Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Two Favourite Bands At Once? No Way!

My routine after the live show in the morning is pretty average: Take my laptop down to my desk from the control room, go to the kitchen, make some tea, try to scavenge a rusk or whatever they made on the show, take the tea and assorted junk food items back to my desk, check my phone in case my house has exploded or something, and then continue my work for the day. So yesterday, I was casually sipping my tea and checking my phone when I noticed I had an email on my non-work email account, oh, it's one of those latest concert tickets on sale things from Gigs and Tours, worth a read, I casually scanned the email in case it revealed any amazing new concerts for June when I'll be in London.
Petula Clark - no thanks, I'm not my granny; Lisa Stansfied - who even is that?; Sound City Players - OOHH DAVE GROHL; bunch of randoms; more randoms; The Gaslight Anthem - aw, pity I won't be there for their tour in March ... wait, hold up. I had noticed something very interesting indeed: "The Gaslight Anthem are confirmed to support The Killers at the show at Wembley Stadium 22 June 2013..."

Wait, what?!

Here's a screenshot of the email.

"The Gaslight Anthem.... The Killers." My heart starts to beat faster, the blood rushes to my head, I struggle to breathe normally. I read it again, convinced I've read it wrong. No, still says the same thing. I thrust my phone towards the girl next to me and ask her to read it aloud to me. Oh, it's true. I'm seeing stars and the world is about to come to a sparkling end. No, regain some control for goodness sake, you've seen them live before! I cover my face with my shaking hands and squeal a few times.

But as it's 8.30am my time, it's only 6.30am in the UK, so I am clearly the only one fangirling over this little announcement. In fact, no one else even seems to know about it yet. Yes, I am one of the first people to tweet about this revelation - in caps lock no less. Anyway, once England wakes up, I realise there are two schools of thought: the Victims who are like "Ah yeah, Gaslight Anthem" and the Victims who are like "Who the eff are these Gaslight people?" The former seem to outweigh the latter though, so I'm not the only one who is barely resisting the urge to curl up under my desk and cry in pure happiness.

Seriously, this is the best news I have heard in a long time. Never did I ever imagine that The Gaslight Anthem would open for The Killers. It's just too good to be true, my two favourite bands playing together! Bring on the 22nd of June!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Post-Concert Depression: It's Totally A Thing

In early 2011, I purchased three sets of concerts tickets: The Script, Kings of Leon and Coldplay. The latter two were both right at the end of the year, so as much as I was looking forward to them, it seemed like the time would never really come. By then time I'd see these two concerts, I'd be mere days away from the end of my university career and quite frankly I couldn't see anything beyond that at all. So, The Script came and went, and everything was still alright because I had two more concerts to look forward to! And so in the lead-up to Coldplay I experienced that strange emotion where you feel so overwhelmed you think you'll start crying everytime someone mentions the band's name. Wait, is it just me who feels like that?! Awkward. Anyway, after Coldplay I was too elated to be depressed, but three weeks later, once KOL was over, it was a different story. Yeah, I was feeling defeated after four fruitless years of studying, but PCD was part of it too. On the way back the next day, I felt panicked for hours for absolutely no reason at all. I just could not work it out! Why was I feeling this way? Was it because I had looked forward to this event for so long and suddenly it was over, leaving me with nothing to look forward to? Was it because I wished I had enjoyed the concert more while I was there?

How do you feel the day after a really good concert? No, I don't mean the day after a quick little gig in the local botanical gardens, or that cool club in town, I mean a real concert. Picture this: you've bought tickets to see your favourite band live for the first time, and for months and months everything leads up to that moment. Hysterical excitement, crazy screams, hyperventilation and then ... it's all over. And now what? Now it's time to come back down to earth and go back to real life. Also, what if you never get to see your favourite band again? What if the lead singer ODs, or the bassist hits the drummer over the head, leading to the fall out of the century? When it comes to bands, you can never quite be sure that "Oh well, I'll catch them again on their next tour, toodles."

People deal with the aftermath of concerts in many different ways. If you're a cool kid (...then get the hell off my blog, firstly), you'll probably post a couple of photos of you and your mates, holding a few beers and grinning like idiots. Then you'll tell everyone at the office that you had "a pretty kiff night, hey bru", and go back to your daily life.

