Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Who has been going with me to these shows?

I have fallen behind on my In Concert posts, which is something I like to write for my future self - to have something to look back upon when my life moves on to its next (non concert going) phase.  Last time I checked in I was eagerly anticipating a very busy month and posted a few pics from the busiest week of that month.

As I'm nearing my departure to the other side of the world, it is a good time to look back at the year so far in ticketed events.  I wasn't planning on seeing anything else before I leave, although I am starting a new campaign to get myself and others up to Milwaukee next Friday to see Girl Talk perform at Summerfest - but that's besides the point of this post.

What stuck out the most in my mid-year self review was the diversity of the company I kept for these shows.  There's no way to explain this without sounding conceited at worst or humblebragging at best.
Peter Bjorn And John perform at Chicago's Lincoln Hall in April
Concerts attended so far in 2011:

Girl Talk at Congress with DG & RM (with a fourth ticket going to JJ's friend)
Machinegun Mojo at Elbow room with ZC (with MC & RS there too)
Mountain Goats at The Vic with MB
Cut Copy (& Holy Ghost) at The Riv with JK
Park Ridge Chorale at St. Luke's with PB, SW and more
Delorean at Lincoln Hall with LT
Arcade Fire (& The National) at UIC with RG
Foals (& Freelance Whales) at Metro with DS
Peter Bjorn And John at Lincoln Hall with ?*
Janelle Monae (& Bruno Mars / Mayer Hawthorne) at Aragon with SS, MP and CW
Foster the People at Lincoln Hall with NB
My Morning Jacket perform at Milwaukee's The Riverside Theater in June

And then most recently My Morning Jacket at The Riverside with RG.

I'm separating out the last show because it's the first time I had to repeat a fellow concert goer.  I was happy to tell RG he was the first person this year to go again with me to a show.  It's a feat that I'm not sure I'll ever be able to repeat, even if it was done somewhat intentionally.

Since I made the choice to stop lamenting at home wishing I'd be at these concerts I kept hearing about and start going sometime in 2007, I've slowly figured out what kind of music my different friends like.  Knowing I'd never be able to find one person that I can lean on to repeatedly join me, it became a challenge within a challenge.  It also took on another appreciation for me.

For example, I did not discover Janelle Monae.  My friend SS had brought over her album during one of our marathon Madden nights and I was instantly impressed.  SS is not one to actively seek out, let alone attend anymore (he's been through the concert ringer - hip hop shows can do that to you), concerts.  However, he said he'd go see Janelle Monae live.  Therefore, I instantly started following her on Twitter, which granted me access to her fan club allotment of tickets - securing them before the quick sellout ensued.  It was a great show, but I was too far away and don't have a picture to share here.  The highlight of the concert was not only getting SS to the show, because he had discovered Monae for me, but also getting CW out there - who also doesn't get out to many shows and is someone who I introduced the wonderful dynamo named Janelle.

It didn't work out perfectly however.  The "?*" next to the Peter Bjorn And John show refers to a night when I had out driven my headlights so to speak.  I was unsuccessful finding anybody to go with me - even when I had offered to give the other ticket away for free.  The show was sold out (in fact, even the second show they added at Lincoln Hall that night had sold out as well) which meant I could've unloaded both of the tickets with little hassle.  But I really wanted to see this show and decided to go solo.  Someone outside was looking for people with extras - so whether you count that stranger as someone new to the list or even the fact that I was by myself makes it unique experience among the rest.

As far as the other shows are concerned, I did write a post centered around the Foster the People concert and intend to devote a separate post to My Morning Jacket in the future - for that show was too great to be buried this deep in a post.

While I'm tooting my own popular horn with my full stable of concert going friends - here are some more stats to really drive home my point:
Not included in the above list is the Comedy show featuring Todd Barry & Brendon Walsh at The Hideout with BM.
Finally, I took five different people to Marquette basketball games this year:
-the win versus Notre Dame with DQ
-the loss versus UConn with JW
-the win versus Syracuse with MQ
-the win versus Providence with ZC
-the loss versus Cincinnati with AS
(Note, only ZC is a repeat ticketed event attendee, and he probably wins the virtual tiebreaker with RG because he is a Member of the Park Ridge Chorale - so technically he was at that performance too)

As much as I didn't want to write this because it looks like an awful attempt at a modern day yearbook that has to have all it's pages filled to convince an older me that I was somewhat popular - I really wanted to write it as a thank you to all of my friends who have had to deal with my constant propaganda efforts to convince them to join me to bands you have never heard of or basketball games involving schools you never attended.  2011 is shaping up to be a record year for yours truly - I couldn't be more appreciative... The song at the bottom is dedicated to you all:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How did I get to see my "Song of the Summer" live?

