Sunday, December 28, 2008

I am not afraid to keep on living.

I know I'm two years late, and I'm not going to write a review on a CD that's been out for that long.

But I just bought The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance yesterday.

Holy Frig. It is amazing.

Woah.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Subtlety isn't always my strong suit...

This song has been stuck in my head for weeks. It makes me want to dance. Possibly on a table. It's a simple hook and a great bass line and a kind of beach vibe mixed into the rock and roll. And the video is a great, well done concept. This is the kind of creative stuff that I wish I had thought of myself:



There are two versions of the video. According to an interview with the Eagles, it's because the director, Liam Lynch, got bored waiting for this version to render, so he took the footage and created an acid trip of a second video. That's just awesome.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Vinyl

My favorite band is Weezer.

My favorite album is The Blue Album.

My favorite song is "Only in Dreams."

Today, for the first time, I got to hear it played straight from a record. I was a vinyl virgin, but had wanted Blue on vinyl for a long, long time. And finally, this Christmas, it sat wrapped and waiting under the tree.

I didn't even know how to use the turntable. It was embarrassing, but after one terrible screech (note: the needle should be on the record. If you think it's on the record but it's actually right beside it, terrible sounds occur, both from the record and the owner of the turntable) it started to play. Was it entirely different from the CD? Was the sound quality 1000 times better? No. But there was a noticeable difference, especially in song intros that were composed of just one guitar. Everything sounded a touch rougher, but nicer. And "Only in Dreams" was still perfect and building and beautiful.

I need to find a frame for it because I don't own a turntable of my own and I can't think of many other things I'd rather hang on my wall.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas with a No Doubt cover of "Oi to the World" by the Vandals. You've got to love both versions, but this one has a video directed by Sophie Muller. Enjoy.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Yule Ball

Sunday night I ventured through the crazy snowstorm with some of my best friends to go to the 4th annual Yule Ball at the Middle East. It was a strange show, but very, very fun.

The crowd was composed of all sorts of fans - parents with children, forty year old women dressed up like 14 year old goth chicks, costumed Harry Potter fans, and college kids with secret geeky sides. We grabbed some butterbeers from the bar (cream soda and butterscotch syrup to replicate the Hogsmeade favorite) and settled in for a night of silly fun.

After a rapping Dumbledore, the Whomping Willows played. They were you average Wizard rock band, but they did a fabulous cover of "Mickey" by Tony Basil, except that it was "Remus" and the chorus noted that "you take me by the heart when you take me by the branch."

I'm such a dork.

Next on were The LeeVees. They had absolutely nothing to do with wizard rock - they're a Hanukkah band. And they were awesome. They threw gelt into the crowd, sang about the epic applesauce/sour cream debate, and had a tambourine shaped like the star of David. Also, they were all in their 30s or 40s and were members of other real bands (one of the guitarists is also in Guster - awesome!) so the music they played was actually really good.

Next up was a speech by a member of the Harry Potter Alliance. Keep my politicians out of my music and my musicians out of my politics. Thanks.

Then, Draco and The Malfoys. They are very... strange. It's two guys on guitars playing to backup tracks off of a laptop. It's not the best music in the world, but they're very animated and jumpy. Enough so that they got my attention as I walked by the stage they were playing at Warped this Summer (which meant I grabbed my best friend's arm, pointed, screamed "Wizard Rock!" and proceeded to dance to "99 Deatheaters.")

Jason Anderson and the Best were on next. Jason Anderson's kind of awesome. He's got this weird, homey, New England sing-along vibe that makes everyone in the room feel happy. He gets the entire audience into what he's playing, making you scream back lines or get down on the floor with him. Jason doesn't play to a crowd, he plays with the crowd. The opening chords of "July 4, 2004" sent me back to last Winter when I spent a lot of time wrapped up in a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate listening to his feel good music, and during "So Long" he got the entire audience to sing with him, for 4 minutes, that "the best thing in the world, is to love someone and they love you back." It's actually kind of gorgeous and amazing to see a crowd that big and diverse come together in one song. There are a ton of free downloads on his website, and it would be a disservice if you didn't at least check out some of his stuff.

