Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Taking Back Sunday and Envy On The Coast [Part Two]

In my previous TBS/EOTC blog, I described the trials endured before the show, and now I’ll get to the real meat (soy, of course) of the concert experience, the performances themselves. So, let me set the scene for you again: it is December 12th and the show is the Louisville, Kentucky stop on Taking Back Sunday’s winter tour with Envy on the Coast.


First on the bill was a local band, Frontier(s), which also happens to be the title of disastrous French horror film I was recently hoodwinked into viewing- that the names are connected, I am unsure. The set-up time prior to their performance seemed to drag on forever, probably because it did. For whatever reason- it may have been that the crowd was let in too early or that the venue was having technical difficulties, or a member of Frontier(s) was late- there was an unusually long wait before the first band began playing. And the crowd felt it. Impatience was the vibe among fans as the locals performed; the mood wasn’t set well from the beginning. Polite clapping and minimal movement was the only response the band rose from the still semi-frozen human conglomeration. That is, until the front man finally started talking to us and showing his hometown pride, which all the locals appreciated greatly. The musical performance didn’t warrant as much excitement. The vocals were hardly audible, and I found myself squinting and trying to read the singer’s lips as a way to amuse myself during their playing. The band may have been good in another setting; one where the sound quality was better, and where I couldn’t uncomfortably sense the lack of reaction from the crowd behind me.

The feeling of the crowd’s lacking vanished almost immediately after Frontier(s) left the stage. The pushing started and the excitement level grew perceptibly for Envy on the Coast, one band closer to the headliner and –for some- the very band they came to see. The two boys behind my friend and me were especially excited- this would be fun.

Envy On The Coast

I think it was last year that I placed an Envy on the Coast CD on my Christmas list after having seen a single video by them- I was impressed then and was prepared to be impressed again even without ever having gotten that CD. And the band certainly exceeded my expectations. Unlike the band before them, their vocals were clear and crisp as they began their set with breath-taking vocal harmonies of the keyboardist/ guitarist and the lead-singer. It sounded like the smooth blended voice of two R&B singers until the music started and things got rough, but in a good way, of course. With harshly defined rhythms, it was easy for this band to get the crowd moving within the first song and keep the crowd moving until the end. They were impressive as ever, more impressive than they were when I saw that music video. It was fascinating to watch the dread-locked singer’s strange facial expressions and peculiar swaying movements that all seemed to match the music perfectly—all these peculiarities occurred while, as is signature for the singer, his shoes were M.I.A. Have a foot-fetish? Envy on the Coast is the band to see. I give them an A+ on their performance, for sure. I forgot for brief flashes during their set that I was even anticipating one of my favorite bands to play after them- the perfect opening band can make one anticipate their next song rather than the next band, and they were able to do this for me.

I was still excited when their set ended and Taking Back Sunday would soon be taking the stage.

But my mind was filled with something other than “OMGOMGOMGOMG!” before their set this time. This time around, things were different. Fred Mascherino, former guitarist and co-vocalist of the band had quit late last year to pursue his solo project, The Color Fred. The last time I saw TBS live, I stood directly in front of Fred, and got to experience his excellence in crowd-interaction. How would it be different this time? What would new guitarist Matt Fazzi bring to the band? What would those new songs the band was rumored to be playing on this tour sound like with the changes in the band? I was about to find out.

Taking Back Sunday

Photo by Ryan Russell

The room went black and the crowd cheered, but the band didn’t immediately walk out. I hate being teased so, but that's what happened before TBS came out with the room prematurely darkened and Muse playing as loudly as systems would allow. The crowd compressed and released over and over in anticipation. I love that feeling- it’s like we’re all a part of one organism that happens to have a breathing problem and must struggle. Okay, that doesn’t sound that pleasant—it probably wouldn’t seem pleasant if I told you that I like the way my ribcage gets squished against barricades under the weight of hundreds of people’s pushing, either, but I’m avoiding the point and babbling now.

Anyway, Taking Back Sunday’s performance was, indeed, different this time around. Fred was missing, but there was no noticeable gap where he used to be. Fazzi filled in well, though – I sensed- timidly, but what was not filled was what I like to call the “frontlines” of the stage. Generally, there is a line of three band members at the front of the stage- a guitarist, a singer, and another guitarist, sometimes four if there is a brave bassist. The drummer, of course, is stationary and tends to be set back on the stage, but the “frontline” for this performance was quite different. Fazzi stood at the front with his mic and singer Adam Lazzara wandered everywhere. Bassist Matt Rubano stayed back near the drum kit with guitarist Eddie Reyes. They paid only the occasional visit to the “frontline.” Adam, however, stayed at the front and in a squatting position there for a vast majority of the performance.

Adam’s low-to-the ground (or stage, rather) positioning was amazing for those of us in the front who were at near face-to-face level with him the entire time as he sang and could look each of us in the eye as he did so, but I cannot imagine the view was quite as good from farther back in the crowd. The flailing hands of those in the front of the crowd, I’m sure, would be enough to completely block the view of those in the back of the crowd. But Adam’s being at our level brought an amazing level of intimacy to the show that was the most striking and memorable thing about it for me. Frequently, he would take out his in-ear monitors to hear what was being said to him by audience members. At one point, he asked a girl in the front to extend her arm so he could see her tattoo in the middle of a song, and answered the many of the heckles of playfully teasing fans.
He spoke playfully of his gaining weight, saying he needed to get his “hips right,” saying the boys were probably disappointed, “I bet you’re the guys who flat-iron your hair, though. Ooohhhh.”
”You do too!,” a random voice accused from somewhere in the crowd.
Hearing this, Adam responded with a story about his wife’s telling him he could no longer straighten his hair: “And I was like, ‘Okay, baby, that’s cool; whatever you say.’ She won that argument, like most arguments…”
The crowd was treated to more of Adam’s humorous and sometimes long-winded stories throughout the show as well as other fun quirks, such as; going into a Beyonce song at a breakdown in a TBS song as well as breaking out the old, “You down with O.P.P?” Apparently, we were the first crowd of the tour to respond with a resounding, “Yea, you know me!”

Taking Back Sunday’s set was fierce, fast, and unrelenting. If they did a slow song, I do not remember it, because the performance was so energetic. The only downtimes in the set were the points when the audience paid close attention to cover of a Tom Petty song, and to the brand new songs to which the band treated us. Two of the songs were upbeat: the title track of their upcoming CD, “New Again” and another called “Catholic Knees,” and one was a slow, moving song entitled “Everything Must Go.” One of the most memorable moments of the set came at the conclusion of “Everything Must Go”. As the song ended, most of the band members had fallen to a kneeling position on the stage. Adam, who was hovering at the very edge of the stage, dropped his head and covered it with his hands as if seeking shelter from a tornado, gripped his hair and weakly let his microphone drop with a soft thud against the front of the stage. Something about that moment nearly brought me to tears.

