Woke Up On The Bayside Of The Bed: Bayside Concert Review

Photo Cred: BaysideBayside.com
So, I went to this concert awhile ago. So long ago that I debated if I should even write and post this one. I decided to quit being a baby with my excuses and to start regularly writing again. Sorry to all my readers – a ton of stuff has been going on in my personal life. I might (miiiiight) break it down in a later post, but not here and not now. ON WITH THE SHOW.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Concert Day. Once again, the knight-in-shining-armor and I ventured out to see Bayside. This is our third time seeing them, and second time seeing them at the Concord Music Hall. Yes, it’s a week day. Yes, we had work the following Thursday. No, we weren’t going to miss this.

Before The Show

After picking up knight-in-shining-armor’s baby sister, we headed out! Concert started at 7PM, but since we’re super cool, we didn’t head out to the concert until 7PM. We got to the venue, no problems. We rolled up to the CVS next door where we parked before. There was a Parking Sign for the concert and everything, however, we were denied. APPARENTLY you were supposed to pre-pay online and APPARENTLY they were sold out. SOOOO we parked on the street. It was a whole ordeal with downloading the parking app and – well – it was a mess. But we finally got it all settled, parked, and ready to go.

Ok. The frisking is a bit much. And by that I mean, groping. But, for our safety… it’s ok…? When we got in Senses Fail had just finished their set. Good thing: we didn’t miss any of Bayside. We wouldn’t miss any of Bayside on our trip to the merch table. We were able to find a great spot to stand. Bad thing: We missed Senses Fail. We got our shirts and found a place by a pillar toward the middle-back. (This is when you know you’re old… no longer battling for the front.)

The Show

Bayside just has an amazing stage presence. They feed off our energy and we feed off theirs. This was the 15th birthday of Bayside and they told us multiple times how opening and welcoming Chicago has been. That it’s their second home. The set included everything from their LPs to their newest album, Cult. (Side note: followers of Bayside have often been called a cult because there are not a “ton” of them, but they’re very dedicated. My knight-in-shining armor is the perfect example with the Bayside bird tattoo’d on his forearm.)

Photo Cred: decalsplanet.com

Of course, after mentioning their admiration for the Smoking Popes, Bayside played “Megan”. Guys. It’s my song. You know, in movies or TV shows, when the crowd parts and there’s just a beam of light connecting two people and nothing else matters in the world? That’s definitely what happened during this song. Anthony Ranieri and I had a connection. (Yes, this is a fangirl moment. Deal with it.)

So. Since when did mosh pits get to be so lame. It seemed that most people were concerned with lifting each other up (literally) rather than running around and just being crazy. Guys. Let’s bring real mosh pits back.

After an awesome set, it was time for Bayside to leave the stage. BUUUUT – that just means it’s time for a great Encore presentation. We were not disappointed. A beam of light came on, but not pointed toward the stage. Confused, we turned around. There he was. Ranieri with his acoustic, right in front of us. The masses pushing through couldn’t get past us. We had prime positions for serenading. (More fangirl moments – I’ll just fast forward through.) After another beautiful moment between Ranieri and me, he met the rest of the band back on stage and brought the house down.

Until Next Time

I only got beer spilled on me once, though I’d been standing in a beer puddle the whole set. I had sweat, mine and the sweat of others. Raspy throat. Crazy hair. Smeared makeup. Elation.

I went to work the next day with the same concert grunge and the tour shirt I bought. I couldn’t be happier, nor more tired at work.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything. If you get the chance to see them live, do it. What if it’s during the week? Do it. Don’t miss a chance to rock out with these boys from New York. Do It.

What’s a concert you’d love to go see? Who have you seen recently? Let me know in the comments below. Like. Comment. Follow.

Until next time my fellow rockers!

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My Maine Squeeze: The Maine Concert Review

8123 Tour

Building Street Cred

A few weeks ago, Saturday, June 22, to be exact, I went and saw The Maine at the Bottom Lounge. Before I jump right in with the concert, of course, I need to build up my credentials, so you know that I’m talking about is legit. My college roommate introduced me to The Maine about three years ago. Last year, we took a little journey to The Rave in Wisconsin to behold all that is The Maine. I went that first time having not really been familiar with the band or their music. I knew their genre, but couldn’t sing every single word of every single song. My roommate could. She’s such a big fan, so big that her wedding song is one of theirs. So, let’s just say she was the perfect person to see them with (on top of that, she’s interviewed the lead singer multiple times for her blog). She prepared me with music when I left that first concert. Since then I have listened to all their music and have gained a crush on John O’Callaghan (lead singer of The Maine). And yes, I did have a countdown going until the very day.

