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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