Thursday, November 8, 2012

Downloadable VS Physical Media

I have 15 dollars right now...not much but enough for a CD. Three Days Grace released a new record last month that was produced by one of my favorite producers in the industry, Don Gilmore. I've always loved Three Days Grace too so I really wanna get it.
Now a days I can either drive 20 miles out to a Best Buy (because I live in the middle of no where) or sit at my computer, open my iTunes account, type in my information and BAM I have the songs. Now, at 1 in the morning I can listen to my new music instead of waiting till morning and using any gas. Great huh? Only problem, I can't listen to this in my car, or in the downstairs CD player, or while I'm in the shower. Though I was able to afford an iPod this year, I was not able to afford any form of dock that would allow me to play the music elsewhere. So, I'm stuck to listening to it out of my computer speakers or with headphones.

I understand that with iTunes and other methods of acquiring music have saved a lot on plastic waste and gas use, but I still enjoy having the physical CD.
Perhaps its just the generation I was born in? For example, my brother was born in the time of records and he still enjoys buying them though they're hard to come by. My sister was born in the era of tape and even still has a tape player in her car. If I had one more sibling in the '00's I'd have a sibling for every music medium.

Vinyl records though take a lot of care. Have to keep them in their sleeves, keep dust off of them, the needle that plays them requires care too and they are very sensitive to scratches.
Tapes always got eaten. Period. I hated tape. I was devastated when  my player destroyed my favorite Backstreet Boys tape. Yes, its true, I listened to 90's boy bands as a kid. Thank God it never ate my Aerosmith which I think I still have in a box somewhere.
CD's get scratched very easily, one scratch and it'll turn anything into something equivalent to what you may hear on a dubstep record. Plus, some CD players may not play certain CD's based on the format of the CD. For instance, I could have just burned the new Three Days Grace CD onto a CD-R or CD-RW but due to the fact that most of my CD's players, including the one in my car, were made in the late 90's before CD-R existed, I get my CD spat back out at me because the player has no idea what it is.
With all these difficulties I see why everyone prefers MP3's and digital media. But what if your computer gets a virus and everything gets wiped off your hard drive? That's why they created the iTunes cloud but prior to that, if my hard drive got infected, which often happened after downloading tons of music from bad sites, all my music would be gone. Since I'm old enough to remember this, its probably why I buy CD's. That way if its all gone, I sit in front of my computer for hours ripping songs and importing them back onto my iTunes.

MP3's can get corrupt too so there really is no perfect medium for music listening. Each one has their flaws and they do keep improving on it. I think Apple may be to thank for having the cloud to store your music on in case it gets lost. I have no idea whats gonna come next but you'll still catch me in the CD section of the store buying up all the $5 CD's the stores can't seem to get rid of.

By the way, what ever you use to get music, go buy Three Days Grace Transit of Venus. Its great, you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

'Music' Awards

Awards season is fast approaching and fans from all over have taken to their computers and are voting for their favorite artist. I personally haven't watched an award show since Evanescence won their last Grammy in 2004. None of my favorite artists has, in some cases, even been nominated for any awards. It seems my favorite bands do better over seas than in their own country.

When I do end up watching, since Linkin Park has performed several award shows, it seems to me that pop music always gets the spot light and rock (in all its forms) get shoved to the wayside. They have numerous categories for pop, country, hip-hop and all their sub-genres but then they'll put up "Favorite Rock Artist" have a 2 minute spot for them to talk, the the next 5 hours you're being subjected to performances of the same 3 pop songs you've heard 5 million times on the radio.

Rock magazine, Revolver, has created a special award show for rock and heavy metal. Started in 2009, Revolver gives credit to the non-mainstream music artists who actually write their own stuff. I've only seen one episode of it and its a good show if it were plagued with technical difficulties, glitches, freezes and who ever was running the sound...well, he should probably get his ears checked. A lot of this could be because the show was streaming live via Facebook but the whole thing looks like it was put together by a bunch of high school students.