The Bottom Lounge

This is the first concert I’ve been to at the Bottom Lounge, so I’ll review the venue as well. The first and most obvious observation is that it is attached to a bar. You go through a bar to get to the back room where the stage is. After getting a drink wristband, and through the doors, we stopped at a bar and got ourselves a pre-concert cocktail. The venue overall is very intimate. You could stand anywhere and still have a close view of the band. It wasn’t super dirty and there was air movement, more than the Rave (if you’ve been to either, this is a reference for you). Walking to the other side of the venue I had to complete my pre-concert ritual by getting a concert T-shirt. Just in case people didn’t believe me.

Opening Acts

We didn’t get there early enough to listen to all of the bands. We caught the last few songs of Brighten. They seemed pretty mellow, but then again, we didn’t get to hear their whole set list. Also opening for the pop-rock band was This Century and Rocket To The Moon. Yes, I got to see the last time they’ll play in Chicago. It might have been more exciting for me had I known who they were. If you don’t know who they (either of them) are or what genre they’re in, (welcome to the club) they’re pop-rock. Both of them came out with insane excitement and acted like they were the main event. They played like it was a full house in an arena. Just what I like in seeing live bands.

The Maine Event

Yes, I used a pun (har har). The background “M” was lit up and flashed in sync to the music and the mood of the songs. An amazing set list. They played from all their albums, from Forever Halloween to their EP. They got the crowd involved by allowing them to ask questions. At one point, and probably the most fun, O’Callaghan parts the crowd and asked them to not get crazy, to stay in their own space and to not knock anyone over. He then comes down and gets right in the middle of the crowd. Again he asks the same thing, for everyone’s safety. And, of course, as soon as he starts singing, people jump all over the place and push and border-line mosh. It was pretty crazy and pretty awesome. During “Four Little Words” it got sentimental.

Dos and Donts

Like always, people break the concert rules. So, I’ll keep it short to avoid sounding like an old “my way or the highway” grandma.

  • If you have fuzzy, or curly or wavy hair, it is going to get bigger in a humid situation like close quarters of a concert crowd. That being said, don’t flip your hair around to get it off your neck. There are other people around you and you’re flipping it in their face or getting it stuck with the stranger’s sweat.
  • Everyone wants to remember being at the concert and showing off just how close they were to the stage. So, pictures are a way that many people go about this. Don’t lean back with you take a picture. See above.
  • Recording a song. Don’t do it. Enjoy the show.

The After Show

The girl I went with has had several encounters with the Maine, having interviewed them a couple of times before shows and before album releases. We chilled at the attached bar waiting and hoping the Maine came out and hung out for a bit. In our time waiting, my old roommate spotted Dirk, the photographer for the band. She went to talk to him about his work and about the pending internship. Time passed. Drinks were drunk. And we sat. Many fans left the bar after having waited several hours. The crowd has vanished from the front of the bar. And here we sat. We decided to leave if they didn’t show up by midnight. (The show started at 7:30, ended at about 10, and we waited for 2 hours.) We’re about to call it quits when we look over and see them sitting at a table just right over there. Of course we both want to talk to him, but don’t want to seem like fan girls and scare him away. So, we wait.
He stands up and we make our move. Pretending we’re heading out, my girl waves at O’Callaghan and they get to talking. She introduces me and he goes in for a hand shake, when I ask for a hug. Granted. We talk for a bit and say our good-byes. Another hug. Success. Outside the venue we talk with one of the guitarists, Jared Monaco. Hugs all around.

Everything I Ask For

It was that. I had a great time. Concerts aren’t just about the music that they play. Yes, it could be an earth-shattering version of “Free Bird,” but what we remember is everything that comes with concerts. It’s what makes your experience memorable. So, while I did not record any part of the show, I got to see the Maine, and I got to hug two members twice. So, if you ever get the chance to see the Maine, do it. You’ll have stories to tell and memories made.