The new songs did have a different sound, a more refined sound than “old TBS,” but were good nonetheless, and I cannot wait until “New Again” comes out, and I can hear them recorded.

If you haven’t seen TBS live, I highly recommend you do so. You may have missed the eras of both John Nolan and Fred Mascherino, but –from this show- I could sense a new, great era in the life of Taking Back Sunday that will be just as exciting. I’m ready for them to be new again! Eh em… Sorry for the cheesiness. You can catch TBS at Bamboozle this year, or if you’re fortunate enough to be European, the band will be on your side of the pond in early spring.

“New Again” is set for release later this year.


Click here to advance to Part Three

Go Back
Part One

Friday, December 26, 2008

Taking Back Sunday and Envy On The Coast [Part One]

On December 12th, 2008 at 7:30 in the morning, two souls found themselves alone and freezing on the carpeted front steps of The Oasis bar and concert venue in Louisville, Kentucky. The only company they shared was that of cigarette butts, foreign newspapers, and forgotten and molding cheese and crackers. Having suspected similar souls would be partaking in the same activity, the two had set their hotel alarm for the “wee hours” and rushed to the bar, which faintly resembled a run-down mosque. Those foolish two were my friend and I, and the more intelligent concert-goers did not start showing up until we had been there two hours, much to the relief of their toes and other freezable appendages connected to them.

It was 30 degrees, but concert-goers are strange specimens who are willing to cope with the elements, and even build up an adrenaline-fueled tolerance of them. It’s a sacrifice that is nothing when compared to the reward of clutching the barricade and being nearly close enough to one’s favorite band to touch them. Queuing totaling well over 20 hours, sleep totaling less than 3 hours within 36 hours, snowstorms in the dead of Canadian winter, temperatures high enough for sunscreen to melt in Florida, and running on little to no food for days are all on my “I Survived” list and are only a few of the items listed.

The concert-goers in Kentucky had other devices to cope with the elements, however. Well before noon a few were indulging in warming gin while they waited for the Japanese sushi bar next door to open where alcohol is served in your choice of a novelty ninja or geisha cup. I don’t know from experience how much alcohol can warm one’s body, but it was a popular theme in the day’s line wait. At noon, with the arrival of a denim-clad lad and his lovely girlfriend, the drinking level was raised: “I say we all throw in and get a box of wine!” proclaimed the denim-clad one, and so it happened. Needless to say, the day became more interesting the more alcohol was consumed: voices grew louder, and personalities soared. It was the alcohol that passed the time for some and the watching of the alcohol being consumed that passed the time for some others like my friend and me, who were too young to join. All were happy and –by the end of the day- I could remember all of my fellow fans’ names and stories. It was nice meeting you all!

As for my side of surviving, fleece blankets are overrated, far from warm, and my poor toes paid the consequence by becoming so very cold that I limped when I walked away from the line and to my hotel for bathroom breaks throughout the day. Toward the end of the wait, I became so very cold that my shivers were no longer surface-shivers. They had grown deeper and deeper until those final ones before the doors opened seemed to rattle and cave my chest, causing an avalanche inside each time they came. At least we had the friends we had made throughout the course of the day to distract us with the singing of everything ranging from doo-wop songs to Alexisonfire. Really, the people were great at this show—an older crowd, which was a relief for me, as; I have become used to be “the old one” at shows. They all had impeccable taste in music and were friendly, and those line-waiters in the service were willing to share their army sub-zero sleeping bags, which is always a plus.

At about 7:00 we were put out of our freezing misery when the security guards eased open the doors my friend and I had protectively been leaning against. They made us back up to the steps upon which my friend and I had sat early that morning, then proclaimed something horrifying. “Everyone needs to circle around and line up at the end of this ramp.” They pointed to a ramp and an all-around bad scenario where my friend and I will have suffered for nothing and gotten into the venue last. After yelling in protest and nearly crying, we at the front were reassured that we would be let in first and a system was made to makedamnsure (sorry, I had to) of that. The crowd parted to let the front-of-the-liners, all of whom were protectively pointing out and clinging to each other to make sure we all kept our places, through so that we were again at the front and all drama was aside. My hands “X’ed,” I walked into the venue with my friend, through a maze of a bar then straight to the barricade. Thank goodness.

The Oasis is small. In my research prior to this show, I found that the concert capacity is 300. This fact was contradicted by others while we waited in line, but I will stick to it, since it is what the venue’s website says. The floor before the stage is narrow and long, and –here’s the crazy part- there are windows lining the entire right side of the crowd. WINDOWS! At some of the shows I’ve been to, people have been thrown in the air full-force; in my experience, windows + crowds = bad idea. But they looked cool, so whatever. The barricade was also strange. At the left side of the floor, there was not a barricade. It was a spot where people would have to hold back the crowd with their own force, well- until they set up a makeshift barricade there after the first band played. There is also no escape for those who end up in front of the barricade. Most venues have a long walkway from the space in front of the barricade that brings the person back to the rear of the crowd. This place had only a set of steps, blocked by wires, that lead backstage. For this reason, crowd surfers were not ordered to the back of the crowd, but thrown back into it by security. That’s fine, no footprints on my face from this show. Ha!

Well, now that I have told you as much as I can tell you about my experience without bringing up the actual show, I’m going to take a break. Keep your eyes open for Part two, where I will actually review the show. Ha-ha!



Click here to advance to Part Two

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry [Creepy] Christmas!

Hey, guys. 'Tis the day all this mistletoe and wrapping paper has been leading to, 'tis the day of giving and gorging, of family and friends, and of creepy Christmas videos, of course.
"Wait, what?"
Yes, that's right, creepiness. For your viewing pleasure, I give you a "X-Mess Detritus", a short film directed by Voltaire and narrated by Gerard Way, the singer of my favorite band:

"X-Mess Detritus" is the 18th short film of an online film festival put on by Glass Eye Pix. The "film festival" features a daily short film for each of the 25 days leading to Christmas. All of the films have a horror-holiday theme. You can view more by visiting CreepyChristmas.net.

Cheers, my dears...


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Reality Killed the Music

Today, December 24th, 2008 is a miserable day for music. Today an era ends. Today music loses just a bit more heart as "Steven's Untitled Rock Show" airs its last episode at 2:00 PM on Fuse.

"SURS," as it came to be called over the years, began in late 2004 when FUSE saw a growing demand for "the kind of bands that would play Warped Tour." Remember that heartfelt blog I posted about the first time I saw the My Chemical Romance video for "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)"? Well, I saw that video on the show from which SURS stemmed, "Warped Wednesday."

I still remember my excitement for the then doubly-untitled show to air for the first time; Steven Smith was my favorite VJ from IMX, so I knew the show would be great. After its premier, I watched every single episode- I watched the show double in length from a half hour to the hour of air time it deserved, I watched the show before it had a title- I even submitted a title when a contest was put forth to name the show. The fans decided on the name, and we felt like we were a part of this show. This was our music. Music that no one else would play; music that I -personally- would never have known had SURS not been brought into my life.

