Posts Tagged ‘concerts’

#CoMoTripn: Los Angeles

Breaking through from the Orange County line into LA county means stopping in my old hood.  While I lived in Belmont Shore for eight years, my favorite spot was Seal Beach.  It’s quaint small town feel, beautiful view from the pier, and excellent sushi restaurant made it a must visit in my travels.


I could’ve sat there all day. A major thing I miss about California.

With the sun finally out, I enjoyed soaking in the warmth and smelling the sea salt air while I walked up and down wood pier planks.  Everything looking so familiar and foreign at the same time.  I Snap Chatted the calming waves to my Oregon friends, who  were suffering through another fall storm, before heading to my favorite restaurant to have lunch by myself.


Table for 1

There wasn’t much time to visit some of my other favorite places, such as the fine paper store or the small local shop on Second Street that sells the best gardenia scented candles, due to the looming traffic I knew would be waiting for me in Los Angeles.  By early afternoon I was back on the road heading to Santa Monica to meet up with another old friend.

When I visit LA, I have a pretty sweet deal.  My friend-since-birth happens to have a kickin’ guest house he lets me crash in.  I pulled up by 2:00pm and unloaded all my gear again.  A little shaky from heavy drinking and light sleeping, we caught up on old stories, high school peer updates and such.  He gave me the low down on what I might expect for traffic and how early I would need to leave.  He even dared mention walking a mile to take a train.  WTF?  Uh, no.  Uber it was.  To make up for the hour it was going to take to get to the venue, ritual had to start early and move a bit faster to leave some time to enjoy a cocktail with my friend in his oasis backyard.


Drinking lemon drops out of a pint glass.  I’m that classy.

Uber picked me up around 5:30pm and we headed into the belly of the traffic beast.  The driver and I talked for a while until I realized I was going to have to keep up conversation for at least an hour.  That’s when I turned to my phone and started with the selfies  I think I might have asked him if that’s what everyone does in the back seat.  He reminded me I probably didn’t want to know what some people did in his backseat.  (Ewww, I’m sitting there.)


And yes, I matched my hair to my outfit.  (Not really, but people ask that all the time.)

By the time I rolled up to the venue, there was already a line snaked along the building.  Once again, I was alone.  Not even Mother/Daughter would be there for reassurance.  I stopped at the bar first thing for my double vodka soda and about died when I paid $25.00 (without tip yet) for it.  People already lined the barrier by the time I got there.  The nice thing about being alone is I just asked for them to let me in to watch Coast Modern and they did.

After meeting a lovely couple who drank this awful blue thing, our crowd continued to grow steadily.  None had heard of Coast Modern, but were happy to follow them on socials and pose for my pictures.  Finally, there was one person who came for Coast Modern.  Our section cheered like I had found my long lost CoMo fan soulmate and we found out he was a friend of Coleman’s.  Our crowd drank, joked, and had a helluva good time like we had known each other for some time.

And you know what comes next, don’t you?  The show, of course.

I danced around in the thick crowd and pretty much sealed my hair fate.  Then there was the awkward moment when the nice woman from the blue drink couple slumped over the railing.  I offered to take her to the bathroom for her boyfriend, but he declined and left her over the barrier.  This was followed up by a guy telling me I was a “before and after” picture because I looked such a mess by the end.  Uh, thanks?  And my lovely barrier neighbors secured a set list for me to make it three in my collection.  So sweet!

As promised, after Coast Modern finished, I removed myself from the front.  In the back, I ran into Twitter Guy from the night before, chatted for a while with his friend, and watched people buy merchandise.

After the show, I funneled out with the rest of the crowd and waited for Uber to take me back to my friend’s house.  Sitting across the street, I spotted a taco truck the instant my ride pulled up and it reminded me I hadn’t eaten anything since my sushi lunch twelve hours before.  If you know anything about being highly intoxicated, this is the moment where you decide if you don’t get something to eat you will die.

It was at Wilshire Boulevard when I saw an open bar and demanded my Uber driver drop me off.  He tried to protest and explained he’s supposed to take me to the programmed destination.  I relieved him of all worry and had him drop me off on the corner.  There was instant sadness when the bar told me their kitchen closed fifteen minutes before I got there.  He did point me four blocks down to a twenty-four hour Jack in the Box.

As I stumbled down the street towards the red and white beacon, I started to question my life choices that led me to wander aimlessly on LA streets at 12:30am by myself and having no idea where to find my friend’s house. Snuggled inside, I ate curly fries and egg rolls (please remember I’m very intoxicated at this point, don’t judge) and watched a homeless man sing along with this radio.  The cashier chatted with him like they were old friends and I realized I was the intruder to their nightly routine. I uploaded some Coast Modern pics to social media and messaged my sleeping friends in Oregon about what a great time the LA show was before deciding I should  head towards the residential section about a half mile away to try to find my bed.  After a couple wrong turns, and trying to find familiar looking streets, I finally came to my friend’s residence.

