Saturday, March 31, 2012

South by Southwest Day 4

After a fun-filled hectic night Friday night, Saturday March 17th 2012 was much more chill and mellow.  The main event that I saw was the Alternative Press tour, and I only saw Forever the Sickest Kids and Breathe Carolina.

I've seen Forever the Sickest Kids the most since I started going to concerts my freshmen year, and they still get the crowd pumped.  Even when they played a mall show in Houston with acoustic instruments, they still got the crowd going.  They played old and new songs, which I could appreciate.  I never knew that people could mosh to their music, but apparently it's possible and I saw it with my own eyes!  Honestly I would have more to say, but I was more focused on the fact that some inconsiderate dude decided to be a creeper and hoist a teenage girl on his shoulders ... point being, her ass was literally in my face.  I couldn't enjoy the show as much because of that jerk.

This was my second time in a row to see Breathe Carolina at SXSW, and their performance never got old.  I do have to say, though, that the Fearless Records showcase performance was much better, and it's probably because these guys were most likely tired and hungover from partying too much the night before - heyyyyy!  But regardless, they still did an awesome job and got crazy.  Sean (pictured left) even climbed up onto the wooden planks on the cieling (it was an outdoor venue so I don't know if it's really considered a ceiling).  If you have spare time, you should check out their last album Hell Is What You Make It, and in my opinion, "Blackout," that you hear on the radio a lot doesn't do them much justice.  Take a listen!

South by Southwest Day 3

Ladies and gentlemen, I have survived my hell week and am returning to the blogosphere!  Prepare for many blogposts.  Here's where I left off...Friday March 16th 2012 was the third day of SXSW, and it was the best one out of the entire week.  Due to the massive amount of content that happened on this day, I will only write about stuff that stood out to me.

Interview with Go Radio
The day started off with an interview and acoustic session with Go Radio, and I think it's important to mention it was my first time being on a tour bus - you can't imagine how stoked I was.  Vicci and I sat down and talked with front man, Jason, and guitarist, Alex, and they were fun and nice to talk to.  The interview is now up on the Rock Edition website, but I will mention that they have a new album on the way - probably being released sometime in the summer - and they're currently on tour!  They'll be in Texas April 19th - April 21st.  In the meantime, watch the acoustic version of "Hold On" I filmed for Rock Edition down below.

Equal Vision Records Showcase
At the Lucky Thirteen venue, Equal Vision Records showcased some of the bands under their label - the bands played were mainly hardcore screamo except the headliner, Say Anything.  The first band I saw play when I got there was Life On Repeat, and they're pretty good.

Glass Cloud
Next on stage was Glass Cloud, and they mentioned that this was their second show to play ever.  If you heard a band say that to you, you would assume they wouldn't perform as well as the other bands, but in actuality, I think they got the crowd the rowdiest.  Everyone was moshing, opening the circle pit, crowd surfing, and this one guy even got on stage and lunged at Vicci and me from the stage.  Ouch.  After the show, I found out that the lead singer was the former front man of Of Mice and Men but was let go due to heart problems, but he's back in shape in a new band that knows how to get the crowd going - kudos to them.  They had a lot of energy and definitely rocked the stage.
We Came As Romans
We Came As Romans was probably the best discovery of my entire SXSW experience ever because I instantly fell in love with their music.  That includes my previous two years at SXSW as well.  I had heard about them before and even had their version of Justin Timberlake's "My Love" for a Punk Goes Pop album, but I had never really listened to them or seen them live...that is until the third day of SXSW.  Their performance really got me pumped up the most with their great amont of energy.  Looking at each member of the band, I felt the energy being channeled into my body, and I really got into their music.  I was dancing, I jumped, I head banged, I got a little crazy!  In my personal opinion, I think the lead vocalist (not the screamer), Kyle, knows how to get the crowd moving on their feet just by chanting the word, "Bounce!" over and over again.  Performance wise, I think the bassist, Andy, was really into the music.  He literally would not stand still - he kept moving and jumping and head rolling and stomping around the stage and yelling at the audience.  He gave me goosebumps.

Say Anything
The headliner, Say Anything, had quite a bit of a fan base anticipating their performance.  Not that any of the bands didn't have an existing fan base, but I only say this because my sister and her friends had seen Say Anything that morning and came to this show too just to see them again.  They're big fans and kept talking about them when they stayed at my apartment, so I was curious to see them.  Even though they weren't hardcore/screamo, they still were awesome to see live.  Their music is impossible to stand still to because you just have to move and dance, so I would rank them as a close second to We Came As Romans.