To "Steven's Untitled Rock Show" and everyone behind it: thank you for being the only show that "got it." For knowing that being a part of music is being a part of something much more. Thank you for touching hearts and [pleasantly] rattling eardrums. Thanks for being the place where the punks, freaks, geeks, and indie kids alike could flock. Thanks for showing that it doesn't matter under which of those labels you find yourself-- we're all in this together. Thank you for defining a key time in my musical taste development. Thanks for believing in something.

This is a tough time, but I still believe in the good of the music world, and am going to try to help the legacy of the 'Rock Show live on through my writing. I know that being a part of the music world is being a part of a love- one huge beating heart that needs to live on. As a journalist, I promise to never write about music without throwing all of my heart into it.

Read Steven's blog about the ending of the show here

Read the show's producer's blog here

Both brought a tear to my eye. If you guys can, please tune in tomorrow at 2PM on Fuse.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Becoming Little Miss Slack-y Pants.

So, about that promise I made to blog more frequently, and moreover - to even match the massive amount of blogging My Chemical Romance now do on their website... Yea, I lied. You can go ahead and call me a liar.

Excuses are lame, but I have them. The week I made that promise, my father suffered a heart-attack, then I got super-busy. Currently, I have writer's block, and have been focusing on my art and "creative writing" as a means to focus my emotions. I am also busy helping pick the new round of MCRmy Medics- an anonymous group who work through e-mail and the My Chemical Romance street-team to help those who are in emotional need. This time around I'm even more involved with the medics than I have been in the past. I couldn't be happier about my position, because I love helping, but it does take a lot of my time and attention as it should.

Despite my other obligations, I will pick things back up on here. I have a list of topics I have been planning, and -not to mention- that extensive Taking Back Sunday and Envy on the Coast show review!

Some other topics include:

-How to prepare for a concert! My expert Tips
-Why the "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" vinyl is cooler than anything on Earth
-A guide so that no one ever has to ask Gerard Way about his hair ever again!
-My favorite concert venues
-Guidelines for writing the perfect punk song
-My favorite obscure band
-Lyrics of the week, perhaps?
- and more...

No more Little Miss Slack-y Pants!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

I Have a WONDERFUL Week Ahead of Me.

So, about that challenge I made to myself about doing a blog-for-blog with the MCR site... I'm a bit behind, but I will catch up. I just needed to do a little living to gather blog-worthy materials. Now that I have them, you can expect those promised extra blogs, but maybe not this week, for; I have busy and exciting times ahead of me, friends.

Here's the schedule:

Tomorrow (Monday, December 8th):
Shopping for my mother's Christmas presents and drinking the hell out of a lot of coffee. You can probably expect a few late-night/ early tomorrow morning blogs for this reason.

Tuesday (at midnight):
The Dark Knight, obviously.

Leaving for Louisville, Kentucky



Blogs of elaboration will follow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Becoming Little Miss Bloggy-Pants

I realized something as I went to bed last night at 6:30 pm- I'm not very productive as of late. It was like a slap in the face this morning when I looked at the clock and it said 11:30 am. That sealed it, I need to get on this blogging thing.

Yesterday, the rubbing-in started as I watched a great VH1 feature from a couple years ago about media and the young, out-of-control Hollywood scene. My first response to it was, "Wow. I want to be a member of the paparazzi," then -more logical- "I want to work for TMZ," then I lost the stars in my eyes and realized who I was, thinking, "That's just creepy," and went on with my half-attentive watching of the show until The Queen of All Media cropped up his pretty, little head.

Ah, Perez Hilton, I'd be lying if I said you didn't inspire me. Sometimes you thoroughly gross me out-- well, that was just one time when you said that the singer of my favorite band "[makes your] manties moist." But anything I hold against you is simple jealousy and you made that jealousy grow yesterday when you said something along the lines of this on that VH1 show (not a direct quote),
"My gossip blog is the only blog that actually breaks news."
Bitch. We can't all be so "on the inside" as you, though; I hope I someday will.

Anyway, the rubbing in continues--

Somewhere in the middle of my slumber I receive this text:

From: Twitter
gerardway: thinking about posting a blog


I wake this morning to not one, but FOUR new blogs on the My Chemical Romance site. One of the blogs, written by rhythm guitarist Frank Iero, even gawked at the quantity of blogs being posted. (Read it here).

So, here's the deal-- everyone is blogging me under the table (most notably my oh-so-notable follower, Alec), so I'm making a competition with my own will. Every time one of the My Chem guys blogs, I shall blog. Not at that precise moment, because I like to give my old blogs a little settling time to attract some sort of attention, but at some point I will.

So, I woke up to four blogs today, wrote this one, and that means I owe you three, Oh my Reader. All of my important obligations are online-based, I have seemingly nothing better to do. Let's do this!!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Surviving With Dial-Up.

So, in Journalism 101 we learn that the world is going digital, mobile, wicked-crazy, and fast-paced. Videos are what's in, and we want LOTS OF PICTURES, oh yes. Make those sites fancy, too, would ya?

Well, that's all fine when you are a student and connected to the University's hi-speed, wireless internet, but not so great when you return to your dial-up at home.

I was spellbound somehow while sitting in Journalism class and hearing about the scary advances in media, and how sales in newspapers are declining and many simply turn to the internet for their news, and it can't be news unless you know it the second it happens. Not only do those things serve as perfect ingredients for hasty, rotten reporting, but they're also not true for me in the least when I return home and wait 20 minutes to check one lousy e-mail. I'll get my news when I can, thank you-- and you can FORGET about my watching even a one minute video.

Just to give you an idea of how slow my internet is, I shall give you a prime example. My internet connection is so slow, that I often come up with the mobile versions of websites. Yea, it's that bad:

This is a screenshot of my version of Myspace as of late. By the way, this took nearly ten minutes to upload.

So, the question is, how can we be more user-friendly to dial-up internet users?

Many websites seem to neglect the fact that a larger portion of their site's visitors than they expect are not using hi-speed internet connections. Some may not want to pay as much for the fast internet and some, like myself, are unable to get wireless in their areas. One could argue that we could just use mobile web. Ha! 30cents for every mega-byte or so of data is beyond not worth it, and we don't all have fancy iPhones, I fear.

The media world need not live in dreamland. Of course those making the websites will have fast internet, but those viewing it may not. Isn't the news for the reader, after all? Think about it, Online News Sources.

Try having two versions of a site: one for the fancy-pantses and one for we little people. It would be appreciated by many.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Dallas" Did not Disappoint.

In my previous post, I discussed excitement for the start of the second series of my favorite comic The Umbrella Academy.

Today, I made the usual thirty mile drive (yes, thirty) to my favorite comic shop to pick up the first issue of the Dallas series, titled The Jungle, and let me tell you that I can already see my future's being filled with month-to-month obsessing over the next issue's release.

