Wednesday, July 27, 2011

happily persuing elation

I stumbled upon this after hearing about it.
Amazingly coincidental the first post on the page was to make something with your hands this week. Which is exactly what I am doing!! I am making some lovely presents for my friends- I started making them a while back but had procrastinated and had left it aside until the other day. I think it's pretty nifty. So I am making sure to set aside a time for happiness every day and will continue to do so often.

Friday, July 22, 2011

We all know what the number three is- Awolnation Paradise Club in Boston 7/14/11

I sat in anticipation throughout the day for this show.  My son had been listening to Megalithic Symphony all week so he decided that he'd sit & wrote/drew a letter to the guys in AwolNation for me to take. It was a very sweet thought for them - and we happened to listen to the CD for inspiration.
Eventually after a bit of waiting, my friend came to pick me up as I was her "hot date" for the evening. It's nice to have just a girl's night and be able to go see a band that I like so much (she dubbed me a super fan when I asked if she'd like to see them with me) with someone who appreciates music and also happens to dig this band.  So we got in the car and headed Northbound into the city chit chatting and listening to tunes.  We found a parking spot less than a block from the club and we decided to hop into a bar next to it. It is noisy & filled with business dressed people who have apparently finished work & need a drink.  We chose to leave after our drink and headed into the lounge area of the Paradise- I noticed right away that Awol's bus was parked outside.  The lounge was absolutely empty. So we were able to enjoy our drinks and our conversation (and notice when Aaron, AN lead singer, walked past us).  So after chatting for a bit we got our drinks put in plastic cups to be able to head up to the concert area. This side of the club is still pretty sparse as well when then people slowly begin to filter in.  We were chatting about stuff & were both amazed that this show still had tickets available for it- I mentioned to her that they're still a band that a lot of people haven't heard of unbelievably so we just happen to be part of a lucky group of people who have seen them since their small start as we can watch them rise. 
There were 2 bands opening up for AWOL. The first one, Redlight Kings, in my opinion was nothing really all that special but they were alright & it's nice to support a band that is just starting off.  As they were playing their set, I noticed Awol's keyboardist, Kenny, standing next to my friend and he filtered into the crowd almost incognito.  At one point I noticed Hayden, the drummer from Awol standing around as well. 
The second band, Bear Hands, was fabulous. They had a progressive, independent sound- despite the fact that their lead singer mumbled when he was talking to the crowd & introducing the band.  Also I always enjoy watching musicians who mix it up and play around with different instruments. Plus who doesn't love a band with maracas? Both bands had broken all their equipment down & I noticed Awol's roadie/stage guys come onto uncover the guys instruments, take the cover off the drums & reveal a new lit up sign of AN.  The guys walk on the stage and the set begins.
CT smiles and turns to shake a handfull of the people around him hands and then straps on his guitar.  At the end of the first song, he noticed I was standing in front and said "hey thanks for coming again" & shook my hand. First show I went to I only knew a small bunch of songs and not many of the words. Second show I went to I knew most of the songs but not all of the words. This time I around I've got all the songs down and know pretty much every word.  It was interesting to see the people who were there- I always love checking out to see the mesh of people who are into the music. Aaron got off the stage during Sail to sing in the middle of  the crowd and then hopped back on. Coolest moment of percussion was watching Aaron, Hayden & David (with a cowbell) all playing together. They ended the set with Aaron on the drums & Hayden with guitar for Knights of Shame. CT flicked one of picks toward the crowd but it didn't really bounce far so I picked it up off the stage. Excellent show definately. We headed outside through the back door eventually toward the front since that is where their bus was parked.  It had started drizzling.  David, the bass player, was the first one out.  As he was coming back out off the bus I turned to him & asked if he didn't mind signing some stuff & that I had a letter for him/the rest of the guys.  He was like "I remember you." Oh my I was thinking, yeah do you remember my drunken mess at the last Awol show?!  Then I wanted to make sure the rest of the guys saw it so he was gonna have me come in with him to get it to them. But the doors we were standing at were locked- we all laughed and said he wasn't going to get back in either. As he was going in, Hayden was coming out and soon the rest of the band was eventually as well so I decided to just stand outside.  I showed Hayden the letter and he said he was gonna put it on the bus so it didn't get ruined from the rain and so that the other guys would get a chance to see it as well. Then Christopher came out of the club- he turned to me & my friend and he was like "where did this rain come from?" My friend and I looked at each other and we're like it's New England, weather changes at the blink of an eye.  Plus it seems like every time Awol has done a show here it's rained.  So I was telling CT about the Melon show & how we didn't get a chance to get back in - he said he noticed us in the front row & had wondered why we hadn't hung out. I mentioned how he hit me in the head- he was like "with my hand" "no, with your guitar" He was apologetic, I said it was fine plus a cool story to share. I told him of my road trip plans for September and such. I told him the people I was travelling with and he said that our roadtrip trio is great and that it'll be some fun times and shows.  I mentioned how I was doing it without the mister or the kiddos, and he said that my husband must be pretty cool to let me go out on an adventure like that. Then I told him how there was a letter for him and the rest of the guys that he had to make sure to see. He got all excited and was like "well where is he tonight?" I was like well it's an 18+ show otherwise he'd be there.  He was like "oh yeah and he's just a little kid" and we both giggled.  I turned and was like "I have a bet from a melonhead friend that hopefully you can help me fullfill." He looked at me worried- my friend tried to reassure him that it wasn't crazy or strange or anything. "Can I wear your hat CT?" He was like "no, this is my hat plus if I let you wear it then everyone will want to wear it." He took it off, waved it at me and put it back on his head.  So then I turned back to him and I was like "well if you won't let me wear your hat, will you atleast take a picture with me?" That he was aggreable to.