He’d given me a key to my cottage in the back and I couldn’t wait to try to catch some much needed sleep.  When I came up to the half wall fence surrounding his property, I realized the gate was locked.  I went into a straight up panic imagining sleeping in his front walkway.  After pacing the length of his property, I committed to hiking up my dress, angling my heeled boots, and scaling the wall.  Yep, I did.  It was only when I had two feet planted firmly on the other side in their beautiful garden did I even consider the fact my key could possibly open the gate.  (Yep, it did.)  Lucky for me that learned lesson came before I faced the full size fence to the backyard.

By the time I crawled into bed I’m pretty sure it was around 2:00am but time is lost on nights like this.  The vodka and sleep deprivation make it difficult to tell which side of the day is up and how many hours have actually passed.  I was back up at 5:00am after three hard slept hours.  I dreaded the seven hour drive to San Francisco with only nine hours sleep over the previous four days.  A Zip Fizz shooter powered me up until I could track down a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf store on the road.  I repacked my suitcase, left my friend’s key, and started the long road to Northern California.

Next up: The Conclusion – San Francisco



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#CoMoTripn: San Diego

For quite some time it’s been my dream vacation to follow a band around for a multi-show run.  There’s something fascinating in experiencing the same show night after night to appreciate the nuances between them.  How do the performers change bouncing from city to city?  Do the different crowds offer different vibes to what seems like a repeat performance?  How does my participation vary after seeing the same show a few times consecutively?

In October, I followed Coast Modern up California’s Interstate 5 for four shows starting in San Diego and ending in San Francisco.  My original plan was to document the trip as it happened.  What better way to get the touring feel than to bust out blogs in between shows.  Uh…here we are over a month later and I’m finally getting my shit together.  What happened you ask?  I got a taste of that touring life and it pretty much kicked my ass.  Between driving, getting settled into the new city, visiting with friends, completing the pre-concert ritual, and drinking heavily, there was little time left after enjoying the show.  Not a bad deal, right?  And after returning home, keying down, suffering through my post concert depression, and regular life duties, I’m finally ready to write about each city and my #CoMoTripn experience. (Yep, you can check out the hashtag on Twitter to see the details when I remembered to add the hashtag.)

San Diego took fourteen hours of drive time from my small Oregon town.  Don’t worry, I stopped overnight at my parents’ home in Bakersfield and had to explain twenty times why I was traveling 1800 miles for a band.  I also caught lunch with my sister in Orange County on my second day’s travel and tortured my teenage nephew with Snap Chat selfies. By the time I pulled into San Diego, I was exhausted and only had a couple hours before starting my concert ritual.  No time for sight-seeing, beach-walking, or sun-soaking.  Instead, I started my cocktail a little earlier than usual and enjoyed the calm.

Lucky for me, a lovely lady name Nerdeebirdee (who I met after battling it out on Dreamers TunesSpeak contest) agreed to meet up with me to catch her first Coast Modern show.  She picked me up, I gave her some cookies, and we headed over to the venue with a packed bakery box for Coast Modern.  As I’ve explained before, treat box delivery is not for the faint of heart.  You get to hold the ten pound box while you try to flag someone down or talk a security guard into taking it inside.  While in line, I had a minor meltdown when my electronic ticket didn’t work.  Panic took over as we were only a few minutes from doors opening.  Nerdeebirdee agreed to hold the box while I went to the box office to figure out what the hell?  (Can you feel the panic in my voice?  Lucky for me no one I know witnessed my increased hysteria and sliding my phone under the bulletproof glass to the chick to prove my ticket didn’t work.)  After a few frazzled moments, I had a ticket in hand.  When I got back in line the box was gone and we were ready for our security pat down.  Who knew San Diego was such a rough place?  I didn’t even know venues still did this.  And this rub was not shy.  Good thing they checked under my bra because who knows what I could’ve been carrying in it.  Spoiler alert: they’re boobs.  After getting all up in there, confiscating Nerdeebirdee’s Polaroid camera, we were finally able to head to the front for our barrier spot.


Another picture where I have serious scary smile face and isn’t she so cute?

While I’d made great promises about not drinking at the San Diego show, it didn’t hold up.  Although this was the least intoxicated I’ve ever seen a show, I did need a little courage juice to meet so many new people.  I was fortunate to meet some Twitter friends.  The lovely mother/daughter team, 1975mom and Darby Days, were front row with sunflowers in hand for Coast Modern.


