Tag: concerts

So Much Awkwardness

It’s been almost a month since the Manchester Orchestra, Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band, and Balance & Composure show. I should probably tell you guys about it. (I will try to keep my long story short.)

I got to the venue (the Ritz Ybor) just before doors were scheduled to open and by some miracle I had no problem getting in even though I had to pick up my ticket from will-call. In fact, I got in so easily that when doors officially opened I was able to stop at the bar for a Captain & Diet and still managed to get a spot right at the front (stage right, next to the barricade). A few minutes after I parked myself there a security guy took his place more or less in front of me. He started talking to me and so we chatted. At some point I told him I was from Philly (this will be important).

Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band took the stage at 7 sharp and fucking killed. They were soo goddamn good (pun not intended). I chatted with the security guy some more after Kevin’s set once I regained some of my hearing (after all, I was standing right in front of the speakers). Next up was
Balance & Composure, whom I’d heard of but never heard before. I liked them, but I haven’t listened to them on Spotify or anything since.

Here’s where the awkwardness comes in. My buddy the security guy would disappear between sets doing whatever security guys do between sets. After Balance & Composure I was talking to the girl next to me when suddenly my security buddy tapped me on the shoulder and told me to follow him. He led me toward a door that was clearly marked as staff only. (Yes, part of me was terrified.) The door led to the alley behind the club and it contained 80% of Balance & Composure packing up their gear. Apparently the security guy had been talking to them and found out that they are also from Philly, so he wanted to introduce his friend from Philly who really wanted to meet them.

So, yeah, I met Balance & Composure behind the Ritz Ybor on Holy Thursday. And, holy shit, was it awkward. We spent a couple minutes talking about Philly sports (turns out they are huge Flyers fans) and the weather back home. It didn’t even occur to me to ask them for a picture until I was already back inside.

Then Manchester Orchestra took the stage (yay!). And five songs into their set I was bored (boo!). It’s not that they weren’t amazing live; it’s that I didn’t care. I’d been standing on concrete in Chucks for three hours by that point and my feet, legs, and back were killing me. Plus, I didn’t love their set list; too many of the songs I don’t like from Mean Everything to Nothing, no “Virgin” or “Wolves at Night.” (By the bye, the lack of “Wolves at Night” shocked me.) But I managed to stick out the whole set.

The awkward cherry on top of the evening was that on the way out I bought a Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band shirt from Kevin Devine himself and I had no idea what to say to him. And, again, it didn’t occur to me to ask for a picture or a hug until I was in my car.

So pro-tip: if you want to meet a band make friends with a security guy. But try not to be too awkward when it happens.

Until tomorrow.


I woke up and this morning and said, “y’know what, I want to see Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band, Bad Books, and Chris Carrabba today.” Most days I would’ve just laughed at myself for such a strange flight of fancy, but today was different; today was the second day of the inaugural Funshine Music Festival. (I’m assuming they want to make this an annual thing.)

what I did today
what I did today

I learned about the festival at least a month ago, but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go or not. On the one hand, I’d never seen Kevin Devine (with or without the Goddamn Band), Bad Books, or Dashboard Confessional live and I’d always wanted to. On the other hand, that’s an absolutely terrible name for a music festival (or anything, really). Plus, it rained a lot this week and I didn’t want to stand outside in the rain for hours. But last night the lure of the three bands was pretty strong and I decided to make a gametime decision. So when I woke up today (it wasn’t actually morning anymore) and saw the sun was shining and then checked the forecast online and saw a 10% chance of precipitation for the day I decided to drive over to the fairgrounds.

I was worried that I’d miss part of Kevin’s set, but I didn’t; by some miracle I parked at the gate that was right next to the stage where he was playing. (In fact, it was the stage where all three of the acts I cared about were playing.) When Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band opened their set with “Cotton Crush” I knew I’d made the right decision.

