2014 in Music: The Year I Found the Barricade

I should have known that it would be an incredible year of music when it started out with a Justin Timberlake concert. Over the last year I have seen over 44 live music performances, plus 4 musicals, and 2 Cirque Du Soleil shows. It has just been incredible.

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About two months ago I restarted this blog after having such an amazing experience with the New Politics video and the first few shows of the Everywhere I Go Tour. I hate that I had so many great moments earlier in the year that I didn’t capture in a blog. I wish I had details of this whole year to reflect on, hindsight is 20/20. (Blogging is a 2015 goal for sure.)

I have spent the last few weeks knowing I wanted to do a recap post of 2014 in music and one for 2014 in life. I am having a hard time organizing this one for the music though. I guess I could go show by show. I can talk about how amazing Justin Timberlake was live. I can talk about how amazing it was to see Bruce Springsteen and the E St. band live with my husband in April. I can talk about seeing another country show Luke Bryan.BUT I don’t feel like a step-by-step replay would do the shows justice, I mean really I saw so many incredible artists this year. From legends like Bruce and JT to bands like Paramore and Fall Out Boy that I listened to back during my high school EMO girl days.

So I think instead of doing a recap and talking about the lights, the sounds, and the feels, I am just going to go through some of my top music moments from this year. Some will be concerts, but some will just be discoveries. They aren’t in any particular order, it would be impossible to compare some of these things. Some of them will be written as a memory recap, but then some of them are essentially thank you notes.

Spotify

This year my best friend was Spotify. Funny enough I actually bought more music from ITunes this year than probably the last few years combined. I know that Spotify has a bad rep in the music community (cough cough Taylor Swift). However, I love it, but I know the majority of people don’t buy the albums that they fall in love with on Spotify. I wish spotify had a play count for individual songs. I would love to know how many times I listened to my top 10. It is probably an embarrassing amount. According to Spotify this is what I listen to…
55% Stomp Pop (What is that?)
20% Pop
11% Indietronicia (Again, what?)
9% Metropopolis
7% Shimmer Pop

My top ten tracks make me laugh. Six of them are by SomeKindaWonderful (Burn was #1). Then the other four are from New Politics. Now a big part of this was because on my way to see the shows on the Everywhere I Go Tour I was listening to a playlist that only had the three performing bands. But since then I think I have listened to the SomeKindaWonderful album at least once every two or three days, if not daily.

I have spent nearly 4,000 minutes listening to music on Spotify. This isn’t too accurate, because until June I was just listening to my husband’s account. Then I bought premium for me and cancelled his. I hope they do this year in music thing again next year so I will have a more accurate account.

Justin Timberlake and Bruce Springsteen

Y’all… I saw Justin Timberlake this year. It was one of the most incredible shows I have ever seen. The talent on that stage was mind blowing. I also saw Bruce Springsteen! Those were my first two shows of 2014. Fucking legends. Both of them had incredible two hour sets without a down moment. They were also both the most expensive shows of the year.

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Concert Community
One of the coolest things about this year has been getting involved in the concert community. I have met some of the most amazing people fans, crew, and musicians. I have never been really outgoing when it comes to talking to strangers in public. When I saw New Politics in Richmond over the summer I brought my friend who IS really good at just making conversation with anyone everywhere. We got to know two really cool girls who were in line with us. We had drinks together during the opening acts. Then when NP came on one of them made it up to the front row and half way through their set she pulled me up in her place. That was when I learned the benefit of making friends at concerts.

At the Everywhere I Go Tour shows I met so many amazing amazing fans. I was thrown off at first, because the concert crowd at these shows are usually 8-10 years younger than me. These high schoolers were using phrases that I had to google like “shipping” and “bae”. Even when I saw a show in a college town I hard a hard time finding other twenty somethings. In DC I had plans to bribe someone with beer to hold my spot or to get closer to the stage. I had to adjust my strategy and make use of my portable cellphone charger after seeing all the Xes on hands. I quickly learned that at a concert age doesn’t matter. 15, 25, or 45 everyone is there for the music. It doesn’t matter if you have to work the next day or if you are the girl trying to convince your mom to let you stay out late on a school night to go to a meet and greet. (Way to be a cool mom btw Cathy from the NC show) Everyone is there to have a good time and to see a great show.

I met some people who I may never see again, but then I met some people who I talk to almost every day on Twitter and I know I will see again at another show. With another year like this one I will know someone at every show I go to. There are too many people to thank and give shoutouts to, but if you are reading this and we met at a show you are one of them.

Thanks to social media, I met fans that live in a different part of the US. I may never meet some of them in person, but I still have spent HOURS on the phone with sharing stories.

I also took the time and got to know some of the people who help create the amazing shows that I have been going to. This year I learned that the techs and managers of the bands can actually be way cooler than than the bands themselves. Cheers to them!

And of course, I met some incredible musicians, some who won’t recognize me at their next show and some who will remember my name and face for years.

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96X Fest

This was my first show in the pit. It will always be a show I will remember. I went with two of my friends and fortunately we had the common goal of being as close as possible. It was an interesting show, because right before the first band went on, the radio DJ came out and told us to all seek shelter. We looked at him like he was crazy. We had waited in line before doors opened to get THIS spot. For us that was about 6-8 rows back. Then the thunder started and the skies opened up. Everyone scattered as told. We spent about 30min or so waiting for the storm to pass in the bathroom. When we went back out unfortunately the first band’s equipment was ruined, so the lead singer just did one or two songs with his acoustic guitar. Throughout the openers my friends and I made our way up to the second row. Somehow we didn’t royally piss anyone off. The feeling of being up close had me instantly addicted. I went home and put my seats for future shows for sale and bought pit tickets. This show was a game changer.

