Music Monday! Album & Concert Review – The Rocket Summer “Zoetic”

Hello again!
For today’s Music Monday I’m going to be talking about my favorite band, The Rocket Summer. I previously discussed TRS in November when I went to the “Returning West” Tour at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, click here to read that blog post. On April 12th, I went to the “Zoetic” Tour at The Troubadour in Los Angeles – the following post will partially be a Concert Review of that experience with some video footage.

I’m also going to review “Zoetic”, the new Album. As I’ve never done an Album Review before, I’m not exactly sure how to format it. For my first attempt I’m going to write a basic summary of my thoughts because I don’t want this post to be TOO long with the Concert Review attached as well. Writing could get too lengthy, in the future I may do this all via video, but we’ll see. Let me know what you would prefer in the comments below!!

After reading the reviews, if you’re interested in purchasing any of the songs/albums, they’re all available for free on Spotify or of course, you can buy the album on Itunes or through The Rocket Summer website. I highly recommend buying through the website because they have a bunch of really unique deals, for example, I got an actual CD – autographed! – & a digital download for about $15/$20.

UPDATE 5/2/16: After many more listens & getting these lyrics stuck in my head, I’m updating my Album Review to 4 stars. Bryce’s passion for music & the subjects he sings about are hard to deny & infectious. Perhaps there’s something to be said rating-wise about an album that takes a few listens to connect to, but I’m sticking with 4 stars. I’m still saying I don’t necessarily connect with ALL of these songs lyrically, but the music is just SO good. Give “Emergency Landings”, “Sharks”, & “White Fireworks” a listen or two or five or 50 RIGHT NOW!

Album Review – 11 songs, overall – 3 out of 5 stars
I think I’m too biased. I fell in love with The Rocket Summer as an alternative pop semi-Jesus loving kind of sound & lyrics. “Zoetic” is DIFFERENT. I’m happy for Bryce, that he’s getting the chance to expand his horizons & follow his heart – as happy as you can be for someone you don’t know, haha!
I enjoyed the album from a musical perspective. Bryce tapped into ALL his talents in terms of the music arrangement, vocal range, & style. “Zoetic” definitely has an edge to it, a harsher, angrier style that fans haven’t seen before, & I appreciate it. It’s always nice to see your favorite artist grow & show different sides of themselves. I’ll be adding most of these songs to my Gym Playlist, a place TRS songs don’t usually go.
Unfortunately I feel like so much work into the music that the lyrics were an after thought. Some of the songs are super repetitive which I’m used to hearing with pop songs on the radio, but is not usually Bryce’s style.
Overall I enjoyed this album because as always you can tell Bryce is super passionate & he puts so much effort into his work. I have to give him props for that even if I wasn’t able to connect with the lyrics this time around. In my perfect world, a future album will include lyrics in the style of previous album “Do You Feel” with music in the style of “Zoetic”.
Favorite Tracks: “Cold War”, “Same Air”, “Get Over It”, “FL, CA”


Concert Review
The Venue – I’d never been to The Troubadour in Los Angeles before, but was pleased with the venue. Parking was convenient, $12-$15 for Valet, & the area seemed safe. There’s two rooms, the first is super small off the left & has the bathrooms, a bar, & the merch table. That area was super squishy crowded, but the main room was pretty spacious – or maybe there just weren’t that many people there. There were seats available on an upper level & another bar in the main room. The drinks were fairly expensive though, $9 for a Jack & Coke. It might look like a dive, but don’t forget you’re in LA. One cool new (to me) thing about this show was that they were selling Giving Keys that said Zoetic on them. Giving Keys is a charity that employs those transitioning out of homelessness to stamp empowering words on keys. The idea is that you’re supposed to buy a key with a word that means something to you, wear it until you feel like you’ve accomplished a related goal, then pass the key on to someone who needs the empowerment from that word. I’ve wanted a Giving Key ever since I first heard about the company, actually I talk about them in Vlog #2!, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to buy one.

The People – As I said in my previous TRS Concert Review, the crowd at these shows are pretty respectful, mostly women or couples. There was an overly enthusiastic guy standing right next to me that was kind of weirding me out, but he wasn’t being aggressive so eh, to each their own! One thing that surprised me was the amount of children! I’ve seen teenagers before, I’ve been a teenager at a TRS show (!!), but these were kids younger than 10. It seemed like a weird parenting decision to allow kids out late at night in such a loud setting, but what do I know about raising kids!?

