Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Coolest Music Pins

With 12 days left until I board my plane to London, I’m in that annoying phase where I literally. Cannot. Sit. Still. Or I may explode. From excitement. Ohmygosh!

I don’t really know what I want to write about… argh… OK, fine, I’ll write about… no, I really can’t think of anything. This sucks.

Let’s just do top five coolest music music-related things I’ve seen on Pinterest recently.

5) Na - Na- Na- Na- Na- Na- Na: Forgotten the words to ‘Hey Jude’? No worries, this flow-chart ensures you’ll be able to memorise them in about four easy steps. And remember, it always comes down to getting the amount of ‘na’s right…

4) Literal lyrics: I’m pretty sure no one really kissed the left side of Pat Monaghan’s brain, but this cool design is one interesting way to illustrate the lyrics.

3) Lyrics around your neck: Sometimes a song just speaks to you on such a level that you wish you could tattoo it upon your brain – or at least wear it. Well, Etsy has this pretty necklace emblazoned with lyrics by one of my very favourite bands: The Shins.

2) I don’t always dance…: Making fun of the popular meme, who cares if it even makes any sense or not… he’s The Boss!

1) Because you’re mine: Yeah, Johnny Cash is the man, don’t even argue! I love country music and everything associated with it, so I wouldn’t hesitate to have this pink lyric-boot printed and mounted on my wall.

Monday, May 27, 2013

London 2013 Plans!

I bet everyone is sick of hearing about my concert plans by now, but for those of you who are not, here’s my plan of events for June and July:

10 June:
Leave Cape Town for London. Well, assuming of course, that Cape Town’s heavy fog and London’s recent spate of terror attacks allows me to even leave the country.  Theoretically, I should arrive at Heathrow sometime on the 11th. Once again, weather and terror-permitting.

15 June
Bruce Springsteen at Wembley. It’s one of those bucketlist things that everyone has to do once in their lives! It’ll be my first show at Wembley, and even though my seats are so far away that The Boss himself will look about the size of an ant, I’ll still be there, dancing the night away. In the dark.

16 June
Leave London for Dublin. I’ve even booked a flight! I leave Stanstead at 10am, mercifully late enough to allow myself a decent amount of hours sleep after Bruce. Heaven forbid I caught the 6am out of Luton, which definitely would have seen me passing out from exhaustion before I saw my first leprechaun.

18 June
The Gaslight Anthem at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. I saw Gaslight at Reading last year, and nearly fell to the floor in hysterics when I found out that they were supporting The Killers at Wembley this year, but nothing compares to seeing a band at a show that is 100% their own. The timing for this was almost too good… we’d planned a Dublin trip anyway, and Gaslight just happened to fit in perfectly!

19 June
Leave Dublin for London. Return, sleep, build up my energy for The Killers day, which is sure to be the greatest of my life thus far.

22 June
The Killers at Wembley! Enough said. This will be their biggest show to date, and probably the highlight of their career. You know you’ve made it when you can play Wembley. I look forward to a day of meeting up with Victim friends, hunting down the nearest Starbucks, chatting with roadies… oh, and the actual concert should be pretty cool too.

Gap for general awesomeness.

12 July:
T in the Park, Kinross, Scotland. Yes, I said Scotland. Yes, I am perfectly aware that the average temperature for Scotland in July is 12 degrees. Thank goodness for weekend non-camping tickets, and warm, cosy hotel rooms. Highlights I’m looking forward to here are: Mumford & Sons, Jake Bugg, Of Monsters and Men (who I slept through at Reading), Imagine Dragons, The Script, Snoop Lion (haters gon’ hate), The Lumineers, Ke$ha (once again, haters…), Foals, Two Door Cinema Club (I will not miss them a third time), Hurts (I still can’t believe I’m really seeing them!), former The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and… of course, The Killers.

15 July
Fly back. Die of post-concert depression. And exhaustion. Start planning next trip on plane back. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Let The Beliebers Be?