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The Barricade

With the exception of One Republic, I was in the pit for the rest of my shows of 2014. Not just the pit, first or second row. I love the rush of it. I love feeling like I am part of the performance. This year I have gotten to hold the hands of Jack Antonoff, David Boyd, Tim McIlrath, Tyler Glenn, and I am sure I am forgetting another one or two. I have had singers look in to my eyes and sing to me. I have felt the envy of everyone around me when someone in the band points at me and smiles. Being in that crowd, with a band on the stage is where I am the happiest.

Setlists

If you want a setlist, stand next to me on the barricade. I am so serious, at least half the shows I saw in the last six months the person next to me got the set list. FINALLY at my last show of 2014 I got mine from Bleachers.

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One Republic

This show blew me away. I am beyond impressed with the talents of One Republic. Such a memorable show. This was my concert shock of the year, I had no idea it would be as good as it was.

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Betty Who

I don’t remember how I found Betty Who, I think it was BuzzFeed. One night while the hubby was away I did find her though. It was love at first sight with her bubbly music and platinum pixie cut. I preordered her album instantly, and even got the “fan edition” so my name is printed on it with the other fans who bought the same edition. I wish I could have seen her live, but I had to work the day she was in DC. It is for the best, because then I wouldn’t have been able to go to the NP video that I did’t know was an option. BUT I do love her and I am determined to see her perform one day. I even named my car after her.

Sam Smith

I went through a massive Sam Smith phase over the summer. I listened to him for weeks on repeat! One of my favorite shows, SYTYCD, had a few routines set to his music that moved me to tears. I was going through some personal things at the time and his music brought me comfort. I bought tickets to see him next month in DC. Unfortunately, I recently sold them to cover the cost of other concert plans in 2015. I am disappointed, but until I find a way to see all my favorite shows for free, I’ve gotta prioritize.

Drum Sticks and Guitar Picks

I never understood the fans that would fight each other for a drum stick or a guitar pick. What did they do with them when they got home? Yeah, that changed when Lou from New Politics saw me in the crowd went to his drum set to grab a stick then handed it to me. A week later at another show I grabbed the stick from Rise Against at the same time as another girl and I didn’t give in. Now I have two fantastic concert souvenirs. I also have two picks from Gibson (SKW) and I did have a pick from Soren (NP), but I lost it before getting home. I still have NO CLUE what people do with these pieces of concert memories… but I love having them.

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Anberlin

I won’t say too much about this show since I wrote about it here. But it wouldn’t be a very good recap if I didn’t mention seeing these amazing musicians during their final tour.

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Walk the Moon and Bleachers

Same as Anberlin… they got their own blog here. It was one of the best concerts I went to this year. Meeting Eli and Jack was wonderful beyond words. I look forward to seeing both of them again in the future.

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I will TRY to keep these final two sections about New Politics and SomeKindaWonderful brief. You can read all that I have already written about them hereherehere, and here . I couldn’t write a final blog about my year without them though.

New Politics

It is impossible to rank my shows in order from favorite to least favorite. However, I can easily rank my top #1 and #2. July 20, 2014 in Richmond, VA was my #2. A few weeks earlier I got a meet and greet pass just from buying my ticket at the right time. I almost didn’t go to this show, because I wasn’t sure if I could find someone to come with me since my husband was underway. Thankfully I did find someone, and I did go to the show. It was the smallest venue I went to all year. The meet and greet was before the show. It was my second time meeting a band and I was NERVOUS! I totally laugh at myself for it now. I don’t know what had me so nervous, those guys are so chill and so nice to their fans.

Over the last six months through social media, more meet and greets, talking before and after shows, and being in their music video I have gotten to know them in a very small way. I don’t know if they will remember me when it is time for their next tour and that is okay. They did remember me the last few shows I saw and that was pretty cool. I am not giving up on my goal to have a beer with them one day. I have a considerable advantage over the majority of their fans that I am old enough to actually have a beer period. I also got to meet some of their crew this year, including their tour manager, Sprout, who was actually really freakin cool… unless you try to hug the guys during the meet and greet (#meetandgreetnazi). Haha, he was just doing his job, I still like to tease. I definitely hope to see him again in 2015.

New Politics isn’t the most talented band that I have seen this year, but their energy on stage is addictive. This year I saw them 8 times and had a blast during every set. I met so many amazing people, because of them. I went to cities I wouldn’t have visited other wise to see their shows. And to top it all off I discovered another AMAZING band, because of them. Which brings me to the final section…

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SomeKindaWonderful

As I mentioned before, I can easily rank my #1 and my #2 best music moments from the year. My #1 was actually two shows, but I will lump them together since they were part of a completely crazy road trip where I drove 21 hours in a 48 hour period. The day after Thanksgiving I got in the car and drove to Buffalo, NY and then the next day I went to Philly. I almost backed out of the trip several times in the weeks leading up to the trip. Buffalo wasn’t even on the table until the week before. I didn’t really have the money for a trip of that nature, but I couldn’t talk myself out of it. That weekend was my #1 and I don’t know how it will ever be topped. I wrote about the trip here, so I will try not to repeat myself too much. I don’t know if a music experience will ever top this weekend though. It had been a month since I saw the tour so all three bands had gotten even better than when I last saw them. But it was the generosity and kindness from SomeKindaWonderful made it such an unforgettable experience.

