Saturday, May 26, 2012

Concert: An Evening With William Beckett

The first concert of the summer (officially given that it's Memorial Day weekend) and what looks like the last show of the summer at The Masquerade (I've been through their line up for the summer and nothing is jumping out at me) was the wisest choice I've made so far. It's going to be hard for anything to live up to this show.

Things were running late due to crews and band running into some car issues on the way out of Florida, and that plus the fact that it's the Masquerade meant that there was plenty of loitering outside waiting to buy Champ a ticket (since he decided at the last minute to tag along) and waiting to get in. I didn't really mind since we were running late a little and wound up getting in early enough to get a great spot for the show (not that there is a bad space in Purgatory or that it was that huge of a show).

First up was Cara Salimando, whom I knew nothing about. When she walked out, honestly I sort of looked around to see what else we were getting with her because she was this tiny little thing that almost wandered out and stood behind a piano. Once she started speaking it was just precious, with a sweet little voice that you can't help but smile at. What really got me was the moment she started singing. My first thought was "how did that sound come out of that tiny person?"
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I have a bias against female singers sometimes, often, but man I loved Cara. Her voice was so pure and true and paired with just piano it was amazing. It reminded me of Vanessa Carlton (seriously that is meant to be a compliment in the best of ways), of Michelle Branch, of any of those true female vocalists that were great before the too breathy Taylor Swifts that have me hating female vocalists. Her music was just so true, so solid, filling the room with just one girl and a piano. That doesn't happen often.
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Her on-stage banter was fantastic, fun stories, sweet comments, proof that she is just an overall adorable human being. I did love that as she intro'ed a more upbeat song it came with the comment of "don't worry it's still full of girl feels" which just made it. And a perfect description of her music. Full of girl feels (without being annoying like TS).
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"Commonwealth" broke my heart. Not only is it a great song, a beautiful song, but it's about being in Boston. Towards the end of the song there's a smattering street names, all streets I've been on and in a moment I missed my friends and the people there I love. Hopefully she didn't notice me getting all flustered halfway through a song I'd never heard before that moment. Her album comes with her and the full band, but if you get the chance to see the girl and the piano? Take it. Trust me.
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Up next, obviously, was William Beckett. I was more than thrilled, more than excited. I saw him the first time with The Academy Is.. when they toured with All American Rejects and Rooney (which I brought up when we chatted and we both got excited about Rooney and he made the Princess Diaries reference), and I fell in love with him the first time I saw him. I was more than excited to see him again, since it really had been years since the last time and the moment he started singing I was hooked again. But then again, how can anyone not get hooked when he opened with Damien Rice's "Elephant"?
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The set was beautiful, some old songs that he'd worked on for a while. Some unreleased things that have only been seen on youtube, and of course the new EP in it's entirety. I've said before that I love the EP, but it's better live. Really truly. We, singing along, messed up "Compromising Me" so William went back and went through it again so we wouldn't have that awkward moment again. It was adorable. "Oh Love" is still fantastic as well and I honestly couldn't help but move with it.
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We were treated with some old TAI classics, and a special song for a local girl who William met a few years ago through Make A Wish, whose friends were there. Sadly, Gracie, lost her battle and the song was in memory of, but it was still beautiful and a special moment for the Atlanta crowd.
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During a 'funny story' William told he mentioned watching "Baseball Tonight" and of course, our favorite guy, Champ whooped out loud (and was the only one). Lovingly enough, William was more than pleased by it, calling back to Champ, admitting it was one of his favorite shows. We had a good giggle at the fact that of anyone, it'd be Champ who'd win him over and later when we chatted with William, the boys talked baseball for a good few moments. There was also a small break to talk about the 'shipping' of him and Gabe from Cobra Starship that goes on online and we were chastised with a smile for shipping. Though he did seem amused by it, and it was obvious he sees what goes up on Tumblr more than some of us would like to know.
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My favorite of all the covers that I've seen him do online though is his cover of Ryan Adams' "Come Pick Me Up" which comes with harmonica as well and back up vocals from Cara. I might have had tears in my eyes as well, so touched by that song, so moved by the beauty of it. Trust me I'm a bit of a loser.
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There's no denying the talent that William has. There's no avoiding that he's better than most out there, a perfect voice and a deep love of music, real music, not just what the radio wants to hear. And he'll keep at it, if talk about future music is any indicator.
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Afterward he was a complete doll, hanging around to chat up anyone who stayed to see him, signing things, taking photos and having real conversations with anyone who wanted to chat. There's a true appreciation of the fans, the response they have to the music and if people keep coming back from one show to another. Definitely a fantastic experience. It will be hard to top it, and if he finds his way back to Atlanta again? (Maybe with one of those 'bigger' acts that he hinted at possibly touring with.) I will likely find myself there again.

