Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ramble On- February 15

Take This- Staind -- I think everybody has their "sad" song, the one that they turn on and play on repeat, and even though it makes you feel worse and probably provokes even more tears than you already had flowing, it still somehow makes you feel a little bit better. Maybe it's part of the whole catharsis of emotions idea. Maybe it's just a girl thing. Hell, maybe it's just a Kelli thing. All I know is that I do it, and "Take This" is the song that I always turn to. I adore Aaron Lewis, as has been previously stated in the last post. This really raw, emotional song is probably my favorite from Staind, and shows that parts of the band that make me love them. The music is simple but beautiful. The lyrics are real and so tangible for anyone who has ever just felt, well, tired. This song pulls me back when I think that I am on the edge, and after I get out all the tears and bad vibes that I have held inside, I just feel...relief. If you are in need of a song to help you feel the same way, I would be more than happy to share this one with you.

I And Love And You- The Avett Brothers  -- I had heard this song quite a few times before, and didn't hate it, but didn't love it until last week. I hadn't taken the time to soak it all in and really hear the words, and now that I have, I've gained an entirely new respect for it. The entire vibe of it, so chill and peaceful in the most melancholy of ways. I can't decide what the song is supposed to be about, whether it is a happy, lovey song or just the opposite. For purposes of my interpretation at this time, I'm going to choose the second option. I'll cite this line to back up my hypothesis (oh goodness, what has working on my master's done to me?!) :
"One foot in and one foot back, But it don't pay to live like that, So I cut the ties and I jump the tracks, For never to return"
Something about this song strikes me and draws me into it, maybe it's the back story to when i first really heard it. But that's really the great thing about a song. You can take it how you want, and relate it to whatever you choose, and no matter what, that song ties it back to those memories and helps your mind to keep them when others are slipping through the cracks. And that, my friends, is why i am so in love with music. 


Mourning- Tantric --  It's funny that I can remember the exact time that I first heard this song as well. It was actually at my first Tantric show, here in Lex. It was arguably one of the best nights of my life, as I had my first experience of getting on a real-live rockstar tour bus. I won't bore you with all the amazingly amazing details (though, if you are interested, you can find them in my Tantric show review blog) but basically, it was the coolest thing ever just chilling on the tour bus and talking with a band that I had been listening to on the radio forever.

The show itself was pretty great, too. When the band started playing this song, my friend who i was there with nudged me and told me to listen because this was a great song. So I listened and watched as Hugo, the singer, sat down at the keyboard and began to play and sing. I love the concept of the song, love the melody of it, and love the play on words. I especially love the emotion and depth of it. It is one of my favorites now, and I can't believe it was never more of a hit for Tantric. (And just as an aside, I'm reppin' my Tantric shirt today- so thanks again for that one, Hugo ♥ )  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ramble On- February 8

Kiss Me When I'm Down- Gary Allan -- It's amazing how listening to some songs can take you back to an exact time in your life. Just by hearing the first few notes, your mind and heart are completely transported back a month, a year, ten years, to the time when your ears first heard it, and your soul first felt every word the artist was saying. 
I have that kind of reaction to this song. When I hear it, I go back to last year, spring break. I was in my roommate's jeep, and we were on our way back to her aunt's house we were staying at in Panama City. It was late at night, and I was in a sad, single, and just dark place emotionally. This song just seemed perfect for me for that exact moment, and every time I hear it, I go right back there, and still feel every word he says the same way I did that night.  

This song is perfect if you're in a "we just broke up, but I miss you, and I just want to feel sorry for myself" kind of mood. I love, love, love this song. 

   
Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning) - Vertical Horizon -- As I was listening to the previously mentioned Gary Allan song, I also listented to his cover of Vertical Horizon's "Best I Ever Had." Though I really like Allan's version, the original is a classic that you just can't beat.

Also falling along the lines of sad/lonely/breakup songs (maybe this weather is making me depressed?) this song is great when you just want to feel sorry for yourself, or just hear a really good song. Quite beautiful, and a nice kick back to 1999.



 
Country Boy- Aaron Lewis -- A friend (and the biggest lover of Aaron Lewis I know) recommended this song to me a few months back, and I instantly assumed that Aaron Lewis was born in my hometown and that the video was filmed in Center Point. Turns out, he's no Kentuckian, but actually a Vermont/Massachusetts-ian. Listening to him sing about growing up "on an old dirt road in a town you wouldn't know" is more than relatable, though.

