Sunday, July 31, 2011

Early Morning Blues Threepeat

Does this make me a groupie yet? I think per one definition you're supposed to sleep with the band which is so not the case so maybe not. Still, 3 trips to Boston to see these guys play has got to count for something.

Since I never seem to have real time on these trips, I took the red eye out of Seattle trying to get to Atlanta in time to fly to Boston that AM. First flight out and I touched down gunning on about 4 hours of sleep totally for two days. I was in rare form. There was a fun moment explaining the T to a non-Boston native on the airport shuttle. I think I'm here too much now hmm?

Rana grabbed me and there was a trek to get our tattoos done and then off to the show. We met up with Victoria there (who I think needed my coaxing to show up) and ran into the two girls who run the EMB fan twitter, Courtney and Commie. So we had our own little group of girls to hang with even if I am more than a decade older than most of them.

It was a full line up of bands that I'd either somewhat heard of (Ghost Thrower & Lions Lions) or that I'd researched a little beforehand. A couple of the early bands were young, but with a lot of energy. They were going for getting the crowd jumping, which was really impressive. It reminded me of Matt from Cage the Elephant actually. He's sort of changed the way I look at that sort of stage work. (Meaning I get a lot more out of it.)

My biggest take aways from the night were obviously Ghost Thrower and Early Morning Blues though.

Ghost Thrower never fails to disappoint. I think there's something about Travis Alexander, the lead singer, dressed in a white undershirt and cuffed skinny jeans that doesn't make you think he'd have that sort of powerful noise that GT has, but he does and it's always good. I really enjoyed their set, and reminded myself, again, that I still need to pick up that EP package. Definitely recommend them.

Early Morning Blues was working with a slightly new line up. Nick Conway from A View From An Airplane has joined, taking Danny's place. He played with them at the Levi's acoustic show, but in Travis' stead, not Danny's. There's some shifting obviously and it's a little bit of a bummer to not see Danny on stage, but Nick won us over pretty quick. First he's a really nice guy and second (possibly more importantly?), his voice lends to Bryan's really well. Adding him on vocals a is a definite perk. There were some tweaks to the songs, a longer bridge on Chapter One and Never Leave, but all it did was make both songs just a little bit better. Never Leave in particular just sounded extra great.






After we caught some time with Bryan (and throughout the night as well, but longer at the end). I was surprised to see that he'd managed to get the bracelet I'd given him last time back on after taking it off for work. He explained it but I still handed over the back up one I'd made (this one came with a clasp). He seemed to really like the metal version and though it took us a moment to get it on he didn't get nearly as frustrated as I did.

Travis jumped into the conversation and won himself a hug for the effort. He asked if it was my second show, and I corrected him to say third. He's forgiven on forgetting the first since I didn't meet him after. He said "oh right third," then held up four fingers instead. I'm guessing that means show up again kT. We did talk about my birthday, to which Travis decided to change my sign from Leo to Virgo so it would mesh better with his and then I pointed out how old I'm going to be and Travis stared at me like I was insane. "I wouldn't have guessed a day over 22." Bryan just smiled. I think he'd sorted out that I was older already or he's just so stealth with his reactions that he kept it in check.

I said hi to Nick when he came to talk to Bryan, half introducing myself. I told him we'd tweeted back and forth some the other day, and when I told him my user name he nodded. "Oh yeah, Bryan was telling me about you." That got Bryan a look from me and he just sort of smiled and looked away with a shrug. "You talk about us all the time, spread the word. I figure I can do the same for you. It's like a mutual talking about thing." I'm not sure what I did to deserve promotion, but apparently I've got EMB out there promoting some kT action.

Bryan made sure he gave me some tips on bands playing in Atlanta (though I might have suggested he show up at Music Midtown since it is a good set) and we talked tattoos a little more. He made a tattoo parlor suggestion as well (I'm up to like three different places in ATL that I'm supposed to check out) and I mentioned that I liked his Star Wars tattoo. Of course he was impressed that I knew the logo and I asked if he was a closet nerd. He said yes, then shook his head, out of the closet. Mad props for the nerds.