The Performance – The music was harsher than I’ve ever heard, but that’s the nature of “Zoetic”. It seemed like there were a few technical issues, a couple times the music sounded off & Bryce looked off stage at the tech & looked sort of irritated/frustrated. There was definitely one problem where his guitar wasn’t sounding right or something & he looked for the tech – & nobody came. He kept looking around & was holding out the guitar while trying to continue singing, but no one came. Bryce did his best to stay professional & ultimately it was kind of funny, a moment that showed a real human side to the show, but was probably stressful for him. As you’ll see in the video, Bryce brought a Fan on stage to play Cello during “Never Knew” – a VIP experience he’s offering on his website. I couldn’t hear one note of the Cello, I felt bad. My mom was sitting in the upstairs seating & said she heard it & it was great, so I’m not sure if there was a sound issue, or maybe that just wasn’t the best venue to use a Cello..?

Final Verdict: Obviously amazing, awesome, magical! I didn’t wait for Bryce to come out after the show because I’d been at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (!!!!) all day + had to drive back to Orange County, so I was ready to get going. I have plans to see him THREE more times, PHX Rebel Lounge, SNA Constellation Room/Observatory, & SF Bottom of the Hill. I will probably wait for him in SF because that’s the first place I met him & that’s the last stop on the “Zoetic” Tour, so it’ll be a nice bookend. Of course, if you like TRS I definitely recommend seeing him live. There’s not a lot of time left, but click here to see if he’s playing near you!

What do you think? For those of you that hadn’t heard of TRS before, did I make you a fan!? If you’re going to any of the shows I’ll be at, let me know in the comments below – I’d love to meet up! Please remember to SUBSCRIBE/LIKE/COMMENT/SHARE to my YouTube & this blog, thanks for reading 🙂

Music Monday! Concert Review – The Rocket Summer “Returning West” Tour at Bottom of the Hill

Hello everyone!
This week’s Music Monday is kind of a mouthful! Click on the video below to watch a few clips from The Rocket Summer “Returning West” Tour at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco! Then continue reading to see the full review of the Concert. Please remember to Subscribe/Follow, Share, Comment, & Like both the YouTube channel & this blog! Thanks!

The Rocket Summer has been my favorite band for about 10 years now. Although, calling it a “band”, might not be the right word. While the name sounds like a group of musicians, The Rocket Summer is the solo project of musician Bryce Avary. He’ll occasionally feature musician friends, or his wife Tara, but for the most part Avary does everything from writing the music/lyrics, to singing all the parts, & playing ALL the instruments. He’s extremely talented & it’s really fun & interesting to watch him perform live. I try to make it to every show in my area & I think in the 10 years I’ve been a fan, I’ve only missed one tour because I was super sick. I almost missed his SF appearance due to work, but luckily I made it…keep reading to see what happened!

The Venue – I’d never been to Bottom of the Hill before, but I’d heard really good things. I was working nearby at the W Hotel at the time & wasn’t going to get off work until 2 AM. I was super upset I was going to miss the show but luckily, fate stepped in & I got off work early. I jumped in an Uber & raced over to try to catch at least some of the show. As I was so late, the guy at the door was nice enough to not charge me entry. Sometimes concert staff can be hit or miss in terms of “Hospitality”. One time a stranger passed out next to me at a show & I couldn’t get any of the staff or security to help us for a few solid minutes! I was grateful people were awesome right off the bat. BOTH is a smaller venue, a typical dive/hole in the wall. There were maybe 50 to 100 people there & it was squishy. However, this is the kind of show where you want to be right up front, so squishy-ness is expected. A random, but important note, I appreciated that there were several well placed wall outlets. It’s always nice to know you have a way to charge your phone where you won’t be creating a hazard for others/yourself.

The People – I have a love/hate relationship with TRS fans. The crowd is mostly young females often times in packs, sometimes with their parents or reluctant boyfriends. Their attitude can range from teeny bopper excitement with shrill cries of “I LOVE YOU BRYCE!!!!” ringing through the air (uhm he’s married, his wife works the merch table, calm down) to disgruntled punk/scene girls with wild colored hair, many facial piercings/tattoos to some genuinely cool people. I, of course, fall into that last category, haha! This crowd was pretty neutral, but I’ve been in crowds where girls were pushing each other to the point that it was distracting me from the show & I’ve also met people I really bonded with & am friends with on Social Media to this day, years later. I think it depends on your attitude as well. If you’re there looking to push people & be disrespectful to other concertgoers, you might run into some backlash. If you’re there to just chill & enjoy the music, you’ll have a good time.

