Music Is My Drug

Chevelle Concert Review By Gracie

I took Gracie to see Chevelle at Iron City Birmingham on May 4th, 2015.  I’ve been to Iron City many times but this was Gracie’s first time.  She loves Chevelle, which isn’t a surprise since I love them and I have excellent taste in music.  E was out of town on a business trip so just we girls went.  I’ll let Gracie review the concert in her own words and then I’ll add my 2 cents.

“The Chevelle concert was my first floor concert and I am grateful that I was able to see them.  This was also the first time I’ve been to Iron City.  

First off, the opening band, The Marmozets, were great.  The songs were good and I enjoyed them.  They were interactive with the crowd and had fun with it.  We ended up buying their CD.

Finally, Chevelle was ready and began with a great opening. Chevelle was certainly my favorite.  The whole band had fun with everyone, telling favorite memories, and pointing out the great people who helped with the concert.  They invited everyone to sing our lungs out and clearly everyone had a great time.  Pete (the lead singer) played new and old (songs), which kept us on our toes.  What would they sing next?!  They sang some of their best songs, my favorites, too!  I hated to see them leave.

Although we didn’t stay for the whole act of The Used, we heard one song.  I have only heard a few songs by The Used and I’m now finding new ones I like every day.

So in conclusion, I liked this concert and I’ll never forget it!”

It was a sold out show, which means that Iron City had about 1300 people inside it that night.  I was nervous about having Gracie on the floor with me but she did great.  She does have a “personal space” thing, though.  She didn’t like touching anyone besides me but I finally got it through to her that it just happens when you’re on the floor of a sold out concert.

Chevelle is a great live band.  I mean, anyone can sound good with mixing and all that shit they do in the studio, but I think a true sign of talent is when you sound just as good live.  I didn’t think Pete Loeffler could pull off the same vocals live as I hear repeatedly on any given album of theirs but he did.  He nailed the controlled, brooding rage that builds and explodes in the end to full-on rage, every single time.  Pete and Dean Bernadini’s guitar playing were exactly like the album recordings.  The sound I fell in love with listening to all their albums is exactly what I heard that night.  It’s rare that that happens nowadays.  I love them even more now.

Onto the girlier shit of my review, I get really pissed off when a band doesn’t even talk to the crowd or acknowledge where they are.  I’ve vowed never to see Seether live again for this very reason.  Pete knew where the hell he was that night, called us by name (Birmingham), talked to us throughout the set and seemed legitimately happy to be there.  That means a lot to me, as a fan and a concert goer who paid money to see them live.  I would most definitely pay to see them again the future.

Gracie and I were on the floor, to the right side of the stage.  Both of us have a pretty big crush on Pete so when Chevelle came on stage, we were highly disappointed that Pete was on the LEFT side of the stage.  No offense, Dean.  Please forgive us.  So, if you’re a huge Pete fan, go to the left side of the stage when you see them.  Not stage left, the left to you when you’re looking at the stage, just to be clear.

We did not stay for The Used because it was past 11:00 when they came onstage and it was a school night.  I know, I’m such a downer.  I would have really liked to stay for The Used encore, which was a trilogy of Rage Against The Machine songs but it would have been well after midnight before it was over.

Gracie and I each bought a Chevelle tee and the Marmozets CD.  The Marmozets, by the way, were pretty delightful.  The lead singer is just a doll and she was so thankful to the warm crowd for their “friendliness”.  Their songs were good, the lead singer could really belt out a good screamy hard rocking song and the crowd really enjoyed them.  You can tell when a crowd just wants the opening act to get the hell off the stage but we were pretty into The Marmozets.  They’re worth checking out if they come to your town.

Here are some great pictures from the night, taken by a local photographer.

Here are a couple pictures from my phone.  This is all I have since I accidentally deleted all of them.  Yes, I’m that stupid, apparently.

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Here is a video of the live performance of “Take Out The Gunman” from Chevelle’s latest album “La Gárgola”.  It’s my favorite song off the album.  This is the best video from that night that I could find but hopefully this will give you an idea of their live performance.

And here is the actual official video for “The Red”.  Fifteen years ago, this would’ve been the song you raised your lighter to when you saw them live.  Now everyone just sings really loudly and badly and raises their cell phones in the air to take shitty videos.  That’s why I didn’t post a video from the actual concert.  They all sucked.  It’s an anthem for anyone with rage issues.  Don’t we all have them from time to time?  This is also a great workout song, by the way.