Aren’t they so adorable?  I cropped my giant head out of this picture because it was ruining it.

I also chatted up everyone around me and helped encourage some new fans.  Here are some of the lovelies who agreed to follow the #CoMo gents on social media.

Don’t even think I would consider skipping over my gazillion show pictures.  It’s such a great time watching Coast Modern perform.  They even threw in a twist during Hollow Life where Luke and the bassist switch sides and instruments to finish the song.  When I can get a clear shot in between their constant movement, they’re stunning.  So expressive and engaged in the moment.  Complete fun to watch.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out:

After Coast Modern’s performance, I gave up my barrier spot for the die hard Temper Trap fans.  It’s a crime to have such a position if you don’t know every song.  The front should be shared with the people who adore the band the most.  So I bow out and head back to the merchandise table.  Once again, Coast Modern was gracious with their time between the sets.  They chatted with people, signed set lists, and posed for photos.  I checked back in with the ladies I met before the show.  Each told me how much they like the performance and meeting the band afterwards.  New fans committed.

After Temper Trap wrapped up, the venue had a weird line up thing to get to the merch table.  It snaked to the back wall with Temper Trap fans.  My lovely date Nerdeebirdee stuck around to get some pictures, pick up the merchandise I bought earlier in the night, and retrieve her camera.  Special shout out to Nerdeebirdee for being such a champ with my crazy all night!


My first Polaroid picture and I even made her autograph it for me.

By 12:30am, I was back in my hotel and prepping for the next day’s travel.  It took me a good two hours to calm down before falling asleep.  As usual when I go to shows, the sleep was brief.  I was back up by at 5:30am to return messages confirming for everyone the first show was as spectacular as I knew it would be.

Next Up: Santa Ana.

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After a concert trip to Portland where I saw my favorite new band, Coast Modern, I came back with show highlights for the masses.  A common response I receive after hearing about excessive drinking, front row dancing, and photos with the gents is, “It must be so fun to go to concerts with you.”  I usually point these naive people towards Bestie or Ladyfriend so they can be warned.  Either friend usually chuckles it off and gives a flip warning about how it’s not all fun and games rollin’ with me to a rock show.

So, I thought why not pull back the curtain and walk everyone through my concert rituals.  And yes, there are rituals.  Show all the small details involved when you travel hundreds of miles to experience something dear to my heart.  For this case study, I’m using Coast Modern as my subject since I’m still swooning in #CoMo concert juju.  While I always promise an adventure on these trips, it comes with having to bring the heart of a lion to put up with pretty much twenty-four hours of non-stop action.

1.) The Road Trip Prep:

Even before we hit the road, there’s planning.  Lemon drops are pre-made, unhealthy snacks gathered, and a new wardrobe purchased.  Yep, I buy a new outfit for every single concert.  Do you know how many pictures I take?  There are so many it would be recognizable if you saw the same shirt twice.  Sometimes I might slip one back into the rotation, but years needed to have passed or there’s no photo documentation.  Once everything is prepped, we actually get on the road. Early.

2.) The Drive:

I’m always the driver.  Usually it’s a minimum of five hours to get to the closest venue.  The car ride is part of the excitement.  Those crappy snacks we usually don’t splurge on during regular healthy eating days are busted open in about ten minutes after pulling away from the curb.  Being a passenger in my car is not for the weak spirited.  In my car, you better bring your dancing and singing A-game. We crank up the tunes, open up the sun roof, and jam like no other car is watching, even though they all are.  There are car dance competitions and lip sync challenges posted to everyone in my Snap Chat world.  Which brings me to the next detail and it’s HUGE.

3.) Your Picture Will Be Taken:

No ifs, ands, or buts about this.  You will have your picture taken at every moment on the trip.  It’s one of the rules of being in Susan’s universe.  I photograph everything.  There’s something about capturing a moment in time, a memory.  I can’t pass it up.  It may be something sweet, or crass, even a little embarrassing, but it usually always makes me laugh.  If you hate your picture taken, you might want to decline if I ask you to do anything with me.  Don’t worry, all pictures you hate are quickly deleted.  We are friends, remember?


Ladyfriend loves selfies.

4.) The Pre-Show:

It starts about four hours before doors open at the venue.  We chill it in our hotel room, pour a cocktail, and start the beauty prep.  Showers, hair, and make up application while blasting music and enjoying the ultimate girl time.  This is one of my favorite traditions in concerting.  Even alone, it’s a time I seriously enjoy.  There’s something meditative about this calm before the storm.

