I’m gonna makedamnsure that you can’t ever leave

Signs of a good show include (but are not limited to): hearing loss, sore throat, and inability to sleep because you’re just too pumped.

That’s how I felt about the Taking Back Sunday show on Friday.

tbs

Mark, Eddie, Adam, John, and Shaun.

The night started off on a great note after a delicious dinner at Factory Girl, and it just got better from there.

The first band to go on was letlive. I’ve heard that their frontman, Jason Butler, is insane during live performances – literally hanging off of rafters, and generally throwing himself around – and they weren’t kidding. I’m surprised there aren’t more casualties during a letlive. show, since he throws himself around the stage like a man possessed, but I guess his bandmates are used to it and know when to take a step back. If you’re not familiar with letlive.’s discography, their set sounds like organized chaos, but I was happy when they played the one song of theirs that I know, “Banshee (Ghost Fame)”.

Next up were The Menzingers. I’ve heard of them (funny story, I accidentally confused them with The Marmozets when this tour was announced, but the two bands are nothing alike). They were like a weird hybrid of Man Overboard, The Wonder Years, and A Day to Remember (the screamy bits), but they worked. I enjoyed them, though sometimes it felt like they were playing one very long song (they didn’t really talk in between songs).

Then it was TBS-time. We’ve seen them before, most recently at Riot Fest in September (and before that, last April) and they put on such a good performance. This was no exception.

First of all, they opened with “Flicker, Fade”. It’s such a good song, guys, I can’t even describe it. Ro and I always lose our breaths halfway through, but it has an almost cathartic effect on us.

Like last time, they seemed to focus on three albums: 2002’s Tell All Your Friends, 2006’s Louder Now, and 2014’s Happiness Is. I don’t actually mind, since those are my preferred albums (I could use a little more from 2011’s self-titled album), but for the most part, the set was near perfect.

They even played some “new” songs from the deluxe version of Happiness Is that came out a few months ago, including “How I Met Your Mother”.

The crowd is always so strange at these shows. They’re (arguably) “older” than a lot of shows we go to (eg. All Time Low, where the majority of the audience is under 20), but that means that they spend a lot more time drinking and therefore drunkenly stumbling around the (in this case, slanted) floor. We try not to let it get to us, but it’s hella irritating to have drunk people with no concept of personal space leaning on/near you when you’re trying to sing along.

Nevertheless, drunk or sober, everyone unites for two songs: “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)” and “MakeDamnSure”. It’s fun to watch people completely lose their minds for the two most popular TBS songs, though there’s little time for people-watching when you’re flailing just as hard. It’s a good thing they end with those songs, otherwise we’d be exhausted halfway through the set.

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Best concerts of 2014

This year, Ro and I hit 30 concerts. 30!!!! This was a personal best for us, and it was our goal for 2014 (we were unbelievably excited when we bought tickets for that last show). There were a couple of duplicates – some favourite bands that came to town on more than one tour – but we also saw a few bands we’ve never seen live before.

This list is pretty much in order, but the lines sort of blur once you get past the top ten. Yay live music!

1) Bring Me the Horizon – December 5 (Wembley Arena)

2) Panic! at the Disco – February 1 (Sound Academy)

3) You Me At Six – October 13 (Phoenix)

4) Fall Out Boy – June 25 (Molson Amphitheatre)

5) The Maine – March 1 (Hard Luck Bar)

6) Paradise Fears – August 12 (Mod Club)

7) Twin Atlantic – December 10 (Rivoli)

8) Taking Back Sunday – April 8 (Kool Haus)

9) Andrew McMahon – November 5 (Opera House)

10) The Ready Set – October 30 (El Mocambo)

11) The 1975 – May 6 (Kool Haus)

12) Nick Santino – November 10 (Hard Luck Bar)

13) Bastille – October 15 (ACC)

14) Deaf Havana – February 15 (Rivoli)

BONUS:

Riot Fest – September 6-7 (Downsview Park)

I’m so ready for the 2015 concert season. I can’t wait to see what our total will be this year!

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).

More like RAGE FEST, am I RIOT?

This weekend was Riot Fest – or RAGE Fest, as I like to call it, because I spent two days dancing/screaming/flailing (“raging”) in the mud.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been steadily chanting “Ri-ot Fest, Ri-ot Fest” since May when this glorious line-up was announced. I’ve never been to Riot Fest before (it’s celebrating 10 years in Chicago this year, but only started crossing the border in 2012), so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Like Warped, it was a day (well, two days) full of music and merch, but since there was a smaller selection of bands to see per day (compared to Warped’s 80+ bands), it was a bit easier to navigate. Of course, bands still manage to conflict with each other (in terms of stage times), but it seemed more balanced. The one downside is that it was held at Downsview Park (essentially a very large field), and, since there had been an intense thunderstorm Friday night, there was less grass and more mud. I don’t think my shoes will ever be the same.

