Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A sudden turn around

I never expected 2013 to turn out all the musical experiences that it eventually did. 

Soppy stuff blah blah blah

No, but seriously.
After Sound City Players, which was quite possibly the most spontaneous decision of my life (and the mostly costly moment of spontaneity), the playing field didn't look too good. I had to pass literally tens of exams, which I did, and get into University, which I also accomplished, and after that? No gigs until the gig season!

What I did expect on my part was more friendships based on mutual musical feelings. About bands, about movements, about the way a drum part faded onto a next song. Yes, friendships about how concept albums are the best, how Biffy didn't initially deserve the headline slot (later revised statement!), and coercing people into buying masses of Pearl Jam records. Okay.... No, who I am really talking about here is my boyfriend. Who, without which, I wouldn't have seen so many gigs in the past few months. And without which I am nothing.......... (Okay, joking. Sorry.) 

The first of which was Arctic Monkeys. We had both started Uni, the autumn was truly upon us and it was the overwhelming season which is gig season. Me being me had already bought tickets in July 2013. Him, being him.... decided to buy them on the day. It had never 'occurred to him' that the monkeys may be gig-worth by the end of 2013. Well, with AM you were sure of this 'gig worth'. Unfortunately, I take gigs seriously. I take obtaining of gig tickets seriously, kind of like bonds you have to buy before the market collapses, or things for a rainy day. Anyway, they are investments. It turned out to be his costly £95 investment that was worth it after all, and after a tremendous turn from the touts, we were in. It was the Earls Court gig, the gigs they famously did on a two-nighter, right before cancelling of the other shows. It was totally worth everything: the gap in between me being the 14 year old Humbug loving teen and now; the time between July and the gig; the time between obtaining the tickets from the tout and actually seeing if they were real. Every song, from "Do I Wanna Know?" to  the amazing end of main show "I Wanna Be Yours" led us all begging us for more. A particular highlight for me was when Scott raised me onto his shoulders for half of "Cornerstone", and suddenly it was that gig calm you get up there, a kind of gorgeous sensation when you can remember every single time you have sung the chosen song to someone, to yourself, in the rain and in the sunshine. It was one of the best gigs I'd been to in a long time, obviously. And we were so close to Alex Turner himself that the air was sexy. The tale of how close we get to the stage in successive gigs just gets better. We are a tremendous team. 

Next was Alice in Chains, a mere two weeks later. This was a purchase that was truly called for. Thought about for months, pondered over with the "Best of Alice in Chains" (I know, I'm sorry) and went for it. It was early into our relationship, but Alice in Chains was literally the reason we got together. It was my first sentence to the poor lad: "You went to Download? Did you see Alice in Chains?!" Now this was the real deal, even if any way Arctic Monkeys wasn't. Ally Pally, cold night, took hours to get there with tube lines down. C'est la vie. We were close, we had to bear the weight of Ghost, truly the most self-absorbed bands I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of self absorbed bands, trust me (in my hometown, it could be called what they consider to be a "fashion"). But it was the best. They started with Them Bones and went straight onto Dam That River. But here was where I was the amateur. I hadn't even listened to much of the "new guy", and that "new guy"- William DuVell- had been so since the early 00s. He was amazing. We got some exciting picks from Rotten Apple which was just astounding to the encore. Well, the encore was enough already if for some reason bands only played 3 songs at gigs. They could have. It Aint Like That was the moment we had been waiting for and they delivered. They jumped into it at the start of the encore and it was truly magnificent. We were like screaming little girls, albeit in a crowd of lots of lovely blokes that looked like they should have been doing some kind of ad for a Loreal hair product. They screamed too. I can't really explain this gig more than it was kind of what I'd been waiting for my whole life. It was a total reality check. A grunge girl's dream. I could have happily lived and died in that pit, truly.

Finally was an early Xmas present present from my beloved. Wembley Arena, 9pm, November 23rd. QUEENS (QOTSA, for all those naive). Now, this gig was slightly different. I knew Songs for the Deaf but had only been introduced to Rated R a couple of months beforehand. Recipe for carnage, right? You bet. This was gig was the kind of gig you walk away from and then spend weeks listening to on repeat. Josh Homme, collar coat, and "Feel Good Hit of the Summer". Oh, and me in a pit to "Song for the Dead". Goddamn you and you're patriarchal pit! C-c-c-c-c-cOCAINEEE! I felt like there needed to be some ladies in there, so I kindly obliged. Chaos ensued. I didn't break anything. Success. No more explanation is really needed here, but I give so much thanks to Scott because again, one of best gigs been to. Which isn't really hard, because I'm young and impressionable and have only seen really a handful of bands compared to my veteran boyfriend. But now, I am the master at the gig season. 

