Archive for the 'music' Category

24
Jul
11

Bon Iver.

No witty titles for this blog folks, just straight up Bon Iver.

I made the sojourn to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the Bon Iver show at the Pabst Riverside Theater, 7/23. There was a show that happened the previous night, but the 23rd was the original date that went onsale first for this tour. My friend Meghan and I both love Bon Iver, so we decided that our 1st Bon Iver experience would be together, in Wisconsin. She cracked under the pressure and went to the show on the 22nd, but I still love her,lol.

I made it into Wisconsin on little sleep and a whole lot of excitement!

Meghan quickly scooped me up from the airport, along with another friend of mine, Kat!! HEY KAT!

She had come down for the day for a “Waukee Hang” (LOL). A huge brunch later, we went back to a friend’s house – Jen! The majority of the time between brunch and going to the venue was spent playing with Jen’s dog, Gracie, and trying to bribe Meghan to tell me what happened at last night’s show. Yes folks, I was like a crackhead for information. I NEEDED TO KNOW!!!

Scanning the setlist, I was so happy to see “Beach Baby.” I had requested that song a few weeks ago, glad he included it! Also… BJORK! What!! Bon Iver covering a BJORK song?? Is this real life? The idea of it was so intriguing I snuck onto Soundcloud and found it. Brilliant. I suggest you all take a listen when you can 🙂

A nap later…lol… We decided to head on over to the venue. I was so excited I was about to burst! I think Meghan found my excitement hilarious! LOL. We got to our seats, which were about 10 rows from the back, but still had a great view of the stage. Of course I wished we were front row, but I was just so damned happy to be there, I didn’t even care anymore.

The opening band were The Rosebuds who Justin used to play in back when he lived in North Carolina. I’ve just recently started listening to them, and I do enjoy their songs, but something was off with their sound. At times Ivan’s vocals were way overpowering and loud, other times they were great, and then Kelly’s vocals couldn’t even be heard at all. Not sure what happened there, but it sort of marred their performance slightly…. slightly. I think they would have killed a smaller venue though, no question.

Intermission time was upon us then. Meghan stepped out to stretch her legs and wound up seeing some of the Volcano Choir boys out in the lobby! If you don’t know, Volcano Choir is another band that Justin plays in from time to time.

After a bit Meghan comes back, we talk a little to pass the time… and then…. the lights go down.

My heart immediately starts pounding. I think I grabbed Meg’s arm at one point too.

And then, the cheers start. The deafening applause and yelps completely fill the venue. And out they walked as a group. There were so many of them, they filled the entire stage easily. The backdrop was just a few simple linear lights spread across the stage horizontally. Not fussy at all which I completely expect from Bon Iver. What I didn’t expect was what Justin was wearing. A VEST… and omg… is that… what I think it is?? Justin, are you wearing a BOLO TIE?!?!?! Seriously? LOL. Then again, with him, I am not surprised, just amused. This is the same grown man who performed in a Bart Simpson shirt, and wears a tan fanny pack. And we all love him even more for it. Because it shows how much he’s not into pretenses and appearances. It’s so refreshing… Anyway, I digress….

Finally the tell tale guitar riff of “Perth” begins. The adrenaline in my body at this point has caused me to breathe so heavily I’m feeling a bit faint. Luckily, I managed to calm it down by the time he started singing. And ohhhhh boy, can Justin sing. If you’ve ever doubted the clarity and power of Justin’s falsetto, don’t ever do it again. EVER AGAIN. As a band, on this song, it was extremely overwhelming. They are so cohesive, and so… just… dead on balls accurate on execution that they make it look so easy. Sean and Matt’s dueling drumsets were a thing of encompassing beauty. It was marvelous. At this point I’m so glad they decided to bring all these musicians out on tour because anything less wouldn’t do it justice. Like I predicted, it sounded huge and fucking amazing live and I wanted to live in that moment forever. Those simple little lights provided such an accompaniment to the lyrics and cadence of the song, it was the most spectacular opening song I’ve seen yet, from any band.


