Wordless Wednesday: Live Bands Tonight

live bands tonight

Wordless Wednesday: The Muse Concert In Portland

Muse Concert in Portland

Coachella 2010 Lineup



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Meeting Keane, and other brushes with stardom in 2009

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I love going to concerts, symphonies, operas, plays, and musicals.

My favorite concert of 2009 was Keane at the Hollywood Palladium (with Mat Kearney as the opener). My “bosom friend” Esther treated me to my ticket for my birthday, and we met up with my friends Kathryn and Elizabeth in Hollywood for a night we’ll never forget last May. I was recently going through my pictures of 2009, and realized that I never blogged about my experience meeting Keane after the concert, nor had I mentioned other “celebrities” I met in the past year.
The Palladium is a fantastic venue, and I was excited to actually be there for a performance (after being a lifetime closet fan of The Lawrence Welk Show.) It underwent a very extensive renovation that was completed 6 months earlier in 2008, but it still had the retro charm. Mat Kearney, who has become one of my other recent music obsessions, performed a stellar opening set (and Esther and I saw Mat again in SLC in October). Keane’s set was phenomenal…the best performance I’d seen of their three concerts I’ve attended (Coincidentally, all in LA). After the show, us girls were DETERMINED to meet our favorite band. We waited out on the street by the door, shivering in the cold next to the tour bus, for over an hour until the boys from Battle came out to greet their adoring fans.

Esther with Tim

Kat with Tim

An awkward shot of me with Tim (there wasn’t any time for retaking pics)

Tom greeting his adoring fans

Esther fondling Richard’s ear (I mean, caressing his cheek)

Another embarassingly bad shot of me by Tom post-autograph (I was the dedicated photographer of the post-concert experience, so there aren’t any decent pics of me)

I was lucky to go to more concerts in 2009 than any other prior year. Despite my anorexic bank account, family and friends with connections hooked me up with great tickets throughout the year (They no longer think it odd when I tell them which concert tickets I want for my birthday and Christmas) I also got some insanely cheap concert tickets off Twitter and fan sites. Here’s my 2009 list:

January: Missy Higgins, Justin Nozuka, and Lenka at Atlanta Center Stage
February: Flight of the Conchords at Atlanta Fox Theater
2 Fox Elipsus Shows (Austell and Snellville, GA)
March: New Kids on the Block at The Bi-Lo Center, Greenville, SC
April: Jersey Boys in Chicago (technically a Broadway musical, but it FELT like a concert)
May: Keane and Mat Kearney at the Hollywood Palladium
June: No Doubt at Atlanta’s Lakewood Amphitheater
August: Greg Laswell and Elizabeth and the Catapult at the Murray Theater
Iron and Wine at Gallivan Center, SLC (sort of…long story)
October: Mat Kearney and Vedera at In the Venue, SLC
November: Imogen Heap at In The Venue, SLC
Justin Nozuka and Elizabeth and the Catapult, Glass House, Pomona, CA
December: Natalie Cole with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Salt Lake City
Peter Breinholt (et al.) at Rose Wagner Theater, Salt Lake City

Throughout the year, I did meet a handful of celebs. Here are the pictures I was able to snag…

Me with Elizabeth (of Elizabeth and the Catapult)

Missy Higgins (I was 5 feet away from her at the merch table, but Taylor didn’t want to wait in line to meet her) I DID have a wonderful 5 minute conversation with her in 2005 in SLC.


Rosie with Peter Breinholt (I could write a whole blog post about these two…)

Rosie and I with Ryan Shupe (of Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band)

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir – obviously, I didn’t meet the whole choir, but I have several friends and relatives who are in MoTab, or the Orchestra on Temple Square


Waiting in line to meet David Archuleta at his Christmas CD signing in November

This goofy Archie kid went to Murray High, where I graduated, and used to hang out with my sister Mary. When she came with us to the CD signing, he said “Hey Mary, I like your hoodie!”

Rosie with HER favorite (American) Idol

Nine “Top 9s” of 2009

Top 9 Bands I discovered in 2009
Elizabeth and the Catapult
Owl City
Greg Laswell
The Bird and the Bee
The Airborne Toxic Event
Fleet Foxes

Top 9 Live Performances I attended
Keane , Mat Kearney – Hollywood Palladium
Jersey Boys – Chicago, Bank of America Theater
Missy Higgins, Justin Nozuka, Lenka – Atlanta, Center Stage
Mat Kearney, Vedera – Salt Lake City, In the Venue
Imogen Heap – Salt Lake City, In the Venue
Justin Nozuka, Elizabeth and the Catapult – Pomona CA, Glass House
New Kids on the Block – Greenville SC, BiLo Center
No Doubt, Paramore – Atlanta, Lakewood Amphitheater
Peter Breinholt – Salt Lake City, Rose Wagner Theater

Top 9 Websites I Visit Daily
Google Reader
iTunes App Store

Top 9 TV Shows I Watched and Loved
The Sing Off
More to Love
Private Practice
Grey’s Anatomy
The Office
Drop Dead Diva

Top 9 blogs I discovered that I love (to stalk)
Confessions of a Mormon Bachelor Pad
How Could You Not?!
Feminist Mormon Housewives
Fail Blog

Top 9 CDs I obsessively listened to
Muse – The Resistance
Imogen Heap – Ellipse
Elizabeth and the Catapult – Taller Children
Missy Higgins – On a Clear Night
John Mayer – Battle Studies
Vedera – Stages
Mat Kearney – City of Black and White
Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
U2 – No Line on the Horizon

Top 9 YouTube Videos
Slapchop Rap
JibJab’s 2009 in Review
All You Need Is Love Starbucks Project
Lenka “Trouble is a Friend”
Ingrid Michaelson “Maybe”
Jim and Pam Wedding (Forever)
United Breaks Guitars
Tweeting on a Jet Plane
Owl City “Fireflies”

Top 9 Favorite People to follow on Twitter

9 Favorite Places to Shop
Trader Joes
KSL.com Classifieds
Mitsuwa Asian Market

Mat Kearney – In The Venue

Last week, Esther and I saw Mat Kearney in concert at In the Venue in SLC. We’d seen him open for Keane in LA earlier this year, and were impressed by his stuff. I’d heard some of his music prior to that show, such as his radio hit “Nothing Left to Lose.” but this year I’ve been getting into more of his albums. We started our night out with dinner at Zupa’s, then headed to In The Venue in SLC.

Waiting for the show

The opening band was Vedera, and they did a short, but sweet, set. Their style was reminiscent of Paramore, and I’ve had their CD in heavy rotation all week. After tiring of the poor view from the back of the main floor, we headed up into the loft and sat on a six-foot high bench. We called it the crow’s nest and loved the view. Mat started around 9 pm and did a solid 2-hour set. Highlights were “Breathe In, Breathe Out,” “Undeniable,” “Closer to Love,” “Crashing Down,” and “City of Black and White.” I was particularly impressed with how crisp the percussion was…so much more defined than listening to the album. It enjoyed coming to the show with a greater appreciation of his music than his pre-Keane set in May. Esther and I are now certifiable “Kearneyheads!” (in addition to our Keane obsession…oddly enough the two acts share a lot of the same letters)

At the end of the show, Vedera came back on and did the final song with Mat and the Band. There was a great synergy between the two bands….you could tell that they were having fun on the tour. They barely made it to SLC, as the prior show was in Denver just as it was being slammed with a bunch of snow. We were glad they made it, because it was a show that was unforgettable…

It’s undeniable how brilliant you are
In an unreliable world you shine like a star
It’s unforgettable now that we’ve come this far
It’s unmistakable that you’re undeniable

Post-concert afterglow

Choir: The Musical Glue

Viva Voce: My choir from 2002-2006

If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE to sing. I love the feeling of accomplishment of polishing a piece that seemed impossible when first sightread. I love the anticipation of a performance. I love the camaraderie of a tightknit ensemble. And of course, I love showing off in front of an audience.

In my High School Choir Dress

A Viva Voce performance in 2004

I have been in a variety of singing groups: childrens choirs, church choirs, high school choirs, college choirs, community choirs, and semi-professional choirs. I have been involved in musical theater. I have taken private voice lessons, and at one time I coached a voice student. I have sung at festivals, concerts, funerals, baptisms, Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, sporting events, and in my shower. My most rewarding choir was Viva Voce. I was a part of VV for 5 years, and tearfully left when I moved from SLC to LA. My Thursday nights were the highlight of my week, as I gathered with 40 women who shared the love of music as I did. We were the host choir for The Alliance World Festival of Womens Singing in 2004, which was the happiest memory of my tenure with Viva Voce.

Viva Voce performing “The Wind in the Willows” in 2005

Despite all of my experience, I prefer to not sing solo. I have an okay voice on my own, but I have always been more comfortable with musicians at my side. I sing karaoke on my own, but I that’s about the only time you’ll see me sing on my own. I joke that my voice is the “glue” of the choir. I sing second alto, tenor in a pinch, and my voice is the one that blends all the other voices together. I’m not fantastic, but I make a group sound fantastic.

Last night, I was invited to a book club/dinner group. We ate at Food 101 in Virginia Highland, which has become my favorite place to eat in Atlanta. The group was so accepting and fun, and I know I’ll look forward to more of these girls night outs. One girl I met, Karmelle, is a member of the DeKalb Choral Guild. She told me a little about the group, and forwarded me the website.

I am so tempted to audition. It’s been almost three years since I left Viva Voce. I have been missing the presence of a singing group in my life (other than ward choir, of course). I wonder if I can fit it in. I travel often, work full time, have Rosie and her activities in the evening, and fit in my husband in the cracks. DCG rehearses on Monday nights (which is the only consistently free evening of the week, save FHE) I technically could do it…but don’t know if now is the time. However, I don’t want to be so out of practice that when I DO have time, I’m not prepared for the challenge.

What do you think…audition or wait?

Home is a Special Kind of Feeling

Lately on Sundays, I’ve been trying to listen to music that is more spiritual than my usual fare. I grew up on the classical music and Mormon Tabernacle Choir, of which my Uncle David and friend Neil are currently members. It’s still a dream to someday be a part of the Mo-Tab. Last weekend, I picked up the Mo-Tab’s “Love is Spoken Here” album. I have been a little obsessed with it…and I thought I’d share the lyrics to my favorite song on here. It is titled “Home is a Special Kind of Feeling” by John Rutter, and it is the finale to his “Wind in the Willows” musical. I sang it with Viva Voce a few years ago, and was excited to find a Mo-Tab album with it.

Home is a special kind of feeling

The feeling of a place where you belong

A feeling that the world is left behind you

Like a shelter from your cares

that seems to want you to be there

Home is a special kind of feeling

The feeling that you’ve made it on your own

Somewhere which you know is really your place

A place for living, your special place, your home

Home has a welcome kind of feeling

The firelight, and the warmth of hearth and home

A welcome that you know will always cheer you

Like a gentle kind hello, that seems to touch you with a glow

Home has a quiet kind of feeling

An island when you need to be alone

A haven for the times you spend together

There’s nowhere better, no other place like home

By John Rutter

As a side note, here’s a funny childhood anecdote. When I was about 4 years old, and listening to classical radio with my dad on the way to church, I said “I wish that everyone was a Mormon so they can listen to classical music, because it’s so good!” I’m not sure why I thought that…but my dad likes to remind me of my youthful gaffe.

Missy Higgins, et al.

The most perfectly balanced and enjoyable 3-act concert lineup I’ve ever experienced

Last night, Taylor and I went to ATL Center Stage to see a concert I’ve been anticipating for months. I have been an avid fan of Missy Higgins since 2005, when she opened for Anna Nalick and Howie Day at SLC’s Capital Theater. I was floored by her raw emotional songs and refined musicianship. I ran to the merch table after her performance to get a copy of “The Sound of White,” where she chatted with me for a few minutes. Her cheeky Aussie charm won me over, and I have been singing her praises for 4 years. She usually tours in Europe and Australia, so I’ve been impatiently waiting for a chance to see her again. That night was last night.

I was so excited that tickets were so affordable. I’ve spent more than I could ever be honest about in my lifetime on concert tickets, and I’ve gotten used to swallowing my budget on $70/ea tickets. When I saw that I could see one of my favorite artists in an intimate venue,with my husband, for only $40 total…I squealed with delight as I pulled out my credit card. As a bonus, she was also performing with Justin Nozuka, who is an artist I got hooked on while living in Michigan.

Lenka, another Aussie, opened the show. Her music is upbeat and quirky, and her band was just as fun to watch as she was. I was suprised that I’d never heard of her, considering I’m a fan of so many artists in her genre. I downloaded her album as soon as I got home with an iTunes gift card I got at Christmas. Justin was even more bluesy and soulful live than his album. He did a smashing cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” one of my favorite songs of all time. He did a completely acoustic version of a song written for his mother, and it stole the show. I could have left the venue a happy girl, just with those two performances.

But the highlight of the night was Missy. She starkly started the show with “Nightminds,” and performed and even balance of songs from both “The Sound of White” and “On a Clear Night.” The crowd of just over 1000 was so mellow and respectfully quiet, which is an oddity in live music venues. The applause after every song was resounding, and Missy commented that it’s so rare that she’s not distracted by off-pitch fan singing or hyperactive screaming. The funniest part of the night was when she was telling the story behind the song “The Sound of White,” and someone yelled out that they loved her cleavage….which was even more funny since she probably can barely fill out a training bra. She babbled on her story, with cleavage-related impromptu embellishments, and had the whole crowd in stitches. I wish my camera had taken better video of it, because it was one of those “you had to be there” moments.

If you like Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles, Rachael Yamagata, Yael Naim, Butterfly Boucher, Frente!, or Bjork, you’ll like Lenka and Missy Higgins. If you like Jason Mraz, Marc Broussard, Ray LaMontagne, John Mayer, Howie Day, or Matt Nathanson, you’ll like Justin Nozuka.

My Favorite Aviation Commercial

When I lived in Utah, I spend four years in the semi-professional womens’ choir, Viva Voce. When I was in the choir, I sang one of my favorite pieces of choral music of all time: Adiemus from Songs of Sanctuary. I had heard it years before on this Delta Airlines Commercial, and was excited to learn it. This was before I even knew Taylor, let alone him starting his aviation career. I randomly found it on YouTube today. Pardon my French, but I actually understand what they’re saying.