So today was a good day. I finally got to see three bands that I like live and all three were phenomenal. I was even right at the barricade for Bad Books and Twin Forks (Chris Carrabba’s new band). I was standing right in front of Andy Hull’s microphone during Bad Books’ set and I kept thinking that I’d never be able to get that close to him at a Manchester Orchestra show, so it was pretty awesome. Plus, Chris Carrabba was a saint for mostly playing Dashboard songs even though he was with his new band (so maybe it’s the people in Twin Forks who are saints).

The only bummer was that none of the bands were selling merch; I’d even brought cash specifically for t-shirts, but it was not to be. Well, I guess the chick who called me “ma’am” just before Bad Books came out was also a bummer, especially since I’d just purchased a beer without getting carded. Why must the universe remind me that I’m old?

But whatever. I saw good bands. I participated in giant singalongs. I spent hours outside without getting completely sunburned (because I put sunscreen on for the first time in forever). Today was a good day.

Until tomorrow.


I just got home from watching Bayside and Taking Back Sunday in St. Pete. (Transit played as well, but I saw exactly none of their set and I’m okay with that.) It was so much fun! I’m really glad I went.

For some weird reason, I was always kind of iffy about this show. I mean, I was stoked when it was announced, but I seriously considered not getting tickets (and not just for money-saving reasons). In the end, it was Bayside’s presence on the bill that decided me. I’ve really fallen in love with them in the past year but I hadn’t seen them live yet. Even so, I was undecided whether I’d actually go up until about 2 this afternoon. I dunno why; maybe my hermit tendencies are really taking over.

But, like I said, I’m glad I went. I’d forgotten how fun it is to get dressed “up” and go out somewhere fun with lots of people my age. Plus, fun rock show, yay! If I hadn’t gone to this show, Chicago would’ve been my only concert this year. Not that there’s anything wrong with that per se, but it would’ve bummed me out.

Wanna hear something weird? I think I saw someone I actually know at the show. I was so shocked that I didn’t say anything and then it was too late. So I just stayed in my little corner of the deck and scanned the crowd a lot. I didn’t see her again, but I did see Eddie Reyes from Taking Back Sunday wandering through the crowd, so that was cool.

The show was at an outdoor venue called Jannus Live. It was called Jannus Landing the last time I was there and it has clearly gone through a major renovation. It’s much nicer than I remember it being. Of course, it was only like 60 degrees tonight. But that just meant I got to wear layers (including a sweater) and boots, so it was actually kind of awesome ūüôā

So thanks Bayside and Taking Back Sunday for an awesome night! And thanks whatever spirit inspired me to go.

Until tomorrow.

Chicago Transit Authority

Yeah, I saw Chicago tonight. It was pretty awesome ūüôā

My parents found out they were playing Ruth Eckerd Hall while they were at a Moody Blues show last month. They asked if I wanted to go and (as soon as I found out they’d pay for my ticket) I said “hells yeah.”

Yesterday I listened to a greatest hits CD I stole from my parents to get pumped up for the show. You know what I learned from that experience? Eighties’ Chicago was really friggin’ bad (don’t kill me, woommate – “You’re the Inspiration” is the exception). Seventies’ Chicago, on the other hand, was awesome. Thankfully there was a lot of 70s Chicago in the show.

I do feel like I missed out on many potential learning experiences by being at the show with my parents instead of my old roommate (Chicago is her favorite band, you see). Oh well.

Things I did not expect to see at the show: the bassist/singer rocking scene hair/a mini fauxhawk. (Hmm, I guess that’s more a singular thing than plural things. And plural is plural, not singular. I could change it, but why?)

There’s a very good chance this will be the only show I get to this year. (Unless Brand New plays somewhere I can realistically get to. As has been demonstrated, I will move heaven and earth to see them. Oh, and Bamboozle is not a show I can realistically get to, regardless of how much I wish it were.) But if it is, you won’t catch me complaining.

Until tomorrow.