Another perfect night that was 100% worth the lack of sleep leading into a drive to camp Saturday afternoon. It's nice to feel loved and welcome. Though nothing tops being spotted by Bryan and as soon as he sees me he comes over for hugs and to make sure my trip was good. Really can't get better than these guys, not in a million years.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Black & Blue, Bruised & Broken

With my lyrics in hand and the sketch of my stitched heart it was just a matter of finding a place in Boston to get the tattoos done. Rana picked me up from the T and after a quick shower we were off trying to find somewhere that could take two walk ins for the afternoon. There was traffic fighting but eventually we wound up at the Painted Bird and Tony there was put to the task of inking up my skin.

When he got my Georgia license he was a little surprised, asking about when I got into town and such. Turns out I found one of the only tattoo artists in Boston who also used to work in Atlanta. That was just some sort of fitting irony.

There was another EMB fan there, Olivia, who I recognized, but Rana actually knew. She was getting hers done, so the happy coincidence was amusing. She was pretty smiley about seeing mine and Rana's (well as much as she could be already a few hours into hers and wincing at it). The tweets later were far more reassuring than a pained face, which was totally understandable.

The obvious statement was that it hurt, but I think this one hurt worse than my other ribcage tattoo. I blame part of it on the fact that I've lost weight since the last time I got it done, which means there's less 'padding' between skin and bone, but I don't know. Either way, it was rough, but Tony managed to work this way through it pretty quickly. Hopefully I didn't flinch too much. I imagine that's annoying.

The finished product came out better than I think I could have ever planned. It's beautiful and just what I wanted. I think Bryan's handwriting totally makes it.

black & blue, bruised & broken

We went to the show later that night (more on the show itself later) and of course it was the first thing he asked about as soon as he saw me. It was still bloody and bandaged when I showed him originally, but the photo was on my phone and he looked at that. Turns out he really likes it too, and really loves the stitched heart idea. So much that he's already bothering his guy about new artwork. As we were leaving he told me again thanks for getting it in general and I thanked him for writing it out for me. He said "anytime" then corrected him. "You don't have to get another." I smiled and told him we'd see if the mood struck for another.

Right now it's my current favorite of my tattoos, but I think I say that about all my tattoos right after a I get them. It's just how it goes I think, though it is really lovely in general. What do ya'll think?

Tattoo #6 - The Set Up

I've been in love with this giant phrase from Early Morning Blue's "Chapter One" since…well since Bryan posted it on the EMB twitter before the song was even out. That long.

Can I bring my black and blue, bruised, broken body back to you / to mend for me / 'cause I have seen the ugly truth of the world

Obviously that's an entire paragraph and there's no where on my body that it's going to fit, which is a bummer but at the same time I get it. I've spent the past few months trying to break it down to something smaller to take pieces of it without ruining it and I wound up just completely lifting from it to just two lines

black & blue
bruised & broken

I like the way it hints at the lyrics, where I'd have to explain the whole phrase and I like that it touches on how the feeling of the lyrics are. The person is beaten and in need of repair. Having it like that is stating the state that it leaves someone in. And honestly? It's a way I feel often these days.

I was chatting with Rana, my cohort in most things EMB fan girl related, and we were tossing the idea about of her tattoo, which would be her first. I was telling her she needs to get around to getting it even though she hasn't yet and I was trying to be supportive. We chatted about getting it down when I'm in Boston of the EMB show, because why the hell not? I had my birds tattoo in mind for the joint effort, but Rana's idea is lyrics from her favorite band, written out by the lead singer. We joked about getting Bryan to write mine out, but there's this tattoo picture floating around that he supposedly wrote and it's almost impossible to read. We made jokes that it would be ugly and we'd feel bad.