Highlights from SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 6:

After the daily line-up was released, we discovered that 99% of the bands we wanted to see were playing on Saturday. Since we had already purchased two-day passes, we naturally went on Sunday too, but Saturday was definitely better. Here are the bands we saw along with the song I had most wanted to hear:

New Found Glory:

Taking Back Sunday:

Bring Me the Horizon:

Brand New:

Rise Against: (sidenote: I haven’t listened to them in at least a year, but their set reminded me of how good they really are. Gonna have to start listening to them again.)

The Cure:

We also saw parts of GlassjawCirca SurviveManchester Orchestra/Citizen (because they were playing on stages that were close to each other, so we could technically hear both), Death From Above 1979, and The Flaming Lips, but I cannot tell you what songs they played because I had never listened to them before. I quite liked Circa Survive, though, and will probably look  up them and Manchester Orchestra.

Highlights from Sunday September 7:

Tokyo Police Club:

Dropkick Murphys:

Death Cab for Cutie:

As you can tell, there were less bands that we wanted to see on Sunday compared to Saturday (ironically, Sunday was also warmer and less muddy than Saturday, so it would have been the better day to be running back and forth between stages). While wandering the grounds, we also caught parts of other sets including The HotelierDie Antwoord (definitely not for everyone *grimaces*), Social Distortion, and Stars. Of the three bands we saw in full, we’ve only listened to Death Cab on occasion (I recognized a surprising amount of songs), but I really enjoyed Tokyo Police Club (I must have heard “Hot Tonight” before because it sounded very familiar) and Dropkick Murphys were a lot of fun.

Final verdict: I loved Riot Fest. It was a new adventure, but one I would love to experience again. Here’s hoping next year’s line-up will be even crazier!

I’ve got the mic and you’ve got the mosh pit

Last night was our first show in (over) a month! We’ve been waiting anxiously for  the Taking Back Sunday/The Used co-headlining our for months, and it was completely worth it.

We’re not huge fans of The Used, but we do love TBS, a love that grew three times when they released their most recent album, Happiness Is in March. Just one listen to the lead single, “Flicker, Fade”, and you can probably see (well, hear), why we were so excited.

You live your life like you’re not in control, like you’re playing a role…

The first band was Sleepwave, headed by Spencer Chamberlain formerly of Underoath. I say that like I know what I’m talking about, but I’ve never heard Sleepwave before last night and I think I’ve only heard a handful of Underoath songs. They were your standard post-hardcore band, but I was a little jealous of their luxurious hair.

Next was Tonight Alive, who we last saw opening for You Me At Six in October (Jenna wrongfully said that they haven’t been back since Warped and I was all “LIES! YOU WERE HERE SIX MONTHS AGO!”). They are very fun live, and I basically want to be Jenna because she is fantastic.

I might have posted this song last time, but it’s just so good.

As I mentioned, we’re not big fans of The Used, but their set was also great. The few songs I recognized sounded great live, even though Bert McCracken (or, “The McCracken”, as we like to call him) scares me a little bit. Although, we met The Used (and Taking Back Sunday) on Monday at HMV, and he seems like a nice, albeit intense, person. The sound seemed a bit off, otherwise they were enjoyable.

Taking Back Sunday came out at 10pm, and we lost our minds.

https://i0.wp.com/mindequalsblown.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Taking-Back-Sunday-Promo.jpg

Mark, Adam, Eddie, John, Shaun.

Most of the setlist came from the latest album, Happiness Is, as well as 2002’s Tell All Your Friends (their debut album) and 2006’s Louder Now. There was a handful of songs from their three other albums (2004’s Where You Want To Be, 2009’s New Again, and 2011’s self-titled), but, since they were the closing band, they threw in a couple of songs they weren’t originally planning on playing.

The band was very energetic and kept the crowd moving. Adam Lazzara is unexpectedly funny – I remembered that from the last time we saw them, but it’s still always a pleasant surprise. For example, he paused halfway through a sentence and sarcastically said “I’ll just wait here until this guy stops texting. I don’t want to interrupt.” TBS tends to be quite vocal about their disdain for people focusing on on their phones instead of on the live show, but since I agree with the sentiment, it’s funny to watch people being called out.

We screamed and danced through most of the set, but the highlight – for me, and, I think, for Ro – was the last three songs: “Flicker, Fade”, “Cute Without the ‘E'”, and, my personal favourite, “Make Damn Sure”.

You’ve got this new head filled up with smoke…

The last time we saw TBS – 2011 – (well, technically, Ro saw them at Warped ’12, but I was on the other side of the grounds waiting for You Me At Six – the only time I’ll ever be front row for them) – it was their first tour with the original line-up (there were a few dark  years between TAYF and the self-titled when John and Shaun left to form Straylight Run), and, while they sounded good musically, Adam’s voice wasn’t that fantastic. This time, they really brought their A-game. My only regret is that I had to hold my jacket the whole time, otherwise there would have been a lot more flailing.