Want to see more photos? There are more up on my flickr page. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tim and Beth Fleming Wedding - Preview

I wasn't around too much the past few days, (hence the serious lack of posts) because Champ and I were headed to his brother's wedding down in Florida.

I took a ton of photos, most of which I'm trying to go and edit / watermark (I'm planning to launch a facebook page for my photography...we'll see where that goes).

Since you've been so patient I thought you could use a quick preview of some of my favorites.

That's it for now. As I keep editing I'll put together a big, picture heavy post so you can see the best of them.

Album Review: "For All The Lovers" by The Season Premiere

I got added on twitter by Terrence of The Season Premiere and decided to give their new EP a listen to. It's been out for a while, so this is hardly new music, but somehow these guys never crossed my path before. Odd considering they are another Tempe, AZ band and given the prevalence of Arizona bands (The Maine, My Girl Friday, This Century, The Summer Set) in my iTunes, I'm surprised that I haven't heard of them yet. They look familiar but that's all I can say I knew walking into the music.

The EP they put out, For All The Lovers, has a great back beat (I love a good drummer), and while the 'single', "Anything But Love" is anything but cheesy, the rest of the EP doesn't seem to try as hard to be so something other than what they are.

My favorite track is easily "Ulterior Design", a little darker, something more than just a happy go-lucky pop-punk song. While the other tracks might fall strictly into the "guilty pleasure" type of music (where I tend to lump The Summer Set and, my ultimate guilty pleasure band, A Rocket To The Moon), "Ulterior Design" is a little reminder that they are more than your guilty pleasure. Which is refreshing. The kids who are listening to pop punk are getting older, and the originators of the genre are getting older (even Boys Like Girls are officially in their late twenties), it's time to grow the music up a little.

The other tracks are good as well, definite talent among them, music that has a great feel. "Heart of the Matter" also is full of that older sound, in not-quite-a-ballad mode, proof that they are more than just another set of pretty faces for sure. And it's good because while they make a good guilty pleasure, there's potential there for so much more than that. These will be the kind of bands who take over the fan bases, if they can keep it true and not over commercialized. Keep it fresh and real and success is on the horizon.

Definitely check it out (and go farther than the "Anything But Love" if that doesn't quite sell you) and let me know what you think.

Follow the band on twitter and check out their facebook page.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Summer Concert Plans

I think it's official yes? We can all it summer? There's some equinox I think that's next week, but I'm calling it official.

It's a short list so far, but I'm expecting to hear more on concert / tour schedules in the coming weeks and hopefully can fill up the warm months with shows and friends. As of now though:

May 25 - William Beckett
July 26 - Warped Tour

Okay it's a really short list. But! I do know Boys Like Girls will hit the road again soon and once those dates are up, expect me to be at one or two shows. (I'm a masochist what can I say?)

There's a June show for The Tower and The Fool, but I'd have to make my way to Boston (I keep hoping they'll tour), and of course Music Midtown is in September, I just having committed to buying tickets yet.

What am I (obviously) missing that I need to add?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

New Video From Robert Schwartzman for "Second Chances"

Robert Schwartzman released a music video for "Second Chances" off his album Double Capricorn! Just as everything else he does, it's great and might even include a familiar face (like brother/actor Jason Schwartzman).