Go And Buy A Hammer, Never Sing Again

Once upon a time, I was easing my way back into listening to music that actually qualifies as “alt-rock” (as opposed to the crap I was listening to in my early- and mid-twenties). ¬†But I still had a ways to go. ¬†I was listening to Sirius Alt Nation most of the time, but I had a tendency to only listen to artists I knew. ¬†If a new artist came on the radio, I tended to change the channel (and this was the exact reason I slept on Jack’s Mannequin and Straylight Run, among others, and to this day it kinda bums me out).

By late 2006, I had pretty much gotten the better of that habit. ¬†(I had also purchased the debut albums by Jack’s Mannequin and Straylight Run.) ¬†I wasn’t exactly seeking out new music, but I wasn’t actively trying to shield myself from it either.

One new song that caught my attention on Alt Nation was “Sowing Season” by Brand New. Now, I’d heard of Brand New before. ¬†I’m pretty sure I’d seen the videos for “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad,” “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows,” and “Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades” on Fuse once or twice. ¬†I even have a vague recollection of hearing “Jude Law” on Y1oo. ¬†But I’d never really felt compelled to check out their records or anything like that.

I don’t really know what about “Sowing Season” caught my attention (the song is amazing and one of my favorites, but that’s 5.5 years of living with it talking). ¬†I wouldn’t even say that the song in and of itself was the thing that prompted me to buy¬†The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. ¬†I remember reading a glowing review of it somewhere on the Internet. ¬†(All I really remember from that review was getting the sense that the author really hadn’t wanted to like¬†Devil and God as much as he or she did. ¬†It was almost bitter about just how glowing it was.) ¬†The next day I was at Best Buy for something (man, do I wish I could remember what I had actually gone to Best Buy for that day) and when I walked in I perused the new/popular CD wall (as was my wont). ¬†One album’s cover caught my eye, I picked it up, and, lo and behold, it was¬†Devil and God and it was on sale. ¬†(The wannabe archivist in me wishes I remembered the exact date this happened, but I don’t. ¬†There is, however, a very good chance that it was November 20, the very day¬†Devil and God was released. ¬†At the very least, it was no more than a few weeks after it was released.) ¬†Remembering the glowing review I’d read the night before and knowing how much I liked “Sowing Season,” I decided to buy it. ¬†Why not, right? ¬†It was on sale.

The first time I listened to¬†The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me was in my car on the way home from Best Buy that night. ¬†Now, I talk about Brand New all the time on this here blog and take any excuse to tag posts “Brand New,” so you’re probably thinking that I fell in love with¬†Devil and God on that very first listen and became an insta-fan. ¬†Well, you’d be wrong. ¬†I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. ¬†Frankly,¬†Devil and God isn’t what I’d call an “immediate” record, it’s the kind of record that one has to live with. ¬†If I met someone who claimed to love¬†Devil and God on first listen, I’d call them a liar.

Once home I added¬†The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me to my iPod. ¬†This turned out to be key. ¬†At work the next day, I decided to listen to¬†Devil and God again. ¬†And that kept happening. ¬†Even though I wasn’t really sure how I felt about the record (except for “Sowing Season,” which I loved), something kept causing me to listen to it at work. ¬†Pretty much daily. ¬†And as I started to develop an appreciation for the record (especially the first half), I kept listening to it. ¬†By the first of the year, I was hooked.

In early 2007 I decided to check out their back-catalog. ¬†I wanted to start slow, so I bought their earlier singles (“Jude Law,” “Quiet Things,” and “Sic Transit Gloria”) from iTunes. ¬†(Here iTunes helps my wannabe archivist. ¬†I bought “Sic Transit Gloria” and “Quiet Things” on 1/6/07 and “Jude Law” on 1/12/07.) ¬†I eventually decided to buy a physical copy of¬†Deja Entendu in late January (I think – I’m pretty sure I bought it just before my dad’s birthday). ¬†I fell in love with¬†Deja¬†pretty instantly. ¬†It’s a much more immediate record than¬†Devil and God. ¬†Even though I was a confirmed Brand New fan at this point, I didn’t buy their first record,¬†Your Favorite Weapon, until the end of March (again, I think – I’m pretty sure I bought it the day I saw Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveShow at the Wachovia Center). ¬†Favorite Weapon is my least favorite of the three, but I love it for its own reasons.

