Music Monday! Warped Tour + Vacation Vlog

Hey everyone!
Today’s Music Monday is a little different because it’s not JUST focused on music. This week’s MM will include some clips from my very first Warped Tour (!!!! Read below for a quick recap) but also has some footage from a mini vacation I took with my family! Again, this video features Danny from Savage Squad – if you like drinking & shenanigans, please go check out his channel – here.
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A few thoughts on Warped Tour…
For those that don’t know, Warped Tour is a huge multi artist concert for the pop/punk genre. It’s like Stagecoach, Coachella, etc. For the last 10 years I’ve wanted to go but never have. As a teen I never went even though some of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE bands were going to be performing because it was “expensive” & I was insecure about fitting in with the crowd. I’ve talked about this anxiety in previous Music Monday posts.
Now that I’m older I care way less what other people think so I decided this was the year I went! My decision was also motivated by the fact that one of my favorite bands, Yellowcard, would be performing & they recently announced the band is retiring. I, of course, am devastated, so I needed to make an effort to see them ASAP.
I went into this experience essentially blind. I knew there would be a ton of “kids”, the food/drinks would be expensive, there would be drugs, & it would be blazing hot. All of that turned out to be true, the biggest surprise for me was the set times. I didn’t realize each band only got 30 minutes. Upon further reflection, of course this makes sense because how else would they get all those bands to play in one day? While there were other bands I was excited about, Reel Big Fish, New Found Glory, Sum 41, etc, I was really there for Yellowcard. They were amazing, as they always are live, & I’m really glad I got the chance to experience their last show at Warped Tour.
Bottom line, would I ever go to another Warped Tour? Probably not unless it was a similiar situation & one of my all time favorite bands was playing. 30 minute set times isn’t really enough for me to want to deal with all those sweaty drugged out kids & get a sunburn. Haha, I guess I’m officially old.

I hope you liked this vlog! Please keep sharing my posts & vlogs with your friends! Until next time… 🙂

Book Review! Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Click on the book to go to Amazon and order your copy now!

OH MY GOSH! I’m FREAKING OUT over this book. It’s seriously THAT GOOD! I’m so stinking excited to talk to you today about “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”. The inspiration for this book is really unique. Ransom Riggs, the author, started collecting vintage pictures from thrift stores & flea markets. He felt such an intense curiosity to know the story behind these anonymous pictures that, rather than settle for never knowing, he created his own fantastical stories to explain what was going on in the photos. There are several odd photos placed in the book that you would think are Photoshopped, but are real pictures he found while writing. According to Riggs’ website, this series – there are 3 Miss Peregrine novels, the last one slated to be released September of this year – is being made into a film by Tim Burton. OF COURSE IT IS. I’m not a huge Burton enthusiast, but he’s a perfect choice in this case. Okay, onto the review. I’ll try my best to limit the spoilers because I really do want you all to read this book. Really, like right now, click on the picture of the book above & buy it from Amazon. However, if you insist on reading my full review before buying it, it’s fine, I guess. Here we go!

Plot: Jacob grows up idolizing his tall tale telling grandfather, Grandpa Portman. He grows disillusioned as a teenager when he realizes that Grandpa Portman’s stories about being shipped to an orphanage in Wales, a magical place where no one ever got sick or died & was protected by a woman who could turn into a bird, could not possibly be true. Tragedy strikes & through a series of insane events Jacob is forced to admit that Grandpa Portman’s stories were much more real than he previously believed. He embarks on a whirlwind adventure full of magic, danger, romance, and self discovery.

Initial Thoughts: I had no expectations going into this novel. I wasn’t even really sure what genre it was, fantasy, sci fi, children’s literature, zombies, all of the above? Right off the bat, Grandpa Portman tells stories of monsters in Poland circa WWII & I was thinking, “Hmm, real monsters or is this a veiled reference to the Nazi Party? What are we dealing with here?” The answer is, to a certain degree, both! After finishing the first two pages, I wrote a note, “I’m so excited to read this book, will I have nightmares?! Am I ready to welcome another series into my life?! I’m already in a very committed, long term relationship with Harry Potter..”. Riggs’ writing already had me hooked.
I was reminded of the movie “Big Fish”. If you’ve never seen it, you’re living life all wrong. “Big Fish” is easily one of my top 10 favorite movies.Everyone loves it, Yellowcard even wrote a song about it called “How I Go” which makes me weep every time I hear it. The bottom line is it’s an amazing film directed by Tim Burton (a pattern is emerging) about a man with a strained relationship with his father. The father always tells amazing, wild stories of his youth which the son stopped believing a long time ago. Through flashbacks you’re swept up in the father’s magical stories & in the end the film is really about how we stay in the hearts of those we love, even when we’re not around anymore. That’s all I’ll say, seriously, you should watch it. Back to the review…