5.) Box Delivery:

Lately I’ve had packages for some of my favorite band peeps and Coast Modern was no different.  You did read about how much I love them, right?  I load up ten pounds in goods to haul over in the Uber, cart around the venue, and beg someone from security to deliver it to the band.  This is not an easy mission, I’ll tell you. In the Coast Modern delivery, it started with me asking one guy guarding the door.  He said he had to radio someone.  Then a woman came out.  She said she had to radio someone.  Before I knew it there were five guys with five walkie-talkies swarming around until one finally said he would deliver.


Ladyfriend couldn’t believe how difficult a package delivery could be.

6.) Front Row Meet and Greet:

When the doors open, I go for the front.  At Coast Modern, I parked it right under the center mic stand.  Since I’m in position an hour before the show is to start, there’s plenty of time to make friends with everyone around me.  As per usual, I checked with the fifteen people around me to see if they were there for Coast Modern or Temper Trap.  Not surprisingly, the hadn’t heard of the opener.  And that’s when the real fun begins.  I take every moment to tell them why Coast Modern should be their next favorite band.  I brag about their funny tweets and hilarious Snap Chats.  I encourage people in the moment to get out their phone and follow them right away.  (Sometimes I even take their phone and do it for them.  Yeah, I get a little zealous.)

Also, everybody gets a nickname.  At this Coast Modern show, some names given were: Fronts (they were the first in line), Coda (he wrote computer code for a living), Brother (he came with his brother to the show), and Guy Who Came Alone (do I really need to explain it?)  Coda tried to give me his real name three times.  I won’t take it.  We’re never going to see each other again, but he will always remain Coda in my heart.


These are “Fronts.” Cutest thing about them was the guy is wearing 3 shirts.  He wore the concert shirts they bought so she didn’t have to carry hers. So adorable!


The middle guy bought this chick a Coast Modern shirt and they had just met at the merch booth.  I love these kind of stories!

7.) Gear Haul:

At the merch table, I load up.  Usually as I flutter around to chat up the other fans, my concert guest holds all the gear.  I think they do this because I will probably lose everything if left to my own devices.  The co-pilot position also helps keep me on track.  They help snag set lists, round up signatures, and take my pictures with the band in the most flattering angle.


Luke Atlas performs a whole show and still looks amazing. I only have to watch it and look worked.

8.) Party Never Ends:

The show’s over, I’ve got selfies with the band, arms full of tee-shirts, and this is when everyone else heads back to their hotel to go to bed.  Not me.  In my mind, once you go to sleep all the magic from your concert night ends. It leads me to work very hard to keep the party going.  With the alcohol drowning rational thoughts and the venue emptying, Ladyfriend nicely guided me out the doors to call Uber.  Even in a last-ditch effort, I still made another attempt to have people join us for drinks.  After they graciously declined, Uber hauled us back to our hotel and we crashed.  (Note: by this time I’d been awake for 22 hours.)

9.) Early Wake Up Call:

A little known fact about me when I’ve been drinking alcohol…I don’t sleep.  I crash hard for about 2 hours, but then I’m up and wide awake.  My companion does not share the same affliction.  Usually I play on my phone for a few hours, uploading show pictures, texting other friends, and tweeting the shit out of the band with accolades. Then, still way earlier than my traveling friend wants, my stare bores a hole in their head and they wake up.  While they’re groggy and exhausted, I’m bright eyed and ready to do it all over again.  (In my multi-show trip in April to see Dreamers, over the course of 5 days I slept about 16 hours total.)


This is just a great picture of Coleman Trapp so I’m putting it in.

Hopefully this gives you a little insight into how tough my friends are.  They know all this and still sign up to go to shows occasionally.  God bless them for their patience and courage. So if you like the same type of tunes and think you can hang with this kind action, shoot me a text, get a lot of rest ahead of time, and we’ll rock the next show together.

Here’s a video from the show because I adore Coast Modern.  Don’t tell me you watched this and didn’t fall madly in love.  It’s about impossible.  Also, please excuse the terrible filming — I’m having a damn good time.


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Everyone knows at music concerts there’s going to be phones recording every moment.  They light up the audience, sprouting from every hand in the black mass.  They’ve become as much of the show as the band performing.  A couple weeks ago during the Saint Motel concert, lead singer A/J incorporated the devices when he asked the crowd to use their phone flashlights to light up the stage. The audience obliged and became part of the show.  In a stark contrast, four nights later at The Lumineers’ concert, the lead singer stopped in the middle of “Ho Hey” and asked everyone to put their phones down.  Several fans erupted in cheers with a smug “enjoy the moment” superiority.

If you’ve met me, read this blog, or attended a show where I’ve been in the crowd, I think you know on which side I fall.  My phone is a fixture at every concert I attend.  I now need a battery backup because I drain it in the few hours at the venue.  While there are articles galore on the need to put away the phone, live in the moment, and enjoy the experience without seeing it through a screen, I want to point out some positives in documenting the live concert experience.