At around this time, I became desperate to see them live (funny, since I had no idea how difficult that would eventually become). ¬†For whatever reason, I didn’t see them when they played the Electric Factory in April ’07. ¬†It may have been sold out by the time I found out about it. ¬†But then they were announced as one of the main stage acts at the Bamboozle that year (and so were quite a few other bands I love). ¬†Hooray! ¬†I convinced my brother to go with me and headed up to the Meadowlands full of happy energy. ¬†But then actually getting in to the show was a clusterfuck of epic proportions. ¬†(Remember how much I complained about getting in to the Ritz Ybor for Taking Back Sunday last year? ¬†This was so much worse.) ¬†It wouldn’t have been so bad if Brand New hadn’t been the first band to play the main stage. ¬†But they were. ¬†And I only saw the very end of their set (but I saw them play “Seventy Times 7,” so that was something). ¬†I was cranky but eventually got over it and enjoyed the rest of the day.

Okay, I’m almost up to 1,100 words. ¬†I need to wrap this up.

Even after the disappointment of not really seeing them at Bamboozle, I continued to listen to Brand New religiously. ¬†My listening focus would shift, but eventually it always returned to Brand New. ¬†They’re my comfort food (or my happy place, as I decided last year).

In the summer of 2009, they announced a new record,¬†Daisy.¬† I was stoked, both for the record and the potential tour to support it. ¬†I pre-ordered¬†Daisy¬†from the band (and even got it in the mail the Saturday before it was released – yay!). ¬†Like¬†Devil and God, it’s not an immediate record. ¬†It’s also not my favorite Brand New record, but I do love it. ¬†I also finally realized my dream of seeing them live on November 5, 2009, when they headlined at the Ritz Ybor (which was actually a super-positive experience).

I hoped they would tour again in 2010, but it was not to be.  However, I was ridiculously fortunate last year.  They played all of 13 shows in 2011 (as far as I remember), and I was at two of them.

I’m hopeful they’ll put out LP5 this year. ¬†Apparently Jesse said something about working on new music at one of the 11 shows I didn’t attend last year. ¬†Plus, they just wrapped up a tour of the UK. ¬†In the mean time, I will continue listening to the four amazing records they’ve already given us. ¬†Brand New has been my favorite band for 5.5 years now and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Until tomorrow.

* Today’s title is a line from the song “Bought a Bride.” ¬†It’s a line that kind of filled me with abject horror from early 2010 until the first batch of dates was announced in early 2011. I normally know what I’m going to name a post before I write it, but today I had no idea (too many options). ¬†It just sort of came to me as I was finishing this post.

Do It Live

One of my favorite ways to experience music is live. ¬†This should surprise no one since I wrote about seeing Brand New and Taking Back Sunday in concert last year. ¬†But this is a post about my first concert experiences, not the two best shows I’ve ever seen.

My very first concert was Dada (but I rarely admit to that). ¬†I don’t remember exactly when it was (other than early-mid 90s). ¬†My uncle wanted to take his two oldest nieces, me and my cousin Jennie, to the show; Dada was one of his favorite bands. ¬†Jennie backed out shortly before the show, but I was dying to go to a concert. ¬†As evidenced by the fact that I went to see Dada after Y100 had played “Dizz Knee Land” into the ground and it was the only song of theirs I knew. ¬†I don’t remember much about the show other than it was at the TLA in Philly and I had a good time.

My second concert was the Moody Blues at the Mann Music Center in Philly. ¬†Like the Dada show, I don’t often admit to this. ¬†The Moody Blues were (and still are) my parents’ favorite band. ¬†Don’t misread, I like the Moody Blues as well, but who wants to claim their parents’ favorite band as their first concert? ¬†Again, I don’t remember much about this show except for upgrading our tickets when we went to will call.