I heard Reverse a few times on the radio over the summer, but it didn’t pull me in to check out their album. When New Politics announced they were going to be touring with them I made a playlist a few weeks before the first show that had all the songs from NP, Bad Suns, and SKW. I was driving to visit my friend in DC and I had the playlist on shuffle. Every time a SKW song came on I would grab my phone to find out the name of the song and to see if it was BS or SKW. The first two songs that captured my heart was Shine on Me and Caveman. The album quickly became my favorite one of the year.

One thing that SKW does well is social media. They are really good about connecting with all their fans on Twitter especially. I was an instant fan when I heard their album then saw them live for the first time. After three shows and meeting them before Atlanta, I was hooked. There is something about them. I wrote this blog about them and intentionally didn’t share it on twitter, because I knew they would see it on there. Well, they saw it anyways through another blog and that is when they reached out to me. They shared it on their pages and Jordy even reached out and sent me a message. It was really nice of them, and completely unexpected.

When I saw them again in Buffalo/Philly they didn’t make me feel like a fan, they made me feel like a friend. I got to watch sound check, hang out backstage and in their van, I even I “helped” load their equipment (I think I was more in the way for this one). I got to know all of them as well as their fantastic managers. Jordy even introduced me to a girl who has quickly become a very close friend. I was at the buffalo show when Gibson crashed the NP set in his underwear, a show that will always be remembered in SKW history lol. ***Shit, I said I was going to try to keep this short didn’t I?*** So yeah. That weekend was one of the best weekends of 2014 music or otherwise.

Huge thank you to SomeKindaWonderful (Jordy, Justin, Sarah, Ben, Gibson, Nima, and Red) for ruining all future concerts for me. The shows I have seen since have been amazing, but they can’t top that weekend hanging out with SKW. I am so excited for 2015 to see their music grow and just to see everyone again.

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2015

That ended abruptly, I probably could have gone on for another 500 words or so easy. I didn’t even talk about all the random SKW shit I have made since getting a vinyl cutter. BUT I have already typed an obnoxious amount that no one will read, so it is time to wrap it up.

This year has been amazing, and I have a feeling that 2015 will be even better. (Still campaigning to be a SKW merch girl lol)

I already have my tickets for Ingrid Michaelson, Moon Taxi, Kongos, Sir Sly, Colony House Band, Young the Giant, Lights, X Ambassadors, Bleachers, Joywave, Night Terrors of 1927, The Griswolds, and Walk the Moon. That is only in the first few months! Just wait until summer shows are announced. It is going to be insane!

Check out my 2014 pics herehere, and here

And as a final recap…here is who I saw this year…
Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids
Bruce Springstreet and the E Street Band
Fall Out Boy
Paramore
New Politics (8x)
OneRepublic
American Authors
The Script
Anberlin
Banks
HAIM
Bleachers (2x)
Neon Trees
Rise Against
Prinze George
Walk the Moon
SomeKindaWonderful (5x)
Bad Suns (5x)
Panic at the Disco
Luke Bryan
XAmbassadors
Group Love
The Dirty Heads
Lee Brice
Cole Swindell
Against Grace
Brighter The Moon
Sunbox

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Miracle on Broad Street 2014 (Night 1)

This will be my last concert recap of 2014. It is pretty heartbreaking that I didn’t start this until the Everywhere I Go Tour. I wish I could go back and read my recap of my early shows. I just did a pic of (almost) all my merch and concert tickets from this year and WOW! I couldn’t fit all of it in the frame! What a year it has been! A post on all of that will come later.

THIS post is about my last concert of 2014: Night 1 of XL102 Richmond’s Miracle on Broadstreet at The National. I bought tickets for this show before they even announced on Twitter that they were on sale. (Thanks SongKick). I was excited for Bleachers. I already had my tickets to see them at Winter Meltdown. Walk the Moon though… that one had me beyond excitement.

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Walk the Moon will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart. Back in August 2012 my husband deployed for the first time. I took it pretty hard. Never have I had to take off work for “personal reasons” (read, because I couldn’t stop crying at my desk). It was hard being away from him for the first time in our marriage and living in a place where I had barely been half of a year. I didn’t have a strong local support system. I didn’t even have contacts with people on the boat he was deploying with. It was rough. That weekend I was watching True Blood on HBO and they showed a promo for their fall shows. (I tried to find it on youtube, but I couldn’t, oh well). The music to that promo was “Anna Sun” by Walk the Moon. I loved it and immediately looked it up. Their album had just come out a few weeks before so I was able to quickly find it on iTunes. I listened to that album almost non stop for the first few weeks of deployment. It made me smile, it made me dance. It was exactly what I needed. Meanwhile somewhere under an undisclosed amount of feet under the sea my husband sat on and broke his iPod. When they pulled in to port at the end of August he was able to get some music on his iPad, my most recent purchases. So he had Walk the Moon, and one other, I think it was Pink’s album. Since he didn’t have anything else that is what he listened to for about two months straight. It was a shock to me when he knew the words better than I did after deployment. I will always be thankful for that music getting both of us through that time.