You can pick up a copy of Double Capricorn in his shop and all proceeds will be donated to the Tibetan Healing Fund!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

What's Playing - "Bedroom Demos" from Travis Alexander

Woke up to a great treat today. He'd teased at the idea of working on this, that he was writing random acoustic songs and not sure what to do with them. Apparently we are lucky enough to actually get to hear them.

Travis Alexander, front man of Ghost Thrower posted Bedroom Demos to his personal bandcamp, three heartbreakingly good acoustic songs, full of emotion and honesty (or what appears to be) and seemingly intent on just making my day.

I've got a soft spot for Travis' voice; there's just something about it paired with an acoustic guitar. Don't get me wrong, I love Ghost Thrower, but I keep listening to the Holidays On Ice EP they put out (in the warm weather months) because it's showing off that voice. This set of demos is what I needed (that isn't..."Blue Christmas" considering it's almost summer).

So this will be my day. And it should be yours too. Go support a great musician.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Music For Monday - William Beckett

What better for a slightly rainy Monday (how much of my music choices are linked to weather?), but something uplifting, something with enough backing to it that you can't help but ignore the rain? I want to make my Monday a good one and focus on the little bits of sun poking through.

With that in mind, I've got the new EP from William Beckett, Walk the Talk, playing, waking up the day (even if it is already the afternoon). It's a great sound, especially for a girl who fell in love with William the first time I saw him head up his band, The Academy Is... when they opened for The All American Rejects (many eons ago). The sound is different from TAI, but not in a bad way. It's got a foot tapping kind of sound, something that reminds me of Rooney (especially "Girl You Shoulda Been a Drummer"), and yet at the same time sounds completely different. It's got a beautiful groovy feel to it that can only come from William. And "You Never Give Up" is such a beautiful song, uplifting and reassuring.

Pick up your copy on iTunes, or William's webstore or cruise it on spotify. Put on the headphones, crank it up and survive the rest of the day. And hey, the sun's starting to peek out more here. Maybe there's nothing but good things on the horizon.

While you're at it? Follow William on twitter and see if his tour hits your town. I'm pretty sure I'll be going to see him play when he hits Atlanta later this month. I'm already excited.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Concert - Sweetlife Festival 2012

Super awesome bonus post! My buddy, Wolfman (no I didn't come up with the nickname--he's not a Seth Green lookalike hacker, because I've seen that episode of SeaQuest enough to only think of that) hit up the Sweetlife Festival on April 28 and since he was there, I coaxed him into a guest post about the festival! Enjoy yourself. - kt

Bright and early on the morning of April 28, my three friends and I set out to the Merriweather Post Pavilion for a day of music and fun known as the Sweetlife Festival. It was a giant event put on by the Sweetgreen Corporation. There were two stages with musical acts performing on them all day long and hoards of food and drink venders from the area sampling their goods. Since we arrived early and were first in line, we took the time to decide which acts we were going to watch and what we would have to skip. In all honesty, I had only heard of three of the groups playing and my knowledge didn’t go past a couple of songs. We all decided that the main act we wanted to see was Kid Cudi, and we wanted to be close to the excitement. So, as we got in, we decided to go to the main stage and camp out up front early. This meant we were going to miss out on all of the acts performing on the Treehouse stage; Ben Browning, Action Bronson, Haim, Yuna, LP, The Knocks, U.S. Royalty, RAC, Delta Spirit, Zola Jesus, and Twin Shadow. We were sad about missing some of these shows, but we figured the reward would be well worth it.

The first group to grace the main stage with it’s presence was Fun.. You’ve probably heard of their hit single “We Are Young”, and that’s about it. I figure the best way to describe Fun.’s sound is an alternative pop mixture. If you can imagine Flogging Molly combined with Third Eye Blind, you probably wouldn’t be too far off. The thing is, I found myself really getting in to the rhythms and swaying from side to side without even realizing it. My only real complaint about the show was that the majority of their songs sounded very similar and it was difficult to differentiate one from the other. Other than that, they got the crowd reasonably worked up and finished very strong with “Some Nights” which even got our group chanting along with the chorus.

