Keep checking back for posts on our trip to Brazil and Argentina, as sorting through photos and videos certainly takes some time...thanks!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Are you kidding?



I just found out about this phenomenal concert that happened this past Sunday, December 14th at the Gibson Amphitheatre -

How in the world did they manage to gather that amount of talent in one place for one day?!!

What a line-up!!!! Five of the eight bands are on my favorites list ( The Cure + The Killers - I mean, talk about a long-time favorite plus my present-day favorite! and DCFC, SP and Vampire Weekend, who have the best album of the year?!!), with Paramore, Franz Ferdinand, and Scott Weiland not being counted due to knowing just a handful of songs from each of them (although Franz Ferdinand ranks pretty high in general just purely on sound of the few songs I do know).

I'm stunned.

I didn't read any reviews or how long each band played, but that must have been beyond amazing.

Those lucky LA'ers...

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

List of Concerts (latest first)

Sinead O'Connor
Hot Hot Heat
Stellastarr* w/Pela, Exit Clov
Blaqk Audio
Sum41
Smashing Pumpkins
Rooney
Hellogoodbye
Plain White T's
Kaiser Chiefs w/Annuals, The Walkmen
Silversun Pickups
Bloc Party w/Sebastien Granger, Albert Hammond, Jr.
The Cinematics & Mute Math
Hellogoodbye, as opening act
Barenaked Ladies at the Holiday Pops
OK GO & Scissor Sisters
Death Cab for Cutie
All-American Rejects w/Starting Line
The Killers
My Chemical Romance
Pet Shop Boys
The Strokes
Snow Patrol w/Aberdeen City
John William's Spectacular - Boston Pops
All-American Rejects - Row-a-palooza
Stellastarr* w/The Information
FNX Best Music Poll Concert 2005:
Robbers on High Street, Louis XIV, Interpol, The Killers
Erasure w/Elkland (now known as Goat Explosion (?!))
All-American Rejects w/Hellogoodbye, Armor For Sleep

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Sinéad visits North Bethesda

Wednesday, October 24th 2007:

This is our first time visiting the beautiful Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda for a concert by none other than the once-controversial (or is she still?) Sinéad O'Connor. Think Symphony Hall but with maple wood everywhere and a couple more levels and maybe just a bit smaller. They even have a nice food and snack bar, and beverage bars in various locations as well as monitors outside the concert hall to watch while having a burger and a drink. We had great seats - third row a couple seats off center - and considering it's not one of those standing room only places, it was certainly nice not worrying about getting a good view. There were some distinctive folks in attendance, such as a large biker-type guy with a black jean jacket that said something England, a couple of goth/emo fans, older, senior citizens, and the one guy with a blue sleeveless tee that stood up and clapped after almost every song.

Damien Dempsey, a fellow Irish artist, opened up, or as he put it "warmed up" the crowd for her. Most of his songs consisted of just his voice and his lone guitar. Some of his songs included "Ghosts Of Overdoses" (about heroin addiction) "Sing All Our Cares Away" and "Factories". He had some good banter like how when Sinéad asked him to go on tour, he thought he would be on security detail and how when he visited NYC and was amazed how many people with different backgrounds got along so well. He also said that while on tour in the U.S., he woke up with half a hoagie and chips next to him and decidely chose to eat the hoagie for breakfast, ending his story with "I love this place."



Then we had about 20 minutes before Sinéad would perform. Brian was looking forward to a turkey burger, but they had already closed the food section. Luckily the gift shop was selling some mixed nuts to tie him over.

Okay, so there was an announcement overhead before the concert started that photography was prohibited, but this is Sinéad O'Connor. I couldn't help myself. But respectfully and just out of enjoying her voice and music, I only snapped 20 photos, which is nothing. I wasn't too worried about being caught as a woman in the first row dead center took photos with her iPhone several times.



How refreshingly SOULFUL and AMAZING was this concert?! Not only does the super-talented Sinéad sing as beautifully as I've always remembered and heard, but I was literally sucked into the music. You just want to listen to her voice, her lyrics and get lost. In her signature style, she sings from whispers to sudden bellows. She looked down for most of her performance, saying that she has a bit of stage fright, but said that if the audience just closed their eyes, she would go a bit more nuts, doing a little dance while saying so. I thought it was a little unfortunate since she has such large gorgeous eyes that you could take a peek into her soul - remember that 80's video? A few times, especially during the first song, she had some technical difficulty with the sound, although I couldn't quite hear it, and kept looking to her sound tech to fix them.

She would talk between songs, engaging the audience even more, on such topics as religion, motherhood, and mad dog. She compared television preachers, which she got addicted to watching while living in Atlanta for 3 months(?), to preachers back home, saying those back home could learn a thing or two, joking how she guessed it was okay to preach for money. She also said that a small percentage of the Christian press who interviewed her for her new album "Theology" would take offense with her saying that "God perhaps doesn't want war." She raved about one of her stagehands, saying how awesome he was because he tried to shake the hand of (or was it kiss) the queen of Poland and that he probably drank a little too much mad dog beforehand. Near the end, a baby started crying in the audience, and she was amused that someone brought a baby to the concert, going on saying babies have some telepathy and could talk to one another. When asked if she had any children, she said she has four - 20, 11, 3, and a 10-month (wow!), quite openly tapping her butt saying that was the reason why before laughing and trying to move away from the subject.

(this is what happens when you just sit and listen - it's easier to remember the banter)



Setlist, as close as I can remember, order is...eh:
The Emperor's New Clothes
I Am Stretched On Your Grave
You Made Me The Thief of Your Heart
You Cause As Much Sorrow
The Lamb's Book Of Life
Never Get Old (which she said she wrote when she was 15)
Something Beautiful (Jeremiah)
Three Babies
If You Had A Vineyard (Isaiah)
Nothing Compares 2 U
Thank You For Hearing Me
The Last Day of Our Acquaintance

Encore:
In This Heart (very moving acapella performance with her guitarist, bassist, and violinist)
Black Boys on Mopeds (she prepped the audience before singing this)
Back Where You Belong (from the upcoming December 25th movie about war, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep)




If you have a chance to see her, I STRONGLY recommend it.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hot Hot Heat is pretty cool

Monday, October 15th 2007:

Our first concert trip to Baltimore. Hot Hot Heat, along with Bedouin Soundclash and De Novo Dahl performed at the Rams Head Live! venue, which is actually much better than the 9:30club in DC. Loved how the stage is much higher, so even those in the back can get a great view, and there's a long curvy balcony for those who don't like the main floor, although it wasn't open tonight since the crowd wasn't that huge. That was nice since it left us with options on where to stand.

After a bit of a spasm while trying to find Brian at the Burtonsville Crossing bus stop, I find out that the doors open at 7pm not 6 (I probably got the concert on Saturday mixed up with this one), so that meant we could grab a bite to eat beforehand which was perfect since we were both rather hungry. Luckily, Rams Head Live! is located right on restaurant row, near the public parking garage, so we could have a pick of places. But several were closed, as it seemed they were only open Wednesday through Saturday. It was quite the performance area - must be fun during the summer, for there looked like another concert stage was just across from the venue as well as chairs and tables outside, all in this little nook. What better place could we go to other than the Rams Head Tavern, which is affiliated and adjacent to the concert venue. There were tables outside, and not too many people, so we definitely got there early. We could pick out right away who was going to the concert.




I got the Chesapeake Cream of Crab Soup to start, and then one of the specials for the night, "Some More Heat" (themed around the concert, another special was called "Hot Hot Heat"), a yellowfin tuna wrap. Brian got the turkey burger along with a C126 Light beer. Could not eat the other half of the wrap, so I got a take out box, put it in my bag, and soon found out that I couldn't take it in with me. Awesome. We took a short trek back to the car and left it inside.

Once inside, there was clearly no need to get there early, for the main floor space was practically empty except for maybe 10 or so people lined up near the stage, a couple people sitting near the sound booth, and some people hanging out at the bar.

De Novo Dahl starts their set around 8pm. Dressed in rather funky suits, they hailed from Nashville, Tennessee. Initially their music didn't quite match what their outfits implied, but by the end, there were some good vibes. I was expecting a bit of a Scissor Sisters feel or some retro 70's. They were quite the newbies, with the bass player commenting on how awesome a crowd we were, better than the crowd in Philly, and then ended with something you would say as if you're ending a phone call. I thought it was cute.



Bedouin Soundclash - great reggae sound, quite a pleasant surprise considering I never would have thought that was their genre








I was quite trigger happy since I made my way to the second row...