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Back to MOBS…

My husband was actually able to leave early to come to this show with me. I have been traveling solo to every show for the last few months, so it was weird having a sidekick. I still drove, I enjoy my driving and car dancing. Plus, I wanted to give him the opportunity to sleep a bit since he did work that morning.

We got to the venue a few hours early. We had reservations for the early entry program with the restaurant next door though. We didn’t need to get there QUITE so early, but I made gifts for Walk the Moon and Bleachers so I hoped to catch them before soundcheck. Unfortunately, they had already arrived and brought their things in to the venue by the time we got there. After getting odd looks from the venue security I waited a little down the street hoping that they would come out for a smoke break or something and I could catch them. My husband wasn’t having any of this waiting foolishness and went back to the car. After a little more than an hour I was starting to lose hope. I was looking for pretty much anyone who didn’t look like they were with The National. It felt really creepy and it isn’t something I plan to do again, but I already had the gifts and I didn’t want to go home with them. Finally the stage door opened and Eli from Walk the Moon came out to get something from their van. I went over to him and said hello. I told him about the gifts and he said to just knock on the door when I came back from my car. I pretty much sprinted to my car to get them. I didn’t want to keep him waiting and risk him not being there. True to his word he was right inside the stage door when I returned. I got to talk to him for a few minutes. The other guys were setting up for sound check so they couldn’t come out. Might have been a lie, but whatever, one out of four isn’t that bad. Especially since he told me they were leaving after their set. I was glad I didn’t wait until after the show! I also gave him the gift for Bleachers, because i was done doing the weird creeper thing down by the bus stop hoping to see SOMEONE.

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After meeting Eli I went back to the car and brought out my faceprint. It is a thing at WTM shows, and I was getting the full experience! I even practiced the night before. I also was rockin’ a WTM shirt that I had made the night before…

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Rusty and I had dinner together at the restaurant next door to get early entry in the venue. That was nice, but the service was little slower than I would have liked. I know what to do for next time though. I ran in to a few people who were at Winter Meltdown the week before which was cool. I have said before, I love the concert community. That is one great thing about going to concerts alone, it forces me to connect too. I can strike up a conversation with pretty much anyone at this point.

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I found out before the show that there was some local band opening the show. The ticket said just WTM and Bleachers, so I didn’t know anything about this local band, not even their name to try to get info. Well, turns out their name is Prinze George and they aren’t a local band, but they are an east coast band so I guess that is local enough. They were phenomenal! It took me a song to figure out their groove, but once I figured out what they were all about I was hooked. They are just a trio. It looks like before August it was just a duo actually. They added a kick ass lady drummer at that point, good call guys! They have a very electronic rock vibe. The lead singer, Naomi, is just stunning on stage. She does the same fun funky dance moves that Sarah from SomeKindaWonderful does and so I was obviously in love. The guitarist/keyboardist, Kenny, was great to watch and he was very talented. His hair definitely sticks out in your mind after the set lol. Then as I mentioned before, Isabelle, the drummer was fantastic! Even as excited as I was for WTM and Bleachers I was wanting more Prinze George after their set. I am definitely a fan and I won’t hesitate to get in the car and road trip to see them hopefully a few times in 2015. After the show I posted about them on instagram and learned Nima the SKW manager has already checked them out and was even hoping that they would open for SKW at some point. Definitely validated my love for PG. I have listened to their three songs on spotify almost every day since the show. “This Time” is my favorite. Check it out!

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Second up was Walk the Moon. I recently watched their set live streaming from a California show. I knew they opened with Circle of Life from the Lion King. I thought I was ready. Nope. There was no keeping my cool when I heard it coming out of the speakers. I was way excited. Their entire set was EXACTLY what I hoped a WTM show would be. They are one of the bands who doesn’t have anything prerecorded for their shows. Everything you hear they are playing or singing. Definitely something that I appreciate in a band. Their energy was just through the roof. I really didn’t stop dancing the whole time. I was head banging, swaying, jumping, all of it while singing along. They did a REALLY good job with their setlist. It was a good mix of their old songs and their new ones. I can’t say enough about their energy for real though! They were just amazing. I already have tickets to a few of their shows in the Spring and I will definitely buy more tickets once SomeKindaWonderful announces their next tour. I don’t want to waste a WTM ticket if it conflicts with when I will be following SKW.

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I know eventually I will get over the need to be a barricade girl. The sound quality is better in the back, I won’t have the energy or desire to wait in line just so I can be in the front row. That hasn’t happened yet though. I need to be IN THE SHOW. I get lost in the performance, without the barricade I might not be able to find my way back. For PG and WTM there was a barricade feud going on. After the WTM set, it worked in my favor and I was able to go from second row to first. Second show in a row that I have gotten lucky in that way.

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Bleachers should always headline. I loved them when I saw them last week at Winter Meltdown, but Jack and his group took it to a new level for this show. They were just jaw dropping amazing! I was on the other side of the stage vs Meltdown, so I got a different prospective which was great. I am just so impressed with every single member of this group. It is such a treat to see them perform.

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After the show Rusty went to the car, but I hung around hoping to meet Bleachers. Why not? It was the last show of the year for me, the drive back was only two hours. I had work the next day, but I didn’t want to miss my chance to meet them. Unlike before the show I knew they had to come out eventually.

It was a long wait.

