Sunday, December 28, 2008

How to Attend an Indie Rock Concert

No one is born well-versed in the music scene. It is a skill that can only be developed with time and observation. Did a friend invite you to hear "this new band" but afraid to go because you'll look out of place and awkward? Nobody wants that, especially me. These quick tips make it easier for one to slip into the music scene and leave behind that "out-of-place" feeling.

Things You'll Need
  • money for tickets/transportation (most local shows run under $20, and venues are usually easily accessible in major cities).
  • spending cash for after the show/at the bar (dehydration is a significant factor)
  • comfortable, breathable clothing
  • at least one accessory that can be considered "hipster" "indie" or "emo" (scarves work the best, visible tattoos a plus.)
  • an open mind

Step One
Be knowledgeable about the band playing. Most every band has a myspace music page; check out their profile before the show. Listen to the songs posted, and try to remember your favorite one. When (or if) they play it, you can turn to your friend/date/whomever and say "this is my favorite song!" They'll be so impressed, they'll think you've been doing this for years. Fun facts about the band never hurt either. For instance, while the band is setting up, you can make casual conversation by saying, "did you know the lead singer has been vegan for seven years?"

Step Two
Take your wardrobe into consideration. If you don't want to feel out of place, I'd skip the khakis and polo. Skinny legs and V-necks are musts at most shows. Bold colors work best (the more neon, the better). Hair is usually dramatically swept to one side, and disheveled. Flats and Chuck Taylors are the most acceptable footwear. As noted in the "Things You'll Need" section, accessories don't hurt. Scarves, chunky bracelets, facial piercings and sleeve tattoos are commonplace.

Step Three
Be organized and observant. Most concert-goers will have an "I don't care" feel to them, but this is a lie, and a strategically practiced attitude. Have tickets (or money ready) well before the show, and secure the location of the club or venue (it's always a good idea to call ahead and confirm when the band takes the stage). Walk around the venue. Be sure to locate the bathroom, bar, merch table, and band entrance (this may be the best place to catch a quick conversation). Avoid carrying a large bag/purse in with you, as you may not leave with it. Store all cell phones, cameras and cash in your pockets, and check them frequently.

Step Four
Show an appropriate amount of enthusiasm. As you will notice along the course of your indie rock concert adventure, the die-hards will push into front row and may form a mosh-pit. It is strongly advised to stay away from this area. The sides of the stage usually remain mellow, or the back of the venue may prove easier for conversation. Singing and dancing are encouraged to an extent, but this is not an NSync concert. Nod along and clap after songs; lighters and cell phones usually come out during slower numbers.

Step Five
Hang around after the show. The band will more than likely talk to fans afterwards. Walk around the venue outside; normally, word gets out where a band is greeting fans and a small dedicated group will already be gathered. This is your moment to observe and learn more about the scene, or even make new friends. Conversations with strangers prove easier when everyone is still on a post-concert high and anticipating meeting the band. If the band does come out, strike up an interesting conversation ("there's this great vegan restaurant downtown"). Some bands will hang out afterwards at bars, clubs, or even house parties. Keep your ears and eyes open, and you may be partying with the band that night. At that point: congratulations, you have successfully assimilated into the music scene.

Tips & Warnings
  • Remember: comfortable, closed-toed shoes! Crammed crowds are the best places to get smashed toes.
  • You will sweat, so heavy-antiperspirant is recommended.
  • Be early! You may just catch the band walking around.
  • Music WILL be loud
  • You WILL reek of smoke afterwards
  • You WILL want a cold drink and a hot shower afterwards

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A CD in Review: Folie A Deux

1. Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes - fantastic opener. It's reminiscent to Thriller, in that it's got the same feel musically. I love the hook so much, and the chanting "detox, just to retox."

2. I Don't Care - I love this song even more after hearing the whole CD. There's a thing about FAD where every song sort of fits in nicely, and musically this song is still so good. This is seriously a CD of chugging rock anthems.

3.She's My Winona - I still love the opening chords every time I hear it. Super-catchy song. Not my favorite lyrically (the thunder?) but I'll judge lyrics more once I have the booklet to read what Patrick is actually singing. (also into cats, anyone?)

4. America's Suitehearts - I like the little groove it's got to it and the huge chorus; I think this'll do nicely as a second single; it's definitely a radio song. My favorite part is still the "let's hear it forrr" at the end of the song.

5. Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown On A Bad Bet - quite possibly one of my favorite fob songs ever. Since I've played it out so much it's lost a little shine, but when Patrick comes in yelling "Does your husband know?" I still get chills and crank it up.

6. The (Shipped) Gold Standard - the opening for this sounds like some super catchy pop song, but ngl I love it. There's a lot of good lyrics in this song, I kind of compare this song to "don't you know who I think I am?" for some reason. They have the same feel to me - like a good old fob song feel. idk.

7. (Coffee's For Closers) - beautiful music in this song, I love the strings so much. Songs like an Obama campaign song with the "change will come." The whole "I will never believe in anything again" doesn't really fit in with the rest of the lyrics in my opinion. But the song's so freakin beautiful I don't even care.

8. What A Catch, Donnie - I still can't get into this song. Musically, it's great, it just kind of bores me until the last minute (I adore all the cameos and the retrospective feel to it). That kind of makes up for it.

9. 27 - lovelovelove so hard. Patrick's vocals here are my favorite ever. The way he sings reminds me of ginasfs, and that's my favorite fob song of all time. The phrase "the planets align you're just like mars" kills me the way he sings it. And can we appreciate Joe Trohman on this album for a second? Epic guitar solos.

10. Tiffany Blews - One of my favorites, the opening is so good. And the harmonies in this, oh Patrick. I love the line "baby you're a classic, like a little black dress" for some reason. I actually like the Lil Wayne cameo, it's not like this crazy rap verse.

11. w.a.m.s. - I find that intro bass really creepy. The whole thing is in this creepy minor key but that's why I like it. And I love the chorus. Still curious as hell what wams stands for. I'm not sure how I feel about the whole music dropping out and Patrick singing this bluesy little acoustic tune; I kind of wish that it was a separate short track, like an interlude. I think the way they faded the music was weird, the first time I heard it I was like "wtf is going on?" It's cool and Patrick sounds awesome (the melody sounds like "no diggity" by blackstreet, doesn't it? I swear, look it up, it's the same.)

12. 20 Dollar Nose Bleed - it's like a cheery musical romp, if the lyrics weren't so depressive. But I love Brendon's part (actually, I think it sounds more like a panic song than a fob song) but the horns are great, and it reminds me so much like "i've got all this ringing..." (lol at me and all these old fob references, but it's what I think of when I hear them.) I like how it doesn't fit in with the record (and I think there's a church organ towards the middle somewhere). Patrick's vocal are killer, too. I didn't like Pete's spoken part at first, but now I love it. Wouldn't be a fob CD without it ;) (and a little screaming, finally! Leads in nicely to the last track.)

13. West Coast Smoker - I love how harsh this is. The second "oh hell yes" is badass. The whole father, son, holy ghost thing is a little weird, but I just go with it by now. Then there's that eeiry church chanting in the middle before pete's screaming "i'm a nervous wreck" (which I love, this cd was lacking pete screaming.) And the song just kind of stops and the cd is over, I like how it's abrupt. Makes you want to put it back on.