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live-concert

I used to see a lot of live music, and compiled quite a list of great artists I’ve seen over the years.  Putting this here for posterity sake!

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Sweetie pie SillyG suggested that I do another “She’d Love my iPod” to provide some music suggestions for summer jams, and since I haven’t done that in a while and my iTunes collection has grown, seemed like a good time to do so!  Yeah, I know the summer’s almost over but still…

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I haven’t done a “…She’d Love My iPod” post in a long while, so long that I wasn’t sure where to pick up from.  There have been quite a few songs added to my iTunes since the last update…

But a month ago was my BFF‘s birthday, and when we got together for lunch I brought her a CD I’d burned for her with songs I recently downloaded that I thought she’d like… and that seems like a good frame for sharing some recent additions to my catalog.  Let me know if you like any of these too, especially if you’ve never heard them before, I always love turning people on to new music!!

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Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men

So recently I got to check off one item from my bucket list:  getting to see the amazing song Little Talks performed live by Of Monsters and Men.  I just love that song so much; from the moment I first heard it I just swooned.  Every part of the song just brings a goofy smile to my face– the music, the singers, the lyrics– and just etched into my soul the need to see it, feel it, and bathe in the performance.  So when I saw the announcements months ago that they were going to come right here to Richmond to play, I prepared to snap up tickets the moment they were available.

I’m glad I did– the show sold out weeks ago!  But I had my tickets…

Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to find anyone who wanted to go with me to the show, so I ended up selling the extra ticket.  Thankfully, I did know two friends who already had tickets so I was able to sit with them and enjoy the show in friendly solidarity rather than having to be alone in a crowd like when I went to see the last show (Neko Case).  While I loved getting to see Neko Case live, it was a mixed blessing… being alone in a crowd of people who were all in groups of two, three, or more really kind of emphasized the rather lonely situation of being an older divorced father who’s friends are mostly all paired up and settled down.  Which makes me a bit of a oddball who doesn’t seem to fit in with anyone socially.  I left the show feeling both elated and melancholy.

Thankfully for the Of Monsters and Men show I had two friends to sit with, which made all the difference in the world.  We are really such social animals, and the security of being part of a small group within this huge, sold-out crowd gave me the ability to just lose myself in the music and the energy of the live performance.

This is an actual pic from the show that my friend Tommy took from where we sat

This is an actual pic from the show that my friend Tommy took from where we sat

And oh, what a performance!  Of Monsters and Men is a seven-piece band of some really talented musicians, and they had a joy about them, an obvious love of playing music for a live audience that was infectious and riveting.

The drummer was electric– so full of energy, it seemed to be an effort for him to keep seated and pound on the drums (and quite often he would leap up and run to the front of the stage to get the crowd pumped up before rushing back to his kit).  He was dressed in a suit, along with the base player beside him, though they were just in vests without the coats.  Like most base players, he held down the beat in a low-key way.  The lead guitarist was surprisingly not flashy or looking for attention– he spent most of the show to the side, working his guitar and producing a lot of interesting sound effects via a whole host of effects pedals on the floor at his feet.  He gave me the sense of being a quiet maestro plying his art.

On the other side of the stage from the drummer and base were a man and a woman at two keyboards, though they often jumped up and played other instruments.  The woman played trumpet, accordion, and for one song banged on a huge base drum; the man got up and played accordion on a different song.

Last but not least were the two lead singers, who also played acoustic guitars.  The man was short, round, and red-haired, and reminded me of a gnome.  He had a cool and real interesting singing voice.  The woman was short, dark-haired and waifish, and sung like the Icelandic angel that she is– her voice reminded me a lot of Björk from the Sugarcubes, a high-pitched lilt, but without Björk’s weirdness.  The two singers’ voices were different but sounded great both solo and harmonized together.

The band not only demonstrated great musicianship but great showmanship as well.  They obviously subscribe to the notion I do as well, that art isn’t just what is being produced by the artist, but it’s what’s found in that space between artist and the audience.  They got a real charge out of getting the audience singing along, clapping along, stomping along, waving and cheering.  They gave me a real creative jolt being a part of the experience, and my mind whirled with ideas as I drove home.  I was grateful to be able to experience it with my friends Tommy and Amy, to be part of a little group within the crowd, so I could both experience the thrill and the joy of the music without feeling lonely, and also have someone there who I could talk to, smile with, and just share in the performance.

If you ever get a chance to see Of Monsters and Men, I heartily recommend it!  Below the cut I’ve got a link to a Youtube video of them performing live (in a more intimate location), as well as lyrics to the song Little Talks — I really love the words to the song, it strikes me as a ghost story, with the girl’s part being the living person, and the guy’s part being either a ghost or maybe a voice in her head.  What about you?     (more…)

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I was pretty stoked the other day when I saw on Facebook that The National  had booked Of Monsters and Men to play November 26th.  I mentioned recently that Florence + The Machine is one of the bands that I most want to see perform live right now; Of Monsters and Men was another one.  I’m so in love with their song “Little Talks” — the music, the vocals, the lyrics.  The lead singer’s got a beautiful voice that’s similar to Bjork but without trying too hard to be weird.  The other singer looks like a gnome.  I love that they have someone who plays accordian and people who play horns.  It’s just a total package of awesome.  Here’s a video of them performing it live:

Anyway, I went ahead and bought two tickets.  I don’t know who I’ll be taking with me yet but I’ve got time to hopefully find someone. 

I’M SO STOKED!!

Ahem.