My Shame Is True and We’re Just Killing Time: Alkaline Trio and Bayside Concert Review

Alkaline Trio and Bayside on Tour

Been On Top Of The World Since About One Week Ago

Which marks the first time I saw Alkaline Trio and Bayside live at the Metro in Chicago. This is true. May 31st I ventured into the second city to see two bands that truly rock. Perhaps you’re wondering about my Alk3 and Bayside cred. (I’m going to tell you whether or not you’re really wondering, so just go with it). I dabbled with Alk3 since high school. I didn’t really get into them mostly because I was still figuring out what kind of music I liked. I knew I liked a couple of their songs. Mostly the ones that everyone knew (like “Help Me”). I was young and dumb and didn’t recognize greatness and the insane amount of literary references and morbid clarity and truth they bring to their lyrics. For about the past year I’ve been a hardcore Alk3 fan. I have all their records and listen to them on the daily. I quote them as much as I can and recommend them whenever someone says they need music to listen to. That being said, Bayside is also a band that I recommend frequently. They aren’t hugely known, but their following is very dedicated and very passionate. (If you haven’t heard of or are not familiar with either of these bands, you need to be.) So, when pre-sale came around in February I jumped at the chance to see them. Both in one concert, it was like a gift from the rock Gods special for me.

The Metro

Being my first time at the Metro I feel like I should review them too. I’ve heard mostly bad things about this venue. They aren’t as good as others. Their sound sucks; the acoustics suck; they have too much bass. Their staff is mean and insanely douchey. So, of course I was a little apprehensive, but I’d go to a dumpster to listen to Matt Skiba and Anthony Raneri. On arrival, our first stop is straight to the merch. Cons: You have to hold your shirt during the show. Pros: You don’t have to worry about a crowd. You don’t have to worry about them running out of your size. (Sounds like a no-brainer.) I could deal with holding on to a shirt. Tickets were at will-call, so I walked up to the little guy in the window (the window was little, not the guy) and he waved us through. Con: We (me and the guys I went with) did not get ticket stubs. The place was exciting. Already smelling like sweat, pot, and alcohol. We got there a little late and missed the first band, Off With Their Heads. From the sound of them, they sounded pretty good and I’ll look them up for new music. They seemed to have a pretty nice following. The place was packed and we stayed toward the back. Con: Not up front. Pro: Not up front. A/C breeze. (I could deal with this.)

Concert Dos and Donts

As always there are people who just don’t understand what to do at concerts. Something about a concert makes people go crazy. I understand the adrenaline rush and the whole group think and energy, but here it is:

  • The place is all general standing room and packed. When someone is trying to get through, whether it’s to be closer to be by their friends or out to go pee whatever, let them through. Don’t be a jerk.
  • If you’re in the mosh pit, you’re in the mosh pit. There is no reason to be pissed off when someone bumps you. Yes, this really happened and a mini fight broke out. If you can’t handle it, leave.
  • If you’re on the balcony don’t sit. Yes, you have seats, but you’re at a punk concert. Why the hell are you sitting? Sit while the bands are setting up. Are you so bored during the sets that you have to sit? If this be the case, why did you come?
  • Don’t look cute after a concert. If you look cute after a concert it means you weren’t having fun and you probably shouldn’t have come. (I came to the Metro with completely straight hair and left with a fuzzball for hair.)

Bayside

Now, on to the show. First of all, before we even talk about how amazing they are musically, let’s talk about their stage presence. They are insane. They are so energized and very “in the zone” (for lack of a better phrase). They pull you in and shake you up. If you aren’t sure whether you like Bayside based on their albums, go to a concert. They are so much better live. Raneri (lead singer and guitarist), as well as the rest of the band truly love playing in Chicago and it’s clear they love their fans. When one of the members announced they bought a Blackhawks jersey there was an insane amount of “WOO”s and “YEAH”s. Moshing ensued (of course) during songs like “Montauk” and swaying happened during the beginning of “Walking Wounded”. They played a variety of their songs, from their newest album, Killing Time, and from their older ones, thus ensure fans of time periods are pleased. This also got a bunch of people who didn’t previously know them pumped (ie the group of girls next to me). They even played “Megan”, a song they recorded with the Smoking Pipes. Of course, I was overjoyed. (My name is Megan). Obviously they were playing directly to me. You know that moment in movies where the protagonist is at a concert and the crowd parts and all that’s there is the protag and the band and there’s this glow. That’s exactly what happened.

Alkaline Trio

The main event. Honestly there are a ton of words and ways I could describe their performance. But, putting it into writing takes away from their energy, passion, and excitement. The whole set was one big exciting blur. What felt like a ten-minute set, really ended after 1 am. Their set was insanely varied. They played everything from “I Wanna Be a Warhol,” from their newest album (My Shame Is True) to “Sadie” (yes, the sound bite from Sadie herself was included). When we thought the show couldn’t get more exciting, out comes a man by the name of Tim McIlrath (lead singer from Rise Against). They recorded “I, Pessimist” on My Shame Is True together. It was beyond amazing to have a band from Chicago performing with another lead singer originating from the Chicago Area. (Fun fact: McIlrath went to my high school, different times, but still awesome.) What threw me over the edge, the band announced this will be the last time they perform this song with McIlrath. And I witnessed it!