Setlist not in order, minus ~2 songs:
Let Me In (opening)
Harmonicas & Tambourines
Talk To Me, Dance With Me
5 Times Out of 100
Bandages
Dirty Mouth
Middle of Nowhere
Elevator
Give Up?
Happiness Ltd.
No, Not Now
Goodnight, Goodnight (encore)



Great energy! Everyone around me was loving the performance, and I would look back to see that the venue was not packed. It was a fantastic treat seeing these guys perform, aside from the excessive sweating on stage and the smoking from the audience.



heh heh, remember that sweating reference?



Rock on!

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Blaqk Audio

Saturday, September 8th 2007:

Yet another concert at the 9:30 club, this time we get to see Blaqk Audio, a collaboration by two members of AFI, Davey and Jade. With new wave/electronica music reminiscent of Depeche Mode, I was very excited to see how they would perform.

They did not disappoint. Davey's voice was beautiful and intense, and they even had a concert setup similar to Depeche Mode with video playing on the big screen behind. With just two members and no instruments other than their voices, keyboard and a synthesizer, it's quite a good thing frontman Davey has an awesome stage presence. Jade, even though elevated in the back, also exudes quite the presence as well.

I may have taken more photos, but the band requested that no photos be taken. I discreetly just took these three. Again, opted for the floor instead of the balcony to be more in the mix, but also to be able to dance around, which I was able to all the way in the back since there was room there. It was cool that I could still see them between the heads in front of me and move up a little if I wanted to. One of the best things about new bands - not-so-packed venues.



Here's the setlist, in no particular order. They sang practically all but maybe 2 songs off their new album, Cex Cells.

Between Breaths
Bitter for Sweet
Where Would You Like Them Left?
On a Friday
The Love Letter
Cities of Night
Again, Again and Again
Wake Up, Open The Door And Escape To The Sea - maybe?
Snuff on Digital
Semiotic Love - second to last song with lyrics projected on the screen behind them
Stiff Kittens - last song

They also did an awesome cover of Blur's "Girls and Boys" with both Davey and Jade singing. Where we were standing, I was the only one who knew all the words to that song, which was released in '93 - definitely a sign of my age.

Aside from the last two songs, which were posted on their myspace page, my two other favorite perfomances were "Between Breaths" (so mesmerizing, like being in a trance) and "Snuff on Digital"

Definitely looking forward to more of their work in the future.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Sum41 Pool Party

Still riding on some luck from the Smashing Pumpkins, I randomly signed up to see if I would win tickets to an exclusive Sum41 Pool Party. I just stumbled upon it while perusing the station's website, and this was the day before the party.

This email was sent at 7:08pm, but I didn't read it until close to 10pm:

--------------------
Your Name Will Be On The Guest List.

Congratulations! You have won two (2) passes to Elliot in the Morning's Rooftop Pool Party. Live performance by SUM 41
Thursday, August 16th (Tomorrow Evening) 6 - 8 PM

Hilton Embassy Row
Rooftop Pool
2015 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036

You and your guest must be 21+
There will be a cash bar. Feel free to bring a swim suit and enjoy the pool. Please do not arrive before 6 PM as the rooftop pool will not be open. See you in the Pool.

Dave Hennessy
DC101
--------------------

Pretty sweet. I emailed some friends soon thereafter, but no one was available to go with such short notice, so I ended up going solo.

Thursday, August 16th 2007





some shots from the DC101 website:

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Mighty Smashing Pumpkins Release Zeitgeist

I was one of the relatively "few" lucky people who struck gold on Friday, July 6th at around 10:07am. Having heard the huge announcement on the radio just a couple days earlier that the Smashing Pumpkins would be performing a secret show at the 9:30 club the day their new album, Zeitgeist, goes on sale, I was truly ecstatic! Although James Iha (and D'arcy Wretzky) would not be part of the band and thereby not making it a true Smashing Pumpkins reunion, but a Zwan-ish collaboration, I was still excited to see Billy and Jimmy perform live again (we did see them, Zwan, open for Coldplay in December 2003 at the Orpheum in Boston).



The tickets were being sold only on tickets.com, which had this awful queuing system that essentially put you in line, refreshing every 30 seconds on its own accord, until you get through. I was in panic mode, as probably the rest of the SP fan base in the DC area was, as the result would be truly random and uncertain. The minutes ticked away, and I was truly helpless, and then suddenly, the page refreshed to a new look, a look that allowed me to buy tickets! It was such a relief! Just a few minutes later, the show was sold out, with many angry fans defeated and unsatisfied.

Tuesday, July 10th 2007: 9:30 club

With all the hubub this show has caused, we probably should have gotten there earlier, as we normally would have, but getting out the door just took too long for me. Brian even got home earlier than usual so we could leave early. Oh well. No surprise, when we got there, the line was gigantic and went around the block.





Those in front were lucky enough to pose as supporters and protestors for the return of SP. They also got a bunch of free things - t-shirts, buttons, stickers, mini-flags, serenaded by a barbershop dressed quartet among other things.


The band pulls up in a classic Le Baron, "secret service" and all in tail.


hi Jimmy!




Once we get inside, I make my way to the merch table and buy a t-shirt. Then wanting to be in the mix of things, unlike at Rooney's concert, I found a semi-decent area on the floor just near the speakers on the left. Thank goodness we brought our earplugs, otherwise we would be deaf or wouldn't be standing so close to the stage. Anyone standing near us that didn't have earplugs would pretty much be subjected to ringing ears for several days.

The Revolution opens for them. Interesting sound and frontwoman, but I just wanted SP to start the show already.




The waiting was unbearable as the time goes by, thinking the band would be out by 9:30pm. It's around 9:50 when the quartet comes out and sings before introducing SP.



An annoying drunk man actually took this picture of me:

Annoying because he kept yelling to what sounded like disgust, and essentially disrupting some of the earlier songs. He finally ended up keeping his big mouth shut. Maybe he just went back to the bar since I didn't hear him much later in the show.

Can't believe it's been seven years since their last album, the year when Brian, Henry and I along with Jeff and Scott from APL (that's Ammirati Puris Lintas) saw them at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC on April 25th, 2000. Being on the floor and in the crowd reminded me of that fun time way back when.

Some of the Billy's banter included disbelief on performing with Bon Jovi at Live Earth, saying "yeah" a few times to fill in dead air, announcing that "I'm having one of those I-don't-wanna-play-music moments", and holding a rant session where a couple people yelled "Where's James Iha?!" or just "James Iha!" and "Freebird!"



I did manage to make my way to the front row, when a tall man and his daughter left (I totally knew it would happen eventually since they did not have earplugs). Near the end of the show, the security in front handed out bottled water those in the front row to share with others since it was so freaking hot in there. I was handed one first and took a nice sip before handing it to a teenager next to me who stood pretty still until they performed "Cherub Rock". The bottle came back to me not too long afterwards, since the other folks didn't want to take a sip from a communal container, and I handed it to Brian who was an arms-length and at the 8 o'clock position behind me.



I thought it was an overall solid show, even though I really prefer the "classics" over the new material. I enjoyed the acoustic set they stuck in the middle, especially "Thirty-Three". I'll have to add that to my list of songs to learn.

Unfortunately, the show was not without faults, as their classic hits "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" and "Zero" didn't shine quite as brightly as they should have, and we REALLY could have done without the second encore "Gossamer" which was an excruciating 27-minute-long song! It definitely killed the audience's spirit, especially since the show ended up being 3 hours long!! which is insanely too long. Maybe I wouldn't have minded so much if it consisted of just classic songs. But it was just too painfully drawn out at the end.

Some recorded material:



Billy thanking the audience at the end. We missed the last metro train by an hour - not like in Boston where the T ends at 1am, which we would have barely made. But we did get a glimpse into some of the neighborhoods while sitting in a cab on our way back home.

Setlist, as taken from the SP website:




It wasn't a flawless show, but it was still worth being a couple of the lucky ones to get to go see them.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Concerts Don't End Just Cuz We Moved

Saturday, June 23rd 2007: Rooney at the 9:30 Club

How lucky was this? I had originally bought tickets to see these guys at the Paradise in Allston right around Halloween (this past year), but for some reason, we didn't make it out probably due to some Halloween-related event.

Fast forward to now, I noticed that they would be on Conan the night of Friday, June 22nd, so I DVR'ed their performance. I watched the show the next day, and Conan, while introducing them, announced that they would be performing at the 9:30 club tomorrow night...which was that day! I was stoked! I bought the tickets pretty soon thereafter, and after enjoying the bbq pool party at our building, off we were to our first concert experience in DC. The place was nice and small, though definitely not as small as Axis. We opted for the balcony, where we stood front and center. Seemed like Robert Schwartzman was singing right at us for most of their performance.


