Monday, January 24, 2011

Full Devil Jacket, now with 100% more Jonathan Montoya!

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
Full Devil Jacket, DeadSun, Halo Stereo, The Bald Ones
12th and Porter, Nashville, TN
See all the photos from this show here

I'm a Saliva fan. Like, a BIG Saliva fan. And one of the things I have loved the most about Saliva is the intense, energetic live shows that they do. So needless to say that I was more than a little surprised this past fall when Saliva announced the swift and apparently involuntary departure of rhythm guitarist Jonathan Montoya. No doubt, he added a very unique and energetic element to the Saliva live shows with his colorful facial expressions, constant interaction with the audience and the endless plumes of water, beer and even Jagermeister that he would spray into the air. It just sort of left their entire fan base quietly saying "Huh?"

So shortly after that, I heard through the grapevine that Jonathan was reuniting with his former band mates in Full Devil Jacket to give it another go. While I was very happy to hear that the only hometown boy in Saliva was back to work, I'd honestly never heard of Full Devil Jacket (lets face it, their one and only full album was ten years ago, and ten years ago, I wasn't even close to paying attention to the local music scene). But I figured that if a musician went from one of my favorite bands directly to another band, it was probably going to be a band I would like.

At the beginning of the year, I spotted Full Devil Jacket on the 12th and Porter calendar for January 22nd, and decided that I had to go and check out Jonathan's new (old) project. And to make it even better, Halo Stereo was opening for them, who I absolutely loved when I saw them open for Saliva a couple of years ago.

When I arrived on the day, I was outfitted with two wristbands (one showing that I had paid, and one showing that I was over 21) and found my way into the venue. It was considerably smaller than I was anticipating, coming in at roughly only the same size as the Muse, though it was much wider and not as deep. I arrived when The Bald Ones were playing.

Beautiful bald eye candy

Anyone who knows me knows that I quite enjoy a gentleman with a bald head, so I didn't mind watching them at all :-)


Halo Stereo was up next, and their performance was great once again. Their lead singer is very expressive and engaging, and their bass player has great energy as well.

The lead singer again, looking intense as he sings and plays the keyboard

DSCF7716 color corrected
After Halo Stereo came DeadSun, who I had also never heard of. I was apparently the only person in the room who hadn't heard of them though, since almost everyone was singing along with their songs and getting VERY into their performance. They were great though, and I'll absolutely try to catch them again.

I also might as well add that this was the point where my camera battery decided to die unexpectedly, so I had to switch to using the camera on my phone. It's an ok camera, but not nearly as good as a regular camera, so bear with me here...

After some intermittent technical difficulties, it was finally time for Full Devil Jacket...


As soon as they took the stage, the crowd was VERY happy to see them! They all kept spotting people in the audience and giving them daps or handshakes, and everyone seemed to be so excited to see them performing together again!

Jonathan Montoya, back on stage in grand style

Jonathan, getting the audience involved

Probably my favorite pic of the night...I can only imagine how good it would have looked if my camera hadn't died!!

Johnny, rocking it hard from the floor

At the end of the show, the lead singer took a moment to sing a few songs with an acoustic guitar. By that point it was about 1:00am, and the show had been going on for almost five hours! I made it through the entire acoustic set, but I was beat by the time he was done. I ran into Jonathan on the way out and gave him my best wishes before heading out.

This show ended up being excellent, and you would never know that Full Devil Jacket had only rehearsed "three times in ten years" like the lead singer said. It was really great to see that Jonathan hadn't lost any of his onstage energy (though apparently he did lose the guyliner, at least for now!). Based on what I saw, I have no doubt that the entire band will rise to the occasion and create some great, powerful music, and will definitely be a band that I keep an eye on. Now the question becomes...what will my first Saliva show without Jonathan be like? It will be interesting to see just what they do to compensate for his absence.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Toasters, live at the Muse

January 21st, 2011
The Toasters, A.K.A. Rudy
The Muse, Nashville, TN
See all the photos from this show here

About a week prior, my friend Diana invited me to go to the Muse with her and her husband Ian to see the Toasters. Now, I like to think that I am fairly well versed in music, but I had never heard of the Toasters, and knew basically nothing about the genre the fall into, which is Ska. But I decided to go anyway, trusting that her taste in music would provide an entertaining evening.