And then a few songs later… “Holocene”. The one song I knew I would cry on, and completely on cue, it happened. I looked to Meg and said “Ohhhh nooooo” and felt my eyes well up. I spent the first minute of the song with my head ducked down bawling like a baby. Then I decided to get some audio at least so I can cry about it in the comfort of my own home later today, LOL. But seriously, that song live is just everything I’ve ever felt, every emotion I’ve ever had, every pain I’ve ever experienced. It was overwhelming and I needed to cry on that song to let it out. If you care to hear a fraction of what I heard that night:

(HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU LISTEN THROUGH HEADPHONES/EARBUDS)

After that crying bit, I wound up crying on almost every song all through the middle of the show. It was just 1 song after another, all relevant to me, all have spoken to me or helped me through a situation at one time or another in my life. I remembered these moments and I remember how the songs made me feel at that time, and it was just so cleansing for me to be able to let them go. It’s almost as if hearing the same songs that I heard back then, in a sense, gave me permission to leave it behind. Like I shouldn’t have to carry any guilt or sadness around with me anymore. Particularly gorgeous was one from the new album called “Wash.” The song on the album was already gorgeous, but the live arrangement was stunning. It was one of those moments where you are just so grateful for your life and to be in the room hearing it. I could not stop crying on this song. Meg wound up crying on this one too. The lady next to me probably thought I was completely mental, but I did not care. Justin voice… I can’t even explain… I looked at Meg after one part that Justin sang, just a small riff, but it was so damn gorgeous it hurt me. She felt it too because she had the same expression on her face, and the crowd must have as well because they immediately cheered and clapped.

For a short break in the waterworks department, the boys pulled out another new one called “Hinnom, TX”. I had heard rumblings that while Justin did the heavy lifting on the low parts of the song, the parts that Justin also sing in his falsetto on the album version would be handled by Mike Noyce. Now, I’ve seen Mikey sing only a handful of times, usually in 3 part harmony with Justin and Sean, or a few times taking the lead on some cover songs – “Tampa to Tulsa” and “Simple Man”. But when he bust out the chorus in perfect tune I was so happy. I could have kissed him for doing it so brilliantly. One thing is for sure – All 3 of those guys, Justin, Mikey and Sean can sing their asses off. Without any question. The crowd loved it too because the round of applause he received was certainly well deserved.

And then, tumbling back into the crying songs… the 1st one that ever made me cry upon first listen was “RE: Stacks”. UGH. Just him, alone in the spotlight, on electric guitar. It was so silent you could probably hear the collective heartbeats of everyone in the room, minus the few “woos” and “i love you justin!!”. It doesn’t translate well to this recording, but you can take a listen and see for yourself:

(HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU LISTEN THROUGH HEADPHONES/EARBUDS)

They then launched into the aforementioned cover of the Bjork song, “Who Is It”. Seeing Justin doing his signature 2-step with castanets in his hands will forever be burned into my memory. But the one who stole the show here was Reggie Pace, who beatboxed the entire song, perfectly. He also plays trombone, and the little bells and chimes you hear through the songs. I know that Meg recorded that one, so I suggest you scour YouTube for it. It was so unexpected, but so well done, it felt so so right.

The main set closer was a thing of beauty and something that I couldn’t wait to experience live, “Wolves”. By now, I’m sure you all have seen videos of this song being sang live and how the crowd reacts to it, but nothing, NOTHING, prepared me for it. It was so freeing to be able to hear and be a part of that song. This one I did manage to take some video of. Stealth video because we weren’t supposed to be recording it at all, but I had to capture this moment, if anything, for memories sake:

(HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU LISTEN THROUGH HEADPHONES/EARBUDS)

The encore brought out an old crowd favorite “Skinny Love.” By this time everyone was on their feet from the energy of “Wolves” and refused to sit back down. So at the top of my lungs I sang about loveable lies and forgoing the parable. I could only imagine how everyone on that stage felt with a crowd of that size singing a song that was written by a man who completely down on himself at the time. This is by far Bon Iver‘s biggest hit to date, and one that most anyone could identify with. At that moment in that room we were all equals, and a room of that size managed to feel like we got to share that tiny cabin with Justin for a few minutes.

True to form, he closed the night with “Beth/Rest”, a complete throwback to the 80’s musically, but lyrically it was the perfect choice to end the show. The arrangement of the song also changed a little bit too. For me, it came across a lot less 80’s and more “this is me, take it or leave it.” Justin declared himself, declared what Bon Iver is (or isn’t depending on how you look at it) and declared that there is so much more to come from him. His genius title is completely well deserved and the closing lines “this is axiom” is him outright telling us that he knows who he is and what he’s doing. “For Emma..” might have been his happy accident, but “Bon Iver, Bon Iver” is his huge footprint in the cement.

It’s obvious that I’m a fan, but if it’s possible at all to gain even more respect for a musician than you’ve already had tons for, this would be the man, and this would be the band. Bon Iver are a force to be reckoned with, as cheesy as it may sound. To translate such a lush and intricately orchestrated album into a more beautifully lush and intricately orchestrated live show is not an easy task, yet Bon Iver pulls this off flawlessly. This is by far the best show I’ve ever seen, and definitely a show I recommend everyone see.

