Friday, November 25, 2011

New Beginnings

I've been trying to post about this for a while, but it's been a little hard for me to do that.

When Boys Like Girls announced their return and posted their video update, they also announced they were short a bassist, one who seems to frequent my blog, Bryan Donahue.

Bryan took to twitter a few hours later and said that he'd been kicked out of the band and that it wasn't his decision to leave. (Yes. Whatever you are guessing in the way of my reaction is accurate.)

So the announcement of the new album from Boys Like Girls does come with mixed feelings, but Bryan's pointed out that he's still playing with The Tower and The Fool as well as Early Morning Blues. Early Morning Blues (Bryan) has also announced that their new EP is in work and that they'll tour as soon as they get booked and it's done. All good news.

It's a sad moment, but in a way it's good news. I've been a big Early Morning Blues fan (if the tattoo on my side is any indicator) and being able to go to small shows to see Bryan play was starting to get to be a thing. Losing that would make me sad (though there are plenty of small bands I go see now, but it wouldn't quite be the same).

Best of luck to Bryan in everything he does, and I'm guessing I'll be trailing along behind him no matter what it is.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful For...

Spending Thanksgiving with Champ's family, which is always nice, but it makes me miss my family, obviously.

Still, it was a nice day, even with a few mishaps here and there, including a nice bumping of cars in the driveway (Not a good moment). I like his grandparents, probably because I've never had any, and I like his aunt and uncle quite a bit. It was a nice chance for a big meal with family. Of course the idea of eating again seems miserable.

That said, I figure it's a good idea to make a list of what I'm thankful for, what's good, and maybe give something to focus on in the harder colder days ahead. So without further ramblings, here's my list.

I'm thankful for:

- Family and Friends
I love my family, as strange as they've gotten over the years (it's hard to explain that I have an honorary nephew, who's dad is my mom's best friend's son, who is like my brother.), but I love them all. My friends have been there for me through so much, some are still part of my life, some aren't as much anymore and some are coming back (for those I feel beyond thankful).

-Good Health
Lucky girl that I have little wrong with me though a bout with the flu a few weeks ago had me worried I wasn't going to get well again.

-The Music
If it's not listening to it, it's traveling to see it, it's meeting people through it. I have good, real, friends who I've met through traveling to see concerts, I've had the honor to meet some people who I really truly adore and idolize. There's been a pull to follow what makes me passionate, write here, talk about it to others. I love it. And I am so grateful for it.

-The Future
There is so much coming, even if it is just getting a new job, just starting to write more and trying to find somewhere to write full time, it's going to be good. It keeps getting better. There's potential out there, even if sometimes it feels like it's not there. So much potential.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Turn Up the Radio

I love this video. You don't have to like 30 Seconds to Mars to like this video they made about touring, about playing for a crowd about what music means to people. Yes, it's crazy that Jared Leto might look younger now than he did in My So Called Life, but this video explains it all. Towards the end, there's a girl, adorable scene kid with a lip ring and sad smile who says this:

"Some people believe in God, I believe in music. Some people pray, I turn up the radio."

I've seen people be offend by that line, but in this generation, in this world, where religion has meant so many bad things, I can't blame her. I know I feel the same way.

I was reminded of it again when I was at Yellowcard last week. I saw them for the first time in college when they were touring for the Ocean Avenue album. I went with a sorority sister, Whitney, whom I started the night off mad at because she was late and we missed The Starting Line’s set. As we were watching the show, she grabs my arm during “Believe” and says, “close your eyes.”

I have to admit, at the time I thought she was insane. We were at the Tabernacle, full of people and in the back and she’s telling me ridiculous things. But she shakes my arm and I figured ‘what the hell’ and went for it.

“Believe” is a beautiful song in any context. In 2004 or so though, 9/11 was still a raw memory, the images were still burned deeply in our heads, more than they are now that it’s been a decade. Closing my eyes had me there, living it, and my breath catching in my throat. The music wasn’t just there, it was flowing through me and I wasn’t listening, I was feeling. It changed everything about that song in one instant.

I grew up on music. I got my first boom box with a tape deck and radio when I was in elementary school and it was full of New Kids on the Block, Amy Grant and Paula Abdul cassettes. I’ve been listening to the same local pop station in Atlanta for over two decades. My mother blasted it in the car, current pop music, sixties tunes and later on in life country music. I was in the band by the 5th grade and didn’t quit for good until my brother broke my clarinet when he was in college. He’s the musician though, getting his Masters in Music Performance this spring.

In high school it was what I did, lay in my room and listen to the radio or CDs. When we moved to Kentucky, the Nashville radio station I listened to while doing homework did a “Top 5 at 9” that I wrote down in my agenda almost every night. There was no point in documenting it, but I did anyway. (They had a contest probably, but I never called in). Before that Yellowcard concert, I’d bee to other shows, I’d listened to tons of music, headphones or stero or computer blaring. I have to say though, that was one of the first times that I realized what it could do, what music could mean.

Lyrics had always been important, but in that moment it was everything. Just the last, tattooed and pierced kid says in the end of that video.