When I arrived, I was able to catch the last two songs by their opener, A.K.A. Rudy. The band had horn players as well as the standard guitar and drum players, and played what seemed to be a cross of rock and jazz. They weren't quite what I was expecting, but then again, I really had no idea what to expect anyway!

Once Diana and Ian arrived, we hung around and waited for the Toasters to take the stage. When they did, it was a completely new kind of concert experience for me! They also had trumpet and slide trombone players, and the audience went CRAZY for them when they started playing! Everyone, almost in unison, started to do this dance that involved kicking your feet in front of you while throwing your elbows back in almost a running in place sort of manner, which simultaneously looked fun, dangerous and exhausting!

DSCF7690 crop color corrected
The Toasters lead singer

DSCF7691 crop color corrected
Mr. Slide Trombone Guy

A crowd shot...the people watching was so great at this show!

Some crowd surfing going on. And the red haired girl..she danced almost continuously through the whole show! No wonder she's so thin!

Here we have striped shirt guy demonstrating the dance, which I later found out is called "Skanking."

Ahh, a bloody nosed casualty of all the skanking. Never fear, by the end of the show, he was right back out there skanking while holding his bloody paper towel to his face.

And finally, Diana and Ian enjoying the show, and doing a little dancing themselves

Really, I had a blast at this show, despite not being familiar with the band or even the genre of music. I can't say that I will be filling my iPod up with Ska music since most of it sounded very, very similar, but it was definitely fun to listen to. Through the show, I made extra sure that I was nowhere near the people who were dancing the most vigorously for fear that I was going to get elbowed right in the face. Diana got a real kick out of my saying that I'd much rather be caught in an ICP mosh pit than a Ska mosh pit! But for real, at the ICP show, people were just moving around and bouncing into each other with their entire body, which didn't hurt the people you were bumping into. But these people were tossing their elbows back with disregard for the people behind them, which resulted in quite a few people getting elbowed pretty hard! I'd much rather someone bump into me full-body than to have a swift, pointed elbow jab me in the face! haha

I really love experiencing new stuff like this, and I had a blast taking a little look into a kind of genre that I was only vaguely aware of before. The Muse is such a cool little venue...can't wait to see who else performs there this year!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

A truly INSANE evening! (with the Insane Clown Posse)

January 14th, 2011
Insane Clown Posse, Dayton Family
Expo Five, Louisville, KY
See all the photos from this show here

Ok, I will be the first to admit that I know Insane Clown Posse (ICP) gets a bad rap for a lot of stuff. The media loves to make them out like they are gang leaders, or people who instigate violence. But simply put, none of that is true, and when you look just a little bit harder at what they have to say, they're actually really entertaining! I take their music with a grain of salt. I don't listen to them so I can pull some deep, heart felt meaning out of their music. I listen to them because they're fun...and funny...and on occasion, they do a great job of addressing social issues. I haven't been listening to them for their entire 20 year career (man, at this point, I haven't even been listening to them for an entire year!), but their longevity and icon status in the underground music scene is really something to be impressed by.

Back in 2001, I worked with a Juggalette (that's a female fan of underground music, with a male fan being a Juggalo) who always talked about how awesome ICP live shows were, and how I should go to one with her. But I always brushed it off since I had never listened to them, and really had no intention of listening to them. But knowing what I knew about their live shows, I decided that at some point in life, I was going to make it to an ICP concert, just for the experience if nothing else. Last year, something peeked my interested and I grabbed a few ICP albums, only to discover that I really enjoyed their music! So I decided that now was the time...time to mark "Go to an ICP concert" off of my bucket list!

I'd originally purchased a ticket for their October 19th, 2010 "Old Sh** Tour" show in Atlanta, but that show eventually got rescheduled to a date in December when I couldn't go. So when they announced a Louisville date for the middle of January, I decided that, come hell or high water (or snow, as the case was), I was going to be there! My friend Pamela also decided to join me, which was great since neither of us had to go alone. The days before the show were filled with many texts to the effect of "OMG I'm so excited!!" and when the day finally came, I swear it was the longest day I have ever spent at work! When 3:30 rolled around, I sprinted out to my car, and practically demolished everything in my way so I could get to Pamela's house quickly. When I arrived, she quickly jumped in, we started my "Best of ICP" playlist, and we were on our way to Louisville as fast as we could legally get there!