If you are used to the Staind side of Lewis, this song is not gonna be it. It's the first single from his new country-flavored EP set to come out in early March, and though it has familiar vocal soundings, the lyrics are different than any Staind song I've ever heard. Adjust to the style and you're in for a ride through the story of his life, from his roots to the selling his soul to "the devil in L.A."

If you have any country in you at all, you might have just found your new anthem.  (And as a side note, if you want to buy me a gift in thanks of increasing your musical brain, the guitar he plays in the video would be just perfect. Please and thank you.)


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ramble On - February 3

Hesitate--Stone Sour - I first heard this song live at the Stone Sour show in Lex last week, and I really liked it but thought how strangely slow and mellow it was for Corey Taylor, even for his role with Stone Sour. At the show I thought it was a sappy love song (because his vocals weren't turned up loud enough- good going sound man). Then I heard it on the radio the other night and looked up the words, and found out that it's more along the lines of a breakup song at the end of a sappy relationship.   

I absolutely love Taylor's voice, and he could probably sing the phone book and I'd still love it. This super-slow, super-emotionally charged song is now one of my current favorites, and almost makes me want to break up with my bf just so I can have this as my theme song for life. I kid, I kid...but seriously, I love it that much that I might consider it ;) 



Isolation--Alter Bridge - I love Alter Bridge, and always have. I really like their new album, and this song is one of my favorites from "III." I also adore this video ("Faithfully" deja vu, anyone?) and not just because of how beautiful I think Mark Tremonti is. (He held a door open for me one night in Nashville after a Sevendust show. We had a connection, and may still be in love.) 
"Isolation" is nothing extraordinarily different, just a really good modern rock song, with some great guitar licks (thanks, my love Mr. Tremonti, for them) and that angelic voice of Myles Kennedy, who, I admit, I like to pretend really got his start in music by singing for Steel Dragon at the end of the movie "Rock Star."  I'm gonna throw in a little "Stand Up and Shout" by Steel Dragon now, just because I'm thinking about it now and considering leaving work just to go watch it. It is an awesome movie, seriously.



Down by the Water--The Decemberists  - I must admit that I did not think that I would like The Decemberists. I am picky, and yes, I'll say it, a bit stubborn, when it comes to music. I think I'll blame this one also on the conditioning of my local radio stations. If its not Shinedown or Van Halen, I probably don't hear it, and I just assume that I don't like it (disclaimer: I do not actually care much for Van Halen. Or ACDC, while we're being honest. There went my credibility. Oh well. I can write my own songs about an ice cream truck, so David, just keep yours and I'll "jump" to my own.)

Now that I'm off that soap box, back to The Decemberists. They are very folky, very happy indie people who I picture holding hands and skipping through a field of daisies. Of course, of all the songs from their new album, "The King is Dead," my favorite track is "Down by the Water," the least daisy-skipping song on the whole thing. But still, it's really good. It makes me think of REM at times, and the beginning makes me think of another song that I can't think of right now but is killing me trying to figure it out.

Liking The Decemberist is my attempt at being a "cool kid" listening to cool kid music. Maybe I'll go put on my most indie clothes and find a field of some daisies to skip through. It's what all the cool kids are doing. After you listen to them, you might just wanna hold my hand and join me.     


And, just to throw out my opinion, because I know you want to know, I HATE how VEVO is infiltrating YouTube and forcing you to watch so many advertisements before you can watch an "official video." I'm not so dense that I don't understand its purpose ($$$$$$$$$) but it still really sucks. So there. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nightmare After Christmas Tour [review]

The Nightmare After Christmas Tour rolled into Lexington Friday night, and some of today's hottest bands in rock nearly burned Rupp Arena to the ground (literally).


New Medicine, a young band from Minneapolis, kicked off the show. Led by a front man who looks like a tattooed twin of Nick Swardson (seriously, look at pics of them both- the resemblance is uncanny), their music was pretty good. The very upbeat, poppy-rock songs were fun, especially "Rich Kids," in which the band assures that even though they aren't college educated, they are more than qualified to entertain you, 'cause in rock and roll they "got a PH.D." How can you argue with that? Overall, they aren't going to be the next Metallica (or even New Found Glory for that matter) but they are worth the time to watch on YouTube or maybe even make a purchase from iTunes. 