My third concert (and the one I normally claim was my first) was the Smashing Pumpkins at the Spectrum (RIP) in Philly. ¬†In my defense, it *was* the first concert I went to that was entirely my idea. ¬†Plus, I can actually tell you exactly when it was: July 6, 1996. ¬†(As much as I wish I could tell you that I just knew that, I still have the t-shirt I bought that night and it has the tour dates on the back. ¬†I could, however, have told you that it was early July ’96 without looking.) ¬†It was the Infinite Sadness tour and Garbage opened and it was amazing. ¬†I don’t really remember the details of this show either, but I know I loved it. ¬†I was so in love with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness¬†back then. ¬†Plus, I’m super glad I was able to see the actual Smashing Pumpkins and not Billy Corgan and a bunch of other people calling themselves the Smashing Pumpkins.

In the spirit of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, I leave you with one of my all-time favorite songs.

Until tomorrow.

Soco Amaretto Lime

No, that isn’t my new favorite cocktail. Actually, it’s a cocktail I’ve never even tried since I hate Southern Comfort. I am a fan of amaretto, though, so maybe someday… But I digress. “Soco Amaretto Lime” is the name of the last track on Brand New’s first record. It also happens to be one of my favorite tracks from that record.

I woke up this morning with an overwhelming desire to search YouTube for videos from the Brand New concert I went to in April. That seemed strange, even by my standards, but when I looked at the calendar it all made sense. The concert was exactly five months ago (April 27). And, interestingly enough, the next Brand New show I have tickets for is two months less a day from today (November 26 at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, baby!).

Admittedly, flying to Philly/AC after Thanksgiving is an even dumber idea than flying to Philly for Easter was, but I don’t care. God only knows when I’ll get to see Brand New again. And I would fly a hell of a lot further to see them (England in February comes to mind). These are the joys (travails?) of loving a band that plays things close to the vest. For all I know, they’re putting the finishing touches on LP#5 as I type and making plans for a major US tour in 1Q12. Though the major tour thing doesn’t really seem their style anymore but, again, what do I know? But I digress (wildly).

I’m kind of amazed at people who are willing to experience concerts through camera lenses. I went through a phase 10 years ago where I was all about sneaking in a camera (these were the days before cameraphones, remember). Then I realized that I was squandering the opportunity. My favorite band was 50 feet in front of me, why the hell was I looking through a viewfinder? I’m glad I decided to simply live in the moment when at a show, but I’m also grateful for the people who take videos at shows. Especially when they put them up on YouTube.

All of that was just a really long-winded way of introducing a couple of the amazing videos I found from the 4/27 show at the Electric Factory. My YouTube search took seconds and came up with dozens of results. I didn’t look at all of them (though I wanted to), but these are a couple I really love.

They opened their set with “Sowing Season (Yeah)” (technically the song that made me a Brand New fan) and I love this black and white video.

One of the highlights of the show for me was when they played “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot.” It’s one of my favorite songs from their second record and I never expected to see them play it live. Amy can attest that I kinda freaked out when it started. FYI, this video is kind of shaky and Blair Witch-esque, but I am just mesmerized by the song and the performance.

Speaking of mesmerizing performances, they closed the show with (what else) “Soco Amaretto Lime.” When Jesse announced that it was the last song, I was annoyed that they didn’t play “Play Crack the Sky,” but by the end of the first verse I kind of didn’t care. I feel like this video perfectly encapsulates why I am so obsessed with Brand New. Also, this video is much less shaky than “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot.”

I realize that I can sound a little fangirl swoon-y when I talk about Brand New, but I assure you that I could be so much worse. If you’re looking for proof, I suggest that you check the comments on any of the YouTube videos I’ve included here (or, really, any video of Brand New on YouTube). If you’re interested, here are the links for “Sowing Season (Yeah),” “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot,” and “Soco Amaretto Lime.”