Opening bands: Lemonface (could easily be called Babyface due to how young they all looked and probably are - can't be older than 16. Just looked them up - they're all 17) and The Rewinds


Us in the balcony - Photo taken by christakos

What a coincidence that I wore my Albert Hammond, Jr. shirt and Rooney had at one point opened for the Strokes...









"When Did Your Heart Go Missing?" and "I'm Shakin'"

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Hellogoodbye Avalon

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

This was probably our last concert at Avalon (and in Boston), and although it was rather torturous waiting and standing, getting sicker by the minute - and I mean flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever...), it was fantastic! Hellogoodbye certainly delivered as well as Hush and Boys Like Girls. We got there about 40 minutes before start time, and the place was already packed. Rarely are there so many people that show up for the opening bands, but they were both really good. So much for getting a clear view, but I was able to stand on a step for that extra 8 or so inches.

I didn't remember any of the songs they performed about 2 years ago at Axis, which I'm sure they performed here as well, but having actually listened to their music before their show, I did know several of the songs this time.

Setlist (not in order, *not sure)

Dear Jamie...Sincerely Me
Bonnie Taylor Shakedown 2K4
Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn
Call 'n Return
Two Weeks in Hawaii*
I Saw It On Your Keyboard
Touchdown Turnaround (Don't Give Up On Me)
Baby, It's Fact
Homewrecker*
Stuck to You*
All Time Lows
All of Your Love
Here (In Your Arms)

Watch the entire performance of "Here (In Your Arms)" - talk about dance partay! All the other bands came out and joined the festivities. Thanks Brian for maintaining a steady hand the entire time. I was pretty much going nuts next to him, but that's NOT me singing/shouting in the background...




In rare form, I started heading out after they finished, not even thinking that there would be an encore since it was such a fantastic performance. Luckily though, I wasn't the only one to move, so when Brian was like "Where are you going?", the platform in front of me opened up, and I scrambled on having a great view of the stage. Hellogoodbye started their encore, but then soon changed the song to Blink-182's "Dammit"! Everyone was going nuts, and they covered it very well.


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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Plain White T's

Wednesday, April 18th 2007: Avalon, Boston


The very first time I heard "Hey There Delilah" on FNX just a few weeks ago at the end of March, I fell in love with the Plain White T's, as did the rest of the radio-listening population, because that song just exploded all over the airwaves soon thereafter. And just prior to hearing it, I was perusing the upcoming acts at Avalon and saw that they would be performing in just a couple weeks. Being totally impulsive, I bought myself a ticket to the show right after hearing the song for the first time. I wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into, but I was excited to see the song performed live.



Fast forward to the concert:



Opening Acts:
Boys Night Out
Lovedrug
Dear and the Headlights


The place was packed with a relatively good mix of people, girls, guys, young and old. I sat through the THREE opening acts - thank goodness I could sit - but there were a few songs among them that were pretty good. What happened afterward was almost expected. Most of the guys headed toward the exit as a ton of girls surged forward. As I could almost predict, PWT's fan base is similar to the All-American Rejects: tweens and teenage girls. And how aggressive and awful they can be. I was witness to an unpleasant riff between a girl and her mom and three foul-mouthed girls who all insisted that they were sitting where they were and clearly pushed their way up front and took up the one girl's space. Even a security guy had to settle it, saying that they all have to make room for one another or all leave. Ugh...

I was sitting right in front of them.

Anyways, PWT's performance was pretty high energy, with the lead singer being very open and playful with the crowd. I enjoyed it even though I felt like a teeny bopper. It's funny how this is a five-member band with some rather catchy songs, yet the one song getting played has just one member performing.









"Hey There Delilah"

I had a video of the performance, but unfortunately I deleted it accidentally.



Setlist - as close as I can recall:
Our Time Now
Revenge
All That We Needed
Tearin Us Apart
Stop
A Lonely September
Sad Story
So Damn Clever
Friends Don't Let Friends Dial Drunk
Making a Memory
Come Back to Me
You and Me

Hate (I Really Don't Like You)


Encore:
Hey There Delilah
Figure It Out
Take Me Away

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kaiser Chiefs Annuals Walkmen

Monday, April 9th 2007: Avalon, Boston

I am on a concert frenzy!

Opening acts: The Annuals (quite good), The Walkmen



and then the Kaiser Chiefs!

I only knew just a couple songs of theirs, but I enjoyed the concert nonetheless. The music sounded great live, maybe even better than the recordings. Their drummer was rather amazing and had quite the stage presence. I loved how they had a fan blowing on him the entire time for that windswept hair look, although flowing towards his face.



Their frontman Ricky Wilson seemed a tad billigerent and insane, and he really wanted the crowd to go nuts. He even surfed the crowd to get to the bar, requesting a drink - was it a rum and coke?...





The crowd went crazy during "I Predict a Riot", and it was quite awesome being surrounded by that kind of energy.

Possible Setlist:

Na Na Na Na Naa
Everyday I Love You Less and Less
Heat Dies Down
Ruby
Thank You Very Much
I Can Do It Without You
Modern Way
Everything is Average Nowadays
Highroyds
I Predict a Riot
Take My Temperature
Retirement

Encore:
The Angry Mob
Oh My God

"...ruby ruby ruby ruby...ah ah ah ah ah ah..."

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Silversun Pickups - Up Close & Personal

Thursday, March 29, 2007: Newbury Comics on Newbury Street, Boston

One of the advantages of signing up for their newletter (and getting a free red nalgene water bottle in the process), Newbury Comics emailed that they were hosting an in-store appearance by the Silversun Pickups. I was truly ecstatic when I heard about this, because the night before (Wed, 3/28) I couldn't be in two places at once. While we were attending the Bloc Party festivities, another huge concert was being held just a few T stops away from our apt: Snow Patrol, with OK GO and Silversun Pickups at the Agganis Arena on Boston University's campus. Having heard that Snow Patrol was having another concert, I decided to opt out on this one having seen them at the Bank of America Pavillion just this past August, as well as OK GO just in December. But I didn't know that the Silversun Pickups would also be performing. But it all worked out in the end...

After an interesting start - getting on line, with less than ten people in front, and just before a ton of other folks lined up behind me; the chaos of the staff letting us in before the band was ready or did a soundcheck, meaning that the crowd that rushed in would somehow move to another part of the store in an orderly fashion and in the order that they came in?!; meeting some new friends with similar alt band tastes while waiting - I did make it to the front row, whipping out my big dslr. Brian Aubert, the lead singer, took one look at me and was like, whoa! you're going to be able to see my pores. And there was a moment when he rubbed/picked his nose, made a note of announcing what he just did, and thinking I snapped a photo, laughed and said that I will probably post the photo on youtube (a slight mispeak). I didn't take that photo btw - I'm not that kind of shooter.

Anyhoo, he encouraged everyone to ask questions and make song requests. He was a bit surprised when songs other than "Lazy Eye" were shouted out. After they did play "Lazy Eye" someone shouted "Lazy Eye!" and playing along, the band started the first few bars again before stopping.

After almost missing them completely and then getting front row view of an up close and personal show, I couldn't have asked for more. Also got a nice poster signed by all four members. I made some small chit chat with each of them as they signed. I told Brian that I had gone to the Bloc Party concert, having not getting tickets to their show. He asked how it was, and I told him it was pretty awesome. He said he knew some folks had gone to their concert and left right afterwards to go see Bloc Party, and I told him that both venues are a few T stops from each other. They all had really nice easy-going personalities.



guitarist-singer Brian Aubert



keyboardist Joe Lester, bassist Nikki Monninger & drummer Christopher Guanlao




short snippet of "Lazy Eye"



I almost forgot that there was a raffle among those at the store for the custom designed guitar shown above. With the relatively small number of people in the store, the odds were good. A young man, probably late teens, won and was truly flabbergasted.

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It's a Bloc Party!

Wednesday, March 28th 2007 - Orpheum Theatre in Boston

Sorry for the lack of content, but I'm writing this quite a bit later...





