Thursday, July 29, 2010

No One is as Lucky as Us

The Honda Civic Tour – Comcast Center, Mansfield MA - July 28, 2010

I had only a single ticket last night, and wound up sitting next to a ninth grade boy who was also a single ticket holder.

“This is my first concert,” he informed me. “Is it your first too?”

I told him no between my laughter. He was chatty and excited, and it was fun to have someone unused to the lights and smoke and crowd. Everything was brand new and he was curious about every detail. I had forgotten how novel the experience could be.

First up was Kadawatha. They were from Sweden, and this was their fourth gig ever. They had synchronised fist pumps and jumps and head bangs. I couldn’t make out a word their singer was saying, leading me to wonder if he was actually singing in Swedish. They were fun and loud and a good start.

Next up was Relient K. Now, I’ve had beef with Relient K for years over the lyric “proverbial sunrise” in the song “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been.” I had some silly argument over why I disliked it and I stupidly never gave their music a chance. I really liked it last night, and I’m ticked I didn’t listen sooner. I especially liked “Therapy” and I think I might just give their new music a chance.

New Found Glory was next. I do not know a single NFG song, but the mohawked and checkered half of the crowd certainly did. They were loud and fun and a little dirty, just as they should have been.

There was a four year old girl, the littlest Paramore fan, sitting a few rows ahead of me. She was with her father and wearing a tiny Paramore t-shirt and earplugs. She was doing this cute little dance in her seat to NFG and the punks in front of her gave her glowstick bracelets. That girl is going to grow up awesome.

Paramore played last and completely rocked the show. The boy next to me went wild, as did everyone else there. They played through their hits and much of their recent album, though my favorite bit was probably the acoustic breakdown. Hayley sang “You Ain’t Woman Enough” by Loretta Lynn, and I was blown away. Her Nashville roots were prominent and I couldn’t help but think that she could have had an amazing, sky rocketing country career had she wanted it. Absolutely amazing. This version isn’t from last night, but it’ll give you an idea of how great it was:

They also played an acoustic version of “Where the Lines Overlap” which is one of my favorite songs off of their new album. It’s about their life now, touring and the stage. I’d wanted them to sing it live and it was perfect. “I’ve got a feeling if I sang this loud enough you would sing it back to me.” The whole song is lyrically perfect for their band and it talks about how lucky they are to lead the life they live. I loved it.

In other news, Hayley’s hair is the most awesome shade of red, and her skirt had a sign hanging on it that said “Let’s be freaks.” She invited everyone to join the family. I love the music scene.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Teenage Anarchist

I'm not always an Against Me! fan, but sometimes they write a song that just sparks something in my chest and makes me want to run and scream and create and destroy.

"Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?"

Yes, because I am and I do.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Music Crush

In other news:

Weezer's coming out with an 8th album on an indie label, The Academy Is... is playing a date in MA without KISS (oh you bet I've already got tickets), and Pete Wentz announced that the lead singer of the Black Cards is new musician Bebe Rexha.

But that's not what we're here for. I'm here to tell you about my new music crush.

It only makes sense, you know, that since I fall in love with music, crushes must come first. Those first few days of seeing nothing but the good points, trying to find out if you have friends in common. New crushes are fun and silly and you just can't help but giggle and tell your friends, try and accidentally run into them, and keep glancing over when you think no one is looking. Sometimes they fade out, sometimes they stay, but they're always fun and never serious.

I mean, I was hooked at shooby-do. You put a shooby or a sha-na-na into a song and I'm in.

Never Shout Never - "I Love You 5" from Isaac Ravishankara on Vimeo.

And then came the clever video and well written song:

Never Shout Never - "What Is Love?" from Isaac Ravishankara on Vimeo.

And finally, every girl wants a little trouble:

Adorable, clever, well spoken, dangerous, and silly. NeverShoutNever's music is my new crush.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Warped Tour 2010

Warped Tour 2010 - Hartford, CT - July 11, 2010

So much happened.

We started the day with Set Your Goals. I’ve seen them twice before, always opening for someone else, but I wanted to go see them on purpose this time. They’re dynamic and entertaining, full of energy and in your face. Good start to the day.

From there we went to Motion City Soundtrack, the reason we were there. I love them. They’re awesome live. I’d seen them live about two years ago, and the one thing that made an impression on me was how loud it was. And again this time, it was so, so loud, even by Warped standards. Justin Pierre is so perfectly awkward, cleaning his glasses mid set, that he must be the most relatable rockstar of the moment. He was also wearing a Metric shirt, for which he gets kudos. And Jesse Johnson was wearing a Red Sox shirt. More kudos. A Dinosaur Life might still be my favorite album of 2010.

