Mini Show Reviews: July 2016

Panic! at the Disco and Weezer – July 6

panic weezer

I’ve been waiting for this show for MONTHS. I bought tickets as soon as they went on sale in JANUARY and it was agony waiting so long to be in Brendon Urie’s presence again (I haven’t seen Panic! since August 2014). SUCH AN AMAZING SHOW, I CAN’T EVEN TALK ABOUT IT PROPERLY.

Not only was Andrew McMahon amazing as always, but during his (opening) set, he ran through the crowd, including the row behind me (so close I could have touched him!), and along the lawns, all while singing “Synesthesia“. I also loved that he played “Dark Blue” which is one of our favourite Jack’s Mannequin songs.

Panic!, of course, was the highlight for me. With an hour-and-a-bit long set, Brendon (or BAE-don, as I like to call him), made the most of his time, storming through his set with his usual energy and panache. The best part of the show was when he played three of my favourite songs back to back (“Ready to Go“, “Nine in the Afternoon“, and “Crazy=Genius“), culminating in a drum battle that was super impressive. It felt like it was over too soon, but the elated feeling I get after a Panic! show stayed with me for the next week.

Weezer closed the show and, while they were good and their set was full of recognizable jams (“Undone – The Sweater Song“, for example), they didn’t seem as into it as Brendon did. For most of the set, they looked pretty bored, like they were doing it because they had to and not because they wanted to. Still, I never realized how easy it is to air-guitar to Weezer, so that was nice.


5 Seconds of Summer – July 12

5sos

I often referred to 5SOS as my “guilty pleasure”, but let’s be real: I really enjoy these guys. They’re like a young All Time Low (and I LOVE All Time Low)! So I was pretty stoked to see them on their “Sounds Live Feels Live” tour, and they did not disappoint.

We missed the opening band, Hey Violet, because the line to get into the amphitheatre was HUGE. Second band, One OK Rock was really interesting – they’re from Japan, and, while they have a somewhat poppy sound, they were heavier than I was expecting (there was even some screaming! Like really-early Fall Out Boy!) – I especially enjoyed “Mighty Long Fall“.

5SOS came out just before 9pm to THUNDEROUS applause. I was not even a little close to the stage (in the 400 levels), but the noise was DEAFENING. The guys seemed to really enjoy themselves and looked like they had a lot of fun running around the stage and working up a sweat. They banged through most of their set, pausing only a handful of times to chat (even though it was hard to hear/understand them over the screams) and make up a couple of Toronto-only songs: “Poutine Doesn’t Taste Like Poo Poo” was one, “Living In the Six (With Drake)” was another. Their actual songs were awesome: “Permanent Vacation” is my favourite, but fan-favourite “Amnesia” was also really good (I liked that a lot of people held up paper hearts). And while “Jet Black Heart” is a fantastic song, I do wish Michael Clifford had skipped the smoldering intro mostly because I thought my eardrums were going to burst from all the screaming (I’m not ashamed to admit that I covered my ears at one point because it hurt so much). Still, they put on an entertaining show, and I’d see them again…but I’m going to have to invest in a pair of earplugs first.

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Top Ten Albums of 2015 [+ link to Mind the Gap]

As usual, I’ve made my list of the best albums of the year, including links to any reviews I wrote on them. You can click here for a playlist featuring two of my favourite songs from each release!

top ten of 2015

1) That’s the Spirit – Bring Me the Horizon
2) American Candy – The Maine
3) American Beauty/American Psycho – Fall Out Boy
4) Future Hearts – All Time Low
5) Life’s Not Out to Get You – Neck Deep
6) Blurryface – twenty one pilots
7) Life in Real Time – Paradise Fears
8) Automatic – Don Broco
9) Sounds Good, Feels Good – 5 Seconds of Summer
10) Vikings – New Politics

There was lots of other good albums this year, including Knuckle Puck’s Copacetic, The Wonder Years’ No Closer to Heaven, Young Guns’ Ones and Zeros, Muse’s Drones, We Are Harlot’s self-titled debut, and Nate Ruess’s solo release, Grand Romantic.

What made your list of best albums?

We’re the voice of the new generation

Two weeks ago (or maybe three, I don’t know what day it is), 5 Seconds of Summer released their second album, Sounds Good, Feels Good.

5s0s

5SOS are coming from a unique place though. No, I don’t just mean Australia, though I guess that in itself is unique. They’re coming from a mostly pop beginnings and, rather than producing an album that sounds identical to their 2014 eponymous debut, they seem to have branched out a little, drawing on more of their pop-punk influences. That’s why I don’t understand the amount of hate they get from the “scene” – I listen to this album, and I can hear All Time Low (one of my very favourite bands), Green Day, Good Charlotte, etc. They might not be doing anything “different” or ground-breaking, but they’re making the music that they would want to listen to, and that’s something to be admired.

I was going to do a track-by-track but Aleshia (Insanity Talks) already put together a really in-depth look at the album and has probably been a fan longer than me, so you should read her post here!

For now, I’ll leave you with the three songs I can’t get out of my head. I have to admit, I’m pretty excited to see these guys next July!

(I could only find an acoustic version, but it’s quite good).

Best albums of 2014

This year, for my “Best of” lists, I decided to do something a little different. Instead of listing 10 albums, I went with 14 (because it’s 2014, obviously…); and, instead of just making a list, I put them into completely made-up categories, that sort of hint at why I consider them the best of this year, along with my favourite song.

Without further ado:

A favourite band’s new album that took a while to grow on me:

Cavalier Youth – You Me At Six

Latest incarnation of a talented singer:

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness – Andrew McMahon (in the Wilderness)

Concept album/sequel to another concept album:

The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways – Crown the Empire

“Sing-alongs and headbanging are unavoidable”:

Happiness Is… – Taking Back Sunday

Scottish album that took forever to come out, but it was worth it:

The Great Divide – Twin Atlantic

Country-style old school rock ‘n’ roll:

Big Skies – Nick Santino

“Finally new music from these guys!”:

Losers & Kings – The Downtown Fiction

Dance all night:

The Bad & the Better – The Ready Set

If all female-fronted bands sounded like this, I would listen to female-fronted bands more often:

White Noise – PVRIS

Unapologetic pop-punk (from a Welsh band, no less!):

Wishful Thinking – Neck Deep

Final album from a band that’s been around for over a decade:

Lowborn – Anberlin

Solo music from a guy in a popular (fun.) band:

Strange Desire – Bleachers

Pure pop-rock:

Oh, What a Life – American Authors

Guilty pleasure:

5 Seconds of Summer – 5 Seconds of Summer

BONUS:

Most magnificent/unexpected single:

Centuries – Fall Out Boy

This list doesn’t even include those albums released in 2014 that I haven’t listened to in full yet, such as This Wild Life’s Clouded, not to mention any re-releases (The Maine’s deluxe edition of Forever Halloween), or albums by bands that I love(d) that left me feeling a little “meh” (Breathe Carolina’s Savages).