Finally, Harry and the Potters. The first, the best. Wizard rock at its finest. They sang Christmas songs. They sang wizard songs. The crowd sang with them. The crowd smiled with them. The crowd laughed with them. If you listen to nothing else by them, check out "Save Ginny Weasley." If you're at all interested in Harry Potter, pick up "Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock." It's a silly, crazy CD, and it will simultaneously make your music collection 1000 times more embarrassing and 1000 times cooler. The end of the set included bubbles, balloons, and a brass ensemble composed of fans.

Sadly, we had to leave before the encore in order to make the last train home (and just barely caught it due to a disabled red line train at the MGH stop. We literally ran through South Station to catch our train, and let me tell you that while 3 inch heels give me a bit of a boost above the concert crowd, they are certainly not meant to run in.)

It was one of the weirdest, most unconventional rock shows I've been too, but the Yule Ball was so much fun. So much.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fall Out Boy: Live From the Chicago Theatre

I tried so hard to get into the Fall Out Boy club show at Harper's Ferry in November, but orgo lab, a rainstorm, and a complete lack of parking in Allston left me soaking wet and unhappy with no music. As a consequence, I was very excited when Fuse decided to sponsor and broadcast their show at the Chicago theater.

The curtain rises on "Thks Fr Th Mmrs". I'd first like to point out how annoying of a title that is to type. I get the whole reference to a break up by text message, but wow. I had to look up how to misspell a title. Anyways, this is how I wish the whole show went. The band is playing. There are lights but no pyro, and the focus is on the music. Pete Wentz is channeling Ryan Ross's makeup, but it's okay. The band rocks the song, plays it well, and puts enough energy into it that I wish I was there.

Next is "Thriller." It keeps up the same high powered energy. It's good. Really good. Also, I've always really loved the line "fix me in 45," because I spent a lot of the summer between high school and college being unhappy and angry. But I'd get in my car, put in Infinity on High and let FOB entirely change my mood back into something alright. It's a highly self aware lyric.

Next is "I Don't Care," and a part of me feels like this should have been the first song, or that it might have been in the live show. A white curtain pulls up, the band name is in huge letters at the back of the stage, it's a high powered song... it just feels like a show opener. Also, I feel like this would have been the smart song to open up with. It's almost as big as "Thks Fr Th Mmrs" and is their current single, the one on everyone's minds. Now here they've added pyrotechnics and strobe light guitars, and really, I don't like it so much. I don't hate it, but it's a little distracting. But again, they throw so much energy into the song that it's really hard to be unhappy.

"I'm Like a Lawyer With The Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off" is next. Another title that would be really obnoxious to write over and over again (which is, I assume, why they marketed it as "Me and You" when it was a single). Pete starts it off with a little intro about how everyone eventually falls in love, and it made me realize how much of the in between song chatter they must have cut out of this. I love the little snippets of conversation or throw outs to the crowd that come in between songs - it's part of the live experience. Either Fuse has cut out almost all of it, or Fall out Boy doesn't talk on stage, which I can't believe is true. There had to have been some kind of "How are you feeling tonight?" or some kind of verbal interaction between band members during the set, but it's missing, and it's absence it noticed. The end of the song is a little awkward, because there were obviously parts that they let the crowd sing, but that have been muted out because editors for some reason feel like the only thing you should hear the crowd do is cheer.

"This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race." There are some strangely placed pyrotechnics. And the sound editors (mixers?) have gone overboard with Joe and Pete. They pretty much mute out all of Pete's screaming and they change their voices a lot. Let's be real - Pete and Joe are awesome with their instrumental chords, but not so much with their vocal chords. Yet we still love to hear them scream it out in their own voice, not a mutated voice that the producers feel is more melodic.

Patrick just screamed something that sounded like "sing it out" in a very Pete-like scream, and it confused me. It wasn't bad, just unexpected.

And here come the bear dancers. Yeah. Bear dancers. The song is "Headfirst Slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet," and I feel like it might be a good song, but I can't pay attention to it because there are dancers dressed up like bears. They're acting out some scene of heartbreak. I think. It's done in a weird combination of modern and lyrical and cheerleading. I just don't know. But unlike the pyrotechnics, which I'll put up with, I hate this. It's distracting and it really takes away from the music. I go to concerts (or watch them on TV...) for the music. I want to see the band, not a stage act. I'm disappointed in whoever decided this was a good idea, because it wasn't.