Sebastien Grainger



Albert Hammond Jr.

is also a guitarist for The Strokes but is doing a solo tour until the spring. I only learned that fact after the concert, but since I really enjoyed the sound, I got myself a t-shirt. There was one fan who just couldn't contain himself, so he made his way to the stage and got on it. BUT the huge security folk literally had him grasping and clawing the stage as they pulled him by his legs back off the stage. He was relentless trying to get back on, and the security just pounced on him and dragged him away. A tall and lanky guy versus not-as-tall but 3 huge guys. Albert even took notice, saying to take it easy on the guy, who unfortunately couldn't enjoy the rest of the show.




Kele, the lead singer, was urging the crowd to go wild and crazy. For many of the shows we've been to, it seems the bands think Boston somehow has a reputation for having crazy concertgoers, but I still haven't seen it. Maybe it's just the venue. But at the very end, two young guys managed to break through to the stage, dance a bit on the side, and then approach Kele, who welcomed them at first, but when one of the guys put his arm around him, Kele shrugged it off.


Setlist:
Song For Clay
Positive Tension
Blue Light
Hunting For Witches
Waiting for the 7:18
Banquet
I Still Remember
This Modern Love
The Prayer
Uniform
So Here We Are
Like Eating Glass

Encore:
Sunday - (2 drum sets)
She's Hearing Voices
Pioneers
Helicopter

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

"Break...break...break...break..."

Sunday, March 11th, 2007: My favorite small venue: Axis, Boston

I was here to see The Cinematics (opening act) because of their hit single "Break", but most of the crowd was here to see Mute Math. I hadn't heard of Mute Math before, but when the lead singer of the Cinematics announced that they will be signing posters at their merch table at the end of the show, I couldn't resist but stick around. Good thing I did because Mute Math is rather entertaining to watch. The stage wasn't large enough to contain the craziness of their act - great energy.





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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Opening Acts

I really need to pay more attention to opening acts...

- OK GO (recent blog entry) opened for Coldplay back in 2002 at the Orpheum with Zwan (it's amazing how Coldplay just ballooned shortly thereafter)
- hellogoodbye opened for the All-American Rejects almost 2 years ago (blog entry)

and I really like their music. I just haven't followed them since seeing them the first time. But it's fantastic they've gotten bigger and better the past few years.

hellogoodbye was just on Leno a couple nights ago, performed "Here (In Your Arms)"













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Friday, December 15, 2006

Holiday Pops with Barenaked Ladies

Here's God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings, by Barenaked Ladies for some background music:




Thursday, December 14th, 2006

A little early birthday present, we went to one of the two Barenaked Ladies concerts at the Holiday Pops, having an entire table to ourselves. yep yep.

Table M101, with our waitress, Nevelle, who brought out our munchies: Roast Beef Sandwich, Tuna Salad Sandwich, Cheese & Fruit Platter with some shiraz to top it off.





Totally forgetting that it was a holiday concert, I stood out in blue amongst the red and green. But no matter. Maybe you can actually spot me in the audience when this taped performance airs next year on Boston's WBZ-TV.

The concert opened with the following. Lyrics were sung by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

Hark, The Herald Angels Sing
Christmas Spirituals (My Lord, What a Morning- Rise Up, Shepherd-Glory Hallelujah)
- Renese King, vocalist
The Adoration of the Magi, the Three Botticelli Pictures
Gloria

During the intermission, we couldn't wait to hear the Barenaked Ladies
(Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, Steven Page, Ed Robertson, Tyler Stewart)













They are just as quirky as they are in their song, "If I had a Million Dollars" - great vocals with funny interjections. They were FANTASTIC!!

- Jingle Bells
- I Saw Three Ships, after which Ed mentioned Keith Lockhart's red "blouse" and socks and Steven commented on Ed's use of the word "blouse"
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings, you too would have reacted as I did when Ed says "Ladies and gentlemen, Sarah McLachlan" - only to be completely duped when he says he wishes she were there too. The audience went from applausing with total surprise to laughing hysterically. It was ridiculous. I couldn't stop laughing.
- Deck the Halls, a Crosby Stills & Nash version
- Green Christmas, they give props to the chorus behind them




- Hanukkah Blessings
- Frosty the Snowman
(or is it just Snowman)
- Do They Know It's Christmas?
- O Holy Night


Everyone was on their feet after that last song, and they tried their best to control the applause.

and then...intermission.

We could not stop raving about them. It was just so fun to watch and hear them perform.

Our dessert: Orea Cookie Ice Cream Cake & Tiramisu, both pretty tasty.





The next segment included the Middlesex Country Volunteers Fifes & Drums, in full old school attire.







- A Holly Jolly Jingle
- White Christmas

Then was the A Merry Little Sing-Along, where the audience gets to participate, including these songs: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Let It Snow!, Winter Wonderland...can't remember the others, but could be Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Jingle Bells, O come, All Ye Faithful, Joy to the World





As a finale, Renese King, the BNL and Fifes & Drums all go onstage. Renese King sings a solo Do You Hear What I Hear?







Then everyone sings Sleigh Ride, with a finale of We Wish You a Merry Christmas/Please Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding.



I definitely hurt my hands from all that clapping...

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

OK, Go Scissor Sisters!

As funny as Tenacious D was/could have been if I could hear them better, I didn't quite want to end the year on that show, and therefore, we have the late addition to our concert repetoire to close out 2006: OK GO & Scissor Sisters on Friday, December 8th at Avalon, no less.

Most of the crowd in front of us were there to see Scissor Sisters, so I wish OK GO had gotten more love when they performed, because they were super enteraining. Also, there was plenty of room on the dance floor...the lead singer, Damian, actually went to the middle of the floor amongst the audience during one of the songs, with tons of space around him.

We were so close to the stage that whenever they would look over our way, they could definitely see us not knowing the words/singing along. It felt a bit awkward, enough to not want to look them in the eye. (gulp) I love venues like that...







Their finale: "A Million Ways". This was quite the crowd pleaser.





I actually wanted to see the Scissor Sisters when they performed at the Opera House (or was it the Orpheum) a couple months ago, but this was probably the best venue for them...a club. Quite the spicy bunch they were with all their stories and unabashed political views. They were full of energy, and the crowd not only felt it but joined in. There was one guy who knew every single word to every song in front of me just going nuts. Near the end, one fan threw their sweater onstage and Jake, lead singer practically in nothing, wears it for an entire song, and this is a rather woolly sweater. After the song, Jake gave the fan back his sweat-soaked sweater. Another happy customer.














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Friday, November 03, 2006

Was Seth right about DCFC?

He certainly was.

Thursday, November 2, 2006 - Opera House

Opening act: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists


I was super excited to see Death Cab for Cutie, having brought my laptop with me the weekend of Loren & Jason's wedding in Erie, PA just to buy the tickets. LOVE their melodic music and lyrics. But listening to them is a very different experience than seeing them perform live. They rock much harder than they sound, with Ben, the lead singer, moving his guitar back and forth to the beat of each upbeat song. He also opened the show saying to stand up..."this is a rock concert". Even with the rock show mentality, there was no compromise. The music and vocals were awesome.

Here is the setlist from what I can remember in no particular order. I may be missing a song or two.

Marching Bands of Manhattan
Your Heart is an Empty Room
The New Year
We Laugh Indoors
Crooked Teeth
Title and Registration
Photobooth (?)
A Movie Script Ending
Company Calls
What Sarah Said
I Will Follow You into the Dark
Soul Meets Body
Expo '86
Different Names for the Same Thing
Transatlanticism - encore
The Sound of Settling - encore #2













There was a segment where Ben just beat the hell out of the small drum set in the middle of the stage for several minutes. It was mesmerizing...





I practically melted during the Transatlanticism.







Clip of Your Heart is an Empty Room






Clip of I Will Follow You into the Dark




Clip of Transatlanticism (almost 5 mins long)


brilliant...

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Last AAR Show

Friday, October 27th, 2006: The All-American Rejects at the Dodge Music Center in Hartford, CT

As much as we like their music, the fans that go to their concerts are not the type we want to be surrounded with - the average age was probably 15 years old, with a 80/20 female/male split. Parents that were there accompanying their little kids with eyeliner and lipstick, looked miserable. We were definitely in the minority. It is interesting how the type of audience you're with can affect your overall experience. I had an extra stash of earplugs, and Brian gladly used them, not for the music, but for all the high-pitched screaming.

This show was kicking off their Tornado tour, and they said that they didn't pick a big city like NYC, but rather decided to open in Hartford, CT and the crowd went crazy (it basically sounded like he was saying Hartford was a dive). He was also big on saying "Connecticut" rather than "Hartford". Tyson's stage presence, although playful, was a bit too crass, especially since there were a LOT of young folks there - nipple-rubbing, f-bombs, etc. Good vocals and music, but the whole act got tiresome.