It was a really long, really cold wait. Honestly though, I would do it again. I met some great people in line, including one who had been to a few of the same shows as me that I connected with on Twitter. Again, gotta love the concert community. It started out with about 40-50 people and then it ended up being a loyal like 15 of us I think.

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We had a special treat that made the waiting just that much better. Prinze George hung around after the show and came over to say hello on their way to leave. They were so very nice and they seemed like the kind of group I could hang with for sure. I adore them!

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Finally Jack came out and i got my selfie that I waited so long to get. He thanked me for the booze arrangement and asked my name. When he was about to leave I got one more pic with him and he repeated my name to make sure he remembered it. I am confident that as soon as he got on the bus he forgot it. It felt pretty good knowing that he knew it just for a few minutes though.

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The whole experience was just amazing. One of the top concerts of the year for sure.

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2014 Winter Meltdown

First… lets have a Flashback Friday Morning to 2013…

One year ago was the 2013 Winter Meltdown presented by 96X. I went with my friend Kaila to see Capital Cities, Kaila was most excited to see Fall Out Boy. Honestly, I didn’t know they were still a thing until the concert was announced, oops. We didn’t know the opening acts very well; MSMR, The Last Bison (replacing The 1975 who got stuck in bad weather), New Politics, and The Neighborhood. We didn’t get there in time for MSMR, but we enjoyed a great show by The Last Bison. Following TLB, was this band called New Politics. I had heard their song Harlem, and enjoyed it. But I didn’t really take the time to listen to anything else by them. From the moment they took the stage I was hooked. Their energy was addicting. The lead singer danced and crowd walked. I had never seen anything like them. It was just a blast. Since Winter Meltdown I have seen those three guys of New Politics 8 more times, and even had the opportunity to be in their music video. They were the first band that I wanted to see badly enough to go alone to a show for. Now I go to probably 75% of my shows alone, because I learned I really don’t need anyone to come with me. This Fall they had an incredible band, SomeKindaWonderful open for them. If you have talked to me more than 20 minutes in the last two months I am sure I have found a way to bring up SKW. At the last NP/SKW show the guys (and gal) of SKW were even sweet enough to make me feel like their friend for one night. It was an experience I will always be thankful for.

So yeah, before I make this ANOTHER SKW post… THAT is why I love the 96X Winter Meltdown. I was introduced to New Politics which gave me some amazing concerts and also introduced me to SomeKindaWonderful.

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It’s 2014!!

When the date for this year’s Winter Meltdown was announced I immediately made plans to purchase tickets. It didn’t even matter who the lineup was, I was going. Fortunately the line up was AMAZING!! Banks, Bleachers, HAIM, Neon Trees and Rise Against. Love (or at least really like) all of them!

I have become a barricade girl, so I knew I wanted to get to the venue early. Kaila didn’t like the line up this year and her husband just came home from a 9 month  deployment so she didn’t join me. I probably could have found someone, else, but I didn’t bother. I really have started to like going alone. I was talking to a girl in line about it and how it eliminates the risk of bringing a friend who can’t keep up in the first few rows of the pit. I nicknamed this hypothetical stereotype Stacey, rather Fucking Stacy. As I was talking about “Fucking Stacy” two guys from Richmond joined the conversation. I love meeting people at concerts, you obviously already have one common interest! Right before doors opened the bottom fell from the sky and it started pouring. That was pretty unpleasant, but we all had a good sense of humor about it. I mean after all what could we do?

When doors opened I dashed to the front of the pit. They had us all sit down criss-cross applesauce. I use that term, because it really felt like we were about to have some kind of reading rainbow experience. It was weird. I am thankful that isn’t a normal concert thing. I ended up in the second row of the pit. Everyone around me seemed younger, I am used to that after all the New Politics shows I have been to. (Their average fan is usually ten years younger than me. ) I was glad that I exchanged twitter names with the two guys I met in line, it made things entertaining when the kids around me wouldn’t talk to me lol.

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I hang on everything that you say
You know I can see all the things that imply
You secretly are in love
And finally when I let myself fall hard for you
I see you trying to pretend
Like I’m making it up
This is what it feels like.

The first performer in the line up was Banks. In the weeks leading up to the show I posted a few things on Instagram with her tagged.  Everytime a Banks fan chimed in telling me how much I will love her! And they were right, she is… well… a Goddess. She is just stunning on the stage, Her voice is amazing. I would love to see her at a smaller venue with better acoustics. This was in a sports complex. I don’t think it did her justice. She commands attention with every word and movement. It was almost hypnotic. She doesn’t have the style that I can listen to for hours straight, but I wouldn’t hesitate to see her live again.