Again, it was a great show and I was happy to see all the bands I enjoy listening to. It was nice not to have to mute the sound waiting for someone to get off the stage but one award show isn't enough. Rock needs to have a place in every show. These are people who eat, sleep and bleed for their music. They tour, they write, they are dedicated to their fans. Unlike most pop musicians who have people write for them. I've never been to a Beiber concert (and I don't plan to) but I imagine theres not as much energy and thrashing as there is at lets say, a Slipknot or Korn show. Music is an expression of how people feel and concerts are where most of us go to release those emotions we keep pent up inside of us.

I guess where I'm going with this is, what happened? I know there are thousands of other blogs, endless tweets, and a million Facebook posts that talk about how the music industry is failing and 'real music' is dead and we're being brainwashed by annoying repetitive pop music. The question is when is something going to be done? What can be done? And where did we go wrong?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Evanescence Live 2012

I know I said months ago I'd do a review of an Evanescence show but I haven't until right now. Instead of just doing one show, since I've seen them 4 times this year alone, I'll do a mash up.

If you couldn't tell or don't know me at all, I am a huge Evanescence fan. Since June of 2003, 3 months after the release of their debut album Fallen, I have admired the band. In 2004 I saw them live for the first time when I was 13; it was my first concert ever. I have been to too many shows to remember enough from that one to tell you much about it. in 2005 Evanescence went on a break to begin writing their second record.

In 2006 Evanescence released their sophomore album, The Open Door, and immediately went back into another touring cycle. I did get to see them in Atlanta when they were opening for Korn on their Family Values Tour.

Amy Lee married in May 2007 and wanted to take a break from fame to be a normal person for a short while. The band went on a 5 year hiatus. Amy released a few songs in those years but other than that, she did not know what would become of Evanescence.

2010 Amy released the greatest piece of news the Evanescence community had ever received. Evanescence were returning to the studio to record what would become the self titled record. It was released finally in October 2011 and they have been touring ever since.

I saw them in Clemson, SC in January for the first time in 5 years. Amy was still new to being back on the scene so she sounded a tad winded and forgot a few lyrics here and there.

Here's a video of the opening song What You Want which was the first single off Evanescence. I took this with a dingy camera but its decent in my opinion.

The next time I saw them live was in my hometown of Jacksonville Florida. I decided to travel there with some friends, visit my favorite city and see my favorite band all at the same time. The band sounded amazing now that they had been playing these songs live for a good 7 months or so. Due to the fact that it was a festival show the concert consisted of 13 songs (normal shows would contain 18 to 20) with no piano ballads like My Immortal or Lost In Paradise.
The crowd was insane, almost unbearable. There was a constant stream of crowd surfers, it was blistering hot and we had spent all our money on merchandise and Power-aid so we couldn't afford food. Despite the sun being directly in the bands face and the Florida heat, they played perfectly. The band has never been tighter and more at ease at a show. In July 2004, even being a young 13 year old, I could feel tension coming off the band. In October 2003 their guitarist, Ben Moody, had left during the European tour and Terry Balsamo who took Ben's place was still fresh. John LeCompt, who left in 2007, had taken over the lead, with Terry on rhythm,  so he too had to learn an entirely new guitar part. When I saw them again in August 2007 they were a completely new band, new drummer, bassist and guitarist. They sounded good but again there was tension. Seeing them this year, it felt more like a band than a bunch of faces playing the instruments and Amy giving it her all.

To give you an idea of the sound at this point and how rough the crowd was, my friend Dawn managed to film one of Evanescence's more difficult songs to perform. It's also a fan favorite, The Change.

A week later they played at Carolina Rebellion. The crowd was much better and Evanescence didn't sound much different. My personal favorite off the new album, Sick, was played that night. The band does enjoy switching it up a bit. Still only 13 songs but they were 13 of the best (in my opinion.)

Once I was all out of money, having traveled hours to each of these shows, I decided to buy a ticket to see Linkin Park and that would take the rest of my funds. A week later Evanescence releases news that they would be headlining this years annual Carnival Of Madness tour and would be in Charlotte, NC. It was a 30 miles from me and in the venue where I first saw them at age 13. Typical me, I worked for my parents to pay for the ticket and got the fan club presale. This would be the last time I'd see them for the year and most likely until the next record comes out in a few years.

New tour means new setlist. Whisper, off of Fallen, was added back after not being played since 2007. Since no decent videos exsist from Charlotte I will once again post another from my friend Dawn who saw them in Buffalo, NY the week before

If I may take a moment to praise 2 of the most recent additions, Will Hunt and Troy McLawhorn, the drummer and new lead guitarist. Troy really plays the solos, shreds them and really sets it apart from the rest of the song. It used to be just a break for Amy but Troy really directs your attention to him. You wouldn't think that Whisper was one of the oldest Evanescence songs, but instead something he was a part of creating.
Will who replaced Rocky Gray in 2007 is a much better fit for the band. His drumming style is hard, fast paced and loud. He really drives the band and not to mention, hes very entertaining to watch. We met him in Jacksonville and he signed our CD's and let us take pictures. He was very down to earth and nice to us. You always hear stories about how rockstars often turn fans away when they meet them on the streets but not Will. Tim too, the bassist, at another show actually sat with a group of fans at a restaurant and had a few drinks with them.

Back to the concert! Out of the 4, the Charlotte concert was perfect. Amy no longer sounded like she was out of breath and the guys didn't have to concentrate on playing as much.
One element that makes an Evanescence show what it is is the light show. Every light is programmed for each song to really bring it to life. This is a band best enjoyed after the sun goes down. The song Never Go Back, which was written about the tsunamis in Japan, is a prime example. The song itself is very chaotic, the guitars and drums are just pounding away before Amy's voice comes in. The lights are synced to every note and are flashing like lightning all around.
Your Star uses filtered lights that cast on the crowd to look like the night sky. A friend I met at this show sat at the best angle to get a good perspective of the lights.

Disappear, a bonus track off the self-titled CD, was played for the first time for this tour. Its version was different, adding in a new bridge, drum and guitar solo.  No words really give this song justice...

The encore is the most well known song by this band besides Bring Me To Life. It has been the final song since the days of Fallen. My Immortal starts with Amy on the piano, the spot light on her all alone, singing and playing. The crowd sings sometimes louder than she does. She seems very happy, allowing the crowd to take over a verse or too. On the bridge, the rest of the band return to the stage.

Before you know it the shows over. The band says their final goodbye and exit the stage. In November the band will wrap up touring and virtually disappear for hopefully only a year or so. The memories I made this year are some of the best and I will keep them forever. I met some life long friends who I cannot wait to see again. Leaving an Evanescence show, to a lot of fans, is like leaving your family. We met online, either via the fan club, message board or Twitter and when we meet for the first time at a show, its like we've known each other all our lives. We talk, we laugh, we cry and we bond. Its difficult for us to go back home especially when no one around us has a love for music the way we do.

Normally I'd say buy tickets to an Evanescence show near you today but unless you live in Britain or South America, there are no tickets. They may play a few shows in 2013 but we won't know till then. Stay tuned here because I'll be the first to tell you when they come back.

Check for tour dates.

Thank you to my friends Dawn and Claudia for videos

Follow them on Twitter @Dawnrykart and @poison8774

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

TWLOHA National Suicide Prevention Week

I know this is a music blog but this is something close to my heart. Though I have never lost anyone to suicide, its something I always fear will happen to someone I love.
This week is suicide prevention week. Since 2002, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has declared September 10th Suicide Prevention day and aims to help put an end to the growing epidemic of suicide.  

"suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death for all US Americans, and is the third leading cause of death for young people 15-24 years." ~TWLOHA webpage

To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit organization started in 2006 and aims help people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.

Why does this matter? Every life has meaning and I personally have always been afraid to lose someone I love.

No one knows that I can't sleep until I hear my sister come home from work. I don't even think she knows that. If shes not home before 2AM I get worried. We used to fight tooth and nail over the littlest of things but now I don't know what I'd do if I lost her. She hasn't had an easy life and I personally and very proud shes made it as far as she has. At 27, after working fast food most of her life, we finally got her to go to college to pursue a better career as a car mechanic. I don't know half of what shes been through, I just know shes suffered. She cuts and it hurts me to see fresh wounds on her skin. I never mention it, nor do I lecture her or anything. I just try to make an extra effort to show her I care about her.

A few of my friends and have thought about suicide and luckily have not given in. We have had some close calls though where we had to notify authorities.
And though I have never thought of taking my own life, I have self-harmed before. I haven't done so since I was 16 but I would hurt myself because I couldn't feel anything at all.  For the duration of my Junior year I felt like a walking zombie. The pain was my escape. It was how I knew I was still alive. 

It always amazes me the power of the human spirit. That sometimes, no matter what you throw at a person, they still manage to fight on. They may want to give up everyday but there's always something that makes them want life and want to hold on. 

Here's a quote that I try to live by everyday:
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

It doesn't take a genius to understand what that quote is saying. Everyday if i can see someone is upset, I try not to step on their toes. They may have just had a bad morning so I don't want to be the one who causes them to have a bad day. When a person is even mean to me, I try to evaluate why they are doing so. I try not to make it worse even though deep down I may want to scream at them.

This can be where I tie music into this post, as this is a music blog. Many fans, if not all, say that their favorite band "saved their life." We call them our hero's even though they don't even know we exist. I myself have a hero, 2 of them actually. They help me everyday. In my darkest nights too, they're there for me when no one else is. As a kid I spent most of my time alone, I never fit in, and was bullied through out most of middle school and on into high school. Music became my escape well before I self-harmed. It was once I could no longer escape into the world of music I found another outlet but since March of 2008 I have been able to get completely lost in my bands. Hence why I attend so many concerts. Its the greatest high in the world. Theres no real way to explain it, its something you have to experience. 

So, for the rest of the week, I only ask that if you know somebody who is struggling with depression, reach out to them. It really means more than you think that people at least care. Even if they push you away, leave the door open. Eventually they'll come knocking. For me its not just one week out of the year, Suicide Prevention is one thing I do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.  

*Info at  

Help Links and phone numbers

Friday, August 24, 2012

Halestorm Live In Charlotte! 8/8/12

Halestorm is a hard rock band from Pennsylvania led by singer and guitarist Lzzy Hale with her bother Arejay on drums. Joe Hottinger and Josh Smith join them on stage on guitar and bass. Their self titled debut album was released back in 2009 and their most recent album 'Strange Case Of...' came out in April of this year.

In spring 2012 I saw Halestorm live 3 times and each time I was blown away by the sound of Lzzy's voice. I traveled 8 hours to Jacksonville Florida to The Rockville festival and that's when I first fell in love with them. Despite the heat and numerous crowd surfers I was a great first experience.

Heres a vid from Rockville. The audio quality is pretty good but due to repetitive crowd surfing the person filming had a hard time keeping focus.

I saw them again at Carolina Rebellion in May but my favorite performance was the Charlotte show. I got front row which is probably the best way to enjoy any concert. Lzzy as always sounded great. They opened with the first song off 'Strange Case Of...' titled Love Bites (But So Do I...) Lzzy is most likely the only chick I have heard in a while who can scream that well.

I mean seriously, Listen to the bridge,

She performs all her songs perfectly like they are on the record which is something that makes for a great live show. Lzzy loves to interact with the fans while shes on stage and quite often I think noticed me singing every word of every one of her songs.

Freak Like Me is my personal favorite and is an anthem for...well...freaks like me! The crowd goes nuts for this song, moshing, throwing their fists in the air and simply going insane. Its a high energy song that builds with every verse.
Halestorm quickly follows that with the piano ballad Break In. This had not been played live until the summer Carnival Of Madness tour and a few dates here and there. Lzzy sits at her piano that looks like its taken a beating.

Heres a video from the House Of Blues from days before they were in Charlotte

She really gets into the song making it very moving. Being the emotional person I am I've cried while she plays it.

In 2004 I saw my first concert in the same venue I was seeing Halestorm (Verizon Wireless Amp) so when they played Rock Show, it was a sentimental moment for me. The song itself is about attending your first rock concert and she captured the moment perfectly. It was almost nostalgic to be there again since last time I saw a show at Verizon was 2008. I have traveled many miles to many diffent venues so it was good to be home in a place I was familiar and I had positive memories already.

My other favorite, I miss the misery, show cases Lzzy's voice very well. Shes screaming and singing with such power that its amazing that the speakers don't explode. A friend of mine I met on Twitter got a pretty good video. The video isn't the best but the audio quality is as always as good as it can be. One day I will post a blog about filming at shows...

Thank you, Claudia for the vid! :)
Her Twitter: @poison8774

They close the show with Heres To Us which when my friends and I first saw them in Jacksonville it was the song that got us to fall in love with the band.

So, last video and its again from the House Of Blues in Atlantic City.

And heres the setlist from the night
The Setlist

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Evanescence and Halestorm Collaborate!

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while, I've been out and about. Now that school has begun I will be blogging more regularly.

In other news, 2 of my favorite bands have collaborated on 1 on my favorite songs! Article below

I will post reviews from the Halestorm, Evanescence and Linkin Park concerts I attended over this summer along with album reviews and such.

More to come! :D

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Music Addict Problems

I know I promised yesterday on my Twitter for an interview with Electric Touch and I asked them but they haven't gotten back to me yet. Electric Touch is a band I saw with Evanescence back in January. I enjoyed them very much. you can buy their album here

you can also listen to their album on their website, buy some shirts and learn more about the band here!tweets

Does anyone else have this problem? When I saw this I was a little glad that someone somewhere still buys CD's. I've lived in this small town for 12 years and have never seen a record store that sells music. We had a shop that sold instruments but that went out of business a few years ago. not long after I cancelled my guitar lessons either. Hmm, maybe just a coincidence, right?
Anyway, now I have to travel 20 miles to the nearest Best Buy for CD's. I find they have a pretty good selection when it comes to indie bands like DRUGS and Dark New Day. Their prices aren't too bad either. compared to FYE which charges a whopping 20 bucks for a Nightwish or Children Of Bodom CD. I've found Lacuna Coil and other international bands closer to $25 dollars. Even bands from the states are pricey. I live on a college budget and I can't even afford to drive to FYE because its on the outskirts of Charlotte (45 minutes away) Best Buys ranges from 9.99 to maybe 19.99 if your getting a deluxe edition, new release with a t-shirt.
The other awesome thing about Best Buy is that if they don't have a CD, you can order it and they will ship it to your house. I went there to find Electric Touch and they ordered it just for me!
And don't get me started on Wal-Mart! Who buys CD's from Wal-mart? Come on, they're EDITED! I can only imagine what a hard core rap CD would sound like edited. Linkin Park's Minutes To Midnight was hard enough.

Now, when it comes to local music, like my friends band Annabell Leigh, you won't find those CD's at the store. Not even on iTunes most of the time. The only way I got some copies is because they had some left over. These bands you have to attend shows to get their CD's.
Here's a disclaimer, and bands may hate me for this, but buy any CD's after the show. Here's why: DON'T SUPPORT SUCKY BANDS! So many times I'm at a show and everyone around me agrees who ever we're seeing isn't good and I always see someone buying an album because they feel sorry for the band. This is why there's so much crap in the industry these days. (not really) But seriously, don't buy crappy music. You won't listen to it and you just wasted 5 dollars. Well, maybe you just bought a 5 dollar coaster or something.

So, support local music, buy CD's (or buy from iTunes I don't care) and attend some shows. I know you've been sitting in your house for weeks, go occupy a venue.