Over and Out

Like all great things, there was an ending. The band left the stage and many people left. The lights didn’t come back on, which meant one thing and one thing only. (Well, it could mean that their lights were broken, but I highly doubt it.) An encore. Cheers of “TRI-O! TRI-O!” erupted and I was right there with them. And sure enough out came the band and rocked my world one more time. I left the Metro with a sore throat, sweat (mine and from those who pushed passed me), frizzy hair, smudge makeup, and a fire within. (Yes, I know that sounds lame; deal with it.) I am super pumped for summer concert season and will definitely go see Alk3 and Bayside live again. It’s definitely worth it. So, should you get the chance to see them, do it. Do it! Take off work, skip school, do what you have to. You need to see them.

Punk Kids From the Bay to Allstate Arena Rockers: Green Day Concert Review

Green Day 99 Revolutions Tour

Green Day 99 Revolutions Tour

Green Day Cred

This passed Thursday, March 28th, 2013, was Green Day’s return to arena performing since Billie Joe’s recent bout with rehab to deal with alcohol and drug abuse. And, you better believe I was there! Before I dig in to my review on this concert, I’m going to build up my Green Day credit for you, so you know that I know exactly what I’m talking about. Green Day made it big with their breakout album, Dookie (1994). In 1994 I was 4 years old. I am not going to lie to you and say I’ve been listening to them since then. Nope, I respect you way more stooping to that level. So, when did I start listening to Green Day? I started my freshman year of high school; I started when American Idiot exploded on the scene. I know what you’re thinking right now and let me stop you right there. My first Green Day album was not American Idiot. It was not even my second or third. In fact my first one was International Superhits, followed by Kerplunk and 1,039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours (yes, I know this is a compilation of their EPs). Continuing on my Green Day life, I quickly became obsessed. Their music had a rawness to it that the music in the “Top 40” didn’t; their music was about life and about real-life problems of an angsty teen. This was right up my alley. Ripped jeans, constantly listening to their music, dark eyeliner, the whole “don’t give a shit attitude”. It was all mine. My love for them dissipated when they disappeared for a while. I was stunned when I heard the announcement that Green Day made American Idiot into a musical. That is definitely not very punk of them (duh) and I lost hope. My once go-to band for pop-punk failed me. With their new trio of albums that came out (“Uno”, “Dos”, “Tre”) I was super stoked to hear that they were getting back to their early years of punk. This statement was a lie. No. These albums did not reflect the pot smoking misfits who hated the man and hated being told what to do. So, about now I’m sure you’re wondering why I went to a concert that promoted the very music that I lost faith in. Plain and simple – I was hoping they’d play their old music. I saw them live before and their stage presence is untouchable. So, I went. Which brings me to the actual concert review.

The Atmosphere

As stated earlier, the concert was held at an arena, Allstate Arena. So, with that comes a lot of people. I (well, me and another girl) got there pretty early. We arrived before the doors opened and the doors opened at 6. (Concert starts at 7:30). First thing: Parking. Parking was $20. Yes, I’m going to dwell on this for just a bit. Bare with me. $20. This may not seem like a lot to some people, but for me – it’s a lot of money. That’s a lot of money just to have my car sit in a spot next to inexperienced teenage drivers who park crooked for a mere 3 hours. So, moving on, I get out and stand in line with my energy drink waiting for the doors to open. Nothing to complain about here. Little cold, but I’m seeing Green Day, so I got over that quickly. When the doors open there’s a mad rush to get in the door, despite the fact of a line. Flashes of VH1 specials of people being trampled and suffocated due to crowds at concerts went through my mind. Excitement level right then was pretty high, so I understand. We got in and found our seats. Front row of the balcony. Perfect view of the stage without having some fat guy block our sight. As a rite of passage, we go off to get our concert shirts. $40. $40 for a shirt. But, we paid it. How else are people going to believe that we were there? Nostalgia is a powerful motivator. So we get back to our seats and just chill for a while. One of the coolest examples I can give about the atmosphere of the crowd and of the mood is right here: Bohemian Rhapsody. The recordings before the show played as usual and when Bohemian Rhapsody came on the crowd exploded. Every single person (from what I could tell) was singing. The mosh pit was moshing. One of the coolest experiences in my life is right there. The whole crowd singing along to a recording and acting like this was the main event.