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And I know that they have hurt you
And I know the love you gave feels cheap and used
And I know it’s getting harder
And I know the lights have all gone dark on you
Still I will love your shadow
When the love you gave feels cheap and used
Yes I will love your shadow
When the lights have all gone dark on you

Next up was Bleachers, this is who I was most excited to see. Mr. Jack Antonoff and his crew did not disappoint! What musicians and performers they are!! I have never seen someone with the same style of stage presence as Jack Antonoff. It was unique, I don’t know how to describe it. I totally fan girled for him though. They played all my favorite songs from Strange Desire, including “Shadow” which is one of my all time favorite songs. Nothing to me beats being right by the stage and hearing one of your favorite songs life. Except for maybe holding Jack Antonoff’s hand as he sings “I Wanna Get Better.” Yeah it happened, and it was awesome. Again, I was such a fan girl, not like myself at all. There is something about that man. Maybe it is knowing that is the closest I will get to Lena Dunham LOL. But yeah, incredible set from Bleachers. Loved the saxophone solo! I can’t wait to see them again in Richmond next week! They also just announced they will be coming back to Norfolk in March! I am going to try to wait to get tickets until after SomeKindaWonderful announces their tour. I have full intentions on following them to as many dates as I can (cough cough SKW please hire me to sell Merch LOL)

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Never thought that I would grow so old of seeing the gold
Still I never want it to go
I would hold it up to my cold heart
Feel the way it used to start up

Take me back, take, take
Take me back to the way that I was before
Hungry for what was to come
Now I’m longing for the way I was
You say you will, say you will save me

I was just BLOWN AWAY by HAIM. The day before the Grammy nominations were announced. Their nomination is WELL deserved. These girls just rocked from start to finish. They had the same captivating performance that I saw in New Politics last year. I had an absolute blast during their set, it left me wanting more. This was also their last show until after they release another album. Glad I got to see a full set of the “original” songs. I will definitely see them again next time I have the opportunity. My favorite moment from their set was when they just rocked out. I am not a big enough HAIM fan to know if that was instrumentals to one of their songs, if it was improvised, or what. It was just amazing though! Then they also had a drum part where they rocked out there. Gah, it was just so good! The girl I was talking to before the show drove from New Jersey to see HAIM specifically. I hope she got to meet them after the set like she hoped. Really though, I feel like I need to say it again, these girls ROCKED! A few months ago my friend sent me a pic that said “Girls twerk, Women headbang.” That was written for HAIM. Period.
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I don’t believe making out is a dead romance.
I miss the days being kids simply holding hands
I’m sick of wondering if you would ever call me back
I check my 4 different accounts just to end up mad.

I want to start off by saying that I love following Tyler Glenn on Twitter. Just the right amount of real life and rock star. One of the friends I made during my New Politics journey has met him a few times and I was very disappointed that I didn’t get to see him after the set. (I will get back to that in a minute)They were fabulous though! The energy through the whole set was amazing. I totally have a lady crush on the drummer too, she is fierce! The main song that had me fan girling was Love in the 21st Century. I was so glad they played that. It was Brandon’s birthday, I love when I am at those special shows, makes it more memorable for them and for me. Tyler came down to the barricade and keeping in theme, I also got to hold his hand when he came down. Fortunately, I remembered that he is a human and I did remember to let go of his hand in a reasonable amount of time. (Totally had the death grip on Jack Antonoff, my bad bro) Their set was everything that I hoped that Neon Trees would be. It was bright, energetic, and electric. Please come back to Norfolk soon!

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That’s why we won’t back down
We won’t run and hide
Yeah, ’cause these are the things that we can’t deny
I’m passing over you like a satellite
So catch me if I fall
That’s why we stick to your game plans and party lives
But at night we’re conspiring by candlelight
We are the orphans of the American dream
So shine your light on me

SO I like Rise Against. I was really at the show for the first four bands though. My plan was to leave after the Neon Trees set to try to meet them. The people in front of me on the barricade had the same plan, I couldn’t turn down barricade. I just couldn’t. I am so glad I stayed. What an AMAZING set! I have never rocked so hard at a show. It was pretty intense in the pit, I was glad I had the barricade to hang on to. I still got kicked in the face, beadbutted, and just knocked around. 100% worth it. They are just amazing live. Gave me a new love for their music for sure. (Yes Ialso got to hold Tim Mcllrath’s hand for a moment. I mostly awkwardly touched his leg, because he was standing right on top of me on the barricade.) The show was amazing from start to finish though. I especially liked when he went acoustic for a song before returning to rock out for a few more songs. Will I see them again if the come to the area HELL YEAH! At the end the crowd dropped the drumstick that was tossed. The security guard picked it up and me and the girl next to me grabbed it at the same time. Yeah, I pried it out of her hand by twisting her arm slightly. Not my classiest moment, but I have a pretty rad drumstick souvenir. I wanted to get him to sign it after the show, but the bus area was gated and it was cold and rainy. I didn’t want to risk them not coming out.

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The whole experience was incredible from making friends in line to getting slightly aggressive over a drumstick. The crowd had great vibes and it had that community feel that I love feeling in the pit.

I discovered 96X after living in the area for a year, because my old Honda didn’t pick it up. It was instantly my favorite. They bring two incredible shows to the area (Summer is 96X Fest) every year. They play new music as it is released, but also play old favorites. I have a special love for their Sunday Morning Hangover Brunch. They have some amazing acoustic versions that they play. If you are in the Hampton Roads area, definitely give them a listen! Yesterday they even played The Griswolds, my favorite Australian band who will be opening for Walk The Moon next year!

My final concert of 2014 will be this upcoming Wednesday. Stay tuned, after that I am hoping to have a pretty epic recap of my year in music. What a year it has been….

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A Butterfly Militia Weekend

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Intro.

I bought an album the other day, the same album twice actually. I had already preordered it on iTunes, then when I had the opportunity to get a signed copy I just had to go for it. Inside the CD was a message from the band…

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This is why I love music and the artists that create it. It is a shared experience. The artists pour their hearts, souls, time, energy, exc in to their music. Then we, the listeners, take it and it becomes part of our lives. I can’t tell you how many songs take me back to certain points of my life. Songs can remind me of remind me of the bad and the good times. Some music gives me confidence, some music makes me feel so much that I can’t help but cry.