Photo by Will Rice via Lost In Concert
For a great review of the actual show I saw last Sunday written by Marisa Ruiz (@MarisaVictoria) with more pictures like the one above by Will Rice (@wiLLLrice) please click over to the post at Lost in Concert.  Instead, this post is more about my personal experience in getting myself to see the frontrunner for my personal Song of the Year: "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People:

There are a lot of parallels with my early exposure to this song and my experience with 2009's "1901" by Phoenix.  Both were witnessed in the verge of Summer's start at a sold out smaller venue, but more importantly shortly after hearing the tracks had I known it to be the Song of the Summer without a doubt.  Time will have to tell if "Pumped Up Kicks" will win my personal Song of the Year award, but it's easily the leader in the clubhouse right now.  (quick sidebar: one thing these songs do NOT have in common are ties to any embarrassing encounters with cute concertgoers)

Foster the People have been riding quite a popularity wave after being a darling of SXSW in March, performing a sold out show in Chicago at Schubas in April and exposure on NPR in May before returning to Chicago to perform in front of a larger sold out show at Lincoln Hall in June.  Not to mention they will also be back for Lollapalooza in August.  All of it on top of this viral pop track that's been playing on the radio during this time span... But since I don't listen to the radio, by the time all this buzz finally busted through to me their show this past Sunday was already sold out.  With the song basically on repeat for me the days leading up to the concert I decided it was time to attempt a plan that I have been thinking about for some time.

People who know me know I love Lincoln Hall.  These same people know I'm quite the loudmouth on various social networks about it as well.  I've shared my praise with a few people at LH and they have been appreciative while kindly asking for a Yelp review.  As soon as I was asked I knew I would write a review - eventually.  Part of me didn't because of sheer procrastination and laziness.  However, I also thought I should attempt to withhold a review until the timing for me would be more advantageous.

Giving away tickets through their Facebook page and Twitter account is nothing new for Lincoln Hall.  However, they seemed to up the ante last week.  In order to enter to win free tickets to the sold out Foster the People show, LH asked for people to vote for them in Chicago Reader's "Best of Chicago 2011" poll.  In addition to tickets for last Sunday's show, LH was giving away tickets to "an unannounced August" concert.

After nearly half a year of thinking in my mind what I wanted to write on Yelp, I finally signed up and published a review:
A list that is actually longer now in my mind
To really drive home my obsessive level of appreciation I attached a few of my crappy Instragram photos from past concerts and proceeded to run the propaganda train all over my social networks.  I posted it on the aforementioned LH Facebook Wall and tweeted it myself.  Finally, I submitted my ballet to the Reader and let LH know I had done so - while also not so casually mentioning that I was the same dork that recently posted on Yelp.

Less than 30 hours later LH had replied a thanks back on Twitter, liked my FB wall post and lo and behold sent me an e-mail saying I had won two tickets to Foster the People along with a not-yet-announced Lollapalooza After Party (again thanking me for the kind words on Yelp)!

And there you have it sports fans.  Who says wasting time on the Internet doesn't pay?  A wonderful song, a great story and an even better venue to encapsulate it all.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: Lincoln Hall, I love you - don't you ever change.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What am I [NOT] listening to? [yet]

For those that don't know, I'll be going halfway across the planet in under eight weeks.  I've begun a very important step of the process recently.  Was it getting my malaria pills?  No, I need to stop procrastinating about that...  What I have started is the very important process of podcast hording.  A few recent flight changes have made me more aware of the time I will be spending on planes at the end of July.
fly over states

The first flight to Delhi will take 14 hours, with an additional 4 hour skip to Sri Lanka.  Last weekend MySister (who will be joining me, don't forget) asked me if I was planning on listening to my iPod for the entire voyage.  It's not like MySister and I will need the long flight to get caught up, we talk rather regularly as it is...  That being said, I figure that I'll need at least 30 hours of iPod content.  I also have a few books I have bought for the purpose of plane reading (read: iPod battery death).

According to my iTunes library, I have 17.5 days worth of music.  But I think the time might get killed easier with new content from such podcasts as The Nerdist, Kevin Pollak's Chat Show, Sklarbro Country, WTF with Marc Maron, Comedy Bang Bang, Doug Loves Movies and of course the always awesome All Songs Considered (among others).

Fun fact - I'll be flying over 14 different nations:
United States
United Kingdom
Sri Lanka

FYI: a flight from Los Angeles to New York flies over 12 States