"Americas Suitehearts." Pete thanks Fuse, and of course they air that. I really enjoy the song. The chorus is heavy on the guitars and the noise, but in a controlled and measured way. It's also nicely balanced out by the quieter verses. They release some confetti (multi colored and people shaped) and I've always felt confetti should really be an end of show thing, but it's alright because of one shot that they get of Pete. It's framed with just his face at the very right of the frame, smiling quietly with the garish purple streak of makeup running over his eye. The rest of the frame is black with red, green, and blue falling confetti, and it's perfect. It's a quick shot, but it's the kind of clip that for a small second lets you in on how it must feel to be up on the stage and caught up in the music.

"Sugar We're Going Down." This time, they let the crowd singing at the beginning take over the sound and it's perfect. Again they turn down Pete's screaming and show a lot of badly dancing scene kids. Also, the strobe lights are crazy enough to make me fear for any epileptics in the crowd.

"Dance Dance." I'm a sucker for strong bass lines. There's a shot in here that I love, on the last "I only want sympathy." The camera is moving forwards through the crowd towards the stage on level with everyone's heads, as though you're actually walking forwards through the crowd. You can see the entire stage, and these two pyrotechnics displays are waving back and forth behind the band. It's a nice shot that sends you into the crowd and splits the screen between the normal kids of the crowd and the rock star quality on the band members. Love it.

The last song is "Saturday," which was the first Fall Out Boy video I found on my own. I'd seen Sugar and Dance, Dance, but this was the one that I searched out because I was interested in the band. I loved it because it held both a story line and the rough scenes of playing in some little basement. They perform it well, but the fans go stupid and start getting up on stage and being obnoxious and distracting. One girl at the end who is particularly obnoxious and hangs off of Patrick's neck does an awesome stage dive. Except she gets what's coming to her, because when you dive that hard into a crowd of small, screaming, preteen girls, they're not going to catch you. She dives straight into the floor. On another note, Pete's screaming is great, and I love how the hardcore screamo part of him still gets to come out and play sometimes. However it looks like he tries to actually sing at some points and the sound engineers totally mute him out. Hah.

And then, with a big flourish of drums, it's over. It wasn't a bad hour of TV, but I feel like it could have been better. I'm not sure how much of it to blame on the band and how much to blame on whoever pieced together the footage. However I can say that whoever did edit this has very obviously never been to a scene show, and doesn't know what it should feel like to be there.

I'll do better.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ca 2+ binds troponin which binds tropomyosin and allows actin myosin interactions...

I would first like to state that I do not enjoy Nickelback.

Now that that's out of the way, finals are over. Finally. I had my biology final this morning, which meant I spent 14 straight hours studying yesterday. And let me tell you, I get really silly after 14 straight hours of studying. At one point I lost adhesion with my chair and metastasized down the hallway.

At hour 8, I started making little signs to put on the table I was studying at that marked where I was: "Hour 8 - Egf, Grb2, Sos, Ras, Raf, Mek, MAP Kinase" or "Hour 10 - axon depolarization." It made me laugh a little and also informed everyone else in the dining hall of just much of a crazy bio geek I am.

Anyways, I felt like I had a little timer over my head counting how long I had been there, which reminded me of a music video. The person I was studying with had no clue what I was talking about, and after 14 hours even I wasn't quite sure. But now that my finals are done and I can actually breathe, I found it.

It does, however, remind me how much Nickelback makes my skin crawl. I don't know what it is about bands like that (Nickelback, 3 Doors Down, Daughtry) but I just can't stand them. However, Nigel Dick made a pretty cool video with an interesting concept, so here it is:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dresden Dolls

Initially, I'd planned on posting the video for Girl Anachronism, because I'm having one of those days (weeks, months, years).