I hope you all enjoyed my daughter’s first rock concert review.  She is 13 years old, so I’m pretty picky about what she can see with me right now, but I anticipate lots of concerts together in the future.

The Music or the Misery

This isn’t really a blog post.  It’s just a diversion of traffic.  But I still love you.

The music blog I write for, My Music, My Concerts, My Life, has published another rambling post written by yours truly.  If you’re dating or want to date a music freak and you feel like you’re not speaking the same language, go check this out and be prepared to replenish your bodily fluids on a daily basis.  That’s right.  Fran added the disclaimer that “results may vary” but that’s just bullshit, man.  Go stock up on Gatorade, guys.  Or if you’re really committed, IV poles are really hot these days.  Go all in or go home.

There are lots of really great music posts coming up over at My Music, My Concerts, My Life.  I will post here when one of mine goes up but you can also sign up for the email here to stay on top of things.

Thanks for reading StephOnTheRocks.  This past weekend almost broke my viewing records for a single day and I cannot tell y’all how much I appreciate all the clicks and shares.  Several women shared their own “hotel” stories with me after my Cough Syrup post and I’m forever thankful to them for opening up to me and letting me know I’m not/wasn’t alone.

Now take your little mouse and hit this good shit.  Please.

http://www.mymusicmyconcertsmylife.com/2015/05/the-music-or-misery.html#more

Y’all have a good week!

What Happens When You Talk To Strangers On The Internet

It blows my mind sometimes that I have friends, good friends who confide in me, share the same twisted sense of humor with me, love a lot of the same music as I do, love football as much as I do, that I’ve never even met in real life.

One of those people is my friend Fran.  We met a few years ago, through my good friend Lizzie, who I met through my very dear high school friend Rhonda.  See how that craziness works?

Fran and I would banter in Lizzie’s Facebook posts and after a while he finally sent me a friend request.  He denies this but I know he did because I rarely friend request anyone.  I just feel weird about it.  Don’t judge me, it’s just another hangup of mine.

Anyway, not long after becoming friends with Fran, he and his boys did something very special for my son, who has Asperger Syndrome.  He swore me to secrecy and I believe he threatened to “Ike Turner” me (my words, not his but that was the gist of it) if I ever revealed what a truly nice guy he is.  I’m technically not breaking that promise because I’m not revealing what he did but that action definitely sealed his Lifelong Friend rating in my book, even though to this day he still replies to all my messages with “Who the fuck are you?” and “Stop sending me messages!”.

I must not be too bad, though, because Fran asked me to come on board and write for his music blog My Music, My Concerts, My Life.  I’m thrilled that my first contribution went live today.

http://www.mymusicmyconcertsmylife.com/2015/03/daughter-of-preacher-man.html

preacher

Please go check it out and also read some of the other posts there.  I’m pleased as punch that I’ve been included in a group of people as funny as hell, intelligent, music savvy, and just all around bad ass as they all are.

I can’t believe I just used “pleased as punch” and “bad ass” in the same sentence but there it is.

I know I’ve been MIA here for a while.  I’ve been in a slump but it’s getting better.  I will post concert reviews here as I’ve always done, but more specific music rambling, obsessing, music geek stuff, and “High Fidelity” type Top 5 Lists will be over at My Music, My Concerts, My Life.  Subscribe to the email list for that blog if you want to join other music freaks or even just pretend to be one.  Fran won’t spam you, I promise, but he does send out free porn every Tuesday.  I’m kidding.  It’s every Friday.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

My Top Ten Albums of 2014

Title is self explanatory and besides that, I really don’t like to wait so we’ll just get right to it, shall we?  Plus I don’t fuck around with all that Casey Kasem countdown type shit.  I’ll give #1 to you right off the bat.  I’ll even throw in 5 extra albums so that makes it a Top 15 list.  Who else is going to give you that?  Nobody.

But first, some rules.  The albums had to be released in 2014.  I take the rankings directly from my last.fm listening charts, which my kids cannot dilute nor influence.  These are truly the albums I listened to the most in the year of 2014, whether I like it or not.  I will also include a playlist with a couple of my favorite songs off each album.  If you agree to these rules, come out of your corners, let’s shake hands, and get down to business.

1.  They Want My Soul by Spoon:  Are you kidding me?  A Texas rock band?  I’ve been a fan for just about as long as they’ve been around, which is a long time.  I listened to this album pretty much nonstop, driving 12 hours straight to get my kids home in time for the first day of school after our annual summer trip to Texas.  The album was released the very same day I left Texas for Bama and it was a life saver.  If a band ever got together in the studio and said “Hey, let’s make an album specifically for this fan, for this exact day of her life”, this would be that album for me.  I loved it on that horrific day and still can listen to it without skipping songs today.  And if you know me, that says a lot.

