Archive for the ‘ Music ’ Category

Being Thankful: My 2010 Gratitude List

I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of Thanksgiving. It’s not that I’m ungrateful. I just don’t like the meal around Thanksgiving. I’m not a fan of turkey, candied yams, cranberry sauce or pie.

I really hate pie.

I do love watching football and being lazy with my closest family members and friends. I’ll give Thanksgiving that.

It’s also a time to sit back and really think about what I’m thankful for as the year comes to a close. So, here’s my gratitude list for the year.

This year (2010), I am grateful for:

  • My husband. There aren’t enough words to explain why.
  • My two boys, who continue to grow into amazing human beings right before my eyes.
  • Friends and family. I have an amazing support system and don’t know what I’d do without them.
  • The ability to meet G at the bus stop each day after school.
  • A pretty darn good work / family life balance. Even when it gets a bit overwhelming.
  • The overall good health of said friends and family.
  • New opportunities and old standbys.
  • Two stubborn Siberian Huskies who are getting older but still manage to act like puppies when they get the chance.
  • Accidents that didn’t turn into tragedies.
  • Music and art that moves me.
  • The words that flow through my brain.
  • My voice.
  • Bacon.

What are you thankful for?

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Guster Love

My husband and I went to see Guster at the newly re-opened State Theatre in Portland, Maine on Wednesday evening. I think it was our 7th or 8th time seeing Guster live. (I’ve actually lost count.)

The funny thing is that every time we see Guster, we seem to act like teenagers. (We are in our 30s.) We get all excited for the show, talk about what songs we hope they’ll sing, what crazy antics we can expect from band members and compare notes on our favorite moments from past concerts.

After the show, which we decided was probably the best we’ve seen thus far even when compared to the marathon concert they did at the State while filming their only live DVD, I started to think about why I love Guster so much. And for so long.

Here are my top ten reasons for loving Guster (in no particular order):

  1. Live show. Guster is a band that you can’t truly appreciate until you see them live. Period.
  2. Talent. They’ve got it. Each one of them. Band members seem to switch instruments for every song and are constantly moving around the stage throughout a concert, sometimes playing instruments I can’t quite identify. Adam and Ryan’s voices sound stellar together or apart. Their lyrics are often fun, confusing, deep and entertaining.
  3. Songs with the word Jesus in the title. Despite being Jewish, Guster continues to write and sing songs that involve Jesus. Perplexing, but fun. (Note: My favorite is “Jesus on the Radio,” especially when it’s done live and without any microphones.)
  4. Infant calmer. When G was an infant, he wasn’t the best napper. He never wanted to miss anything, which was not the most convenient thing for this mom. One day, when he was overtired and still fighting a nap, I walked into our living room to turn down the Guster CD that was blasting. He immediately calmed down. After a few minutes of dancing around the room with him to “Barrel of a Gun,” he fell fast asleep. Maybe it has something to do with the album Guster on Ice playing in the hospital room when he was born. But, it was always Guster he wanted to hear.
  5. Airport Song. Found on the Goldfly album from 1997, this song never gets old. They always play it live, and it always sounds different. Brian goes nuts with the hand percussion. Ping pong balls fly. From disco to demonic, “Airport Song” keeps us warm and safe.
  6. Brian Rosenworcel. Percussionist extraordinaire. I can only imagine what this man’s hands look like up close. He beats cymbals, bongos and other drum-related instruments with his bare hands and tapes them (his hands, that is) in between songs. Watching Brian is a show in and of itself. And, if you’re lucky, you might get to hear him sing a song or two (e.g., He sang an impromptu 50 state song on Wednesday).
  7. Happy Frappy. Listening to Guster makes me happy and content. It also makes me sing loudly.
  8. Simplicity. Guster is 3 guys (plus Luke = 4) playing instruments and singing songs. All of their albums sound different, yet still sound like Guster. Their shows don’t have smoke or extravagant light shows. They don’t tell me what to do at live shows. I like this.
  9. Longevity. They, and their songs, have it. I have more than five hours of Guster music on my iPod and can listen to it all without getting sick of them. I’m not sure how, but their songs never seem to get old. Nor do they sound the same.
  10. Maine love. Guster hearts Maine and Maine hearts Guster. They always make Portland a stop on their tours while other bands completely ignore the pine tree state. They shot their only live DVD at the State (which my husband and I make a very brief cameo in). Adam lives in Portland. Home sweet home.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, find out now.

When a song has meaning

I’ve been listening to the Paper Tongues on my iPod lately. (My boys had me play “Ride to California” at full volume three times tonight so they could dance around the living room before going to bed.) I really like their sound.

While I’ve listened to the song “Trinity” quite a few times, I felt like I really heard it today.

Have you ever had a song really speak to you?

Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in social services for the past 6 years. Maybe I’ve got a lot of fight in me. Maybe I just have a lot to say. Here’s what I connected with in the song:

I’m the kind of person whose strong and wants to react
So feel me when I fight for the cause of bringing hope back
Don’t ask me where I’m going cuz I could never prove that
But I do have something to say

If you haven’t heard of Paper Tongues, check them out now.

Rockin’ Valentine’s Day

I think I might be aging out of some of the rock shows I attend. I find myself increasingly annoyed by the lead singers who insist on barking out orders to me during their set. I’m never loud enough. I sit in my seat too much. And I need to sing their songs to them. (Wait. Didn’t I just pay $40 to hear you sing your songs?)

My husband and I enjoyed a rare evening out on Valentine’s Day. Not because it was Valentine’s Day, and we were celebrating our love. No, the Breaking Benjamin concert just happened to coincide with the holiday.

While Three Days Grace actually headlined the show, we went for Breaking Benjamin and Flyleaf. It was the third time we’ve seen Breaking Benjamin. The first time I saw them, I was 20 weeks pregnant with my first son. I find each time I see them in concert, I like them more. I always love a band that sounds even better live than they do on their albums. I only wish they were on the stage longer. Ben Burnley’s voice is strong and commanding and can go from sweet to maniacal in a matter of seconds. He got the crowd involved, but he focused on playing rock music. Flyleaf was pretty good too. I love that Lacey Mosley came out in a lacy white dress over jeans and screamed her guts out. I guess that’s why Three Days Grace was so annoying to me.

Don’t get me wrong, Three Days Grace sounded pretty good. I knew most of their songs since they get a lot of airplay on the radio. They just went through every rock show cliche there is. There was lots of crowd singing because “If you don’t know this song, I don’t know where you’ve been.” There was a competition to see which side of the Cumberland County Civic Center could sing the loudest melodies, which were repeated after Adam Grontier in a progression of ahs and ohs. There was fire. At one point, Adam Grontier appeared on a platform in the middle of the civic center. There was even a rotating drum set.

Anyone remember Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood tour? That’s what it reminded me of. Then I realized that I was about 14 or 15 when I went to that concert. (What were my parents thinking?) Most of the people around me on Sunday were probably closer to that age than to mine. Not that I think thirty-somethings should stay at home and stick to listening to music on the iPod or anything. My husband and I were singing louder than most of the crowd while Breaking Benjamin was on. (We were probably a few of the only ones who could sing along to their sweet version of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” as well.) It just seems like we’re not quite in the target audience of some of the bands these days.

I don’t hate everything about you. My house is a home. And I have no interest in starting a riot. However, we did note that our 14 month old would probably find the song “Let’s Start a Riot” both catchy and inspirational.

Here are a few bad pics I took with my cell phone. Note the safe distance from the floor where all the crowd surfing was happening.

Flyleaf

Flyleaf at the Cumberland County Civic Center, 2/14/10

Breaking Benjamin

Breaking Benjamin at the Cumberland County Civic Center, 2/10/10