But while searching for it, I ran across this, which I thought was kind of beautiful. I love the statues and the idea of sending anonymous CDs through the mail, connecting people and brightening their days. I love real mail, stamps, and sealing wax. There's something about tangible letters and envelopes that gets lost in e-mail and the internet. Also, the video shows a much softer side of the Dresden Dolls that doesn't appear in most of their other videos.

"Sing" by the Dresden Dolls, directed by Michael Pope (sadly, MTV doesn't seem to care much about video quality, so the sound's a little flaky):




"If I were any older I would act my age, but I don't think that you'd believe me."

Monday, December 8, 2008

...What?

I love Weezer. I really do. But occasionally, I'm massively confused by Rivers.

The song isn't bad, but the new video he made for one of the songs from Alone II makes me a little worried about him.

Check it out for yourself.

It's a cute concept once I step back from it. They keep him in a box, roll him out when they need him, then lock him back up in the trailer. But when you're just watching it, it's a little creepy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

a good song, an okay video

I was a mathlete in high school.

I know. You're so shocked.

My junior year we were coming back from a math meet one night, riding in the school's very own short bus, and listening to oldies on the radio. We were obviously the epitome of cool. One of the seniors at the time, the only member of the football team who was secure enough in his own skin to actually join the math team, walked up to the front of the bus with a CD in hand.

"What is it?" one of the freshman asked.

"Don't worry about it," he replied. "Just enjoy it."

Musical advice to live by.

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Fill My Heart With Music"

I've been to a few shows at the Middle East, both upstairs and down, and I have never been disappointed. Last night's show was no exception.

We got there far too early to be cool, but it meant we got to stand pretty close to the stage. First up were Akudama. I wasn't expecting much, but they really surprised me. "Dishes" was a pretty, happy little song with a really cute riff at the beginning. "Love" made me smile as well, and all of their music was easy to listen to and enjoyable. They may not set the world on fire, but I might go see them again if they're in the area.

One case of mistaken identity and one Jesse Lacey look-alike later and Exit Clov was on. It's the first time I've seen two violins whipped out at an indie show, and though surprised, I enjoyed it. With a pair of female vocalists and a barefoot guitar player, they played a lot of interesting, varied music. Sometimes you find a band that has a good sound, but only the one. Exit Clov had a host of sounds, from the violins and harmonies of "Violent Berries" to the upbeat "MK Ultra" which has been stuck in my head all day. The broken up lyrics mixed with the synth smartly highlighted the mind control references and made quite a few fans in the crowd.

The Postelles were on next. They weren't bad, but I really didn't find them to be anything special either. However as they were tuning, I leaned over to the friend I'd gone with and remarked that everyone had been playing Fenders all night. "Can't someone mix in a Gibson?" I asked. And then, mere seconds later, the guitarist pulled out a Gibson. Perfect.

Finally, the reason I'd gone out the night before my Bio lab final, Jukebox the Ghost. I'd seen them once before in September and decided that I had to see them again because they make some of the happiest, most infectious indie pop I have ever heard. With only three members (Tommy - guitar, Jesse - drums, Ben - keys) they prove that there are actually bands out there who know how to really play their instruments and make great music. It's not often that you find a band who can pull off a three part song about the apocalypse, complete with an introductory story, and make you come out of it smiling. They started last night off with "Mistletoe" and continued the holiday theme a little later in the show with an absolutely fabulous cover of "What's This?" (I'm a sucker for The Nightmare Before Christmas.) Both their music and quirky stage presence make it impossible not to smile while they're playing, from Jesse playing drums with one hand and the tambourine with the other to Ben attacking his keyboard one moment and throwing his arms up in the air the next. Intra-band smiles and a play between Ben's modulating vocals and Tommy's commanding singing make for a fabulous show that is even better than the recordings on their CD.

Their music is fresh and fun and different, and they've cemented their place in my handful of favorite bands. I cannot possibly recommend them enough. As even more proof of their awesomeness, their new music video for "Victoria," directed by Shervin Lainez:




Nights like these remind me why I wade through so many crappy indie rock shows: sometimes, you find something special.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kiss My Sass

For the first 30 seconds, I kind of hated this. But then I realized that it was awesome, and must have been done over such a long period of time.

And that I'm pretty sure this is exactly what it must feel like to be in Cobra Starship.