But if you're not a Cool Kid (ie, you're a band kid), you'll most likely be left in floods of tears. You'll feel a horrible panicky feeling deep in the pit of your stomach, as though you're dreading something. And you will be dreading something: a life without the concert you'd so looked forward to. Perhaps you'll become even more obsessed with the band you just saw, tearing up at photos of wee Jared Followill, or setting an image of Dave Grohl's face as the background on every device you possess (of course, I have never done the latter. Ahem).

My first experience with real Post-Concert Depression (PCD) was something like that. When I saw The Killers live in 2009, it was also my first trip to Cape Town, about everything about that week was just plain wonderful. Upon my return home, I became positively obsessed with the band; listening to nothing but them, Twitter-creeping, finding out absolutely everything I could, and constantly thinking back to the concert. It was as though I had to keep reminding myself that I had actually been there, and that I could remember it. Maybe not quite PCD, but definitely some kind of strange PCR (Post-Concert Reaction).

Alternatively, like other forms of depression, you may feel the need to sit alone in your room and cry for a few days. And anyone who dares to say "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened" will get quite well acquainted with your fist. After my return from England, I was tired, my body had launched a protest against lack of food, lack of sleep and too much travel, but most of all, I was sad. I'd just seen a ridiculous amount of bands live, and now it was all over. Cue pulling my blankets over my head and hating my life for a full 12 hours before I had to be at work the next day. My life continued to be hated for several days after this.

Another manifestation of PCD is a feeling of dissatisfaction with your every day life. I mean seriously now, what could be better than going to a concert every night? Nothing. Nothing at all. But we've all got to face the facts; there are only a select few amongst us who get to do that for a living, and you're probably not one of them. "I'll just quit this piece of you-know-what job and become a groupie" is a thought that's crossed many a mind a day or two after a concert, but hold your horses for a just a little while so that PCD can wear off before you hand in that letter of resignation.

Perhaps the most bizarre way in which PCD rears its ugly head is in a full avoidance of any reminder of the band at all. Everytime you hear a song by the band you saw live, it may feel like you're being stabbed in the heart with a tiny needle. Ouch. Better to avoid The Shins altogether lest a flood of memories should knock you so hard you become a blubbering mess when "Bait & Switch" comes on your iPod in the car.

Yes, PCD is totally a thing. In fact, I'd been wondering why I was in such an awful mood today, when suddenly I realised that I am experiencing RHCP PCD. No, I don't hate my life, or my job, or my car... I simply hate the fact that I'm not sure when I'll get to hear 'Dani California' live again. Now where's my box of tissues gone...

Update (30/07/2013):

My own PCD is back in full swing, and this time it's worse than ever. It's been two full weeks since T in the Park, but it still plays on my every thought. I realise that I've never actually offered any solutions for curing PCD, so here are my top three tips:

1) Identification: As long as you know what you're suffering from, you've taken the first step to overcoming PCD. Every time you feel a little stab of pain, remember what it is, and remember the great time you had at the concert.

2) Desensitize yourself: It doesn't help to stop listening to the band because it reminds you too much of the concert for which you so long. Just suck it up, play your favourite song at full volume and pretend you're back at the show. Similarly, look at your photos often.

3) Plan another gig: As long a you have a concert on the horizon, you're sure to feel much better about life. I myself have Yellowcard and Billy Talent coming up within the next few weeks - they're not The Killers or Bruce or The Gaslight Anthem, but they're good enough.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Red Hot Chili Peppers Cape Town Review

True rockstars are a bit like exotic, endangered animals – you hear about them all the time, but you’ve never actually seen one, and you’re pretty sure you never will.  Well, if that’s the case, I went on something of an exotic safari last night: Anthony Kiedis and his Chili Peppers are nothing if not rockstars. Let's also keep in mind that the man is in his 50s. Damn. I want to be that cool when I'm his age, at least I have 30 more years to get it right.

Die Antwoord's set was spine-chilling but mercifully short. Yolandi - a tiny but explosive woman burst onto stage shrieking "VOK JULLE NAAIERS". Aibo, lady, who do you think you're calling a naaier? (And if you are foreign, I'll leave you to figure out what that means with the help of Google Translate.) I hope for Flea's sake that he googled every single lyric of their's so that he knew what he was getting himself into before playing alongside them. *Shudder* The visuals on the side-screens were equally disturbing as what went on on the actual stage - I mean, Yolandi holding a heart dripping with blood was completely normal, but next thing I knew she was eating the thing, and I rolled my eyes and turned away. This duo is so damn creepy that they make Lady Gaga look like Mother Teresa.

