And So It Starts…

Just started getting wind of what artists are planning 2009 tours.  Some of the bands look to continue their success while others just have me scratching my head.

Here are some tours / festivals that I read about recently:

NIN touring with Jane’s Addiction
-This show best hit Cleveland if they know what is good for them…  Having seen NIN last summer and looking forward to seeing them at Bonnaroo I think my 2009 would be complete if I were to see them even one more time live.  According to Billboard.com, Trent Reznor confirmed that NIN would be taking a long break.  Confirming this was a blog from Trent Reznor on NIN.com stating “I’ve been thinking for some time now it’s time to make NIN disappear for a while”.  This tour is not NIN alone and will equally be as amazing thanks to Jane’s Addicition trying to regroup and perform.  We shall see the outcome of this, all I can think of is how good of an idea is it having two of the most cherished bands of my time take stage.

Limp Bizkit Reuniting For A Tour
-Seriously?  Is this a good idea?  Perhaps.  The band was very successful at the end of the 1990’s but soon fell apart.  The Nu-Metal scene just was not meant to continue but I think it is great that the original line-up plans on gathering once again to perform.  Does this mean new material?  We shall see.

Fleetwood Mac
-I admit, I would totally go to this…if I could afford a ticket.

Rock On The Range – Columbus, OH
-This weekend event in Columbus looks like a true winner for all the metal fans.  Slipknot, Motley Crue, Alice In Chains, Avenged Sevenfold and Korn share the excitement for many as these bands plus a handfull more play the weekend of May 16-17th at the Columbus Crew stadium.  Having never seen AIC before I am highly considering this show…Matt?

Eric Clapton / Steve Winwood
-Former Blind Faith members decide to tour the US.  Both previously played together at Madison Square Garden about a year ago.  They are coming through Ohio, but no way will I dish out that kind of money for tickets.  It is not that important to me.  Both are amazing artists and I have respect for both but the wallet kind of stops me there.

No Doubt
-Please Gwin, please never do that solo crap again…  I am really happy to see this band get out and tour again.  I am not a huge fan, but I do appreciate their earlier material.

Blink 182
-These pop punkers announced just weeks ago that they were a band again and that means they will be going on the road soon.

Rancid
-They are putting the finishing touches up on their next release and will be hitting the road in support of it.  I am very excited to see these guys live again.

The Greatful Dead
-This will be the bands first tour in 4 years.  Mind you it is not the original Dead but it’ll do for all the hippies who need something to do this summer.

Phish
-Speaking of hippies, Phish is scheduled to tour in 2009 as well.  I need to stop being a jerk…hippies have feelings too.  I am sure I will check Phish out at Bonnaroo for a little bit just so I can say that I did.

***More will be added as I find out***

There are many other bands taking aim at touring this year but the previous were ones I just read about.  I am still curious on what band will get back together this summer at one of the festivals like Cochella or the Virgin Mobile Festival.  I would love to see Soundgarden reunite or even Faith No More play some shows…  That would be insane.

There is one band I really hope to see this summer.  They have been through a lot as one of their own was in a horrible accident.  I speak of The Deftones.  Recently the band decided to play some shows even though their original bassist can not be there with them.  A statement was released on the band’s website in regards on how the band decided to play out again: “Chi always wanted to keep working and never slow down, which is why we feel confident in returning to the stage at Bamboozle in April.  Chi would want it, and we want to make sure we’re keeping his legacy alive.”

With a Bonnaroo trip already planned this summer, I am wondering what other live shows I will be attending this year.  I will of course be sure to share all my experiences with you all.  I am sure I will stop at the Vans Warped Tour once again as I always enjoy myself there and may actually take up ((RAD))am’s offer on some Blossom shows.

Curious though…  What shows are you all looking forward to?  Are there any other great acts touring that I might have missed???  Let me know!

Gaslight Anthem Robbed In Sweden

Punk rocker’s Gaslight Anthem woke up at their Gothenburg hotel only to discover that someone had broken into their tour van.  Where no actual valuables were taken the band experieced a delay while filing police reports and missed a ferry that would have taken the band to Helsinki where they were to perform. 