As we had our arms around each other for the picture, I decided to get up the nerve to turn and whisper in his ear while my friend was adjusting everything to take the picture.  I moved a curl that was hanging from his hat away and whispered "So, what is the deal with your hat?" She took the picture.  He whispered back in my ear "It's special to me." I turned back again "Well, why is it special?" He whispers in a somewhat aggrevated tone "It's just a very special hat to me. It's MY hat." We then whispered back and forth for another few seconds and he then had his hand around my shoulder for another minute and until some other people started to talk to him as well. Honestly I was a little bit out of my body at this moment. Then they were trying to figure out how to take the picture to get all of them in it and he turned to them & pointed at me and said, "she's good at pictures, have her take it."  My hands were really shaky for some reason at this point. My friend stood for a picture with him and Aaron's girlfriend had walked by and tapped him and he turned to see her.  I turned and said "um excuse me but can you pay attention to me and MY camera thank you." The picture that we then took was great as he was very intently paying attention. After I took it he wanted to see it right away and said "SEE I can pay attention, so there."  There was another melon head that was standing next to me at the show & he went up to CT & asked if he'd be insulted to sign some melon stuff he had with him Christopher was like "insulted? no. flattered, yes." They were chatting and as that guy turned to leave CT turned to him and said "hey man, make sure to keep it between the ditches." It made me smile a mile wide. I joked and asked CT if he was planning on going to bed since he's old and can't keep up with these young musicians. We all laughed. He said no not going to bed yet first he was gonna read. I said "see you ARE old." He was like "No, I did that even when I was young-  go to the back of the bus in my bunk and read." I was fascinated by this. So I turned back to CT with a hand on my hip and said to him "Well if you won't let me wear your hat, atleast do something with me?" He turns and had this big cheesy grin on his face "What do you want me to let you wear my pants?!" I am completely thrown and didn't even know what to say. "Um wait, WHAT?! No?!" We both laughed. I turned and attempted to explain the whole planking phenomenon. I turned "can I plank with you?" He looked at me like I was completely nuts. "What the F**K is that?!" I covered my eyes to visualize how to tell him exactly what it was all the while he was looking at my intently trying to figure it out. He was like "I have to research that and well maybe I'll think about it. But that is just weird." He turned to talk to the other people hanging out there and was like see you in a month.
Then as we were heading towards the car my friend pointed out that Aaron was standing in front of the bus and we talked with him for a few. I told him he needs to inform his guitarist about what planking is. We laughed.  I told him on the bus was the letter/drawing from my son. He was like "oh yeah I saw that! What a great kid you got. He must've put some time into it." We hung out for a few minutes more - hopefully waiting for Kenny to come back out but he had just headed back into the club to shower so we didn't get a chance to see him. It was getting late and my friend had work early in the morning. All in all a very grand evening.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mohegan Sun Soundgarden show- July 6 2011