For more on Bon Iver, visit the website at http://www.boniver.org

09
Jul
11

critical mass.

Critical mass. That maximum density feeling. It’s where I’m at right now. For all the things I’ve accomplished, I never feel that sense of release. That “ahhhh” feeling, that mission accomplished, hi-five, so glad to be done feeling. I wonder if maybe it’s just me… that maybe I am so incredibly critical of myself and my actions that I am the one holding myself back from feeling that feeling of completion.

You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. This may very well be the musings of a exhausted woman on a Saturday early morning… or maybe this is my Jerry Maguire-esque manifesto,lol. I’m brimming over with energy and ideas, but everyone requires balance. What… or even who will provide that for me? To quote one of my favorite songs… i’m bigger than my body. AYE  JOHN MAYER! *wink* Bigger than my body in the sense that I am not living the life that is equal to my brilliance. Not one bit. I’m smart, intelligent, multi-faceted… I’ve got… gumption! Plus whatever other interview worthy words you want to throw in there. But I feel like there is a turning point of sorts just beyond my reach. That one event, or even person that will snap all the pieces into place. And then there will lie my release. God release sounds so dirty doesn’t it? When did that word get so tainted in my mind? Oh right… Let’s not even go there tonight.
Now that I really think about it, it’s partially the reason why I go to so many gigs. It’s a temporary way for me to let go. And my God, the Bon Iver show. I’m mentally preparing myself for the most cathartic event of my life. Justin Vernon understands the human condition far better most, and the concentration of the intensity of his music, his voice, his words, and the collective emotional outpouring of his band and a sold out crowd… I can’t even fathom. I’m prepared to cry like I’ve never cried before. I need a good cleansing cry at this point! I think back on all the cries I’ve had in my life, and the most fucked up part about it is that I think I cried more during the whole fuckedupness that happened between my ex and the dark period directly afterward than when my father died. Goddamnit that makes me feel so guilty. Hmm… it may sound strange to hear someone say they are looking forward to crying, but I can honestly say I am.

Hmph, what a debbie downer blog post, right? Meh, I should learn not to blog when I’m in such a shit mood… but eh, this blog has always been the place for my to dump my thoughts. No trip to London will ever change that fact!

For now, I’m slipping back into what I know best… music. Tonight’s selection- Joy Road by Lyman Woodard Organization. Always a favorite to chill out to.

08
Jan
10

John Mayer’s Digital Cleanse: The Aftermath

So, today is the 1st day I’ve been off John Mayer’s digital cleanse, since 9am EST precisely. It really wasn’t as hard or dire as i imagined it would be before I took part in it. The first day was a challenge not to go on my phone and check my Facebook and Twitter, as I’ve been so accustomed to. But luckily I was at a friends house, and it helped tremendously. We talked, laughed, and played video games for most of the day. I must tell ya… Silent Hill really helps the time fly by. Day 1 was over before I even noticed.

Day 2 was more of the same. It was a Saturday, and I spent most of it playing old video games on my PS2… namely Shadow of the Colossus and Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. Such time sucks. I rode my horse around aimlessly for a few hours,  before I actually beat the next to last colossus. In San Andreas, I entered all the cheat codes I could. Flew around exploring with my jetpack, crashed a stuntplane a few times, and tried in vain to win the motorcross. Good mindless times.

Day 3 was a Sunday. I actually spent it experimenting with some recipes in the kitchen. Nothing amazing, but edible. I noticed by this day that I rarely went on the computer for anything besides checking and responding to email. I had only 1 text message so the temptation wasn’t that high either there. I only spoke on the phone once to my friend. She’s not a phone person either so it was mostly short and sweet. Also, my daily written journals took a backseat. I just don’t enjoy actually writing with pen and paper anymore. I did manage to get a cramp in my thumb muscle from only 2 pages of writing. Goes to show how little I actually write.

Day 4 was a Monday, and that meant my guitar was finally arriving! I spent most of the day watching tv. Was too excited to do much of anything else. When it finally got here, I ripped off the packaging like a starving person. Ran to my computer and Googled beginner guitar chords and got straight to business. I think I played 2 hours on the 1st day of having it. My fingertips were painful, but it was so enjoyable, I managed to push through another 30 minutes after the initial pain had faded to a dull ache. After I couldn’t physically play anymore, I grabbed one of the books my friend lent me and read for a bit. I noticed I was beat at about 12am. Doing this cleanse, my bedtimes got earlier and my up times got earlier too. I think one morning I rose at 6am and job hunted for 3 hours until it was time to take out the dog. Productivity… YES!