In interviews prior to this release, Umbrella Academy writer Gerard Way foretold that the series would reveal more about the mysterious, time-traveling, and long-missing "boy" of the 'Academy: Number Five. The character, who showed up in the first series, Apocalypse Suite, after decades of being trapped in the future, is: stuck in a child's form but is living with knowledge of a grown man, has a love for coffee, shot his adopted sister, has some sort of knowledge in regards to the Kennedy assassination, and he mysteriously destroyed a gang of strange robotic creatures in a diner in the last series.

The Jungle already leaves the reader's head filled with questions and more knowledge about Number Five. We know what those mysterious robots in the diner were, and we begin to grasp how he destroyed them and what that may mean for the future of The 'Academy.

We also get glimpses of how the rest of the heroes are coping since the near-end-of-the-world in Apocalypse Suite. We see how The Rumor is communicating, where Spaceboy is hiding out, how angry The Kraken is, how out-of-it Vanya is, how smug The Seance has become, and are reminded of how dead Pogo is.

What else will future issues reveal? Only time will tell.
The second issue of the series is set for release on December 24th.

"I am a gazelle"


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Umbrella Academy : Dallas [OUT TOMORROW!]

For those of you who are unfamiliar with "The Umbrella Academy" comic series, I suggest you do a wee bit of research- perhaps starting with the Eisner award it won- and get back to me, but for those of you who are familiar with Dark Horse's new comic force and those lovable Umbrella Academy brats, the day has nearly come for our second round of adventures.

Tomorrow- Wednesday, November 26th, 2008- "Dallas" the second series of "The Umbrella Academy" begins, and we will have many months of Wednesdays to anticipate the new story lines writer Gerard Way will bring us as illustrated through the quirky drawings of Gabriel Bá.

In the final chapter of the first series, "The Apocalypse Suite," the reader is left with many questions and ruined heroes. What will be revealed about the Umbrella Academy orphans in this series? Who will die? What type of coffee will be served?

Only reading will tell, friends.


Monday, November 24, 2008

The New MCR Site : Communication at its Creepiest.

I'm just going to throw this out there: Twitter is kinda creepy: Advanced internet stalkery that can be automatically updated via cell phone from anywhere to tell your "followers" exactly what you are doing at that very second. Yea, it's creepy.

I just received a text message letting me know that the drummer of my favorite band's dog was hungry and from the singer telling the band members to update via this creepy Twitter. Earlier, I watched -- through my text messages -- their conversation as the drummer drove to the singer's house and asked him if he wanted anything from Coffee Bean (he did- an iced white chocolate mocha). I feel like a creeper. But I'm not alone.

Through My Chemical Romance's new website format, we fans can feel more intimate with that band than we ever have. Even moreso than in those moments when we smelled their post-show stank as we posed for pictures with them, or when we were in the front row of a crowded small venue for one of their shows. We now can know what the members of My Chemical Romance are doing all the time...

--Another Text arrives--
"From Twitter:
gerardway: updeet"



Anyway, the surveillance camera in the corner of the room which serves as a background for the My Chemical Romance site seems very appropriate with the band members' blogs in the middle of the page and their Twitter feeds at the right.

Talk about getting news the moment it happens... Way to go, My Chem, way to go. This is social media at its creepiest.

And I like it. :]

Follow the members of My Chemical Romance on Twitter:
Gerard Way (vocals)
Ray Toro (lead guitar)
Mikey Way (bass)
Bob Bryar (drums)
Frank Iero (rhythm guitar)


My Chemical Romance's "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" on VINYL!

Four years have passed since "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" My Chemical Romance's first major label CD was released on Warner-Reprise records. It is noted for being the album that really brought My Chem to the forefront of music with their first major-label-released single, "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" followed by the widely popular "Helena" and "The Ghost of You".
To celebrate the album's great success, the band is re-releasing it on special-edition red vinyl and adding a handwritten lyric sheet, artwork that did not make it to the CD, and even a fancy-pants gun stencil!
I, for one, am majorly stoked on this release, because this is the CD that I grew up with, in a way. 2004 and 2005 were really huge years in my musical life, and this CD was there for me during those years, introducing me to a new kind of culture and music, and the band that ultimately changed my life. "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" has been there for me, soothing and helping me through some tough times.
Of course, I have already pre-ordered my copy (FOR ONLY $25) for those obvious reasons, and you can too. Just click the banner I posted at the top, or follow this link to check out the My Chemical Romance store.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fall Quarter Photolog Conclusions

Here it is, folks-- the end of my first quarter ever as a college student. My exams are done, bags finally packed, and I will be heading home later this morning (I'm writing this at 2:30 AM) for six, long weeks to think about what I have done. Actually, I say that as if I have been corrupted, but -alas- I have not; try again next quarter, you fiends.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to sum up my quarter in a few pictures I have taken whilst here in Athens, so for your enjoyment here's:

Cassie's Fall Quarter Photo Round-Up!

The upperclassmen made fun of us freshmen for walking in packs. I don't understand what they mean, to be honest...

I like to "introduce a little anarchy..." to chalkboards.

Best Friends for LIFE!!!

"Kill the Batman," but spare the squirrel, please?

Someone proposed marriage to me on the graffiti wall. I love you, too.

ACRN grilled-cheese sales on Court Street owned a lot of my weekend nights. Snat, our Rock Lobster, likes to sing in the rain... or strip, I'm not quite sure which.

This is what I do before and between classes... Never during them. NEVER!

One of the saddest / creepiest things I've seen: the bike graveyard by Nelson.

So, there you are, folks. Just because J101 is over, don't think that this blog is through. I am definitely keeping this going, so subscribe to me and I'll subscribe to you, and we'll keep the jolly blog-times rolling.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour [Part V]

The Epiphany

Welcome to my fifth and final installment in my Bill and Trav blog series.

In several of my blogs, I have expressed what drives me to want to work within the music industry, and this show helped me discover even more reasons why.

If home is where the heart is,

this feels a whole hell of a lot like home.

Being able to see the crowd from where I stood was one of the best parts of the show. All the people in that audience were there for the same reason-- in the moments of their favorite songs, they were one. We were all united through music.

I. love. fans, and I want us all to be united as we are during those moments at the shows, or when we've been standing in line outside in the snow together for 12 hours, or when we turn to complete strangers in the audience while singing along to our favorite lyrics and feel as if that person is our best friend of several years.

We, as fans of music, are part of something much bigger than ourselves. We are in this together, and we never have to be alone. Music can unite us by helping us make sense of ourselves and of the world when nothing seems to make sense, speaking for those who aren't strong enough to speak, and helping us grasp our interconnectedness.

As Penny Lane from "Almost Famous" said, "If you ever get lonely you can just go to the record store and visit your friends."

So, this blog goes out to everyone in the picture I posted, everyone I have ever queued with for a show, everyone I have ever shared a crowd with, every band I love, everyone who loves every band I love, every note of every song that has ever inspired me or anyone else, and the girl in the front row of the Columbus stop of Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey tour with the tattoo of a treble clef on her wrist who sang along with every ounce of her being and brought a tear to my eye as I grasped that this is what I love, and this is what I want to be a part of for the rest of my life.

