5 Tips for People who “want to attend a lot of concerts and other events, while maintaining a professional career”

2017 was the first year I decided I would try to attend a live show, concert, festival, or event every single week.  I attended 102 shows that year.  It was so much fun, I decided to keep it going.  2018 I attended 84 shows.  It’s 2019, and as of this writing I’ve attended at least 36 shows.  A handful of folks at my day job know I do this, and the first question they usually ask is “How are you able to do this?”.  I usually interpret that question as, how do you have the energy to keep a professional (enough) demeanor to perform at your day job, but also stay out late at these concerts and events?

The following are my 5 pieces of advice for people who “want to attend a lot of concerts and other events, while maintaining a professional career”:

5.) Plan ahead, Research, and Maintain a calendar. Maintaining a calendar is one of the best things you can do for yourself. On a weekly basis, I’ll check venue websites for shows I’d be interested in. I’ll purchase tickets months in advance and document everything in a calendar that way I know if plans conflict. If you’re trying to be professional at a job, it’s good to think ahead. I always request PTO, the Monday after a 3 day music festival because I know I’ll be exhausted and I won’t be able to perform. Make it fun for yourself (my calendar is a Thomas Kinkaide Disney Dreams calendar).

4.) Brag but don’t be a jerk about it. I think letting others know about the great show you attended the night before or letting them know about your excitement for an upcoming festival is perfectly fine, but know not everyone is having as much fun as you are. If you’re telling someone about how much fun you had or are looking forward to having and the person doesn’t seem receptive, then it’s not the worse thing in the world to not talk about it either. Brag but keep your audience in mind.

3.) You know your limits. Other than attending these events, I also go to a gym, in order to stay as physically fit as I can. In order to engage in a show properly, cheering, dancing, singing along, or even getting to the venue, it does take a level of physical fitness. I feel like people underestimate the amount of energy they use at a live event if they’re engaged the entire time. You probably blew a bunch of energy at your day job and going to a live show will only continue that energy burn. If you need to sit down at a show, leave early, or head to the back for water, you know your limits. These things are supposed to be fun, not a “Double Dare” style physical challenge.

2.) Be Nice, even if you’re tired. Speaks for itself.

1.) Set Time for yourself. You’re trying to balance a day job where you’re expected to arrive early and perform your function, with late nights having fun. The most important thing you can do for yourself is set time for yourself. Time to do nothing. Time to sleep in. Time to read. Time to be away from people. Take time to just pursue something for yourself. I usually set aside a few hours (or even a day or two) during the week where I don’t set any plans and just have alone time. I might go to one of my regular haunts (like MOHAI (above)) or I’ll just hang around my condo. Having a “reset” is never a bad thing, and setting time for yourself is always a great way to do that.

Outdoor Music Festivals for people who “live near downtown Seattle, don’t have a car, and love local music”.

I haven’t had a car for the past two years.  When it comes to live music choices and not having a vehicle, you’re limited to what you feel comfortable getting to either by foot, rideshare, bus, or bicycle.  Lucky for me, I live on Capitol Hill.  Live music is abundant when you live near downtown Seattle.  It feels like every neighborhood within walking distance, from West Seattle to the Central District, has at least three or more live music venues unique to that neighborhood.

When the “Seattle Summer” hits and we get that two to three month window of nice weather, outdoor music festivals are something you have to take in and enjoy.  Each event not only showcases the diverse neighborhoods around the city, but also it’s a chance to listen to new music and make new friends.  The following are the 5 best free outdoor music festivals, and 3 best ticketed outdoor music festivals, within walking distance of downtown Seattle, worth checking out this Summer.

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Black Pistol Fire, Elysian Search Party 2017

5 Best Free Outdoor Music Festivals
Seattle Pride at Volunteer Park – June 8th – In terms of free “all ages” day music festival lineups, this year’s is one of the best.  Local favorites, Thunderpussy, headline the stacked lineup alongside JGRGRY, Whitney Monge, Sassyblack, and Left at London.  It’s a great chance to experience a piece of Seattle’s Pride festival in one of Seattle’s most iconic parks.