Day 5, a Tuesday. More guitar. Mostly fumbling around with making sure the strings were pressed down all the way. More pain of course, and now a weird numbness to accompany it. So I settled on playing more video games and reading. Standard.

Day 6, Wednesday. I got bored of the video games I had so I took myself to Gamestop, an hour bus ride 1 way, to buy more. Used games of course. I’m all about bang for my buck. I came home with: Resident Evil 4, Hitman and God of War II. By far, God of War II was the best game I’ve ever played. So entertaining, glorious graphics, excellent controls. That blew a few hours after I got back home. Then early to bed as usual.

Day 7, Thursday. Almost done. But surprisingly fine. I wasn’t itching to jump back on Twitter or Facebook with a vengeance. Most of my day was very low key. Guitar, TV, Video Games. I ended the night watching Jersey Shore again.. Gotta love “The Situation” LOL.

Which brings us to present day. I woke about 7am. 2 hours to go before I could officially end the cleanse. And that is when the urge hit me. I guess because it was so imminent, I was raring to see what was happening online. 9am hit and I immediately went on MySpace to see if my message was responded to. Nothing. Then on Facebook. Ahhh my friends missed me, what an awesome welcome back! I came back to multiple wall posts, a picture post, and numerous inboxes. I replied to the urgent ones and sent a few of my own, just catching up. Then to Twitter… Very quiet… Then I realized I’m usually not on here until 2 hours later, so of course it’s quiet. 7 @ replies. Most cursing John Mayer for taking me away from them. Hilarious!! I missed my friends there immensely.

The daunting task now is getting back up to speed. I remember thinking if i was logged off for a day, or even a few hours I would be so behind! Now 7 days have passed, I feel a bit disoriented… and strangely enough, I don’t feel the overwhelming pull to be online all waking hours of the day. I enjoyed this time off, much more than one would expect. I do intend on keeping up with my book reading, guitar practicing, and even getting in some of that awesome PS2 action. Not to mention I’m still in dire need of a job ASAP. Unemployment runs out in about a month and a half. I’m trying like hell to avoid returning to retail, but it sadly looks like I will be forced to join those ranks again soon. Sad but true, my bills need to be paid, and I gotta do what I gotta do, no matter how morale draining it may be. Sorry to anyone who may love retail, it’s just not my ideal job situation.

So yea, I guess that’s all in a nutshell. The Digital Cleanse was a roaring success. Thanks John, for giving me the push to get back to what’s most important. Not saying everyone I talk to on social networking isn’t important… just saying that there is more to living life than being “connected” all the time. I think everyone should give it a try if you can!

And by the way, if you were wondering… my guitar’s name is Violet.

26
Dec
09

My Top Albums of 2009

Of course, this is in my opinion.. 🙂 And by top albums of 2009, I mean the top albums I’ve listened to and have dominated my itunes/ipod. They don’t necessarily need to have come out in 2009. So let’s get started!! I really tried to narrow it down to 10, but it was virtually impossible. So, in no particular order…