The mister & I wanted to make sure that we didn't get in traffic and also we weren't completely positive where we were going.  We left with more than enough time to travel to Connecticut.  The traffic actually wasn't too too bad and flowed pretty easily and he & I pulled into the parking lot with plenty of time to spare.  The mister & I entered in through some hallways & past the casino and onward following the signs toward the arena area.  Since we're fan club members, we had our tickets waiting for us at a designated box office window which I excitedly went up to. In my hand was our tickets and our purple Soundgarden bracelets.  We happily hopped into the fan club line- we both said how cool it was to be special and be able to have privileges & get in early.  Honestly there was really no reason that we needed to be there so early but just because we could was part of why we did.  We got to our seats & sorta settled in to try to see where we were gonna be. Honestly I was a bit disappointed with our seats, actually to be truthful when I got the envelope from will call and opened it I was pissed. I mean come on, I ordered our tickets the minute they went on pre-sale here on thefanclub site and we get side section 15 row Q - 17 rows off the floor. I thought for sure we would be on the floor.
But I got over it & the mister & I went to get drinks (I got this tasty Malibu drink that I was amazed came out of a tap) and got something to eat.
We watched the sound/stage people setting up for the opening band- Coheed & Cambria. Neither of us really cared about them opening but that is why it was nice that we had seats and could just hang out until Soundgarden hit the stage.
The crowd went wild when the guys came on the stage at 8:45!!

The sound was all over the place.  I'm assuming that it was the soundboard guys' fault.  One minute they sounded just right, then they would be loud, then not loud enough, then too much bass and drums.
The set list was amazing. I couldn't believe that a song about an Indian reservation (4th of July) was actually played on an Indian reservation.  Before they played Burden, it sounded like Chris started playing Head Down, which was a total tease. But they were heavy as hell, and really played to the what they wanted to. Chris said they'd be back around with new material and stuff they didn't get to play this time around. I will surely be there. I love when Chris was introducing the band everyone applauded & then Ben took the mic & said "And this is Christopher!"  At one point Chris told everyone to stand up- he then told the crowd how he told someone at another show to stand up & then realized they were in a wheelchair & he felt like an asshole & for people who can stand & don't are the just assholes. The mister & I turned to each other & said who would want to sit down during a Soundgarden show honestly, it just seems wrong. Also at one point Chris strapped on a guitar he said he had made for him 15 years ago to play with Soundgarden so he was excited to be able to finally use it. 

The backdrops and lighting were amazing! I kept tapping the mister's shoulder & giddily pointing stuff out to him. The sound on the other hand was ridiculously bad off and on- the guys were spectacular despite it. I couldn't believe when the sound dropped out of the giant monitors during Black Hole Sun, it was crazy. Complete silence followed by the expected crowd rumblings. But whatever, it was brief. However, the worst part for me was the screeching feedback coming from Chris' guitar throughout the entire show...and I don't mean the good kind. It was a high-pitched, annoying input jack issue that the sound guys couldn't resolve. They all seemed visibly angered by the crappy sound mix. Being where we were, I could see them backstage after the first set, which was preceded by Ben throwing his bass in the air and watching it crash to the floor offstage. It was very 90s and very awesome, but I couldn't tell if he did it out of anger or not. He did throw his arms up in the air a few times. Who can blame them? Mohegan's tickets were expensive, and the least they could do is have a competent sound guy who can handle a 4 piece band.
What an incredibly gracious musician, Chris kept thanking the crowd throughout the show. He said thank you fans for sticking with us and being around even 15 years later. Oh & what an amazing encore. At one point in the encore Chris said "We're just gonna keep playing."

Oh yeah, and the wall of feedback created by Kim, Ben, and Chris (which ended up being just Kim and Ben after Chris waved goodbye) at the end of Slaves made me feel like a teenager again, being young and in the heart of this new musical movement. It was awesome.