During a stop for gas just outside Louisville, Pamela and I decided to go ahead and get our face paint on so we could do it where it was light. I did a freehand-able version of Boondox paint...


...while she went with heavy black eyes and a black smile.

We had a little trouble finding the venue, Expo Five, since the street it was on didn't have a street sign, but we found it easily after stopping at a gas station for directions. It was COLD, and we had to park all the way at the back of the lot by a tree, so I decided to go ahead and wear my hoodie inside since I didn't want to walk all that way without it. Once at the front, we waited in line to get ID'ed, and met four people in front of us who were from Nashville as well. Once at the front, we discovered that anyone who was wearing face paint couldn't get a wristband to drink since the local police decided that people in face paint couldn't be accurately ID'ed. Just as well, since neither of us planned on drinking anyway.

This is my "OMG I'm so excited! I'm about to see ICP!!!" face

Pamela, sporting Xs on her hands. "First time my hand's been x'd in a million years!!"

Just before ICP took the stage

Well, once the show started, it was complete pandemonium! The entire audience was jostling, pushing, shoving, moshing...and everyone was crowding up toward the stage so they could get their share of the Faygo shower action! We both started off on the right hand side of the stage about halfway back, but as soon as ICP came on stage, we quickly lost track of each other. I was pushed up as far as maybe 5 or 6 deep from the stage, but was never able to stay in one place very long because of the pushing and shoving. For most of the show, I ended up slightly left of center, slightly forward of halfway back.

During the show, I managed to grab two two-liter bottles of Diet Faygo Cola. The first fell to the floor near me, so I grabbed it as a souvenir. The second came flying directly at me, so I picked that one right out of the air! Also, during "Santa's a Fat Bi***" there were clown Santas that came out and threw gifts out into the audience. One came flying right toward me, and when a dude in front of me went to grab it, it bounced off his hand and landed right in my hand. Sweet!! Of course, that meant that I needed to be even more careful than I was already being since I then had a gift and two two-liter bottles to hang onto!

A few pics from the show...

IMG_0138 crop color corrected
Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J, doing what they do best

IMG_0142 crop color corrected
Violent J

IMG_0143 crop color corrected
Shaggy and Violent J again

IMG_0158 crop color corrected
Violent J

IMG_0160 crop color corrected
Another Violent J (he stood still for longer than Shaggy did, so I got better pics of him)

IMG_0167 crop
Shaggy with lots of colorful lights

IMG_0163 crop color corrected
Violent J, once again

A very cool pic, if I do say so myself

You can't really tell what was going on here just by the photo, but this is Shaggy emptying an entire two-liter of Faygo over his head

And if this photo doesn't sum up the experience, I don't know what does

By the time the show was done, I was almost completely soaked in Faygo. During "Murder Go Round" some clowns had come out with Faygo sprayers that acted like giant super soakers, soaking people much farther back than the individual bottles that Violent J and Shaggy were spraying. And their finale...HOLY COW. The last song was "I'm Coming Home," at which point they brought out Corporal Robinson and 2 Tuff Tony, as well as all of the Dayton Family and all the clowns who had been spraying Faygo during the show...and they just started unloading all the remaining Faygo into the crowd! It felt like it went on forever, and I just kept getting more and more and more soaked! At one point, I closed my eyes to wipe the Faygo out of them, and a mostly full two-liter came barreling right at me and beaned me in the shoulder! Ouch! But Pamela said that a guy near her got smacked in the face with one and started bleeding, so I was very glad that it had only hit my shoulder!

The aftermath


Oh yuck! I am SO not cute in that photo, but as you can see, I had a blast, and the only part of me that was dry was a little bit on my legs. Before leaving, I opened the gift I'd caught, and it was a 3X Gathering t-shirt from last year's Gathering. How awesome! But since I knew I wouldn't wear 3X regularly, I jumped back inside and bought a t-shirt to commemorate the event.

Pamela, also soaked, looking only slightly worse for the wear

That's two happy chicks right there. You'd never know that we were shivering when this was taken!

The walk back to the car was excruciatingly cold. It had to have been well below freezing, and there I was, soaked in soda! After putting some plastic on my car seats, we started back toward Nashville, and made a stop at a truck stop a few exits down the road so we could change and rinse our hair out. Not surprisingly, we were not the only people there who had just come from the show! We made it back to Nashville around 2:30am, which was pretty good, all told.