2.  Crosses by Crosses (†††):  Again, are you kidding me?  This is a side project of Chino Moreno, who normally is head honcho for the Deftones.  I love Chino Moreno, okay?  Let’s just get that out of the way.  But I’m not deaf and if I didn’t like his side project, I wouldn’t listen.  Chino has a way with lyrics that no one I’ve ever listened to has.  I’m a lyric whore, I’ve said it before, and he is my pimp, no doubt about it.  Every single one of his lyrics tops anything that Jane Austen ever wrote for Mr. Darcy and if you know me, that says a lot.  He will hate fuck you in one song and then make sweet, slow love to you in the next, cap it off with a wedding ring and beg you to have his babies.  Holy shit.

3.  Royal Blood by Royal Blood:  Debut album from the British rock duo Royal Blood.  Another one hit out of the park for me.  I could listen to this whole thing without stopping or skipping and that is rare for me.  Just good old rock and roll, nothing really new but they sound so damned fresh.  The songs are sexy as hell and I love their lyrics.  A few songs, I could swear the lyrics could have been written by Jack White.  Run, don’t walk, to listen to them.

4.  Ryan Adams by Ryan Adams:  I’ve been a fan of Ryan Adams ever since I first heard his cover of “Wonderwall”.  I know that’s not a long time for some of you diehards but since then, I have been devouring anything new the man puts out.  This whole album is just good.  It just is.  The man can rarely do wrong by me but this album will always be special to me.

5.  Do To The Beast by The Afghan Whigs:  The first album by the Afghan Whigs in over a decade, I was so excited to listen to this for the first time.  Although I didn’t appreciate the entire album, at least half of it is loved, and that’s more than I can ask for these days.

6.  Half The City by St. Paul & The Broken Bones:  My music blogger friend, Fran, posted a video of these guys and I was gone.  They are Birmingham boys and I wrote about seeing them here in concert in their hometown here.

7.  Lazaretto by Jack White:  I did not get to see Jack White in concert this year but I absolutely loved his new album, and then of course, this happened.

8.  La Gárgola by Chevelle:  I think this album also dropped the day I drove the 12 hours straight back to Bama.  Regardless, I hadn’t heard it yet and it blew me away.  This was my badass album of the year.  I mean, listen to “Take Out The Gunman” and you’ll either want to shoot something or get to a gym as quickly as possible.  This was my workout album of the year, for sure.  Chevelle’s lead singer, Pete Loeffler, is at his best when he goes from subdued and brooding with barely contained rage to completely unhinged and screaming the very next beat.  Check out “One Ocean” for a complete about face.  It’s a truly beautiful song and shows some range of what they can do when they’re not taking ass and kicking names.  Or kicking ass and taking names.  Pete can do whatever the hell he wants.  Don’t question him.

9.  Tremors by SOHN:  Tremors was my laid back, chill album of the year.  I would fall asleep to this album and that’s not a bad thing.  The lyrics are still there, still passionate and sexy and everything I look for but the whole thing just says “relax”.  Not typically my normal thing but I’m glad I found them.  Definitely look forward to seeing what they have up next.

10.  Strange Desire by Bleachers:  This was the debut album of the American indie band Bleachers and it instantly got to me the way The Neighbourhood’s album did last year.  Fresh sounding, great lyrics and songs.  “Rollercoaster” was definitely my summer jam and “Wake Me” makes my heart race like few songs do.

11.  Indie Cindy by Pixies:  I’m a huge Pixies fan but this one was quite the let down.  The only reason it’s here is because I listened to Blue Eyed Hexe so much, I think I broke the internet for a couple days after it was released.  It is a staple on my workout playlist.  It’s the Pixies, in one song.

12.  Versus by Emerosa:  The third album by the post-hardcore band, I hadn’t really listened to anything by them before.  They can sound very pop-rocky much like Framing Handley, but there’s something else to them.  My favorite tracks from this album showcase that difference, the depth.  My favorite tracks from this album aren’t the typical pop rock ones but the ones that bring on the angst and anger for which I’m such a sucker for.

13.  X by Ed Sheeran:  I still don’t know what to do with this guy, to be honest.  I like him but he did that thing with Taylor Swift and that’s just hard for me to get past.  He’s adorable and he has a wicked sense of humor so a couple of the songs from this album boosted the album into my year favorites.