Thank you.



Go Back
Part One| Part Two| Part Three| Part Four

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour [Part IV] (With Video!)

They're Watching; Always Watching.
(The Picture and Video Blog)

Welcome to Part IV of my Bill and Trav blogs. To begin, I have a guilty confession to make... I lied in my previous post . You see that part at the bottom there, where it says this episode would elaborate on an epiphany? Yea, that's a blatant lie. Wait, wait! Don't leave yet, I can explain! Okay, so next week I will be returning home, and at this lovely home, I have something not so lovely: dial-up internet. So, I wanted to get the meat (soy, of course) of these postings to you before that evil came upon me. I would have a pretty rough time uploading my EXCLUSIVE, AWESOME VIDEO for you on dial-up, after all. Oh, I'm forgiven, then? Gee, thanks.

How many of you have shown up to a show with a camera and been told something along the lines of "By request of the [artist, venue, management, etc], no cameras will be allowed into this event"? Probably quite a few of you who probably took one of the following actions:

A.) Ran back to the car to leave the camera there.
B.) Stuffed your camera into a concealing piece of clothing.
C.) Threw the camera down carelessly, because it was just a disposable.
D.) Cried and begged the venue security to let you keep it.
E.) Got your batteries taken from you at the door.

It happens to the best of us. Fortunately, Newport in Columbus, where the show I attended was held, does not care at all if a person brings in cameras, and the audience was, therefore, filled with them. Except one camera was missing- mine, for; I was too nervous to bring in my beloved little flash'n'snapper.

But does it really matter if cameras are banned from venues anymore or not? Just as everyone on the internet can become an immediate published writer, anyone with one little device that many of us treasure can become not only a photographer, but a film-maker, music producer, or walking boom-box. Yes, those handy little cell phones that all of us know and love are the devices of which I speak.

This brings up an interesting question for the future of shows with this new, complex media: will we see a day when cell phones are banned from concerts? Or, inversely- will we see a day when all personal media devices are impossible to ban from shows? Digital cameras are even hard to regulate. All a venue can do is take one's batteries, which leaves a lot of room for pictures to be taken anyway, because there are plenty of places to hide more batteries.

Some cell phones can now take pictures and video of the same or of higher quality than some digital cameras, so is having a phone at a show the same as having a digital camera, and is the emergence of picture-phones the death of regulating of what pictures are taken and where? Only time will tell, but I will give you a little sample of some cell-phone pictures and a video in the meantime. The photos are not the greatest of quality, but the video is stunning both in sound and video considering it was taken on a phone with 2 megapixel photo capability. Also considering it was cut short in the middle by a security guard who touched my arm and gently said, "You can't take anything in here." I'm surprised he could tell I wasn't simply texting.

Hey Monday

We The Kings

The Academy Is...

And, for your viewing pleasure, I now present to you my video from the show of William Beckett of The Academy Is... performing an acoustic version of "The Test"

I hope you guys enjoyed and will check in for the next Bill and Trav installment. I'm not even going to give you a teaser this time, because I might change my mind, then you'll all call me a "liar" again. How mean that was of you! :[

Just kidding!


Click here to advance to the final installment!

Go Back
Part One| Part Two| Part Three

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour [Part III]

A Word on Band-Crowd Interaction

Welcome to Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tourblog part the third. In this episode, I will discuss something I find very, VERY essential to a good band's performance and something which I witnessed at the show I attended on "Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour" featuring The Academy Is... and We the Kings.

If you are in an aspiring band or even a prominent band, listen the hell up, because I -as a fan- have some advice for you. In my experience in the front rows of multitudes of crowds, nothing quite sends a jolt of excitement through me as when a band member points out the fans who are singing along ferociously-- when a band shows an active appreciation for its supporters. Now, it doesn't have to be me, but any fan. We all feel exstatic for that person, you can feel the surge in the crowd move in his or her direction, and feel our collective excitement grow when you acknowledge us.

For example, some of my fondest memories from shows have been those tiny, fleeting moments when I have made eye-contact with the members of bands during my favorite songs or have been pointed out or smiled at by band members, or more specific things like when Matt Skiba, singer and guitarist of Alkaline Trio dedicated a song to me when he noted I was one of the only living in a seemingly dead crowd and called me "[his] new friend." There was a time when Ryan, the singer of Greeley Estates jumped from the stage and stood in front of me at the barricade and held the mic between us as he held onto my shoulder and we both sang the song. Moments like that are what make these shows and make memories for the fans.

So, I would like to congratulate The Academy Is... and We the Kings on their excellence in crowd interaction at the show. First, good call on the part of the guitarist of We The Kings for going down to the barricade and interacting with fans when his guitar started malfunctioning instead of worrying too much about the guitar. From where I was standing beside the stage, I could see the entire crowd and the surges of people who rushed to where he stood at the barricade when he was there was an amazing thing to watch. Also, great job to Travis of We The Kings for spending time at the barricade. Nothing is better for fans than that up-close and personal experience. William Beckett, singer of The Academy Is... also treated the crowd to an intimate experience when he stood at the barricade and held the mic out to some of the fans toward the end of the set. Also, instead of going back onstage at the end of their set and exiting like normal, he walked the front row of the crowd, giving high fives all the way down the line until he reached the backstage door, but not before a girl jumped down and he took his picture with her. Also, he pointed out my friend and I a couple times, as well as acknowledge many rabidly singing-along fans in the audience.

So, band members this is what you should take away from this blog:
-interact with your fans. They like it. A lot.
-crowd interaction is what, I feel, sets a great band apart from a mediocre one.

We- fans and band members- are in this together, and want to feel involved when we come to shows. Involve us!

Keep an eye out for part IV-- my epiphany. Also, there are still pictures and videos to come!


Click here to advance to Part Four (there you will find video footage)

Go back:
Part One| Part Two

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour [Part II]

The Show Review

Welcome to Part II of my "Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour" blogs. Here, I shall review the show in full for you guys, and more blogs will be coming your way soon where I will examine various other topics aroused in my mind from the show.

So, the morning of November 2nd, I woke at my friend's house without grogginess, for; my excitement had grown in the few hours I slept and replaced any sleepiness that would have normally been there. The plan was for our friend to meet us at my place of slumber for the the night between 11:30 and 12:00, and so it happened. For me, arriving at a show later than 11:30 AM is generally something completely insane (I'm a 4 AM girl, myself), but we were just going to chill and hang back for this one.

We headed to Columbus, ate at Mongolian BBQ, then walked around Easton for a bit. The tour's headliner, The Academy Is... was doing a signing at the Hot Topic there at 3:00, and we got to the store in time to shop before it closed for the meet and greet, but decided to skip meeting the band ourselves, though we had the opportunity to. There were so many fans waiting to meet them, and it was amazing to see them all and wonder how long they had been there, how nervous they were, how excited they were, or how much of a dream come true it would be for them to meet the band. The air was definitely charged as we passed them, and I couldn't help but grinning with excitement for them. Having met the band a couple times already, I knew what would be coming to them and knew they would not be disappointed by the charismatic band members.