The Performance – While his music style might not be for everyone, Bryce is super talented! As I mentioned before, he plays all the instruments on his albums. For a concert however, he’ll usually enlist the help of a “touring band”. One of my favorite parts of a TRS show is the “Solo Jam”. Bryce plays one instrument, records/loops the playback, plays another instrument, records/loops the playback, etc showing the process of how he usually plays everything & creates the songs on his own. I’ve always found this really fascinating & I enjoy that he chooses to share the process with the fans so we have a better understanding of how he does what he does. As the new album “Zoetic” had/has not been released, the “Returning West Tour” was like a warm up tour. Bryce played his greatest hits, and of course, “Same Air”, his newest single. I love TRS shows because I get so inspired seeing someone with passion for their craft & how they have used that craft to bring together people from all walks of life. Another really awesome aspect of TRS shows is that Bryce usually comes out after the show to meet the fans. In all the years I’ve been going to his concerts I’ve never met him! I was determined to make it happen this time, especially because I knew I’d be writing this post. I ended up waiting just about an hour after the show & it was well worth the wait. I completely embarrassed myself & acted like a total fangirl quoting his own song lyrics to him, haha, I’m a little bit ashamed. It’s all good though, he was super nice & I felt totally appreciated & welcome. I never felt at all rushed even though there were other fans waiting to talk to him. We took SEVERAL selfies trying to find the right lighting & he autographed a napkin – even making sure to spell my name correctly! All in all, it was a concert I’ll always remember.

The Final Verdict – Obviously, I had an amazing time. I’m sorry the video isn’t longer so you can get a better idea of what the show was like, but I was grateful to see as much as I did. I already have plans to see Bryce perform again in April for the “Zoetic” Tour & you can bet I will be doing a recap of that as well 🙂 If you’re interested in attending a TRS show click here to see if he’s playing near you!

I hope you enjoyed this Review & video. I wanted to leave you with an “official” piece of TRS music so please check out the video below, “200,000” – one of my favorite songs! This video gives you a good idea of how Bryce puts the songs together himself, plus his wife Tara is in it!
Please leave me a note in the Comment section & let me know…have you ever heard of The Rocket Summer? What kind of music do you like – what should I check out next? Thanks for reading!

Concert Review! Britney Spears “Piece of Me” Tour at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas

Hey everyone!
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m somewhat changing what will be showcased here & how/when. I’m working towards having content posted every day & with that being said…
Welcome to “Music Monday” – each Monday I will (try to) have some sort of music related post, wether it’s a Concert or Album Review, talking about music I like, or “performing” – if I can work up the nerve!

Anyway, this post has been a long time coming, sorry for the wait!
This is a recap of my experience at the Britney Spears “Piece of Me” Tour at AXIS in Planet Hollywood Las Vegas! Due to copyright issues I’m not sure how long this video will remain up on YouTube – so watch now before it potentially gets taken down!
A few months ago I was talking to my best friend about what to do for Halloween & the idea of going to Vegas came up. She said, “I’ll go – but only if we see Britney!”
At the time, I was not that enthusiastic because I had heard nothing but horrible things about Ms. Spears’ Vegas Tour. It was over priced, she can barely keep up with her back up dancers, & she doesn’t sing live. Being poor/just recently employed I was not looking forward to spending money on something like that. However, with my friend’s excitement coupled with the fact that it was Halloween – I was all set to at least get glammed up & see what Vegas had to offer. In a turn of events I didn’t anticipate – I was pleasantly surprised by my “Piece of Me” Tour experience! Click on the video below to watch some clips from the show & keep reading below to see my thoughts on the experience!

Be warned – this video will not load in certain countries or on mobile devices due to copyright issues!!

The Venue – AXIS is amazing! It’s a smaller venue, I’ve definitely walked by it several times during past Vegas visits & never even noticed it. Our seats were great & somewhat reasonable for how close we were. I would be willing to return to this venue & pay more to sit up closer, even just a few rows, because it’s definitely worth it. Before heading to the seating area, there was a museum like display of Britney’s famous costumes that you could take pictures with & learn little fun facts about. Of course, they were also selling a copious amount of merchandise & alcohol – these items are pricey! You don’t necessarily have to spend your money though…depending on how much pride you have. We stayed a bit after the concert ended to take pictures & noticed that several people had (drunkenly) left their souvenir cups behind. An Usher encouraged us to take them home & wash them, obviously, because they were just going to get thrown away. Woo hoo, free stuff!
One negative thing I will say is that we kept seeing ads for a “Britney Spears After Party” at Drai’s, but we couldn’t find any other information. Did it cost money? Did you have to be on a Guest List? What time did it start/end? etc, none of that was answered & we didn’t feel like going on an adventure that might not be successful, so we didn’t even attempt it.