COBRA STARSHIP - Kiss My Sass


(Tangent: There have been a handful, or maybe an armload, of music video directors who have gotten their start by traveling with bands, shooting tour footage, and making DVDs or random web videos. It's the route I want to take. And this is what I imagine that life would feel like.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Even though the treadmills were classic...

So I'm writing a film paper comparing 1964's The Last Man on Earth to 2007's I Am Legend. Actually, I should be writing my film paper, but I'm blogging about music instead.

Anyways. It turns out I Am Legend was directed by Francis Lawrence, a music video director.

Oh really?

So to do some extra research on his shooting and directing styles (i.e. procrastinate) I decided to watch some of his music videos, and found this little gem of OK Go, pre-treadmills. I love the slow ping-pong match in the middle:


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shut Your Mouth and Get Down on the Floor

The SassyBack Tour stopped at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence last night. Obviously I had to be there.

Sing it Loud and Hit the Lights played first. They were nothing special. Sing it Loud sounds like every other fledgling scene band of the moment, and Hit the Lights just reminded me of Valencia. They weren't bad, and they got the crowd moving, but they were... well, they weren't much of anything. Hit the Lights also had some tech problems that weren't their fault, namely the lead singer's mic which kept breaking up and fading out, but which still brought down the tone a bit.

Forever the Sickest Kids ("Are they really the sickest kids, or just sicker than most?") weren't bad. I'd heard rave reviews, and while they didn't fully live up to them, they were animated and fun and enjoyable. I danced a bit, I sang along a bit, and I marveled at their drummer's hair (seriously, it's awesome. Also, he broke the bass drum pedal and kept going like a trooper, so props to him). But they were good enough that I've looked up their myspace and checked out what they sound like without 2000 people screaming along, and that's what supporting bands should really be looking for.

And then came Cobra Starship. They are one of my favorite bands and for good reason. They're different and fun and connect so well with the crowd that you're convinced they're playing for you and only you. And how many bands can say that parts of their songs have awesome keytar solos? Probably the best concert I have ever been to was Cobra Starship at the Middle East last January, and I saw them again at Warped Tour in August. And still, after three shows in one year, they have me dancing and screaming along like a 12-year-old fangirl.

Notes specific to last night: They started off with the "Church of Hot Addiction" and played through everything from "Diamond Girl" to a surprise rendition of "Hollaback Boy". Alex Suarez rocked out on the maracas at one point and rocked his Chanel bass for all that it was worth. Nate has a new set of drums with CS on the front - a bit garish but they fit in well with their stage set. Gabe worked the crowd as well as he always does, but I noticed Ryland and the rest picking up a bit more of the vocals than I've seen in the past, which worries me a bit. A while back Gabe found out he had a cyst on his vocal chords, but they still decided to tour anyways. In my mind, postponing the tour in favor of not screwing up the lead singer's voice permanently would have been a good idea, but who am I to decide?

Some fans worried Cobra would change when they got on MTV and started playing larger venues and larger crowds. I may have worried a little myself. But true to form, they're still the same band I fell in love with almost two whole years ago, and the same band that played to the packed Middle East in January. They haven't changed one bit, and I love them even more for it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Phantom Planet

I didn't know they existed until this year. Then they signed to Fueled by Ramen and put out a new record and seemed out of place on the label full of fresh new twenty somethings. But it made people go back and look at their old records, brought in a new set of fans that would never have met them otherwise.

I saw them earlier this year as a part of the Honda Civic Tour. Alex Greenwald had to qualify "California" as their own song, because so many people had been congratulating them on their awesome cover of "that song from the OC." Maybe that made them realize it wasn't happening anymore. But they made me smile, made me dance, and got stuck in my head.

Now, they're leaving, with one last show at the Troubador.

Goodbye, Phantom Planet. We'll miss you <3

Monday, November 24, 2008

Not music related, but definitely a scene kid accessory.


IMG_2203
Originally uploaded by Lexie527
I was on the green line the other day, coming back from the MFA.

Oh. That rhymed.

Anyways, I was standing in an overcrowded train with my headphones on when I noticed a girl gesturing at me and saying something. Confused, I pulled off my headphones. She proceeded to exclaim her love of my messenger bag, and wanted to know if I'd made it myself.

