It’s always sad to see a talented band break up. Luckily, I was able to see The Swellers one last time, and they went out with a bang.
I got to The Studio at Webster Hall right before a solo act, Jenny Owen Youngs, went on. I’ve never heard of her before, but she killed it, and you all should check her out. Definitely worth the listen; her performance was awesome, and she just seemed like a chill girl all around. Wouldn’t be surprised if she got big in the next few years.
This was my first time at The Studio, and I really liked the venue. It’s basically the basement of Webster Hall, but I’ve always liked more intimate shows.
As much as I do like small venues like this, at the same time, it made me sad. The Swellers have been a band for over a decade, and this is their last time performing, yet they still played at such a small place, and I don’t think it even sold out. I just don’t understand why this band never blew up. They had everything it took: great sound, beautiful lyrics, and they’re awesome guys. But the complete garbage that you hear on the radio is what sells out PNC…I’ll just never understand.
*Sigh.* But I digress…
Anyway. You know when you go to a show, and the band is playing songs you’ve never heard, and you get kind of annoyed because you want to hear songs you can sing along to? I can’t say that was the case with this show. They just sounded so fucking good that even the songs I didn’t know were getting me just as pumped.
However, they did play a lot off of Ups and Downsizing and Good For Me, the two albums I have. And they played for a really long time, all of the songs I wanted to hear. I swear, I would think to myself, “I wonder if they’re gonna play “Dirt,'” “I really hope they play ‘Parkview’,” and I’m pretty sure they were reading my mind.
The guys opened with “Should” off of their most recent album; definitely a good one to get the crowd going. I was also pleased to hear “Runaways,” “Sleeper,” and “Do You Feel Better Yet?”.
It seemed like they talked a lot during the set, and being in such an intimate place, it really felt like we were all just hanging out like friends, getting to know them. I think that’s what really breaks my heart about them splitting up. They were all so cool and so real; they even confessed that they all hate “Better Things.” But they were funny about it. They just didn’t really give a shit about what they said because this was obviously their last time playing.
The encore consisted of “Stars,” “Dirt,” and finally, as fans would probably guess, “The Best I Ever Had.” Oh man. The crowd went harder for this song than any other; everyone crowd surfing and stage diving. This song really got to me. But it was really the only way to end that show. After all, they were the best we ever had…😦
I was a little confused about how this was going to work out. I’ve seen shows at Vintage Vinyl before, but never when the band had a second show later that day. And the VV show didn’t start until 5:30, so I figured it wouldn’t be too long.
And…it was not.
They played three songs. NFG opened with “Too Good To Be True” off of Coming Home, my least favorite record. I could tell I wasn’t alone, though, because when they started playing, the entire room collectively sighed. Next was “Broken Sound,” which was cool because I’ve never ever heard that one live. They ended with an acoustic version of their new single “Ready and Willing.” When they announced that that would be their last song, everyone kind of looked around like, “da fuq?”, but whatever, we all knew they had to be at Starland. I got to meet them afterword, and they were all super nice, so I can’t really can’t complain at all. And I got my copy of Catalyst signed! Woo.
As for the Starland show…well, let’s just say I’m glad Clinique makes such awesome foundation, because I have a purple bruise on my face. But it was an awesome show. Definitely worth the shiner.
Candy Hearts opened. I’ve only heard them once before, and it was actually a NFG cover, so I didn’t really know them that well. But they were great! Awesome energy, and the singer was such a cutie. Downloaded “Bad Idea” after seeing them.
Fireworks played next. This was the second time I’ve seen them, and they’re just an awesome pop punk band to see live.
Opening for New Found Glory was We Are The In Crowd, and as many times I’ve heard the band name, I’ve never actually listened to them. I’ll be changing that soon, though, because they were sick. The crowd went pretty crazy for them, too.
Aaaaaaand the moment we’ve all been waiting for! NFG 100% made up for the short, not so exciting Vintage Vinyl appearance at Starland. I feel like usually when I see them, they play pretty much the same setlist every time. Which is understandable; you want to play what the fans want to hear. But this time, they seemed to switch it up a lot. They played all of the best songs off of Catalyst, Sticks and Stones and their self-titled record. I don’t think I’ve ever heard “Sonny” live, so that was a nice change. As much as I like for them to switch it up, I hope they play “Understatement” at every show they ever play for the rest of their existence. The guys closed with “All Downhill From Here.” Solid.
OK, but back to the bruise on my face: I don’t know what it was about that show, or the crowd, but I have not taken that much abuse at Starland in a long time. I got kicked so hard in the face two songs in, but was I gonna get out of the crowd because of that?! Hell to the no. I also think there were fourteen crowd surfers on my head at one point. I’m still sore, but like I said: well worth it. Other than that, the crowd was a good time. NFG shows are just so happy, and everyone acts like friends.
Anyway, if you haven’t yet, pick up a copy of Resurrection. Seriously, it’s great music, and the artwork is really cool, too. But be forewarned, the songs will be stuck in your head for the rest of the week.
“I only like their old stuff.”