Skip ahead to 4:00, we pass the venue searching for a place to park, and the line is still quite short, which is pretty astounding considering how late it was, and that doors opened around 6. We left for about an hour, and -by the time we came back- the line had wrapped around Newport building and was stretching onto a side street. My friends and I were let in early and secured our spots at the side, not wanting to take any of the barricade space from those who had been waiting all day, watched the line file in person-by-person, then waited for the show to begin.

First came Hey Monday

I had never heard a single song by Hey Monday, in fact-- I had never even heard of the band, so you can imagine my slight shock when the petite, female singer walked onto the stage instead of the nearly-expected towering, male front-man. The set was great and very energetic, though- and I hate to do this- it was all very reminiscent of Paramore. With singer Cassadee Pope's onstage movements and even her voice, at times, looking and sounding very much like Hayley Williams. This, of course, is no insult, as; Hayley is an excellent front-woman, and Cassadee is as well. It saddens me that, with their both being a part of the DecayDance/Fueled By Ramen label family and both being female-fronted bands, the comparison will always be there. A highlight of the performance was when the band cleared the stage, and Cassadee returned to it with merely an acoustic guitar. Apologizing for her being sick before she started, she played and sang beautifully. Jaws were quite literally on the floor mid-way through this performance, the audience stunned to silence until we felt compelled -in a wave- to cheer after one particularly difficult vocalization through which the singer soared perfectly. If this is what Hey Monday sounds like with a sick singer, I would love to see and hear them when she is in full health.

Then Came Carolina Liar

"Oh, no. A gimmicky, cheesy band," thought I when I saw the members of Carolina Liar filtering onto the stage and checking their instruments in matching boyscout shirts. Well, all except for the singer who stood out among them in his navy shirt in their sea of beige. One has the natural instinct to judge a band when the singer looks like Kid Rock, there are more than three guys in the band with hair below their shoulders and who sport beards, but those conceptions of Carolina Liar turned out to be all wrong on my part at least. For one, the band had a keyboardist that didn't play bar jingle tunes, and the band hadn't the faintest inkling of southern rock in their musical style. Well done, Carolina Liar, for proving my misconceptions wrong and for putting on a great show. Also, the band did not- as one would assume from their appearance- speak only of "the chicks and the booze, man," but rather had many inspirational between-song messages for the crowd. Don't be too quick to judge when you see this band. They're great.

Third, were co-headliners We The Kings

Now, this band is one that has much fuss about it that I have never gotten. Sure, "Check Yes, Juliet" is a catchy song, but there are parts of it that sound like a blatant rip-off of Motion City Soundtrack's "Everything is Alright." Basically, I have seen this band as a hyped-up band that has ripped the style of bands that I loved in 2004. One can't blame them for that, honestly; the first 5 or so years of the 2000s were wonderful for this particular type of music. Except, it seems newer fans are being introduced to that wonderful sound through the recycled material that We The Kings provides. Well, if that's how they're getting into the music, so be it. I would rather our youth be listening to We The Kings than Nickleback any time.
The band proved interesting live and were catchy enough to make me dance, and certainly make the crowd begin really moving for the first time in the night. From where I stood, I could see the whole of the crowd, and the surges were tremendous, especially when singer Travis jumped from the stage and stood at the barricade. The monstrous ocean of fans surged and squeezes themselves as close as they could possibly get to him. A highlight of the set, was when guitarist, Hunter Thomsen, began having technical difficulties during one of their songs, and ended up just putting his guitar aside and jumping down to the level of the crowd to sing with the kids. That's what these shows should be all about. I will veer from this for now, though, for; I have an upcoming blog where I will highlight bands' interacting with crowds and how much of a difference it makes. Another fun point of the set was when the band covered The Gorillaz "Feel Good Inc." Whether crowd members were We The Kings fans or not, everyone could sing and dance along. Plus, when is it even not great to see scrawny white boys in bands rapping?
Overall, I was impressed with the band's performance, and they got an approval stamp in my skeptical mind, and -obviously- many in the crowd had gotten their fill of entertainment, for; about half the audience on the floor left at the conclusion of WTK's set.

Last, but certainly not least: The Academy Is...

Having seen this band a few times already, I knew relatively what could be expected: a great performance, but I dare say the band has improved since last I saw them, not to mention, their hair has gotten much shorter collectively. I will admit to having a bias already. This is the band for which I came to this show, and this is a band I love. However, I don't love them enough to deny their flaws. But, honestly, it's a rock show: the flaws are what make it. Unfortunately, I spotted no flaws in The Academy Is...'s performance. Singer William Beckett made girls go crazy, drummer "The Butcher" made fun of William-- all went according to plan, and the sound quality was flawless. So, for whomever was working the soundboards on tour, well done, my friend, well done. The band appeased both we veteran fans and newer fans by dishing out an equal balance of songs from each album and alternating them perfectly for changes in pace and mood. A highlight and rare treat for show attenders was an acoustic performance by William Beckett of "The Test" from their latest album "Fast Times at Barrington High" (I will post my video of this soon). The band closed, as is customary for them, with the final track from their CD "Almost Here" and it was absolutely perfect ending to the show as it always is.

My conclusion: this is a great tour to attend, even if you are not a fan of any of the bands. You are guaranteed a great show, and there is something for everyone to enjoy. You will not be bored, for sure.

Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for my next blog on bands and importance of crowd interaction! Also, there will be pictures and videos from the show posted soon!


Click Here to advance to Part Three

Go Back
Part One

Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour [Part I]

Last night, I went to the first big show I've attended since August, the Columbus stop on "Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey" tour featuring Hey Monday, Carolina Liar, We the Kings, and The Academy Is...
After much trial and error in securing my ride to the show and back to OU, I finally got it all together and had a wonderful weekend that concluded in a wonderful show.

Since this is my journalism blog, I figured I'd turn this show into a series of blogs, each of which will contain a different story I saw that was write-worthy during the show. This, my readers, is your classic introductory blog, and I have much to tell you from this single show within my next -at the very least- four blogs.

Expect a review, pictures, a video that nearly wasn't, a heartfelt epiphany on my part, and a few words on crowd-interaction.

Part II will be the review, so keep your eyes open for the second installment in Cassie's take on "Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey."


Click Here to Advance to Part Two!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Political Tactics

I am not going to pretend that I am a political person, but the up-coming election was the focus of our J101 class on Thursday, and we spoke of social media and how the candidates have utilized it on their own, but I have something to show you guys that is also bringing politics into the social media spotlight.

I present to you some of my "top friends" on myspace:

Note that I have circled one of my particular friends. Now, can any of you guys tell me what you would imagine I am and what you would imagine "Heavens" is from this picture? "No:" that's my answer to your thoughts. I'm not an obsessive Obama-supporter who feels the need to tell the world this, and no, "HEAVENS" is not a political group. Heavens is a two-piece band, and those two guys are brilliant Obama promoters. Boom! Suddenly, every person's myspace page with this band on their "top friends" became an ad for Barack Obama.