  • The Foreign Exchange – Leave It All Behind
    When this album came out, I can’t even remember what else I was listening to, but I know I loved this one as soon as it came out. Guest appearances from Darien Brockington and Phonte made it all the more worth while. Favorites: “Daykeeper”, “House of Cards”
    Foreign Exchange - Leave it All Behind
  • Radiohead – In Rainbows
    I remember when this one came out, I didn’t pay it much attention as I wasn’t a huge Radiohead fan. I know, blasphemy. But I listened to this one and it instantly drew me in with Thom Yorke’s sometimes mumbling incoherent lyrics and the haunting melodies. Always one of my favorites to listen to on a crowded subway ride. Favorites:  “All I Need”, “House of Cards” “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”
    Radiohead - In Rainbows
  • The Fray – The Fray
    I’m not even sure how I stumbled onto this band. I think it must have been someone on Twitter who blipped a song or something, but nevertheless I became obsessed with them after a short while. Favorites: “Vienna”, “How To Save A Life” “Hundred”
  • Ray Lamontagne – Gossip in the Grain
    1st time I came across was in a romantic comedy with Katherine Heigl called “27 Dresses”. A song called “Be Here Now” was included in the film, and I set out to find out who the hell was that man singing with a voice like raspy silk?? I had to find out, and that’s when I fell under his spell. Favorites: “Sarah”, “A Falling Through”, “I Still Care For You” “Winter Birds”
  • MUTEMATH – Armistice
    This band has been my favorite for a while and I was anticipating this album for so very long. Of course they did not disappoint. While the frantic drumming and complex rhythms remained, there were new sounds such as violin and trumpets included. Adding another layer of genius onto an already genius band. Favorites: “Lost Year”, “Burden”, “Odds”, “No Response”, “Pins and Needles”
  • Mayer Hawthorne – A Strange Arrangement
    Perhaps the most soulful and refreshing album released in 2009, Mayer Hawthorne came out of nowhere for me. I was thoroughly surprised to hear what I heard after seeing major musicians like Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys and John Mayer all say how impressed they were by this. Curiosity got the best of me, and I bought the album on iTunes. So glad I did. Favorites: “The Ills”, “Green Eyed Love”, “I Wish That It Would Rain”
  • Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
    Once again, I stumbled upon a song called “Cold Desert” online that I fell in love with immediately. Before then I had no idea who KOL was or heard any of their music. Then I heard “Sex on Fire” and I knew this band was worthy of me giving it a deeper listen. The whole album was great, IMO, so then I listened to all their old stuff and I’ve been hooked ever since. Favorites: “Cold Desert”, “Sex on Fire”, “Use Somebody”, “Notion”
  • John Mayer – Battle Studies
    Ok, I admit when I heard the 1st single “Who Says” I had very low hopes for this album. It was lackluster, boring and so unlike John. I thought it was an all out lazy song, and I was so pissed because I knew he was better than that. Then I heard the snippets of the album, and one song called out to me right away called “Edge of Desire.” That song alone compelled me to purchase the whole thing and I was so glad I did because it’s become one of my favorite albums this year. Such an easy listen all around. Time can only tell if he will ever surpass the genius of “Continuum”, but this album is brilliant in its own right. Favorites: “Edge of Desire”, “Assassin”, “Heartbreak Warfare”, “War of My Life”
  • Black Milk – Tronic
    Yet another talented artist from Detroit, Michigan. I remember when I first heard this, I had to put all my other albums on the back burner,lol. It’s just hip hop done extremely fucking well. That’s all I can say about this. If you haven’t listened to this and you call yourself a hip hop fan, you’re a damn liar. Favorites: “Give The Drummer Sum”, “Losing Out”, “The Matrix”, “Long Story Short”, “Bounce”
  • Marcus Foster – Marcus Foster
    So, I’m not sure if he classifies this as an extremely long EP, or an unofficial album.. but it says EP on the cover… hmm. I dunno. There are 11 songs total on this, but it was only sold at his shows while he toured. A shorter, 6 song version was sold on iTunes. Lucky for me, I got the long one and I find myself coming back to this over and over again. Beautiful melodies, excellent songwriting. Just pure music. Pure as it can possibly get and that’s why this is a brilliant album. Sometimes something so simple can be so perfect, and there’s nothing about this I would change. Congratulations Marcus. The only artist to make me shed a tear this year,lol. Favorites: “Tumble Down”, “In Your Head”, “Movement”, “Circle In The Square”, “Make It Easy”
  • Coldplay – Prospekt’s March
    Being the complete Coldplay fan I am, I was always searching for unreleased music of theirs online, because they are the type of band to have all that kind of stuff floating out there, you just have to dig around a bit to find it. I found out about this one in my internet travels, and was so excited about it. While there were a few reworked versions of a few of my faves on “Viva La Vida” , there were a few new tunes added into the mix. A lovely little compliment for the full length album. Favorites: “Glass of Water”, “Prospekt’s March”, “Rainy Day”
  • Maxwell – BLACKsummers’night
    Last time I fell for Maxwell and his damn crooning ass voice, I was shelling out $180 dollars for tickets to see him at Jones Beach and I didn’t think twice about it. Maxwell is one of those artists that I would blindly buy anything they put out because I know it’s gonna be damn good. And this album was good! If I had a boyfriend at the time, no one would ever see me because I’d be having tons of sex to this album. It’s one of those albums. Unluckily for me I’m single, so all I could do was save up ideas of what I will be doing to whomever takes that boyfriend spot next. He’ll be back next year with the second installment, and I can’t wait. Favorites: “Cold”, “Pretty Wings” “Bad Habits” “Fisful of Tears” “Stop The World”
  • D’Angelo – Voodoo
    I’m not sure what possessed me to pull out a nearly 10 year old album and have it become one of my 2009 faves, but I suppose it’s just a testament to how talented he is and how timeless this album is. I still have faith that one day D’Angelo will be back out again, giving us another album that will go over everyone’s head who isn’t ready for his type of genius yet. I can only hope… Favorites: “The Root”, “Untitled”, “Spanish Joint”, “One Mo’ Gin”
  • As Tall As Lions – As Tall As Lions
    I admit I had no idea who this band was until I looked them up. I saw they were opening for MUTEMATH, and I wanted to at least listen to them and decide if I liked them before I had to endure their opening set. So glad I did, because this band gave me one of the most touching songs of 2009. A tiny acoustic song called “Kicking Myself” found its way into my heart and buried itself there. How convenient that song came along at the exact time I could relate to it so perfectly. And oh no, they aren’t all about heartfelt ballads. These guys can rock out like nobody’s business. The lead singer has one of the best voices I’ve heard all year. Damn near perfection, really. Favorites: “Kicking Myself”, “Ghosts of York”, “Stab City”
  • MUTEMATH – MUTEMATH
    I think I can honestly say this album has been in my favorites for almost 2 years straight now. It never gets old to me. I really can’t say a bad word about this album at all to be honest, it’s pretty muct spot on perfect, LOL. Favorites: “Noticed”, “Stall Out”, “Picture”, “Typical”, “You Are Mine”