If you were fortunate enough to attend the Bon Jovi concert in Cape Town this Wednesday, you would have had to drive past the Waterfront to park your car, and would have been in for a treat when passing the One & Only Hotel. A crowd of young Beliebers had gathered (Justin was to perform the next day, and they'd somehow found out where he was apparently staying), posters, Bieber shirts and all, and stood squealing outside, waiting to catch a glimpse of their favourite star.

I know what you're thinking: pathetic. Hold your horses for a second, before you make any judgements. If you are reading this, I assume you are like me, to a certain extent. You are either a fangirl of sorts, or you at least appreciate music and all that comes with it. So hear me out, then, when I ask this: wouldn't you act the same if it was your favourite band or artist?

Not everyone has the same taste in music (thank goodness), so just because Nirvana was your favourite band when you were 14, doesn't mean everyone else feels the same way. At least the kids are appreciating music in some form, even if it's not quite your cup of tea.

I'm no Belieber, but personally I was excited for all of these youngsters who got to see their idol live. And so what if they were standing out in the cold and the rain for 12 hours waiting for the concert? If it makes them happy, let them do it. I'd do it for my favourite band, without even a moment's hesitation.

Concerts change lives, and if Justin Bieber is the one who changes these kids' lives for the better, then let them go ahead and Belieb. To all of the people freaking because "OMG, that child missed a day of school!", sit the hell down. So what? That child just had the best experience of his or her life - one missed school day is a small price to pay.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bon Jovi - Live In Cape Town

Let's get three things straight before we begin:

1) Jon Bon Jovi does not age. The only thing separating the man from his late 80's self is a haircut.
2) Jon Bon Jovi has the teeth of a toothpaste model. Falsies or not, his dentist did good.
3) Yeah, that buddy playing guitar? Not Richie.

If you could get through the hoards of Beliebers knee-deep in the vicinity of the Waterfront, the Bon Jovi fans were easy enough to spot: dads and daughters, 30-something couples, groups of over 40s - a down-to-earth, simple-looking crowd minus the bells and whistles of the Beliebers.

I often say that my first concert experience was Savage Garden when I was 9, but that's not quite true. Yes, that was the first concert I attended, but the first concert that ever made an impact on me was Bon Jovi in 1995. Of course, I was 4 years old and far too young for concerts, but I remember my mom going and coming home on a complete musical high. That was the impact of a concert. These were the songs I grew up on. You know that feeling of not really knowing what a song means, and then going back 15 years later and finally realising? Plus, of course, figuring out that the lyrics are not actually "Feeling like a Monday Sunday on a Saturday night", and that there are no such things as "Holy Ghost ears"...

So 18 years later, here I was, at the stadium for Bon Jovi. Having seats as opposed to fighting for a barrier is always an interesting change, but it was handle-able. After the two opening acts (Idols runner-up Mark Haze who seems on a mission to become the next Dave Grohl - this is a compliment - and Idols winner Elvis Blue), we had quite a wait before the main men, but as soon as the lights dimmed, we forgot just about everything besides those New Jersey men.

Opening with new song 'That's What The Water Made Me', Jon Bon Jovi, the long-haired keyboardist, the old-looking drummer and the dude-who-wasn't-Richie* moved straight on to 'You Give Love A Bad Name', much to the delight of those of us who had barely listened to anything since 'Cross Road'.

Flashing teeth that should make an appearance in the next Colgate ad, Jon grinned at his adoring fans and launched into a speech about how 18 years was far too long to have waited to come back to SA. Damn right it was.

The classics - 'Keep The Faith', 'I'll Be There For You', 'Bed of Roses' - were interspersed with 'newer' songs including 'We Weren't Born To Follow' and 'It's My Life'. True rockstars.