The band posted the following on their MySpace blog:

Crap! No Helsinki show….
So, we were robbed the night after our Gothenburg show at a local hotel. Gunnar and I woke up to 3 windows smashed out and the back door shredded from prying. Luckily, nothing very valuable was taken, but, we had to get reports from Swedish police (slow as f*ck), and missed our ferry by MINUTES! We literally raced down the highways, freezing cold, for 5 hours and parked to watch it pull away.

We’re super bummed. We were all really looking forward to this show and pissed that this happened. We’re sincerely sorry this happened. But, I guess this one was out of our reach. We’ll keep you posted on any happening/reschedules involved with the show.

Thanks.
Benny.

AVD

AVD = Anti-Valentine’s Day.

(here comes a rant…)

I really was not going to post anything about a holiday today that generally is about false hopes and weight gain.  Why should most folk express their love more so on one day a year with cheesy cards and expensive chocolates?  Recession my ass, people look for reasons to spend, I’m sorry, WASTE, money and Valentine’s Day is one of them.

I am not against love.  I am in love.  I am married and love my wife to death.  I love my friends and my family and even my spoiled rotten dogs.  I am so lucky to be in love.

I hate days where people try to be one step better then they already are and V-Day is one of them.  I don’t know about you but I try every day to be a better person to my wife.  I don’t use balloons and stuffed teddy bear bribes on Feb. 14th to show my wife how much I love her.  In fact, I am working all day today and will not be seeing her until tomorrow. 

I should put my foot in my mouth right at this moment though because I did buy my wife a massage yesterday but it was not for V-Day at all.  I took her to the massage place on Friday The 13th…  It was for her because I felt it was time to buy her another one.  She was stressed with school and needed a healthy dose of relax.  I do things like this because I love her.  It just so happened to be the day before V-Day….honest.

I did not buy her candy or flowers.  No cards or cute little knick knacks were left on the counter for her when she woke up this morning.  I did not dress up like cupid and shoot arrows at her either.  (That would be a scary sight!!!)

I just do what I do all the time, love her.

I hate the idea of a holiday that makes love seem that much important one day out of the year.  Then again if it can make someone who generally is not that nice one bit nicer to the person they claim to love…  Damn, I feel sorry for them.

So why am I ranting anyways? 

Well Matt over at AddictedToVinyl.com posted his first ever Valentine’s Day blog.  He thanks me along with a few others for “connecting” with him and keeping him sane while he enjoys solo (relationship-free) time off.

While reading his blog I started thinking about another reason why I hate V-Day.  It was a reason I have forgotten about long ago.  It just clicked in my head and the second I thought of it I laughed.

Well of course I am going to share it with you…did you even have to think of asking???

When I was in second grade I got in trouble on Valentine’s Day.  In the tradition of putting Valentine’s Day cards in specially designed shoe boxes full of hearts and the colors red & pink I dropped a rather inappropriate card into one classmate’s box. 

It read: “You Are Ugly”

I meant it too.  I thought the girl was ugly as hell and I guess Valentine’s Day was my confession day to her.

Of course my bold statement made her cry out loud and run to my teacher.  Immediately I was repromanded for my actions seeing how I signed my name on the card and I was promptly taken to the corner of the classroom where I was forced to think alone about what I just did as well as write an apology letter to said ugly girl.  I did what I was told and pretty much filled the paper with lies and other false hope. 

I admit…that was a crappy thing to do.  I do not remember if I did it as a dare to impress friends or if I was just being an a-hole at a very young age.  I am not even sure my teacher shared my actions with my parents.  I just knew I got yelled at for telling someone how I really felt and I hated the holiday for getting in trouble for it.  I never favored the day since…

AVD = Anti-Valentine’s Day.  That is where I stand.  Maybe because I know what love really is an cherish it, or maybe because I have just been an a-hole all my life since that once forgotten day in second grade.