Well, I hadn't, but I love it too. It's a Vy & Elle bag. They're a company from Arizona that makes bags of all shapes and sizes from used billboard vinyl (get it? Vinyl. Vy & Elle. Vinyl.) Mine is an envoy messenger bag, and both the shoulder strap and the closure are made from old seat belts. As an added bonus, the seat belt on mine is from a GM car, and I drive a '95 Oldsmobile. Awesome, I know.

It's been pretty resilient over the past year or so (I bought it at a store called Red Fish Blue Fish in Hyannis). The only problem I've had is a bit of cracking at the top of the bag which I repaired with some blue duct tape.

Still confused over why some stranger talked to me on the E train? I was too, until she proceeded to ramble on about how she was from North Carolina. Of course: no Bostonian would talk to a stranger on a subway.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"No, not right at the moment I cannot."

It's been one of those weeks.

One of those weeks when everything goes wrong and all you want to do is crawl under the covers and sleep for days. But I can't do that and even if I could I assume that it would freak out my roommate.

So instead, Weezer is called in to help. My favorite band, my second favorite music video, and a little help from MTV's new music video website can make everything better.

(Side note: Isn't it hilarious that MTV needed to make a new website for music videos? And also, TRL is gone. I was never a big fan of TRL, because I always wanted to see the whole music video without fans and VJs talking over it, but it's a big part of music video history and for that I am sad to see it go.)

So here it is, "Keep Fishin'" off of Maladroit, directed by Marcos Siega, who also directed some other wonderful Weezer videos like "Island in the Sun" and "Hash Pipe."

What's better than Weezer and Muppets to make a bad week alright?

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Do you miss looking up from the floor at my face on a stage in a crowded room?"

So as I sit here, munching on saltines and peanut butter (look at this saltine: crazy!), I'll tell you about Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour.

Yes. I went to a The Academy Is... show with a bunch of screaming sixteen-year-olds. Didn't I already tell you I was a scene kid?

I stood outside for a couple hours, marveled at the surprising amount of unflattering haircuts and leggings, and the entered the Roxy around 6:45 when the doors opened. Which was surprising, considering doors were supposed to open around 6:30. As a doorman ripped my ticket, I saw a sign with the set times on it. Hey Monday's set was supposed to start at 6:30 with doors. And so started the night of confusing set times.

As Hey Monday played, the lead singer kept apologizing that their set had been cut down. There was no explanation as to why. They were nothing to write home about; the mics were turned down too far to hear anything they were singing, leaving one of their guitarists looking as though he was just sadly lip-syncing to his own song.

Carolina Liar was on next. Also nothing special. While one of their guitarists looked very excited and happy the entire time, the rest of the band looked a little bored. They were dressed as boy scouts, which was at least a cute gimmick, but the lead singer's long hair and fedora-esque hat led me to believe he was trying to be Kid Rock. Which he was not.

Then We The Kings came on stage. This was the time when I decided to extract myself from the crushing mass of teenage girls. I sadly lost my spot close to the stage (I'd been about 5 people back) but couldn't see how spending an entire night crushed between a girl who smelled like a Bath and Body works store and a boy with the pointiest elbows I'd ever encountered was going to be enjoyable. It took about 5 minutes to squeeze out of the crowd (during which time someone grabbed onto my ponytail and tried to hold me back, which I didn't understand) but I eventually went and stood back by the sound booth.

It was my second time seeing We the Kings (I saw them on the Really Really Ridiculously Good Looking Tour with Cobra Starship back in January) and was still unimpressed. While their songs are catchy and bouncy ("Check Yes Juliet" gets stuck in my head like nobody's business) I just don't see anything overwhelmingly impressive.

After they played, I decided to move back up onto the dance floor. I stayed near the back and expected TAI to play around 9pm, because the Roxy had signs hanging up that mentioned a hard 10pm curfew due to the fact that they're an actual nightclub and had a DJ coming in at 11pm. However by this point, the teeming mass of teenagers was pushing towards the stage so hard that people were getting crushed, so the club security had to take about 10 minutes to convince the crowd to move back and give them room. Then the lights went out, signaling that TAI was about to play, and the crowd immediately ran forward again.