Set list from the show:
Searching With My Good Eye Closed
Black Rain
Let Me Drown
Jesus Christ Pose
Blow Up The Outside World
My Wave
The Day I Tried To Live
Ugly Truth
Fell On Black Days
Hunted Down
Rusty Cage
Beyond The Wheel
Burden In My Hand
Black Hole Sun
Room A Thousand Years Wide
Hands All Over
Face Pollution
4th of July
Like Suicide
Slaves & Bulldozers

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

NY adventuring for Blind Melon at the Hiro Ballroom July 1 2011

We got the bags packed & double checked to make sure I had everything that we'd need on the Friday afternoon. We finally hit the road right about when I wanted to with the mister after gassing up the car & getting the GPS all set.  We stocked up on music and snacks and headed out on I-95.  The mister & I travelled smoothly with light traffic throughout RI and most of Connecticut.  As we were welcomed into that state, about half way through our drive, we took a short pit stop.  We continued onwards and then the traffic got heavy around Stamford- eventually then we saw the sign for New York, the Empire State. As we headed through the city and headed closer to the streets of where I had booked our room I began to get a knot in my stomach and had a gut bad feeling. Then eventually we turned the corner onto the street where the GPS said we had reached our destination- right into the middle of Chinatown.  We pulled up a little further to go park the Jeep into a garage - where they park your car for you! Now mind you we had just been driving for a little over four hours so all of my stuff was scattered about in the front seat and I was pretty unorganized but we both gathered our belongings (and made a quick mental check of what was inside the Jeep) and went to go check into the hotel. As we went up the stairs to the lobby, my stomach was feeling queasy. We checked in- and then headed to the room that was literally the size of a closet.
We dropped our things off in the room and headed out the door to go get on the subway- we both decided that leaving the car would probably be the best thing to do plus after driving for so long, it was a much needed break.  We got on the Metro, switched connections once & got off at the street right at the Hiro. We had been invited to go & meet up with some people before the show for drinks but both the mister decided to just get in line to wait to get in.  We hung around for a little bit & the butterflies in my stomach were starting to intensify.  Then all of a sudden we noticed that the crowd began moving & we got ushered in.  I handed the door guy our tickets & we got our hands stamped- without being carded, and neither did the couple of  melon heads behind us.  Then the group behind them all got stopped and asked to be ID'd.  Myself & the couple behind us said how it is actually nice to be carded from time to time.  We headed in & I noticed the merch table with some shirts & posters & whatnot & also the girlfriend of Travis the lead singer of Melon.  I turned to her & said, "Hey Tara, I'm Tara" and she was like nice to meet you. It was super dark in there- I don't think she realized who I was, nor does she really know me.  So the mister & I plopped ourselves down in front of the left hand side of the stage and waited in anticipation.
The Nico Blues came on the stage and rocked their set & played a bunch of great tunes.  My stomach had begun to do somersaults at this point.  While they were on the stage I see someone whirlwind past us & then realize that it's Travis! A big smile got on my face & couldn't disappear.  Nico Blues broke down their equipment and the stage was empty. A good New Jersey melon head friend, Karen, then showed up & the bunch of us standing together group hugged, such a great moment. All of a sudden CT & Brad come on the stage to tune & set up their pedals. People begin to applaud & scream- Christopher turns "We're just setting up, you can relax." Brad turned, smiled, waved & continued what he was doing.  Christopher tuned his guitars & mandolin for a few and started to put his set list on the floor, he then moved it to his amp- "everyone always steals my list during the shows." Then turned to us (looking right towards mine & the mister's direction) "Ok guys, see you in a little bit."  Time seemed to stand still at this point.  Rogers was the first to hit the stage, then Travis, Glen, Brad, and lastly Christopher.  The vibe of energy that came from the crowd and off from the guys was beyond anything that I've ever felt at any show.