And that’s all folks. Why don’t you tell me a few of your favorites. I’m always interested in adding more to the bunch 🙂





25
Dec
09

The Top 10 Live Performances of 2009

So, it’s finally Christmas, and what better gift that my picks for the top shows I’ve seen this year. I’ve been to quite a lot of shows considering I’ve been out of work and I figured what better what to stay stress-free than to go to live shows. Music is a passion of mine, and even though I can’t play or sing, I thoroughly enjoy a great show. BTW, I’m working on the playing thing – just got an acoustic guitar thanks to my lovely brother. THANKS DEV!! Without further ado….

Performances: Any artist/band single song performance during 1 song. Artist/band can be listed several times.

10. Joshua Radin – “No Envy No Fear” at Webster Hall, NYC
When I went to see Joshua Radin, I wasn’t expecting him to really belt out a tune like this since he’s known for his “whisper-rock”, but he really impressed. Such an impressive set of pipes on this guy.

9. Sam Bradley – “Fucking Lights” at Webster Hall, NYC
I had previously seen Sam live at Joe’s Pub, but it was without a band. This time he had his band with him and put on the most energetic, rambunctious and lively performances I’ve ever seen him do. So much fun! *NOTE*- Video clip is not from NYC, sorry! But the song is always awesome wherever he performs it, so enjoy!

8. Bobby Long – “Two Tone Lover” at Mercury Lounge, NYC [On Tour Soon Overseas]
I admit, this song was ok for me, not my favorite and not terrible by any means, but when he sang this the other night, he really breathed new life into it. I’ve heard a lot of versions of this song, and this was hands down, the best one he’s ever done.

7. Marcus Foster – “Bus Song” at Mercury Lounge, NYC [On Tour Soon Overseas]
I think I briefly watched Marcus sing this song via YouTube videos a few times, but it hadn’t really clicked with me until I heard him sing it live. The video really doesn’t do it justice. Such a gorgeous song!

6. Mayer Hawthorne – “Green Eyed Love” at Brooklyn Bowl, BK,NY [Performing with John Mayer Trio in Las Vegas, NV- New Years Eve]
Now, when I first met Mayer Hawthorne, bka DJ Haircut, he was a DJ and Producer. I had no idea the man could sing and play a plethora of instruments that would put people to shame. He made an incredible album in 2009, full of the most soulful tracks I’ve heard this year, and embarked on a full blown tour in support. I caught him perform in Brooklyn, and I was awed that this was the same guy I met so long ago in Los Angeles. He became a superstar overnight. Such stage presence and charisma. Truly great performer. You should see him when you have the chance. And this song in particular had the ladies eating out of his hand. Believe me, it’s a lot more sexy in person. LOL *NOTE* Video clip is not from NYC, but please enjoy!

5. Marcus Foster – “Kiss is a Knife” at  Arlene’s Grocery, NYC [On Tour Soon Overseas]
Now, this was the 1st time Marcus was in NYC touring, and when he whipped out this song, I knew I’d be in for a treat. Everyone enjoys when he performs this song! Always a good time, and he throws his whole self into it. You’ll see what I mean.

4. Kings of Leon – “Trani” at Nassau Coliseum, NY
So I trekked all the way to Long Island just so I could see these guys play and I was not disappointed. I remembered this song in particular being the one that blew me away that night. Caleb has an incredible voice on him, I was just awed. Not much else to say about it.. Just watch!