Heartbreak moment: They played “This is For Real” a song about being absolutely in love, right before “Her Words Destroyed My Planet” a song about rebuilding after a painful breakup. Justin stated in the middle that they were about the same woman, “with the year 2008 in between.” And then this little shrug. So sad.

We had a gap in the schedule, so we wandered around for a little while, checking out the booths and picking up some free candy and lipgloss. Sweet.

So here’s where things break down a little. The Glamour Kills Stage and the AP Stage were right next to each other in the ampitheater, and we were there for a good portion of the day, so I’m not entirely sure of the sequence of all of these artists. I’ll give it my best shot.

Playing in the ampitheater when we arrived were The Casualties. They made me wonder how mohawks actually stay up (A bottle of hair gel a day? Elmer's glue?), and if they knew that The Ramones were over.

VersaEmerge started playing while we were there, and I still don’t quite get it. However my friend and I both agreed that Blake has a great voice and should sing more. We had to leave after a couple songs to go to the Amethyst Jeans truck and get our FREE JEANS. I know. They didn’t have my size so the ones I ended up with are just a bit too tight, but nothing a little stretching won’t fix!

Enter Shikari was playing when we got back, and they were… screamy. Very screamy. We loved their background beats and music, but it would have been nice if there was real singing and not screaming. You take what you can get I guess.

Then The Cab played. I’ve seen them twice, and their best point each time was Ian Crawford (I wonder what he's up to lately...). Without him, they’re nothing to write home about. Alex Marshall gets props for being awesome (well played piano and guitar, and not bad vocals) but that’s all.

Then came… something. It was about now that I started wondering how you can stand out in a lineup like this. There were 70 bands playing yesterday, and you have to get people to come watch you. Clothes and appearance won’t do it, as everyone is crazily dressed for attention. Being loud won’t do it, as the sound from most stages is deafening, How do you stand out?

Christofer Drew of NeverShoutNever answered that question.

I’d kind of avoided NeverShoutNever in the past. I’d never heard the music, always brushed it off as more scene synthetic pop. I don’t think I’ve ever been so wrong. He was barefoot and playing an acoustic, and his songs were this mix of country and indie. He bounced over the stage and was ridiculous and the crowd loved him. His lyrics are goddamn adorable and it’s like he’s just pouring his heart out through his mouth. There was clapping and snapping and breakdowns and quiet moments and loud moments and key changes.

How do you stand out at Warped Tour? With perfect, cute music and an adorable personality. And confetti. And dancing. Seriously, you need to see him in concert. You will not regret it.

We scurried off to catch the last bit of We The Kings’ set. They’ve really grown on me lately, and much as I disdained them when I saw them before, they’re catchy and fun. Also, they covered “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World, but Travis’ guitar wasn’t working, so he had the crowd sing the opening guitar riff. It was awesome, and it actually worked.

By now we’d each had about 5 free coolatta samples from Dunkin Donuts. They wouldn’t let you buy a full one, but they were giving out free little ones, which was stupid. I think everyone there would have bought one because we were all dripping sweat. We were not the only people I saw trying to buy them. Lame.

Next up, The Swellers. They had this itty bitty crowd, as the Ernie Ball stage was way over in the middle of no where by the bathrooms. But they put on a fun set, solid pop punk. They’re signed to Fueled By Ramen, but I think they’re three years to late to pull it off. They’re good, I like them, but that wave has passed, which is sad. They’re going to have to work for it if they want it, but I think it’s within reach.

Back to the main stage for The Bouncing Souls, Warped Tour royalty. This was also the oldest crowd of the day, everyone probably mid to late twenties. These are the punks, not the scene kids, not the hardcore kids, not the emo kids, and they’re so very different from the rest of the tour. But there was this girl on the side of the stage. She was maybe 28, with dyed black hair and bright red lips, tattoos from the neck down, all exposed by her tiny black romper.

She was me. She was clutching onto part of the stage with one hand, and clutching onto the music with all of her heart. She was singing along with every word and her face was broken into this huge smile. I know that face, I know that smile, I know that curve of your body when you’re trying to throw everything you have into just being the music. It was like looking into a punk mirror. We’re not all so different. Love and music are the same no matter who you are or what you look like.