It was about now that we realized the flaw in our plan to camp out up front. After Fun. was done playing, they cleared all of the people out of the pit area. We quickly ran around to get back to the entrance to the pit. The next show to go on was A$AP Rocky, but in between the first two sets a dj group named Bluebrain took to the stage. Originally, Bluebrain was only supposed to be on stage for a few minutes while they set up for the next show. However, for some unknown reason A$AP Rocky ended up being about 40 minutes late so Bluebrain had to perform for roughly an hour.

When A$AP Rocky finally did show up, they only had about 20 minutes left in their set, so they had to get to work fast. They immediately ran out on stage and just pumped up the crowd. Going in to the show I didn’t know a single one of their songs and I was still jumping around and getting crazy. Their raps were very high energy. This is why it was such a shame that it felt like they were getting off stage once they got started.

At this point we decided to hunt down something to eat so we didn’t see Mia and Caitlin, but we were able to hear them while walking around. This group consisted of a dj and a violinist. It was an interesting combination I had never heard before, and I would say I enjoyed it. They did a rendition of Katy Perry that was very entertaining.

When we came back, it was time for Fitz and the Tantrums. This was another group that I hadn’t heard of before they went on, but I was very pleasantly surprised by them. They classify themselves as a pop group, but I think a dance rock fusion would be a little more appropriate. The singers were constantly moving and dancing. They helped convey this energy to the audience by performing such songs as “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” and a cover of the Eurythmics classic “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”. I don’t think I ever saw the pit stop moving, and even a good portion of the crowd in the seats were getting up and swinging. I might not have known who they were when I got there, but I left a fan.

Next up was Explosions in the Sky. This is sort of a difficult group to talk about. They are a modern day jam band, that is made up of all instrumentals and no vocals. I don’t want to say that they were bad because I do not feel like that would be accurate. That being said, I feel as if they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even the crowd in the pit was very bored, most of whom were either talking or texting on their cell phone. The music was just very bland and safe. Nothing they played ever grabbed me and demanded my attention.

The next band was one I was actually pretty familiar with. The Shins were big when I was in high school and college, so I at least had an idea of what I was in for. In case you’re not familiar with them, The Shins are an alternative rock group that is mostly famous for songs like “Caring is Creepy” and “New Slang”. Now I have to admit that I saw the majority of this show while waiting in line to get in to the pit for Kid Cudi, so I didn’t have the greatest view. The crowd really seemed to respond to the music. The pit was always moving and singing along to the songs. At one point, a couple even started swing dancing right next to me. The melodies were hypnotic. I found myself swaying back and forth while standing in line quite a few times.

Now was time for the even our group had been waiting for. We made our way to the pit for Kid Cudi. Before I start talking about his show, I feel I should point out exactly how crowded it was. You could not move, my left arm was pinned between my leg and some girl’s rear and I could not lift it. If one person leaned one direction, everybody was leaning that direction (which happened a few times). Before Cudi even got on stage, the crowd was erupting with noise and excitement. Kid Cudi has a unique ability to take a somber, thought provoking song and infusing it with energy. The perfect example of this is “Soundtrack 2 My Life” which he performed early on. When he performed “Up Up & Away”, I personally feel that was the most excited I’ve ever seen a crowd at a show in my entire life. Keep in mind how crowded I stated the pit was earlier, and during that song every person was jumping up and down. Needless to say, it was an amazing performance and the highlight of the evening for many in attendance.

This brings us to the final act of the evening. AVICII is a dj act that wows the audience with brilliant lighting and special effects. He had a set-up with lights surrounding monolithic screens that continued to rotate backdrops almost like a computer screen saver. This is a prime example of an act where I am amazed more by the visual presentation rather than the musical ability. In the end, the lights were bright, the bass was high, and the crowd had a good time. What more can you ask for?

So it came time for our adventure to end. We took one last walk through the festival grounds. We were cold and tired, but you would have never been able to tell by looking at us.

-Doctor Wolfman

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