The People – The other concert goers were SUPER friendly, like, invade your space/come up & talk to you loudly type of friendly. This is probably due to the fact that they were some combination of drunk/high/excited. 99.9% of people were in Britney related costumes & I’m not sure if that’s because, they were paying homage to Britney, it was Halloween, we were in Vegas, or again, a combination of all three. We were approached by several people & pulled into group pictures with strangers, but it was all good fun! The crowd was a melting pot of age/race/gender/sexual preference/couples/friends/Bachelorette Party/Girl’s Night Out/Mother-Daughters etc. Everyone we encountered was polite, but if you can’t handle lots of loud, rowdy people, this wouldn’t be a good fit for you – but if that’s the case, most likely any concert wouldn’t be a good fit for you.

The Performance – WOW! I was blown away. The props, setting, costumes, back up dancers, everything, was over the top & awesome. It was exactly what you would expect from Britney Spears & Las Vegas. To address my earlier concerns, does she sing live?…I really don’t think so. Did she have a hard time keeping up with her back up dancers?…Sometimes, occasionally she stopped dancing altogether & just did sexy poses & threw her hair around while they did the bulk of the work. Bottom line – I’ve seen her do better performances in her “youth”, but I’ve also seen her look like way more of a trainwreck. I was surprised by how inspired I was by watching this show. I went into this experience thinking about how I’d be watching this empty headed, sexed up, washed up Pop star attempt to relive her glory days, but it wasn’t like that. It was a well done tribute to a woman that has worked her ass off to make a name for herself in the Entertainment industry. Yes, she’s definitely had some bumps along the way, but that’s life, especially when you live in the public eye. Just thinking about the physical aspects of the show, that’s all her! She may seem like a robot in interviews, but those abs…that’s on her! That’s hard work! Somewhere in there, she still wants to work hard to be the Pop star she used to be – or is working towards becoming someone new. To me, that’s really inspiring, after everything she’s been through, she’s still getting up & working towards new goals.
I will warn you though, this is not really a concert – it’s a Vegas show. Some of her songs are mashed up/remixed/cut short – so don’t expect to hear the classics exactly as they were originally recorded.

The Final Verdict – Like I said, I’m not even a huge Britney fan, so I was pleasantly surprised by my experience & would gladly see another Britney Spears concert/show – if the venue/price were right! If you can, I would definitely recommend seeing her show in Vegas. I was under the impression “Piece of Me” ended in January to make way for Jennifer Lopez’s tour. However, if you go on Ticketmaster you can still buy “Piece of Me” tickets until February. So maybe there’s still a chance? If you’re at all a fan of Britney, dance music/big party scene, or 90’s pop culture icons, this is a show you won’t want to miss!

Let me know in the comments, have you ever seen Britney in concert? What other concerts would you recommend I go see? Do you have any thoughts about the video posted above? Thanks for reading 🙂

Concert Review! Luke Bryan “Kick the Dust Up Tour” at Levi’s Stadium

Hey y’all! On Saturday, August 29th my Gemini spirit sister Katie & I went to see Luke Bryan’s “Kick the Dust Up” Tour at Levi’s Stadium. We had an amaziiiiinnnggg time – so much fun! Watch the video below for some clips of the concert & some commentary from me. We weren’t down in the pit so the video clips aren’t amazing, forgive the quality and distance, but it’ll give you some idea of what the stage looked like & all that jazz. Most of the clips aren’t long because they’re from my SnapChat (@missal_leigh). Sometimes it’s hard to run my social media, take pics/video for the blog, & also actually be in the moment, but those are the struggles of a blogger I guess. Also, please excuse my awful singing! I tried to cut out video where you can hear me but sometimes my voice got in there sooooo enjoy!!

I didn’t mention this in the video but if you’re going to an event at Levi’s Stadium – be warned! Parking is a complete and utter NIGHTMARE!!!!! We got dropped off thinking that would be the easiest way to move through all the traffic, getting in wasn’t too bad, but leaving – we had to walk a mile, which would’ve been fine except with my hip, I was suffering. The struggle was real.

Let me know in the comments below if you were also at this show and what you thought. I’m going to a Country Music Festival in Vegas that I’m SUPER excited about, what concert are you headed to next? Maybe I’ll see you there 🙂 Thanks for reading!