We caught a couple songs of one of the opening bands, Starting Line.
They have some catchy tunes, but they need some work. After going to so many concerts, it's really funny how easily you can tell which band knows how to rock a concert and those who don't. I loved how Brian and I were both wearing our Killers t-shirts from the concert the night before.


So, we will just keep enjoying their music, but we probably won't make it to another show. (That sounds sad, doesn't it?) Anyways, here is what I can remember as their setlist, in no particular order, and media

Move Along
11:11 PM
Dirty Little Secret
I'm Waiting
Straightjacket Feeling
Top of the World
Dance Inside
Night Drive
Change Your Mind
It Ends Tonight
Move Along - encore
Stab My Back

Debut Album
Happy Endings
My Paper Heart
Swing, Swing
The Last Song














They performed Straightjacket Feeling in the middle of the amphitheater - notice that freaked-out fan to the right.
















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Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Killers killed Boston...

with an ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC KICK-ASS show!!!!!!!!!!

This will be updated, but here are video snippets to whet your appetite:






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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Joining The Black Parade

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006 7pm: My Chemical Romance at Axis

Two words for this concert: too short

Granted, I'm not a hard core fan, but I really enjoy their music, and their performance was way too short considering how tickets were given out - either by winning on WFNX or waiting in line, first come first serve. So, I did spend quite some time this afternoon on line in the cold. It was a bit ridiculous that I did decided to do this, but at least it wasn't quite as long as camping out for The Seagull, a Shakespeare in the Park play in NYC where we camped out overnight. When I want to do something, I can be very determined...

So, after getting on line, waiting forever, shifting the line, getting a 21+ wristband, getting a hand stamp, urging Brian to get here fast, Brian deciding not to go, receiving a very cool skull mask, getting another wristband - the ticket - to get in, we all finally start filing into the club. Earlier on, the band had driven up in a red van and caused quite a stir as girls ran and screamed toward them. There was probably a 65/35 split for women and men. I had heard earlier this morning that there were 4 girls who had driven all the way from Alburquerque, New Mexico and had been waiting since 3am. That's nuts.

After using the facilities, I did manage to get a great spot in the tiny Axis venue, actually the exact spot I had during the AAR show, so directly center stage and elevated. The opening band, Envy on the Coast had a couple good songs, but the most interesting thing that happened, was that during their performance, there were about 4 or 5 girls, probably not much taller than me, that started their own mosh pit (!). It was rather impressive, considering the make-up of the crowd. The guys around them were much taller and bigger, and they kinda just stood there, either enjoying the crazy chaos or laughing at them.

MCR finally came out around 7:45pm, and the crowd went wild when the black curtain revealed the band. Gerard, the lead singer, has great showmanship and really played to the crowd. Shave his head, and he's a spitting image of Billy Corgan, though not quite as tall. It's quite bizarre...they have somewhat similar sounding vocals. (When IS the new Smashing Pumpkins' album coming out?)


Photo by laurenomally815 - flickr.com

The crowd was VERY into the music, so much so that there was constant singing along, moshing, and body surfing for every song. One woman, or should I say girl, had to be taken outside, either from being squooshed, heat exhaustion or just being enamored with the band.

Here is their setlist, as I can remember, in no particular order. I may be missing one or two songs:

Dead!
Cemetery Drive
Give 'em Hell Kid
Our Lady of Sorrows
You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison
Thank You For The Venom
House of Wolves
Famous Last Words
I'm Not Okay (I Promise)
Welcome to the Black Parade

Encore:
Cancer
Helena

When leaving, I looked at my watch, and it was 9:05pm. This was after getting a shirt and getting my things in coat check. The show was very high energy and definitely wished it was longer - although I probably wouldn't know the extra songs. They didn't perform "The Ghost of You" which is one of the few songs that has gotten airplay.

YouTube.com video by jamesinclair


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Saturday, October 14, 2006

After 25 years, the Pet Shop Boys still got it...

2006 Fundamental Tour - Boston: 3rd show in North America
Friday, October 13th, 2006

What a concert!

Not only did we have FANTASTIC seats, but their show turned out better than I expected, especially since they played songs I didn't expect them to since I had seen their set list from their summer-leg of this tour. It was my first time ever seeing them in concert, and I've been a huge fan of theirs since the first time I heard "West End Girls" back in '86 when I was just 9. Wow, twenty years later, I finally get a chance to see them live. It was just a blast!

Check out this massive list: mostly in order

God Willing
Psycological
Left to My Own Devices
Can You Forgive Her?
I'm with Stupid
Suburbia
Minimal
Shopping
Rent
Dreaming of the Queen
Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)
Heart
Integral

- - 20 minute intermission- -

Numb
Domino Dancing
Se a Vida e (That's the Way Life Is)
Flamboyant
Home and Dry
Always on My Mind
Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can't Take My Eyes Off You)
West End Girls
The Sodom and Gomorrah Show

- - Encore - -
So Hard - sung by the three back-up singers
It's a Sin
Go West

The Opera House is quite a venue, and with their stage sets, I can see why they would perform here, BUT early in the show, I would have loved to have seen them perform at a small club venue, because it wasn't until "Integral" that I had to get up and dance. It took a little bit to get the crowd up on their feet, especially since you can get stuck in the seats with no room to go wild and then possibly annoying the seated folks behind you. But by the end, everyone was dancing, and in the orchestra section, you couldn't tell where the aisles were. It was awesome!

Here are some photos & video: dedicated to David, who was so fortunate to see them perform in New York during the Nightlife tour in '99-'00, but could not make it to this concert.



"God Willing":


"Psychological":




"I'm With Stupid":




"Suburbia":


"Minimal" & "Shopping":


"Rent":




"Dreaming of the Queen":


"Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)":


"Heart":


Intermission


"Numb":


"Domino Dancing":


"Home & Dry":


"Where the Streets Have No Name":


"The Sodom and Gomorrah Show":


Before the encores:


Video Highlights: I'll be upgrading the quality at a later date

"Can You Forgive Her?" "Integral" "Always on My Mind" "Where the Streets Have No Name"







Encore: "So Hard" "It's a Sin" "Go West"



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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Stoked about the Strokes

After a fun, if not exhausting, trip to Chicago and Michigan, we return to Boston and see The Strokes in concert Tuesday, September 12th, back again at the Bank of America Pavillion. This concert was kind of a "oh let's just go" since I bought the tickets just a couple weeks ago, contingent on getting decent seats (I have a very interesting way of making sure they're good). We had aisle seats on the left side, so we could see pretty well, even with the two towers in front of me, since I could just inch my way into the aisle whenever they were in the way. Also we had a great view of these two tall, thin dancing women who looked like they were slowly convulsing or dry heaving in slow mo as they danced the entire time.

Anyways, Wolfmother opens for them, and that performance was okay. Can't say I was truly into it, but then again, I felt like the sound that night was a off, really drowning out the vocals several times. That was unfortunate because I thought that took away from the entire concert overall. We didn't enjoy it as much as Snow Patrol, but I think if I knew the songs better, it would have been good since I've been listening to them more after-the-fact, and I really like some of their songs on the new album. "Last Nite" was probably their best performance especially since it was practically the only song that really sounded like the recorded version. Everyone was totally into it as well. I tried leaving "12:51" on our machine back home, but nothing, absolutely nothing got recorded except for a couple static sounds. That sucked. It was the first song we used on our homepage way back when.

Set List
Iza of the World
The Way It Is
Red Light
The Modern Age
Juicebox
Someday
Heart in a Cage
Killing Lies
12:51
You Only Live Once
New YorkCityCops
Is This It
Hard to Explain
Last Nite
Ask Me Anything
Vision of Division
Reptilia

Encore
Barely Legal
Walk on the Wild Side
Take It or Leave It













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Friday, August 25, 2006

Snow Patrol kicks off "concert season"

Last year felt littered with concerts, pretty much from May through fall, but this year, after starting off with symphonies and operas, we're hitting the concerts hard and fast in the next few months. Of course, I'm writing this much later than I should have, which allows me to say that. Otherwise, I never would have known some bands were starting tours this fall.

Anyways...

Snow Patrol

They caught my attention last year when I heard them on the radio, and more so when the HBO series Empire Falls used "Run" in its trailers. I looked them up and saw that they would be performing at Avalon, but by then, the show was already sold out. Doh!