14.  Hesitant Alien by Gerard Way:  Gerard is the former lead singer of the band My Chemical Romance and I was devastated when they broke up a couple years ago.  MCR released a greatest hits album this year and it was actually #2 on my album chart but I didn’t include it because it was a greatest hits album.  Gerard Way can do no wrong in my musical book.  The king of angst himself, I relate to his songs probably more than I ever have any other writer/singer.  Justin from Blue October is the only other one who can come close.  I didn’t like the whole album but I liked enough of it that it’s a success for me.  It has all the quirkiness of Gerard and enough of MCR that makes me feel warm and gooey inside.  I hope he keeps putting good stuff out.

15.  Bed On Fire by Butch Walker:  A bit of a cheat  because this is actually a single, the album doesn’t come out until February, I believe.  This showed up on my last.fm charts as an album and I’m listening to this single constantly so I’ll include it, even as a cheat.  Butch lost his father last year and although it’s his right to mourn his father for however long it takes, I was hoping he’d get back to his normal style of writing soon.  Listening to Butch under normal circumstances alternately makes me want to fill the biggest glass I can find with wine and sit in front of a huge ass fireplace buck naked or get naked after drinking an insane amount of hard liquor and climb onto a bar somewhere to dance in protest over getting older.  Either way, I’m naked and at this time of year, that’s not a good thing.  Trust me.  I haven’t seen him in concert yet but this happened this year.

Honorable Mention, Black Widow by In This Moment:  I was editing this for the final time before publishing and realized there are no women on this list, which isn’t too surprising.  I have a hangup about most girl bands, women singers, etc.  I just relate to males more musically but I was shocked that In This Moment didn’t appear.  I listen to them a lot, especially while working out at the gym.  The lead singer, Maria Brink, is a complete and total badass.  She can sing beautiful notes in a breathtaking ballad and then scream louder and fiercer than any metal dude out there today.  Also, her lyrics are amazing.  Chick’s been through some shit.  I’d love to know her.  Check them out.

I hope your musical year was as good as mine was.  Some years it seems slim pickings but this year was actually a goldmine as far as good albums go.  I hope you find a few that you like in this list.  If you discovered a band or album you love this year that’s not on this list, please let me know!

Concert Review: St. Paul & The Broken Bones

I have resided in Birmingham, Alabama for the last six years yet I first heard of a local Birmingham band named St. Paul & The Broken Bones from a friend who lives in New Jersey.  True story.

My friend posted this video and I instantly fell in love with the lead singer, Paul Janeway, who looks as unassuming as a Macy’s shoe clerk but has the soul of Otis Redding when he opens his mouth to sing.

 

I eagerly waited for their first full length album to be released and I was not disappointed in “Half The City”.  In the meantime, the band was building up quite a following, appearing on every late night talk show around, and stunning people with their sound, which is really nothing new but very refreshing in this age of computer generated music and generic, recycled lyrics.

I got to experience this band’s vintage yet new sound and feel on November 13th when I had the privilege of seeing St. Paul & The Broken Bones play a sold out show at the historic Alabama Theatre.  I had bought tickets in a brutal online battle, which led the band to announce a second show on November 14 and it quickly sold out also.  Birmingham was very excited to have the hometown band back, it seemed.

E and I arrived at the show early and were very surprised by the crowd in attendance.  It was a much older crowd, for the most part, than we are used to at concerts.  We could have easily been going to see a Statler Brothers concert on a Sunday afternoon, judging by the crowd.

We were seated in the upper balcony, which didn’t afford a great view but again, I was just happy to have tickets.  I settled in with a beer and we waited.

Suddenly, an ordinary looking young man wearing jeans and a red hoodie with “Roll Tide” scrawled across the front appeared at the microphone.  No one recognized him.  He then said “Hi, I’m Paul of The Broken Bones” and then everyone came alive.  Paul, by the way, was named after Paul “Bear” Bryant, the greatest coach (so far) in Alabama football history.  Also, I would be completely remiss here if I didn’t type in all caps “ROLL TIDE”.

Paul introduced a friend of his who would open up the show.  To be honest, I can’t even remember the guy’s name but he was from Oklahoma and really good.  It was just him, his guitar and an attached harmonica.  He was personable and funny with his short stories in between songs and didn’t overstay his welcome.

But the crowd was ready to see their hometown boys.  Paul got emotional a couple of times, telling the crowd his grandmother was in the audience, seeing the band live for the first time.  He also said he had seen B.B. King and Tom Waits play in the same theatre, had watched Christmas movies there also (we’re taking our kids to a Christmas movie marathon there in just a couple weeks) and now he and his band were playing two sold out shows in his hometown theatre.  It was truly moving to see him living his dream on stage.