——-

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Restless.

So, last month for my birthday I got to follow New Politics to three of their shows on the Everywhere I Go Tour. You can check that adventure out here. Amazing experience! After the shows I had crazy post concert depression. I bought a whole string of concert tickets for some amazing bands, but the only cure for Everywhere I Go Tour Depression is more Everywhere I Go Tour (maybe I should have tried cowbell). The closest the tour was coming to me was Philly, five hours away. I asked my boss for the weekend off, not expecting it when I found out it was Thanksgiving weekend. When she gave it to me I gave her a huge hug! We aren’t huggers in the office, so she was highly confused.

Since my booze arrangement went so well at the last show, I wanted to do another one. I decided to scale it down a bit since there would only be one more night on tour, I didn’t know how far away I would have to park, and I wanted to make two more for the crew and Bad Suns. I enjoy making the arrangements, I have a lot of fun with them. It is a fun gift to give and it is also memorable. I also wanted to do something a little different this time…1528474_10203474692444200_5318003726493914490_n10426542_10203493311429663_6690984804978696249_n

Explaining the unexplainable.

There is something about SomeKindaWonderful. I tried to capture it in my SomeKindaBlog here, but after rereading it I don’t think I quite nailed it as well as I would have liked. Their music is unlike anything else in a way that it captures the best of so many musical elements. There is something about it that draws me in and makes me want to be apart of it… if that makes any sense. That is why I have embraced this whole #ButterflyMilitia thing. I have mentioned before, I don’t like to be in the “fan club”. It just isn’t my personality. The Butterfly Militia is different somehow.

SomeKindaWonderful’s journey is a really cool thing to watch and I wanted to find a way to be a part of their experience and give them something that they gave me. So I went to the store and got some fabric and some new sharp scissors. I turned on some trashy TV one night and started cutting 100 butterflies for little flags. It started with just doing 50, but I had extra fabric, so why not just finish it all off. The goal was for SKW to see them during their show and feel the love from all these people who were seeing them for the first time and not just the familiar faces in the crowd. Also for the crowd to feel involved with the show in a unique way. Plus they all got to take home something that will help them remember the first opening band with the butterfly.

So I made all the flags, I made my booze arrangements… I still had a week to go until the show. I honestly have no clue how I came to this decision, but at some point between the Friday before the show and the Wednesday before the show I bought a ticket to Buffalo.

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On The Road Again.

So Friday morning I started my car and plugged my phone in as I backed out of the drive way (lol). This is the part that you probably want to hear all about, if I haven’t told you the story already of course lol. However, this is where I don’t want to go in to all the details on the what happened when. I more want to capture how it made me feel. I already wrote a FULL recap in a password protected post, that is mostly just for me. I forget things easily lol. This is more of a thank you and if I haven’t convinced you to listen to SomeKindaWonderful yet, maybe you will give me a chance.10320543_10203477112104690_4628625167719625654_n

OH LOOK A VIDEO!!

Did it work yet? (CONFESSION: I think that is the first time I have actually watched the music video on my TV with no distractions since seeing them live for the first time. Usually when I share it with someone I am trying to read their reaction to know what song I should play for them next.)

Okay if you want to keep reading and listen later, it is your loss. I promise you their music is better than anything you will read on here.

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Buffalo.

I arrived in Buffalo in the afternoon and I was able to talk to a few people in line who agreed to hold my spot in line while I gave out my gifts to the bands. I started with Gavin (from Bad Suns) who was out back smoking a cigarette. I always feel so bad interrupting them during their personal time, but I wanted to give them the booze.

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Shortly after giving Gavin the gift for Bad Suns SKW showed up. Jordy was actually the one that I saw. It had been a month since meeting them in Atlanta. He was about to head inside so I had to call his name to catch him. I wasn’t expecting him to look as excited to see me as I was to see him. It was almost like seeing an old friend. THAT is why being a part of the Butterfly Militia is such an amazing experience. You are a part of something big… or at least something that will be big. (Soon worldwide woohoo!) I had the opportunity to hang out with the manager and talk before the show. I got answers to some of the questions that I had been wondering since the first round of shows and I learned a lot about the band members and their history.

OMG ANOTHER VIDEO!!

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Giving Back.

Before the show I went out to the line and passed out my flags to the first 100 people in line. If I could do it again I would have had someone record it. It was so FUN going down the line, getting people hyped for SKW, most whom had never heard about them. In hindsight I also would have made a small slip of paper with their name and #ButterflyMilitia so they could get connected on Instagram and Twitter. Also no flags, they are awkward to wave in a concert setting… banners without sticks next time… lesson learned haha. Anyways, it was a BLAST getting to talk to the people out there about SKW. Getting them hyped up and hearing them cheer. They brought their energy to the venue with them. SKW put on the best show I have seen from them. The energy and passion was radiating from them on stage. After their set the room was buzzing with praise for them. They aren’t exactly the same genre as the other two bands on the tour, so it is always interesting to hear the reception. I do truly believe that they have something for everyone that gives them a chance though.

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Oh yeah. They were just the opener.