So this year, with the release of their new album, Eyes Open, Snow Patrol came back into town to perform yet again at Avalon. So the tour commences as planned, but unfortunately, the lead singer started having problems with his throad and was in danger of losing his ability to use his voice completely if he didn't postpone the tour to rest and heal. This happens the day before the concert in Boston, which was the last one in the U.S. - I think the had just performed in DC the night of the announcement.

Well, although it was the best thing for him to do, I felt a bit cheated. Not only was Sarah's graduation the day after the scheduled concert, but I had bought plane tickets to fly into Philly that Saturday morning because of the show, instead of flying into Philly Friday night. THEN I had to buy tickets for an earlier flight for reasons I won't get into, so there goes more moolah. So the show caused a bit of a scheduling headache.

Fast forward to August 15th...

their re-scheduled show at the Bank of America Pavillion. I was thinking of selling the tickets, because I had wanted to see them in the much smaller venue of Avalon, instead of a large seated amphitheatre, and actually had a buyer interested after posting them on craigslist. But I decided to keep them in fear that the next time they perform, it may be an arena. Also, I checked to see if Avalon ticketholders had special preference in seating since Avalon is general admission, and they were selling more tickets for the BOAP show. Turns out we did have access to the sections closest to the stage.

Outside the pavillion, there were huge lines to get in because it was a general admission show. We could hear Aberdeen City performing inside. I like what I heard. Sounded a bit like New Order and Depeche Mode. But the long lines weren't as distracting as the people in them. And not in a bad way. Many of them were Irish, and not just Irish-American, but people from Ireland. You could tell not only by the Irish paraphenalia such as flags, green, white and orange t-shirts, but also by the beet red faces and accents everywhere.

We had decent seats considering the time we got there, especially for a general admission show. I'm usually so on top of those kinds. The folks in front of us were from Ireland, telling Brian that the band is Irish after he inquired. There was one particular fan who was dressed as if he were at an Irish soccer match and was quite inebriated. He was in my direct line of sight to the stage, so it was rather entertaining watching both his antics and Snow Patrol.

Gary Lightbody, the lead singer, said few things during the concert, including:

- how difficult is was for them to get a flight, and when they finally did, the airline lost their luggage, and as a result he announced that he was wearing a new pair of tight jeans he bought on Newbury Street
- how this was the biggest venue they've perform in, and how things have changed since performing at T.T. the Bears
- adapting to "star treatment", staying at a fancy hotel downtown, and how they plan to eat burgers after the show
- acknowledging Boston with having the largest Irish population outside of Ireland, and says, "This is a one off show just for you guys. We fly back to Europe tomorrow."

Cool.

Here is their setlist, in no particular order, by album:

Eyes Open
"Chasing Cars" -- Before they performed this, Gary said, "It's 50% boys, 50% girls. Everyone could be married by the end of this gig."

"It's Beginning to Get to Me"
"Open Your Eyes"
"Make This Go On Forever"
"Headlights On Dark Roads"
"Shut Your Eyes"
"You're All I Have" - encore
"Tiny Little Fractures" - encore

Final Straw
"How to Be Dead"
"Spitting Games"
"Chocolate"
"Run"
"Wow"
"Gleaming Auction"
"Grazed Knees"
"Ways & Means"

The concert was tons of fun, and we both really enjoyed the performance. Gary's voice had healed completely, but unfortunately, with such a large venue, the music occasionally drowns out the vocals. (I really recommend concerts in small venues, even if you're standing the entire time.) Everyone around us was really into the music and especially went nuts during "Run" and "Chasing Cars", and surprisingly, they did not perform the very popular "Hands Open" - which was played over and over again on the alt rock stations here. After they had played the last encore, I really really thought that they were going to perform the song and was not convinced that the concert was over until the lights came back on. Oh well. That was the only big disappointment.

Wish we had better photos, but I had a brain fart and forgot to charge the camera's batteries. These were taken with my cell phone.

The only photo of Aberdeen City:






But here is a link to photos taken by another concert go-er:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/playsthetart/sets/72157594238935813/

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

John William's Spectacular



Some background music (Themes from Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T.)

Enriching our lives with some more culture this year, we went to the Boston Pops John William's Spectacular concert last night. Aside from the cramp quarters of being on the main floor, where the audience sits cabaret-style and can order food and drinks (they really pack you in there), and some tall people sitting in front of us, the concert was fantastic!!



Well, we took advantage of the food they offered since we hadn't grabbed dinner beforehand, ordering the following:

- a heartily thick Roast Beef sandwich on Cracked Wheat Bread
- Tuna Salad on Cracked Wheat Bread
both served with chips and a pickle

- bottle of Cabernet & Shiraz Blend, Mak, Coonawarra


- and for dessert, "Gourmet Chocolates" which were quite the rip-off. We felt ridiculous for having ordered it.



Finishing the bottle was a bit harder than I thought (I ended up feeling a bit buzzed when we left), but it went well with the environment - just wining and dining at a live symphony performance. One person next to me did whine about the melodic music of Geisha being too slow to go with beer and food and therefore made him sleepy.


Here are the selections John Williams conducted last night:

A Postcard to Boston: music by John Williams, "A Hymn to New England" - they showed a short film showing sights of New England

Three Pieces from Star Wars: Main Title - Anakin's Theme - Imperial March

Selections from Harry Potter: Hedwig's Theme - Aunt Marge's Waltz - Harry's Wondrous World

~Intermission~

Jim's New Life, from Empire of the Sun

Suite from Memoirs of a Geisha: Sayuri's Theme, The Chairman's Waltz, Brush on Silk

Flight to Neverland, from Hook

~Intermission~

Monsters, Beauties & Heroes: music from King Kong - Jaws - Casablanca - An Affair to Remember - Robin Hood - Superman - they showed a slideshow of photos, the last one being Christoper Reeves as Superman, as they played the theme to Superman



Theme from Cinema Paradiso

Tribute to Three Legendary Composers: Theme from Star Trek the Motion Picture (Goldsmith), Theme from Laura (Raksin-Morley), Theme from The Magnificent Seven (E. Bernstein)

