Thursday, December 18, 2008
Last night I attended Q101's Twisted 15 at Chicago's House of Blues. Q101 is the local radio station specializing in playing alternative music. Each year the station puts on their Twisted concert series featuring several great bands over 3 days. Twisted 15 brought to the stage bands such as Cold War Kids, Eagles of Death Metal, Scott Weiland, Saving Abel, Shinedown, Theory of a Deadman, and Saliva.
I got to see The Gaslight Anthem open up for Saving Abel. Saving Abel currently has the number 1 rock song in the nation called Addicted. Once Saving Abel finished their set, they passed the torch on to one of my favorite rock bands in the world Shinedown!
Now I have seen Shinedown a handful of times and loved every single one, but tonights show was different. Besides being picked out of the crowd and invited into a private box by the Admiral Gentleman's Club girls, Brent (the lead singer of Shinedown) seemed to be having troubles with his vocals. I have paid attention to his vocals in the past. The guy not only has a powerful voice, but for a guy with demon eyes and long greasy hair, Brent has one of the prettiest voices! Last night however he was not able to hit his higher notes and seemed to be signing rather quietly. He did talk a lot and got the room buzzing with tons of energy, but his voice was a little off. Nevertheless, the show was great and I will never forget hanging out at a rock show with 15 strippers! Ha!
For those of you who do not know of Shinedown, check them out at www.shinedown.com!
Within the last month, I have loaded up on music. From fresh new releases to stuff I waited to get my hands on.
Here is a list of some of the tunes that are constantly blaring through my speakers:
- Fall Out Boy- Coffee Is For Closers
- All American Rejects- Gives You Hell
- Plain White T's- 1,2,3,4
- Adele- Chasing 1988 (Mick Boogie Remix)
- MGMT- Electric Eel
- Vampire Weekend- The Kids Don't Stand A Chance
- T.I.- No Matter What
- Angel Taylor- Make Me Believe
- Cold War Kids- Something Is Not Right With Me
- Kings Of Leon- Closer
- Meiko- Boys With Girlfriends
- The Killers- Spaceman
- Civil Twilight- Letters From The Sky
- MGMT- Youth
- The Fray- You Found Me
To celebrate the holidays, Comma Music and Warner Music Group put on their annual Christmas party. In addition to the 312unes cooler filled with delicious beer and some spiked egg, the party also had a special performance by Grammy-nominated artist Plain White T's.
Fresh off their release of their latest album Big Bad World, the T's played 5 songs including their new hit 1,2,3,4, Meet Me In California, Big Bad World, an original Christmas jingle, and the world famous hit Hey There Delilah. After their set, the guys hung around and mingled with the crowd!
Check out some pictures from the party.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
On Saturday, the crew headed out to Estes State Park to snowshoe in the Rocky Mountains.
We first hiked around Bear Lake, a beautiful lake located at 9,500 feet. This was a pretty easy trek for there were not many elevation changes.
Then we headed up the mountain to find the frozen falls. Snowshoeing up the mountain was beautiful. At a warm 35 degrees, we were never cold. The snow was fairly fresh, but easy to manage. We made it up to about 11,000 feet just right above the frozen water fall. The views were breathtaking. It is hard to believe Everest is almost 3 times as high. I can't imagine what that must look and feel like.
After the hike, we went exploring for some wild life and did we ever find some. We rolled up upon a pack of 200 wild elk grazing in the grass and the bottom of the mountain. There were so many of them and they were right next to our vehicle.
Pictures are from along the journey.
Fort Collins is also home to Odell Brewing Company, a smaller brewery than New Belgium, but with just as good of beers.
We did not tour this brewery, but we did seat ourselves in their tasting room and had a few samples. For $4, we were treated to 6 of their signature beers including Cutthroat Porter, Easy Street Wheat, 5 Barrel Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Levity Amber Ale, and 90 Shilling.
Check them out when you are in Fort Collins or check them out online at www.odells.com.
Pictures of our beers and their logo.
Fort Collins is home to the New Belgium Brewery, makers of the famous beer Fat Tire. Founded by an engineer (Jeff) and his wife Kim, a social worker, the owners became interested in brewing beer on a trip to Europe. During their travels, they learned that some of the best beers they had were in Belgium. So they brought back what they learned in Belgium and began brewing beer in the basement of their house. After brewing three different beers and spreading them to their friends, the beer became such a demand that their home brewery overtook the family house. Eventually Jeff bought some land in Fort Collins and opened the brewery we toured.