After 20 songs (which felt like 10), the band left the stage, and I waited in anticipation for 'Someday I'll Be Saturday Night' and 'Livin' On A Prayer'. Unfortunately half the crowd seemed to be down a few brain cells, and started to leave before the encore. Now, I don't care if you wanted to avoid the traffic, if you were tired, or if one of your legs had fallen off - you paid money and you waited months for this concert, you suck it up and stay til the end. If you left before 'Livin' On A Prayer', you need to re-evaluate your life.

"You've gotta hooooooold onnnnn" cue what was left of the crowd going nuts. Sing-along for the chorus and then the band launching back into their most well known song. 'Livin' On A Prayer' was an absolute spectacle. Something everyone needs to experience once in their life. This seemed to be the conclusion of the encore, and the rest of the audience started to leave in drove.

I, myself, was about halfway through putting on my pouting face because they hadn't played 'Someday I'll Be Saturday Night', when Jon returned to the mic, grinning. The lights dimmed as he said "Well, you came to see me play, I'll play for ya... we got one more, it's called 'Always' " and after that was done they finally decided that it was time to play the song I'd been waiting all night to hear. Thanks, Jon and company. Though it may have felt short, I later discovered that the setlist had been 25 songs in length - they hadn't lied about two and a half hours!

And of course the next morning the complaints rolled in about the sound, but quite frankly I am yet to experience a stadium show with poor sound quality. There's just one thing I'd like to say to Bon Jovi - don't leave it another 18 years before visiting SA again.

"I'm not as pretty as Justin Bieber, and I can't dance as good as Justin Timberlake, but I've been around longer than both of 'em!" Said Jon Bon Jovi. Keep the faith, boys, let's hope you're still only halfway there.

* I'm being facetious, I know all their names: David Bryan, Tico Torres and the dude-who-wasn't-Richie.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Do Bands Need Anyone But The Frontman?

OK, I really wanted to call this post 'F**k The Bass Player', after a song by a delightful French band called The Inspector Cluzo, but then I remembered that I'm a respectable young lady, and respectable young ladies do not swear. Ho hum.

Anyway, I had a most entertaining conversation at work today, and it went something like this:

Colleague: "Bon Jovi is going to be great! I just want to see Sambora, you know, his fingers."
Me: "Um, Sambora's not coming."

Wait, what? Yes, Richie Sambora seems to be skipping the SA leg of Bon Jovi's current tour due to 'personal issues'. Now whether he's in rehab, or the rest of the band have just gotten damn sick of him after 30-odd years, the point is the band is down a guitarist and still continuing the tour as planned (much to the dismay of said colleague: "Who's going to do the talkbox on Livin' On A Prayer now? Huh?!).

But the question remains: should they have cancelled? Where does one draw the line between "Oh, he's just the guitarist, we'll get a session dude in" and "He's the lead singer, there's no way we're playing this show!" Every time Brandon Flowers strains his delicate voice, The Killers postpone a show or two (and rightly so, no one else can pull off those vocals), and Green Day pulled out of an entire tour when Billie Joe finally stopped saying "no, no, no" to rehab. But here we have Bon Jovi continuing sans Sambora. But once again, rightly so. Imagine what the thousands of South African fans would say if the band pulled out after we'd waited 18 years to see them.

And this gets me thinking: what if Coldplay pitched up to a show without Jonny, Will and Guy? Would it still sound the same? How about if The Killers replaced Dave, Mark and Ronnie with Ted, Bobby and Rob? And now this all begs the question: can a solo frontman continue to perform just as successfully by himself, without the rest of the band?

Anyway, I'm just speculating and thinking out loud here. Of course band members besides the frontman are important. But just how much will Bon Jovi's sound differ without Richie? Should the promoter issue an official statement? How many people will even notice that it's a different dude headbanging next to Jon? Do you know what all the members of your favourite bands look like? I won't lie, I went to see The Kooks two weeks ago, and I wouldn't have known anyone but Luke Pritchard if they'd thrown a pack of 5 Gum at my head...