Saturday, July 30, 2011

Live Review: Taking Back Sunday / July 24 and 29 / Cincinnati and Indianapolis

Some shows just can't be justified in words, which is precisely why I was so hesitant in my trying to capture my experience seeing Taking Back Sunday in Cincinnati on July 24.

Sometimes, as a music journalist (4 classes from a degree, I think I can officially call myself that now), you step back and think, "Fuck! Who the Hell am I:"

When you find Taking Back Sunday vocalist Adam Lazzara suddenly standing on the barricade in front of you, singing your favorite new TBS song quite literally against your face as you fumble for something to do with your hands while there's nowhere to put them but on him. Or, as you watch, over the heads of hundreds, him wading through the crowd all the way to the back with his mic cord held up by the crowd (I assume, for a singer, that has to feel something like being attacked by zombies that don't eat brains, but --rather-- grope you).

When he looks you dead in the eye, grins and sustains the look as you pantomime his lyrics back to him, feeling just as pissed off, or sad, or happy, or excited, or passionate as those words made you feel the first time you heard them.

When you're so covered in sweat and should logically be toppling over from exhaustion, but you continue full-force because it's that. damn. good, and you want to give a band back all the energy it deserves.

When, within one song, the full band and the entirety of the audience is drenched in sweat because you're in the middle of a heatwave and the venue doesn't have air-conditioning, but you're all grinning and you feel like a big, united drippy family.

When the audience sings so loudly that you can barely hear anything else and starts handclaps and chants without any prompting, and even raises a boisterous chorus of "ONE-MORE-SONG, ONE-MORE-SONG" after an opening band (Thursday, who are unbelievable and gush sincerity and hard work from every pore live).

That's when you think: Damn, what are mere words when I have this moment, when I feel this way. What pictures or videos or adjectives or nouns or scratch-and-sniff fucking holograms could even justify this?

That was Taking Back Sunday's set at Bogart's in Cincinnati on July 24, 2011, and it will go down as one of the best shows I've ever seen to date.

When Adam reaches out, as he has been doing at several (if not, possibly all) shows to turn off an audience member's camera saying, "You spend your whole day in front of a screen and you come here and spend it in front of an even smaller screen. I'm right here; just be here with me," I know what he means.

Performances like Taking Back Sunday's make documentation feel frivolous.

So, as a messenger to consumers, I say: Buy a ticket next time Taking Back Sunday is in your town, and don't hesitate at all. You may have to wait a while; as, their American tour is ending in Chicago in a couple days before they head to the U.K., but if you can travel and somehow get tickets, get there.

Taking Back Sunday fans travel from all over the country to follow TBS. In line in Indiana, five-out-of-seven of us at the front were from out-of-state, and in Cincinnati, the girls right behind my friend and I were from Florida and had traveled up the side of the U.S. following the tour. And it's obvious why.

TBS make every single fan feel something at their shows, and feel it intensely.

One of those big feelings is nostalgia, now that they've returned to their original line-up. New/old bassist Shaun Cooper and new/old guitarist-and-vocalist John Nolan grin their way through the shows, and you can sense how happy they are to be reunited with their old friends drummer Mark O'Connell, guitarist/TBS-founder Eddie Reyes and vocalist/incomparable-showman Adam Lazzara. The set on this tour, though the band did put out a brand new album recently, consists mostly of songs from their debut album, Tell All Your Friends and is a celebration of TBS's twelve years as a band (the stage backdrop boasts an "EST 1999"), and nearly ten years since the release of now scene-legendary TAYF-- an album which audience members, primarily 20-somethings, grew up to.

Thursday, as an opener, is the perfect complement to that feeling. Many audience members also grew up with them, and have seen their influence spread over the years. It's hard to think of a word for what Thursday has meant to the music we all so invest ourselves in, but I decided, as I breathlessly yelled to my friend after we watched them play, "They're fucking legends!"

At those couple TBS shows I attended, and especially at the Cincinnati one, I felt that old sense of community rising, and it really is something beautiful.

Over the past week, Taking Back Sunday has given me new friends, amazing memories, vigorous workouts and has raised my bar even farther for what a show should be.

Thank you, Taking Back Sunday. Yes, you did blow my damn mind.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Upcoming Blog Features / Do you have any questions for 2011 Warped Tour bands?

Behold, my concert calendar!

As you can see, I have recently attended a Taking Back Sunday show for which a live review is conspicuously missing. Skim a bit lower, and you will see that I am also seeing them live tomorrow. I plan to do a sort of combined review for the two shows. I'll say only this: The Cincinnati show was one of the best shows I have ever attended. It was also the hottest.

