Archive for concerts

Miley Cyrus – Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia – August 2nd, 2014

Posted in Concerts with tags , on August 7, 2014 by Verge

I know it sounds ridiculous.  I’m almost 40.  I’m married, have a house, two cars and an amazing career.  But no teenage kids.  So I have no excuse to hide behind when I say…  I like Miley Cyrus.  Not all of it, mind you.  Some of it’s throw away material.  But hey, the last couple Radiohead albums weren’t exactly filled with timeless gems either.  Actually most of her songs are pretty fucking catchy, and have skilled producers and programmers behind them, so it’s no wonder that they come across as great pop songs.  And, like it or not, you must admit that she’s an amazing and very talented singer (check out the backyard sessions if you don’t believe me).

So, after a 3 month delay because of a “reaction to antibiotics,” we finally caught up with Miley in Philly last weekend.  Here are the pics and videos.


Lily Allen opened for Miley, which was a nice treat because we really love her too.

Oh, and Billy Joel was playing over at the ball park next door, so we hung around afterwards to enjoy a little free concert!


Nothing – Boot and Saddle – Philadelphia, PA – June 8th, 2014

Posted in Concerts with tags , on June 10, 2014 by Verge

I can’t remember exactly how I came across the band “Nothing.”  Maybe I wrote that down in a previous blog somewhere, but who can remember everything?  I think it was when I started to revisit my shoegaze romance back in January, and a few months later, they released their first album, and I was sold.

Lucky enough, a few months after that, this past Sunday, I got to see them live.  And it kicked ass.  Dominic Palermo is a crazy ass bastard that pulls off the rock star “I-don’t-give-a-fuck” attitude way better than I’ve ever been able to do.  Sure, once when I was pissed, I threw down my bass, flipped a keyboard off a stand, and jumped off the stage to go to the bar and do a shot.   That was once.  I have a feeling Mr. Palermo pulls that shit every single show.

First thing first.  When they took the stage at Boot and Saddle, they asked to have all the stage lights turned to red (which isn’t so great for the following photos).  You have no idea how shitty it is to be on stage with lights in your face.  It’s hot, it’s annoying, and who the hell wants to see my face anyway.  Dirty Robots have a similar want.  We don’t need to be seen.  I’d rather not be, actually.  Just let us turn up our amps.

Which is the second thing.  These guys got to play at the volume we TRY to play at before the owner of whatever bar we’re playing freaks the fuck out and yells at us.  This shit was loud and my ears happily rung for 24 hours.  Damn straight.  That’s fucking rock and roll.

It was like the 90s again.  They were loud, and heavy as hell, with a shit ton of distortion and endless reverb, and not a soul in the crowd did much more that nod their heads.  True shoegaze.  But the best part is this.  Twice, Dominic finished a song, swung off his guitar, and aimlessly threw it into the crowd, still plugged in, for that organic wall-of-sound finale!

And another time, nearer to the end of the show, he took a good old fashioned stage dive.  And I’m not talking about that pussy shit stage dive where you slowly lean back into a dozen pairs of hands to ease you up into the air.  No.  He dropped his guitar, got behind the drum set, and took a running swan dive into the dark and crowded floor and hoped for the best.

Oh, and the biggest rock star move of all?  Check out the video I shot of what the band pulled off in the middle of Broad Street immediately following their encore.  Bad Ass!  It’s no surprise Dominic served time in jail for stabbing a guy at a show.  Clearly, this dude doesn’t give a fuck!  And I really admire that.

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I recorded some of the set, but I knew before hand it would be nearly impossible to capture the sound properly.  But this video gives you a slight idea.


This is their official video, which was shot in the the same bar.  The crowd seems just as enthusiastic in the video as we were in real life.  Hey man, that’s the way this scene is.  Enjoy.

Death Cab For Cutie – Atlantic City – Revel Ovation Hall – 5-25-2014

Posted in Concerts, Reflections with tags on May 27, 2014 by Verge

As I’ve said before, our last anniversary we couldn’t spend together because I was working and Monika was having an adventure.  But, we’re trying to make up for lost time.  Even though it wasn’t a surprise, I had gotten us tickets to one of our favorite bands for our fifth anniversary.  It was Memorial Day Weekend, and we both had off the next day (surprisingly).

It was the first time I’d ever been to Revel Casino, let alone the music venue there.  I could have gotten us seats months ago when tickets went on sale, and that’s what I usually do because, to be honest, Monika is short and General Admission can be a bitch for short people.  Even though I’ve seen DCFC a few times, Monika never did, so I opted for the GA tix in the hopes we could get close, and she could actually see Ben Gibbard up close.  We ended up 15 feet from the stage, and it all worked out.