New Belgium Brewery is known for their amber ale Fat Tire, named because people in Europe had never seen a mountain bike and wondered what was up with the fat tire. They also have Abbey, a Belgian Ale, Skinny Dip, another Belgian Ale, and about 12 other beers.
Our tour was incredible. The place is filled with neat trinkets and old style bicycles. The bicycles are given to employees on their year anniversary as a way of promoting being green and riding to work. The tour gave us a chance to see the brewery, sample lots of beers, and purchase NBB merchandies. During the tour, our tour guide asked if anyone wanted to pour samples. Me, being the fan of beer I am, jumped behind the bar and poured away. It was a very cool experience. I felt like I worked for the place!
If you are ever in Fort Collins, definitely check out New Belgium Brewery. You will go home happy, drunk, and with great beer for cheap. (A new growler is 9 bucks and to fill its only $3.50.)
Pictures include me in front of the sign on the signature bike, all of the tappers, me pouring beer, and some cool art around the place.
I recently took a mini vacation to visit my best man (Matt Yehl) and his wife in Colorado. They live about an hour outside of Denver in Fort Collins. We arrived during a crazy snowstorm brining in about 8 inches of snow, forcing our plane to wait for the plows to clear the runway. Once we got our luggage, we had to head about a mile away from the airport to get to the Yehl's home. After meandering through cars in ditches and almost being put in the ditch ourselves after a plow cut us off, we began out weekend.
The next few posts will show our adventures through the Rocky Mountain state.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
A few weeks ago an artist by the name of Amie Miriello stopped by our office to introduce herself and play a few songs.
A Connecticut native, Amie moved to New York to pursue a career in music. Her first attempt landed her in a band called Dirty Blonde. Funny thing about that is that Amie is a pure Italian brunette, so she had to dye her hair regularly to keep up with the name. She told us her hair was so bleached that it was falling out. To fully express herself, Amie left Dirty Blonde and began working on her solo career. Alongside her childhood friend Jay Dmuchowski, the two got noticed playing acoustic gigs throughout NYC and caught enough attention to get signed to Jive Records. Amie recently put out her debut album I Came Around.
Amie's music draws inspiration from other female artists like Ani DiFranco, Stevie Nicks, Fionna Apple, and Alanis Morissette. In addition to her powerful voice, Amie has the brash personality a former bartender would have. Every other word out of her mouth was some version of profanity, but coming from a petite Italian girl, it came off as sexy.
Amie just wrapped up a tour with Bob Schneider and is working hard to promote her album.
Check her out at www.amiemiriello.com.
Pictures- Of Amie and when she stopped by our office.
Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of meeting a very talented young artist named Andrew Ripp.
Calling his home both Chicago and Los Angeles, Ripp tours the US spreading his honest soulful sound. When I first heard him, artists like Ray Lamontagne, Marc Broussard, and Jason Mraz came mind. His hard work ethic and warm personality really compliment his fantastic music.
Ripp just recently put out a new EP; Fifty Miles from Chciago. With Fifty Miles to Chicago, Ripp aimed to create an organic album reminiscent of those made in the 70’s and by artists like Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, and Hank Williams. From the electricity of the full band backed, organ-driven groove of "Get Your Smile On", to the solo acoustic guitar and vocals of "It’s All Good", and the heart-wrenching rock ballad of "Dresden Wine", he does just that.
Check out Andrew Ripp at www.myspace.com/andrewripp
See picture above for tour information.
After the Fall Out Boy concert, most people headed over to Pete Wentz's bar Angels and Kings.
Packed from wall to wall, the lucky few who made it in got to see a special performance from Canadian indie rock banders Tokyo Police Club.
They four guys took over the tiny stage and kept the party rockin' til early into the next morning.
Check out the guys at www.tokyopoliceclub.com.
Last night at the Chicago Theatre Fall Out Boy gave their fans an early Christmas present by putting on a free show. Members of the FOB fan club were invited to the theatre to get a sneak peek at their upcoming album Folie a Deux. The concert will air on Fuse TV on December 16th at 9PM ET.