It would happen again, in London, when I went to see Bright Eyes. I knew about half of their music, not enough to justify the show, but I was in London on study abroad and I wanted to go. The venue was sweet, the weather great and I had a friend to go with. Halfway through the show I realized that if Conor Oberst started a cult, I’d join. It was that kind of music, it flowed through me like that. I didn’t have to know the words, I just had to feel it.

Standing in the Masque to see Yellowcard again, when they played “Believe” I closed my eyes. It wasn’t the same as before but it was still there, still in me. It never really leaves, which is probably why we’re so attached to the music we love. When all else fails the songs are still there. All we have to do it turn up the volume.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Boys Like Girls album!

After much speculation from Bryan Donahue's hints at 'news' and 'announcements' everyone's favorite drummer let the cat out of the bag today.

Leave it to Beef to announce the return of Boys Like Girls to the studio with his own bit of flair.

There's chatter that his other band, Empire Kids, are also busy demoing (in the same place?) which means more music on the front for all of us.

The last puzzle piece is a missing blond bassist, but he's also got an EP in the works for Early Morning Blues. Here's hoping for good things all around. I'll take winter if it brings a spring and summer of new music.

We'll Forever Be The Young

I’ve been thinking about this song by Yellowcard “Be The Young”. I’ve been playing it over and over again since the concert and I can’t get enough of it. It’s a beautiful song and it so well describes what it’s like to be at the age group that myself and my friends are in.

We’re starting to grow up, a lot of us are in serious relationships or are starting to look for them. Thos of us in our later twenties are starting to talk about families (some are farther ahead of us than others), or at least consider if that’s what we want. So many of the twenty-somethings are out of college, trying to sort out what our careers will be, discovering how much things have changed from what we learned in college and what we’re facing in the real world.

I’ve posted before about our generation being the lost generation, the ones caught between the cracks and now we have an anthem.

Things weren’t easy for us as kids. Some of us had had it better than others. Some of us weren’t kids of divorce and didn’t run into major issues. Some of us had undiagnosed disorders because people didn’t diagnose disorders unless something drastic happened or you flunked out of school.

Now as young adults we’re faced with growing up and it seems daunting and terrifying. It seems like the last thing any of us what to do, want to be faced with. So many more of us are unemployed or working no-end jobs and thinking “thank god I have a job”. We’re looking for careers, but if I’m anything close to a median for my age group, we aren’t content with what careers are available. The older generation that runs our offices has kept our passions in check, not understand our love of social media, our tattoos, our music, and our hair.

I can handle coverable tattoos (as much as I want my forearms done), I can handle keeping my hair a normal brown color and I can handle, for the most part, keeping my social medias in check (I suck at checking facebook anyway), but stifling my passions is hard for me, like I guess it’s hard for my peers. What’s wrong with loving music or a television show or something else that thrills us? What about that makes us so strange?

We are the young, we’ve always been the young and we’ll be, as Yellowcard says, that way forever. We have it in us, we love hard, we believe in things, and we connect to music, movies and characters. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, even if the younger generation doesn’t understand it, too caught up in instant gratification and the older generation sees it as a waste of time. We will find that place where the pain doesn’t define us, but the love does. I know we will.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Concerts: Yellowcard, Every Avenue and Go Radio

I have to say, the weirdest thing about being at the Yellowcard show was the size of it. I think the last 'big' show I went to this year was The Maine, which was a while ago. It seems like since then it was all small bands in small bars or houses and the idea of being in a real venue was a bit odd. And to not see the same fifteen people.

Still, going to Yellowcard, Every Avenue and Go Radio had been a goal all summer, I just hadn't gotten around to buying tickets until the last minute. Work's been up in the air lately and there wasn't an guarantee that I'd be around plus every time I thought of it, I didn't have the cash for two tickets. (Got to bring Champ to this one since it was in town.) I really love Yellowcard, saw them once in college with All American Rejects (yes that long ago I was in college) and I'd picked up the new album When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes earlier in the summer because it came high recommend. I have to admit that I wasn't even sure they still existed let alone had new music out, but the album was great.

The real draw of the show was seeing Go Radio, because due to Rana's influence I've fallen in love with them. It went from one song to ALL of their songs overnight. I would have paid the cost of the tickets to get in to see just them, and Yellowcard was like an added bonus.

I need to stop doubting Yellowcard. I always do that. It's a stupid idea.

The Masquerade wasn't even half full when we walked in 20 minutes before Go Radio went on. I was surprised to see that but at the same time, maybe not. I don't think it got much promotion here in Atlanta, but that tends to happen. It's not a big music city but at the same time is? I'm not entirely sure what happens here and why it's such a black hole for concerts.

Still we were able to get great spots for Go Radio and were completely pumped. I'm not kidding, they totally rocked the house. They had a great amount of energy, full of spunk. Even if you didn't know their music it was easy to get into it and Alex (their guitarist) made a big show of trying to get the crowd involved. They played quite a bit off the new album, Lucky Street, including "Redemption In The Verse" which surprised me. I wouldn't think that would be a good show tune, but it was pretty great. Though the crowd seemed to be in the dark about who they were, they joined in for "Good Night Moon" of course, which sort of made my heart melt. That song is killer every time I hear it. They won the crowd over before closing with "Any Other Heart" by playing their cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" (which you can grab off iTunes or on the deluxe edition of Lucky Street). That had the crowd jumping up and down to the music which was great fun to be in the middle of. And the cover is epic.