The band performed the entire “Half The City” album plus a few covers, including David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream and Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees.  The covers were distinctly St. Paul and if you didn’t know the lyrics, you probably would never have known they weren’t their own songs.

My favorite cover of the night was their closing song.  It is also my favorite Otis Redding song. Here is a video of that exact performance:

 

Would I shell out more of my own bucks to see this band live again?  Absolutely.  Hopefully, the next album will be out before we know it and they’ll come on back home to perform again.

Here’s their album “Half The City” on Spotify, for your listening pleasure.

Don’t Cross The Streams, Damn It!

So I started watching this guy and his family, ViewFromTheCheapSeats, about a month ago for their Universal Orlando vlogs.  As some of you know, my family celebrates Halloween week in Orlando every year.  Yes, we are freaks but that’s not why we’re here tonight.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that fall is my favorite season and I wait all damned year for the fall brews to arrive in stores.  Here’s a reminder if you don’t care about me at all and don’t listen to anything I say/write.  Douchebag.

If you’ve really been paying attention, are close friends with me and truly love me, you know I love the shit out of Butch Walker.  I haven’t blogged about him yet because really, it’s just too personal.  I can share all day long about my internet purchases of solar sex toys and Jack White but not Butch.  That’s where I draw the line.  Mostly because I still haven’t been able to see him in concert and he’s doing some shows with my other favorite singer of all time Ryan Adams and if I could see both of them at once the fucking universe would explode and right before it exploded, I’d be able to cross two – TWO!- whole things off my Concert Bucket List but the universe apparently hates my guts so I don’t get to see either of them yet, together or separately, and since I really don’t feel like going on a downward spiral with Jack Daniels tonight, we’ll just stop talking about this shit right now.

Everyone take a deep breath and calm down.

All these run-on sentences and shortness of breath were brought on because I was catching up on my YouTube subscriptions just now and ViewFromTheCheapSeats posted the video below, which seems completely harmless at first.  Candy, tacos, and pumpkin beer?  Hell yeah, I’m in.  His family is adorable but I’ll admit that I stuck around for the fall brew review.  That’s when the shit hit the fan and he had to cross the streams.  He crossed the streams, people!

I’m not even sure how I’m typing this right now because I’m 93% positive my head exploded but it is what it is.  Start watching at the 4:14 mark.  I’m warning you, though, go to the bathroom first, walk the dog, take your nighttime meds, give the kids a bath and kiss the love of your life goodnight because your mind is about to be blown.  You won’t be able to do anything else for the rest of the night, at least.  I mean, I’m just going to sit here and stare at my computer screen while drinking fall brews for the rest of the night as soon as I post this blog.

So y’all take off your Normal Caps and put on your Steph Caps (it’s the weird one you try to avoid, sitting over in your corner) and watch this video through my slightly crazed blue eyes.  4:14 mark.  You’ve been warned.  Go!  No, wait!  Be sure to also go to the 8:30 mark to see the end and the pictures that ultimately caused my cessation of brain function until at least tomorrow morning.

I have found my long lost twin.  We were separated at birth.  I know this in my heart.

You can take off the Steph Cap now.  Magenta really isn’t your color but I didn’t have the heart to tell you.

E has been gone on business all week and the struggle is real here at home as a temporary single mom but for tonight I have Butch Walker and fall brews.  Have a great week, y’all!

Spotify Survivor: New Music On My Starred Playlist

Some of you know I religiously check out the New Releases on Spotify every Tuesday night.  This sounds like a lot of work if you think about all the new releases from every genre that’s released every week but it’s pretty easy for me and really doesn’t take longer than around 30 minutes.

I’m a speed listener, if you will.  I know within a few seconds of listening to a song if I’m going to like it or not.  I listen to the first few seconds of a song then skip to somewhere around the middle and listen for a few seconds.  I then make a decision on whether or not that song deserves to be placed on my “Starred” playlist for further exploration later.

Don’t preach to me that I’m missing out on a lot or that I’m not a music purist because I don’t buy into the whole “album as a concept” philosophy.  There are a few exceptions where the whole album as a concept thing has worked and actually made sense and I’ve respected and liked those albums much more for it but those instances are few and far between.