New York, Broadway Review! Honeymoon in Vegas, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Kinky Boots, Matilda, & It’s Only a Play

Hello all!
I recently took a trip to New York – check my Instagram: @MissAl_Leigh for pics! We got caught up in the “blizzard”, plus, the main event I went for (a job fair) was canceled, but we did manage to see 5 Broadway shows that I will recap for you below! Keep reading to see what I thought of “Honeymoon in Vegas”, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”, “Kinky Boots”, “Matilda”, & “It’s Only a Play”!

I have always had a passion for the performing arts. I have been a performer in one way or another since I was 2, starting with dance classes. I saw my first Broadway play, Beauty and the Beast, when I was 8. I fell even more in love with performing and for the next several years took part in local children’s theatre. While I enjoy all types of theatre, I prefer musicals. I have seen a fair number, my favorites being, “Wicked”, “Avenue Q”, “Hairspray”, “Beauty and the Beast” (of course), and “Phantom of the Opera”, to name a few. Obviously none of this information makes me a professional critic or performer, but based on my experiences, I feel like I know what I’m talking about to some extent.

“Honeymoon in Vegas”
Plot:
 This story was originally a non-musical film released in 1992 starring Nicholas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker, and James Caan. I’m not sure how closely the musical follows the movie. Jack and Betsy have problems due to Jack’s commitment issues stemming from a “curse” his mother placed on him. They decide to get married in Vegas and wild adventures ensue.
Notable Cast: Tony Danza played Tommy Korman – James Caan’s role.
Thoughts: This show did not seem like Broadway caliber to me. For example, there were a few instances of microphone wires falling off the actors. It was very noticeable, and even more noticeable when other actors would try to remove the wires from their co-stars, or pick them up off the ground. Another issue was when Betsy had a quick costume change. The actress missed her cue to come back on stage and there was an awkward silence before someone tried to cover. She arrived a moment later with her dress almost completely unzipped in the back, being held up by just a belt, which later popped off. Another actress tried to zip up the dress as the scene continued, but was only halfway successful. There were several actors visibly laughing, which made the whole show seem very unprofessional. I was disappointed with Tony Danza’s performance. I’m almost certain he was sick. He was very quiet, had no energy, & looked ashen. I listened to his performance on Spotify & he sounded excellent, although I suppose that could’ve been AutoTuned. 
Best Songs: “Anywhere but Here”, “Honeymoon in Vegas – Finale” 

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”
Plot: “Gentleman’s Guide…” is the story of Monty Navarro, a poor young man who, after his mother’s death, finds out he is part of an illustrious local family – The D’Ysquith Family. This makes him 9th in line to be Lord D’Ysquith. Hoping to impress his spoiled love interest, Sibella, Monty informs her of this amazing news. He’s sure the family will welcome him in but of course, the wealthy family has no interest in acknowledging another heir. Upon hearing of his rejection, Sibella marries a more wealthy suitor. Determined to prove to Sibella and anyone else who might doubt him, Monty sets out on a nefarious mission to quickly shorten his line to the top. Does he get away with murder(s) & win Sibella back or does the law catch up with him?!
Notable Cast: I didn’t recognize any of the cast but I’d like to especially applaud Jefferson Mays. He played the entire D’Ysquith Family – men & women. It was a great casting choice.
Thoughts: While I thought the Cast was extremely talented and the plot was creative and well written – I didn’t connect with this show. It was hard to find the characters sympathetic or relatable because they were murderers, liars, cheaters, and the like. In a strange twist, I would highly recommend this show, but I wouldn’t want to see it again unless I was taking someone that had never seen it before.
Best Songs: None. I didn’t download any of the songs, like I said, I didn’t connect with this show.

“Kinky Boots”
Plot: Kinky Boots is another musical based on a film – based on the true story – of a young man named Charlie who takes over his father’s shoe making company and has to find a way to modernize the company or lose everything. With the help of a sassy drag queen named Lola, Charlie figures out his niche market and grows up along the way.
Thoughts: I really wanted to love “Kinky Boots” because I like the message of finding yourself amidst chaos and learning tolerance. Sadly, the level of professionalism just didn’t live up to Broadway caliber for me. Maybe my standards are too high, but I believe for as much as it costs to see a show on Broadway & as rigorous as the audition/rehearsal process is, the cast should blow me away. I was cringing at parts of this performance. The dancing was sloppy, the singing was pitchy, & I’ve seen more convincing drag queens on episodes of Law & Order. I realize they didn’t hire actual drag queens for the show, but think of all the time they spent rehearsing! They should’ve been able to do anything in those heels! Cyndi Lauper wrote the music/lyrics & you can definitely tell. If you’re a fan, you’ll enjoy the music at least. I can only pick out Notable Cast for bad reasons so I’m not going to name names because I don’t think that’s fair, they may have been having a bad day. Talent will win out, if they truly are not a great performer, they won’t be cast as often in the future.
Best Songs: “Take What You Got”, “The History of Wrong Guys”, “Step One”, “Raise You Up/Just Be”, “Land of Lola”

