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Jake HaldenVang Comes Home To The Underground

Charlotte Music Fans Welcome Him With Open Arms

This past year has been a busy one for local musician Jake HaldenVang. He got the opportunity to make his voice be heard nationwide on Season 17 of The Voice proving what Charlotte has known for years; Jake has a gift and is ready to share it with the world. His blind audition was one to be remembered and Gwen Stefani absolutely loved what she heard giving Jake a spot on Team Gwen.  Although he didn’t win the competition, a nation of music fans now knows just how good Jake HaldenVang is and I’m fairly certain that his star will be shining brightly as he continues his musical journey. 

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His homecoming show was held at The Underground in Charlotte and Jake brought a stacked bill with him to round out the evening with Falling Through April and The Walbournes in support as well as a few surprises that were revealed later in the show. Kicking off the evening’s festivities was Charlotte power trio The Walbournes. This was my first time checking out the band and I was very glad I arrived early enough to catch their set. Led by guitarist and vocalist Trey Spears, the band has a grungy alternative rock vibe with a healthy dose of the blues and at times even a hint of some punk thrown in. Their set was tight with a solid rhythm section of Eli Helms on bass and DJ Buchanan on drums. Spears is indeed a talented guitarist with the vocal chops to match. Towards the end of their set, he presented Eli a new bass as a Christmas gift. Helms seemed shocked and wanted to strap it on but there wasn’t enough time for an instrument change. I thought it was a nice touch to present it to him on stage and let everyone be a part of it.  Their time on stage was short but sweet and I would encourage all area rock fans to get to one of their shows and see what they are all about. 

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Taking the stage next was Falling Through April, a band that always has a good time on stage and is fun to watch. Tonight they would take it to another level. As the lights dimmed, I heard a clatter, cranked my head around to see what was the matter. When what to my wondering eyes did appear but a rock and roll band and Danny Candia, the reindeer!

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Indeed, Falling Through April went with a theme for the night which was an ugly sweater party and guitarist Danny Candia had the best ugly sweater I have ever seen, complete with a hood and antlers. The band was adorned with the best in ugly sweater attire with the exception of lead vocalist Mikaela who perhaps wisely rocked a black and white checkered shirt dress instead. Once the music started, nobody cared who was wearing what as we were transformed by the powerful and poignant vocals of Mikaela. Falling Through April has come a long way and their latest album Zodiac is simply amazing. This award-winning band has nowhere to go but up so be sure to keep them on your radar. 

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Of course, the main event of the evening was still to come and by the time Jake HaldenVang took the stage, everybody was amped up and ready to go. The young man from Fort Mill, South Carolina has been a staple of the local music scene for years, wowing audiences with his heartfelt performances not to mention his wicked skills.

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The first time I saw Jake perform was years ago at Amos’ Southend as his band HaldenVang was playing. I don’t remember the headlining band but I do remember a young Jake HaldenVang impressing even the most hardened rock and roll fans with his set. There are a lot of musicians with great songs and great technical skill but it takes a little more than that to really stand out from the crowd. Call it what you will, a gift, a connection, the “it” factor, whatever words you choose Jake has it and that is what sets him apart. From the very first note, you are entranced, entering a magical world of music where nothing else matters except that moment. He came prepared to make his homecoming one nobody would ever forget. When he sang his cover of “Wish I Knew You” by The Revivalists, I know I wasn’t the only one in the audience that had literal goosebumps. We also got treated to a few new tunes that Jake will be releasing soon so stay tuned to his social media accounts for details on that. Jake even had the legendary blues guitarist  Eric Gales swing by for a jam session to end all jam sessions. Gales was an unstoppable force of nature and Jake was definitely in his element jamming with the master. In fact, it was so good, someone yelled out “I need a cigarette!” after they were done. Then they yelled out that they didn’t even smoke. Yes, it was that mindblowing. Nobody seemed to want the evening to end and Jake stuck around to meet each and every fan after the show. 

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With his blind audition getting over a million views, Jake is quickly rising to the top. After seeing his homecoming show, there is no doubt that Jake shines brighter than any Hollywood star. We can’t wait to see what 2020 will bring. 

See full gallery of the night here!

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