I really can't say enough about how AWESOME this experience was! It was a complete mad house from start to finish, with people packed in and jostling around like I've never experienced before. Really, when I saw Twiztid last November, I thought *that* was a crazy show, but boy was I wrong! It didn't hold a candle to ICP. I am very, very glad that I put forth the effort to see them during this tour, and every mile we drove was absolutely worth it. It's times like these that make me so glad to be alive, and to be able to have experiences that I will remember forever. And it's nice to find out sometimes that I really am younger than my age says I am :-)


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My first foray into blogging & a recap of 2010

Starting in the fall of 2009, I rediscovered my love of live music. When I was in high school, it was nothing to go to multiple concerts a year, either at intimate venues like the long gone away 328 Performance Hall or larger events at the also long gone away Starwood Amphitheater. I saw the likes of Counting Crows (four times!), Weezer, Stone Temple Pilots, the Wallflowers, Live and Smashing Pumpkins among many, many others. But once I hit college, the concert going all but stopped. I managed to make it to a few shows over the following decade, most notably Saliva, Cypress Hill, Davy Jones and an amazing performance by Simon and Garfunkel on their Old Friends tour. But that was pretty much it. It got pushed very far onto the back burner as travel moved to the forefront of my wallet.

But on one boring Sunday night in August of 2009, I was vividly and LOUDLY reminded of just why I loved concerts in my teenage years. I heard that Saliva was playing at a small bar/music hall in Murfreesboro, TN, and ultimately talked myself into making the 45 minute drive to the venue so I could go. I had caught a show of theirs during the Survival of the Sickest tour a few years prior and remembered having a great time, so I figured that it would be an evening and $20 well spent.

Well, to say that I enjoyed myself is the understatement of the year. It was was was intense...and it brought back every memory of exactly what it was that I loved about live music in high school. A good concert just lets you step out of your real life for a few moments and just enjoy something that's fun. Nothing else matters for that little slice of time except for who's performing, what they're singing, who you're with and how much more your ears can take!

Two more Saliva shows in Evansville, IN and Decatur, AL rounded out the year, and I ended up making one single resolution for 2010. More live music. LOTS more. My initial resolution was to go to 5 shows, with at least two of them being Saliva shows. I later amended that to 12 shows, with at least two being Saliva shows. Ultimately, I went to 11 shows...just one shy of my goal, so I was very happy with that. And yes, two of them were Saliva shows :-)

As 2011 rolled around, I decided to make the same resolution for the new year. 12 shows in 12 months. And I'm sure that I will make it this time.

The point of this blog is to share my experiences and photos from the shows I go to in 2011. Since I already have tickets purchased for two shows in January, I figured that I better get this blog established ASAP!

So here's a quick recap of what went on during my musical escapades in 2010...

January 20th, 2010
Better than Ezra
Wildhorse Saloon - Nashville, TN

The first show of the year was Better than Ezra, who I absolutely loved in high school. The show was good, though I did learn the hard way not to wear heels to a concert! Ouch! By the end of the show, I had to give up my front row spot just so I could sit down and get off my feet!




April 1st, 2010
Seven Mary Three, Marcy Playground, Sponge
Wildhorse Saloon - Nashville, TN

February and March both passed without a single good show in my area, but I started April off right at the 102.9 the Buzz Birthday Bash. The tickets were reasonably priced, and all three bands put forth great performances, though Marcy Playground was my favorite of the three.




May 13th, 2010
Saliva, Since October
Sammy T's Music Hall - Huntsville, AL

Hands down, my favorite show of the year was the Saliva and Since October show in May. Since it fell on the first day of my weekend, I got a hotel for the night, and decided to make a weekend of it. After a soak in the tub, and a good long while of lingering over my hair and makeup, I made my way to the venue. The guys from Since October were hanging around in front of the club, so I got to meet all of them, and had a great time hanging out with Smootch and new friends Janelle and Jeremy. Anchored opened, followed by an awesome performance by Since October, and then the most incredible Saliva performance ever! Lead singer Josey Scott was so close to the audience that we were able to touch his stomach as he sang! For this raging Saliva fan, it was the ultimate concert experience!




