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.

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 ( 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.