Hollywood Undead stormed the stage next- and when I say stormed, I mean it literally. Amidst the sounds of warning sirens, the hoard of masked band members ran onto the stage in a bit of an overwhelming fashion. Six guys sang, while occasionally playing bass, guitar, keyboard, and electric drums, plus there was one 'real' drummer, who was more of live background music than anything else.  They had a sound similar to Linkin Park, with singing mashed up with rap rhymes, especially in "Hear Me Now," the first single off their new album. 
I will admit that their set took some getting used to. The singing was live, but the majority of the music was pre-recorded tracks that allowed the bassist, guitarist, and keyboardist, too, to throw in their parts when convenient. But somehow, amongst all the melee, it worked. You couldn't help moving along to the catchy beats of the songs. "Everywhere I Go" was probably their best song of the night, and the entire general admission audience knew every word to the rhyme at the beginning (except me- what a loser, but you'll be happy to know I have since remedied that).  

 

When Stone Sour came onto the stage, the new-age hybrid rap-rock was shoved straight out the windows of the arena. And when front man Corey Taylor ran out and I saw him in person for the first time, I'm not gonna lie- I had a moment. There, right in front of me, was THE Corey Taylor, singer for Stone Sour and Slipknot, a seriously huge rockstar who I had never seen live before. After my sa-woon moment passed and my breathing regulated, I was still having a hard time getting over his appearance. He just looked so...normal. Not a guy that could sing for Slipknot or even the heavier songs of Stone Sour, like "Hell and Consequences." With just a few tattoos, short hair, jeans and a t-shirt, he said it best when he said he looked like "the metal Dougie Howser." 

video 

Stone Sour put on an amazing show, one that was much more mellow than I had expected. They did rock out with some more hardcore stuff like "30/30-150" that hadn't had much radio play, the majority of the songs were hits that were familiar favorites, including  "Say You'll Haunt Me," the first single from Audio Secrecy.  Taylor had solo reign of the stage as he sang an acoustic version of "Bother." But honestly, he was the center of the show the entire set. The rest of the band was great, but not wildly active and or distracting from the show put on by Taylor.  It was an amazing show, no doubt about it.



Right before the curtains dropped for Avenged Sevenfold and the stage setup was revealed, it was clear that someone's nightmare was about to begin. A man was standing on top of the light rigs, and around his neck was a white rope noose. He took a step forward and jumped, leaving him swinging back and forth at the front of the stage (where the black cables that were actually supporting him were finally illuminated).


This stunt was just the first of the incredible sights that filled the entire show. The stage was filled with metal gates and stone columns that shot fire skyward so intensely that the fire was hot on the skin of people all the way across the arena. The background banner featured a house that was lit so that the windows glowed like someone inside flipped on a switch. It was an amazing spectacle, and probably the best staging of any show I have ever been to (and at this point I've been to a lot of shows. There was even more flames and fireworks than Nickelback, and like them or not, that's a lot of pyro).        

 

The music itself was perfectly amazing, in true A7X style. The band blasted through almost the entire "Nightmare" album, throwing in other older favorites as well. Though singer M. Shadows tried to lighten the mood by telling jokes and talking about his time at the previous night's Rascal Flatts concert, there was still a strong sense of sadness hanging over the entire show. The sadness, caused by the untimely death of drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan a little over a year ago, penetrated almost every song. The most emotional moment came when they played "So Far Away," which M. Shadows said was "the saddest song," and it really was.  A background featuring an image of the band hugging with The Rev in the center was dropped, and as the song ended, touring drummer Arin Ilejay stepped away from the set and the lights all focused on the empty seat. It was a touching moment, without doubt, in a show full of such touching moments. 
Don't get me wrong, the show was not made up of entirely sad moments. It was also a rocking explosion of heavy A7X music, from the the first song all the way through "A Little Piece of Heaven" during the encore. The balance of all the moods of the songs made for an emotional roller coaster that left the crowd exhausted but thrilled, unwilling to wake up after the end of this nightmare.