Anyway… then this past Monday I get an email newsletter from the local rock station telling me about this big promotion they’re giving away called The Ultimate Ticket.  You and a friend get to go to Voodoo Experience featuring Green Day, Jack White, AWOLNATION, Silversun Pickups and MORE in New Orleans October 26th-28th.  As if a trip to New Orleans wasn’t sweet enough, but when I checked out Voodoo Experience  there’s like a zillion bands playing.

And if that wasn’t enough, the winner also gets tickets to every show at The National for a year– in the sweet VIP section!  I suspect that might make for pretty good date bait, eh?

Anyway, it sounded so good I set up alarms on my phone all week to make sure I turned on the radio and listened for my shot to win.  And Monday I heard the call-out, dialed and dialed and dialed… and I won on the first day!  No, I didn’t actually win The Ultimate Ticket– I qualified to win.  Once each day last week they qualified a person to be entered into a drawing to win The Ultimate Ticket.  The promotion is being sponsored by a local car company, and you can drop your name into a hat there at the car dealership, and I think they’re drawing some names from there to add to the mix.  I’m not sure how many people will ultimately qualify– I’m guessing it will be somewhere between 10 and 20 people — but then those people get some sort of prize (we’ll be getting a call this week to tell us what the prize is), and we get to go to “a big shindig” the radio station is holding, and they’ll pick the grand prize winner there.  I figure I’ve got a 5-10% chance of winning the big prize, which is much better odds than winning the lotto, right?

So… I’ve got two tickets to a “big shindig” held by the local rock station to go to, tickets to Of Monsters and Men, and the possibility of tickets to a big music festival in New Orleans… and no dates for any of ’em– yet.  Not a bad problem to have I suppose, though the trick is to find someone willing to both go out with a 45 year old man and also want to go see a new rock show and go to a rock station party?  If I’m lucky enough to win the trip to New Orleans it’ll be nice to have the problem of finding someone to go with me there 🙂

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I’ve got a lot of really great songs on my iPod, but there are some that stand out as real gems– songs that totally suck me in and long to see the song and the performer live.  “Shake it Out” by Florence + The Machine is one of those songs and artists.  Unfortunately the only show I was able to find anywhere near me was too expensive to purchase tickets at the time (I was a bit broke) and then quickly sold out.  Still got my fingers crossed for one day…

I’ve been trying to figure out whether or not the lyrics are as upbeat as the mood it evokes in me when listening to the song.  The chorus in particular leaves me all smiling, uplifted, inspired:

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaaah
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

It speaks to me the notion that you can’t enjoy life– you can’t dance– if you’re carrying around too many unnecessary burdens that you can instead just shake off.  I try and live my life by the philosophy of not sweating the small stuff, not getting upset over stupid things.  Those become devils you put on your own back.

So shake him off!  Hell yeah!

But then I read this part of the song:

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark and right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me

Which leaves me wondering… is the character in the song’s story unable to shake off that devil?  Is she unable to dance?  If that’s the case then the song isn’t actually all that uplifting, no?

I know often that songs, like poems, like some stories can be purposely vague, allowing the person listening or reading to fill a lot in with their own perceptions and experiences, to create a piece of art unique to themselves.  I suspect that’s what’s going on here… and if so I’m curious– what are your feelings and thoughts when you listen to this song?

Or am I just blatantly missing the real tone/message of the song?

Full lyrics behind the cut:

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Recently I was lamenting just how rare and damn difficult it is for me to get out and be social (…She’d Want to DO Stuff), and this past weekend was no exception.  I was scheduled to work my part-time job from 11am to 11pm both Saturday and Sunday, so trying to squeeze in an outing was probably going to be pressing my luck.  Not to mention I’m slam broke.

Still… I’ve been seriously jonesing for some social contact, and there were two options for Saturday night if I dared.  One was a surprise party being held for a former co-worker that I hadn’t seen in a while.  The upside was that price of entry was BYOB– I could certainly afford a six pack of beer.  The downside was that the house was a good 30 minutes from where I worked, and in the opposite direction from where I lived.  Given the fact that I’d be getting off work at 11pm after working 12 hours, drive out to the party, then drive all the way back home, get back up and get to work at 11am for another 12… that left a narrow window of party-time before I started seriously hurting my old ass.

Also… the party was being coordinated through Facebook.  My own personal record of trying to get parties to fire off through Facebook has been attrocious.  Let me tell you, if I drove all the way out there and nothing was going on…

Vertigo! My buddies Andrew on guitar (far left) and David on drums (against the wall, right next to him)

The other option was going to see Vertigo playing at Rock Falls Tavern.  I had two friends in the band and had never seen the group in action.  The downside was paying bar prices for booze, and a possible cover charge.  Rock Falls Tavern was only 10 minutes from where I worked, and more or less on the way out to the surprise party, so by the time 11 o’clock rolled around and I had not heard any updates regarding the party, I figured I’d stop by Rock Falls Tavern.  If no one was there I knew that wasn’t related to band I’d grab a beer, watch a few songs, and then go check out the party.

First bit of good news– no cover!  When I got there, turns out that there were a bunch of my friends there, far enough in the back to be able to talk and socialize, happy and surprised to see me.  My friend Al bought me a beer and we chatted and caught up on things while listening to the music.  Then my friend Dan, who was feeling no pain, insisted on buying me something called a “Jägerbomb” shooter.  Using my awesome powers of deduction, I presumed it was some sort of shot that contained that wretched Jägermeister liquor.  I hoped it was mixed with something palatable, but when I drank it it was just as disgusting as I feared.

I found out later a Jägerbomb is Jägermeister mixed with Red Bull… another foul tasting liquid.

Ugh. Disgusting...

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