Chevelle

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.

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!