September 6, 2012 | Posted By: Liem Nguyen

I've waited over two years to see AJ Rafael come back to the DC/Metro area to perform live.  From what I've heard, he used to come to perform at George Mason University very frequently back then but has not come back until now.  AJ Rafael, if you don't know, is an independent artist who has gotten his name and music known through the means performing covers of songs of YouTube.  On YouTube, he has almost 400,000 subscribers and has almost 90 million hits on his channel.  After all the hard work and dedication towards his music, he was able to release his very first full length album called "Red Roses" last year.  This has led him to a tour around the U.S. stopping at nine cities where DC is his first stop at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium.


For this Play.Live.Breath Music Tour, he brings along the dynamic duo known simply as US comprising of Carissa Rae and Michael Alvarado.  These two singer/songwriters came together, eventually got married, made great music about their love, their relationship, and their passion for each other.  These two also recently released an album also titled "US". For this DC leg of the tour, we also had special guests performing and opening the show for AJ and US.  We had Vickie Jade, Kollaboration NYC 6 alumni Mitchell Grey, and Kollaboration DC 3 finalist Vincent Lacsamana.


The venue for this show was in Washington DC.  I wish my work was still based in Washington DC instead of Tysons, VA.  It would have made my commute to the venue a lot easier.  Since I had to drive to DC from Tysons, I left work at 5pm to account for any traffic I may hit.  It only took me about half an hour of, thankfully, very little traffic.  Once I arrived at GWU, I was trying to find street parking, but it was nearly impossible, so I decided to just park in a garage. Luckily, I later find out it was a relatively cheap flat fee of $9 after 5pm.


After I parked my car at the very bottom and last spot in the garage, I walked towards Lisner Auditorium and tried to open the door to get in, but it was locked.  Luckily, Christian, the Executive Director for Kollaboration DC, let me in early because I knew him, so I was able to sit patiently and wait inside. While waiting I decided to take pictures of the merchandise stand where Christian and the rest of the Kollaboration DC staff were helping set up. Once doors opened, I was able to get a really nice, center, front row seat to get a view for the show.  I set up my camcorder and camera before the show starts.


The show starts on time, and it opens with an up and coming young artist named Vickie Jade.  She performs a few original songs.  After she finishes her set, the next performer is Vince Lacsamana who will also perform as one of the finalists in the Kollaboration DC talent show in the upcoming weeks.  He performs with his brother Miguel and friend Tim Jaca.  You can see their performance below by clicking on the links.


[ Prologue | Performance ] Super Rich Kids (cover)

[ Prologue | Performance ] For Life

[ Prologue | Performance ] Keep You Warm

[ Prologue | Performance ] Butterflies (cover)


Next up after Vince was the band known as Mitchell Grey.  They come out performing a handful of their original songs too.  They rock it on stage before we go into the second half of the show with US and AJ Rafael.The second part of the show is under way, and Carissa Rae and Michael Alvarado also know as US come out! They perform a total of five incredible originals. Two of which are their more well known singles.  The songs these two wrote have so much passion and songs that many people can relate if they have ever fell in love with someone.  To watch Carissa and Michael's set, click on the links below and see what these two talented are all about.


[ Prologue | Performance ] Make You Love Me

Prologue | Performance ] Before We Go

Prologue | Performance ] Near Or Far

Prologue | Performance ] Never Gonna Leave You [Music Video]

Prologue | Performance ] Missin’ You Like Crazy [Music Video]


The headliner, AJ Rafael, finally comes out with his band after being introduced by his friend, Michael Copon.  Many of you may know him as the blue Power Rangers from Power Rangers: Time Force from back in the days or as Felix from TV show series One Tree Hill.  AJ performs a total of ten songs where three were released singles and two were covers.  Half way through the show, the host of the night, Nessa Rica, comes out to perform with AJ.  Jenny Suk was supposed to perform with AJ that night, but she couldn't make it because she was sick.  For the last song in AJ's set, he calls everyone back out to perform his last song together.  He had a fabulous set filled with all the songs many of his fans were hoping to hear him perform live. To watch all this songs he performed that night, click on the links below.


[ Prologue | Performance ] Emma Watson

[ Prologue | Performance ] Starlit Nights

Prologue | Performance ] Five-Hundred Days [Music Video]

[ Prologue | Performance ] Disney Medley Cover

Prologue | Performance ] Without You [Music Video]

Prologue | Performance ] Someday We’ll Know (cover)

[ Prologue | Performance ] Red Roses

Prologue | Performance ] We Could Happen [Music Video]

Prologue | Performance ] Mess We’ve Made

[ Prologue | Performance ] She Was Mines


If you'd like to see all the footage I captured from the Play.Live.Break Music show, you can click on the embedded video.

Vincent Lacasmana [Part 1]

Us The Duo [Part 2]

AJ Rafael [Part 3]


After the show ended, I went back to the lobby to wait for all the performers to come out for the meet and greet since I had the VIP tickets.  There were only about a couple dozen people there for the meet and greet, so it wasn't too crazy to meet all the performers.  I got to talk to and meet Carissa and Michael from US and also AJ Rafael.  These guys were so down to Earth.  I asked them if they would sign my CD and if I could take a picture with them.  They would all ask for my name and personally thanked me for coming out.  I also was able to get a picture with Michael Copon.


It's not everyday that you get to meet a Hollywood actor with very little security and crazy people.  After I got to meet everyone I wanted to meet, I packed up my camera and left with a satisfied feeling. I also took a lot of pictures at the show, and it can be seen below by clicking on the collage below, or the links that will re-direct everyone to either my photography Facebook page or my photography homepage.

Untitled photo

Picture Gallery Links: LiemPhoto | Facebook


If you’re interested to know more about these artists and would like hear more music by them, please do check out their website and social network pages below.  As always, go out and support all these artists by going to their shows and buying their music.


AJ Rafael


Us (Carissa Rae & Michael Alvarado)




Nessa Rica


Vincent Lacsamana


Miguel Lacsamana


Tim Jaca 


Vickie Jade


If you'd like to read up on more shows and see more pictures and videos I've taken at live shows, please be sure to visit

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