I love New Politics to pieces. I drove all the way to NY last month for 24 hours so I could be in their music video. This trip was really more for SomeKindaWonderful though. They got the show kicked off right! New Politics also had the best set that I had the opportunity to see out of the five dates that I went to. My cool moment of the night was when Louis gave me his drumstick. Like at the end of the show he saw me, went back to his drum set to get it and actually handed it to me.

Before the show I somehow ended up with a meet and greet wristband without buying another shirt (thank you). So I hung out and met up with a girl who I “met” on twitter before the show. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay attention to my phone and I could have gone out and seen SKW before they left for the night. I had a cool meet and greet with the NP guys though. It is fun being remembered.

I hung around Buffalo after the show. I waited for the NP guys to give them and their crew their booze gifts. Met the bass player for Stonesour which was also pretty neat. Talked to Sprout and then got to talk to each of the guys in NP. It was so cold, but I was glad I hung around. I am not really big on autographs, but I did want Lou to sign my drum stick.

VIDEO BREAK!!!

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Then I drove some more…

I left a little late the next morning, but I still managed to get to Philly around 2pm. On the way down a girl in a New Politics Facebook Group mentioned that she was already there and I said I would join her. I had a really fun time in line with everyone. I got to meet two other New Politics Fans from North Carolina who travel for a lot of the same shows I go to. We met before, but this was our first time actually talking. I got to talk to a few girls who I met at the Everywhere I Go video shoot the month before too. I travel for most of these shows I usually ride solo. It isn’t a big deal to me, because I have met so many amazing people across the east coast! If I keep it up at this rate I will know someone at a show no matter what eastern state I go to. (life goals) Who knows, maybe the military will send us to the west coast and I can have both sides covered!

I think at this point you understand that I went to the show again. The bands were SomeKindaWonderful, Bad Suns, and New Politics. They were all amazing. Blah blah blah. I wouldn’t have driven so far if the show wasn’t worth it.

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Post Show Fun…

After the show was one really fun experience. I left the venue after the show and got to hang out with Jordy, Nima, and Big Red in their van. I was introduced to this fantastic spunky girl named Lina, whom I instantly clicked with. For one night we got to say “we’re with the band.” It is SUPER cheesy, but honestly we were are so thankful for the experience, it was a blast. It was really fun getting to know everyone in the group. They were banned from booze, but they had gotten my gift earlier, so they had a supply that definitely aided Ben and Gibson. Lina and I helped SKW pack things up from the dressing room and carry them to the van. Once we realized we might actually be more in the way than helping we decided to crash the NP meet and greet. We got this epic picture with the guys doing the butterfly militia symbol. Lou looks PISSED! I have no idea if it was intentional or not, but it makes me laugh so hard every time I see it.

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It really was a fun night. I have tons of selfies to prove it lol. It was really sweet of them to adopt myself and Lina in to their family for the night. We left feeling pretty fucking lucky. I feel like I should say more about it, but I don’t really want to. It was a lot of talking, laughing, and even a little dancing. It was exactly what I hoped it would be.

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Thank you.

Music has given me so much throughout my life. From dance, to touring the US with Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps, to joining Sigma Alpha Iota. I have given back to the organizations that have meant to much to me by volunteering my time and the occasional donations. When I care about an artist I try to do the right thing and actually purchase their album… Something is different about SomeKindaWonderful. For reasons I have a hard time explaining, I want so badly for them to make it really BIG. They have the ability to have a song on every radio station. Their music isn’t limited by any genre or theme. I want to see how they could effect mainstream music. I wish nothing but the best for these insanely talented, crazy individuals.

I had originally planned to update my thoughts on them individually, like I had in my SomeKindaBlog. There aren’t many interviews that allow people to figure out who they are. However, I can’t. The idea of writing about them individually seems really weird to do now that I have gotten to know them. It is weird living in-between the lines of friendship and fan, especially when you are coming from the fan side of things. You don’t know if they are being nice, because they don’t want to lose a fan or if it is because they really mean it (both?). You want to talk to them and get to know them, but you don’t want them to look at their messages and think “not her again.” I have briefly blogged about this before though, no need to keep going.

For now I will keep doing my part in the “Butterfly Militia”. I will keep meeting other fans and create a community within. I will keep telling strangers, friends, and family for them. When they announce their next tour, I will continue to go to as many shows as finances will allow (hotels are expensive!). Who knows, maybe one day they will be big enough to need a merch girl to come on the road with them. (That is a cool link BTW) I would totally drop everything and live in the back of a van to help their music grow. (As one of my managers said… YOLO haha!) I already work in sales, so selling merch, talking music, and pumping up a crowd I know I can do. I am the social media manager for the company I currently work for. I don’t take up much space or need too many things. 😉 I have good hygiene and I am a pleasant person to be around. It has been seven years since I last lived for a few months sleeping on a bus, but I could do it again. Consider this my resume haha.

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Is anyone still with me down here?

I will stop rambling, it is time to get some sleep. Unfortunately, I am not living in the back of a van traveling cross country, I have a 8-5 to get to in a few hours.

If you made it this far you might as well check out SomeKindaWonderful. The CD is cheap and they even have a FREE download of their latest song Rhinestone Melodies Here. Support great people and great musicians. 

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Next up on my concert adventures is Bleachers, Neon Trees, HAIM, and Banks this weekend. Then on the 17th I will be driving to see Bleachers and Walk the Moon in Richmond. Until then…. Peace!

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