DSCF5202 crop




DSCF5274 crop

May 21st, 2010
Three Days Grace, Apocalyptica, Halestorm, Three Doors Down
Municipal Auditorium - Nashville, TN

The Buzz Hootenanny in late May ended up being the least impressive of the shows of the year. The line to get in the venue was ridiculous, stretching literally all the way around the block. Also, the general admission seats were simply too far away to give a good concert experience, and concert goers were confined to the far stretches of the cheap seats while over half of the main floor went empty. Three Doors Down was fine except that their set was extremely short, and Halestorm just wasn't impressive at all. Apocalyptica was just truly lame, and as much as I wanted to think that playing cellos in a rock band was wasn't. They sucked. Luckily Three Day's Grace swooped in and saved the day, but their performance would have been ten times better had I been on the main floor. Oh well. Live and learn.




June 4th, 2010
Saliva, Adelita's Way, Puddle of Mudd
Wildhorse Saloon - Nashville, TN

Finally Saliva came back to Nashville. Through a series of unfortunately misinformed employees, I ended up paying $70 for a meet and greet for this show, and Saliva wasn't even included. So I did get to spend about 15 seconds talking to Puddle of Mudd, but didn't get to see them perform since I left early to hobnob with Saliva behind the club. This show also convinced me that the Wildhorse sucks as a venue for hard rock shows. The Adelita's Way performance was great though, and Saliva was awesome as well, though I do prefer when they are headlining.

Wes Scantlin pointing at my boobs




August 15th, 2010
Marcy Playground
3rd and Lindsley - Nashville, TN

Since I had enjoyed Marcy Playground's performance in April so much, I decided to see them again in August. I ended up running into my friend John at this show as well, which was great.



August 27th, 2010
Since October
Buzz Acoustic Den - Nashville, TN

In an incredibly wonderful twist of fate, I won a pass to see Since October (who was, by now, one of my favorite bands) at the 102.9 the Buzz Acoustic Den in late August. When I arrived, I found that I was one of only 11 people attending the show! It was truly amazing to attend such an intimate show by one of my favorite bands! After the show, the band hung around for as many photos as we wanted, and chatted with me like they'd known me forever. Awesome show...awesome guys...awesome day!



DSCF6772 crop

October 14th, 2010
Brent Mason
3rd and Lindsley - Nashville, TN

In October, a friend from Canada made his first trip to Nashville and invited me to see Brent Mason with him. I had never heard of Brent Mason, but I quickly found out that he is an incredibly famous, incredibly talented guitarist who has worked with seemingly everyone in town. Even though I would tend to choose harder rock shows, I really had a great time experiencing something new!



November 5th, 2010
Since October, American Bang
Crossroads Music Hall - Huntsville, AL

To start off what would be a fantastic November, I made the drive down to Huntsville to hang with Smootch and see Since October for the final time of the year. The show was great as always, and all of the guys recognized me from the acoustic show in Nashville!



November 15th, 2010
Anybody Killa (ABK), Critical Bill, Ajax
The Muse - Nashville, TN

By the middle of November, I was ready to embrace my new-found interest in Psychopathic music and the Juggalo culture and see ABK perform at the Muse. For my first Psy show, I had a great time! I'm not the biggest ABK fan, but he gave a great performance...much better than I was expecting, actually. I also saw Critical Bill, who I had never heard of at the time. I was very impressed with them, and since the show, I've become a big fan of theirs as well!


DSCF6903 color corrected

DSCF6905 color corrected

November 28th, 2010
Twiztid, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, DJ Clay
The Masquerade - Atlanta, GA

The last show of the year was one of the best, and also one of the craziest! I knew not to expect a subdued, sophisticated crowd, and when I arrived in Atlanta, I was not surprised at all to see a few hundred of the wildest, most fun concert goers I'd ever seen. The show was fantastic, and I was so glad that I had put forth the extra effort to see Twiztid during their World of Webs tour. The whole room was basically one big mosh pit, and there were crowd surfers, weed smokers and a lot of water flying everywhere. It was truly unlike anything I'd ever experienced a great way!

DSCF7043 crop color corrected

DSCF7059 crop


DSCF7099 crop

So there you have it. That was my 2010. I can only expect that 2011 will be equally entertaining, if not more! My first two shows of the year are within the next two weeks...Insane Clown Posse at Expo Five in Louisville, and Full Devil Jacket at 12th and Porter in Nashville. I've had "Go to an ICP show" on my bucket list for about a decade, so I am very excited to be able to cross another thing off the list.

Til next time!