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Personal Anecdotes and Introspection: An Intimate Evening with Medium Build

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MusicLive CoveragePersonal Anecdotes and Introspection: An Intimate Evening with Medium Build

Personal Anecdotes and Introspection: An Intimate Evening with Medium Build

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Vast waves of authenticity filled The Rebel Lounge last Monday evening as Medium Build brought his North American tour to Phoenix. Far from the brisk, coastal landscape of his chosen home of Anchorage, Alaska, the profound indie singer-songwriter made himself at home in the desert as he crafted an intimate experience for a sold-out crowd.

Personal anecdotes and introspection: an intimate evening with Medium Build at The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix.
Personal anecdotes and introspection: an intimate evening with Medium Build at The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix.

Born Nick Carpenter, the youthful singer wore his heart on his sleeve as he delved into a discography that has been carefully curated over the course of the eight years since his first release under the moniker of Medium Build in 2016. The most recent of these releases is Country, a keen reflection on Carpenter’s learnings around his own identity and the human condition overall.

At times, the body of work feels more akin to listening to an audiobook of someone’s journal rather than a meticulously planned and orchestrated studio album. Based on the loving tangents that Carpenter would sneak in between songs during his set, it would seem that this is more or less what his intention was with the phenomenal collection of songs. Much to the pleasure of the crowd, these tracks transform into something even more beautiful in a live setting.

Personal anecdotes and introspection: an intimate evening with Medium Build at The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix.
Personal anecdotes and introspection: an intimate evening with Medium Build at The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix.

As pointed out by Carpenter himself later in the night, the venue was the perfect size for an intimate live performance. With a capacity of just 300 people, the closest fans in the crowd found themselves nearly face to face, less than an arm’s length away, from where he stood for the entirety of the night. It was a well-deserved reward for the many fans that had started forming a line that wrapped around the small building as early as two hours before Carpenter’s set actually began. Close to 9pm, the wait came to an end as the full band made their way onstage.

The evening began with the warm sonic embrace of ‘Beach Chair’, immediately pulling the room into an eager silence as Carpenter crooned “I love how you have no idea what you want / Or maybe it’s more that you just want everything”. This soon slipped into the quiet, mundane longing of “Crying Over U”. It was a provoking display of his ability to paint crushingly detailed images of loss and regret using the most broad, universal strokes of his lyrical brush. Rather than leaning into a theatrical approach to his writing, Carpenter instead reflects using household prose that any listener could easily find themselves relating to in the chorus: “Thought about crying over you, but I just turned on the TV / Thought about driving to your house, but I got stoned”.

Whether intentional or not, the crowd had collectively moved closer and closer to the stage over the course of just the first two songs, packing in to get the best view possible of Carpenter’s warm demeanor and eclectic stage adornments. Two large tapestries had been pinned up over the wall directly behind the band, accompanied by a quaint folding lawn chair that had a small Alaska-themed blanket draped over it. In front of the adjacent wall, a small side table with a vase full of bright flowers. It felt as if Carpenter had lifted the core elements of his own living room and committed to taking it with him through every stop on the tour. This was fitting for the very personal energy that the show was building, nurtured by the intimate venue size. Rather than a stop on a nationwide tour, we were lucky enough to have an experience that felt closer to a crowded house show in Carpenter’s own residence.

Livening up the room, Carpenter moved into the more upbeat, pop-rock oriented “Friend For Life”. Created in collaboration with X Ambassadors, the track is one that irresistibly draws movement out of your body. Across the crowd, heads bobbed up and down as fans nodded along enthusiastically to the track. The song that followed this, “Atom” was one of my personal favorites of the night with its absolutely enchanting, yet devastating chorus of “In my chest, atom bombs / one big shake from going off”.

Throughout the rest of the evening, Carpenter wove threads from across each of his previous works to put together a beautiful tapestry of sound. The set featured older hits like “Be Your Boy”, “Little Chubby Boy”, and “Rabbit”, in addition to most of the songs off of Country. In between nearly every song, Carpenter would sprinkle in anecdotes of introspection that encouraged people to value the most important things in life like our relationships with one another, rather than the superficial embellishments of life like social media and more. This message was sealed during a moment in his performance of “Rage”, leaving fans on a note of encouragement: “I love you. I’m sorry your life hurts. Life f**king hurts sometimes”.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t get much more authentic than Medium Build. With countless layers of raw emotion and personal thoughts poured out into the world with each body of work he releases, Carpenter is a natural storyteller in a league of his own. It’s clear that he cherishes each of his live performances, not taking his growing success for granted. As fans, we were sure to cherish each moment of the show just as much in return. Moving through the rest of 2024, Medium Build is undoubtedly an artist to watch.

Show Date: 05.20.24 // Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge // Personal Anecdotes and Introspection: An Intimate Evening with Medium Build
Photos & words by Brian Mecinas

Brian Mecinas
Brian Mecinas
Based in Phoenix, Arizona! Environmentalist by day and concert photographer by night <3

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Brian Mecinas
Brian Mecinas
Based in Phoenix, Arizona! Environmentalist by day and concert photographer by night <3

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