Broken Concert Rules

This little section is going to make me seem like an old geezer that wishes times didn’t change etc. etc. However, I need to get this out in the open. While sitting in my seat before the concert and while walking around I noticed an insane amount of people breaking very simple and minimal concert rules.

1. Don’t wear a Green Day shirt to a Green Day concert unless it’s a concert shirt you just bought. This is the same as Don’t wear an Alkaline Trio shirt to an Alkaline Trio concert. Why is this a rule? It just is. It’s an unspoken, but known rule among all concert goers. By breaking this rule, you’re showing people you have never been to a concert and don’t get it. You can wear other band shirts. As long as there is no feud between the bands and they’re relatively in the same genre.

2. Don’t wear flip-flops. Ok, you’re at a concert. An indoor concert and you’re down in the mosh pit wearing flip-flops. Do I really need to explain why this is wrong? Don’t be stupid.

3. Don’t wear heels. See number 2. If you’re in a seat and you’re not planning on getting crazy (not sure why you’d be at a “punk-rock” concert) then fine. Wear those heels and work it out.

Ok, now that that’s out-of-the-way we can move on to…

The Opening Act

The opening act can be summed up in one word – HORRIBLE. I’ll break it down for you. For one thing, they said their name once and it was mumbled. Sorry I cannot tell you which band to never, ever listen to. They played for 30 minutes and each song sounded exactly the same. The drum was based all on the 1-2 count, no creativity. The bass was too loud. One thing that could have been the redeemer was the singer. A female! I was really excited, she had the look of an indie rocker, but failed. Each song picked one phrase and repeated it over and over and over (etc). Her voice was plain and nothing too outstanding. The writing sucked, and so did their energy level. She announced they grew up listening to Green Day, but I would think they’d be better if they did. So, all that being said. I only clapped when they were leaving the stage and thanking God they left before I succeeded in pounding my ears with a hammer and chisel.

Multi-Generational Show

The person to the left of me was probably in his mid-to-late-thirties with his wife, while the person to the left of the girl I came with was probably still in high school. I even saw a girl of maybe seven with her mom. Green Day did not disappoint any of these generations. They came out ready to party and played their wide-range of music. Billie Joe stated they’ve been together for 25 years and I’m pretty sure they did their years justice. Starting out with their new music to please the new-comers. About an hour into the show Billie Joe asked if there were any vintage Green Day fans. (Yes, right here!) Then they kicked off playing songs off their EPs. People around me sat down and I just got louder. Loving the fact they actually went back to their roots and honoring the fans that have stuck with them and helped them get to where they are now. I have mad respect for that. I was impressed they were able to cater to each generation (everything from their EPs to their newest trilogy) they inspired and led through hard times. For
that, my faith was restored in these hooligans.

Showmanship

This is something that cannot be denied. Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool know how to work a crowd. Billie Joe declared he wanted us to do the wave and we did the wave. While out of context yelling “Chicago,” “Illinois,” and “The Midwest” does not get me pumped; when they did this I yelled every time. It was like “omg, he knows where I’m from and we have this connection. He totally said Chicago is their second home and …” Yes, each time I was right there with everyone, fist raised and yelling with the hope of losing my voice. Billie Joe sprayed people with water, then simulated masturbation and ejaculated toilet paper. Not to be outdone, he launched t-shirts into the crowd and even got a couple up to the balcony. Included in their set were songs that everyone knows, like “Shout,” and “Hey Jude,” thus encouraging crowd participation and celebrating life and other artists. While I’m partially a cynic and wishing they played their music, (they have enough songs of their own to fill a few hours and I came to hear them play their own songs) I was swept up and sang along. The crowd and the band fed off of each other’s enthusiasm. Mike and Tre even ran around the stage. Of course, Tre dressed in a beach hat and bra achieved impressive height in his solo kickline. It just wouldn’t be a Green Day concert without that. Pulling people up on stage to sing, and stage dive completed their success in getting the crowd pumped.

Time of Your Life

I left with a raw throat, fuzzy hearing, and the feeling of the bass drum still pounding in my chest. While I went to the concert with some doubts about where they were headed musically and whether or not I’d be following them in the years to come, I left with my love for Green Day restored. While I could talk for days and days about this concert, I guess that’s the point. One rock show could change the world (thank you, The School of Rock) and this one changed my attitude toward Green Day. The next day at work I showed up with day old concert grunge (no shower), messy hair (from jumping and sleeping), and a shirt smelling of weed and spilled beer. I was the happiest person in the office that day, without a question. If you missed this concert, you need to make sure you get to the next one. And, yes, I had the time of my life.