I was snapping away pictures and it felt so amazing to be able to be there & sing along with the songs in person and to hear them live. There are amp issues off & on (dead battery, cord issues, etc). Also Travis was having major wardrobe malfunctions with his zipper as it kept falling down. He mentioned it at one point and fixed it as he noticed but then eventually it fell back down again.  All of a sudden during Drive I got grazed briefly by CT's guitar- I then had to duck him throughout the entirety of the show. I could feel the air off of Christopher & Brad's instruments while they were playing- there's nothing quite like it.  At one point I was just standing there with my mouth open in awe. Travis turned to the audience & asked if anyone had a kazoo- not one person did so then we all just had to sing along the part in Skinned & it came together so amazingly well.  He was like "wow you guys know how to improvise!" When Travis was putting on his guitar & CT was getting out his mandolin, I excitedly knew that it was time for "Change" which they said that they had a special guest for- Danny Clinch to play harmonica with them. I then noticed where he was looking into the audience- 2 people over from us!! He kept laughing when he noticed me ducking CT's guitar off & on. You could tell that Melon was having a great time on the stage, the guys were laughing & hugging each other- there was no tension nor angst or annomosity just 5 guys who love the music that they're playing. Travis turned to the crowd & said how he wished that Shannon could be there to be on the stage (I can't remember his exact words) and that he were in the audience but that it's amazing to be able to carry on the music. Then after that he was like "if I lose my voice I'll just take all of you on tour & have you sing the songs instead!!" No new music though, just all old tunes- although Wishing Well was on the list they skipped over it.  I hope at some point to be able for them to be able to play something off of "FMF" but I guess I'll just have to wait.  When Time was over, they jumped behind the stage for a few minutes and then came back out.  They were rushed to be done at a certain time so they ended up just playing 2 out of the 3 songs that were on the setlist (Mouthful ended up getting canned which is too bad because that would've been great to hear live as well).  The show ended & the lights went up and the guys got together in the middle of the stage with their arms around each other- Brad got the mic & says "Mr. Rogers Stevens, your presence is requested in the middle, immediately" everyone laughed. Then with that all 5 of them bowed. It was pretty great.  Then as each of them left, they shook hands. 
 Glen went over to his drum & grabbed his sticks- he turned to me & said "Here ya go" and gave me his drum stick & then he just chucked the other one and then shook my hand.  CT had thrown his pick off the stage -our friends behind us grabbed that & took the set list attached to CT's amp.  The show was then done & me & Karen headed towards the bathroom.  When we came out there was a lady who put soap in my hand & pointed out the body spray & she put some on me- Love Spell by Victoria Secret- everyone commented on how great I smelled (I decided right then that I would get some more when I got home).  Then I ran into a bunch of other various melon heads and we all headed outside. Then after attempting to find the band outside and some of the people needed a smoke,  we went to go back in- to then find out that there is no re-admittance. Ugh I was so mad! I tried to say I know the band, the bouncer was like "that's nice, you're still not getting in." Hey it was worth a shot. So we all decided to go grab a drink at the bar that was up above the Hiro.  We sat and enjoyed a beverage & the mister & I ordered a pizza which took forever to come.  The rest of the group was taking pictures & hanging outside while we sat at the bar.  There was a mix-up in the kitchen & it finally arrived.  We chatted & hung out & had a grand time (and finally got to eat our pizza).  Although I was a bit bummed that we weren't sitting & chatting with the guys in the band, it certainly was nice having time bonding with these people who have the same love for this amazing group of musicians.  Eventually we said our goodbyes (I said I'd see everyone again in September) & walked Karen back to the garage where her car was parked & hopped back on the subway.  After waiting forever for the right train to come for us, we finally got back to the hotel.  The mister & I watched a big crawly bug scurry past us on the stairs.  We knew that there was no way that we could spend the night there.  Also there were no windows in the room & when we shut the light off it was beyond pitch black, neither one of us would've been able to actually sleep.  So we amicably decided that we would go get back in the car, drive as far as we could on I-95 & then hit up a rest stop on the way home.  When we hit Connecticut we pulled into the rest stop right near where we had stopped on the way there & put the seats back & dozed off for a few hours.  We woke up & saw the sun rise & got back into Attleboro beating the traffic that we probably would have hit if we had stayed in the city like we had originally planned.  We got out, crawled into our comfortable bed & the mister & I decided that we would just sleep the day away. It was quite an adventure and a grand show!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

so much good music, so little time

This has been one epic month of live music & there's still more to come later on this week.
I promise that I will eventually sit down & write elaborate details of both the Blind Melon & Soundgarden shows (here are a few pics to tide you over). Now one more- Awol Nation and then my concert going will slow down a bit until September.