Fearless Records Showcase
The Fearless Records showcase was one of the few shows that I stayed committed to from my SXSW plans post.  After waiting in a long line outside the Dirty Dog Bar, Luis, his friend, and I arrived inside anticipating Breathe Carolina.  We missed the first set, so the first actual performance we saw was The Static Jacks.  Honestly, I wasn't feeling them.  The music they played was good and the vocalist's voice was interesting, but unfortunately the two didn't blend well together.  Eve 6 was making their return from a ten year hiatus, and I think they did a great job!  You should go listen to "Lost and Found," and you won't be disappointed.
Jason and Alex from Go Radio told Vicci and me to see them perform at this showcase, so we did.  They didn't disappoint either.  Hearing them perform acoustic was good on its own, but hearing the full band was awesome too.  They had a bass that made you feel out of your body and tickled you a little bit, but it was worth it.  I hadn't heard it before until that night, but I thoroughly enjoyed their version of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" on the last Punk Goes Pop album.
Right before the headlining performance of Breathe Carolina was Every Avenue.  I remember from my freshman year in college, I listened to a couple of songs by them and enjoyed them but didn't pursue their music dedicatedly.  I guess this was my second chance to immerse myself in their music.  They put on a great peformance that kept me dancing in my little spot near the stage, and I enjoyed listening to the lead singer serenade to me.

Breathe Carolina
Last but not least to close the night was Breathe Carolina.  This was my second time seeing them, but this time I was much much closer to them than at the "Scream It Like You Mean It" tour, which proved to be a more awesome experience.  They played all my favorite songs from their latest album, Hell Is What You Make It, such as "Wooly" and "Sweat It Out," and they even played the first song I ever heard by them, "Hello Fascination."  I'm not gonna lie, when they played "Hello Fascination," I head banged hardcore.  I don't know what came over me, but I just felt this sudden urge to do it.  The song "Last Night" was a part of the set and I wasn't too crazy about this song when I first got the album, but after seeing them perform it live, I haven't stopped listening to it.  It makes you wanna go to the club and not remember "Last Night."  My favorite part of the set was when they performed "The Birds and the Bees" as a tribute to the Emo's that closed down downtown.  I thought it was a nice sentiment to the venue that everyone loved.  Needless to say, they put on an amazing performance, and I wish it didn't have to end.

I am so sorry if you sat at your computer to read every single word of my ramble.  Like I said, Friday was the best thing that ever happened to me in my concert world, and I wish I could relive that day over and over again.  So enough about me, what did you guys do for SXSW (I know it's been awhile since it passed) and did you enjoy it?!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another random update!

Long story short...hell week is this week, so no blog posts till after this weekend!  Here's what you can look forward to reading about:

1.  SXSW 2012 Day 3
2.  SXSW 2012 Day 4
3.  Houston We Have a Problem festival
4.  Rock Edition
5.  Bring One Direction to the US in Frisco/Dallas
6.  10 new bands to check out
7.  Boy Epic on
8.  We Are the In Crowd "Kiss Me Again" music video featuring Alex Gaskarth

Hang in there my lovely readers!  Siri will return!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Random Update

It's been a week since SXSW 2012, and I haven't wrote about the last two days of the music festival yet.  It's coming soon I promise!  I have a lot of school work to attend to, but I plan to write about everything on Sunday!

In the meantime, I suggest you look up the band We Came As Romans and discover who they are!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

South by Southwest Day 2

Not much is going to be written for this post because I didn't actually see any shows today, but Vicci graciously let me film her interviews with several bands today for Rock Edition!  Plus it was a good experience and great learning to finally experiment with my filming skills.

The first interview of the day took place at Whole Foods with Austin-based Speak.  I had heard of them through Vicci cause she saw them play a show awhile back, so I was looking forward to meeting them!  They seemed like a a serious and reserved cohesive group, but they look like they'd be a good time to see!  They play tomorrow (Friday March 16th 2012) at Maggie Mae's Gibson Room at midnight, so if you're around, check them out!  I think I might!  Maybe!

Next up was Black Taxi at the Loft Cafe!  These guys were a little more exciting and lively to talk to.  They weren't afraid to share personal experiences - no matter how embarrassing - and I learned a bit about their music.  I believe they had a show tonight at Hotel Vegas, but unfortunately I was not able to go!  Follow them on Twitter to keep track of their upcoming shows!

I remember Vicci showing me a Charlie Simpson video, and I enjoyed it!  From overseas Charlie Simpson played one acoustic song, "Sundown" (below), and answered questions in an interview.  "Sundown" was probably the closest thing to an actual performance, and it was really good.  His voice is raspy and crisp at the same time, and with the other members accompanying him, they make beautiful harmonies.  It was beautiful, and it even gained them a new fan not including me.  He plays on Saturday (March 17th 2012) at the Hotel Cafe at midnight, so be sure to check him out if you can!

Day three is Vicci's day off, so more adventures await us!  Can't wait!