Anyway, the terrible-twosome exit and the tangible excitement in the crowd starts sky-rocketing; increasing more and more as the sun set over Cape Town. Rumour has it that 55 000 people had packed into the sold out show, more even than Coldplay were able to pull back in 2011. Red Hot Chili Peppers are somewhat of a phenomenon, having been around for almost 30 years, the 50-odd-year-old members attract fans within an age group ranging from 60’s down to early teens.  But age means nothing tonight.

RHCP power onto stage amidst hysteria from the crowd – never have I heard a stadium audience quite so loud in my life!  A grinning Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer burst into ‘Monarchy of Roses’, from their most recent album I’m With You, accompanied by electrifying stage lights. Eh, man, something's wrong though... Anthony's voice seems to be shuddering, and for a minute my heart sinks so low that it settles somewhere on the field 50 meteres below me: all the rumours are true - the sound sucks from up here. 'The cri-i-i-i-m-s-o-o-o-n t-i-i-i-d-e i-i-i-i-s-s-s-s..." Oh dear. But I barely have time to panic when suddenly everything's perfect again. Whether it was some deliberate, strange sound effect or a genuine mistake that was fixed in less than 30 seconds, the sound never wavered again. OK, So I'd recovered, and began singing along shamelessly... one of the things that brought my Kings of Leon experience down a teeny bit was the unenthusiasm of the people around me, but last night I didn't give a damn. The only thing that mattered were the people on that stage. 

Wasting no time, the band went straight into ‘Dani California’, much to the disappointment of the fans who’d been hoping to hear ‘Scar Tissue’ – it’s well known that the two songs very rarely appear on the same setlist. Oh, but we were in for a treat when - lo and behold – ‘Scar Tissue’ made it’s appearance as the third song of the setlist. Yes! Alright, Peppers, you can leave now, that's three of my 6 favourite songs right off the bat, I've gone my money's worth, Anthony, you can go back to California now.

Now, it’s one thing to see a live band who – great though they may be – rattles off the CD versions of their songs, and then departs the stage. This was something different altogether. Seemingly impromptu jam sessions on the stage, Klinghoffer and Flea nearly falling to the floor of the stage whilst playing their instruments, and Flea’s handstand-walk back onto the stage for the encore, along with Kiedis’ flawless vocals all teamed up to make this a concert of a lifetime. Also, Kiedis wore his shirt for, oh, I dunno, maybe a full three minutes discarding his shirt mere minutes into the show (Flea neglecting to wear a shirt at all). 

And the setlist just kept bringing the hits: ‘Snow ((Hey Oh))’, was one of the most well received songs of the night, no one caring whether the ‘snow’ in this context was a reference to the cold white stuff that falls from the sky, or the powdery white stuff some rockstars like to sniff before shows…

“The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” followed the funky ‘She’s Only 18’, and the soft beginning ‘Under the Bridge’ was definitely a highlight. Oh and one of my very favourites made an appearance - 'Universally Speaking', which is somehow always overlooked.

Everyone’s favourite Chili Peppers song, ‘Californication’ and ‘By The Way’ ended off the main part of the show, with the lyrics “Standing in line to see the show tonight, and there’s a light on” in the latter song highly appropriate to all of us! Expecting only a two song encore, I was pleasantly surprised when a very excitable Chad Smith led us in a few minutes of ‘Ole’ before being joined by the rest of the band for four more RHCP songs, finally closing the show for good with ‘Give It Away’. The only thing that could have topped it would have been a surprise encore of 'The Zephyr Song', which hasn't been played since 2005. But we're not that lucky, so stop being so fussy, Cape Town!

It was a no-frills, no fireworks and minimal crowd interaction show, but who needs bells and whistles when you’re RHCP? They don’t need meat dresses or pyrotechnics or 360 degree stages – all they need is pure rock and roll.