Next on the list: Warped Tour!

My press passes for this year's Warped Tour were just confirmed. That is where you come in. Last year was the first time I had experienced life in the Warped press room. I discovered there that, as often happens at the festival, there were plenty of surprises.

Plenty of my requested interviews fell through last year, and -- by total surprise -- I ended up interviewing Every Time I Die. This year, knowing those surprises so often arise, I did more research and am more equipped for surprise encounters, but I'd like for fans to be involved.

On the chance that I would get to speak to a band you like who will be at the Cincinnati Warped Tour stop, I want to know what questions YOU have! Leave a comment here or Email me to let me know!

I can't guarantee that it will get asked; as, I may not get the chance to speak to the band you want, but there is always a chance!

Updates will be coming soon, including a couple pending MCR news updates (Visit MyChemicalRomance[dot]com for information now).


Monday, July 25, 2011

My Chemical Romance Replica Rayguns Now Available for Individual Purchase

UPDATE: July 25, 2011 @ 9:32 p.m. EST

The raygun pages are back up and guns available for purchase!

Click the guns below to view their MCR store product pages!

UPDATE: July 14, 2011 @ 1:40 a.m. EST

Apparently, someone got a little hasty with that. The raygun product pages were just taken down from the site.

I will continue to update this page, but -- for now -- the provided links to the products at the bottom of this post will not work.

ORIGINAL POST: July 14, 2011 @ 1:13 a.m.

The Danger Days rayguns have been posted for individual sale on the My Chemical Romance webstore.

You can now "collect all four" of the poly resin model replica guns that were originally available only through purchase of the California 2019 Edition Box Sets.

The rayguns run $35.

Product pages:
Jet Star | Kobra Kid | Party Poison | Fun Ghoul


Monday, July 18, 2011

My Chemical Romance iTunes Festival Performace to be released as EP

UPDATE: July 20, 2011 @5:11 p.m.

The iTunes Festival: London 2011 EP is now available.

The EP, which costs $5.99 to download, features six live tracks from My Chemical Romance's iTunes festival performance:

1. "Hang 'Em High"
2. "Mama"
3. "SING"
4. "Teenagers"
5. "Vampires will Never Hurt You"
6. "The Kids From Yesterday"

ORIGINAL POST: July 15, 2011 @ 5:25 p.m.

My Chemical Romance guitarist Ray Toro has revealed that songs from the band's July 9 performance at London's iTunes Festival will soon be released as a digital EP.

The iTunes Festival EP, which Toro finished mixing today, is set to include live versions of "SING," "Give 'Em Hell Kid," "Vampires Will Never Hurt You" and more.

For a preview of what it may entail, you can stream MCR's iTunes Festival performance through iTunes for a limited amount of time.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cassie's Recommendations: Version Six

1. My Chemical Romance at iTunes Festival

On July 9, My Chemical Romance appeared at London's Roundhouse as a part of the 31-day-spanning iTunes Festival.

The performance streamed in full through iTunes and is still available to watch there, but -- luckily for us -- MCR fans are pros at streamripping by now, so you can watch it through the hour-and-a-half video embedded above.

I know almost two hours sounds like an intimidating amount of time to dedicate to watching a concert online, but My Chem's iTunes Fest performance is one of the best I have seen from them in years.

Vocalist Gerard Way, toward the middle of their set, had proclaimed it a magical night. And it truly was.

2. VH1's Do Something Awards

VH1 and DoSomething.Org are honoring artists and other personalities who have donated their time and resources to helping others in the 2011 Do Something Awards

Winners will be announced on August 18 at 9 p.m. EST on VH1.

MCR fans: "#SINGItForJapan" is nominated in the Charity Song category. Be sure to vote!

3. Damnesia - Alkaline Trio

Alkaline Trio's Damnesia came out earlier this week. There I am, to the left, showing my copy off proudly!

Despite several underwhelming reviews, I know it's a piece every Trio fan will want to have in his or her collection.

Keep an eye open for my review, which is coming soon!

4. Against Me!'s "Because of the Shame" music video"

Continuing the Alkaline Trio thread... How many 'Trio shirts can you spot in Against Me!'s new hyper-Floridian video for "Because of the Shame" between shots of night driving?

The highly personal track comes from AM!'s 2010 release White Crosses, which is set for re-issue July 26. The re-issue will include the original album, along with bonus tracks and Black Crosses with an additional 14 songs, which are alternate versions of or unreleased songs from the original album.

