BoyWithUke brings his online presence to the 2024 BottleRock stage

by Gavin Meichelbock

This article is part of BruinLife’s BottleRock music festival coverage happening from May 24-26, 2024. 

Charley Yang, better known by his stage name BoyWithUke, is a previously anonymous internet personality who blew up on TikTok in 2021 with the release of his song “Two Moons.” He has since released four albums, “Melatonin Dreams,” “Fever Dreams,” “Serotonin Dreams” and “Lucid Dreams.” Now he is making his dreams a reality as he takes his personality off of TikTok and onto the BottleRock 2024 stage.

The show began as the massive speakers swelled to an almost deafening crescendo and the artist’s name appeared on the stage’s digital screen. The artist literally came out swinging as he spun around, swinging his arms to his opening song “Lucid (interlude).” The first song ended and BoyWithUke faked being out of breath, tricking the audience into thinking that he would take off his mask but not actually doing so (yet). During his second song, “Camouflage,” the young artist led the crowd in bumping their arms to the song’s rhythmic thump of a beat.

BoyWithUke then confessed that keen-eyed viewers were probably wondering: how was his voice coming through the mic from behind his mask? He began speaking into the bottom of the mic, his voice still amplified, and revealed that there was a mic hidden in his mask. With the confusion resolved, the boy took out his ukulele and led the audience in bouncing their hands once again. “Two Moons” leaked through the speakers as BoyWithUke continued to rock out as the screen behind glowed with neon pinks and phases of the moon. Before he started his fourth song, “Problematic,” the performer gave a behind-the-scenes tease and said there was a moment of silence before the final chorus that he wanted to fill with a drum fill – a very specific drum fill referring to a more adult website.

The sixth song of the afternoon was “IDGAF.” The screen behind him was incredibly vibrant during this song with computer-generated images of BoyWithUke smashing a heart with a baseball bat. During his next song, “Bad Things,” his performance took a shocking turn of events. During the song’s climax, BoyWithUke ripped off his mask and shirt and then proceeded to smash his ukelele to bits. With the mask now off, he told a more personal story to the audience about his troubled upbringing and how his parents didn’t have a lot of money when he was growing up. He then thanked the crowd for their support that allowed things to get better for him.

BoyWithUke then announced his next song but was interrupted by technical difficulties. The mic on his new ukulele didn’t have batteries, and since the old one was now broken, he and the audience waited for the issue to be fixed. Once the batteries arrived, he played his pop song “Trauma” acoustically, saying this is how he originally wanted it. The pain was palpable in his voice as his emotion rang through clearly without the mask on.

BoyWithUke then treated the audience by closing his show with three unreleased songs. The first one he played comes out May 31 and is titled “Can You Feel It?” The artist asked the crowd if they can feel it and launched into the laid-back lo-fi rock song. As it progressed, however, it evolved into a techno dance beat, accompanied by BoyWithUke shredding on the electric guitar. The next unreleased song is one he said he doesn’t perform often, titled “Backseat.” The piece possessed a rap-style beat that featured an acoustic guitar with a screamo chorus.

To cap off his performance, the performer asked the audience to bounce their hands one last time and began his final song of the set. Although it began slow and acoustic, it transitioned to an electric sound and feel as BoyWithUke screamed the final words of the song. The online personality brought a massive stage presence that was surely felt at BottleRock 2024.

Featured Image courtesy of BottleRock Napa Valley

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