We moved back a ways for Every Avenue who took forever to set up. Another sign that I am yet again, starting to get used to small shows. I had time to go to the bathroom, look over merch, buy some water and still loiter around for a while before they went on stage. I had to admit I know nothing about Every Avenue other than the fact that their lead singer's name is Dave and he has interesting tattoos if he doesn't have his shirt on. That was where it ended. Their guitarist turned out to look familiar from tumblr or something similar, but still not someone I could tell you the name of. Overall I wasn't really impressed? They had some energy and people seemed to know their music but it wasn't that kind that sucks you in even if you don't know it. I didn't walk away from the show thinking "I need that album" because I didn't. I was waiting for them to finish so I could go meet the guys from Go Radio and Yellowcard would go on.

I did get to meet the guys from Go Radio after their set which was fun. Jason said he liked the shirt that I'd picked out, that it was one of his favorites they had, and he and the other guys signed it for me. They were super sweet and Alex gave me a high five after I said I went from nothing by them to everything. Even Champ was impressed by how nice they were.

Again I got annoyed by how long I had to wait for a show to start, but eventually Yellowcard came on. I need to stop doubting this band. I don't know what's wrong with me. I was obsessed with them in college and let it go and now here I was hoping they gave us a good show. I was so far from wrong. Good doesn't even cover it. The show was great. Great doesn't even cover it. It's an experience to see them, to feel their music move through you. They played most of the new album, including "With You Around" which Champ and I have decided is one of our new songs (awww) and "See Me Smiling" (which gets me all teary). I was shocked when they played "Believe" not sure that that one would make the cut for songs. I was beyond pleased and just like in college when my friend told me to close my eyes and just love it I did and it was another moment. I don't usually do that, but there's something about that music, that song that brings out that feeling, like it is so much more than that music and you are so much more than just one person.

They played "Be The Young" introing with talking about the first show they played in Atlanta being on Georgia Tech's campus at "Under the Couch" which was a shady half a venue in the basement of the the Couch Building (which was across the street from my dorm freshman year at Tech). I love the stupid place for a variety of reasons, but the biggest one would be going to see my friend Ben play a show there not long before graduation. Really, really cool. I love this song though, more than anything. The lyrics speak to my generation, the mid to late 20 somethings who are stuck in a world where growing up seems too damn depressing and being young would be awful. A lot of us are unemployed, or working jobs we hate because there isn't much else. We were the young who paved this great way of music and technology and we will always be those kids at heart.

This is loud / This is cold
This is endless and I know
Growing up has just begun

But there's a place
We could find
Where this pain is useless
And we'll forever be the young

The encore started with just Ryan Key (the lead singer) who came out with his guitar and answered the "one more song" chant with "Well how about a few more songs?" The crowd of course ate that up. He told us a story about his Aunt who had supported him when he made the decision to drop out of school and pursue music. How she drove cross country with him, talking about life and music and living. The same Aunt had died from brain cancer just a few weeks before. I knew what song he was going to sing before he said what it was. "Sing for Me" was a gut wrenching song without knowing what it was. Hearing what it was really about of course had me in tears as soon as it started. Ryan sang it alone with just the crowd.

He followed that up with "Empty Apartment" which was a theme for a good year in college for me (probably the top played song on my iTunes for a good 2 years) and then the rest of the band came back on to finish out the night. They tossed in "Avondale" as an old good one and that freaked me out but I was more than excited because yeah I love that song too. The night ended up with "Ocean Avenue" of course but that song is still as much fun as it always was. Everyone wants it to be true. We want it be like it was before "sleeping all day, staying up all night". It's a sad song really, but it's too much fun and too nostalgic to not love it.

If you haven't grabbed the new album, get it now and while you're at it grab the acoustic version as well. It's just as good (minus a feature of Cassadee Pope who just doesn't quite cut it), in some cases better. Spread the word about Yellowcard again, Ryan promised another album in works this winter and another tour next summer. The boys are back and I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo Start!

After a little bit of cajoling from my friend Molly I decided to do National Novel Writing Month. We will see how this pans out, but as i figure it's either going to help me get a jump start on my novel or I'm going to blog a ton in attempts to be 'writing', but not actually working on the book.

I've always wanted to write a book. I've started writing about six since I've graduated from high school (and that doesn't include the ones I started while I was in high school). I never really have the drive for such extended writing though it seems. Online role playing (writing based not WoW based), has helped with on going character development, but in those cases I'm working with someone else so I'm always building off something. I might just drag someone else in to help me with this book as much as I can I suppose.

Still, it's my last and final life goal to actually finish a novel and send it out to get published. Getting published, obviously, would be awesome, but it's more the personal goal of telling the whole story rather than anything else. I won't let the blog get flooded with the novel writing, but I will post some about it.

If you're participating or want to check upon me my profile is here! (username: winglesswarrior).

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