Side rant or as my husband calls it, “Look!  Something Shiny”!:  I think music snobbery/bullying is at a peak right now.  I’ve actually been called narrow minded because I didn’t want to listen to some bearded dude’s wrist slasher of an album which he made all by himself in a secluded log cabin in Bumfuck, Idaho using only tin cans, string he made himself from squirrel innards, a blank cassette and a boombox.

Bad music is bad music and I don’t have time for it.  Listening to a song I instantly don’t like another dozen times will not warm me up to it.  Also, if a song title includes the words “truck”, “dog”, “trailer” or “badonkadonk”, I don’t even listen.  Trace Adkins is totally fucked based solely on that criteria.  And if you’ve ever written a song that included those words, I say to you, sir or madam:  Fuck you and stop making the collective South look like a bunch of stupid ass wipes.

I’m actually not in a bad mood.  I promise.

I realize that music is very personal.  That song you absolutely love, I may loathe with a level of hatred not known to man ever before and vice versa but I happen to think I have a pretty broad range of musical interests.  I have everything from Mozart to Slayer in my music library.  The concerts I have seen or will see this year range from St. Paul & The Broken Bones to Rob Zombie.  I love a very well made country song.  Well, ones that don’t include the words truck, dog, trailer or badonkadonk.

With all that said, when I add a new song to my Starred playlist, I give it a few days.  Most do not prove themselves worthy to become a regular fixture in my life so they are deleted and banished to my music graveyard forever, God rest their souls.

I listen to a lot of music.  A lot.  You would be shocked if I broke it down.  I thought it’d be fun to go back through the last few months of my Spotify listening records and make a playlist of new releases or at least recent releases that survived culling and were not voted off the island.

 

These songs won’t be for everyone but I’m betting if you’re friends with me, you’ll gain a few new favorites yourself.  Let me know in the comments if I introduced you to your new favorite or if I introduced you to an artist you’ve never heard before.  If you’re that crazy bearded dude with the squirrel innards, just go away.  I hear Trace Adkins is really lonely.

Toadies: The Rubberneck 20th Anniversary Tour

Most of you know I’m a native Texan. I come from north central Texas, born and raised. No matter what genre of music you listened to, if you lived in North Texas two decades ago, you had at least heard of the Toadies, if only to wonder why the hell the group of strange looking, screamy young people from the big city of Fort Worth (NOT wearing Wrangler jeans or Roper boots, dafuq!) would make beloved Possum Kingdom Lake seem so fucking weird in that damned video of theirs. Where the hell is Garth Brooks when you need him?!

If you were like I was, you thought there was something special about the Toadies “weirdness”. You enjoyed seeing an ordinary area lake you’d visited in your own childhood made mysterious and dangerous in a video which aired almost incessantly on MTV at the time. Yeah, kids, MTV actually used to play vidoes but that’s a whole other blog post.

For those of you needing a refresher on Toadies history, here’s a great video on it. It is 23 minutes long but if you care anything about the Toadies or were raised in north Texas, you’ll appreciate it.

After listening to these songs hundreds of times over the last 20 years, I have formed my own take on them, my own background stories that spring to mind when I hear each song, which is what Vaden Todd Lewis states he wanted fans to do in the video below.  Even with those deeply embedded personal visions, I tremendously enjoyed hearing the origins of all the songs from Lewis’ perspective.  In my opinion, his original intent only adds to my own take on each song.

If you made it to the other side with me, I don’t need to recap Toadies history now.  Fast forward two decades as I read my Twitter feed.  One of the local concert venues announced that the Toadies were coming to Birmingham to play Rubberneck in its original entirety to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album’s release.  I could not buy tickets fast enough.

I kept in touch with the four albums and the handful of live albums that came after Rubberneck but like most things that change your world, you never forget that first one.  I’m talking strictly music here because music means more to me than any former boyfriend does or ever could.  Rubberneck stuck with me through the decades, through a few entire seasons of life. You can’t say that about many albums, at least I can’t.  Either you outgrow those bands/albums or they just don’t apply to your life anymore and you drift away.

In my case, I grew into Rubberneck.  It got better over time for me.  Maybe it’s nostalgia or maybe I’m guilty of glorifying a “local” band too much, much in the same way native New Jerseyians do with Springsteen but I don’t think so.  I think that novelty wears off eventually if a band doesn’t “fit” you, local or not.  Yes, I feel a connection to the Toadies due to our Texas roots but if I feel it’s bad music or isn’t my thing, the band’s geographical connection doesn’t sway me or hold me for two days, much less two decades.