“Matilda”
Plot: “Matilda” is a musical based off a movie – based off a book by Roald Dahl. Matilda is a super smart girl born into a family of losers who just don’t understand her. As she grows up she learns just how very special she is & how she can take control of her destiny & help those she loves.
Notable Cast: The entire cast was truly amazing from the smallest child to the few adult actors. Think about the attention span you had at age 7, could you have been the lead in a Broadway musical?!
Thoughts: I’m sure I read the book but I don’t remember. “Matilda” was one of my favorite movies growing up so I had REALLY high expectations for this show…& they were beyond met! It was so epically amazing. They perfectly combined the magic of a well executed stage performance with Dahl’s story and classic scenes from the film. The dancing and singing was on point from every member of the cast. One issue I had was the pitch of the children’s voices. Sometimes their little voices were so high pitched you couldn’t really decipher what they were saying. In a hilarious twist of fate, one of the scenes in “It’s Only a Play”, pokes fun at that. I wasn’t completely in love with the music, but the script/lyrics were clever and the story was relatable to audiences of all ages. The staging/use of props was incredible. Some of the tricks they used to create the wild adventures Matilda goes through were so amazing. My words can’t even do it justice here. I laughed & cried. If you’ve ever been a weird misunderstood kid, or heck, adult – you have to see “Matilda”.
Best Songs: “Miracle”, “When I Grow Up”, “Naughty”

“It’s Only a Play”
Plot: “It’s Only a Play” is the story of a group of friends and random associates that work (or want to work) in various facets of the entertainment industry. They’re celebrating the opening night of a new play. Hilarity ensues as reviews come in, tensions rise, and egos explode.
Notable Cast: OH MY GOSH!!! I was literally 50 feet from Martin Short, Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing (Rizzo from Grease), & F. Murray Abraham (Salieri from Amadeus)! The cast had some rotating parts, Martin Short had just taken over his role from Nathan Lane – but he’ll return (which they make fun of in the play) & I JUST missed seeing Rupert Grint (RON FROM HARRY POTTER!!!!).
Thoughts: While this play had a lot of big names I recognize and respect, I didn’t really care about seeing it because it’s only a play (pun intended) & as I mentioned earlier, I generally prefer musicals. However, I’m so happy I saw this! The script was originally written in the 1980’s but had been rewritten for today’s audience and it was truly hilarious. They referenced pop culture, everything from snarky remarks about other Broadway shows all the way to the Kardashians. It was awesome to see actors of this quality perform, play off each other, & interact with the audience. I highly recommend this show, especially if you’re at all familiar with the entertainment industry & pop culture.

Official Ranking – in order of what you SHOULD see to what you could check out if you have time…
1. Matilda
2. It’s Only a Play
– Based on talent and level of professionalism, I would move “Gentleman’s Guide” to spot 3 and “Honeymoon” & “Kinky Boots” would tie. However, I decided to base this ranking on fun, how much I enjoyed the music, and how much the show resonated with me, so the ratings stand as thus. While they had their good moments, I doubt I will see these last 3 shows again in the future. I only rated “Honeymoon…” & “KB” above “Gentleman’s Guide…” because I see a ton of room for improvement. I could possibly be persuaded to see them again with the hopes that they were better the next time. “Gentleman’s Guide…” however, was already a very talented performance, I just didn’t connect with it.
3. Honeymoon in Vegas
4. Kinky Boots
5. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Have you seen any of these performances? Will you now? What are your favorite musicals or plays? Let’s chat below in the comments! I’d love to hear any recommendations you might have for me. Please FOLLOW me here to get email notifications when I post. Thanks!

LATE POST! CONCERT REVIEW! – @Yellowcard @HOBAnaheim, House of Blues in Anaheim 10/6/13!

Again, I’m ashamed of the length of time it has taken to get this post up. New Year’s resolution number one: be a better blogger! That’s been my resolution for about the last 3 years though, so we’ll see how it goes this year.