After a while though she wore me down and she was right, it would be pretty damn cool if Bryan wrote it out and even if it was unreadable and kinda ugly, I'd probably still love it. Of course I wasn't even sure he would do it and there was always the worry he'd think I was completely 100% nuts, just for asking. (If he hadn't already come to that conclusion about me). Eventually though I wound up tweeting the EMB account, asking if he'd do it for me. He came back pretty quickly with an "of course, send us an email."

(I should point out here that I had a laugh that he knew I would know where to find the email for the band. Either that or it was some sort of test, but yeah I knew right where to go to grab it.)

When I emailed him, he got back to me pretty quickly, telling me he was flattered that I wanted the lyrics and honored to write them out for me. He asked how I wanted it to look which left me a little shocked because I hadn't thought it out that far. His handwriting was about where it ended.

I started talking it over with Nat and she asked me the big question. "How do the lyrics make you feel?" I said messy and in need of being stitched back together. That was about when I started drawing the stitched heart in my mini art journal I carry around I told Bryan messy and bold but readable.

There was a painful week of waiting and after 7 days I wound up sending a follow up email reminding him gently that I wanted to get it done this week. He came back with an apology that it took so long but he just didn't like anything he'd written out. Still he scanned what he had and offered it to me, telling me to let him know if I didn't like it and if I needed something else.

Of course I immediately fell in love with it especially the one on the far right. The top one has that same bold feeling, but the far right just looks so natural, so much closer to his own handwriting. (At this point I feel the urge to point out that he actually does have really nice handwriting, and I'm starting to wonder if that written out tattoo was actually him or just a a bad tattoo in general).

I emailed him back this sort of blathering type email where I told him how amazing he was for writing it out for me and how amazing it looked. I mentioned pairing it with my own artwork and that I couldn't wait to show it to him on Friday after I got it.

What shocked me was my phone going off a few minutes later, with a response email from him. He wanted to know what kind of artwork was going with it. A little surprised I explained the heart and said that it was a result of how the lyrics made me feel, like being in need of being stitched back together.

I got another email back with him agreeing to how the lyrics felt and telling me how much he liked the heart idea and that there was an urge on his end too for another tattoo. At this point we went back a few times, me asking about his ideas for his next, which surprisingly enough might wind up being inspired by mine. I guess he was due up for an EMB tattoo anyway. (He has logos from both of the BLG albums on his arm as well as a few 'tour' themed tattoos from when their tours. An EMB tattoo seems like a must right?)

My other favorite part of the night of emailing was to get the twitter update coming from him:

The fan would be me and of course my timeline on both twitter and tumblr blew up a little in excitement.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tattoo Ideas: Take Flight

It looks like when it's all said and done I'm likely to wind up with at least three tattoos that have to do with flight or flying. This obviously leads to the idea that I've yet to get an airplane tattoo. What would I be without an airplane?

I studied them in school, I grew up on movies and television shows about them and I've spent half a decade working with them, to the point where I claim an entire airplane's worth of of aircraft as my own. I figure after three years of getting down and dirty in them fixing them I've earned the right to call them mine.

I've yet to nail down a full concrete idea on this one yet, but it's constantly there, planning in the back of my mind. There are a few options that I've tossed around of course though, I've thought about my right wrist if it was small, my forearms of course, but that might require a career change and my thigh has been on the list as well.

There's a couple of different styles I've tossed around while dreaming it up, and as of yet nothing has stuck but I do still like the various options.

One would be the paper airplane. It's whimsical and harkens to youth, but at the same time is built (folded) which appeals to the engineer in me. She appreciates that bit of hand work done in it.

There's the silhouette of the standard airplane symbol which reminds me a lot of the the airline obviously the airport. The running joke these days with as much traveling as I do for work that the airport is my second home. Quite fitting right? Plus it's a clean looking tattoo which is nice too. It's a little more grown up than that paper planes, and lends a little more towards a love for travel (but who doesn't just love to travel right? That seems to silly to get a tattoo about to me).