Despite the fact that I never could relate to Springsteen and honestly think he’s way overrated, I understand the tremendous influence he and his music had and still has on New Jerseyians.  The Toadies are to me what Springsteen is to a lot of New Jerseyians but minus the bandanas and working man songs that sound exactly the same.  Don’t send me hate messages and flaming bags of your own shit, Jersey.  It’s cool.  You do you, I’ll do me, baby.  It’s just my opinion.  Come back later if you need to but put the knife down, Jersey.

I keep a close eye on the local concert schedule and unlike the other ones I’m attending the rest of this year, the Toadies concert never did sell out, which baffles me.  After attending the Rob Zombie concert a couple months ago in the same jam packed, sold out venue, I realize in hindsight that this less than sold out show was the absolutely best way to hear and truly enjoy one of my favorite albums of all time played live.

Black Pistol Fire opened for the Toadies and although they were good, I don’t want this recap to get bogged down by them.  Sorry, Black Pistol Fire.  Put the knife down.

E and I got to the front row, stage left and settled in after my traditional three pre-concert beers and enduring the ritual of a random stranger asking to touch my hair.  I shit you not.  Happens every damned time.  Yes, I let them touch my hair.  It’s just easier that way.

As was expected, the Toadies came out and played Rubberneck but  I always look up the setlist before I attend a concert and save it to my Spotify account so I know what’s coming.  I like spoilers, what can I say?  One of the encores was supposed to be Dollskin, which I was majorly looking forward to, but someone from the audience had yelled “Sweetness” earlier in the evening and they honored that request and did not sing Dollskin.  I’ll live.

They sounded great and just delivered the album and fucking rocked.  They sang two covers, “Heart of Glass” by Blondie and “Stop It” by Pylon.  I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the Pylon cover.  I was looking forward to the Blondie cover but it was the Pylon cover I jumped and screamed along with.  I absolutely loved it.  The video I linked is the best quality I could find but I don’t think this particular crowd really understood what Todd was trying to do.  At the concert I attended, it went over really well and we were subdued on the quiet parts, when Todd is shaking his head no and wagging his finger at us to “no rock and roll now”.  Then when it got loud and he told us to “now rock and roll now” the place went crazy.  I wish I could have captured it on video.

The highlight of the show, however, came with “I Burn”, when two additional drums and drummers were brought out.  I started to video but realized I wanted to be fully present and not wasting the highlight of the concert on what would be a shitty video anyway.  I did manage to find a YouTube video of another performance.  There is another drum and a couple more drummers but the effect is the same.  It blew me away.

Before I knew it, the concert was over with Todd announcing that the band would be at the merch table. I had to go to the bathroom (remember the traditional three beers?) so I missed the band coming out from backstage but E got to shake hands with them. I will add this event to the list of ways that E has stolen a fan girl moment from me but I’m not bitter or anything.

Here are a few pictures from this awesome night.

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After the bathroom, I promptly hauled ass to Todd’s line and E went to buy a tee shirt for me.  I chose the one with Texas on it because I like simple but also because this band means “Texas” to me just as much as Pat Green does.  The end result was this:

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I know!  Fucking awesome, right?  This is the first tee or ticket I’ve ever had signed by a band or artist.  And like I said, you never forget your first.

I meant to ask Todd if he was a preacher’s son because so many of his songs have religious references.  Backslider describes an exact scene from my formative years.  In my nervousness, I forgot to ask him but the 23 minute video answered my question.

Thank you to the Toadies for stopping by Birmingham, to a less than sold out show, when you sell out every Texas venue you play.  Thank you for taking the time to sign everything thrown at you by eager fans.  Thank you for not kicking my ass off your raised platform when I climbed up to get a picture with Todd and Clark.  Thank you to E for buying me the tee shirt, remembering to get the ticket out so the band could sign it and for running back into the venue after we realized in the car that I forgot to have Rez sign the ticket.  This is one I won’t forget.

Sissies Stay Home! A Night With Rob Zombie

When Rob Zombie says “Jump!”, you jump.

We did a lot of that last Thursday night, even without being told, when he came through Birmingham, AL.  He and his band played to a sold out crowd at Iron City Birmingham, which holds 1300.

The crowd was not what we expected.  Way less goth and more what you envision when you think of Rob’s album “Hellbilly Deluxe”.  It was a completely different crowd than we saw at the Arctic Monkeys concert.  I’ll leave it at that.

E and I got there early but still didn’t get to grab a seat in the balcony area as we had the previous two concerts we attended at Iron City.  We resigned ourselves to the floor and grabbed a spot by the wall so we could at least lean like the old people we are.  There is no seating on the main floor unless you’re handicapped.  I was handicapped after this concert because after 4 hours of standing, jumping and stomping in the shoes below, I could barely walk out of the venue.  It’s been a week and I still can’t feel a few of my toes.  I’m not joking.