The Olympic Spirit - they showed video clips highlighting memorable Olympic moments

~~~~~~~~

We thought that we would get to see movie clips from the films as they played, but I guess they didn't get permission to use them. This is John Williams, though...and if any one should get permission, he should! His music (along with all other score composers') really make the movies come together.



And then, when we thought the performance was over, we had the AWESOME surprise of TWO encores. He leaves the stage after the Olympic fanfare, and comes back onstage, absorbing the cheers and applause, and then readies the orchestra to play again...the audience silences.

Then with just a couple notes into it, the audience roars with joy as the theme to Indiana Jones begins. It's amazing that all this music came from this one man we're watching conduct.

Cheers and a standing ovation followed. He stood on the podium, basically asking the audience, "One more? Do you want one more?"

and before the music played, I called it. His finale was the theme to E.T. - oh, it just makes your heart ache for more. Just thinking of all those scenes that go along with the music...

Loved it...absolutely loved it.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Row-a-palooza

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

Well, The All-American Rejects make a third appearance in our blog this year, this time performing a free concert during the Head of the Charles Regatta, along with other bands. Their set list included in no particular order:

First Album:
Swing, Swing
My Paper Heart
One More Sad Song
Your Star
Last Song (...their last song)

New Album:
Move Along
Top of the World
Dirty Little Secret



The weather was cloudy and cold, being in the high 40's by the time I got to the stage area (the temp had been falling from the 60's, and it was only 3pm). Luckily it didn't start raining hard until after the show was over.

Tyson had his usual stage presence, but this time it was a little more, how do you say, ridiculous. He wore a bomber jacket which he then proceeded to take off and rub between his legs before throwing it into the crowd. Those who caught it fought over it for a while since he mentioned it a song or two later. Girls were throwing random items on stage, a glove, a hat, a...bra, all of which were removed during the performance so that no one would get hurt (ie. tripping), but Tyson went to the collection and wore the hat and proudly displayed the black bra. He also had the crowd at his mercy, pretending he was pulling the drawstring of a doll, at which when he let go, the crowd...okay, the girls would swoon. He did it several times thereafter. It was hilarious and embarrassing to be a part of that. Brian was thinking twice about being there.

The crowd wasn't tremendously large, so we were able to see them pretty well. At the end, I heard some banter among the audience saying that they were pretty good, it being the first time they saw them.

Good for them. I'm happy they're doing so well and getting lots of airtime both on the radio and on tv ("Move Along" is played in the Waiting (with Ryan Reynolds) trailer). Although it would have been the third time this year, I wish we could see them in concert with Rooney (Jason Schwartzman's (Rushmore, Shop Girl) brother (Princess Diaries) is the lead singer), but it would have been more for hearing Rooney. I admit, I can't get enough of listening to AAR. I'm such a groupie.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Stellastarr*'s First Concert This Year

Here's "My Coco" by Stellastarr* for some background music:




Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Oh, I love WFNX. Not only did they co-host the Best Music Poll concert with The Killers headlining, but they threw four FREE concerts this summer with Smirnoff known as "Off the Radar." These concerts are announced but with undisclosed locations. Well, when I first heard the final show of the series would be Stellastarr* a couple weeks ago, I tried my best calling in to get tickets, which was the only way you could get in...unless, you signed up on web for "Off the Radar" updates. Luckily, I did, for on Monday, they unexpectedly sent me an email on how to get on the guest list for the show as well as where it would be located, this time at the Middle East Downstairs from 9pm-1am. Because it was free, they would be letting people in on a first-come first-serve basis, up to 450 we found out later.

Needless to say, I was totally psyched to go, so I planned to get there early.

After picking up the Metro paper to do the crossword puzzle, I saw there was an article on the show, with a show time of 8pm. I thought, "Great. People will be getting there early." So luckily, a meeting I had downtown ended much sooner than I had expected. I was starving, and in my quest to be in the vicinity of the Middle East early, I succumbed to eating Wendy's (just down the street) which I hadn't done in a very long time, getting a chicken sandwich and nuggets. I felt pretty gross afterwards.

I got to the Middle East to scope out the scene and see if tickets would be distributed, which the bartender said they wouldn't be, just a guest list. Not much stirring as it was only around 6:45pm. But as I was leaving, I saw the band having dinner in the restaurant, bringing a huge smile to my face.

After meeting up with Brian, leaving most of my things at his desk in Harvard, we headed back to Central Square. It was around 7:30pm. Lots of people now going in and out of the place, but no line. So we started one.

Most of the people came after 8pm, and surprisingly Brian's name and not mine was on the list, meaning you really have to bring who you said you would. The doors opened at 8:30pm instead of 9pm, which was good.

We secured our place on the left part of the stage, and the opening act, The Information, didn't come out until 10pm. (Yes, it was a pretty long time to wait.)

But first out comes Keith Dakin, a DJ on FNX to introduce the show...




I really enjoyed one of The Information's songs (the one they dubbed as "for lovers," and probably would have enjoyed more, except for the fact that I couldn't understand anything they were singing. The music was so loud and their mics weren't turned up enough for, at least anyone up close to the stage, to hear. Also, Brian insisted the bass for a lot of the songs was ripped from Nirvana.









When Stellastarr* came out on stage, the crowd went wild. It was great to hear and see such enthusiasm.

Here is their set list, which I was able to take a peek at since it was taped to the speaker in front of me.

Lost In Time
No Weather
A Million Reasons
Damn This Foolish Heart
The Diver
Jenny
Stay Entertained (interrupted*)
In the Walls
Sweet Troubled Soul
On My Own
Love & Longing

Encore:
Born In A Fleamarket
My Coco

They were FANTASTIC! Each song was just like listening to their CD, at least for the oldie ones. They played great new material from their second CD which won't be out until September 13th. They seemed very down to earth, even on stage...but they rocked hard when they performed.









At one point, a stupid drunk guy suddenly walked on stage, in the middle of "Stay Entertained," and stopped and stared at Amanda (bassist) as she played. Then he went on to give her a hug. This was in front of everyone, and probably freaked her out so much that she had to stop playing. When that happened, the rest of the band stopped as well. Bouncers, which were a little slow on the uptake (as well as everyone else, I guess), came and literally pushed and threw the guy out the back door. Shawn (lead singer) went on to say "That guy was not drinking responsibly...I hope they take him out back and kick the sh** out of him" to which the crowd applauded and cheered in agreement. They decided to not to continue the song and went directly to "In the Walls."





Having "My Coco" as their final song was simply awesome...

An awesome, awesome show.

At the end, we were given vouchers for free hot dogs at a stand outside the venue. Can't beat free food.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Two familiar bands...one late night

Just a really random note:

The All-American Rejects were on Late Night with David Letterman last night...an hour later, Elkland (see "Flashback with Erasure") performed on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Didn't actually get to see either of the shows in real time, but it's kinda cool that they were on national tv the same night.

A good sign that we're still down with pop culture...

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Best Music Poll Concert 2005

Tuesday, June 7th

It was a mighty hot day when we went to the FNX and Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll concert. When we got to the Bank of America Pavillion, there weren't a lot of people there, and we just relaxed with our tall 16oz beers waiting for the concert to begin. We had pretty good seats, just 14 rows from the stage on the right side.

Here's the line-up:

Robbers on High Street
Louis XIV
Interpol
The Killers

But first things first, we didn't bring a camera, because you weren't allowed to bring them, but it seemed like a whole lotta people just ignored that restriction, making me regret not taking one with us. We couldn't hide it anywhere anyway, because I didn't bring a bag. But I downloaded photos from the web that were taken that day by Diana Ring (who really needs to edit and shoot more than just the frontman, if even that).

Aside from the festival-type atmosphere (hot dogs and sausage for dinner), Newbury Comics had a special stand where the artists would go and autograph posters. Pretty cool. Each group had their own time slot, and well, Brian and I wanted to hear and see the music and the signings pretty much spilled over during sets. Not to mention the LONG line of people waiting. We did have the very brief pleasure of seeing The Killers during their signing, before resigning to our lack of a good view and buying a t-shirt instead.

It really does stink to be an opening act, because you just don't get the same amount of attention as the later and headlining acts. See the empty seats below...

Robbers on High Street



They were pretty good, although the only song we knew was "Japanese Girls". Brian and I were not impressed with their attire, saying that they should have put a little more thought into it, like what the following acts did.

Louis XIV (Even in the hot weather, these guys aren't even breaking a sweat!)




They were very entertaining, and Brian really enjoyed their music. Almost like classic rock and roll. "Finding Out True Love is Blind" is the one popular song we knew, and it was funny how they changed the line "You know it's the girl with a frown with the tight pants I really want to shake up" to "You know it's the girls in the back dancing that I really want to shake up" because there were two girls just going nuts way in the back.

Interpol

This guy had the coolest look of the night and looked like Crispin Glover as the "thin man", just with a side part instead of in the center. The people next to us were drunk off their asses and had a wild time during their performance. The lead singer of Louis XIV stood near our seating area to watch, getting compliments from girls who recognized him. We both knew a few of their songs, and my favorite "new" one was "Narc" (which they're constantly playing on the radio now). I definitely like their sound, but according to an FNX DJ, they're not very friendly. Oh well...as long as they keep producing good tunes.

The Killers

Before taking the stage, "Viva Las Vegas" played overhead, as they are from Las Vegas. Very quirky.



The screens on both sides of the stage now projected the performance, but I refused to watch the screen even during moments of blockage, because it's like watching TV which isn't what I was doing. Wearing not-very high platform sandals didn't help much, and I resorted to standing on my toes through two straight songs before getting tired and just did it occasionally. Couldn't stand on the folding off-white seats.




They had a great set, with Brandon Flowers dropping hints on what would be performed next:

Smile Like You Mean It
Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
Change Your Mind
Andy, You're a Star
Indie Rock Roll
On Top
A new song..."? Faces"
Midnight Show
Mr. Brightside
Somebody Told Me
Under the Gun
All These Things That I've Done



Brian of course had a better view of what was going on, especially with the crowd. He said that during "Somebody Told Me", the crowd was going insane. I loved each song performed and after Mr. Brightside, being my favorite off the album (it's so fun with an absolutely contagious hook), it felt like my shirt was thoroughly wet with sweat. Brandon made a point of saying that we were all waiting for that one.



But the definitive highlight of the night was the encore "All These Things That I've Done" with a few thousand fans chanting "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" in unison. It was amazing.

We couldn't stop talking about it on the long walk back to the T station (my feet were killing me and the sandal strap broke skin). We listened to the album on my ipod on our T ride home.

This is a great concert season...

All photos by Diana Ring.

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Flashback with Erasure

We went to an Erasure concert on Friday, June 3rd, and it was such a blast!…well, for me at least. Brian would write a totally different blog. (I did kinda drag him to the concert.)

On my way to Avalon, I ran into my Editorial teacher on his way to none other than NESOP’s graduation. I might have stopped by to look at the work at school, but my concern was getting on line. It had been a while since we’ve been to the club…not since the summer of 2003…I guess that it was overdue…but we were going to see a concert, not go clubbing. The music, though, is quite appropriate for dancing.

As opposed to the AAR show, the range of ages of the audience was much more diverse. I would have expected a little more dress-up with this one, but unfortunately, I only just saw one…a very feminine-looking man who wore all black with his hair up like a geisha’s and wore heavy eye makeup and lipstick. He did look very cool, even if it may sound a little strange.

Anyways, we got there pretty early, with at least an hour to wait for Erasure to perform. I was hoping that the dance floor would get more crowded since there was a lot of room still left. I didn't know how many fans there were in Boston, but I wanted a crowd that was totally into the performance.

It was already past 7:15pm when Elkland came out and performed only 3 songs since they started pretty late. I really enjoyed their performance…very reminiscent of the Cure, the Killers, and 80’s new wave.

Here's a sampling (minus the bass) of the 3 songs: "Apart", "Find Me" (my favorite), "Put Your Hand Over Mine"










After their performance, the club became fully packed as the stragglers cared more about seeing Erasure than Elkland.

Brian and I stayed put on our elevated position. As much fun as it would be to be on the dance floor, I cared more about the ability to see them. Besides, I made sure I had enough room around me to dance.

They had a FANTASTIC jam-packed set, including a majority of old favorites: (in no particular order)

New Music:
Breathe
No Doubt
I Broke It all in Two
All this Time Still Falling Out of Love
Here I go Impossible Again

Breath Of Life
Oh L'Amour
Victim Of Love
Hideaway
Ship of Fools
A Little Respect
Chains Of Love
Drama
Blue Savannah
Stop
Knocking on Your Door
Chorus
Love to Hate You
Always
Sometimes (encore, with another song I don't know the title of)

Covers:
Ave Maria
Rapture

At the end of "Drama" of which Brian recorded the end of the performance (see below), a bouncer came up to him and told him not to record, because I guess it was pretty obvious that he wasn't taking photos. Poor Brian, it was still early in the concert when this happened and just made his experience all that much worse.



It being my first concert seeing them, I was impressed by the set design and all the costume changes. Andy Bell (lead singer) told the audience how he had gone to a bar in Boston the previous night and had a conversation with one of the patrons (or was it the bartender?). Anyways, noticing the British accent, the patron mentioned that Erasure was going to be in concert the next night and something to the extent that he wasn't a big fan of the music (!). Well, Andy got a kick out of it.

Here are some photos during the show:


He had his wings on for most of his new material which he performed early in the set.



Love Vince Clarke's (background) outfit.





An Elvis suit for "Ave Maria"


Feathers and a speedo (look at the money being offered from the audience...)



The last song before the encore was "Always" (I can't remember if that's true), but the crowd went nuts screaming for more, not just the popular "increasing the speed of clapping" response, but also thunderous stomping. It was awesome...

Now, I just found out Depeche Mode is coming out with a new album in the fall...(Vince used to work with them)...can't wait!!

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Monday, May 02, 2005

The All-American Rejects visit Beantown

We just got back from the AAR's show at Axis in Boston. It was FANTASTIC! I wish they had more music out so that they could have performed longer. Their set was only 45 minutes long. Definitely too short, but every minute ROCKED. It was awesome...

We've been fans of their music since we first heard "Swing, Swing" on the radio in 2003. I even remember listening to their songs, mixed along with The Postal Service, while painting our blue room in our other apartment that summer. So I jumped at the opportunity to go see them in concert, finding out just two short days ago that they would be in town.

We had to wait in the will-call line as those with tickets moved quickly by us. Brian made the interesting observation that it seemed that the older fans ended up in the will-call line. Older meaning being around our ripe age of 28 or even just 21 since most of the fans were young teenage girls, wearing small t-shirts and glitter makeup. Okay, so many didn't have glitter makeup...Nevertheless, being on line, it was like I was in the middle of an eighth grade school trip. Parents were there just to buy tickets for their kids. It was really amusing how the doorman asked if anyone was buying for their kids, just so the parents didn't have to stand in line and could leave. He also came by and asked if there was anyone 21 and older that would be getting a drink inside...he must have given out 5 bracelets, including one for me and one for Brian, and we weren't even planning on drinking, getting it just to differentiate us from everyone else (we did end up sharing one small cup of beer). But in the end, it really doesn't matter that their target demo is young girls (all their merchandise on their web suggest it's so), as long as the music is worth listening to.

We got really dinky "Admit One" ticket stubs instead of nicely printed tickets. That really stunk. But I guess the overall size of the venue made up for it. It was so small that we couldn't figure out where to stand, in the pit or on the stairs, and eventually we tried our luck in the pit/dance floor (Axis is a club).

Hello Goodbye was one of the opening acts. I liked their songs, especially their last one which briefly fused into a dance techno song, singing "What is Love?" by Haddaway (that's the song for Chris Cattan and Will Ferrell's head shaking skit on SNL). Fu-un! The second band was Armor for Sleep and was a little too hardcore for my taste. They're from Jersey and reminded me of another band from back home that a couple of my high school classmates are in.

After Hello Goodbye was done, we debated whether to move to the stairs, 'cuz even though there were a lot of short people like me in the crowd, we didn't want to be squooshed, so we headed to the stairs. Plenty of room to dance and move around, and a big bonus for being able to reach the bathrooms easily. We stood right next to the roped-off section of the main control panel area and had an unobstructed view of the whole stage (I could see all the members of the band at once...unlike in the pit, where occasional tall people would block my view. I could barely see the drummer).

But enough of that, on to the good stuff...The All-American Rejects

They performed pretty much their entire first album, with the exception of one song, I think "Drive Away", and performed a new one off their upcoming new album called "Move Along". I had only previously seen a small fragment of one of their videos on VH1 or MTV, but it was a blast seeing them perform live. They were really kick ass, engaging the audience with such great stage presence and a flair of theatrics mixed in with some non-obligatory but amusing cuss words, shocking the girls standing near me. And of course, great vocals and music that lived up to and even surpassed our expectations. Plus, we were standing dead center stage in front of Tyson, the lead singer, and it seemed like he was always singing to us since we were pretty much at his eye level with no one in front of us. He pointed one time in our direction, and I told Brian that Tyson had pointed at him...

This video captures some of the experience, from fairly audible and visual to just plain chaos...sorry, that's because I couldn't stand still. Just had to rock along. You can hear my lame singing in the background, too. The mic on the camera isn't the best for environments like these, but maybe you'll recognize one of these songs: "Don't Leave Me" "Swing, Swing" and "Last Song"




"Last Song" was their, er, last song/encore. (I had to splice in "...this is the last song..." at the end since the video cut off at just the exact moment it shouldn't have.) It's one of my favorite songs on their album, and their performance was both amazing and heartbreaking, since we all knew it was their last song, and it DEFINITELY left you wanting more. Can't wait til their next visit around here...I even considered going to see them at Irving Plaza this Thursday (now I feel like I AM in eighth grade without posters all over my room), but it's sold out. Good for them.


Post show recap:
Okay, so I read online that the band sticks around after their shows, so what the heck, we're not in a rush. But what a mess...first the exit is jammed because a) the merchandise table is at top of the stairs near the exit, b) no one wants to move, and c) Tyson makes his appearance in the foyer near the exit. Brian went to get my things from coatcheck as I tried to wiggle my way into the madness. Shirts, ticket stubs, and even shoes were being used as autograph material.

Look how young they are...

Poor Tyson. He seemed a bit tired and overwhelmed. Turns out he didn't pick the best spot, so the giant mass of girls moved with every step that Tyson made, first from the foyer, to down the stairs, and then finally to the main dance floor area, where a line miraculously forms, thank goodness. I'm on that line, of course (yes, I'm one of those starstruck people, but how many times do you get to meet the band, the lead singer at that, without needing a backstage pass?). Brian stood on the wayside the entire time as I made my way closer, and thankfully joined me on the dance floor, where he could take the photo, and I didn't have to worry about someone else taking a bad photo.

It was a little ridiculous how many of those in line had to take self-portraits of themselves, so when I was up front, I decided to step up and help out. I'm a photographer for goodness sake.


That's a funky cool photo. Tyson is crazy wacky on stage but is totally down to earth as I finally made some decent banter with someone famous, instead of usually choking on my words and saying something stupid. Famous here, I guess, is relative, since you may not have heard of them, but they definitely rock the casbah.

New album out July 12. . .Tyson told me it's better than the first...can't wait!

p.s. flash back to September 2004 where we captured "Swing, Swing" in the background on our Dr. Sheehy video at around the :25 mark

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