Dark red lights filled the venue as it reverberated with deep bass nodes and billowing clouds of stage smoke. Amidst the dramatics, an offstage voice cut through the crowd at Skully’s Music-Diner.
The voice was that of former child pop star, Aaron Carter, who is attempting to make a comeback. Wednesday night was a step in that direction. Carter blended his love of electronic dance music and trap music with his current and past hits.
A highlight of the night was the artist’s latest release and current hit, “Sooner or Later”, from his most recent EP “Love.” If anything, “Sooner or Later” is Carter’s comeback anthem. It is the song that demands respect for the reinvented musician. For the audience members who were initially distracted with shooting the perfect Snapchat, Carter made sure to play a remixed version of the same song later on in his set. This was not the first time a song made a repeat appearance.
The recent single, “Fool’s Gold”, was another fan favorite and recurring feature. The pop track has enjoyed success as a top 10 song on the Billboard Spotify Viral 50 and appeared on “Now That’s What I Call Music! 60.” It was also “enjoyed” three times during Carter’s hour-long set. Each subsequent performance was hailed as a remix, complete with new edm riffs and styles.
If anyone in the audience did not know the words to “Fool’s Gold” beforehand, they definitely did by the end of the show. This may indicate a lack of material or unwillingness to return to his boyhood roots, or it could be a way to remind the audience, “Hey, I make good music! Listen to that song you like one more time!”
Songs like “I Want Candy” and “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” gave the audience a taste of the old Carter they loved, too. The audience also responded with cheers and squeals while Carter remixed the traditional tunes. Following his blast to the past, he jammed out while playing a trap beat, further attempting to distance himself from his old, poppy, teen ways.
Although repetitive at times, the material was engaging and entertaining. Carter grew up on the stage and you can tell. There’s more to his show than simply the vocals: He works the crowd while tapping out the different beats to either complement his new material or redefine those of his past. What some may call washed up, I call rejuvenated. It’s like when people attend their high school reunions to see what happened in the past decade to the people they used to know … mainly, who got fat.
Carter, who told the audience he was out of the music scene for the past 10 or 12 years, is one of those high school question marks. Would he make it out of the dark Hollywood world of entertainment? Now attempting to re-enter the scene, Carter has rebranded himself as an artist who remembers his roots, but knows he has so much more in store for his future.
With such positive energy pulsing through the room, I began to feel like I was a part of this comeback. He builds a camaraderie with his fans, whether that entails following them all on Twitter, throwing out shirts, hats and towels post-performance or snapping individual selfies after the show.
“I love you guys,” Carter told the audience. “Thank you for believing in me again.”