Anyways, Yellowcard. Yellowcard and I have a rather interesting history. I started liking them when Ocean Avenue came out in 2003. Just like every other teen at the time, I was obsessed with the song “Ocean Avenue”. While I enjoyed the other songs and really connected to the lyrics, I didn’t know why. I hadn’t experienced anything like what the songs were talking about, there was just something about them. As I got older and experienced more things, I found myself going back to Yellowcard and seeing deeper connections to songs I’d always loved. My relationship never really grew past Ocean Avenue. I own Lights and Sounds, but I never bothered to find any of their older music or buy new music beyond Lights and Sounds. Despite this, Yellowcard always had a special place in my heart and I always considered them one of my favorite bands.

Yellowcard was another concert on my bucket list, much like Fall Out Boy. The events that unfolded were unbelievable! My friend and I didn’t arrive that early because we’d been told by other YC fans that people don’t really line up beforehand – wrong. There were two fairly long lines already in progress. One of them was the “Pass the Line” line, people bought $20 of merch from the HOB store to get in before the regular ticketed people. We ran to the store to look around but the stuff was kind of expensive and we had nowhere to put anything. As we were walking around an employee came over & gave us a discount, now we only had to spend $10 to get in the VIP line. Yay! We were still looking around when a few minutes later he came over and just GAVE US the VIP passes! We were speechless! We ran to get in line and had barely been there for 30 seconds when the same guy found us and brought us into the venue, letting us cut the ENTIRE line! I know without him there’s no way we would’ve been in the front row. I’m so thankful and amazed at his kindness. I sincerely hope I’m not getting him in trouble, he should get a raise! Unfortunately I don’t remember his name, but I know his name tag said he was from Orange, CA  🙂

My friend Jeri & me with our "Pass the Line" voucher, generously gifted to us!

My friend Jeri & me with our “Pass the Line” voucher, generously gifted to us!

*Note: The show ran about an hour late, with no explanation. I was really not happy about that. I understand things happen, but at least come out and tell the crowd an ETA.

Opening act:
Honestly I don’t even remember the guys name, but he was an odd duck. It was some guy who used to be in the band Thursday (I think) trying to launch a solo career, or something. I was not impressed. The only song I enjoyed was one he sang that was originally performed by his band. I’m pretty sure dude was drunk the entire set, he did a lot of cursing and mumbling and just…being weird.

Main event:
Yellowcard more than made up for the weird opening act and the lateness. They were fantastic. Full of energy, clearly passionate, and they just seemed really grateful, thankful, and happy that after 10+ years in the music industry there was a full crowd of people singing along to every word of their songs. I mentioned in the Maroon 5/Kelly Clarkson post that I really appreciate when artists are clearly passionate about their work. To add on to that, I also really appreciate when artists are really grateful for their fans. The guys of YC could NOT stop thanking the audience for being there. It was really sweet and heart warming. It made me glad to have spent my hard earned money on tickets to their show. Everyone in the band is super talented. I’ve always loved YC because of the inclusion of the violin. I also think the material they write about is really interesting. From songs about 9/11 to the movie Big Fish…a lot of topics get covered beyond the traditional ones.

The set up of the show was totally cool for those who aren’t opposed to surprises. It started out with an acoustic set of Ocean Avenue which they played straight through, just like the album. I enjoyed 99% of the acoustic versions of the songs, but was wishing I could hear the songs as I first fell in love with them. The band obviously knew people were wishing this because they made several jokes about how being acoustic meant they couldn’t really “rock out” and then….they took a break and came back out and played a TON more songs from Ocean Avenue AND their other albums – all with electric instruments. IT WAS SO COOL! I basically got two concerts in one night and all my little teenage dreams were fulfilled. That was my favorite part of the night. I was happy they thought ahead to what the audience would want. I was very pleased at how focused they seemed on keeping the crowd happy.

Speaking of the crowd, they were pretty pleasant at this show. No pushing/shoving/crowding, and I was in the front row right alongside the fence. HOB has a no crowd surfing policy that of course people were breaking. That kind of upset me because the rule was obviously put in place for a good reason & you don’t HAVE to crowd surf to have a good time. There was no need for people to do that. I felt bad for the bouncers who were working that event because the crowd surfers were giving them sass and just being difficult.

