to enjoy what was left of a musically engaged night.

That was not the last of Kevin Abstract though. The artist came out from backstage to greet fans, hugging them and even caring to have small conversations before making time for others. Actions speak louder than words, and Kevin Abstract truly practices the love and inclusivity that he preaches in his music.

Although Kevin Abstract’s “Death of a Supermodel Tour” will last only until the end of March, fans who missed his tour can find still him playing at several music festivals throughout the beginning of summer.

Email Veronica Liow at music@nyunews.com.

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