South by Southwest 2012 Day 1

Hello blogosphere!  It is SXSW 2012!  My apologies for not posting yesterday!  It has been an awesome two days here in Austin, and more awaits us!  For the first official day of the music festival, I saw Tribes, Foxy Shazam, Light Up the Darkness, and Rocky Loves Emily.

Photography by: Vicci Patneaude
The first performance of the day was Tribes at Waterloo Records!  Since this is SXSW, it's perfectly normal to discover new bands, and that's exactly what happened here.  These guys from London have a pretty good sound - got me head bopping a little bit.  They're worth checking out, but to be honest, the next band made these guys a bit forgettable.

Photography by: Vicci Patneaude
Back in October, I saw Foxy Shazam open for Panic! At the Disco.  I remember them being entertaining, but what's amazing is that their performance became even more entertaining simply from standing closer to the stage.  You know what I mean?  It's as if I was seeing them for the first time for real just because I could see them up close.  A phrase that would describe their performance perfectly is "marvelous ruckus."  The music sounds like ruckus, yet it sounds marvelous.  These guys have an immense amount of energy, and they literally go crazy on stage when playing their music.  They look like they're just banging their instruments without caring what it sounds like when in reality it still sounds awesome.

Photography by: Vicci Patneaude
The lead singer in particular is famous for smoking multiple cigarettes on stage in the middle of their set, but - I don't know if he does this on a regular basis - he actually ate all the cigarettes.  That's insane!  And Skye, the keyboard player (pictured right) hopped onto his piano and began stomping on it like a mad man!  Sometimes he'd even spin one leg around it too, which I think is pretty cool.  Ladies and gentlemen, Foxy Shazam is the ultimate epitome of performance. If you ever get a chance to see them, don't miss out!

After Waterloo Records, Vicci and I ventured to 311 Club to see some familiar faces from Rocky Loves Emily.  After greeting them outside the venue, we went inside to catch the last few songs from Light Up the Darkness.  One of the most interesting aspects about them is that the women in this band dominate the vocals, both singing and screaming.  It was cool to hear - it felt as if the women were empowering!

Photography by: Vicci Patneaude
It's almost been a year since I've seen the fellas in Rocky Loves Emily, and I'm excited that they're playing SXSW again!  They mainly played new songs, which were really good, with a couple of old songs too.  The performance was a lot of fun - lots of dancing, jumping, clapping, and singing!  Brandon, the lead singer, really knows how to relate to the audience and get them pumped up and moving, and it's entertaining to watch everyone else play their instruments!  My favorite song of the set was "Guilty, Guilty" which will be on their new record coming out April 24th 2012 so be sure to mark that on your calendars!  They just released a new music video for the latest single, "Secrets Don't Make Friends," so check that out too (below)!

Hope everyone at SXSW had a great first day cause I know I did!  Day two didn't include going to any shows, but it was just as fun!  Read the next post to find out!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Demi Lovato "Stay Strong" Documentary

I woke up this morning for class when I checked my email and saw that my morning class was cancelled.  Instead of going back to sleep, I watched Demi Lovato's recent documentary "Stay Strong" that premiered on MTV this week, and it was well worth my time.

"Stay Strong" is a documentary following Demi's life after her stay in rehab for her illness.  It follows her when she embarks on her Unbroken tour, and she opens herself up to the cameras all around her sharing personal thoughts, feelings, emotions honsetly, and it's very touching.  Check out the trailer below to get a glimpse of what the rest of the documentary entails.

When I first saw/heard of Demi, I'm not gonna lie, I wasn't crazy about her. It wasn't until Camp Rock when I realized how incredibly talented she was, and that's when her career took off.  In the documentary she reveals how her career really impacted her self-image and how it led her to bad habits.  Tears were on the verge of falling when Demi talked about how much she struggled with her illness because although no one is going to showcase to the world how, as she says, "messed up" she is, it's heartbreaking to realize that behind all the smiles she had, she was torn up inside.

The one scene that made me tear up the most was when she visits Timberline Knolls, where she went to rehab, and she talked about how being there affected her to be more "vulnerable" and ultimately more depressed. She then talks to the people currently there telling them that they will get through what they're going through and that she so badly wants them to be free because "it is so worth it."  In an interview she did after the documentary aired, she explicitly says that she made this documentary to share her story in hopes of inspiring someone out in the world who bears the same struggles as she does and letting them know that it's going to be okay.  She wants to be a role model of someone who got passed her "inner demons" and happily lives in freedom, which is what she wants for anyone and everyone. 