Last of course is a cute biplane. They've always been a favorite of mine, and if the artwork is done right, again it has a bit of a whimsical feel to it. And of course, there's that the tie in to the original love for airplanes.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tattoo ideas: Wingless No More

A friend of mine asked me a long time ago if I could get a tattoo done anywhere, at someone else's expense, and all I had to do was be part of an art gallery or something. I didn't even have to think about telling him I'd get the wings on my back I wanted. It was about then that I realized there was no point in not getting them. I keep wanting them, keep talking about them, but I kept saying "no I'm not gonna do it." I was coming up with other ideas for what to put on my back, trees, flowers a million other things Wings on my upper back before 30.

I've started nailing down the details as well. I originally had hoped for just standard bird type wings across by back, but with all my ideas for my tattoos they wind up evolving. As i started planning it out, looking at pictures I realized that just plain bird wings weren't right. I started thinking of something with more structure, something that leaned more towards my engineering background.

After a while the idea of built wings came to mind. Who else had built wings? Icarus. For those who don't really know the general story (and don't feel like reading through the wikipedia page), Icarus was the son of the great inventor Daedalus. The gist is that his father made him wings, and he didn't listen to the instructions of not flying to close to the sun. Which he wound up doing anyway. The wax that held the wings together melted and he fell from the sky.

Not super pleasant right? But there's another story, one I like that was written to go with it. Cirque Du Soleil's Verakai was written about what happens to Icarus when he falls from the sky. He winds up in this enchanted world where things aren't what they seem and he falls in love. It's quite lovely really. His wings are passed around by the creatures, not sure what to make of them, other than they look like what the butterflies have. Actually, the creature he falls in love with is a caterpillar of sorts who turns into a butterfly of sorts at the end. The whole thing is beautiful.

I like the idea of homemade wings though, just like any airplane geek and engineer, it's making something that we weren't born with. Humans are supposed to grounded, but we've managed to ignore that, to go against it and take to the skies. I love that. It's time I have my own wings.

of course it might yield a change in user names. Wingless Warrior might not be as fitting afterward. Then again I'll probably stay that.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cage the Elephant Gets Nommed for a VMA

This is beyond exciting.

My friends from high school and rock stars, Cage the Elephant were nominated for an MTV VMA for "Best Rock Video"! I can't even begin to wrap my head around it but this is HUGE. HUGE.

I watched these guys play in the first incarnation of their band as Perfect Confusion at the Java House in high school and now they are nominated for a VMA. Though I find everything that MTV stands for and does a total joke, the VMAs have the potential to be the last decent thing they have going on.

Here's the video:

You can vote for it HERE!!

Tattoo Ideas: Believe

I've shared my favorite Boys Like Girls song before, but I can't resist sharing it again since it's pertinent.

This version is an acoustic one Martin (the lead singer) did and it's stunning. It's my favorite version of the song I think.

I've loved the lyrics from the first time I heard it, finding that kind of hauntingly beautiful that comes with words that ring so true. They are the gut wrenching, but at the same time a wonderful bit of advice for getting through the things in your life that hold you back, that keep you from moving on. There's one line though, one that's gotten me from the first time I heard the song:

believe your body can mend

The whole verse is lovely, but that's the part that I like the best.

Self harm comes in different forms I've learned over the years and with that I've been given a giant list of reasons why I have the issue in general, from depression, to anxiety to obsessive compulsive disorder. I'm still not sure which it would have been as I've struggled through all three, but I do know I've done enough damage to my skin to leave scars on my arms.

In this vein I realized I really wanted these words and more importantly I wanted them on my arm, the source of the problem. I've been thinking in an elaborate kind of script on the inside of my right arm (opposite the birds). I like it as a reminder that pain heals, that damage can be overcome. As humans we're resilient creatures that can heal, we can get better. We will get better. I will get better. I am better.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tattoo Ideas: For the Birds

I've been tossing around plenty ideas for my next tattoo. Enough that I'm probably going to do a series of the next few posts dedicated to what I want to get next. When I get it done you'll see what it is I end up with. I'll post that too and try to take real photos of the whole experience. My memoirs which have been started but not finished talk about my tattoos and I feel like the whole experiences have been interesting in it of themselves. Everything should come with a tale right?