Love on the other hand is a wonderful thing.  It may not be for everyone, but for those who crave it and those who experience it…you know what I mean.

Here’s two videos that help define the love between my wife and I…  Nothing too mushy I promise:

Thursday – Common Existence – CD Review

New Jersey post-hardcore act Thursday has a lot to be proud about.  Being credited with bringing the screamo genre to the mainstream level as well as have been labeled in 2004 as SPIN Magazine’s “The Next Big Thing” are just a couple of reasons why.  This six-piece did not invent the screamo genre but rather took it to a new level.  With all they have accomplished I can not believe they have been a band for just over ten years now.

Currently the band is about to release their fifth full-length album, entitled Common Existence.  This time around the band has teamed up with the punk rock independent label Epitaph Records and hopes to continue to wow their fans while, at the same time, recruit new ones.  The band will be headlining the Taste Of Chaos tour this year in support of their new release alongside rousing acts Bring Me The Horizon, Four Year Strong, Pierce The Veil, and the Cancer Bats.

Just in case you have no idea what screamo exactly is, imagine melodic emo music mixed with post-hardcore fury and occasional throat-destroying screaming throughout.  Some find the music terribly annoying but there are many like myself who can not get enough.  I just love the fragile, sorrow feel during some songs only to be smacked over and over with screams not many can endure.  The first time I heard screamo was actually the first time I listened to Thursday’s debut with Victory Records called Full Collapse and I admit I was highly entertained.

I had already gotten a preview of the CD single “Resuscitation Of A Dead Man” earlier this year when the band streamed the song on their website, but it was not until this second helping that I realized how great of a song it is.  Less screamo and more hardcore is all I can think about on this track that features Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath contributing vocals.  “Last Call” follows with Geoff Ricky’s all-so-familiar, lamenting vocals.

Previously appearing on the band’s 2008 split EP with Japanese hardcore band Envy was “As He Climbed The Dark Mountain.”  The song hinted towards Thursday’s juvenile years with more of their signature screamo fashion but came with a twist as heavy distortion and pitch shifts dominated throughout.

“Friends In The Arms Forces,” which featured Quicksand’s Walkter Schriefels, seemed a little cut down from the other tracks on the CD but was still enjoyable.  The song, inspired by the band member’s friendship with someone currently serving overseas, is a protest of the basis but full of wishes of protection as different emotions spiral throughout.  “Beyond The Visible Spectrum” was very astray from the Thursday norm at times with a more mellow, mostly post-hardcore sound.  As much as I want to say I was not getting into it, the truth is…  I was.  I especially dug the reverb throughout the track and the sudden conclusion that left me wanting more.

“Time’s Arrow” was almost a whisper compared to everything else on this CD.  The song started out ever so gentle and had this, dare I say, almost a Muse/Radiohead experimental style going on.  I loved it.  This song was the most untried song I have heard Thursday perform so far and I still crave more of it.

This album deserves to be listened to over and over again by old school fans of Thursday as well as by random newcomers.  I myself can not keep Common Existence out of my CD player.  The overall sound suggests that the band has taken a departure from the genre commonly attributed to them.  It appears the one-time pioneers of screamo really focused on taking what they know and have expanded it with their musical creativity.  The result is some really amazing songs, some of which I did not expect to hear.

It’s nice to see the band try something new while still holding on to their own uniqueness. Common Existence is ongoing evidence that Thursday continues to mature and, honestly, this album has turned me into an even bigger fan.

Here is a recently released clip of the making of Thursday’s upcoming music video for “Resuscitation Of A Dead Man”:

Thursday – Making The Video: “Resuscitation of A Dead Man” from absolutepunk.net on Vimeo.

???

One of the first songs that got me hooked on Thursday:

Tom Gabel – Heart Burns – EP Review

Tom Gabel had a busy 2008.  Not only did the front man of Against Me! headline the Van’s Warped Tour with his associates all summer long but he also recorded his own solo EP called Heart Burns and toured solo on the Revival Tour this past fall in support of it.  The seven song EP was released under Sire records and has Tom Gabel taking things under his control, making for a good listen.