6 inch heels.  I'm an ass hole.

6 inch heels. I’m an ass hole.

I could attempt to make out like I’m some music expert reviewer but I would fail miserably so I won’t. I will say that I know the difference between a shitty sounding live performance and one that’s exceptional. Rob Zombie was exceptional. They sounded awesome the entire time, which I imagine is pretty difficult given the material he sings. There was a brilliant drum solo by Ginger Fish (I know, I know, I can barely type that name with a straight face). John 5 gave us an epic guitar solo which included a bit of Eruption, the greatest single rock guitar solo of our time, in my opinion.

Here are just a couple of the performances captured from the concert we attended.  As you can see in the videos, Rob Zombie is surprisingly a very good dancer.  It’s almost hypnotic.  They should do a fitness video based on one of his concerts.  He’s 5 years older than I am yet he could kick the ass of just about any 25 year old lead singer out there today.  I don’t think he stood still during the whole concert.

“Dragula”, a Halloween staple at our house and also the encore song of the night.

Chew it up, spit it out, “Sick Bubblegum”

Right before singing “Pussy Liquor”, Rob told us to hold on to our pussies.  And I did.

And the darkest song of the night, Lords of Salem.

Rob told us after the opening song (a cover of “We’re An American Band“, which was amazing) that he hadn’t played in that small of a venue in well over a decade. This was evident by the fact that they were only able to use maybe half of their regular concert set which includes classic movie monsters.  Rob said his management thought he was crazy when he told them to book him a gig in Alabama because he didn’t want to skip our state and also didn’t want to “sit on his ass in a hotel room for two days” waiting for the next gig. He let us know that he made a point to stop in and see us but he wasn’t an ass hole about it. He thanked us for coming, interacted a lot with the crowd and even walked around the whole venue at one point.  I’m not sure if this has ever been said before but Rob Zombie is gracious. He threw Birmingham one hell of a party.

My litmus test for deeming a concert awesome is if I would pay to see the performer again.  Based on this concert, I will give Rob Zombie my money every single time I can in the future.  I highly recommend you go see him if he’s coming to a town near you.  And thanks for coming to see us, Rob.

Part 1: Partying Like a Rock Star. But With Phlegm.

I could tell you how weird of a week it has been but I think this picture will sum it up much better than I ever could.

Typical Monday night.

Alabama got severe weather and a few tornadoes Monday night.  During the worst of it, when we knew taking cover in the basement was imminent, I’d make the kids put on the motorcycle helmets so that was one less thing we’d have to worry about when the sirens started.  Allie, our dog, was on the leash so we could quickly get her downstairs with us.  Fun times.  Sadly, Allie does not have her own motorcycle helmet.  She also seems to have a small case of demon possession, judging by her eyes.  I may need to work on that.

We had already purchased tickets for two different concerts this week, so when my throat started hurting during all the tornado sirens, I knew it wasn’t good.  By Tuesday morning, it was a full on bad cold.  On Wednesday, I was an achy, snotty ball of pain and couldn’t hear much out of my stuffed up ears.  I had to dig deep and push through. And I did. Like a disease ridden Gwyneth Paltrow (but without the sleeping around) from the movie Contagion, I said “Fuck you” to my phlegm and plodded along all week, totally disregarding every healthy person in my germ infested path.

We saw Seether on Wednesday night.  This marked the second time we have seen them in concert.  To sum up:  They sound awesome live, they have some really kick ass songs but Shaun Morgan’s interaction with the crowd sucked.  It was nearly non-existent.  I think he said “Thank you” one time.  I can imagine, in a little tiny part of me, what it would be like to be a rock star.  I’d like to think that even in a jumble of cities, all looking the same, that before I went on stage I’d at least ask a crew member “Dude, where are we at?” so I could give a shout out to the fans who came out to see me.  He never once recognized where he was and that pisses me off.  They played at Iron City Birmingham, which has a capacity of 1300 people and it was sold out.  Give us a little respect.  I will not use my concert money to see Seether again.

Here are the few good pictures I have from the Seether concert.

I will do a review of the Rob Zombie concert in Part 2 because that concert deserves an entire blog post without the weight of my phlegm or Seether.  It was that damned good.  I guess that was a spoiler, wasn’t it?

Stay tuned this weekend for the Zombie review and also an update on my last WTF Wednesday.  Have a good weekend, y’all!