Also, I almost forgot! At my Uni's SU we had S Club 7 for one night only. With 3 of the 7. Who were drunk. And came on for half an hour and performed a half arsed medley of S Club songs. Nevertheless, IT WAS AWESOME. I'll try to be a bit more grunge in 2014. But 2013 was truly the year of grunge. So yeah, it was kind of the best. 

Predictions for 2014 look good. I kindly bought my mother Kasabian tickets, as she's going through the "Fire" stage and uses the band to give her the strength to be a big-ass boss at work everyday. 
The best part? We have Pearl Jam tickets for Milton Keynes Bowl in July. Roll on 2014, you have been patiently waited for for quite some time. This will be the star of the show. 

Thank you and goodnight, kids. X

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

To Summer 2013, of broken promises and broken dreams, but rekindled care and the happiness that follows, a happiness that has finally been acquired after this specific song has been played 4 times in succession. Once all goodbyes have been said, the last dewy eyed morning has passed and a new sun has arrived, there is no need for this song anymore, or quite frankly the way of life that accompanied it. 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Sound City Players- The Forum, London- 19/02/2013

"Here's the thing, I came up with this stupid idea, I was like 'Hey! Let's all do some shows where we all play a bunch of songs that people have never heard, let's play a bunch of songs from all these different catalogues and turn people on to fuckin new rock'n'roll! Hey, guess what, Pat and Nate and Chris and Taylor, you've gotta learn 40 fuckin songs in 10 days!!' And they fuckin did, because they're the best fuckin band in the world!" 
I had the absolute pleasure to be in the audience of the most buzzed about show in London only 24 hours ago- Sound City Players featuring Dave Grohl himself, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett, Taylor Hawkins, Alain Johannes, Lee Ving, Chris Goss, Rick Springfield, Rick Nielsen and the 2nd surviving member of Nirvana, Krist Novoselic. 

Despite the very famous cast of players, this was far away from the phrase "Nirvana Reunion" that comes to mind and any audience member who was expecting that would be disappointed, and playing 'Breed' on the speakers before the start of the show was as soon as it would get. 

It was a night of pure rock ecstasy of all kinds: blues; punk; hardcore and the kind of stylish hard rock that you thought QOTSA could do.

Most of it was kind of unexpected, really.
With the due release of Sound City, the documentary directed by Dave Grohl about the legendary recording studios in California (now defunct) home to the recording of everything from punk band Fear to Fleetwood Mac back to Nirvana's own very Nevermind. The documentary doesn't sound anything for the light-hearted, but considering this I thought last night would be a mash-up of Blues Rock from ageing rockers that had got too old to do thrashin' punk (Par you Dave and the rest of the Foos).

I was surprisingly wronged. 
The night started with the inclusion of a handful of Foos onstage with producer and engineer Alain Johannes, who has collaborated with QOTSA. This was ace, but never did I think it would get heavier than this. This was the kind of throbbing quiet-loud dynamic that Dave had perfected in the first place with Nirvana and to say the least, it was kind of hypnotizing. The way that QOTSA have always got the audience to nod at the same pace, with the same expressions on their faces... that's true enjoyment, and at sometimes the rockers on stage got more into it than the audience. (One of the videos I shot shows a total unison wave of body movement, mostly of males aged 30-40, which was the prime audience among young Foo fans like myself). But not to despair, this was a totally new world for me, where I'm just used to the throbs of Foo Fighters' Dave, where the peak of heaviness probably climaxes with 'Wind Up' from The Colour and the Shape or any of Dave's first album, Foo Fighters (My absolute favourite, Wattershed, could be reminiscient...)

