Throwback Thursday: 5SOS @ Tower Theater

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Bet you can’t spot me! Photo Source: Ashton Irwin’s Instagram.

Last night I saw myself in yet another crowd shot on Twitter, and it reminded me of the first time I ever snagged a spot on an artist’s social media page: April 24, 2014. I ended up skipping the last half of an advertising final to go steal a glimpse at my one true love at the time (perhaps known to you common folk as Michael Clifford), and ended up having one of the craziest concert experiences of my life.

When tickets went on sale for 5SOS’ first North American headlining venture, I was dumb enough to forget to set an alarm and missed out on the most important tour of a generation. Or so I thought. I tried everything to win tickets to the show but nothing panned out. It was an honest stroke of desperation when I decided to use one of my last few Septa tokens to take the L up to 69th Street that Thursday afternoon, thinking I could peep the band going into the venue and then call it a night.

 

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Tower Theater 04/24/14

Little did I know one of their managers decided to give tickets to a few younger fans whose parents didn’t realize the show was sold out. It was a mere stroke of luck that I happened to be standing there looking about 15, due to my brace-face and an oversized sweater, practically in tears over Ashton waving to me out the window of their SUV a few minutes earlier. Since the tickets were in four-packs the guy didn’t want to split them up, and gave me the extra pass. After that I called pretty much everyone in my contacts list and left screeching messages on all their voicemails. Oops?

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I dared to stand stage right that night, despite my staunch dedication to bassists everywhere.

The show itself was amazing, of course, and I even made a new best friend out of it. (We bonded over our mutual love for Michael and the fact that he spit on our faces during the set…still an accomplishment we talk about to this day.) Although some say outrageous things tend to always happen to me when I’m out at shows, this one will remain the dearest to my heart for quite a while. Until Harry Styles decides to grace me with his presence, anyway…

Music Monday: The Maine

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photo by Guadalupe Bustos

It’s another Music Monday and this past weekend’s been hectic for me. One positive to come out of it, however, was the long-awaited reunion of one my favorite people with her favorite band. (Hi, Rachel!) The Maine, an incredibly popular, incredibly talented alt-rock band from Arizona, is coming back to Philadelphia next week, and nothing gets me more pumped to go to a show than hearing fun stories from earlier tour dates.

I saw The Maine at Warped Tour last summer and the set was absolutely insane. I can’t claim to be an expert on the band, but their fifth album, American Candy, was basically my personal soundtrack last spring. Most of the replays went to “24 Floors,” which is one of the two slower tracks on the album. The song is written as if the singer is imagining a conversation with someone, but also comes across as if he is speaking directly to the listener. This distinct choice leads me to believe that the band is not only aware of the kind of impact their music has on fans, but that they also seriously care about the messages they’re putting out there.

“Take one more breath to clear your mind, every moment’s relevant, bittersweet and delicate, tomorrow may not come again.” This message is so important, especially to someone who suffers from anxiety, suicidal ideation and mild depressive states like myself. The reminder to treat every day with value is something that I try to make a constant, and this song is phenomenal in relaying that thought. I don’t have a problem sharing some of my personal struggles with others, and I really appreciate that The Maine decided to share what I consider to be such a powerful track with their listeners.

The band just released their latest record Lovely, Little, Lonely a few weeks ago, and are currently out on tour with Beach Weather and The Mowgli’s. You can find tickets to the remaining dates here, and follow along on Twitter, Instagram, and Spotify to keep up with all of their latest news.

Throwback Thursday: YRS @ The Troubadour

It’s Thursday, which means a slew of #tbts are covering my Instagram feed. This week is a particular hit in the gut for me, though, as it’s the six-month anniversary of my first-ever trip to LA. The official story is, I went out for a campus tour at USC and to do some sightseeing to get a feel for the West Coast. Which I did, and the whole experience was absolutely surreal. I also hit up a couple shows at the Troubadour while I was visiting, and ran into some folks I’m lucky enough to see on a pretty regular basis.

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Insane.

Young Rising Sons, an alt-rock band from North New Jersey, played a co-headlining gig with The Moth and The Flame at the Troubadour on Thursday October 20, 2016. I showed up to the venue on Santa Monica Boulevard about half an hour before doors and made it inside without being spotted by any of the band members (which was my plan!). I later found out from Andy that he “had a feeling” I would be at the show; my not-so subtle tweets must have tipped him off. Nevertheless he gave me the biggest grin when we made eye contact after he hopped on stage.

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10/20/16

He continued to smile slyly to himself every time he turned toward my side of the crowd, and even jumped over an amp to hold my hand during “Undefeatable.” My favorite part of the night, however, was when he pointed me out during “Turnin’.” Not sure if the group actually knows it’s my favorite track of theirs, but I like to pretend he did it on purpose because of that.

“Sometimes it takes some patience, Sometimes it works first try, But I know that this is worth it, Cause this dream’s too strong to die.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to the song on repeat for hours because the message is so important. And have you heard the bass line? #Stellar.

It was an amazing feeling to get to see one of my favorite bands play a show 3,000 miles away from home, and it’s definitely a night I won’t soon forget.

Although Sons aren’t touring right now, they are gearing up for the release of their first full-length album sometime later this year (right, guys?). You can check out their latest single “Carry On” on Spotify and iTunes, and follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to keep up future announcements.

 

*featured image by @astoriasarah

Music Monday: Rad Horror

photo: jesse deflorio

Happy Music Monday! The past few weeks I’ve been stuck inside rental cars shuttling myself between classes, Philly and Jersey (thanks, Night Riots), but the upside to that was the amazing sound system in the cars I had. One thing I can’t stand about driving long distances in my parents’ van is the CD struggle. Even if I manage to shove a bunch of albums into the glove box it’s pretty much impossible to switch them out while behind the wheel. On top of that I don’t have access to a physical copy of every album ever made, which doesn’t really work with my attention span. I’m a big fan of Apple Music and the shuffle button.

Luckily the new age wave of rentals come with a USB hookup for the stereo, and I was able to flip between singing along to U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and blasting Harry Styles’ latest release. However none of that really compared to jamming out to Rad Horror’s debut album Before You Got Too Cool while driving up the Garden State Parkway.  The North Jersey natives released their first full length last December and are currently stationed out West playing shows in a LA residency-type format.

My current favorite song on the album is “I’m a Loser;” the opening track portrays a heartbreaking sense of worthlessness in a way that makes the listener really feel the emotion behind the lyrics. “Am I real or am I dead? Or am I at my bitter end?” the song asks, while backed by instrumentals that are surprisingly upbeat. Despite the message of slight self degradation the song turns into an anthem of sorts by the end, which is what really drew me to it. While many equate being called a loser with failure, Rad Horror embraces the title and has created a piece that is both relatable and profound.

“Queen of Hearts,” and “I Don’t Wanna be Your Boyfriend” are two of the album’s other standout tracks for me, but be sure to check out the full set of songs for yourself over on iTunes or Spotify. You can find the band on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to keep up with tour dates and future releases.