That said, I've been tossing around the idea of birds.

I love the silhouette and the idea of birds flying off in to the distance. Being an airplane geek, flight is always amazing and of course there's tons of other representations of what it could mean. It's a lovely image, getting out, being free, tasting the air and moving. I'm actually considering adding "be free" in a cursive with the birds, just to further symbolize that urge to find one's center.

Right now I'm thinking this one would go on the inside of my left bicep, horizontal when i hold my arm out. I know, that's a somewhat visible spot, but I figure I wear 3/4 to long sleeves most days at work anyway either to combat the weather or the air-conditioning. Giving up tank tops and short sleeved shirts to work would probably not be too much of a stretch. I rarely wear one without something else over the top.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Review – Early Morning Blues “Newest Versions”

I’ve written how many posts about going to see Early Morning Blues play, and I’ve babbled about how amazing they are, but I haven’t every actually explained just what it is about the EP that they released that is so awesome.

I should point out that I am a little biased here. This is my favorite band (edging out over The Goo Goo Dolls as they’ve grown up before I have and though I still love them I can’t bring myself to call a band that’s firmly in the Adult Contemporary genre my favorite band). I’ve seen them play live twice, watched a million videos and have a ridiculous playcount of their music on my iPod.

I was interested, possibly in love with this EP, when all there was were was a melody of snippets posted on Bryan’s (the lead singer) MySpace page. I actually signed onto myspace for the first time in months to listen to it (and got six new porn related friend requests as a result).

Bias aside? This is one of the most solid collections of music I’ve heard in a while. Each track has its own sound, its own backbone and while they are similar, they are still completely different.

It is said a lot but every song is original and by original I mean original. I’ve not heard anything like it before. This is hard when trying to explain what kind of music it is, but at the same time it’s refreshing. And it’s not just the first listen that gets you. The first listen comes with strong drum lines, a powerful bass line that only comes when the bassist is as talented and as deeply invested in the music as Bryan is.

The lyrics are raw, but isn't that what good music is supposed to be? Raw and to the point? At the same time, it's not overtly direct. It's subtle in ways that catch you off guard until you're half listening, working on something else and suddenly the words are there, and you have to stop whatever you're doing to really take it in. That's good songwriting.

"War and Wisdom" seems to scream of betrayal, but at the same time of expecting people to live their life the way they should rather than the way they're told. It's a person's decision and the answer's obvious isn't it? "Never Leave" is a complex twist of a relationship, the kinda that doesn't seem to have a way out, yet at the same time isn't one you want out of. I've listened to that song more times than I'd like to admit and every time I think of it differently. "Echoes" is haunting and I think the under-rated track on the EP. I always forget it's there but once I start it I can't help but get into it. It runs along the same lines as "Chapter One," coming across as the result of being beaten down too many times to count, but having the strength to find a way out. It makes one wonder what sparked the lyrics, but at the same time, it's a concept most can relate to. "Chapter One" of course has the lines of begging to go back, but nothing quite beats my favorite line (which I think is possibly my favorite set of lyrics):

can I bring my black and blue bruised broken body back to you? to mend for me, because I have seen the ugly truths of the world.