I wanted to get into that pit so badly. They were dancing and having so much fun and it took every bit of me to remind myself that I was a responsible adult who would not hurt myself in a pit. But they were dancing and I wanted to dance with them.

Next was Andrew WK. Complete change of scenery. The hardcore kids came back and this too looked like a fun pit. Andrew WK is dirty and crazy, and there was some girl dancing and singing on stage in a tiny lame leotard. “We wanna have fun and we wanna get wasted” for sure. But we had to leave before they played “Party Hard” because my concert buddy was a huge fan of…

Sum 41. I did not recognize one of the songs but damn the crowd went wild. There were so many people. From far away they looked a little bit like a Green Day rip, but they ruled that show.

Next we saw The Rocket Summer, because they’re this strange part of the consciousness of the scene that I’ve never been able to tap into. So many people relate so strongly to their music, but I just couldn’t connect.

We ended the day back at the Main Stage with The All American Rejects. Love them. Tyson was surprisingly more sober than the other two times I’ve seen them, but still hysterically fabulously dirty. He is the craziest frontman I’ve ever seen. The crowd surfing was at an unbelievable level, the energy was crazy, and I think everyone still left at Warped went a little insane. He danced, we danced, he screamed, we screamed. The day ended on a high note, a sexy, sweaty, sticky, dirty, thrashing, high note.

It was a good day.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Music Book Reviews

So we're trying something a little different today. Don't panic!

I always make you read about things you should listen to, so now you're going to listen about things you should read!

Discussed are Lady Lazarus by Andrew Foster Altschul, Falling is Like This by Kate Rockland, and Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman. I discuss why books shouldn't try to be cool and the right and wrong ways to write about dead rock stars.

I promise I'm entertaining to watch, even if only because I talk with my hands and end up flailing. It should also be noted that this is me talking slowly to try and enunciate for an audience, and it's still too fast for Youtube's closed captioning service to discern into anything intelligible.

Go read some books!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Black Cards

Alright Pete Wentz. I'm intrigued. Show me more. Tell me more. Let me in.

Lazarus - Travie McCoy

I've found your summer jam album.

No need to thank me, really, because this CD is thanks enough. Lazarus by Travie McCoy. You need this CD. It's been on repeat since Monday.

I was bothered at first by the switch from Travis to Travie because it felt too intimate for someone I don't know, but it fits with the intimacy of this record. This is a rebirth, a true Lazarus moment, as McCoy starts a new musical and romantic portion of his life.

If you haven't heard "Billionaire" yet, you've been living under a rock, and "We'll Be Alright" rivals it for summer feel. "Need You" and "Superbad" and "Dr. Feelgood" feel like pages from a diary. "After Midnight" encourages everyone to embrace their inner freak and dance.

Sure, there are some moments of auto-tune that make me sad. I love Travie's voice and so hearing it auto-butchered on a couple of songs hurts, and I can't even listen to "The Manual" because of T-Pain's computerized nonsense.

But the rest of the album makes up for it. It feels good. the album has this awesome, upbeat vibe that makes you want to sing and sweat and breathe.

"Don't Pretend" is the only downer, a throwback to Katy Perry. He wrote "Cupid's Chokehold" about her, she wrote "Hot 'n Cold" about him. Now "Don't Pretend" ends their relationship, and it's painful. He sets up the rhyme for "whore" multiple times but never fills it, stutters in something else like he can't let the word leave his lips. This song is the most broken, his sigh into the mic at the end the finish to an otherwise up album. "Don't Pretend" announces the need for a rebirth that the rest of the album provides.

McCoy rhymes and sings with soul. There's so much emotion and feeling packed into the album that it hits you like a hazy summer day, presses over you and gets into every bit of your head and heart.

Just love it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Young Veins "Change" Music Video (aka You're Not The Beatles!)

Of course. Just when I start to like The Young Veins, when their music starts to grow on me and I think, "Okay, maybe I'll buy the cd. I should have gone to that concert back in March. Lesson learned'" they do this:

You are not John Lennon, Ryan Ross. You guys are not the Beatles. I'm doing everything I can to like you over here, but the ego and the attitude were part of what turned me off in the beginning.


(Side note: Everywhere I went in Europe, people were giving me under 18 tickets to everything. When I came back, waiting for baggage at the airport, four separate teen camp counselors asked if I was lost and looking for their camp. Every bouncer and door guy who sees my ID thinks it's a fake, and many of them ask me my address or zip code or birthdate. On my real ID! So I obviously look like I'm 16, even though I'm 21.

I spent this entire video pondering if Ryan Ross has this same problem.)