Think about that, oh you strategists.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Music Saves Lives (The Point of it All)

"At their very beginnings, some lives are destined to be saved, or else they will be cut tragically short."

This was the first line of a paper I wrote last year about a meaningful experience in my life.

I've come to find since writing that paper that there was never one experience that changed my life but several that saved my life: several nights of falling into the comfort of notes of songs, immersing myself in lyrics, and surrounding myself with the love that resonated through my empty room from my speakers.

If you never read another of my posts, please take the time to read this one.

I have told this story and will tell it again and again through my career.

I want to be a writer, because I want to help people.

I want to make people feel that they belong, that someone out there cares about them, and that they can make it through whatever this world may shoot at them alive-- The world can fire, but one can evade the shots. I feel as if it is my duty to carry on the legacy of what completely changed and - I will say it- saved my life. That is, music.

To me, music is among the most powerful things in the world, and I want to be a music journalist, because I have felt the full power of music and want to pass it on.

In May, 2008 the website ThankYouMCR.com was launched. This site showcases stories from fans of the band My Chemical Romance that tell how the band has changed, saved, or positively influenced their lives. My story was among the first featured, and I would like to share it with you here.

My Story

Asking me how My Chemical Romance saved my life is almost like asking me my birth date. It's so ingrained in me that, literally, the day I found MCR was like a re-birth, or-- perhaps- the birth I should have had.

I was always a lonely person, an only child and a friendless child. I never quite fit in even at the youngest of ages. Imagine this: a seven-year-old girl trying to explain to her mother why she doesn't want to have a birthday party, knowing at that young of an age that the other kids would not attend...

I lived my life in quiet solitude for fourteen years; then, I finally hit a bottom and no longer wanted to live. The year 2004 was definitely the worst of my life, and I-- at that time- had every intention of its being my last. Little did I know at that point that Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance was feeling the same helplessness.

One day, I sat watching the TV. All the videos of my favorite songs passed my numb senses; then, a video caught my attention: "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" - it was such a simple song, but it heightened my interest when I had lost interest in almost everything. The song made me feel something when I thought I would never feel again.

I immediately began to research the band and saw that, though this group of men was older than me, they were all outcasts and they encouraged the lonely and underdog to stand up for himself. They gave a positive message, and I took it fully to heart.

Their music gave me something to which I could relate; something that spoke to me and seemed to put my feelings into metaphor, a sort of audio friend.

Through them, I have learned to stand up for myself and for others, I have been given a voice that will never be silenced again, and most importantly, I have been given a will to live, and a hope that I someday can help people as they helped me.

Thank you, My Chemical Romance, for saving my life and others' lives.

Link to story

The video that changed it all:

Thank you guys so much for reading.

"Never let them take you alive"


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Those of you who saw The Dark Knight in theatres also had the treat of feasting your eyes upon something else that was lovely and comic-book related during your movie experience. You, unless you stumbled in late in the dark and probably spilled popcorn on some poor, unsuspecting nerd who thought you did it on purpose, saw the trailer for The Watchmen movie, which is scheduled for release in March, 2009 by Warner Brothers (and 4 days after my birthday, at that).
Why is that so special? Well, Watchmen, a 1980s graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, has been highly regarded as a turning-point publication in the comic book industry- changing views of the traditional "comic book hero." So, this film is "kind of a big deal."
Some will only see this movie because of the hype, others will simply want the phenomenal soundtrack that is in the works (featuring My Chemical Romance's cover of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row"), but some will appreciate this for the amazing graphic novel upon which it is based. Nevertheless, Cassie is predicting wonderful things, even if that means I think it's wonderful while the rest of the world exclaims their protests and disappointments. The Watchmen characters themselves are no strangers to this, anyway.

New trailer for the Watchmen from Spike TV's Scream Awards:

By the way, that extremely fitting song being played in the background is "The Beginning is the End is the Beginning" by The Smashing Pumpkins, which was originally featured on a Batman soundtrack.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Stare at the Sun" - Thrice

"Stare at the Sun" by Thrice has the tiny honor of being among my favorite songs. It is powerful enough to bring me to tears almost every time I listen to it, and today I found new meaning in it when thinking of it in the context of my Difficult Dialogues concerning Religious Beliefs class. In our previous class, we spoke about empiricism vs. romanticism. I tend to not take a religious view on anything, but nearly 100% of the time, think romantically about the world around me and beauty and that it is beyond scientific reasoning. In our last discussion in class, we thought of what scientific dissection of things we can find beautiful can do to our own perceptions of how beautiful they are to us personally. I find myself ridiculously conflicted and wanting more than a scientific reason for the things I feel, and I think this song describes that feeling perfectly.
So, for your enjoyment, I give you:

"Stare at the Sun" by Thrice

I sit here clutching useless lists,
keys for doors that don't exist
I crack my teeth on pearls
I tear into the history
Show me what it means to me in this world
Yeah, in this world

'Cause I am due for a miracle
I'm waiting for a sign
I'll stare straight into the sun
And I won't close my eyes
Till I understand or go blind

I see the parts but not the whole
I study saints and scholars both
No perfect plan unfurls
Do I trust my heart or just my mind
Why is truth so hard to find in this world
Yeah in this world

'Cause I am due for a miracle
I'm waiting for a sign
I'll stare straight into the sun
And I won't close my eyes
Till I understand or go blind (till I understand or go blind)

I know that there's a point I've missed
A shrine or stone I haven't kissed
A scar that never graced my wrist
A mirror that hasn't met my fist
But I can't help feeling like I'm

Due for a miracle
I'm waiting for a sign (waiting for a sign)
I'll stare straight into the sun
And I won't close my eyes (and I won't close my eyes)

Due for a miracle
I'm waiting for a sign
I'll stare straight into the sun
And I won't close my eyes

It's funny how something one has loved for so long can gain new meaning over and over...


PS: I'll never grow up, I'll never grow up, I'll never grow up.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Hey, guys--

Most of you have probably heard about audio-scrobbling, and last.fm, but for those of you who haven't, here's the deal:
Last.Fm is a website that can document what music a person is listening to using audioscrobbler technology and compile it so that users can see how musically compatible they are with others when visiting their profiles on the site. As the user listens more, the site begins suggesting artists that are similar to the listener's preferences in music as well as events the user should attend locally and even with whom the person should be friends. You can also make nifty widgets such as this listening quilt from my profile:

Neat, right? So why not start scrobbling now?

Well, you may get picked on for the music you listen to, and I know you all have guilty pleasures... But, who cares? Forget guilty , be proud of what makes you happy! Now, friends, go forth and scrobble!!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

One of the Many Reasons (Frank Iero)...