Breathtaking right? (You'd be right if you're thinking it might have made the short list for tattoo ideas)

The whole EP doesn't disappoint, not once. The music is strong, the words are stronger to point where even me, a die hard Boys Like Girls fan, has to sit back and wonder how we missed out on the gem that has been hidden within that band.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Return of Music Midtown

Everyone in Atlanta remembers the death of Music Midtown. For college students (like I was at the time) it was a blow to music freedom (or something equally ridiculous in our heads). We'd just had 'On the Bricks' taken away (which made sense as a series of free concerts in the summer at Centennial Olympic Park probably wasn't a good idea) and for me the death came the first year I might have actually be around to go to the shows. But in 2005 the living, breathing, wannabe Warped Tour bordering on a potential disaster that was Music Midtown was killed. It was for the best really. Ten years was a good run for such a show and face it, Atlanta isn't Manchester, TN which has shocked the world with being able to host Bonaroo every year. (I should point out that this is probably because there is quite truly, nothing else in Manchester. I drive through there often to get to my parents' house.) Especially in its last year, there were a million and one things wrong (including lots of rain that rained out half the show). We bid it farewell and wished for something similar, another Big Day Out or the like, and everyone else just traveled to Bonaroo instead.

I've never been a music festival goer. I'm a music festival lover, but in my preteen years I didn't have an older sibling to drag me to Big Day Out or Warped Tour and once I was old enough to think about going on my own, I'd moved to a state that likely wouldn't even be on the Warped Tour radar in the early 2000s. (I didn't look that up because there's no point. It wasn't coming to my house). Plus, let's face it, I was terribly naive as a teenager. Terribly.

I've loved the idea of Bonnaroo, Music Midtown and more, and I've always loved the line up, but I can't stand the idea of camping for three days, not to mention I live in the south. You think up in New England you're melting at Warped Tour? Try doing it here in Atlanta where it's probably up over 100 degrees, you're on black top that's just making it hotter and there's a million sweaty kids. Not really the ideal situation to see your favorite band.

But Music Midtown refused to stay dead.

Mayor Kasim Reed has an idea for Atlanta and apparently it's to bring back the culture we let die in the 2000 decade. Not that Wrestlemania really counts as classy culture, but it did count as a giant cash cow for the city and I think Mayor Reed sees the same with Midtown.

It's been dropped down to two stages and one day, with a lineup that had my eyes going wide. Coldplay as the headliner? The Black Keys and Manchester Orchestra (a no brainer as they are local heroes)? Of course there was one name that caught my attention, for obvious reasons. Cage the Elephant, my high school friends, has been deemed to open and will be at the rebirth of Music Midtown (now you see why I want to go?).

They've moved the locale from the empty space that's now the Georgia Aquarium to Piedmont Park, they've moved the concert date to late September (when it should be comfortable weather). They've added a very interesting set list.

I feel like it's a good start.

Of course I'm likely going to be fighting with people to get someone to go with me, but the collection of hipster type bands (yes, yes they are) could mean a really interesting crowd. I'm eager to see how this goes in a city that tends to prefer Lady Ga Ga, rap music and Taylor Swift. It could be awesome.

That said, I'm excited. Tickets go on sale next week and I'm likely to get myself one.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tim and Beth Save the Date Photos

Tim, Champ's brother, and his fiance, Beth, have an engagement photo session planned, but they are getting closer to when they wanted to send the Save the Date cards out and were wondering if while we were at the beach for the Fourth if I could take a few shots, see what comes out and maybe give them some fodder for the cards. I have to say, I'm pretty proud with how some of these came out.

Tim and Beth 16

Tim and Beth 15

Tim and Beth 13

Tim and Beth 14
This one is my favorite. I think it's very them.

Tim and Beth 11
This one isn't right because he wasn't supposed to be holding his cup (he wasn't going out there without a drink), but I snapped it anyway and just really love it. They live near Tybee Island and are beachgoers, so for me, I think this is about as candid as it gets.

Tim and Beth 12

Tim and Beth 10
(how romantic!)

Tim and Beth 9

Tim and Beth 6

Tim and Beth 8

TIm and Beth 3
Beth thought I was crazy when I had her and Tim stand in front of this grated door and red building. I love it though and when she took a peek at my camera later, she agreed.

Tim and Beth 4
Definitely another favorite.

Tim and Beth 2

Tim and Beth 1
The last two probably won't work, but I do love the way they came out.

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