‘Journey 2 the Sun’: A Brighter Concert

Up-and-coming rap and hip-hop artist Aries rocks the stage at The Loft at Center Stage on March 8. Arie’s last visit to Atlanta took place in 2019, and he has grown significantly in skill and fame since then. // Photos by Alex Dubé Student Publications

On March 8, Center Stage Theater welcomed Aries to the stage, who rocked The Loft. Since his last tour “WELCOME HOME” in late 2019 following the success of his debut album, he has grown up, taken inspiration from the industry and developed his sound.

Aries found his start on youtube, where he would post two-minute videos breaking down hip-hop smashes, such as Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour Lif3,” Playboi Carti’s “Magnolia” and Drake’s “God’s Plan.” He used all of this to advertise his own music. He knew how to leverage the online landscape by having a popular presence on Twitch, Discord and Reddit. 

His first breakthrough was in Jan 2018 when he released “CAROUSEL,” which had ultimately peaked at number 10 on Spotify’s Viral 50 – USA playlist. 

He later doubled down on this success in April with “SAYONARA,” which is his most listened to song to date. 

After his tour in 2019, there was no news of Aries. He had gone radio silent until October 2020, when he dropped the first single “FOOL’S GOLD” from his newest album “BELIEVE IN ME, WHO BELIEVES IN YOU” (BIMWBIY). 

Known for his album rollout and fanfare, Aries kept his fans on the edge, releasing five singles over half a year before releasing BIMWBIY in 2021.

Aries had developed a cult following after “WELCOME HOME” and hoped to expand it with BIMWBIY. 

He did just that with his sophomore album, debuting as the 7th most popular album on Spotify the same week Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars and TWICE dropped music. Even one of the promotional singles, “ONE PUNCH,” made it on the NBA2K22 soundtrack.

There were fans who had traveled over seven hours to attend the concert and several who braved the Atlanta rain for hours to get close to the stage. 

As the audience filled the venue, several familiar faces from music videos were seen around the hall, all of whom were employees of Wunderworld, Aries’ collective. 

The concert started on time with an opening performance by brakence. As a fairly small artist known for a unique fusion of grunge, punk and trap, brakence kept the energy up for his full hour-long set and ensured that the audience was feeling his performance. 

Similar to Aries, his fans are few and far between, but the audience matched his energy, erupting into several mosh pits through his set. After that performance, he was sure to have developed a few more fans. 

The highlights of his set were “dropout,” “fuckboy” and “cbd.” That makes it all the sadder to hear that he has been battling sickness during the tour and can not complete it with Aries.

After brakence, the crowd was restless, chanting for Aries every time they saw someone on stage. They waited for 45 minutes before they were greeted by Aries, which is not a long wait compared to the three hours fans at the Atlanta show had to wait in 2019. 

The venue darkened and the screen started a countdown, a countdown until a “Journey 2 the Sun.” Right as the countdown concluded, Aries started with “FOOL’S GOLD,” the single that started his return. With visuals inspired by his music video, the light and atmosphere complemented the energy Aries started with. 

The audience immediately erupted and that marked the beginning of the organized chaos that ensued for the rest of the night. 

The floor had broken into several sections of moshers and those who were there to vibe with the music. Throughout his set, Aries kept reminding the crowd to be civil and was not afraid to stop mid-song to ensure that the audience was protected. The set was fairly simple, with a large enough stage for Aries to pace while being supported by his guitarist and drummer. However, what he lacked onstage, he made up for in visuals and lighting. 

Throughout the whole set, his visuals perfectly encouraged an emotional response in the crowd. From hand-drawn original sketches drawn by Aries himself to rough transitions, Aries ensured everything about the visual aspect of the performance had his scuffed touch.

Midway through the set, the lights turned on. Aries does this at all of his concerts to remind himself of his fans and to acknowledge his reach and the importance of music to everyone in the venue. He opened up about his struggles with anxiety and why it took so long to release BIMWBIY. This heartwarming break ended in the audience chanting his name.

He had continued the mellow tone introduced by the break with “AMY’S GRAVE” and “BLOSSOM,” two of his much older songs, written when he was in a darker place in his life where he was struggling from debilitating anxiety. 

He approached the close with a high note of “ONE PUNCH” and “RACECAR” back to back. He also encouraged a huge mosh pit to form for “ONE PUNCH,” even restarting the song from the top due to the mosh breaking out early. 

Grinning from ear to ear, Aries was loving every minute of it, keeping his energy high and enjoyed performing, especially since the audience reciprocated the energy. He ended with “WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT,” a song manufactured to end a concert. 

However, after a call for an encore, Aries came back to say “SAYONARA.” The crowd lost it, finding a new wind, and the energy was at an all-time high ending the concert with a bang.

After the show ended, the lines for merch for Aries and brakence were insane. Aries came back to the merch booth to sign some posters, talk to fans and 

take pictures. Even though both artists had a tour bus to catch, they tried their hardest to interact with as many fans as possible.

Aries led fans on a “Journey 2 the Sun,” but the destination was not as beautiful as the path taken.