These are the famous last hipster words. And whether or not you want to admit it, you’ve (probably) said them at least once. For many of us, we grew up listening to these punk/rock/pop punk albums as they were released. These albums bring us back to a time when we were awkward 16-year-olds, thinking we were unique because we had Taking Back Sunday lyrics on our AIM profiles. These are the albums that got us through the shitty times in high school, when we were sure that no one had ever gone through the same things we did. These are the albums we played in our used ’99 Toyota Corollas when we first got our licenses. These albums are the definition of nostalgia.
Many of us prefer older albums of our favorite bands. That’s why we go crazy over anniversary tours. And let me tell you, Senses Fail playing Let It Enfold You in its entirety was not a show to be missed.
When SF struck the first chords of “Tie Her Down,” the crowd went crazy. Everyone had so much adrenaline, anticipating the first song. By the time “Martini Kiss” was over, everyone was pretty much dead. I’m pretty sure I had more sweat of strangers than my own on my body, and my recently straightened hair turned into an afro. Crowd surfers fell all over the place like a hailstorm in the sky. So the lull before the encore gave everyone time to recharge.
Out of all of LIEU, “Bite To Break Skin”…oh my fucking God. Just listening to this song by myself gets me way too pumped, but hearing it at a show…it’s hard to put into words how it was to experience of the song’s breakdown in person. Let’s just leave it at this: I’m a 125-lb. girl, and I was in the pit. I love the entire album, but I have to say that that song and “Choke on This” really got me off my feet and out of my mind.
SF played another handful of songs before disappearing. But everyone knew the show wouldn’t be complete without a little “One Eight Seven” action; NJ is smarter than that. So a “One Eight Seven” chant ensued, and sure enough, the guys were back on stage, tearing up Starland.
It was a pretty awesome show. It’s reassuring to see that after all these years, there are still loyal fans that are ready to go apeshit when they see awesome bands, regardless of whether or not they’re popular now. Because nothing pisses me off more than when I tell people about a band I’m going to see and they go “what is this, 2005?”. Fuck off. No matter how old you get, you never grow out of your high school bands.
Let me start by apologizing profusely: I saw The Gaslight Anthem almost two weeks ago now and still haven’t blogged. I suck. So here is a very late post about The Gaslight Anthem at PNC Bank Arts Center on September 13.
To sum things up, Gaslight has been on repeat on my iPod since Sept. 13. Yes, they were that fucking good.
They started with “Stay Vicious,” which I kind of figured, considering it’s the first song on Get Hurt and they’re obviously going to promote that album. Ironically, “Stay Vicious” is one of my least favorite songs on the album, (which isn’t saying much considering I’m obsessed with all of Get Hurt.) But either way, it was a good opener and they sounded great.
Immediately following was “Wooderson,” which was awesome. I feel like not everyone really listens to Sink or Swim, but the crowd seemed to be really into it. They also played “We Came To Dance,” “The Navesink Banks,” and my personal favorite from the album, “1930.” I was really pleased that they played a handful of Sink or Swim because last time I saw them, they didn’t play any songs off their debut.
As I mentioned before, because Gaslight just released Get Hurt, their fifth full-length album, a good portion of the show consisted of these songs. When they played the single, “Get Hurt,” you could just feel Fallon’s pain. It was seriously so deep, so passionate. Same with when they played “Have Mercy.” Both so beautiful.
They did play more than just the depressing songs off of Get Hurt, of course. “Rollin’ and Tumblin'” and “Helter Skeleton” were both really fun to hear. The remainder of the songs were majority off of The ’59 Sound and a myriad everything else. I have to say, the encore MADE the entire show. As much as I love Get Hurt, you always want to hear those old songs you’ve loved for years. Everyone went nuts when “The ’59 Sound” played, and when “Great Expectations” came on, I think I had an aneurism. Holy shit. I’m getting way too pumped just thinking about it. But really; the entire venue was off their feet, belting out every word. Fucking awesome. They even played “Blue Dahlia,” which I totally was not expecting. Probably my favorite Gaslight song of all-time.
Second to last was “Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts.” I mean, how could they not play that one? So Jersey. You know when you sometimes hear a song and you wonder what it’s about, so you look up the meaning? This is one of the few songs that I immediately was like, “OMG ASBURY I LOVE ASBURY.” Really, there’s nothing like seeing The Gaslight Anthem in the heart of New Jersey, not even thirty minutes away from where they all grew up.
But I digress. “Baba O’Riley” was the closing song, and who doesn’t love a Who cover? Especially when it’s by Gaslight. I was really shocked by how empty the show was. The entire day was rainy up until the show, but anyone who didn’t go because of that is out of their mind. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, Gaslight is not to be missed. Especially for New Jerseyans.
Sorry for the extreme lack of blogging lately. I’ve been all over the place this summer, and haven’t been to too many shows.
Anyway, I’m sure by now all of you diehard Gaslight fans have listened to Get Hurt since it streamed on iTunes Radio last week. I remember a while ago I read something from frontman Brian Fallon about how this album was going to be much different than what fans are used to. And after listening to Get Hurt on repeat, that’s become apparent.