I know some people think this band is too emo, or too sappy, or too girlish, but for me and Mon, they hold a special meaning. Transatlanticism was released around the time we started dating, and I listened to that album on repeat (along with a few others…). When we got married three years later, we walked down the isle to my long time friend, Johnny (lead singer of my band), singing one of their songs.  And then afterwards, as morbid as the lyrics actually are, our wedding song was the second song below, from the concert we enjoyed together a few days ago.

I, being  the one of us who is usually first to cry, didn’t this time around, but during these songs, she lost it.  And it was adorable.  She wasn’t the only one.  I looked around, and realized that these songs don’t mean something important to only us.  A lot of people there that night identify with the words and intentions of these songs.  And it is a great, sometimes overwhelming feeling to share a collective rejoicing in words that speak to us,  and to enjoy melodies that remind us of what it is to feel.

Those moments are the reasons I go to concerts, and why I am a musician.  Music often cuts deeper than words because it is a universal language we all share.  It’s why I enjoy writing with notes as much as I do with words.

“This is a song for all the lovers.”  If you listen carefully, you can hear almost everyone singing…even us.

Monday Musings

Posted in Daily Music, Daily Pictures with tags , on May 12, 2014 by Verge

Had a great weekend, complete with garden planting, two debates over the benefits of raising our own chickens, a show over in Philly, drinks with friends and neighbors, a prom, and the usual work/laundry/house cleaning!!

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!! ( a day late)

I love Chvrches, and this is awesome that they covered this song.  Hilariously, the video is exactly how they act on stage, so it’s pretty boring.  They supplement with a kick ass light show.20130623_222549_LLS

Obviously I’ve been on a huge 4AD kick lately, and I was never really into the Mountain Goats when they were on that label for a decade.  But, I’ve been really digging this song lately, and the video kicks ass.

I once went to see Damien Rice with my girlfriend because she was into him.  I thought it would be a laid back show, but it turned out to be one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.  It rocked and he sang his ass off, and we were in the front row.  I’ve never seen this movie..yet.  Maybe soon.


Julia Nunes Live @ Philadelphia Living Room Concert Series 12-10-2012

Posted in Concerts, Daily Pictures with tags , , on April 4, 2013 by Verge
it was dark, and a bit difficult to take pictures sitting Indian style on the hard wooden floor of what seemed to be a rented row home that some University students lived in.  But, the lighting was a bit better when Julia signed shirts with Monika and Maya.

it was dark, and a bit difficult to take pictures sitting Indian style on the hard wooden floor of what seemed to be a rented row home that some University students lived in. But, the lighting was a bit better when Julia signed shirts with Monika and Maya.

And, the videos came out a bit shitty, too, but I've included them here for anyone who is a fan.  It wasn't the smallest concert I've ever been to, but it's gotta be in the top 3.  Catch her next time she's in Philly if you like the songs below.  The shows are always very lighthearted and fun, and tickets are usually under twenty bucks, something you don't see very much anymore.

And, the videos came out a bit shitty, too, but I’ve included them here for anyone who is a fan. It wasn’t the smallest concert I’ve ever been to, but it’s gotta be in the top 3. Catch her next time she’s in Philly if you like the songs below. The shows are always very lighthearted and fun, and tickets are usually under twenty bucks, something you don’t see very much anymore.

Spiritualized at the Theatre of Living Arts (TLA), Philadelphia, May 11, 2012

Posted in Concerts, Good Times with tags on May 19, 2012 by Verge

There’s always a pre-game before a concert. Monika and I split a Sam Adams Belgian Ale, kind of similar to Victory Golden Monkey, a perennial pre-game favorite.

my beautiful bartender before we left for the show.

we wanted more friends to come with us to see Spiritualized, but they are kind of an obscure band. And, it would be hard to live up to the last time we saw them, at Radio City Music Hall with Kreg and Kat.

Of course, we took the Patco into Philly and down to the TLA. There was only one opening band, so we left pretty late. I hate to have to wait through 2 plus hours of crap just to see the main band start at 10:30 at night.

I don’t know how, but we just walked up to the stage, row three, because it wasn’t too crowded, and watched the show from right in front of J.Spaceman.  Great show, sounded amazing.  Monika buddied up to the lighting guy at the end of the night, and scored the set list from him, which is now hanging in my studio.  Been seeing this guy for almost 20 years now…it’s amazing he’s still alive.

Spiritualized @ Radio City Music Hall

Posted in Good Times with tags , , on August 2, 2010 by Verge

Friday night midtown Manhattan welcomed Jason Pierce for his most ambitious show in, well…ever.  As the man who literally is Spiritualized, Pierce brought with him a band, a choir, a string section and a horn section for one night, and one night only.  One could only assume that this show was staged for something more than just for the hell of it.

Dressed in all white and practically sitting in the wing, Pierce commanded the attention of all 30 people on stage who watched his every move.  It was clear that no matter how “not important” he tried to make himself appear, he was the dominating force of the evening.  Spiritualized never reached the popularity that Oasis or Coldplay or even The Verve enjoy, but the songs wore the air of divinity, instead of mere shallow, emo-ish British Rock.

Spiritualized at Radio City Music Hall 2010 (I took this photo with a phone)

And with the iconic sample that begins “Ladies and Gentlemen, We are Floating in Space,” so too began the evening.  We knew what we were going to see, but no one really knew what to expect.  I soon learned that I should have known exactly what to expect all along.  Simple, elegant beauty.  The choir backed up Pierce’s longing, desperate vocals perfectly.  The strings and horns weren’t over dominating at any time but instead blended into the rock band with ease.  It was a pleasure to hear real, live instruments instead of lifeless keyboards and samples.  It was how  Spiritualized always wanted their music to sound – Huge. Soaring. Epic.

Highlights included the anthem “Come Together,” the haunting “Cop shoot Cop,” and a 2 song encore of “Out of Sight” and “Oh, Happy Day.”  The lights were vague and subtle.  There were no gimmicks or lasers or props, just the music to speak for itself.  Surely you can always tell that the words written 15 years ago still meant something to little J.  They still speak to me.

okay, not the best seats in the house, but they were at least in the house!

It would be almost impossible, at times, to convince someone unfamiliar with the band that it was indeed not religious music, per se.  The emotional ebb and flow, the choir robed in white, and the soaring crescendos  are reminiscent of a classic spiritual.  The only difference is that the preacher crones his message softly while sitting, squeezing every bit of catharsis from his guitar.

In reality, Spiritualized is a veiled reference to Absinthe, and Pierce worships escape from reality.  The story behind the album is certainly depressing (although he still denies it)A.  After literally turning a dysfunctional experiment into one of the best selling British acts along side his girlfriend, Pierce’s wife secretly married Richard Ashcroft from The Verve 4 days before the two bands shared one stage.  It’s hard to believe Pierce still has it in him to want to relive that mess in it’s entirety at all.

The show was not without flaws.  A false opening of the curtain at the beginning teased the crowd before closing abruptly again.  There was a sprinkling of speaker feedback that I’m sure will be gone when the dvd is released.  Who could blame them with all those microphones on stage anyway.  And the crowd was an uncomfortable mix of pleasant fans who wished to sit and enjoy the music (us) and those who thought that if they could only clamor 10 rows closer, the music would sound so much better and photos would be so much cooler when they showed their friends on Facebook the next day (assholes).

In the end I don’t know if a dvd will be coming.  They had the cameras there for Spin, so it could be easily done.  I’m not really sure why Jason Pierce put the band back together, in this grand fashion, to play just one show across the pond.  He could have sold out a dozen shows I’m sure.  Being able to see the only one is, quite simply, monumental.  In the end, though, I don’t think Mister Spaceman staged this show for his fans…he staged it as a sort of therapy for himself.

Pierce, J Spaceman, Legend

My Top 15 Concerts of the Past Decade

Posted in Good Times, Reflections with tags , on December 22, 2009 by Verge

A top (fill in here) of the (fill in here).  What a great stop-gap solution for a blog that hasn’t a topic tonight.

Well, in agreement with a conversation I had earlier this week, while it is terribly difficult to rank your favorite moments of an entire decade, simply listing an un-ranked version is a cop-out.  So, I will try, as impossible as it is to rank memories. I want to also stress that I choose, and rank, these concerts not on the quality of the show alone, but have taken into account, heavily, their sentimental value to me personally.  That doesn’t mean that “at this show was the first time I kissed so-and-so” will rank highly, but it certainly does account for the fact that there are exactly 3 Radiohead shows on my list.  I like ’em, I won’t deny they have an unfair advantage, and my list doesn’t pretend to be unbiased–on the contrary, my list is heavily biased.

Before we get started, here’s some brief stats:

77 Total concerts attended in the last decade

13 Radiohead shows attended

7 Shows containing at least one member of the Grateful Dead

4 Smashing Pumpkins, Roger Waters and Mojave 3/Neil Halstead Shows attended

3 Spiritualized, Beth Orton, Bob Dylan, Ozric tentacles, and Ravi Shankar shows attended

13 Shows at E-Center/Tweeter Center/Susquehanna Bank Arts Center

9 Shows at The Electric Factory and The Theatre of Living Arts

5 Shows at The Tower Theater

4 Number of different girlfriends I’ve had over the same time period.  I married the last one.

# 15  Saturday, June 21, 2003     Peter Gabriel     Tweeter Center     Camden, New Jersey (Not the first time I ever saw Peter Gabriel, but he always puts on a damn fine show, and seeing him perform some of the Ovo songs live was pretty amazing)

# 14  Saturday, April 08, 2006     Death Cab For Cutie     Tweeter Center     Camden, New Jersey (Great seats for this one.  Franz Ferdinand opened up.)

# 13  Friday, June 02, 2006     Radiohead     Tower Theater     Upper Darby, Pennsylvania (Tons of new material in such a small venue.  Tickets were damn near impossible to get)

# 12  Thursday, March 19, 2009     The Ting Tings     The Starlight Ballroom     Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Small venue to see a band I still believe is going to blow up.  We sat maybe 20 feet from them as they performed.  This show was originally supposed to be at the First Unitarian Church, which would have been great, but the Starlight has 2 dollar Pabst shooters, and you can’t go wrong with that.  Was amazing to see how the two of them alone can pull their music  live.)

# 11  Friday, September 25, 2009     MuteMath     Theater of Living Arts     Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (First and only time I’ve seen these guys.  They pulled off some pretty neat tricks themselves, and the sound was spot on.  I love seeing shows at the TLA and always have, but the new and improved TLA is an absolute pleasure.)

# 10  Thursday, April 15, 2004     Damien Rice     Tower Theater     Upper Darby, Pennsylvania (Didn’t think this was going to be one of the besgt shows I’d even seen.  Perhaps it was my low expectations or the 2nd row seats–Damien Rice absolutely rocked, which took me by complete surprise.)

# 9  Friday, August 10, 2007     Muse     Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing     Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Outdoor shows are a bitch for sound.  The week before this show it was dreadfully hot, but all of the sudden, the heat broke and it was cool down by the water.  Cold War Kids opened up, but Muse blew them away.  These guys are amazing.)

# 8  Sunday, August 13, 2000     Summersault 2000     Rideau Carleton Raceway     Ottawa, Canada (I saw two of these shows up in Canada.  The lineup was amazing:  Smashing Pumpkins, Catherine Wheel, who I met, A Perfect Circle, Foo Fighters.  Beautiful Canadian summer festival weather.)

# 7  Sunday, August 05, 2001     Radiohead     Parc Jean Drapeau     Montreal, Canada (Technically not the most amazing Radiohead show ever, but that damn little island, with Montreal as the background, and the hill to relax on..this venue is hard to beat.   If you ever have a chance to see a show here, do it.)

# 6  Monday, June 07, 2004     Les Paul and his Trio     Iridium Night Club     Manhattan, New York City (Seeing Les Paul at all was amazing, but this was his 89th birthday and he definitely was having a celebration.  Afterward, I helped him to his seat to sign autographs, and I now have a Les Paul pick guard that says “To Ryan, keep rockin.”  Perhaps someday I’ll have the guitar to put it on.)

# 5  March 25th, 2009     Neil Halstead     Talking Heads Club     Baltimore, Maryland (This is perhaps the smallest venue I’ve ever seen a concert in.  It wasn’t at the club so much as it was in the basement of the club.  I love Neil Halstead and I really don’t understand why he would fly from England to play a show to 30 people if not for the love of music.  We got him to sign a bunch of Slowdive stuff for us, which he thought was pretty funny.)

# 4  Monday, October 30, 2006     Massive Attack     Tower Theater     Upper Darby, Pennsylvania (These guys, like Portishead, were a band I just figured I was never going to get to see live.)

# 3  Tuesday, June 20, 2000      Ravi Shankar with Anoushka Shankar     Barbican Theater     London, England (I had been in London for three weeks and I really wanted to catch the Ravi Shankar show.  I had checked for tickets and the ones that I could afford were the second balcony at hall which is an opera hall.  Didn’t want to be that far away.  That morning I called and got a pair in the second row!!  Second row to this show was hundreds of dollars, but they let them go for the balcony price as last minute tickets.  It was amazing.  My clothes made it so obvious that I didn’t belong that close to the stage!)

# 2  Saturday, October 08, 2005     Dead Can Dance     Radio City Music Hall     Manhattan, New York City (I saw these guys once before, and then they split up.  Ten years later, they reformed only for this series of concerts and I was thrilled to get to see them again.  And I finally got to see a show at Radio City.)

# 1  Friday, October 10, 2003     Radiohead     Madison Square Garden    Manhattan, New York City (This is a fairly odd choice as it’s the only show I saw alone.  No one wanted to go to NYC with me to see them, again.  I’ve seen them 14 times now, and this is they only time I’ve ever seen them play Creep.  The crowd was so into it, you could barely hear Thom.)

There were a ton of other, very memorable shows in there.  But, then again, the original name of this post was supposed to be Top 10 Concerts…it’s just too damned hard to choose.

If you went to any of these with me, leave me a comment and tell me how the show ranks on your lists.

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