(Tangent: I don't get it. I mean yes, we all want to be close to the stage. That's why we get there early and stand in line and deal with the crowd. But we're all really there because we enjoy the music, which sounds exactly the same 5 feet from the stage as it does 25 feet from the stage. Can't we all just take a few steps back and breathe and have a much better time?)

Of course, The Academy Is... was awesome. They played some of my favorite songs ("Black Mamba" and "Checkmarks" made me smile) and William Beckett even played a new song acoustically, after likening Boston to Chicago and praising the changing seasons. One of my favorite things about The Academy Is... is there ability to actually put on a show. They really look like they're enjoying the music and enjoying playing and having a good time. Beckett is great at working a stage, climbing up on speakers, jumping off of drum sets, and prancing around like he's the only rock star in the world. While he's amazing to watch, I'm sometimes afraid that it takes away from the feeling of TAI being a band and not just Beckett: Mike Carden is often playing way off on the far right of the stage, their other guitarist Michael Guy Chislett is overshadowed as he strums on his gorgeous silver glitter Gibson. The bassist, Adam Siska, had his own share of speaker climbing at one point, but only really smiled a few times through the show. Butcher, the drummer, held his own, banging away with everything he had in the glow of his own spotlight, but it's really Beckett that steals the stage as he throws mic stands and amps up the crowd.

The show closed about five minutes after the "hard 10pm" curfew, and I got to run across the street to be overcharged in a parking garage. Ah Boston, how I love you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Marc Webb

Interesting fact: I don't want to be Steven Spielberg. I want to be Marc Webb.

"Who?" you ask.

Marc Webb is a music video director. He currently works for DNA LA and has directed videos for everyone from Hot Hot Heat to Midtown to My Chemical Romance to Weezer. I guarantee you have seen and loved some of his videos without even knowing it. He has worked with artists from every genre and makes amazing videos. Especially videos about losers ("She Hates Me" by Puddle of Mudd and "Perfect Situation" by Weezer are great examples of this).

My opinion on music videos is that they should draw you in, even to a song by a band that you don't particularly like, and make you connect with the video. Music videos are a marketing tool, and they allow bands to reach different viewers and audiences by putting a different spin on the song, or by showing you a different level of meaning in the music. Or just by being fun and fast and interesting.

In any case, Marc Webb did this for my with his video for "I'm Not Okay" by My Chemical Romance. I refused to listen to MCR for years, claiming that even if I was sad and unhappy, I was just not that emo. But I watched his video and found it so enthralling and witty and perfectly descriptive that I watched it over and over again. Not only had I found my new favorite music video, but I had also found one of my new favorite bands in the process. Webb drew me in with a fabulous video and exposed me to music I wouldn't have otherwise listened to.

So here, without further ado, is my favorite music video. I'll embed it here from youtube, but I strongly suggest you go to Marc Webb's (www.marcwebb.com) actual page and watch it there in high quality, because this video truly deserves it. Enjoy:


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fake Pink Glasses

At nineteen, I gave in.

I'd been denying it for years. I wasn't one of them. One of those kids. They were weird. They were trashy and obsessive and often clad in too much neon.

But the skinny jeans began to invade my wardrobe. The American Apparel hoodies started to spawn and multiply in my closet. I started getting into arguments with people about CDs versus downloads, about noise canceling headphones versus earbuds. I stood outside clubs for hours in freezing weather just to get a little bit closer to the stage. I had to get a job to support my music habit.

And then in late September I stood upstairs at the Middle East, black X's on my hands and digital camera shoved in my back pocket. Jukebox the Ghost had just finished an amazing set and I waited alone in the back for the next band to come on stage. A giant in a track jacket stepped in front of me, completely blocking my view. As I shifted around to try and get a better view, his girlfriend tugged on his sleeve.

"You're blocking her view," she said, pointing in my direction. The man turned, glanced at me quickly, and turned back to his girlfriend.

"That's okay," he replied. "It's just a scene kid."

Oh. Well, alright then.

So I bought a pair of hot pink fake glasses and dove into the Boston music scene.