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Love Conquers All at LoveLoud NYC

 LoveLoud NYC

New York City welcomed the LoveLoud Festival with open arms at the Gramercy Theater, transforming the venue into a haven of music, love, and acceptance. LoveLoud, a nonprofit founded by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds, promotes unconditional love and support for our LGBTQ+ friends and family. Sponsored by AT&T, the festival felt like more than just a music festival; it felt like a celebration of love, identity, community, and resilience. Other nonprofits dedicated to aiding LGBTQ+ youth were spotlighted, and attendees had the chance to donate through AT&T.

Hosted by the eclectic and comedic Kalen Allen, the NYC edition of LoveLoud was a resounding success, providing a safe space for all attendees to enjoy the music and unapologetically be themselves. 

The night began with a powerful performance by Mykal Kilgore, an up-and-coming, Grammy-nominated artist. Kilgore’s set was a perfect blend of high-energy singing and dancing, coupled with poignant moments where he shared his personal struggles and triumphs as a queer black man.

Mykal Kilgore

Following Kilgore was Tyler Glenn, co-chair of LoveLoud and frontman of Neon Trees. Glenn took the stage with intense rock-star energy, donning a leather jacket and shades. His performance was nothing short of spectacular. Yes,  he delivered an electrifying show, but, more importantly, he captivated the crowd with his intimate and heartfelt stories and anecdotes. He opened up to the crowd about his journey coming out and its impact on his relationships, family, religion, career, and everything in between. His ability to be so vulnerable to the crowd through his words and songs drew the whole theater in.

Tyler Glenn

Dan Reynolds

The night ended with a performance by Dan Reynolds, founder of LoveLoud and frontman of Imagine Dragons, that I will never forget. Reynolds entered the stage with a radiant smile and an open heart. He shared his experiences with religion and how they led him to create LoveLoud. He spoke about meeting Tyler Glenn during a Mormon mission trip and how their shared experiences motivated them to combat the hate directed at the LGBTQ+ community through LoveLoud.

Reynolds' performance was deeply intimate, stripping away the heavy and rapid beats to reveal the raw emotion in his songs. Starting with "It’s Time" from Imagine Dragons' debut album Night Visions, he continued with "Next to Me" and "Whatever It Takes." However, the most striking moments were the acoustic versions of "Shots" and "Believer." As a long-time fan, I have never heard the lyrics the same way that Reynolds sang it that night. It was sung with such intention and emotion. Although the lyrics are heavy, the rapid tempos and melodies alleviate the lyrics' heaviness, but, stripped down, I heard and felt every word. The slower tempos and minimalist piano accompaniment allowed Reynolds to feel every word and syllable he sang. Reynolds sang with such emotion that I, as a fan, stopped singing along to simply listen and feel every word that he was singing and feeling. It was one of the moments where I wish I could go back to experience it again for the first time.

Dan Reynolds

Throughout the performance, Dan Reynolds took several opportunities to speak to the audience, his words a rallying cry for love, acceptance, and change. The impact of these moments was profound, offering both hope and a call to action. Although this was the first LoveLoud event in NYC, we sincerely hope this incredible event returns to the city and continues to flourish.

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