I was one of the likely fans to attend the show last night! The boys overtook the Chicago Theatre with pyrotechnics, huge vibrant art displays, lights, and enough energy to power the city. Pete Wentz, fresh off having his baby Bronx, did his part as leader of the band, but Pat's vocals were what carried the show. At one point, Pat played all by himself in front of the packed audience. The band together played everything from Dance, Dance to their new hit I Don't Care to others like Sugar, We're Going Down and This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race. It was all a great mix of sight and sound. The highlight of the concert was the dancing bears (two guys dressed in full body bear costumes dancing around the stage...hilarious).
People in the crowd included Andrew Ripp, De'Mar Hamilton (drummer of Plain White T's), and William Beckett (singer of The Academy Is...).
Funny quote from Pete Wentz..."I don't have a helicopter, but I got the Ferrari and the private jet!"
Check back for pictures and video!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Hey Ben Harper fans, Ben is working on a side project that he says plays "absolute, unapologetic rock music".
They are called Relentless7 and consist of:
Ben Harper-Slide guitar, vocals
Jason Mozersky- Lead guitars
Jordan Richardson- Drums
Jesse Ingalls- Bass, Keys
Check them out at www.relentless7.com.
In the advertising and marketing worlds, it seems as if every agency and their moms are hosting artist showcases every day, and yesterday was no exception. Most of these showcases greet you with grandiose plates of food, enough beer and wine to get your drunk for the entire weekend (too bad it was noon yesterday), and a plethora of CDs to take home in hopes that one may like a tune and want to use it in their next big project.
Yesterday's showcase featured David Ford and Ingrid Michaelson...yes the girl who sings about buying you Rogaine. David Ford, a songster from England as he calls himself, first took to the stage of the mini-theater. A colorful lad, Ford briefed us by telling us it was early for him and that his brain was still waking up. But for just waking up, he really impressed me. His lyrics drive deep and touch on politics, love, being away from home, and the pathetic economy due in part to a defunct credit system. Not hearing him before, I was quick to tell his influences could have been Damien Rice, Howie Day (She Says Howie Day), and a little Irish sound like Dropkick Murphys. Ford definitely has a solid sound and a highly recommend checking him out!
Then Ingrid took the floor. Now 99.9% of the world knows of Ingrid thanks to a placement in an Old Navy commercial. That quickly took a no-name artist playing in coffee houses to headliner on a massive US tour. Who would have thought that using the lyrics like "I'll buy you Rogaine, when you loose all of your hair" would propel someone's career? Aside from that song, which is called The Way I Am, Michaelson has an artsy folky sound that works very well. Backed by a drummer, a bass player, and two female guitar players who lend the vocals, Ingrid's troupe tickles the ears and puts a smile on your face.
After the showcase, I was invited to see them play at Park West. In addition to David Ford, who by the way put on a crazy amazing show live with looping pedals and passionate vocals, and Ingrid Michaelson, who did an impressive version of Radiohead's Creep, Newton Faulkner graced the stage as well.
Now Newton Faulkner is another English gentleman, but with blonde dreads down to his butt and a major label (Sony BMG) backing him. I had repped Newton for Aware Records, so I was very familiar with his music, but I didnt realize he had the personality like he did. A storyteller for sure, Newton explained to the crowd how he was invited to play for a radio station early in his career and they requested he cover a song. Now Newton is a man of his own music, so this was a challenge for him. For 3 days he crammed to learn as many covers as he could including Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and even Dead or Alive's You Spin Me Round. A person close to him told him to avoid the latter and go with Massive Attack's Teardrop. Newton played all three and I have to say, his version of You Spin Me Round was hilarious! Overall his performance lit up the crowd and opened himself up to many new fans. He masterfully used his guitar as indeed a guitar in addition to bongo drums and a scratch pad, and used bass pedals to further emphasize his massive sound.
Check out all 3 artists:
David Ford www.myspace.com/davidford
Ingrid Michaelson www.myspace.com/ingridmichaelson
Newton Faulkner www.myspace.com/newtonfaulkner
**Ingrid introduced a new song called Everybody. Look for it. I think it is going to be her next hit. Very well produced catchy tune**
Friday, November 14, 2008
As an Aware Rep, it is my duty to help spread the word about great musicians that you should listen to and get to know. In the past, we have helped propel the careers of Jackopierce, Mat Kearney, The Working Title, and The Heyday.
Today, I would like to introduce to you Angel Taylor. Angel is a singer/songwriter/piano player with a sound she describes as "a beating heart on a sleeve". Expect to hear her music on Grey's Anatomy on of these days!
Check her out at www.myspace.com/angeltaylor
Or check her out at Schubas (Chicago) on December 10th.