On a non music related note, the guys in YC are really hot. Really. I never noticed this before, probably because I was 12-13 when Ocean Avenue came out and they were already in their 20’s and I probably thought that was really old. Ugh, my young self would think I’M old now 😦 Tragic. Moving on, their hotness is only enhanced by their personalities, which I really connected with when they talked to the audience and joked around with each other on stage. Obviously as a fan girl, I have a special place in my heart for lead singer/guitarists like Ryan Key, but violinist/back up singer Sean Mackin is definitely giving him a run for his money. Also, I got to meet LP, the drummer, after the show 😀 SUPER STOKED!
117Final thoughts:
Although I’m sure it doesn’t need to be said again – this show was fantastic! Way better than Fall Out Boy and only a hair shy of what I experienced at Maroon 5/Kelly Clarkson – but that was my fault, because I didn’t know ALL the YC music so I was kind of out of the loop for some songs. If you ever get the chance to see Yellowcard, GO! Go to their show & bring me with you! These guys were so high energy, full of life, passionate, and inspiring. I hope I can see them again! Here’s some video and a slideshow of pictures, enjoy!

“Ocean Avenue – Acoustic”

“Only One”

“Here I Am Alive” One of my absolute favorites!!!!

“Ocean Avenue” with electric instruments

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LATE POST! CONCERT REVIEW! Maroon 5 & Kelly Clarkson concert @ the Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View 10/2/13

I’m finallllly getting around to writing this post! Sorrry 😦 Since there’s been a million recaps around the internet at this point, I’ll try to keep my blabbing short and just put up my pictures and videos. Also please forgive the state of some of the videos. I usually film with a video camera, but this was the first night I had my iPhone, so I was really excited to use it. Unfortunately I wasn’t aware that the camera doesn’t rotate when you turn the phone, so some of the video is upside down/on its side. Sorry 😦

Opening Act: I arrived to the show late so I can’t comment on the opening act

Kelly Clarkson:
Since I was late I can’t comment on all of Kelly Clarkson’s part of the show. However, I’ve seen her in concert before when she was touring with Clay Aiken a million years ago, so I know I adore her live performances. She’s very talented and seems sweet and kind. I have delusions of being her best friend some day 🙂
Her performance was amazingly strong. She’s so upbeat, full of energy, and sounds amazing live – no lip synching here! She puts on an amazing show, videos playing behind her, great crowd interaction, great interaction with her band/back up singers, and a few costume changes.
On an unrelated note, my mom said that Kelly looked pregnant and as we now know, Kelly has announced that she is indeed pregnant…my mom is a smarty pants.

“Breakaway”

“People Like Us”
Sorry for the awkwardness of this video, I almost didn’t post it, but I thought the staging was SO well done, that it had to be seen.

“Since U Been Gone”
I died of happiness, this is my jam, this is everyone’s jam! Clearly…

Maroon 5
This was the night I fell in love with Adam Levine. I never understood why everyone was so obsessed with him, but now I see. He is SO talented! I fell in love with his obvious passion and dedication to his craft. No one is that present and awesome on stage without putting in hours and hours of hard work, heart, and soul. I crush on musicians way too easily because I find passion, dedication, and commitment really attractive.
Anyways, their entire performance was incredible, just like Kelly. I liked how some of their set pieces/videos tied into the theme of what Kelly did. I also thought they did a great job of incorporating songs that featured other artists like, “Payphone”, without having that artist actually appear at the concert. They were so high energy, everyone was dancing and singing along – and that’s the best part of a concert. There you are, singing your lungs out, near tears because this song means so much to you and you glance over and the people around you are doing the same thing. It helps remind me that we’re all on this crazy ride together. That’s why music has always been so important to me. If I ever have a bad day, I turn on certain songs and I know the songwriter/artist has felt this way too, and they got through it & so will I. I think that’s what music does, it just reminds us that we’re not alone. I just got super side tracked, but here’s some video!

“One More Night” – show opener

“Love Somebody” – one of my favorite songs!

“Stereo Hearts”

“Moves Like Jagger” – Adam Levine is the sassiest. Also, if you’re interested in seeing the opening act, she comes back for this song. I would’ve preferred Kelly, but oh well.

“Payphone”

Final notes
Amazing, amazing, amazing show. Best show of 2013. Out of Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard (recap coming soon), and this show – I would see Kelly Clarkson & Maroon 5 again in a heartbeat! Their performances really showed off how talented these performers are and they all did an amazing job at connecting with the audience. I appreciated that they seemed to really be enjoying themselves, their enthusiasm was pouring off the stage and everyone in that amphitheater was influenced by it. I left the show high on life, feeling inspired to find passion like theirs in my own life. Cheesy, but true. That’s real artistry.

Picture Slideshow of the entire event – about 40 pictures…

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