3. John Mayer – “Edge of Desire” at Music Hall of Williamsburg, BK,NY [Currently On Tour]
When I first heard John’s newest album “Battle Studies” I knew that this would end up being my favorite on the album. Never did I expect him to play it live, and at a random free show brought to you by Myspace either! I don’t think he even planned it to be honest, the mood just hit him and he decided to bring it out of hiding.. When he released this as an acoustic solo weeks later at a thank you to fans, he did it on an acoustic guitar. I’m not sure if we will ever get this version again, so enjoy. (Sorry about the sound, and whoever was singing… everyone was singing at that point, and it was impossible not to record it.. 🙂

2. Bobby Long – “Penance Fire Blues/ In My Time of Dyin’/Hoochie Coochie Man” at The Bitter End, NYC [On Tour Soon in Overseas]
I had heard tales of Bobby singing these songs in a medley like this in other cities across the country, but when he did it live, it was a sight to see. Grown women were yelping and hooting for him like they didn’t have boyfriends and husbands at home! Bobby could have told every woman in that place to strip naked and give him $20 and they gladly would. That’s the kind of control  he had over the audience when he sang these songs. Bobby does the blues exceptionally well, and this particular performance cemented that fact into my brain forever.

1. MUTEMATH – “Burden” at Nokia Theater, NYC
Before this I had only seen MUTEMATH one time and just from that one show alone, it cemented them as my favorite band of all time. Their music is phenomenal, but their live show…. completely otherworldly. I’ve never seen a live show quite like this and I highly doubt anyone would be able to top it. Point blank period. You see Darren on drums in the back.. Favorite drummer ever. And FML, Paul is playing a goddamned keytar! When’s the last time you’ve seen one of those onstage?? If I could relive one show, it would be this show. EPIC! I urge everyone to go see them on tour when they go back out again, I really cannot stress this enough. Once again, the video/sound here does not do it justice, but please believe by the time this song was playing, I was a hot sweaty mess and completely spent from jumping around so much.

So folks, that’s all… It’s been an great year for live shows for me, and these people have cranked out some of the best performances this year. Of course, I’m just one opinion out of many, but before you form your own opinion, you should check them out live.

24
Dec
09

The Brits Brought It Home…

One last time that is… and by home, I mean my home, NYC.

Friday, December 18th was a night I’ve been waiting for for months! The return of the incomparable Marcus Foster to the States. Last time I raved and ranted about how amazing he was, but.. if it’s even possible, he surpassed that. He was funny, endearing and so talented I just wanted to run up and hug him, seriously! This man is my favorite out of the 3, of course Bobby Long and Sam Bradley being the other two. Something about Marcus makes me feel as if I’m witnessing something monumental each time he strums his guitar and opens his mouth.

marcus foste

But that’s also what is so amazing about Marcus. Although you feel as if you’re witnessing something monumental, you also get the feeling that this man has yet to truly show us everything that he’s capable of. Like he’s on Level 6, a damn good Level 6 to be honest, astoundingly good actually. I’m so curious to see what Level 10 will bring out of him. Like who the hell knew he could play piano like he does? I didn’t find out until he returned and did his first few shows over on the West Coast. Makes me wonder what else he can play. Knowing him, he’s probably one of those guys that can just pick up an instrument in a few hours.

Yes, I know. I look overjoyed don’t I?? LOL. I dunno what it is about Marcus, that man makes everyone happy as all hell. I can’t even explain it!

Enough about that, back to the show. Like I said, he brought out his piano skills for “Demons”, which was stunning BTW, and we begged and pleaded for another song, which he obliged us with “WayWayWay” on the keys as well. Throwing in Merry Christmas wishes and “It’s my birthday” plugs of his own, it was one of the most entertaining and lively songs of the night!  He of course made his way through crowd faves such as “I Don’t Mind” and “Tumble Down”, which was one of the most requested of the night – and also one of my top songs of 2009. 🙂 But, I was completely unprepared for the magic of a song simply titled “Bus Song”, because he wrote it on a Greyhound bus. The melody was gorgeous, the lyrics captivating and the way he sang it brought tears to my eyes. No joke, actual tears. I had said in the weeks before the show that he might make me cry and that was the song that did it. I got all misty because it was just soooooo beautiful. It’s like every song he writes is more heartbreakingly beautiful than the last. He’s a brilliant songwriter and musician, dare I say the best I’ve come across in a while.

I remember after the show was over, standing outside with him and his friends, they were casually chatting, as was I with my friends, and I glanced over at him – he looked so happy and carefree. Like a man who was finally getting everything they had ever wanted. He’s so on his way, and I couldn’t be prouder to have witnessed that moment.