5. Ray Toro's birthday

It's this Friday, July 15. Plan accordingly, Killjoys.

Check out the video above and more from bonedo to learn how to play MCR songs on guitar...from MCR's guitarists!


[Read past recommendations]

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Chemical Romance discusses possible post-fall touring and album plans

**UPDATE: Friday, July 22 @ 7:50 p.m. EST

Following My Chemical Romance's performance at T in The Park on July 10, frontman Gerard Way revealed to BBC Radio One that the band is already* working on new material for a future album.

"We've already started writing new music. So, we really wanna do that," Way said when asked if following the Reading and Leeds, they were going to take a break or record a new album.

In addition to planning ahead for a new record, Way discussed touring hopes to follow the Honda Civic Tour.

"There's some countries we're talking about going to because we haven't gotten to them yet. We haven't been to South America, Southeast Asia, Mexico, so we're still talking," Way said.

**Recently, in an interview for the T In The Park Festival programme, guitarist Frank Iero expressed interest in recording, as well.

"It'd be fun to go back into the studio," Iero said when asked what MCR's post-festival-season plans are. "We have been feeling very creative lately, I think we could make another record if time was on our side."**

You can download the Radio 1 interview from MCR Updates on Tumblr.

*Yesterday, that sent fans into an uproarious frenzy. Note that many My Chemical Romance songs predate albums by several years.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cassie's Recommendations: Version Five

1. Taking Back Sunday's cover of Kanye West's "Can't Tell me Nothing"

I originally heard Taking Back Sunday's rendition of Kanye's "Can't Tell me Nothing" through a Warner Brothers Records Summer Sessions stream.

Luckily, it wasn't a one-time-only thing (they had commented that it was something they were doing for kicks and were surprised at themselves for playing it live then), and AltPress did a story on their covering it at a recent acoustic in-store so that I could find it and share it with you all.


I finally started using today (I'm late, I know)!

The website is set up with various rooms through which users can stream music for one another as "DJs" or simply listen as audience members.

It's great way to interact with others while sharing music LEGALLY!

So, join, because I want to play music with people!

3. "Gucci Gucci" - KREAYSHAWN

When @shit[james]deweessays tweeted:

"Ok according to Kreayshawn's bio she's an artist, producer, film director, musician and basically she just owns a Mac. i feel bad. im sure she probably puts her heart into it & thinks she's helping the world or some shit, but seriously gimme a fucking break.

morbid curiosity spiked, and I had to look her up. What resulted was a listen to "Gucci Gucci" (after stumbling upon far inferior "Bumpin Bumpin"). Actually, I should say, multiple listens. on repeat. all day.

There something a little too addicting about Oakland's Kreayshawn's humorous rhymes and that "One big room, fulla bad bitches" bit.

4."J Train" - Reggie And The Full Effect

Speaking of James Dewees...

This song is bad-ass, the video is bad-ass, and MCR fans will be pleased to see not only MCR's touring keyboardist in action, but also Frank Iero dressed up as Frankenstein in it.

Fun Fact: Frank has said he would have liked to have done make-up for horror films if he weren't in a band.

5. "False Alarm" - The Bronx

In continuation of the horror theme...


Friday, July 1, 2011

My Chemical Romance issue "design challenge" for Make-A-Wish Foundation

UPDATE: July 30, 2011 @ 9:45 p.m.

You can now Vote for your favorite designs!

The voting period will last until August 7 and winners will be announced on August 18.

Good luck to all who entered! Which design do you hope wins?

ORIGINAL POST: July 1, 2011 @ 5:48 p.m.

My Chemical Romance alongside MASScanvas, a t-shirt design company that works with artists and charities, have issued a t-shirt design challenge to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to submit a "Good vs. Evil"-themed design by July 22.

MCR vocalist Gerard Way advises designers, "I think what makes a submission better than another is, firstly, the originality and the idea most of all [and] being fearless about it-- doing the really hard stuff, doing the dangerous stuff, doing the stuff that may ruin your chances. Don't always take the safe way out."

"Submit your art in any style you feel will meet the challenge," Way says.

Five winners, which will be announced by the band on August 18, will receive a $1000 prize (the highest seller will receive an additional $1500). A public vote will decide the top 20 entries, and the band will choose the top 5 from them.

Winning designs will be sold on t-shirts through MASScanvas for a limited time, and a portion of all the sales will go to the Make-A-Wish foundation.

Rules and a message from Gerard Way