I will never change what I think about Demi Lovato: she is a beautiful and strong person, and she will always be an inspiration.  I hope in the future that I can meet her and tell her this myself, and maybe one day share the stage with her singing our hearts out.  Recovery is a hard road to walk on, but I know that she will continue to be strong and get stronger everyday.  Even though I couldn't personally relate to the struggles she talks about in the documentary, I have no doubt that she reached out to someone out there, and that's a great thing.  Lovatic for life!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

KONY 2012

I realize this isn't music related, but I feel it is of great importance and deserves to be spread around.  The name Kony has been circulating around via the internet and word of mouth, and it needs to continue to spread.  Don't know who Kony is?  Get informed and get involved.  Be a part of this cause and make a difference in the world.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bon Qui Qui - "IM'A CUT YOU" Music Video

Many of you are probably familiar with Anjelah Johnson's fictional character Bon Qui Qui in her skit for MadTV.  You all know her famous punchlines and comedic taunts, but did you ever imagine that she'd make a music video out of it?  Well she did.  I'm not going to say much about the video - I just thought it was really funny that she actually made one.  Take a gander!

I See Stars - "Mystery Wall"

I See Stars released a third track from the highly anticipated Digital Renegade which drops one week from today!  This track is called "Mystery Wall," and I must say that I thoroughly enjoy it.  Be sure to check it out ASAP cause according to their Twitter, I think the guys are only streaming it for 24 hours!

The first thing that came to mind is that it sounds like it could be on their first album - I almost anticipate Devin to sing the lyrics, "Between you and me!" from "What This Means to Me."  It's less heavy than "Filth Friends Unite," but it doesn't completely neglect the heavy element similar to tracks from their previous album End of the World Party (for example: "Still Not Quite Enough").  The song itself sounds like an emotional song as opposed to the crazy heavy rock anthems they usually play, and I don't mean "emotional" as super hardcore emo.  When Jeff is screaming, I hear anger, which is contrasted/complimented with Devin's vocals sounding hurt. 

One thing that I'm intrigued by is Devin's vocal range in the song: he hits higher vocal registers in the chorus, maintains his middle range, and hits his lower (and sexy I might add) vocal registers in the bridge.  If I'm not mistaken, this is probably the highest I've heard Devin sing.  I think that's awesome, but at the same time I have to wonder...can he successfully reproduce these vocals live?  Usually I See Stars, and other bands nonetheless, lowers the keys of songs so the vocalist can perform well, and most of the time he doesn't even sing them into the mic - he holds it out to the audience for them to sing for/with him.  I guess I'll find out when I see them next week!

I definitely recommend taking a listen to the song cause it's better than "NZT48."  Don't forget to also check out Digital Renegade when it drops next week!  If you're going to be in the Austin area for SXSW, go see them, and if you're going to be in Houston on Sunday March 18th 2012, go see them perform with many other bands at the Verizon Wireless Theater!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Candy Hearts Acoustic Session with Rock Edition

[[EDIT: See the acoustic set and interview here!]]

Readers of the blogosphere!  I have survived my illness that is the common cold (and survived all my exams the past two weeks).  I have much to digress to you but have a mid-term paper due this week, so I shall leave you with this exciting story about accompanying Vicci, now with Rock Edition, to record an acoustic session and interview with Candy Hearts before their show in Austin Monday February 27th 2012.

First and foremost, one of the most exciting things about this acoustic session is that the band borrowed Lola, my beloved guitar, for a few tunes, and I also want to thank Vicci for inviting me to tag along (pictured below).  Prior to meeting up with Candy Hearts, I honestly had never heard of them before.  Coincidently they were featured in last month's Alternative Press with a few kind words from Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory, so I had a good feeling about them.

For the acoustic session, they played two songs "Ticklish" and "She's So Cool," which were two cute and catchy songs.  Upon hearing their music, it's as if you're hearing a girl's diary being sung to you.  Usually I like hearing lyrics that are deep and poetic and I try to write those kind of lyrics myself, but Candy Hearts' lyrics are concise, straight to the point, and honest.  My personal favorite is "Ticklish" just because it's cute and relatable, and it simply makes you smile.

After they performed a couple of tunes, I took over the camera while Vicci did her job of interviewing them asking them questions about their music, their tour, and random things, and I came to the  conclusion that Candy Hearts is a great group of outgoing and fun people who are enjoying every second of tour.  What was so interesting is that because they're from New York, it's almost as if they're from a completely different culture from us Texans even though we live in the same country.  We took them out to Schlotzky's for the first time, and needless to say, they quite enjoyed the food.  There was also some talk of opening up the first Waffle House in Brooklyn and how that would make them incredibly rich (cause apparently WH is a Texas thing...).

Unfortunately I could not attend their show afterwards due to illness nagging at me and my guilty need to study for my exam, so I was a party pooper.  Vicci, on the other hand, went to the show and said they did a good job.  I'm sure the coverage of Candy Hearts will be posted onto Rock Edition soon, so I will edit this post later with the link!