Speaking of a man getting everything they ever wanted… Bobby Long was in town the next night to cast his spell on NYC. Apparently part of his spell also included a full blown blizzard, which he admitted he was happy about because he loves snow! LOL.

bobbylong

I must say, without a doubt, this was the best Bobby Long show I’ve ever seen to date. I’ve talked to a few people at the show and they all agreed that he seemed to play each song so deliberately, and with so much emotion and feeling that it was like I was hearing them for the 1st time. And being that this was my 11th show, that’s saying a lot. He launched into what I would say is the most beautiful version of “Two Tone Lover” I had ever heard in my life. I was completely captivated by him in that moment, and so was the audience, he silenced the room with the beauty of his playing and singing. It was a moment I won’t ever forget.

bobbylong2

Another thing that Bobby does exceptionally well is tell stories. Insanely funny stories to be exact. One about how a naked woman threw themselves at him and how it wasn’t a joyful experience for him at all. Also, another story about why he couldn’t unbutton his top button because it’s his “chastity button”. Both tales had the crowd erupting into raucous laughter. Even Bobby couldn’t maintain his composure and let out a few chuckles. Throughout this tour, I’ve seen Bobby become more at ease on stage and the elaborateness of his stories now is a telltale sign of just how comfortable he’s gotten.

Although they won’t be back for a while – Bobby in March of 2010 and Marcus in Late June/Early July, they have left us with a plethora of music to tide us over. Expect a full length studio album from Bobby and some new compositions from Marcus as well. Also, a full length album from Sam! 2010 is going to bring so much more for this talented group of Brits, I just can’t wait to see what it is! 🙂

For more information on Bobby, Marcus and Sam, visit:

http://www.myspace.com/musicbobbylong
http://www.twitter.com/bobbylongnews

http://www.sambradley.com
http://www.myspace.com/sambradley
http://www.twitter.com/samueltwitt1

http://www.myspace.com/marcusfoster
http://www.twitter.com/marcusfoster1

For full photosets, visit http://www.picasaweb.google.com/tynie626

20
Nov
09

Joshua Radin?? Is That You??

Was the man I saw last night really Joshua Radin?? I was expecting a weak-voiced, whispering singer. But what I got was a man who filled the room with his voice without the aid of a mic, and has some hard rocking tunes under his belt as well. Webster Hall was lit on fire last night by the man I least expected to do it. The crowd was as loud as a stadium show for this man, and I completely understand why.

If you don’t know who Joshua Radin is, you should get yourself well acquainted with him. He’s going to be super famous, you mark my words. Such a talented songwriter and dynamic performer. He sings with such feeling and emotion. He admits, a lot of his songs are inspired by loves won and loves lost, so you can see and feel the emotion he puts into them while singing. Yes, he moved me to tears at one point during a song called “No Envy, No Fear”. He says he wrote the song after living in LA for 4 years, and how the singer/songwriters there at a local bar accepted him as one of their own.

He’s also got quite the mouth on him.. motor mouth that is. He had these long gaps of banter. Now, being a John Mayer fan, I’m already a huge fan of banter and Joshua’s banter did not disappoint. He was engaging, funny and adorable. I enjoyed every talking section just as much as every song. He made sure it didn’t just feel like he was singing to us. He wanted us to know the reasons behind every song and get a glimpse at who he really is as a person. I definitely appreciated that about him.

At one point he jumped down from the stage and proceeded to sing a Bob Dylan song, without the help of any mics or amplifiers of any sort. And I must say you could hear him completely.

Overall.. completely impressed with Joshua Radin. He blew me away. Not only because his songs were painfully gorgeous, but because I wasn’t expecting him to sing so powerfully while still maintaining that ethereal beauty of the songs. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him again very soon. I also said I would want him to sing at my wedding if I could afford it. He did a song called “Today” that was amazingly gorgeous and coincidentally it was also the same song he sang at Ellen Degeneres and Portia DiRossi’s wedding. 🙂 For more on Joshua Radin, check out his website at http://www.joshuaradin.com

I also wanted to say a bit about the opening band, The Kin. Two brothers from Australia, I was pleasantly surprised and amazed with them as well. Such gorgeous voices, and easy on the eyes as well. 😉

Literally, all their songs were gorgeous. I wanted to buy a cd, but I ran out of money, so I will have to order it online. But wow!! Such great voices on these guys. I wasn’t expecting them to be so good. Check them out when you can at http://www.myspace.com/thekin.

For all the photos from the show, as well as other shows, check out my photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/tynie626.




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What I’m Listening To: