Last year was my first Warped Tour experience, and while I made it through alive, I missed several opportunities that I wish I hadn’t, and this year I’ve made sure to be more prepared. Experience is wisdom, and all of that. Well, something like that.
Entering the line last year I learned two things: it is going to be awhile, and talking to people is the best thing you can do. You learn who is there for what band (sometimes the same bands you’re there for) and you meet the “starving artist” bands who are playing their music through headphones and boom boxes alike. Don’t push those musicians away. Listen to their music, buy it if you like it, and support them. They will appreciate you and you’ll thank yourself later.
If you’re there for bigger bands and your 5’4, you’re going to have a problem. If I wanted to see a bigger “Unicorn” or “Shark” band (the Kia stages in 2014), I would either have to get there early or settle for not being able to see…anything. I was ten minutes late to Mayday Parade and couldn’t see above everyone, and when a band sounds just as good as the record, it’s less enjoyable just to sit around listening to them. And when you’re that small, it’s actually very hard to push your way through the crowd.
The first thing you do is check set times. The second thing you do is check meet and greet times. There are some bands that meet within the first few hours and if you put off checking you’ll miss them entirely. This is what happened to me when I wanted to meet The Summer Set and it’s one of my biggest regrets of that day.
Obviously, bring a good sized water bottle and eat before. The food isn’t worth the money, and you’ll end up spending it all on bands anyway. Don’t forget sunscreen, and tell people when you like their shirt or hair. It’s a good feeling.
At this point in my life, big bands are not even exciting to me. I like being in the front of a crowd, I like being able to wave at the band and I like supporting bands who aren’t that big. Yeah they’re good and popular, but that’s exactly why I don’t care. I’ve heard about them, I’ve heard them, maybe I’ll stop by. What I want to see is the ones that aren’t household Warped Tour names.
PVRIS (pronounced Paris)
Fronted by Lynn Gunn, this band captured my interest by being female fronted, first and foremost. The first song I listened to, “My House” immediately set the band on a different level from the long list of Paramore sounding pop-punk bands led by girls that I had been overexposed to. The electronic feel of the song and Lynn’s powerful voice made it easy for me to enjoy the song. But after listening to the rest of White Noise, I realized something with fear. The sound, while different from other bands, is really similar throughout PVRIS’s music, and Lynn’s lyrics have repetitive themes making it hard to be wholly interested in the band.
The only thing that could save them for me is their stage performance. Most bands stay forgettable, hidden in my music library because they left no impression on me. PVRIS gets the chance of impressing me, and I hope they do. Their music is good, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to dedicate myself as a fan of the band (I’ll be a fan of Lynn and her girlfriend though). We will see.
Last year, when I went to see Neck Deep, a pop-punk band out of the UK, I only knew one song. I waited awkwardly through songs I had never heard before to hear “A Part Of Me”. I was not disappointed by the energy they brought, and when that song came on I couldn’t do much but stand there and cry. I had been moved by the song one night in a hotel bathroom and since then it had resonated with me. I went and bought a CD and took it home with me. While not every Neck Deep song appeals to me- some are too chaotic and hard to follow-, the ones I enjoy mean a lot to me now.
More familiar with their music, I am prepared to be part of the moving audience and energetic experience of seeing them live. I hope to meet them and get another CD. The style isn’t for everyone, and the accent can be off putting, but for me it was never a question. I definitely enjoy them and expect a lot out of them again this time around.
From the featured music video, “Road To Paradise” alone, I’m beyond excited to see what else British punk-rock trio has in store. The beginning of the video addresses the sexism of the music scene with “but why do you want a drummer good especially for a girl you just want a good drummer” and that’s where I was sold for their personality. I was happy to know that Tatiana could bring that tough and sassy personality into their music. Another unique female-fronted sound that hopefully won’t disappoint live.
Our Last Night
Usually I would pay no attention to a post hardcore band playing Warped Tour unless I was already familiar with them, but after seeing how excited my girlfriend was about their appearance I decided I would take the time to acquaint myself with them. The first thing I noticed is the way they blend. The clean vocals are not unbearably contrasting to the screams; the range is just as good by any but it’s less…feminine, dare I say, than other bands. In “A World Divided” the beautiful introduction and melodic verses flow just as well as the breakdown; I don’t feel like I’m being whiplashed or overwhelmed at any point. A band with such good intentions and such a great sound should have a great stage presence to match. I’m sure they will.
The Nearly Deads
It’s no secret that I am extremely biased toward the Nearly Deads and have been since meeting them in 2012, but after a nationwide tour this year they’ve grown to be a big name in the scene, and Warped Tour is always a good opportunity for bands that are gaining speed. The “polished grunge” group may quickly overshadow female fronted bands that paved the way for the sound they’re dominating. It’s a plus that they give a great performance and are incredibly nice people!
As always, I never put it out of my mind that there will be other bands there that I will stop to hear and fall in love with. Last year it was Beebs and Her Moneymakers. This year, who knows.
If you see me there, say hi and support a band!
One of the biggest female-fronted bands of this generation and THE biggest female-fronted band of their genre, Franklin-based Paramore seems indestructible. But when the Farro brothers left, many fans weren’t sure of what would happen to the punk-pop group. Would the band fall apart without what fans considered an essential part to the band, or would they- like a phoenix- rise from their metaphorical ashes and come back with the hardest hitting album of their career and 2013?
“Now”, however, all anticipation is over! Two singles and undoubtedly much work later, Paramore is proud to present Paramore, their self-titled album. The title may seem self-absorbed, but it represents the beautiful transformation of maturity the band has gone through, and it expresses their new sound and their new direction.
This is still Paramore. It’s undeniable that change is apparent in these songs, but they are made with love and inspiration, something that I think all fans can appreciate. Whether your favorite song is Misery Business, Emergency, or The Only Exception, you’ll love Paramore.
The album has all sorts of dynamic, with interludes that sound like nevershoutnever with a 50’s flair, tuned that sound inspired by all sorts of artists like My Chemical Romance- who’s “Na Na Na” can be compared to the driving anthem “Now”-, P!nk-whose bluesy vocal style Hayley matches in the meaningful, relatable “Grow Up”, Florence and The Machine- “Last Hope” sounds a lot like the airy style they usually bring to their records, and even Michael Jackson- which the dancing, spiteful “Ain’t It Fun” reminds me of personally. Even “Fast In My Car”, which wasn’t my favorite on the record, sounded like “Automatic Systematic Habit” in its techno characteristics and style.
The album is lyrically important to Hayley, Jeremy, and Taylor, and you can tell that in some form each song is directly from the heart of at least one of them. “Fast In My Car” was definitely a shout out to the Farro brothers, with the lines “ “The three of us were initiates/we had to learn how to deal/ and when we spotted a second chance/ we had to learn how to steal.” My second favorite on the record, “Daydreaming”, has really powerful meaning and most teenagers will be able to connect with the verse, “Not that I won’t remember where I’m from/ Just don’t wanna be here no more”.
There was a pretty big difference in style from not only previous albums but the tracks from this record itself. “Let The Flames Begin” doesn’t really stand out, and neither does “Hate To See Your Heart Break”, or “Future”, but they are the songs you really have to listen to in order to appreciate. I will point out that the almost tango “(One of Those) Crazy Girls” is only distinctive because the lyrics throw you off like Blondie’s “One Way (Or Another)”. Contrary-wise, there are a few songs that are just super upbeat and perfect for dancing. “Anklebiters” has a really punk rock beginning and would be perfect for a jumping crowd, and “Proof” has the bite that reminds me of “Feeling Sorry”, along with “Be Alone”. My personal favorite was the upbeat love song, “Still Into You” which had an Aerosmith edge with style and an impressive bridge that is the pinnacle of Hayley’s vocals for the album in my opinion.
In some ways, Paramore is a lot more pop then older albums, but it’s heartfelt and determined, and you can tell the trio put in a lot of work to make this exactly what they wanted and what they thought would be the best direction. Because of its diversity, not everyone is going to have the same favorite and least favorite songs from this album, but that’s what makes it even better. Everyone is going to love the album for different reasons, and everyone is going to connect with a different song. I love it and think it’s safe to say it has definitely set the bar for future music they will make.
What do you think?
The early morning of February 4th, 2013 saw an uproar of fans all over the world with this news: Fall Out Boy is back. The group had been denying all rumors (including a tweet from blessthefall’s Beau Bokan) about their reunion until their producer Butch Walker finally revealed the truth: the band had been recording for a while and the record (Save Rock And Roll) was scheduled to be out on May 5th, 2013. This announcement came with a song, “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)”, and tour dates!
After five albums and then a four year hiatus, many critics are probably wondering, “When is Fall Out Boy going to fall?” And the answer is simple: never. Unlike many “sell-out” bands or bands that have had one too many lineup changes, Fall Out Boy stays true to themselves in their first song released. Is there a change in sound? Of course, there’s a difference, but if they were to play the same music on every record, they would not be respected and adored by so many people around the world.
There’s a reason, however, that I as a music aficionado believe that the new Fall Out Boy record will be nothing but classic. Start with the title of this first track. “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)”. This sounds exactly like a title from any other record they had ever produced. While this song itself may be a little slower than your favorite Fall Out Boy song, the style is the same. Patrick’s range and stuttering vocal pattern takes you away from his “Soul Punk” and back to the Fall Out Boy of 2009 with “Folie à Deux”.
There’s nothing about this reunion that promises anything but an amazing comeback of a band that started off a line of records that still echo in the IPods everywhere. I don’t doubt the quality of this record at all.
Let’s Save Rock And Roll, Fall Out Boy.
When I was too young to discover my own taste in music, great artists unbeknownst to my parents and I were arising and putting out amazing records. I try as much as possible to keep moving forward, for music is always evolving, but it’s always important to look behind as well. For example, my personal favorite record of Panic! At The Disco was released seven years ago, in 2005.
Titled A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, this debut album contains some of the best Panic! Songs ever released, as well as some of the longest titles in modern music [see “Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off” and “There’s A Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven’t Thought Of It Yet”]. Although I’ve no sources that state this album is a concept album, I do believe that it tells a pretty interesting story if you put all of the tracks together in a certain way.
Panic! Brought a sound completely original at the time; it was fast-paced, fun, and full of metaphors. However acclaimed by fans, the record actually did not fare well against critics, although Pete Wentz (who signed the group) was very impressed by them. Now it is their highest selling record, and unlike many bands, this debut album held the song that got them radio popularity.
Now half the size of their original number, Panic! At The Disco has not shown any sign of slowing down or selling out, although many fans are already prepared for yet another album. And yes, I am part of this fan base.
Last week, a video uploaded by Bryan Stars brought up the question: Why is Punk Goes Pop so popular? “I think it’s because, as music fans who genuinely love like punk music, we don’t understand why people like One Direction and Justin Bieber and all the other garbage we hear on the radio, and we love it when they take songs that everyone else like, and actually make them god. Because then we can actually understand ‘oh that’s why they like it.’”
This is almost the perfect explanation. Punk Goes Pop takes songs that we all know (even if not by choice) and gives them more personality and spice that we personally can relate to because we like these bands. We like to show that our favorite bands can take a Jason Derulo, Lady Gaga (although I am guilty of actually liking her), or even a Miley Cyrus song and give it a bass drop or make it faster, when most pop musicians just can’t take a Breathe Carolina or A Day to Remember song and cover it.
From the first to the fourth I have been in love with 95% of what comes out of Punk Goes Pop. Most of them turn out to be amazing. Reviewing the two released songs of Punk Goes Pop 5, I’m questioning whether or not the album will turn out to be a huge success, or will the masses of “punk” lovers turn away from it?
The first song I listened to was Upon This Dawning’s cover of “Call Me Maybe”. Being unfamiliar with the band, I took a minute to scan through a couple of songs. I have one word: Hardcore. It’s farther away from punk than most rock genres, but that perception was skewered a while ago, so I judge little on that. In a nutshell, this cover is also hardcore. I present this argument: the lyrics themselves were meant for little more than a colorful rock song. The constant screaming leaves little more for Punk Goes Pop fans than to smirk at how much ‘better’ this genre is than pop. Radium…is not impressed.
Memphis May Fire picks up the slack with Grenade. The verses and choruses are a rock-ified version of Bruno Mars’ original, with Matty’s vocals adding personality with vocal runs and the screaming during the bridge’s drop. The lyrics fit with an angry-yet sensitive rock musician, and the instrumentals are great. I like this cover.
So, with two covers of different styles (and for me, different opinions), and songs from recent radio “Glad You Came” covered by We Came as Romans, “Boyfriend” covered by Issues, and “Payphone” covered by Crown the Empire, and older songs “Billie Jean” covered by Breathe Carolina and “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” covered by The Maine- this new Punk Goes Pop could go any which direction. What do YOU think?
Now, I am quite understood that this song isn’t technically on AshTree’s list, but the band is. Good Charlotte is usually the target of great critism for their ’emo’ label (usually by self-entitled ‘indie’ kids), but if they know one things, it’s to make anthems. And The Anthem is definitely their most influential one of all. Honestly, can you hear this song and want to be normal? Can you hear this song and still want to be a doctor or lawyer?
Personally they convey everything that I’ve been trying to tell myself my whole life. Most teenagers can identify with this feeling of never being good enough, never ‘fitting in’- especially in a society where being unique just makes you more boring-, and never wanting to stand down.
The music itself is not without quality, either. Much different, in fact. Sometimes it’s not about long guitar solos or deep powerful notes. Sometimes, it’s about letting go and dancing. And that’s what these riffs are all about. It’s about making you want to do something with your life and your ambition.
Quite frankly, I think that’s what every teenager in this society needs. Right now.
So listen to it guys 🙂 I know this was an awful post, sorry AshTree, but I have another review coming up on a song you might like!
Xoxo Radium Rollercoaster
You’re back for part two of my adventure: the behind-the-scenes. I hail from a small town, and I’m still hailing from said small town. Going to my first concert? Mind blowing. Going to my second with my best friend? Awesome. Going to Journeys Backyard BBQ? Life changing. But the behind-the-scenes of my day at Rocketown was absolutely pure magic. I found out after Satellites and Sirens were finished that the Nearly Deads wanted me to go out for the interview.
Only the bands were allowed out, but we got to go past security because we were with the band. How many teenagers actually get to say that? It took us awhile to get the light set up just right, but we got it done! After the interview, we just stood around and talked. As little as that seems to entail to most people, it’s cool to see that a great band is so down to earth. Romeo had walked out not much later, and the security guard gave up and went inside.
I went to talk to the first person I saw, the singer of Romeo. He- Joe- was very totally eager to go ahead and check out my website. It just added to how awesome the band seemed! Romeo seemed young for a band that seemed to have it on the right path, and it was really cool to be able to talk to him. I decided to go ahead and also chat with the other members (not including their drummer Cameron, who had already left) of Romeo. Christian, Cris, and Zach were super funny and extremely nice. I was offered a cookie…from a cup!
The bottom line was I got to be part of two great bands, and actually talk to them like humans. Most people forget about very famous bands, that they are still just humans. I look at them and see people that fulfill dreams that I’m still realizing, and it seems too far away until I just take a step forward and start talking. Both bands are humble and love talking to fans. I’ll be back eventually to interview Romeo. I wouldn’t miss that for anything.
There is only one part left. You ready? Come back tomorrow!
XoXo Radium Rollercoaster
I believe there is only one way to do this: the show, the behind-the-scenes, and the interview. You may ask yourself, “What is THIS?” And in response I will tell you, this is an adventure. I ask you to follow me as I bring you through June 17th, 2012, in Nashville Tennessee. This day was not only Father’s Day, but something beyond my imagination. This was when The Nearly Deads, Tell Romeo I Hate Him, Satellites and Sirens, and The Wedding all played in a small area called Rocketown. I had never heard of it, but being able to meet up with the Nearly Deads was a chance I wouldn’t miss.
But that’s part three. The first part is the show. I got there 20 minutes late, worrying that we missed the first band, but later learned we were 40 minutes before the first band. So I stopped to talk to the Nearly Deads (Kevin greeted us first, and TJ was soon to follow), and checked out the rest of the bands’ booths. All seemed eager for even a teenager like me to interview their bands. I felt very encouraged and in time it seemed like a normal routine.
The venue was small, but was only filled with like 35 people. It was a new, interesting environment, almost like an underground concert. The first band to go on was Tell Romeo I Hate Him- whom I refer to as Romeo for short. Romeo got on stage, and I had to cross the whole room to get up front when I heard them start playing. They had a great first impression on me, with amazing guitar, an all around bouncy personality, and hard, skilled drums. When the singer started doing his stuff, it was so easy for me to get into the music.
They had a great set list, and their stage presence was wonderful. They kept their energy constant, played a diverse amount of music, and made awesome conversation when changing songs. I was more than happy to stand and watch them. The Nearly Deads went on afterwards. I felt special, because knew I had something the others at the venue didn’t: a connection to the band. I talked to TJ as she set up, and stood center front as they jammed.
My favorite Nearly Deads song is the first song I ever heard by them, “Fact And Friction”. It has an enticing (yes, enticing!) piano intro played by TJ and is full of energy. Its buildup is nice and easy, and the chorus just hits you with inspiration. Now that I had listened to the song maybe a hundred times, I happily sang along. I was maybe too over enthusiastic. However, my sister got a new shirt! The other people in the audience seemed more than content to listen to them as well. They performed well as always.
The next band to go on was Satellites and Sirens, an electro-rock band. Their sound was totally unique, and a huge group of young men were having a lot of fun listening to them. Their bass player of old returned for one night when their new one couldn’t make it, which was interesting. The voice of the singer did not seem apropos from someone such as himself, if you judged by looks. The whole band had a strange image. I enjoyed it to a point, and they were good, but not overly impressive to me. Their guitar was pretty repetitive and there wasn’t much buildup or variety.
I did not get to see The Wedding, and I wish I had, but the things that conspired afterwards were quite worth missing the main event. Do you want to know? Are you sure you want to know? Alright, I’ll tell you…Next time! Come back tomorrow and I will tell you about part two!
XoXo Radium Rollercoaster
While bands like Three Days Grace and Simple Plan gained worldwide fame in the late early 2000’s, an amazing punk-rock band has been brewing, 11 years in the making. They have three albums released, and hail from Vancouver. They have fans all over Canada and thousands in the US, but they are still in the shadows. I am here to bring them to the light. They are Marianas Trench, and they are here for world domination.
If you’ve followed me before, you have read about my Journey at the Backyard BBQ (articlehttps://radiumrollercoaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/my-journeys-at-the-backyard-bbq/), where I met the wonderful Matt Webb, the guitarist for Marianas Trench. As promised, I got the interview. First, some background.
They began in 2001, and the next year had an EP out called Marianas Trench. Several years later, in 2006, their first full length studio album, Fix Me, was released. This album includes “Shake Tramp” and “Say Anything. Masterpiece Theater, their second album, was released in 2009, and included some of their biggest singles so far, “Celebrity Status” being the top one, and also “Cross My Heart”, and “All To Myself”, two of my personal favorites.
And finally, Ever After was loosed on the world. It started with the music video for their first single, “Haven’t Had Enough” in July of 2011. Then after the release of the album- which has no pauses throughout the album- the video for “Fallout” was released. The strangest part of this album is not the lack of separation between tracks, but the fairytale aspect. It is titled Ever After, and the cover has toys and dolls.
This brings me to really explain the reason why Marianas Trench has so many fans. They have a style that most bands have abandoned- punk-pop rock- but they are also very unique. All members sing in most of the songs, rather than Josh’s (the lead singer) vocals voiced-over. They are all the original members, which is also very rare for a band a decade old.
Enough of me rambling on, I’m sure everyone wants to know Matt’s answers.
Here you are:
1. What is your favorite part of touring?
Matt: Playing shows for SURE. Getting up onstage in front of our crazy fans every night is the most exhilarating feeling in the world. I love my job and not too many people can say that. We are very, very lucky dudes.
2. How different would you say it is, being a Canadian based band, versus starting in the US?
Matt: No different, Marianas Trench fans are the bomb no matter where you go. USA shows are awesome because we have a better opportunity to come out and meet fans every night. But honestly, I have no problem hucking myself into giant swarms of people whenever possible.
3. How did Marianas Trench form?
Matt: Josh was like “Hey, lets start a band”.
4. Josh has a lot of personality, and I can imagine it gets overwhelming. How do you keep up?
Matt: More like EVERYONE has a lot of personality. And those personalities never get overwhelming. We’re family and we love each other very much.
5. Do you play any other instruments?
Matt: Sure, I play piano, trombone, trumpet, little bit of drums, bass, slide whistle, guitar, and I’m currently learning pedal steel.
6. Marianas Trench’s music videos always involve crazy acting and weird scenes. So far, which has been your favorite and why?
Matt: Shooting the video for our new single, Desperate Measures, was a total blast. Why? Skin tight outfits that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination, thats why.
[Interviewers note: said video is not yet released.]
7. Does Josh do all of the song writing?
8. In one word, describe each of your band members, including yourself.
Matt: Josh: guava
[Interviewers note: Guava is a fruit, Rapunzel is the fictional princess, an Ombudsman is like a political intermediary, and Wesley Snipes is Wesley Freaking Snipes.]
9. Why and how did Marianas Trench decide to settle for the style of music you play now?
Matt: Cuz other styles of music can suck it.
[Interviewers note: Amen, Matt.]
10. What would some of your advice to upcoming musicians or bands be?
Matt: Practice and practice, learn your instrument inside and out, and focus HARD on the songwriting. Thats all that matters. Show your music to your friends, family, strangers, whoever, and listen carefully to what they say about it. Play live as much as humanly possible. And try to look at least somewhat cool.
11. If you could redo one thing that you did in your musical career, would you? If so, what would it be?
Matt: I should have drank more beers with Dan Kanter when he played in Shiloh.
12. What is the craziest thing a fan has done to either talk to you or get your attention?
Matt: Uhhh, usually our fans are very respectful, every once in a while someone gives me the heeby jeebys but only when they have that “I’m gonna kill you” look in their eyes. Drinking the blood of your favourite guitar player is NOT kosher.
13. Who does Marianas trench draw inspiration from musically?
Matt: Notorious BIG.
14. If you could trade places with one of your band members for one day, who would it be?
Matt: Ian. I would love to know what goes on inside that mans head.
15. Where did you get your musical background/desire?
Matt: My grandfather taught me to play piano and was definitely my biggest musical influence. I used to stay up late listening to him play, thinking, “I’m gonna be that good when I grow up.” Still got a ways to go, but practice makes perfect!
16. If you had not gone into music, what field would you be working in now?
Matt: Investment Banking
17. What is your favorite part of being in a band, or Marianas Trench specifically?
Matt: Touring! Meeting new people, travelling to new places, rocking to thousands of people every night… I am literally living the dream.
18. What is your least favorite part?
Matt: Being away from my friends and family at home.
19. When did you first realize that Marianas Trench had become famous?
Matt: Good question. We played a show in Winnipeg MB at the Red River EX one summer. There were over 5000 people watching which was a complete shock to us. We had no idea our band could draw that kind of crowd anywhere other than our home town. To make the situation even sweeter, we had thousands more fans than a HUGE band that played the night before. That was cool.
20. Where does Marianas Trench plan on going in their future as a band?
Matt: Can’t say at the moment, our goal is supreme world domination. I want to hear our songs on the radio in Thailand. Honestly, we’ll probably continue to make music for as long as people want to hear it, we’re a bunch of happy dudes and I can’t imagine any of us doing anything else with our lives.
There it is. I had fun listening to them, exploring their history, and interviewing Matt. He’s an awesome person. Hell, all of Marianas Trench are amazing, and so are the people that make their music possible. A special shout out to Paul Orescan for making THIS happen.
XoXo Radium Rollercoaster