Characters: Jacob is a wonderful character, well developed, & different from other characters in YA Fiction, which is technically the book’s genre. Usually I’m annoyed by teenage characters, but not Jacob. He admits to being odd, scared, & not macho, but continues on his adventure because he’s inspired by the life of someone he loved. I love that he cries! It’s rare to find young male characters so in touch with their emotions.
A character that helps my “Big Fish” tie in, is Emma Bloom. The main character in “Big Fish” is named Edward Bloom. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence but it made me happy to continue the connection between the two stories.

Quotes – SPOILERS HERE!!!:
– Not necessarily a quote, but on page 48 there’s a passage describing how Jacob’s family deals with the aftermath of Grandpa Portman passing away. If you’ve ever had to go through someone’s belongings after they’ve passed away – you will totally identify with this scene. Riggs writes the most accurate description of that process that I’ve ever read.
– pg 108, Jacob talks about how WWII has changed his family history. It’s kind of a long passage but I thought it was really powerful. “I thought about how my great-grandparents had starved to death…their wasted bodies being fed to incinerators because people they didn’t know hated them. I thought about how the children who had lived in this house had been burned up & blown apart because a pilot who didn’t care pushed a button. I thought about how my grandfather’s family had been taken from him, and how because of that my dad grew up feeling like he didn’t have a dad…[a]ll because of a 70 year old hurt that had somehow been passed down to me like some poisonous heirloom & monsters I couldn’t fight because they were all dead, beyond killing or punishing or any kind of reckoning. At least my grandfather had been able to join the army & go fight them. What could I do?”

Overall: I’m sure you can tell I loved this book with a serious passion. My one hiccup was the romance between Emma & Jacob. No Spoilers, but given her past, the romance between them was slightly uncomfortable for me. The twist near the end threw me for a loop! Again, to avoid spoilers, that’s all I’m going to say. My note literally reads, “Holy effin shit! Holy effin shit! I knew he was suspect but never expected THIS! The nightmares are gonna be so real tonight”. I have referenced nightmares a few times, but please don’t be afraid, I’m mostly being dramatic. While the story was intense, it tied into many other works of fiction that I have a soft spot for. As previously mentioned, “Big Fish”, but also “Peter Pan” because of the whole children on an island that never grow old aspect, “Harry Potter” because of the magic, plus Jacob & Harry seem like kindred spirits, they never know the important details until it’s too late & they’re left to fight on in the memory of those who inspired them, & “Supernatural”, because Grandpa Portman was a hunter, an absent father out fighting darkness, & Jacob continues on the family business. So if you like any of those things – you should enjoy this story.

Rating: A+! Obviously!! After all that raving could I really have given this book any other rating?! “Miss Peregrine’s…” was highly entertaining and engaging. I literally couldn’t put it down & finished reading it in about 3 or 4 hours. I realize a second more thorough reading may reveal plot holes or annoyances in the character’s personalities I didn’t notice before, but this first reading was pure joy. This novel was everything I look for in a “A+” work, well written characters & an engaging, relatable story that was able to suck me in, take me away, & make me care about everything it had to offer. I am definitely looking forward to reading the second installment in the series, “Hollow City”. I would also be interested in prequel books featuring Grandpa Portman’s adventures during WWII – maybe I should write a letter to Riggs suggesting that, haha!

Have you read “Miss Peregrine’s…” or the second novel “Hollow City”? Are you enjoying this series as much as I am?! If you haven’t heard of this series before, what do you think, will you give it a try? Please let me know what you thought of this review in the comments below! Send your book recommendations my way & I’ll add them to my list of Books to Read! Please click the FOLLOW button on the top right of this page to be notified by email when I post my next Book Review. Thanks for reading, until we meet again!

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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