Mini Show Reviews: October 2016

Bastille – October 5

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I’ve seen Bastille twice before this (and have tickets to see them next March) and they never fail to put on a fun show. While their most recent album Wild World is fairly mellow, they’re so full of energy on stage. Singer Dan Smith was especially impressive this time – they’d cancelled their New York show the night before ours because he strained his voice, but he was still able to perform for us, hitting all the high notes with minimal effort. The first 3/4’s of the show was basically their album (minus a handful of songs), including “Send Them Off!” and “The Currents” (both of which I really like) and it was cool to hear because it gave me a better appreciation for their new material. Of course, my favourite part was when they broke into their last three songs,pulled from their debut album, Bad Blood, including my fave “Pompeii“.


This Wild Life – October 8

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I’ve seen This Wild Life before (briefly at Warped 2015 and then opening for Mayday Parade), and, while their songs (which are mostly acoustic) can be very mellow, they put on a really fun show. Lots of energy and sing-a-longs, and the band members seem like genuinely nice dudes (we saw them hanging out outside the venue before their set). Opening bands Movements and Have Mercy were pop punk-y fun (I realized belatedly that I actually know a Have Mercy song, “Two Years“). This Wild Life’s set was just over an hour long, during which they performed some of the new songs from their recent album, Low Tides (such as “Hit the Reset“), as well as fan favourites from previous releases like “Pink Tie” and “Concrete” (which is really good live). My sister compared them to an acoustic version of twenty one pilots, which is accurate, and I hope more people start paying attention to them.


Sum 41 – October 18

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Even though I JUST saw Sum 41 at Warped this summer, I was still pretty excited to see them headline. Opening band As It Is was as energetic as ever (I still can’t take Patty Walters and his constant tongue-sticking-out move seriously, but they were fun), and Senses Fail was also pretty good (their songs tend to blend together for me, but that’s just because I’m waiting impatiently for “Can’t Be Saved“). Sum 41 burst onto the stage and played for about an hour and forty minutes (longer than I expected), with a set that was a nice mix of new songs from their recent album, 13 Voices and “classics” from their 15+ years as a band (“Motivation“; the heart-breaking “Pieces“, which I forgot about but still love; opening with “The Hell Song“). Deryck Whibley has a surprising amount of stage presence which I didn’t really feel at Warped, probably because the stage was so far away, but in a sweaty venue, it was exactly what you want in a punk show. Obviously the highlight was “Fat Lip” (which they closed with) because MAN, that’s such a good song!


The Wonder Years – October 24

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Our last show of the month was super pop-punk – just the way I like it. Seaway opened the show, and, even though I just saw them at the end of July, they were still very entertaining. I had been looking forward to Knuckle Puck’s set, but, unfortunately, they couldn’t make it across the border after getting into a fender bender (with a DEER)…instead, I put all my energy into jamming the heck out to Moose Blood (they played my two favourite songs – “Gum” and “Knuckles” – back-to-back, which means I almost died). I don’t know what it is about RealFriends, but I just can’t get into them (I’ve tried like 4 times), so I didn’t really pay attention to their set.

The Wonder Years is the type of band that I forget I enjoy until I randomly hear a song or catch them live. They have such great lyrics – my fave off their recent album, No Closer to Home, is “I Don’t Like Who I Was Then” – and, especially now that I’m 26, I love screaming along to “Passing Through a Screen Door”. They put on a solid performance (not every band can get away with starting a set with an acoustic song), and their encore of “Came Out Swinging” was everything a pop-punk fan could want.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books & Music

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Books and Music. These are two of my favourite things, but I rarely put them together (except for the thing I wrote here). So I’ve decided to make a list of songs that are based on literature/authors and/or make literary references.

I know there are a lot more out there – especially David Bowie and Radiohead and The Cure and whatnot – but I limited the list to songs I’m really familiar with.

1) “Resistance” – Muse; based on George Orwell’s 1984

2) “Time to Dance” – Panic! at the Disco; based on Chuck Palahuick’s Invisible Monsters

3) “Legendary” – The Summer Set; references J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan

4) “Painting Flowers” – All Time Low; references Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

5) “Weight of Living (Pt. 1)” – Bastille; based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

6) “To the End” – My Chemical Romance; based on William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily

7) “Win Some, Lose Some” – You Me At Six; references Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games

8) “Back to Life” – Paradise Fears; references S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders

9) “Bukowski” – Moose Blood; refers to the author, Charles Bukowski

10) “Sowing Season” – Brand New; the second verse is inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”, and the title of the song comes from Stephen King’s Secret Window, Secret Garden

I’m positive I’m missing really obvious ones from my music collection, but those were the ones I came up with (of course, there would have been more if I repeated artists, such as All Time Low’s “Somewhere in Neverland”, Bastille’s “Icarus”, and Paradise Fears’ “Stories in the Dark”, etc).