And somehow everything seemed to go off without any major glitches in organization – even traffic was bearable, but perhaps that was simply because we were all on such a high. 55000 people went to sleep dreaming of Californication, whatever that may mean to you.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Red Hot Chili Peppers in Cape Town

What kind of a fangirl doesn't get concert tickets the day the things go on sale? A very, very bad fangirl. Or perhaps one who's just gotten off a plane from England, tired, aching and still bearing a sheen of residual mud from Reading Festival.

Yes, the day Big Concerts decided to announce RHCP, I was still in London, and the most excitement I could muster was an 'oh', followed by a collapse into my bed, where I stayed for the next 24 hours til I boarded the plane home. This put tickets on sale the day after I returned, and I couldn't give a damn. I don't even really remember the hype around getting tickets, I was still sleeping off Reading. And of course, reveling in the fact that Dave Grohl had been mere meters from me a few days before - who needs Chili Peppers when you have Foo Fighters, right? Plus, I after four days of Reading, I couldn't have faced another concert if you'd paid me. Maybe I'd get a ticket closer to the time, but I didn't really care at the time. What I wasn't anticipating was tickets selling out so quickly! Oh well, I resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't be going, and life moved on for five full months. About two weeks ago, however, I decided that I was absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable for me not to attend, and so I needed to make a plan.

Now, if you know me at all, you'll know that no matter how harebrained my schemes may sound, if I put my mind to something, I can usually get it right. It was easy enough to find a friend of a friend selling tickets, slightly more worrying to leave the poor things in the post, and even more worrying when internet banking decided that I simply could not pay for the them, but all worked out eventually. In my hand I held two seated tickets to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers live in Cape Town. Ha! I win.

Some people study really, really hard for exams, but I was never one of those people. Present me with a setlist, however, and it's a different story altogether. Yes, I compiled a list of most likely songs, and I've existed on nothing but a diet of these 20 songs for the past 10 days or so. It's getting a little ridiculous, I kind of want to rip my brain out whenever Snow gets stuck in it, but I shall refrain.

So, they day has finally arrived, I've checked and re-checked my tickets at least 25 times, I've still got my setlist on repeat and I'm all rearing to go. Sadly, seeing I have seats it would be a little daft to queue at 2pm for a concert that will probably only start after 8am, but I still feel uneasy sitting at home when there's a concert tonight. As I told a co-worker as I left the office about an hour ago "If I had standing tickets, I'd be there already!" He thought I was nuts. Oh well.

On my way home, I did a sneaky sneaky past the stadium to see quite a few fans already waiting in line to see the show tonight. I also had to resist the urge to don dark glasses and sit outside the One & Only hoping to catch a glimpse of Anthony and company (most of the big bands stay at this hotel), but let me not be creepy...

There is nothing like the thrill and elation of a concert to look forward to: as I make my way into that stadium, I'll experience the emotions normal people feel when they're in love or something. Go ahead and tell me to get a life... I'll teil you this is my life.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fall Out Boy Are Back


Fall Out Boy have returned.

Why are you reading this, go back and read the line above.

Are you finished screaming yet?

No, continue then.

Done? Good. OK, so I come home this afternoon to a mildly hysterical digsmate, sprouting some story about Fall Out Boy and a reunion. I immediately take to my computer to do what I do best - creep. I manage to track down some tweets saying something about an announcement at 2pm GMT on some random radio station in Chicago. Hmm, I have a while to speculate then, 2pm GMT is still in... oh, it's in 40 minutes. Just enough time to creep then.

Before long, a tweet from FOB themselves appears saying "the future of fall out boy starts now  " It's a pic of Pete and company burning a bunch of FOB records. They're also in the snow. Huh, seems legit.

Click on the link, check the tour dates... oh my gosh! There's no time for me to get from Cape Town to London for the show on the 25th of Feb, is there? Damn.

Also, I find it rather interesting that this announcement has come mere hours before Reading Fest announces their line up for this year. So if FOB are on that stage, I called it!

Would I really traipse back to the Festival of Mud for a band that I quite liked back in high school? Oh hell yeah, I would! In 2006, there was nothing I liked more than 'Sugar We're Going Down Swinging'

OH AND THERE'S A NEW SINGLE. "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark', and now if iTunes would stop lying to itself and saying I've forgotten my password, I could buy the thing. (Mom, did you disable my iTunes to stop me using your credit card?)

So, new album 'Save Rock and Roll' drops in May. Have fun!