Tom Gabel playing at the Vans Warped Tour in Cleveland 2008
Tom Gabel playing at the Vans Warped Tour in Cleveland 2008

Just in case you didn’t know, Tom Gabel was Against Me! from the get go.  He started the band at age 16 all by himself and played acoustical shows in support of his first release the Acoustical EP.  In a nutshell, his success with his solo material, which came from years of hard work and dedication, soon turned into the band Against Me! many are now familiar with.  Hoards of fans have eaten up many of their albums that incorporated folk with punk rock and high sing along qualities. The rest is history.

Of course that history includes the heartbreak of many dedicated fans when Against Me! went so called “corporate” and signed to a nation label. They released the radio friendly New Wave, one of the band’s most successful releases to date.  Tom Gabel and his band mates were called sellouts for what they did but, regardless of their decision making, they have moved on with new fans all over the world and seem to handle being seen in the spotlight quite well.

Now why Tom Gabel chose to do another solo album remains to be determined.  Some may think he wanted to stray away from the band to focus on his individual talent while others think he went back to his roots as an apology to all of those die-hard fans.

Regardless why he chose to do the Heart Burns EP, I was looking forward to it, as I became a fan of all of his material once I finally pushed aside the hype and decided to actually listen to the band.  The first time I was told about Against Me! I wanted nothing to do with them.  I hated them without ever giving them a chance.  Soon thereafter I was working at a record store and a little scenester girl I worked with played the CD and I was hooked.   I have since seen Against Me! live every time they come to my city.  They put on an amazing show.

Leading up to the EP’s release, Tom Gabel took use of networking wonders MySpace and released one man performance videos for each song released from the EP.  The videos were just a taste of the EP with rough cut versions of politically charged songs and were visually pleasing.  Check out Tom Gabel’s MySpace page if you want a taste of them and while you are at it, check out a previous blog I posted with some other videos there for your viewing pleasure. (I also posted a couple of my favs at the bottom of this blog…)

After seeing the videos I figured this EP would in fact be a collection of those mostly acoustical songs and nothing more.  When “Random Hearts” started with electronic beats leading to Tom Gabel’s trademark raspy singing I realized this was something entirely different.  My initial taste of Tom Gabel’s new solo material sounded like Against Me! meets The Faint without all the dancing.

The following “Conceptual Paths” added elements of folk with very mild reverb on his voice at times.  I loved this song and to think I just stared playing the CD.  “Cowards Sing At Night” humored me; it was clearly about John McCain as the song ended “your war is over Johnny”.  The simple indie rock riffs kept the song flowing

“Amputations” seriously reminded me of classic garage rock with its heavy on guitar distortion.  At one moment I am reminded of “Ballroom Blitz” with the way Tom Gabel sings “There’s no heat between lovers and a summer night.”  Perhaps if you hear the song you will know what I am talking about.  Aside from the sweet similarity, the song is incredible and by the end you are surrounded by the trademark Against Me! group signing.   The song was initially played by Against Me! acoustically last March at in-store events causing a lot of fans to question if the song happened to be a New Wave b-side.

Just when I thought I could not be more impressed by this EP “Anna Is A Stool Pigeon” came on.  The lyrics, a hidden secret love story revolving around an activist guy who fell in love with an undercover FBI agent unknowingly, were an adventure alone.  Chuck Ragan from Hot Water Music added back up vocals and harmonica kept my interest.  Butch Vig from Garbage, who also is the executive producer of the EP, even added his drumming skills to pull together one hell of a track.

This EP is continuing evidence that Tom Gabel is to be heard by many regardless if he does it on his own or with Against Me!.  I have high expectations for his musical career and I see him not slowing down anytime soon.  You don’t have to like Against Me! to enjoy the Heart Burns EP.  Sure it has its sing along moments and for the most part sounds like Against Me!.  I am sure all the die hard will rave about it, or bitch about it for the sake of it not being Against Me!, but it is a genuine effort and to be enjoyed by all.