Let me know in the comments if you think of other songs that could make this list!

Here we go

As I mentioned earlier, my sister and I managed to sneak in a couple of concerts while we were in London for a week. Our third and final show was Lower Than Atlantis at the Roundhouse.

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I honestly don’t remember what the opening band, Black Foxxes, sounded like. I know the singer had just been diagnosed with laryngitis or something like that, but he didn’t sound sick (I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not).

Next was As It Is, and I’m still meh about them. I’ve now seen them three times this year, and while I don’t mind their live show, I find I can’t listen to them recorded because of Patty Walters’ rather high pitched voice. Also, I can’t take him seriously because he’s constantly sticking his tongue out which makes me think of Barty Crouch Jr (I love David Tennant as much as the next person, but BCJ is not a good role model).

The more I look at this, the more I laugh

The more I look at this, the more I laugh

The third band was Moose Blood. We saw them at Warped this year and they were totally our type of band. They’re a bit “emo”, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t good – they have an early-Taking Back Sunday vibe that my sister and I both love.

I’ve briefly mentioned Lower Than Atlantis on this blog – mostly the fact that I can never hear/read/speak the name “Emily” without breaking into song – but I haven’t listened to them extensively. I do know a couple of their songs that I was looking forward to hearing live: “Words Don’t Come So Easily”, “English Kids in America” and show-closer “Here We Go”, all of which were a lot of fun.

Like Moose Blood, they have a bit of a Taking Back Sunday thing going on, though some of their songs are perhaps a bit more upbeat (including “Here We Go”, which reminds me of Don Broco’s “Money. Power. Fame.”)

Maybe it’s because I was tired and it was our last day in London so I was sad, but I felt like LTA lacked stage presence. It’s entirely possible that that’s what they’re always like, but I expected them to be a little bit more, I don’t know, enthusiastic. Still, they put on a good show and it was enjoyable, so if you’re looking for British alternative rock, give these gents a try!

Warped Tour 2015

I used my really great (and obvious) title for last year’s Warped recap, so I’m stuck with generically listing them from now on.

Anyway, this was my SIXTH Warped experience!

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For some reason, a bunch of bands on our list were playing between 1:50 and 3:20, so it was hard to determine who we saw and who we neglected, but we generally went with bands we’d never seen before (which meant I missed Neck Deep and The Wonder Years, but that’s okay because they both have new albums coming out, so I’ll catch them on tour). We “discovered” some new bands we ended up liking it (Moose Blood), saw some old favourites (Family Force 5), and managed to catch the top three bands we most wanted to see: PVRIS, Hands Like Houses, and Mallory Knox.

In order of when we saw them:

As It Is

They sound better live than they do recorded; also, he has a very high voice.

PVRIS

Vocalist Lynn sounds even more powerful live than recorded, and it’s so impressive. They played the main stage, and it was well deserved.

Moose Blood

A British band that has an old-school Taking Back Sunday vibe? Count me in!

Hands Like Houses

Three words: Australian David Beckham. The music is excellent too.

Asking Alexandria

We weren’t that impressed with them, which was sad because we were expecting their set to blow us away.

Black Veil Brides

Andy’s voice is considerably deeper than you would expect from someone who looks so effeminate, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Man Overboard

Classic pop-punk. You can’t really go wrong with Man Overboard, even if Zac’s dancing weirds us out.

Family Force 5

It’s impossible to stand still during one of their shows – it’s always so much fun.

Set It Off

“Why Worry” is such a jam.

Mallory Knox

We were front row and we didn’t stop screaming from the time they walked on stage. It was amazing.

We also saw part of ’68,Juliet Simms, and August Burns Red, plus the first song from This Wild Life before we wandered away to look for the Mallory Knox band members (we ended up finding Mikey, the singer, who was very sweet!).

Overall, it was one of the most successful Warped experiences we’ve had, despite it raining for the first 6.5 hours (including an hour when we were standing in line to get in). I can’t wait to see what next year brings!