Among all the reviews that take the technicality of the show a bit too far- yes, it could be involved as self-indulgent, but when is a wide span of 70s hardcore to 00's monster rock not self-indulgent?- is the personal side for me, and something that everyone could appreciate. The best part of the whole night, without a doubt, was seeing your one and only music hero with his heroes- the people he had too grown up listening to adamantly and probably biting back the tears when he finally got to see them- and there he was last night, absolutely loving every second, reaping the rewards of his highly successful rock career. You forget that first and foremost Grohl is a "Punk one"- you don't want to put a label on it- but he was. He came from the DC hardcore scene and spent his waking hours listening to the likes of Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys and the punk band Fear- whose lead Lee Ving turned up onstage also last night to a collective punk sigh of all sorts, with his harmonica and a whole lot of attitude for someone that's gone sixty (you have expected him to start tap dancing before you realised that a heavy punk blow of all sorts of handling his guitar would happen) He wanted to be a punk, and when that wasn't enough, he taught himself to drum on his pillows, backing Led Zep (my favourite Dave story). Grohl monologued this himself- this is the 2nd time seeing the man himself for me now, and my favourite thing already is his ability to tell a story and just make the audience laugh, for example after Rick Springfield made his appearance, Grohl joked to the audience of just over 2,000, "We USED to play big gigs" to a rapture of laughter and in his kind of cute awe of the 'proper rock star type' that is Springfield he proclaimed "Hey, I'm just a Foo Fighter!". Chris Goss was awesome, Pat Smear was an audience favourite of the night with his continuous pogo-ing and cheeky grins, and you half expected Johannes to self-combust with the sincerity of his playing. AND Taylor Hawkins on vocals anyone? Cheap Trick's most famous "I Want You To Want Me" was probably one of my favourites, because the audience finally got a chance to sing along and it was such a contrast to the openers with Johannes and Nielsen's guitar solo and Novoselic's coolio status, well, it was all the money in the world. 

This is as intimate as it's going to get with Foo Fighters as big as they are now, and having the opportunity to be so close to a personal hero of mine is something I will never let go, and I don't think my friends will either! Nirvana were the first band I ever truly loved, and here it was that 3/4 of the members were on stage 10m away from me! My 13 year old heart couldn't take it, this was all I'd dreamed of. It was a night of remembering (albeit, slightly cheesy) of where I belong, in this little chasm of music they call "hard gigs". I couldn't have enjoyed myself more, neither could Grohl, and that's all there is to it if you like, the "human element" that Dave kept reminding us with. "Real people, playing music, right there, real people!". Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you a real rockstar, and everyone on that stage no less deserving of basking in their glory of having truly found their place. I have never enjoyed music as much, and neither had they. 

EDIT: This was also, supposedly, the first performance in the UK of Dave and Krist together since their Nirvana days. Musical history, everyone, doesn't get much cooler than that. 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Stand Inside Your Love

The greatest part of having this blog is when I'm feeling *lazy* in my studying sub-conscious exam state, I could just post a music video and let the work do itself. 

So that's what I'll do today, folks. 
A friend bought me the best of Smashing Pumpkins album for Christmas, Rotten Apples, and although I have most of the tracks already, it's great but I paid hardly any attention to this one. Sorry Billy. I love being given music as a gift, because now I have that hard copy CD and in digital format on my iPod with me in my travels for like, ever, but mainly because this album appealed to my interests especially and you could say I will always think of this person when listening to this album.

2013: stop being such a romantic, Megan.

But it's true! This song sums up a lot of stuff I couldn't put into words last year (surprisingly, as I am never lost for words!) and it's really beautiful. The guitar solo is especially my favourite. It's really subtle, but very transient and should be admired, along with the last refrain of the song... 

"And for the first time 

I'm telling you how much I need and bleed for 
Your every move and waking sound 
In my time 
I'll wrap my wire around your heart and your mind 
You're mine forever now"

And Billy is right you know? Who wouldn't be the one you loved and lived for? 

Enjoy this extended version of a blog post compared to the one I had in my head! Er, now for the video. Good luck if you have winter exams like me! Just see them as one step closer to achieving your short term and long term goals... whatever they may be! 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

5 songs of 2012

Happy belated new year everyone! I hope that this one brings you musical joy, work-related success and above all, many amazing live musical experiences and new album experiences. Because this is these are the times that pinpoint massive moments in your life- I for one, will always know that I was *here* when I heard *that* song, doing *this* etc, etc. As anyone else, I haven't been blogging recently because I've been eating too much and recovering from awful hangovers. Just the usual rock star lifestyle! 

I thought I'd make a cute post; a sentimental post, something that could be completely nonsensical but in order to give any future readers of Needle Magazine  an idea of my writing style for the future pieces I hope to write on this magazine. Going live in February 2013, this is going to be a magazine for the musically aware, to say the least! I hope to invest a lot of my creativity into it too; something I really look forward to in 2013.

But 2012? I can't believe it's over. SO many good musical memories! The year of the Olympics; Gangnam style obliteration; the return of Soundgarden (yes yes and three cheers for this!!); my first festival experience and more endless crying at records that  have wreaked complete emotional havoc in me in their beauty. 
Today, I'll try and sum up my 2012 with 5 songs that have brought my happiness this year. They pinpoint memories for me, indefinitely, and this is something I will try to explain further. Words and music, people, words and music. I'll go different artists and different albums too as a rule. What would your five be? 

1) Snail, Smashing Pumpkins: as everyone else was going crazy with the prospect of the first Smashing Pumpkins album in yonks, Oceania, I finally turned my attention to a Billy Corgan with hair as I delved deeper into the endless pit of Pumpkins' back catalogue. This was when I needed a lift, being it the early days of 2012 and after exams I needed a rejuvenation of some sort .. this was it and there's nothing more to it. Such a little inspiring tune, if I say so. "When the sun shines, climbs through your window, into your bed"

2) My Forgotten Favorite- Velocity Girl: Velocity Girl were such an unknown band par to being included on the 90s classic film Clueless' soundtrack. This is such a rare gem it's amazing: The hit of distortion at the beginning; how you can hardly hear the vocals as they are obscured my the chord progression but yet you get a sense of what Archie Moore is singing... she's singing about how much she loves someone, how her simply favourite thing about them is knowing them, but they lie and they are flawed.... yeah, we've all been there; me more than most this year. This is a summer anthem through and through and if you don't have the time to notice it, it's gone in a flash, exactly how summer 2012 ran. 

3) Elderly Woman Behind a Counter In a Small Town- Pearl Jam:
2012 was the year I finally expanded my Pearl Jam discography to Vs. and it was the best decision possible. This song with the longest title Pearl Jam have is really close to the very core of my existence; because to me it's also a summer song, one of pure elation too. This appealed to be when the very thing Vedder sings about in the song happened: "I seem to recognise your face, haunting, familiar, can't seem to place it". Someone came back to me this year when I thought that was it, I'd 'lost' them. But they did and it coincided with the buying of this album. So fitting. It was probably the best moment of 2012: I spent the summer with this friend of mine and it was stupid, reckless and great but above all, exactly what the emotion the song is getting at: relief. Relief to know that now, once they're back, you're never going to let them go again and their presence in your life will be a better one because of it. If you've found someone special, never let them go: I know that this person will always be in my life now, and that's enough. My god it's been so long, never dreamed you'd return... This and also because I am now the "grunge queen" according to my friends, and they even bought me a "I *heart* grunge" tshirt for christmas... true friendship right there! 

4) Dammit- Blink-182: BECAUSE I'M 17 YEARS OLD OK? I've had fun with my friends many a pre-party in pre-drinking state getting ready to go out and it's the epitome of being the great age that I am right now. And, to steal something I found on the web earlier: "blink-182 is like that older brother that’s really cool and funny and has a million friends who all look up to him and is really inappropriate and makes dick jokes all the time but is still there for you when you’re sad and gives you hugs and happy talks to cheer you up". Yes, yes, yes. 

5- These Days, Foo Fighters: almost two years ago, doing my first load of "real" exams, Wasting Light was released after too long of minimal Foo news and it gave me hope and motivation and excitement at all the possible things to come: Would there be a better Foo Fighters song than this? Could they really top it? Was it the best Foos song I'd ever heard? When would I finally see this man whose presence on my wall sticking his tongue out I saw every day? Well this year was the year. Sudden and unexpected, they announced Foos headliner slot at Reading, and well, the rest was history. (see earlier posts) Playing this song, hearing it live only metres away and with 100,000 adoring fans is something you truly cannot describe. It was everything I'd ever dreamed of; something that gives me pure happiness when I think about it now, and that's why it's my song of 2012, completely and surely. It was just the best moment of my life, no biggie. Two years after hearing it for the first time, it is still my favourite Foo Fighters song and always will be.

Happy 2013 everyone.