Lindafest at Linda’s Tavern (on Capitol Hill) – late August – If you want an alternative to the mainstream Seattle music scene and want a 21+ event with more of a grunge almost heavy feel, then Lindafest is something you should check out.  Each year, Linda’s Tavern on Capitol Hill hosts a mini festival in the area behind the bar.  The event is free and showcases a local line up.  I usually learn about this event from street posters, so keep an eye out for more information.

IMG_20170715_002203_435Purple Mane, West Seattle Summer Fest 2017

West Seattle Summer Fest at The Junction – July 12th to 14th – I grew up in West Seattle.  West Seattle Summer Fest to me was always the big street fair that shut down large portions of the Junction every summer.  In recent years, it’s also set itself apart from other street fairs with it’s diverse music lineups.  This year’s Fest includes local favorites Jenn Champion, Razor Clam, Grizzled Mighty, DYED, among others.

South Lake Union Block Party at South Lake Union – August 9th – South Lake Union Block Party definitely feels like a reflection of South Lake Union today.  I remember there’s food trucks and plenty of activities for families, but the beer garden takes up 3/5ths of the whole festival space which shows how much the event tailors to the younger professionals who work in that neighborhood.  The music lineup is made up of local favorites, headlined by The Dandy Warhols, alongside Naked Giants, Polyrythmics, Whitney Monge, and Sisters.

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So Pitted, Mercer X Summit Block Party 2017

Mercer X Summit Block Party at the corner of Mercer and Summit – Mid August – This event is by far my favorite free music festival.  A good number of performers curated to play this event end up on larger festival lineups or on local television shows like Bands in Seattle.  It also feels like a purely neighborhood event.  Most block parties end up feeling bloated with corporate sponsorship, but Mercer X Summit feels like a bunch of local businesses got together and decided to throw a summer party for the neighborhood.  If you want an opportunity to work on your concert photography skills, this one is the perfect festival.

3 Best Ticketed Outdoor Music Festivals
Capitol Hill Block Party – July 19th to 21st – Aside from the major names which pull in the crowds, Capitol Hill Block Party is a great showcase for local talent.  At last year’s Block Party, it felt like every local performer put on some of their best performances.  This year’s lineup features a number of solid local acts including Kung Foo Grip, Wild Powwers, OK Sweetheart, Mirrorgloss, Nick Weaver, among others.

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Lizzo, Capitol Hill Block Party 2017

Elysian Search Party – July 6th – I’m a big fan of the Elysian Search Party.  For a little over $35, you get 4 beer tickets, and access to a great party backed by an action packed music lineup.  This is a great chance to try out nearly all of Elysian’s beer catalogue (40+ beers on tap) and also know that all proceeds (100%) will benefit local organization, The Vera Project.  This year’s lineup features The Darkness, The Murder City Devils, Black Pistol Fire, and local performers, Pink Parts.

Bumbershoot at Seattle Center – August 30th to September 1st – For many, Bumbershoot has become the local “Coachella”, but really I don’t think there’s comparison between the two.  If you approach Bumbershoot as a social media post, then you’re missing out on what a bunch of locals love about the event.  It’s really about the vibe.  If you go in wanting to have a friendly good time, not trying to harsh anyone else’s good time, then the event will be a great experience, but if you go in expecting a “Coachella” style experience, then of course you’ll be disappointed.  I’ve always approached Bumbershoot looking for a good time, hoping to find some great new music, and trying to find chances to experience curated activities outside of the music lineup (catch some movies at SIFF cinema during Bumbershoot).  This year’s lineup features many performers, that are known to put on a great shows including The Lumineers, Rezz, Tyler The Creator, among many others.

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Tyler the Creator, Bumbershoot 2017

Honorable Mentions
Concerts at the Mural at Seattle Center – every Friday in August – Every Friday in the month of August, the mural in Seattle Center hosts a series of free shows featuring three band lineups.  This year’s series includes Cherry Glazerr, Wolf Parade, Weyes Blood, Helado Negro, among others.

Events held by Friends of the Waterfront at the Waterfront – The diverse events held at the Waterfront by Friends of the Waterfront is pretty incredible.  Aside from the Rock the Docks concerts, I remember seeing the Parkour Visions Classic (a national Parkour competition), the 206 Zulu Beat Masters competition (an elite local DJ competition), and a KPOP concert, all hosted by Friend of the Waterfront.  Check their site for future events.

IMG_20180101_014141_627Kolars, Thunderpussy New Year’s Show 2017

I hope to see you out there this Summer!

“Are you creative?”

It’s been 3 months since I’ve written a blog post.

I got back from vacation in mid February and I just couldn’t get myself to start writing again.

I had built up momentum prior to leaving. I was interviewing bands and writing posts on a consistent basis but when I got back, things at my day job picked up and a post-vacation slump really set in.  In the back of my mind all I could think about was the idea of “delaying a response”.  The idea of “delaying a response” is, if someone means enough to you then you’ll take the time to message them back if they reach out.  The only time you’ll stretch a situation and either not reply or delay a response is if it’s a person that you really don’t care about, or you’re nervous.  For example, if someone wants to set plans, it’s not hard to reply “sounds good”, yet there are people who we hold that two word response for, and assume that’s alright.

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Monsterwatch, Mercer X Summit Block Party 2018

To me, writing a blog was that thing that was reaching out, asking me to give it a shot, but for some reason I found myself “delaying a response”.  I was racking my brain trying to figure out did I just not care about writing posts anymore, or was I nervous to get my ideas out there? I could keep saying my day job was keeping me busy enough, but how long could that excuse hold before I just had to will myself to get back to writing posts?  I had to figure out my motives for beginning a blog in the first place.

I saw a documentary about Studio Ghibli figurehead, Hayao Miyazaki.  I’ve always been fascinated by artists.  Were they just regular dudes who found themselves saying inspiring things like John Lennon, or were they living up their legends like Andy Warhol?  This documentary followed Miyazaki a little over a year after his sudden retirement, when he decided to return to animation.  It’s hard not to be inspired by Miyazaki.  Throughout the film, he wears an artist’s apron, even when the animation team he’s working with is animating almost entirely through CGI. Another scene has Miyazaki putting stuffed goats on his roof, for no other reason then just to entertain a group of pre schoolers who were walking passed his home.

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Flume, Bumbershoot 2017

A quote that stuck with me from this documentary, Miyazaki and the camera guy are talking about children’s movies that were released around that time and the conversation drifts to “Frozen”.  When asked about “Frozen”, Miyazaki said, “That song “Let it Go” is popular now.  It’s all about being yourself, but that’s terrible.  Self satisfied people are boring.  We have to push hard and surpass ourselves.”  That was it.  That’s the reason I started a blog. Writing a blog was a new challenge.

My day job consists of examining and writing contract language.  When you write contract language, you have to be calculated in your ambiguity, and in doing so you tend to be very wordy and at times overly descriptive.  In an age when a four minute YouTube video feels too long, writing a blog forces you to either be more concise or more compelling in your writing in order to keep an audience.  Writing a blog is a great antithesis from what I do for a day job, and what I see as a great way to help develop my writing style.

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Great Grandpa, Upstream 2018

Aside from challenging myself to experiment with my writing style, it also gives me a chance to put a spotlight on some bands and artists that I felt need to get some sort of press.  I’m born and raised in Seattle.  The Seattle music scene is so vibrant and unique right now.  There are times when I would read a best “Seattle bands” list or this “publication” recommends this “concert” this week, and I would have no idea who some of the names were.  I go to two or three concerts a week and I comb through various venue websites and publications all the time, to not recognize band names tells me that the size and quality of the Seattle music scene is at a different level than most other major cities.  I want to contribute to the music scene in some way.  You can’t put a spotlight on everyone, so giving some of the smaller bands an opportunity to get a write up or taking a killer photo at a show, can be my contribution to this diverse music scene.

This is why I want to write a blog.  To work on my writing skills and to put the spotlight on the Seattle music and arts scene as it exists today, vibrant, diverse, and motivating a generation.  I’ll do this by describing my experiences at shows, providing suggestions for shows, and every now and again I’ll just write about Seattle.  With or without this platform, I’ll still be the guy that will go to a show each week and I’ll still talk up the performers that impressed me the most.

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Trash Fire, Cha Cha Lounge 2018

If I’ve learned anything from being around the Seattle arts and music scene the one constant is, like the city, it’s “Come as You Are”. Everyone is welcome but it’s up to you to determine how you want to interact once you’re there.

Thanks for the Spontaneous Fun, Spontaneanation: The 10 Best Spontaneanation Episodes.

Today, one of my favorite podcasts released it’s final episode.  With episode number 200, Spontaneanation from comedian host Paul F Tompkins (PFT) comes to a close.  

For the past four years (since 2015), this show has been a regular “must listen” for me after their release each Monday. In the catalogue of Earwolf shows, Spontaneanation stood alone in format and content. Spontaneation is a podcast that normally involves an opening monologue from host Paul F Tompkins, introduction of musical accompaniment Eban Schletter, an interview of a special guest, followed by an improvised scene using elements of the monologue and interview segment by a collective of improvisers, and the show is closed out by plugs and promotions by everyone involved.

The following are my top ten favorite episodes of this amazing podcast.  When I was deciding on this list, I thought about “which episodes were the essential episodes?”.  Some episodes featured incredible interviews (listen to any of the appearances of Nathan Lee Graham) or had amazing improv segments (Summer Theater Camp), but what it came down to was which episodes were the total package of great interview along with great scene.  Without discounting how amazing the other episodes were, here are my top ten episodes of Spontaneation:

10.) (TIE) Episode 63: “A Coffee Plantation in Bali” – Special Guest: Kulap Vilaysack – 6/6/2016 and Episode 164: “The Price is Right” – Special Guest Allen Maldonado – 5/14/18

9.) Episode 37: “Saltwater Tuffy Shoppe” – Special Guest: Andy Daly – 12/7/2015
Look this episode up on YouTube.  This live episode was filmed in it’s entirety, and features not only a great show, but also PFT falling off the stage and Andy Daly’s memorable reaction.

8.) Episode 121: “Karaoke Night at a Small Logging Town Tavern” – Special Guest: Scott Aukermann – 7/17/2017

7.) Episode 6: “Dracula’s Bedroom” – Special Guest: Maria Thayer – 5/4/2015

6.) Episode 75: “Aquarium” – Special Guests: Sean Clements and Hayes Davenport – 8/29/2016

5.) Episode 4: “Savannah, Georgia” – Special Guest: Melanie Lynskey – 4/20/2015
This early episode set the tone for the episodes that followed.  The first ten episodes are some of the best of the whole series, but this one in particular stands out as the best of that first batch.  Not only was the interview charming, but the improv that followed provided the inspiration for a character that would be carried over to the Comedy Bang Bang podcast in the years to follow.

4.) Episode 36: “A Dinner Theater” – Special Guest: Ben Garant – 11/30/2015
Ben Garant gave the ideal Spontaneanation interview.  It was insightful, you learned new things about the guest, he had fascinating stories, and elements of the interview provided a great framework for the improv that followed.  The improv that followed was also notable as it had some of the most improvised music in a single episode.

3.) Episode 30: “Vent Haven Ventriloquist Museum” – Special Guest: Laraine Newman – 10/19/2015
Not only was a Laraine Newman a great interview guest, but this had to be one of the funniest improv narratives I’ve ever heard.  Jeremy Carter and Marc Evan Jackson provide some of the most memorable single lines in the podcast’s history, and Maria Balssucci’s absent minded young character provided awesome opportunities for improv for the rest of the group.  Easily the best improv segment of the series.

2.) Episode 99: “Ice Cream Parlor” – Special Guest: Craig Cackowski – 2/13/2017
Craig Cackowski pulls double duty in this episode as both the interview guest as well as the one man improv cast (alongside PFT).  As a podcast regular and friend of PFT, the chemistry between Cackowski and PFT is palpable.  The interview was fun, and the improv about a retired baseball player at the ice cream parlor was wildly entertaining.

1.) Episode 18: “A Theme Park Break Room” – Special Guest: Raphael Bob-Waksberg – 7/27/2015
If there was any must hear episode of the Spontaneanation podcast, this is the one.  Raphael Bob-Waksberg is a great interviewee whose stories are perfect for this show. The improv that ensues is hilarious.  Who knew the idea of a break room for costume characters and ride operators at a theme park could provide such a perfect back drop for an improv scene?

Spontaneanation has to be one the greatest improvised podcasts in the past 5 years.  The interviews provided were memorable and also framed guests in ways we would probably never hear otherwise.  For a show where spontaneity reigned, PFT provided an atmosphere where performers interacted as friends.  Whether you were Lavar Burton, Karthik Nemani, or Nicole Parker, the show was eclectic and had a feeling of normalcy within it’s randomness.  In the end, I think the only thing that can sum up the 200 episodes of this amazing show is the show’s central catchphrase, “Semper en Presente”.

Thank you, Paul F Tompkins.

10 Photos That Remind me How Cool 2018 Was.

In 2018, I attended 80+ shows and events. I saw well over 300 different acts and got to spend a lot of time meeting and mingling with dozens of people in the local music scene.

When looking back on the year as a whole and reviewing photos I took throughout, I kept having moments of revelation.  I saw so many interesting acts this year that as I see some of these images, it hits me, “Oh yeah! You were there for that.”  Below are 10 photos that remind me how cool my 2018 was:

20180811_180934View from the Beer Garden – Sub Pop 30th Anniversary – Alki – 8/11/18
As much as I thought Sub Pop 30 was a cool event and definitely an anniversary party fitting a record company that had such a positive impact on the community, at a certain point in the afternoon it just got crowded.  A combination of recognizable names, no admission fee, and the sun coming out, really caused the crowd to balloon. I took this picture on the way to see Shabazz Palaces.  The sky just looked so cool.

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Kailee Morgue – Neumos – 11/30/18
This photo is a personal favorite of mine.  It’s just a great visual representation of how it feels to go to a smaller live concert “today”.  It also features one of my favorite out of town performers.  I first saw Kailee Morgue live at Bumbershoot, and I instantly fell in love with her sound.  Of the young acts I saw this year, I believe Kailee will be one to keep an eye on in the years to come.

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A Tribe Called Red – Neumos – 3/14/18
This picture is just visually amazing.  The lighting kind of cast a purple light on the room, but the amount of colors coming off of the Native costume worn by this dancer during this set was incredible. A Tribe Called Red put on a show that was as visually pleasing as it was to hear.

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Monsterwatch – Mercer + Summit Block Party – the corner of Mercer and Summit – 8/18/18
If I had to pick a favorite top to bottom event, I would have to say this year’s “Mercer and Summit Block Party” was something special. Other festivals like Upstream, Bumbershoot, and Linda’s Fest had great things to offer and had moments that were memorable, but from beginning to end, I felt like every act at this year’s “Mercer and Summit Block Party” really brought it and the crowd seemed to really accentuate a good vibe throughout the day. I snapped this photo at the end of Monsterwatch’s set. Of all the acts, I felt like Monsterwatch really had a breakout performance at this festival.

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The Regrettes – Bumbershoot: KEXP Stage – Seattle Center – 9/1/18
Bumbershoot for me is a “reset”. Everyone has to have something, that brings you back to “earth” and makes you feel like you’re ready to approach the world after letting out some steam. An act that stood out at this year’s Bumbershoot mainly because of how absurd their set was, were The Regrettes.  Their set this year was at KEXP and they (in short) motivated the crowd to mosh, crowd surf, and even have a wall of death in the KEXP public space.  (haha!) I love this shot because all the members are featured. They’re the most prominent focal points of this photo.

20180920_131047The Pink Slips – Bumbershoot: Main Stage – Seattle Center – 9/2/18
The main stage at Bumbershoot is huge.  I feel like it would be hard for groups to make use of the whole stage unless they were highly seasoned or had elaborate set pieces and visuals.  The Pink Slips made great use of the stage, and created opportunities for photographers to snag some great shots of their set.  I like this shot because of the activity in it.  The bass player’s hair and the lead singer’s facial expression are just small examples of how this photo captured the activity of this set.

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Tres Leches – Upstream Music Festival and Summit – Pioneer Square – 6/3/18
Tres Leches had a pretty big year this year.  I saw their name on multiple lists, they released an album, and I feel like I saw them perform at multiple events and concerts. This photo is interesting to me because you can’t see any of their eyes.  I think it was just timing and position, but it makes a fascinating photo.  This photo is also special for me because it was the first time my oldest cousin came with me to the front of a crowd for a local show.

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The Requisite – Chop Suey – 12/8/18
I first saw The Requisite at this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party.  When I saw them take the stage I thought, “Oh cool. I have no idea what this act is, but they look like a bunch of metalheads.”  When I heard them perform, it wasn’t metal, but I was impressed by the punk rock that I heard.  They had a great sense of humor about themselves, and they were an act I wanted to see again.  I took this photo at a show they headlined at Chop Suey.

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Taylor Swift – Reputation Tour – Century Link Field – 5/21/18
Taylor Swift’s Seattle stop of her Reputation Tour was the only stadium sized concert I attended this year.  Being at a show this massive was impressive.  I was in a crowd where everyone seemed to know the lyrics and had the urge to dance.  It’s just humbling seeing the size and scope of this event.

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My desk at my day job – 10/25/18
The last photo in this set is one of my desk, at my day job. I decorated at first for Halloween, but I kept it up and just kept adding to it. I made the doorway a glam rock explosion with lanterns and streamers weaved overhead.  It was just so much fun having that stuff up.

2018 for me was fun, but I look forward to what 2019 has in store.  I think I’ll take this blogging thing a little more seriously (haha).  Have fun everyone!

 

Bringing in the New Year with Thunderpussy.

Thunderpussy. It’s a word that without context would confuse and have people thinking it was something dirty, but for people who are in the know, it’s something awesome.

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The first time I bore witness to the high energy action that is Thunderpussy, it was 2016. I was wandering the crowd at Capitol Hill Block Party when I saw a band playing songs reminiscent of classic rock drawing a crowd to the main stage. This band’s sound was sexy, fun, and technical. Each member was impressive. It was almost like they were competing on stage for who could draw more attention (Molly won that day, haha). In that set I remember hearing a Led Zeppelin cover, and I remember seeing on the screens the lead singer contorting herself on stage while the lead guitarist ran around with the bass player, and the drummer play hard enough to make you wonder how she wasn’t just running through drum sticks. There electrifying energy motivated me to get closer. By the time I made it within viewing range of the stage (not the screens) they were getting ready to go into their final song. As the song began, the lead singer kept saying the word, “Thunderpussy” and that got me. From that day on, I was a Thunderpussy fan.

20180704_233757Thunderpussy is on my list of “must see” live bands. I’ve seen them perform a total of 10 different times. I’ve seen them debut songs. I saw them perform in a movie theater, at block parties, at Bumbershoot, and I even saw them fill a basement at Upstream Music Fest. I’ve been in a mosh pit with them (Elysian Search Party). I’ve collected merch. I feel like I’m an active part of one of Seattle’s best fan communities.

20180101_220550The Thunderpussy fan community is something special. When you go to that many shows, it’s hard not to make friends with the other regulars. I remember one couple introduced themselves to me, by walking up and saying, “I don’t know your name but you’ve been on our desktop screen for the past year.” With a confused look all I could say was, “Okay… why?”. The couple laughed and explained they had a picture of me standing next to the female of the couple while at a Thunderpussy show, and that’s how they recognized me. That same couple had a song dedicated to them by the band at last year’s New Years show (“Torpedo Love”). I have similar stories about how I met other members of this crazy, enthusiastic, and very supportive community, but they all stem from our similar love for these hard rocking ladies. You could say we’re all freinds with a passion for good music and Thunderpussy.

20170714_223353This New Years I’m going to be in the crowd (most likely near the front) for Thunderpussy performing live at the Showbox with Seattle favorites “The Black Tones” and Portland favorites “Red Fang”. This will be my third New Years with Thunderpussy and I’m excited. I feel like it will be hard to top last year’s show. The dancers and the always amazing costumes created the perfect atmosphere to bring in the New Year with energy and excitement. With the release of a great full length debut album and this show serving as the culmination of a tour, I doubt this will be a show that will soon be forgotten. If anything, even without knowing what will happen, I’ve been to enough Thunderpussy shows to know it’ll be loud, sexy, and of course, an electrifying dose of girl power.

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(All Photos were taken by me. The baby one is my favorite, haha)

 

 

My 10 Favorite Albums of All Time (Part 2)

I think the hardest part about making a list of 10 albums that I love listening to from top to bottom, is that there are more than 10 albums I could think of that I enjoy from top to bottom. I really think lists like these are dependent on the author’s mood when they came up with the list. Know that just because I list these 10 as my favorite albums, other albums like Hunky Dory by David Bowie, 36 Chambers by Wu Tang Clan, and a number of others could have easily made my list.

Here’s the second half of my top 10 favorite albums ever in no particular order (part 2 of 2):

I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty – 2015 – The first time I heard Father John Misty was on the KEXP Live podcast. I thought his voice was amazing and his words were devastating. Songs like “Bored in the USA” and “Holy Shit” are what make him so great. They’re poignant and biting. It’s commentary on our daily lives, while also being somewhat satirical and sarcastic. This album is the epitome of this music style before it becomes pretentious. I always recomend this album when people want to hear music off the regular radio rotation.

Day and Age by The Killers – 2008 – Rarely is there an album I listen to where I think any of these songs could have been used as the lead single to promote the full album. You rarely find albums where every song could have been released as a single, been a hit, and it could have re defined what the band was about. Day and Age is an album of hit singles in a compilation. That’s what I love about it. “Dustland Fairytale” is different from “Spaceman” which is different from “Neon Tiger”. Most albums, artists try to tell a story in the track progression. Day and Age feels more like a greatest hits package.

Give Up by The Postal Service – 2003 – I can’t think of any major album of it’s time, that sounds like Give Up. The lyrics and the rythms are just unmatched. The fact that you hear so many of these songs at major sporting events, and people enjoy the songs but have no idea what the songs or album are, says a lot. It’s electronic music structured in a way that doesn’t sound like standard electronic music. Songs like “Recycled Air” and “We Will Become Silhouettes” don’t sound like Daft Punk, David Guetta, etc. I think that’s why I like this album. It stretches the genre, but is also very pleasant.

The Bones of What You Believe by CHVRCHES – 2013 – This is another album that I feel pushes a genre and is something entirely different from most other albums that were out at the time. When I first heard “The Mother We Share”, I knew I found one of my new favorite bands. Lauren Mayberry’s vocals backed by Iain Cook and Martin Doherty on synthesizers are reminiscent of a New Wave/Dance genre style but it almost feels like they improve on it. Like they pushed it forward. The Wiki for the album calls the genre Synth Pop, but when you listen to the album, I’ve always felt the genre being played is kind of hard to pin down. The thing I know for sure, it’s fun to listen to.

On the Radio by Donna Summer – 1979 – This one is a compilation album of some of Donna Summer’s most recognized hit songs. Compilation albums can sometimes be great collections of an artists work, but I feel can lose steam in either the arrangement of the tracks, the songs selected, or just the overall feel of the final album. This is the best example of what a compilation album should be. Donna Summer made songs for the dance floor. The songs curated for this album span her career but the way the tracks are arranged are how I think a DJ would curate songs for a set. The tracks flow into each other. There are fast tracks mixed with medium tracks and slow tracks. If you were to do a Donna Summer night at a club, and just play this mix from first track to last, the way it’s set in the album, it would work in getting the crowd moving. It’s just so smart in it’s track selection and arrangement.

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Those albums were my top 10 favorite albums ever in no particular order. If you’re a fan of the same albums and ever want to talk about it, feel free to comment, otherwise if you’ve never heard of some of these albums and are looking for new music maybe give these ones a shot. I promise, you’re in for something different.

Have a Nice Day.