...why I love My Chemical Romance. The video for which I will later provide a link was taken at Projekt Revolution in Tampa, Florida on August 11th, 2007, which I attended, and which also happened to be singer Gerard Way's 3rd "soberversary," as we in the MCRmy like to call it.

This video was taken by Youtube user Musicislife428, and though I do not know exactly who that person is, I know she had to have been standing very near me for this footage to have been shot. This is rhythm guitarist, Frank Iero at the end of "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" doing what I feel is one of his most admirable and common actions- being one of us kids. I was right in front of him when this happened, and I think you can see my hand a little bit in the background of the video. Anyway, watch:

"Projekt Revolution 8/11 MCR Im Not Okay..Frank is Awesome"

Frankie's birthday is coming up in two weeks- this Hallowe'en. So, this is my early birthday tribute to his amazing-ness. I think there will be more to come.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The College that Stole Halloween

I'd like to thank you, Ohio University, for bringing more attention than is average to Halloween (I've heard you should start these kind of rants on a positive note).

Here's what I would not like to thank you for:

Halloween to me is this: it's appreciating Bela Lugosi, it's scary movies and haunted houses, it's showing off my creativity with a costume, it's trick-or-treating, Frank Iero's birthday, and being able to dress the way I do and have it considered normal for a day. But most of all it's the sense that one can be anything he or she wants on Halloween; it's beautiful and empowering. I know I am not alone when I say that -yea, sometimes when I put on a costume I feel powerful. For instance, you probably feel a little bit different when you're wearing a business suit than your regular attire, eh? You do. Don't lie. You may even feel better than those around you. The point is; Halloween can be what an individual chooses to make of it and of himself or herself, and it can be almost enlightening, but Ohio University--
Well, the general OU population seems to have other ideas...

Apparently, we have this party. Apparently, said party is HUGE. This party is all I have been hearing about this week; this party and it's... reputation. Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to a person's doing certain things- do as you wish, but it's not for me, and it's not the idea of Halloween I want to have. And instead of grasping this holiday's chance to be creative and to express oneself, the most I have heard about costumes is along the lines of this: "OH MY GOD, THE SKIRT IS SO SHORT; WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE MY COSTUME!"

To each his own, but- MY GOD- would I love to just see someone else with a nice appreciation of a good old zombie or vampire or two.

Here I am, the creepy girl with the vampire on her door and bats in her room, and it's almost as if those around me don't know why I have such decorations. The party is the only thing about Halloween that matters after all, right?


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Being a LIKEABLE writer

Going into an industry where writers are facing criticism from the artists they wish to interview can be very intimidating. Take for instance, three well-known artists that I would personally love to interview: The Academy Is…, Panic! At the Disco, and Paramore.

On their album “Almost Here,” The Academy Is… present a song, “Black Mamba” focused entirely on attacking music critics. Some stand out lyrics being, Oh, mister magazine/ I never wrote one single thing for you/ or your so called music scene/ they don’t mean a thing to me. Along with This is the voice that I was given/ and if you don’t like it/ take a long walk off of the shortest pier you can find. What I would like to point our to Mr. William Beckett, front-man of the group and lyricist is that journalists aren’t all nasty. Some of us, myself very much included, are even –gasp- fans! In fact, if all works out in my favor, I will be seeing TAI perform at the beginning of November. If they perform well, which- in my experience of seeing them in the past- they have, I will give them a good review. If they perform below my expectations, they are right- those are MY expectations, but it is my job to inform an audience of readers so that they can form their own opinions.

Similarly, Panic! At The Disco, who are more familiarly known as such, but have recently dropped the “!” in their name, target criticism through lyrics. On their album, “A Fever you Can’t Sweat Out,” the following lyrics can be found: The weather today/ is slightly sarcastic with a good chance of/ A.) indifference / or B.) disinterest in what the critics say. To this I would respond first with applause for the cleverness of the utilizing of a media’s weather reporting style to criticize the media itself. Secondly, I would say that we as journalists are not out to criticize, but to inform. Point is, make good and worthwhile music and you will not get negative feedback.

More recently, on Paramore’s “Riot!” media has been criticized through the following lyrics: It takes acquired minds to taste this wine… so we don’t need the headlines/ no we don’t want your headlines/ we just want/ we want the airways back… To this I respond: Hayley Williams, I admire you for coming into this industry young, female, and amazing- you are truly an inspiration for so many and very well should be, so thank you. Next, I will say this: we who are working in the field of music writing are among those "acquired minds," else we would not have half the desire to work in the industry. "Big media" is the issue here, not those of us who are music lovers writing for music lovers about music we love. Headlines are not a bad thing. My whole desire to be a music writer is to bring worthy artists to the forefront, artist who could inspire those who find them through such headlines. So, I'm down with you Paramore, let's bring the passion back to the airways - writer and artist together!

This is mostly what we as music writers and artists within the music industry need to realize: we can work together to change and better the industry. To finish, I will quote The Bouncing souls:
Where's the passion gone in our hearts?
Lost somewhere in the grind
It's time to bring it back
It's time to unwind
Find what we lost
It's time
It's time to bring it back


Friday, September 12, 2008

First Blog and Exciting News!!!

My journalism professor and academic advisor, Professor Robert Stewart, advised us students to set up blogs to set ourselves apart from the mass-media-working hopefuls. Who would have thought that all the former blogs I have had in which I have simply vented my feelings, posted angsty poetry, or reviewed - in full detail- My Chemical Romance shows could have been used for something useful? Not that those things weren't useful to me, and not that those reviews couldn't be seen by someone important and exciting, but... I learn something new every day that I am here: new information to not only advance my chances of getting work, but to help me understand exactly what it is into which I am getting myself.

I want to be a journalist- a music journalist to be exact. I want to be a link between fan and band and have the privelage and honor to delve into their artistic views. We learned that the main function of journalism is to make sense of our world for our audience. In the tiny world that is the music industry, I would be working to show the fans exactly what is happening with the artists they love. I, having had experience in this myself, could even be the means through which someone finds a musical artist who changes that person's life.

Now, to my exciting news!

Roughly a half hour ago, I ended a phone call with the editor of the webzine for which I write. In this conversation she gave me many pieces of advice and counseled me in the way of the "rock star," because I am now the co-editor of the 'zine and will be working much more closely with said "rock stars." Our webzine is becoming serious now. After issues with badly edited, sometimes mediocre content, we're going to get serious. Our website went down due to a quitting designer, we had quitting writers, abundant personal crisis, but we're still going, and are going to come back stronger than ever. I provided a link above to us above-- Mayhem Rock Magazine.

This makes me think of the chapter we had to read for our first class of Journalism 101 in which it critisized citizen-journalism and how it could be detrimental to the journalism industry. But, to that, I must ask this: in an industry where experience, experience, EXPERIENCE is the key, is it so bad for an aspiring journalist to work as a writer and one who provides the audience with needed information? If we have no means to get the experience that we need is it bad to start our own experiences? And does not every magazine, newspaper, or radio station had to have started somewhere?