Nov 16, 2016

RAIGN

Songs haunt me.
Voices stay with me.
Some of the most emotional, heartfelt songs I've ever heard have been with my eyes closed in a dark room... no music videos or crowds. Just myself and the music.

I've been a fan of Raign for a while. She has a voice that sticks in your mind and one day I was minding my own business and suddenly I heard her voice coming at me through my TV... she covered Knocking on Heaven's Door and it haunted me. I sang it for days. I had forgotten the warm richness of her voice, the curling smokey tones and slippery whispers.

As time went on I forgot to follow up but one day I saw her post on Facebook that she was doing a small show here in Los Angeles at the Hotel Cafe. I've seen many unknowns sing there and go on to greatness. I've seen many well known singers do small gigs there too. It's that kind of place. I had to go. I had to find out if the voice on the album was the same as the voice live.

Standing at the back of the venue, I watched as a girl who looked like me came out of the restroom in a silvery floor length off the shoulder dress and smiled at the room. She walked around the back and then suddenly, there she was onstage. A quick Wikipedia search revealed we are actually the same age and for some reason I can't figure out this pleases me immensely.

She has an easy going stage presence, an instant rapport with the crowd. And then she started to sing.

Clouds moved out of her way, the air thinned and her voice swallowed up everything in the room.
I know that's dramatic, but that is the only way to describe it. Her movements, her facial expressions and her enunciations are exquisite. I didn't even want to video the experience because I wanted the music to wash over me completely. I did use my voice memo's on my phone to record the audio of her cover of Knocking on Heaven's Door because I needed to have it recorded live, but if you really want to hear it, listen to her album. She is worth the purchase, and I don't say that very often.

After the show ended, I realized most of the crowd were industry people or her friends and family. Standing at the back of the room, a woman walked over to me and introduced herself as her mother. She asked how I knew her daughter and I smiled and told her I was just a fan. She was so happy, she said i had to wait and talk to her daughter. Usually I slink in and out of shows and post my thoughts without talking to the artists. But I waited and when I talked to her I said I wanted to connect her with some people who could help her possibly. I put my name in her phone at which point she smiled and said "Oh I saw you post on Facebook about this show!". So genuine, so sweet, and so sincerely grateful for that simple post (I had shared the link to the show and commented "Don't sleep on this!").
She is the real deal.

I want her to be one of the success stories that I can point at- I found her way back when. And for goodness sake, if she is doing a show in your area, go support and discover her for yourself.
Check out her website and support her on social media

RAIGN - Instagram
RAIGN - on iTunes
RAIGN - Soundcloud
RAIGN - YouTube
RAIGN - Twitter
RAIGN - Facebook



Aug 22, 2016

SummerLand Tour : Sponge, Lit, Everclear and Sugar Ray (Beverly Hills)

This is now a tradition for me. Every year I take myself to a concert for my birthday. I go alone and I get to enjoy the music as I please, with zero responsibility to anyone else and the chance to meet brand new people. Last year I went to see Whitesnake and it was incredible. I try to choose Bucket Lists bands- groups I love and haven't seen live yet.

This year, my birthday was on Pride Weekend (it is on Pride weekend every year technically) and I didn't feel like celebrating. I opted to stay home with Netflix and pizza. and then, like a beacon of hope, I got an email about an epic 90's rock concert and I knew that was it, happy birthday to me, I was going.

Summerland is an annual summer concert and I had never heard of it before but now I hope to make it an annual thing. Sponge, Lit, Everclear and Sugar Ray were performing. I wasn't sure who Sponge was until I looked up their music and then I realized I am in fact, a fan. They are best known for their song 'Plowed'. When the lead singer got onstage and opened the night, I knew it was going to be special. He just looked, sounded and felt exactly the way I thought a 90's rock band should. It's always tough to be the opening act and Sponge got the crowd warmed up. They sang a new song about the Whores off their new album (I forget the exact title but it was pretty great) and the final song they did was of course, Plowed, and it was wonderful.

Then Lit took the stage. They started with Welcome to the Party, went to Better Off Without Me, and then...Miserable.
As much as I was looking forward to the entire line up, really I was there for one song, and one song only. In high school, I would lie on the floor of my room and stare at the ceiling with my headphones on listening to Lit "Miserable" on repeat. I didn't relate to the lyrics, I probably didn't even truly understand them. I just knew the voice, the guitar, it all spoke to me. So much so, in fact, that to this day when I hear it playing I start harmonizing it in my head and yes, I have covered it on YouTube.
I sang along with my eyes closed, I cried, and looking around the venue I saw every person standing and feeling the same way. I give a lot of credit to AJ- as he sang the song the mic he was using stopped working and he didn't miss a beat, he jumped over to another mic near the side of the stage and quipped "How about new batteries next time guys" then kept singing. Rock. On.

They went on to do My Own Worst Enemy, and they also sang a song off their new album and I apologize because I can't remember the title but it was beautiful and dare I say, a little bit country? I liked it a lot but it was unexpected and amazing. During one of the songs, AJ jumped into the crowd and sang to the audience, walking through the aisles and posing for pictures- it was really really phenomenal to watch his perform. Exactly what I wanted from the band I had hyped up so tremendously in my head.

Everclear took the stage next after intermission and this is where the concert changed for me. For the first half, I was in row 6 on the right side of the stage. Very decent seats, no complaints. During intermission I was invited down to front and center by two guys who turned out to be extremely cool and I watched the rest of the show from there with them. Art is still singing well and I have seen him perform live before so I knew I would be happy. A friend of mine BEGGED me to periscope the song Father of Mine. I don't periscope BUT I did go on Facebook Live with it so...here:

As they were singing I was watching the stage so the camera is shaky and awful but I don't care because it's cool that I was able to share that with a friend! They also performed So Much for the Afterglow, Everything to Everyone, Wonderful, Heroin Girl, Amphetamine, I Will Buy You a New Life, and Santa Monica.

No complaints from the, Everclear was exactly how and what I wanted and it was great to see them again and to see the people in the crowd responding the way they did.

For the final part of the show, we bring you Sugar Ray. Now I have seen Mark McGrath many many times (he is in a band called War Machines that I have seen live) and he was even in the same music video as me (that is another story for another day but you can check that out - All Day Sucker Quality Problems, and yes, that is my butt on the album cover and me at 14 seconds and Mark at 3:15).

I love Sugar Ray and here's a personal quick story: When I was a kid I would sit on the keyboard in the basement and ping out "Fly" one note at a time. That's the first and last song I ever figured out how to play on my own actually, and true to form I have an entire sub harmony worked out for it too. They sang so many songs, a few cool covers and then my night of 90's rock magic was done.

Happy Birthday indeed.

Thank you to the bands, the audience, everyone. It was a really great night and something I was very pleased to take part in. Looking forward to next year!

Apr 17, 2016

The Struts and Dorothy

I went to see Motley Crue on their final tour at the Staples Center a few months ago. The show was fucking incredible and I loved it to incredibly much that I should have written a blog post about it but I didn't. I also should have written a blog post about the band that opened for Motley Crue, which I also didn't do for reason I am now unsure of.

I'd like to introduce you to The Struts.
I think they might be the thing rock and roll has been aching for.
I have been wrong before, but this time I don't think I am.
They are absolutely amazing and incredible.
Picture this... a half full lower level at the Staples Center. No one is really paying attention and the seats are still slowly filling up. The lights dim and suddenly a band is onstage. The lead singer, who looks like he fell out of a 1967 music video shoot is wearing a flowy caftan type outfit and major eyeliner.
I am intrigued.
The band kicks off the music and it's like I was transported to some other time and place. These guys are good. REALLY good.
Image result for the struts
I wish I had taken videos and pictures. I assume if you google the Motley final tour you will be able to find it anyway. That's how the world works now- everyone is an amature videographer so I just assume someone else will capture the magic and allow myself to enjoy the moments instead.

According to Wikipedia: The Struts are an English rock band from Derby, Derbyshire. The band consists of vocalist Luke Spiller, guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott, and drummer Gethin Davies.

Luke Spiller blows my mind.
He just does.
The Struts released an album called "Everybody Wants" in Europe and are now rereleasing it in the US. Go find it and listen to it.

Here is where the story gets cool.

Back in 2008 I met a girl named Dorothy at Hyde in LA. She was the most beautiful female I'd ever seen and I internally envied her white skin and red lips. I can't carry off the winged eyeliner goth but stunning look. I'm ok with it now. Dorothy was in music, but I didn't really pay attention to any of that, I had a lot going on at the time.

I moved back to LA a few years later and Dorothy and I had lost touch. We were really only "out" friends anyway- people who hang out happily when they are out at night but have nothing to do with each other during the day. This past December I went to see Royal Machines at The Roxy through my old job. Guess who the opener was...Dorothy.
Yeah.
She has a band now and it's named after her. And she killed it onstage.


Summary of all of this? Dorothy and The Struts are on tour right now together. She is opening for them and they are all about to be huge.
Get on it. Links below :)

The Struts Tour Info

The Struts - website
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