Gaslight’s single, “Get Hurt,” off of their fifth studio album is one of those songs that you listen to for the first time and you don’t like it at all. Then you listen to it again, and you still don’t like it. Then you listen to it for a third time and it becomes your entire life and soul. It certainly isn’t one of the faster, more upbeat sounds Gaslight has produced like “45,” the single off their last album. But if you know Fallon’s inspiration behind Get Hurt, it’s pretty clear why. In an interview with noisey.com, Fallon confesses that his recently depleted marriage has taken a toll on him, and Get Hurt was kind of a therapeutic experience for him.
Other than just “Get Hurt,” most of the songs off the album have a sadder, dark aura. Judging a book by its cover, “Break Your Heart,” one of the last songs on the album, may have a generic title, but the lyrics epitomize Fallon’s pain and agony: “It would bring you to tears, if you knew what I know/See, I spent all of my money on second hand love/But I trusted somebody way and back when/And I loved her like fire until it drove me insane.” I mean…damn. It broke MY heart when I heard that last line, and I’m not the one going through a divorce after being married ten years.
The first song on the album and second single off Get Hurt, “Stay Vicious,” is more on the rock side than the others, but I still wouldn’t call it upbeat. The lyrics are anything but happy; in the first verse Fallon sings about his misery: “And I feel just like a murder, and I feel just like a gun.”
Get Hurt has proved that the Gaslight Anthem can take on any type of sound and style they want and still make it awesome. No, it may not be one of those happy-go-lucky albums you and your friends have group singalongs to in the car on your way down to the beach, but it’s enough to make you realize that sometimes life is shitty, but you can’t let that keep you down.
If you were lucky enough to pre-order your copy of Get Hurt early, catch them at Vintage Vinyl this Saturday, where they’ll be performing songs from the new album, followed by a meet and greet.
If not, tickets are still available for their show at PNC Bank Arts Center this September, where they’ll be accompanied by Jimmy Eat World and Against Me!. See you guys then, and remember, stay vicious.
This past Sunday, I had the privilege of seeing one of my favorite bands for the first time ever: Death Cab for Cutie. I had tried to see them once before in Montclair a few years ago, but sadly, the tickets sold out extremely fast.
Because this was my first time seeing the band, I really had no idea what to expect. I mean, not that I would think they would be bad or anything, but you never know. Also, I have over 100 songs by Death Cab on my iTunes, so it was near impossible to predict what songs they would choose for an approximately hour and a half long set.
To say they met my expectations would be an understatement. I wish Gibbard and the guys could’ve played for five hours longer.
I have to say that I am used to more fast-paced, upbeat shows where everyone’s jumping around and moshing and crowd surfing. So this was definitely a different experience for me, but not in a bad way. I’ve seen more mellow artists like Dashboard Confessional and Matt Costa, but Death Cab was the first show I’ve been to that I would actually describe as “relaxing.”
So I actually had General Admission tickets, but my friend and I ended up sitting in the balcony section instead. (We’re crazy rebels, I know.) And I’m so glad we did. Death Cab is just a band that you want to watch sitting down. Although it was a huge, packed venue, and we were pretty far away, it was a great view. I’m pretty sure that a good amount of the people at the show were gamblers that drunkenly stumbled into the venue, though. I mean, I know Death Cab’s been around for a while, but almost everyone around me was over the age of 40.
Death Cab opened with “I Will Possess Your Heart,” and as soon as I heard Gibbard’s voice, I knew it was going to be an awesome show; he sounds exactly the same live as he does on record.
The guys sped it up a little with “Crooked Teeth.” Gibbard just looks so cute performing; he looks so happy to be playing his little guitar, swaying back and forth. It’s adorable. You can just tell he loves what he does.
The lighting of the show was awesome as well. It was so captivating, and went along perfectly with the performance. At one point, the lights kept flashing directly into the audience and I thought I was going blind, though. But other than that, awesome.
I was happy to hear a few total throwbacks like “Why You’d Want to Live Here” and “For What Reason.” And of course they played all of the more well-known songs like “Soul Meets Body,” “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” “You Are a Tourist,” and “Cath.” I would’ve liked to hear more of the less popular songs because some of them happen to be my favorites. I guess I’m kind of a pretentious hipster asshole in that way. But when they only get to play about 20 songs and they have over 100, I guess I can’t really complain.
The show ended with “Marching Bands of Manhattan.” I’m not sure if they did that because of the area, but I was definitely happy to hear that one.
Somehow, I didn’t cry once. But I think I would’ve lost it if they played “Tiny Vessels” or “What Sarah Said.”
So I can FINALLY cross this one off the bucket list. Amazing band both live and on record, and I can’t wait to see them again in the future.
My final class assignment is to write a “farewell” post. However, this isn’t goodbye, because I plan to keep blogging about pop punk. I may not post as often, but I definitely will blog every time I attend a show.
I definitely enjoyed blogging and Online Journalism in general. I like how I can actually show my personality, whereas in something like a term paper, I have to be very formal (which is not me). This class made me realize that journalism isn’t something you can just do by sitting in your room; it takes a lot of running around, calling people and traveling places. Also, deadlines are stressful.
Here are my assignments that I most enjoyed: