“More voices mean more expression and for us that can only be a good thing.” 7 Questions with The Brook & The Bluff

From Birmingham, Alabama, Indie folk band The Brook & The Bluff are coming to Seattle Tuesday night (11/5).  The first time I heard The Brook & The Bluff, I had let Youtube go on autoplay while working remote.  The band’s smooth cover of the Childish Gambino song “Redbone” came on and I was impressed.  Listening to the band’s more recent offerings, songs like “Everything is Just a Mess” or “Hallways“, it’s hard not to get drawn in by the vocal magic this band seems to emanate.  With the release of their first full length album “First Place”, I had an opportunity to interview all four members of the band, Guitar player Alex Bolton, drummer John Canada, bassist Fred Lankford (all from Mountain Brook, Alabama), and vocalist/key and guitar player Joseph Settine (from Bluff Park, Alabama).  Here’s my short interview with The Brook & The Bluff:

1.) Most interviews I’ve read, talk about the origins of the band name, The Brook & The Bluff. I think it’s a great name. You’re quoted as saying, “I think we will always claim ourselves as a Birmingham band no matter what, it’s inherent in the name.”  Was that always the intention of the name, The Brook & The Bluff? Were there any rejected names that as a group you thought up, that still stick out today?

The Brook & The Bluff was definitely always intended to call back to where we’re from. When we started performing under that name, it was just Alec and I (Joseph) playing acoustic cover songs in Auburn, and it was actually the first name that we came up with. There had been another band we were in during our first couple years of school that was called The Freewheelers, and we considered that but ultimately wanted to be something new.

2.) I read that each band member has a choir background and in each song, there is an emphasis on the vocals. How does having a band where each member has a choir background affect the songwriting process? Would you say it’s an advantage or at times can it be a hindrance?

It is absolutely an advantage at all times. The voice is our only instrument that’s actually in your body, so we think it’s the most expressive when it comes to all of the different textures in the music. More voices mean more expression and for us that can only be a good thing. It really affects the songwriting process just as far as making sure we always have room within the song for more voices.

3.) I checked out the music videos featured on your YouTube channel. In one sense, some videos are simplistic in that it’s footage of the band performing the songs in what looks like a studio, however, a common trait is the unique filming style which mixes filters and at times a type of pinhole lens. It contributes an almost dreamlike quality to the video and really adds to the song. Where do the concepts for your videos come from? Is there a feeling you’re trying to evoke through these videos?

We originally wanted to try and have some type of performance video for the first three singles with a similar kind of thread visually, but have them shot in different places, so we reached out to our friend Drew Bauml to see if he’d like to shoot them and then gave him the space to create that dreamy aspect that you’re talking about. I really believe in letting people have as much room to create as possible, and we don’t know the ins and outs of filming, so we really let him run with it – sent him the songs and he was off.

These next 3 questions were provided by my last interview subject, Hip Hop artist Nick Weaver. Nick Weaver asks:
4.) Social media is a must for all DIY artists. Do you work to balance how much social media time you have every day? If so, what steps do you take?

Social media definitely is super important, which can sometimes be overwhelming for an artist. Our philosophy is basically not oversharing and staying genuine. People’s feeds are overflowing with so much of that “content” every day, so we don’t want to be part of all that noise and want to focus on the highlights and most important pieces to share.

5.) Name one artist who’s no longer alive that you wish could have seen perform. Why?

Donny Hathaway… and his live record is exactly why.

6.) Favorite pizza spot in your hometown?

Our favorite spot in Nashville, where we currently live, is Five Points Pizza. As for Birmingham that’s probably up for contention… Davenports, Salvatores and Tortugas are all really really great tho.

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7.) As my final question, as a band you folks enjoy trying the local cuisine and beers of each place you stop at while on tour. What city has the best food? What city has the best local beer? (Please include recommendations, if possible)

Our favorite food city is definitely Austin, Tx. Our friend and album art designer/designer for everything we do lives there and he’s taken us to so many places. I think the place we went to with the best pasta I’ve ever had is called Pettrucci’s. We also went to a taco truck out of an old school bus, I don’t remember what that was called. The best local beer city I think has to be Asheville, North Carolina and you could have any beer from there and it will be good.

 

I have to thank The Brook & The Bluff for taking the time to answer my questions.  I really hope you enjoy what Seattle has to offer in food (I recommend snacking on stuff at Pike Place Market), and what we have to offer in beer (can’t go wrong checking out the bars and breweries around Capitol Hill).  Check them out tomorrow night at the Columbia City Theater, and check out their album “First Place” wherever you get your music.

 

Tacocat Halloween 2019!

Aside from my 7am to 4pm Monday to Friday day job, last week was busy.  Monday, after work I went boxing, and then I attended Rhein Haus’ Super Meat Raffle Monday where in the span of a 2 hour period, they not only raffled off deli quality meat, but also raffled off high dollar gift cards.  I walked away with $90 in gift cards while a friend walked away with $170 in gift cards.  Tuesday was a family member’s birthday dinner.  Wednesday, after work I went to a pro wrestling screening at Rhein Haus, followed by Disney Villain Trivia at Optimism Brewery (4th Place), left with a friend for Drag Bingo at The Runaway, and closed out the night with a great concert at Barboza featuring Joza, Claire George, and Maiah Manser.

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Maiah Manser (above)/Claire George (below)

As much as I loved that show and would highly recommend all three performers, the highlight of my week was the Tacocat Halloween show on Thursday night.  Thursday was Halloween.  I was running on maybe four hours of sleep from the night before and decided I would go boxing after work.  After boxing I went to Starbucks and the café was rocking with a Halloween soundtrack.  The cashier after ringing up my coffee looked at me and said, “I got Cranberries on the brain.”  I looked at him confused, but it hit me after a few seconds, “Zombie” by the Cranberries was playing over the speakers.  I made my way to Neumos after finishing my coffee, and upon entering the room, I was immediately impressed by the stage set up.  The stage had sparkled cowboy boots with skeleton flamingos, a woman praying with heavy goth style makeup, a sparkly background with Tacocat and a spider on it, multiple cauldrons, tombstones, and an area in front of the stage barricaded off with a kiddie pool and tarp.

20191031_213951“Britney Spears Dance Break”

Dog Sister
Dog Sister took the stage a little after 8:30pm to open the show and provide entertaining vignettes between sets throughout the night.  Sporting several outfit changes, I found Dog Sister charming and her between set vignettes were fun if not a little manic.  The vignettes ranged from performing a spell/dumping leaves on the lead singer of Sundae Crush, to a “Britney Spears Dance Break”.  A more memorable vignette came near the end of the night when a mock Jeff Bezos was introduced, ushered into the kiddie pool where he was showered with garbage and eventually hit with a cream pie.  The cream pie hit so hard, the cream hit a number of the audience members directly behind him.  Dog Sister did a great job as the night’s MC and kept the fun going throughout the show.

Sundae Crush
The first opener of the night was Sundae Crush.  From a visual standpoint the band looked great.  The whole band was dressed in various costumes, my favorite being Britney Spears from “Oops I Did It Again” video.  Of the three acts, Sundae Crush was the act I was the least familiar with, but they definitely made a case to see them perform again.  The songs were fun.  Not to mention the lip creature who couldn’t navigate the stage and was essentially blind, why wouldn’t you want to check that band out again?

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Donormaal (above)/Sundae Crush (below)

Donormaal
I’ll be the first to admit, I was wrong about Donormaal.  I’ve seen Donormaal perform at least seven different times in the past three years.  She was normally the opening act for a headliner I was excited to see, and like I’ve done since the first show I attended, I make an effort to watch every performance on the card.  I always felt Donormaal was a mediocre performer and I didn’t understand why so many publications were giving her so much credit as the future of Northwest hip hop.  I saw her twice in 2019, and have to admit, I was wrong.  She killed it and I can totally see how she could be seen as the future of Northwest Hip Hop.  Donormaal announced she would be leaving Seattle soon, but as long as she performs as well as she did that night, then I know she is going to make splash wherever she ends up.

Tacocat
After a brief Raven Hollywood moment, and the Dog Sister vignette featuring the mock Jeff Bezos, Tacocat took the stage.  As they do every year, their costumes were impressive.  It’s hard to pick a standout of the group but I would have to lean towards either Emily as a spirit/ghost, or Bree who was the Space Needle.  It’s one thing to look impressive, but they both seemed like they were having some difficulty performing in their outfits (Emily with the wig and contacts, Bree kept adjusting her hat and the base of the tower kept hitting decorations).  Despite those minor difficulties, if there was a list of currently active Seattle bands that consistently put on solid fun memorable shows, Tacocat has to rank in the top ten, if not top five.  The sold out crowd danced and sang along to all the songs presented from the opening cover of “Zombie” by the Cranberries, to the various hits from their latest album “This Mess is a Place”.  It’s hard to pick single songs that jumped out from this set because the crowd was engaged the entire performance.  The “Zombie” cover was special.  Seeing how hard Lelah would bang on those drums on “New World” was memorable.  During “Bridge to Hawaii” there was an inflatable surf board, crowd surfed around the audience.  Seeing how much the songs from the latest album blended so well with the regular canon was impressive.

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Tacocat

Overall, that night was a lot of fun and energizing.  I did my best to get to sleep but still only got maybe four hours in before I had to get up for work the next morning.  Friday was my rest day.  Other than going to my day job and the gym, I stayed in Friday night and caught up on my sleep.  I feel like I did Halloween week right, and in large part I have to thank Tacocat and the other performers I saw that night.  I may have only gotten eight hours of sleep in two nights, but to see that level of talent two nights in a row, it’s hard to say that it wasn’t worth it.

 

For Photos and Videos of this performance, check out my Instagram: Cakeintherain206

“One fan at a time.” 7 Questions with Nick Weaver

The first time I saw Nick Weaver perform was on a Thursday night at the Vera Project. 

He was the opening act for another local hip hop group, New Track City.  The crowd for Weaver’s set was small at first, but once he got on that mic it quickly grew.  If you ever get the opportunity to see Weaver perform live, be prepared for a level of lyrical fire you rarely hear in hip hop acts today.  Since that initial performance, I’ve seen Weaver kill it at every show of his that I’ve attended.  I’ll usually bring a friend or two to his shows, and Weaver never fails to impress.  I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions.  Here’s my short interview with Nick Weaver:

Lets start with something a little easy.  One of my favorite Northwest Hip Hop songs is Macklemore’s “The Town”. 
1.) The opening line of “The Town”, First memory of Seattle Hip Hop?

Nick Weaver: Not pertaining to Seattle, but first time seeing hip hop in Seattle was Jurassic 5 at Bumbershoot back in 2001. They played in Memorial Stadium, such a great thing to see as a kid.

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I read an older interview of yours from January 2015, where you mentioned that your big four of hip hop were Nas, Biggie, Jay Z, and Eminem. It’s been nearly 5 years since that article was published.
2.) Would you still say those are your big four and would you also say that those artists have had the most influence on your sound?

I definitely still think those 4 artists are the most influential towards my original style. To be honest, these days my sound evolves to something different everyday. The list of artists currently influencing music could be Hot Chip on one day, or Saba on another. Lol. It’s a rollercoaster.

I read one of your artist bios and your experience as a recording artist sounds fascinating. You went from mass producing your own first album onto one of those 100 CD spindles and then selling each one for $2 a CD, to getting millions of plays across streaming sites.
3.) Having experienced the transition from burning your own CDs to Streaming, what advice would you give artists today attempting this similar almost DIY approach?

I hear lots of my peers saying “I just don’t understand why Spotify isn’t giving me love.” It’s no question their music is great. But you absolutely have to have that fanbase that’s LOOKING for your stuff. You do that by playing as many local shows as you can, having engaging social media, and keeping a continuous release stream. Oh, and having money to invest in sponsored ads 🙂

These next 3 questions were provided by my last interview subject, the band Moon Palace. Moon Palace asks:
4.) What is your favorite road snack?

Nutter Butters. It’s not even close. Nutter Butters are the best thing ever. That sugary peanut butter is making my mouth water as I type this.

5.) Favorite venues to play at?

Locally I really love the stage at Neumos, such a great revamp they did a couple years back. The Crocodile’s sound and room layout is heavenly.

6.) What is your dream band to open for?

Jungle. I absolutely love this band and their live show is so incredibly inspiring. They are a massive influence on where my music is heading.

7.) For my final question, I follow you on Instagram and every now and again you talk about a love for coffee. Where can I find the best latte/cup of coffee in Seattle, and also what was the best cup of caffeine you’ve ever had (be it the beans, the preparation, etc. what made it special)?

Bruh ok, this is my favorite question! In Seattle, it’s Porchlight Coffee and Slate. Those are my top two. My FAVORITE, FAVORITE coffee shop is Pallet Roasters in Vancouver, BC. Their Benchmark espresso roast is perfection. However, the BEST cup of caffeine I ever had? Portland’s Albina Press. I had an almond milk latte. The dude working there pulled an incredible shot of espresso. Crema so thick it looked mud on top. Damn.

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I have to thank Nick Weaver for answering my questions and giving me a new coffee place to try out. Check out his website (thenickweaver.com), and check out his latest singles “Lund” and “Meyers Briggs“.

Tips for a Great Bumbershoot 2019

Bumbershoot is one of my favorite events of the year.  Growing up in Seattle I would always hear about the festival, and since 2012, I haven’t missed a single Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival.

I always come back from Bumbershoot having met new people, seen some great bands, and overall feeling like I had just been “recharged”.  Friends will ask “do you have any tips to help maximize my Bumbershoot experience?”  Here are my 5 tips to help maximize your Bumbershoot experience:

5.) The best beer prices are at SIFF Cinema.  If you want to beat the heat, and get away from the crowd, go to SIFF Cinema and catch a collection of films.  Cans of Rainier (in years past) are only $3, there’s non port-o-potty restrooms available, and it’s just an opportunity to sit in the dark away from the sun and the overwhelming crowd for a bit.  It’s a just a good way to rest.

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Flume, Bumbershoot 2017

4.) In years past, the best entrance to the festival grounds is adjacent to the Bagley Wright Theater.  It normally features multiple entrance lanes, a separate entrance for VIP/Emerald pass holders, and a separate ADA entrance.

3.) Review the schedule and plan ahead before attending the festival.  If you want to see a particular act up close and they’re performing at the main stage, get there early.  If you aren’t VIP and the performer is later in the day, expect to get there at least a two or three sets early, and be prepared to stand for long hours.  If they’re not at the main stage and are at one of the minor stages, 10 to 15 minutes before the performance should be fine unless they are the headliner of that stage, then you may want to hang out during the prior performer’s set in order to get a great view.

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Cody Jinks, Bumbershoot 2017

2.) Check out the non musical experiences.  The Bumbershoot team always book some great non musical performers throughout the weekend.  I once saw a panel/podcast recording featuring Bill Nye, Eugene Mirman, and Pete Holmes.  I once saw Paul F Tompkins and Matt Gourley do improv.  The food selections at the B-Eats section are amazing as well.

1.) Go to Bumbershoot with friends but don’t go as a group.  I can’t say this enough, go to Bumbershoot alone.  Going alone to Bumbershoot alone, doesn’t mean you’re by yourself.  Everyone there is on the same mission you are, and as long as you understand that you’re there to have a good time and you’re not trying to ruin anyone else’s good time, everyone will want to have a good time with you.  I usually let my friends know what performers I plan to see that day, and wherever our schedules line up we try to meet at those place, but we never let each other fully dictate our day.  If one person wants to leave early to see another performer, more power to them, we’ll meet up later.  Try going to Bumbershoot alone.

20160902_174317Tyler the Creator, Bumbershoot 2016

If I could sum up my advice for Bumbershoot weekend it would be this:
Try something new.  Open your ears to new music.  Dance with strangers.  Wear a funny hat or try an entirely new look.  Catch a play or a clown or a debate or podcast or a comedian.  You’ll never know who you’ll meet, who you’ll see, or what you’ll do.  If anything if you leave yourself open for something new, it’ll be different than what you expected and provide you an experience, you never knew you could have.  Have fun, stay safe, and stay hydrated.

“We all turn to our communities in darker times and making art feels healing and more important than ever.”: 7 Questions with Moon Palace

Shadowcast

Recently, I was given the opportunity to preview the latest album “Shadowcast” from Seattle indie rock band, Moon Palace.  Twin sisters Cat and Carrie Biell alongside bandmates, Jude Miqueli, and Darcey Zoller create a psychedelia tinged, dusky, 41 minute kind of dream landscape that’s simply captivating. 

The album was like the progression of a day in that songs at the beginning of the album like “Bold” and “Gamma Ray” were energetic, but eventually the album faded into this meditative reflection, culminating in more subdued songs like “Embers” which felt like gathering around a fire at night. If there was any other way I would describe “Shadowcast”, it felt like the soundtrack to a long drive outside of the city.  Like I got in my car in the morning, watched my landscape change around me, and eventually, I’m night driving. I started kind of hyped for this drive, but eventually, it’s just me and my thoughts.  That’s what this album does, it provides a space to reflect.

“Shadowcast” by Moon Palace will be released on August 23rd.  In anticipation of the album’s release I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to ask the band a few questions.  Here’s my short interview with Moon Palace.

1.) What was the inspiration for “Shadowcast”? Was there a particular vibe you were trying to create?
Jude: We made it over the course of a year. Each week we would open ourselves up to what sounds were coming through. I think the record evolved with the changing seasons. For much of the year, Seattle is dark and partly cloudy so that may be why there is a bit of an ominous presence. Once summer hit we wanted to make brighter songs and that’s when “Gamma Ray” emerged. On practice days I’d listen to music on the way to work while riding the bus at 6 AM when it was dark out and text the group what I was listening to. They would text tracks back throughout the workday. Later that night we’d get together, talk about the sounds we wanted to make and get creative. “Shadowcast” was Talking Heads influenced, “Stop When It Hurts” was Sonic Youth, “On the Level” was The Cure, “Bold” was influenced by The Gossip. In the end, I don’t think the songs sound like any of those bands because we weren’t trying to replicate what they were doing even though they were heavy influences. With each song, I want to grow as a drummer so I try new styles or techniques and one way of learning those is by listening to other drummers.

I read an interview in City Arts Magazine, that one of the main things that drew members of the group to Seattle was how queer-friendly the city was. A quote in the article said that you like how Seattle is a “sanctuary city” and that the band was making “sanctuary music”. 
2. I like the idea of “sanctuary music”, but would you mind expanding on that? How would you define “sanctuary music”?
Jude: A sanctuary is a place of refuge or safety. It immediately brings up the idea of church which can be triggering for queers due to having been shamed by religion. But a bird sanctuary can also bring up ideas of a nature reserve and I think our band finds solace in nature. I came here in 2006 after researching where there was queer community on the internet. At that time Seattle had anti-discrimination laws protecting workers based on gender and sexual orientation and where I was from didn’t. I think sanctuary music can be anything that makes you feel safe in a space. Growing up as a teenager in the 90’s for me that was Bratmobile, Bikini Kill, Team Dresch, and Sleater-Kinney. Now when I listen to music at home I’m mostly playing jazz.

Carrie: Cat and I lived in more homogenous suburban area like 20 mins outside of Seattle. As out, queer teenagers, we would drive out to Seattle multiple times a week to be with the community we identified with and who supported us the most. Seattle did feel like a sanctuary in that way at the time. Nowadays it feels like making music in our band is a sanctuary from the current climate in America where hate crimes are on the rise and bigots feel more emboldened. We all turn to our communities in darker times and making art feels healing and more important than ever.

The music video for the song “Hunt and Gather” is amazing. Not only because the song is so good, but visually the video watches more like a high production short film with vibrant cuts and great use of light and shadow which really bring more attention to physical elements of the performers.
3. Was the concept for this video inspired by the song, or did you have this idea of what you wanted the visual to be like as this song was being created and then created a video to best reflect that visual?
Cat: The concept for the video was inspired by the song. An epic song deserved an epic video. The video reflects the process of creating peace with the wounded and unintegrated parts of ourselves. By integrating the ego, the wounded child, the wild one in all of us, we each move through our individual journey of reflection and transformation.

(These next 3 questions were provided by my last interview, the band “Tangerine”.)
4. What’s the last book you read?
Jude: Currently Reading Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown
Carrie: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

5. What was the most stressed you have been on tour and why?
Jude: When I went on a summer tour with a band called Scarves we were in an overheating van driving down I5 while California was burning. None of us had any mechanic skills which is why it was stressful. After a long drive and a mediocre show, we slept on a concrete floor in some dude’s apartment. In the end, we made it down the coast and back, had fun at the beach, and played better shows so it ended up being a good time!

Carrie: I did a west coast tour with my solo project joined by my backing band. We had great shows throughout the tour, but our show in Eugene ended up being really strange. The venue didn’t provide a PA that night and there was very little sound equipment ready even though there were four bands on this bill. One of the local bands ended up running around piecing together a sound system, which I was grateful for. After the show, some of the band members from the other bands invited all of us to some big mansion to party at because somebody was house sitting there. We wanted to take them up on the offer at first because it was a free spot to crash for the night. I felt somewhat reluctant because I was the only woman on the whole lineup of musicians that night and I didn’t see many other women around. We were about to go to the mansion, but then it turned out to be a bunch of drunk dudes all wanting us to get in a hot tub with them. Luckily the guys in my band always looked out for me and we all ended up sort of sneaking away and getting a hotel room for the night instead. I’m grateful to be playing music with more women and genderqueer folks these days 🙂

6. What were some rejected band names you almost had?
Carrie:
Desert Hearts
Wild Embers
Twin Shadow (Already Taken)
Carpet Ride (Too punk rock LOL)

7.) As a final question, I read that each of you are from other parts of the country and have performed in other groups, do you have any advice for other transplants trying to enter the Seattle music scene?
Carrie: I always think it’s a good idea to attend lots of shows and get a feel for the kind of bands and venues that our out here. Try to make friends with other bands and musicians and build a network of supportive fellow musicians who either want to play with you or book shows together. Bookers at venues don’t do as much building of bills anymore so it helps to approach some of the venues with a complete lineup or at least one other band that will bring out people. There are so many musicians and bands here so it can feel daunting to try and get out here, but if you have a few other bands or artists in your corner it really helps.

I also think it’s a great idea to make a professional recording and press them in a professional way so you have a better chance of getting on radio stations like KEXP. KEXP is awesome at supporting local bands and their reach is far and wide. It can be hard to get on their airways since they get tons of submissions, but showing up to the station or mailing an actual professional hard copy of the songs with a radio one-sheet really helps the chances of getting airplay.

 

I have to thank Moon Palace for providing such great answers.  Check out “Shadowcast” available August 23rd, and catch Moon Palace at Clock-Out Lounge on Friday, September 20th.

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.

The Ocean Blue bridge generations at The Crocodile

If I were to describe the music of The Ocean Blue, I would say their sound is timeless.  Albums that came out when the band gained acclaim in the early 90s, still sound as fun, light, and relatable today.  Even their most recent albums, sound distinctly Ocean Blue but fresh.  As if to say we’re still the band you fell in love with but we have songs for the another generation of fans to enjoy.  It’s this appeal that really defined the audience who attended the show at the Crocodile that night.

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The National Honor Society
The first band of the night was The National Honor Society (above).  This was great light hearted rock to open the show.  The music felt like pop rock but with a little more of an edge during a handful of songs.  After the show I mentioned to my younger cousin that I had seen this band perform live and her reaction was, “I saw them a few years ago when they opened for the Jonas Brothers.”  I enjoyed their set and the lead singer mentioned the release of a new EP which I might check out.

The Dirty Sidewalks
The second opener was The Dirty Sidewalks.  If the first band was light hearted rock, The Dirty Sidewalks were rock.  I never thought I would have the urge to mosh at an Ocean Blue concert, but this band almost had me looking for a pit.  I was close enough to the stage, that I could barely hear the vocals but if there was anything I would point to as something that stood out to me, the lead guitarist was fabulous.  I felt all four members sounded great, but the lead guitarist was what drew my attention.  In all, the Dirty Sidewalks provided a variation in musical style for this show.

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The Ocean Blue
Having never seen The Ocean Blue (above) perform live but being a fan of their music, watching them perform live you realize very quickly, they sound as great as they do on their albums.  Most impressive was the ease lead vocalist David Schelzel sang each song.  His voice was as soothing as it sounded in their recordings.  The set list included many fan favorites like “Between Something and Nothing” and “Ballerina Out of Control”, alongside songs which showcased their talent like “Sad Night, Where is the Morning?”, “Cerulean”, and “Mercury”, and new favorites like “Kings and Queens” from their latest album.  The performance enthralled the crowd, singing and dancing along with the band.  The visuals added another element to the show.  Displaying behind the band were art pieces, slowed down visuals of clouds, chemicals and other vistas, and also clips of some of their music videos.  I loved the homage to Seventh Seal.  I really was impressed by the performance and would definitely see them again.  I have to give them extra props for the cover of Joy Division’s “Love will Tear Us Apart”.

The Ocean Blue is one of those bands who’s sound I believe could fit in today’s modern dream pop pantheon.  Their body of work and the performance I saw, shows a veteran band that sounds like they could hang with modern dream pop acts like Alvvays or even Beach House.  What I loved about being in the crowd at that show, although it did skew older, there were still a number of younger fans mixed in.  The Ocean Blue feels like a band that has an appreciation for and draws inspiration from art, and they create music that carries those sentiments.  That’s the kind of music I would like to see passed on for other generations to enjoy.  Music that spreads those feelings of inspiration, and that’s what The Ocean Blue accomplishes.