1.)  Replaying a Feeling.

While some may never return to their pictures or videos, I review them all the time.   During the moment, I suck up every single second of the live music experience swirling around me and I never want it to end.  With my mind buzzing with excitement and vodka, little details can be missed or forgotten no matter how bad I want to capture everything.  (And for the judgy who are going to suggest I don’t drink at shows, I have done that with the same blurred results.)

Also, the concert high is like a drug for some of us.  Those weeks after when you’re coming down from a show are some of the hardest times.  There’s a real sense of loss.  The pictures offer a small piece of comfort.  They ignite little moments in memory, small flashes to replay a scene in my head, which gives some relief to the depression.

It was so hard to get a clear picture of Coast Modern's Coleman Trapp because he bounced around the entire show.

It was so hard to get a clear picture of Coast Modern’s Coleman Trapp because he bounced around the entire show. (swoon)

2.)  Sharing the Love.

During the concert, I send snaps to fans and friends all over the country that I’ve met through my concert travels.  It’s a small way to include them in the experience if the band can’t make it to their neck of the woods or if they can’t pony up the dollars to attend for themselves.  You’d be surprised how much people look forward to being part of the experience in the moment even it’s through the screen.  Hello, have you heard of Periscope?

After the show, I flood Twitter with highlights and overwhelm my personal Facebook with EVERY. SINGLE. PICTURE.  Yes, there was the Dreamers concert tour where I uploaded 533 pictures.  People now expect to see my picture barrage when I return from my trip.  I think my friends would be disappointed if I didn’t share my experience.

Sure, I have a gazillion pictures of Nelson, but I have a soft spot for hair action shots.

Sure, I have a gazillion pictures of Dreamers’ Nelson, but I have a soft spot for hair action shots.

3.)  Inspiring Others.

Here’s a regular conversation I have every time I come back from a show and share pictures:

  • Them: “You’re always going to cool shows.”
  • Me: “I love concerts.  It’s my passion.”
  • Them:  “Yeah.  I wish I did cool things.”
  • Me:  “Start today.”

As I cycle through the pictures and videos, I share my personal stories from the event.  Usually there’s something about how I made a fool out of myself, probably scared the band with my over-excitement, and loved every minute of living.  I believe this is what inspires others to take chances to follow their own dreams.  They hear being vulnerable can have amazing returns if you’re brave enough to try.  Most recently, people shared they could never go to some place by themselves when I explained I regularly travel alone to attend shows in other cities.  (Please note, I travel a minimum of 10 hours roundtrip for EVERY show.)  I scroll through pictures of the great people I met by overcoming that awkward feeling to turn strangers into friends.  Usually by the end, they’re smiling, nodding their head, and imaging themselves in the same situation.  I hope that little spark gets them to go live the life they dream of because they know I am.

Dreamers' Nick Wold makes picture taking always an experience. If you haven't before, you must get one with him.

Dreamers’ Nick Wold always makes picture-taking an experience. If you haven’t before, you must get one with him.

4.)  Supporting the Band.

As fans, we should really be doing our part to make sure our favorite artists can continue to make music.  I know no one likes to talk about it, but being a musician is a job.  It needs to have a monetary return for it to stay in business.  I say it every chance I get — fans support your bands with your money, your love, and your social media.  Sharing the concert experience perks interest in others who may not have given them a spin yet.  Being blown away by a fan’s view from a live performance can encourage someone else to buy the album, check out a show for themselves, and drop coin on merchandise.  These are the best ways to ensure the bands we love will continue to do the job they love.

Luke Atlas from Coast Modern has so many great facial expressions I wish I could insert a gallery just for this. Alas, I picked only one picture to capture all his amazing.

Who’s to say what is right in this ongoing debate, if you should or shouldn’t video your concert experience?  I will say I don’t appreciate it when people judge me for how I choose to enjoy my concert.  (BTW, if you’ve ever seen my videos or photos, you know it doesn’t stop me from dancing or watching the show over my phone while I snap pictures.)  I’ve heard more snide remarks than I can count.  The constant chant that I’m watching a screen instead of living in the moment is laughable to me because I think I’m doing the exact opposite.  I live it to the fullest at the show by talking to strangers and being part of the concert community.  I live it again when I recount the details to friends in stories about my amazing experience.  And I get to live it again when I share some of my favorite band experiences with you.  For me, there’s no better way to do it.

I mean, how many people will have a picture taken while Coast Modern is playing? Soon, you won't even be able to move one inch in the pit.

I mean, how many people will have a picture taken with Coast Modern while their playing? Soon, you won’t even be able to move one inch in the pit because there will be so many people crammed in there. And I want to believe Coleman’s expression in this pictures is one of super excitement and not “wtf?”


And look, they were champs and didn't fear me too much to avoid a posed picture.

And look, they were champs and didn’t fear me too much to avoid a posed picture. And yes, I picked the best picture of me instead of the best one of them. Coleman and Luke are stunning all the time. I am not. Did I mention how much I heart them? Oh, that’s another blog…


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I’ve been super fortunate this year in my concert escapades.  If you didn’t already know from my constant whining about not having any local shows, I have to drive at least 5 hours each way, take time off of work, and spend the night when I want to attend a concert.  This makes it extremely challenging to see very many in a single year.  If I lived in Portland or LA, I would be at a show every night.  Some of my concert friends who live in those areas see 2-3 a week!  A week!  So jelly.  However, since I do not have those same opportunities, I have to be selective about which ones will fill my concert dance card.

Usually my concerting revolves around The Airborne Toxic Event.  Sadly, they were one band I didn’t see this year.  I mentioned last year the Seattle show might be my last and so far, it has been.  This did leave more time and dollars to diversify my concert viewing portfolio.  In true 2015 year-end wrap up fashion, I thought it would be fun to share some of the highlights and the disappointments from this year’s shows.

Best Visual Performance — OK GO

ok go1

My picture doesn’t do this amazing image justice.

No question about it.  OK GO rocked my world.  I was a little worried because their videos are so creative that their live show might be a letdown.  Uh, they schooled me.  I’d never seen anything like what they put on.  They had a floor to ceiling transparent screen which allowed them to project giant images at times or see through it for their live show at others.  And don’t even get me started about that confetti cannon.  Oh my God, it was a thing of beauty.  To this day, I can hardly talk about the experience without dying a little on the inside for being in the balcony and not in that pit.  Ugh.

Would I go again?  In a heartbeat


Do you see the confetti love being showered over the pit?

Best Party — Matt & Kim

It should no surprise the two of them can put on a show that will fucking blow your mind.  They perform the same way you see them during interviews, in videos, even their Snap Chat stories.  They look like they LOVE life.  And damn if their show doesn’t make you love it too.

The Crystal Ballroom bounced the entire time.  People were singing every word, crowd surfing, and even flashing Matt their boobs.  Everyone knows this because Kim said Matt messed up the words because of it and then said he’s been looking at her same ones for thirteen years.  Aren’t they adorable?  I love them extra because they liked the cookies I made for them, Snap Chatted them, and even gave a personal thank you. <swoon>

Would I Go Again?  Abso-fucking-lutely

Best Overall Night — Dreamers


You may have already read herehere, here, and here about how much I adored my Dreamers’ concert night and fell deeply in love with them.  In contrast to the two above, this show was very small.  The kind where you don’t have to throw elbows for a 12 inch standing square.  In fact, you can get so close you could reach out and touch them while on stage, although I wouldn’t recommend that.  This doesn’t mean they bring any less heart.  They evoke a great live energy with their genuine excitement and crowd interaction.

Their smaller stature makes them very accessible.  Many attendees gush about getting to talk to them after the show.  They pose for photographs, sign gear, and chat up each person who approaches.  A constant theme is they are nice people.  They mirror this on their social media presence as well, if you like to tweet.  I will vouch for both.

I recommend if you’re thinking about seeing them, you get on it quick. I doubt those small, intimate shows are going to be available for much longer (if you can even find one now).  They recently announced big things in 2016 including lots of touring, a new album, and celebrating a place on Alt Nation’s top 36 songs for 2015.

(And yes, I did notice Oregon is not on the tour list…yet!  I promise Oregonians, I didn’t ruin it for you with my tom-foolery.  They say they’ll come back even with the knowledge I will be there.)

Would I Go Again?  I’m trying, dammit!

Biggest Disappointment — Of Monsters and Men, Modest Mouse (Tie)


Even this photo is boring.

Maybe it was the 25,000 person venue or the fact I’d roasted in the sun for 8 hours.  Or it could have been the couple of terrible Budweiser Margarita tall boys I’d choked down throughout the day.  Whatever the reason, these bands were terrible.  Slow, boring, and all around sounded like shit.  A stark contrast to Panic at the Disco who performed on the same stage only an hour before.  We left halfway through Modest Mouse.

Would I Go Again?  Nope, not a chance for either of them.

Best Surprise — The Vaccines


I hadn’t even planned to go to their show.  I was in Portland for a writing conference and discovered they were playing in a smaller club down the street.  A concert friend from England said I should go because they were terrific live.  So after a day of learning about writing and a night of drinking with writers, I stumbled over to the Wonder Ballroom to catch their set.  They were terrific!

It was a completely different experience for me to be standing in the back of the room and only know a few songs.  Seeing the others geek out and getting sweaty in the pit gave me a giant case of FOMO.  I came home, bought more albums, and have been enjoying them ever since.

Would I Go Again?  Likely

Most Sought After — The Limousines


They’re the whole reason I went to Live 105’s BFD in San Jose.  I love them.  I pressed against the barrier and finally got to hear the live versions of songs from Get Sharp.  It made my heart smile.   I wish they toured more.  I’ll say it again — I love them.  This terrible picture captures the exact moment before that big white ball in the corner hit me in the face.

Would I Go Again?  I will travel far and wide for The Limousines.

Just Okay — Twenty One Pilots

I looked forward to Twenty One Pilots for six months.  Hubs bought the tickets as an anniversary gift from Stub Hub so you know we got royally screwed on price.  I wanted them to be more than awesome.  And they ended up being “just okay.”

I’m not sure if I was still coming down from my epic Dreamers’ night the week before or if Twenty One Pilot’s odd concert style with song montages  instead of the complete versions were to blame.  I will say their high energy stage presence with back flips and crowd surfing the drum kit are amazing.

I could go on with what I loved or hated about each show.  Live music is like nothing else in this world.  I’m still trying to find a way where all I do is travel around, listen to bands, and talk to all the fans.  Hopefully in 2016 I’ll continue to get around and have a chance to meet you.

Here’s my complete list of bands seen in 2015:

  • OK GO
  • Elle King
  • Panic at the Disco*
  • Meg Meyers*
  • The Orwells*
  • Misterwives*
  • Atlas Genius*
  • Cold War Kids*
  • The Limousines*
  • Of Monsters and Men*
  • Modest Mouse*
  • Sheppard*
  • Toad the Wet Sprocket**
  • Smash Mouth**
  • Tonic**
  • Dreamers
  • Twenty One Pilots (2x)
  • Saint Motel
  • Matt & Kim

*Live 105’s BFD

**Jacksonville’s Britt Festival

Can’t wait for 2016!

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There’s something magical about live shows.  The energy sneaks around in a slow crawl until it suffocates your mind from reality.  It pierces every pore and lulls you into an intoxicated trance before you even know it showed up.  The venue, the music, and the fans morph you into something you don’t recognize in the mirror.  I start out a rational, sane-minded, almost forty-year-old professional woman, and in less than two days I’m an insecure, hyper-sensitive, fangirl clawing for attention scraps.

I know this about live shows.  I’ve experienced it before, after returning home and putting the band’s tracks on repeat for weeks.  This accounts for my 50+ Toad the Wet Sprocket plays in 2010.  It’s where I relive the experience.  Remembering the beers we shared after the show.  Letting the memories wash over me in a sentimental breath by comparing each song with its live counterpart.  Basking in my small piece of feeling special in a regular life.

TATE Seattle

The Airborne Toxic Event only makes it more difficult to keep from falling into the “being someone” abyss.  Their compelling personalities and easy going nature are the equivalent to friendship crack.  I get a small sample and I crave more instantly.  A wink here, a half smile there and I question every little meaning.  Is this the time we have a real connection?  I rack my mind to say something intelligent, fascinating, or funny to make us best friends forever.  Insecurity starts to whisper I’m not interesting enough to capture their time, beautiful enough to keep attention, or smart enough to engage in meaningful conversation.

This only makes their fumes more toxic.  The poison blinds me to the reality this is their job.  Their income depends on the relationship they forge in seconds.  While I know they’re all nice people and I’m sure genuine in our interaction, if my head were cleared I’d realize it’s impossible for us to be friends in a matter of minutes.  Even when I try to have a normal dialogue with someone from the support crew about his family and cookies, I’m immediately crushed when someone else yells over how “fuckable” he is. Embarrassment stuns me.  Insecurity screams I’m a cliché.  So naive to pretend we could have a regular conversation.  I want to defend I’m not looking for an angle.  It’s a thank you for doing a job.  No different than when I surprised the Sonic worker with a gift card for smiling every day when she fills my Diet Cherry Limeade.  In my normal world I would’ve fired back a “fuck off” without a second hesitation.  My confidence in being the type of person who likes appreciating others would’ve kept me from spiraling into a world of self-doubt and over-explanation.  Drunk on concert fumes, I disappeared into the night without even saying good-bye and robbed myself from the experience I could’ve had.

I can’t see how deep I’m in until the drive home.  They won’t remember my name or even recognize my face once they hit the next town.  No matter how bad I want it to be different. When making the nine hour drive back from Seattle, Mikel did an “Ask Me Anything” session.  I usually read through them and roll my eyes at every “marry me?”  With the toxins still streaming through my bloodstream, I crave a piece.  The questions become a popularity contest.  Who’s name sticks out the most and will garnish a response?  Before I know it I’m typing a three word question.  And regretting it when there’s no response.  I have failed in being someone.  Someone memorable.  The full-blown sickness consumed me because I’ve allowed any of this to matter.

In the same car ride, I reflected on releasing my in-laws ashes the day before and missing them terribly.  I learned a friend lost her job.  I read the announcement another friend’s brother died after a terrible battle with Alzheimer’s at the age of 37.  He leaves four children behind.  One only two years old.

These are the antibiotics I need to get my shit back together.  The cold sledgehammer to clear my head.  I have a pretty great thing going in my world.  Healthy kids, supportive husband, terrific friends.  I’m baking my favorite things, deejaying my own radio show once a week, and writing another novel.  How can I say this isn’t special?  With a clear mind, void of million dollar smiles and lyrical charm, I’m able to see the truth again.  I may not be BFFs with rock stars but I know I am rockin’ this regular life.

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My year end look back usually takes a month later to actually occur.  It gives me plenty of time to get out of my funk about what I didn’t accomplish and focus on what I did.  This year end has been completely different.  I’ve been rattling on to everyone who will listen about what a fantastic year I had.  Maybe it’s because I already went through my funk.  Or maybe it’s because the year was pretty kick ass!  Here’s why (with pictures of course!):

Mikel and Me:

How could I ignore the fact I was able to meet Mikel Jollett not once, but twice, this year?  Of course I couldn’t.  I get the most hits on this little ole blog from “Mikel Jollett Author” and “Mikel Jollett Girlfriend.”  Boy, those people must be very disappointed to see my face and bubble art.  But back to Mikel and me.  Sure, the first time we shared a moment; his face beamed with charisma.  The second one…not so much.  Either way, it’s one of those surreal things.  I mean, if you would’ve told me I could have the opportunity once this year, I would have been ecstatic.  I was fortunate to get a twofer.  It doesn’t mean I’m done with him yet.  He will be on the resolution page (coming soon) as well.

Meredith Barnes Kicks Ass!

OMG…Isn’t she fabulous?!?

The year started with a chance encounter with Meredith through her blog because of winning a tag line contest.  What it turned into was a defining moment.  I really can’t go on enough about how much I adore her.  Yes, you people who deal with me face to face already know because I gush on a regular basis about her awesomeness.

There are times where I read blogs about writers doubting the humanity of agents.  This is a completely foreign concept in my mind.  They have always been gracious, friendly, and they pretty much bend over backwards to be helpful.  Does it mean they signed my work?  Or begged me to send my grocery list because all my writing is that awesome?  Of course not.  Does it mean I have the utmost respect for them?  Sure the hell does.  Meredith is a fine example if you need one.

Cookie Love:


If 2010 was about cupcakes and cookie pops, 2011 was about the flood cookie.  I’ve watched Martha Stewart do it for years and made a few attempts before with terrible results.  With some wild hair one weekend, I was determined to figure it out.  I learned a lot in the process, most of which I was able to apply to writing and this blog.

Beautiful Music:

Snuggling up with Luke from Atomic Tom.  (Oh, he didn't know we were snuggling.)

Snuggling up with Luke from Atomic Tom. (Oh, he didn’t know we were snuggling.)

This may tread dangerously close to Mikel and me, but I had a record year for concerts with a total of 5!  The amazing part is the fact I live in a small town where no one dares to mark on their tour map.  This year I saw Atomic Tom, Cold War Kids, The Airborne Toxic Event (2), B-52s, Human League, and Men Without Hats.  It was epic.  I Safety Danced hard core.

Urban Girl:

My Rockin' Docs

My Rockin’ Docs

After ten years of living in Oregon and barely making it out of my county limits, I headed for the big city and Urban Girl was born.  Work trips and concerts traveled my hipness to Portland where I dined on fancy food, walked the streets like a pro (hey, wait a minute….), and drank micro brews with the best of them.  In a drunken stupor mid-day, Hubs and I walked into a Doc Martin store and I strolled out with these bad boys.  Hey-oooo!!!!  Portland is one of those things I commit to doing again this year.

Ze Blog:

The accomplishment I’m most proud of (and have you to thank) is the fact I have blogged the entire year.  I don’t have a schedule and I’m no where near my blogging idol, Tawne Fenske, but I’ve kept at it pretty steady.  I’ve incorporated my love for stories, baked goods, and Mikel Jollett to create something I am really proud of.  This place is me.  It’s what I do.   It’s who I am.  It’s what I love.

Mi Familia 2011

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