Archive for the ‘Shows’ Category

Since my last post, I quit my job of 14 years, started working in Hollywood (for a social media platform), and ran off to SXSW in a van to help tour manage one of my favorite pop artists. Talk about a whirlwind year so far.

When I sit here and think about it, the events of the past three months, hell, the past two years seem unbelievable. Yet, here I am.

My very first SXSW was a blast. It was 10 days of sleepless nights, exhaustion, anxiety and frustration, all overcome by the mere fact that I was on a high doing what I’ve dreamed and surrounded by music the entire time. I was also lucky in that I was adopted by veterans, nay, SXSW professionals. They knew the best parties, the best swag, the best people. Though half my time was spent working, at the end of the day I was the happiest that I’ve ever been.

But enough about personal epiphanies. Here’s a list of my best musical experiences (in no particular order): (more…)

Live Report: Simon AmstellNumb
Largo at the Coronet – Los Angeles, CA
Friday, May 3, 2013 @ 20:00

I belatedly realized I should have written a follow up to this post. I’ve seen Simon a second time. He’s still brilliant, still funny. But that night, his genius was slightly upended by a mouse. About halfway through the set, a murmur went through the crowd. It got louder until Simon actually stopped and looked where someone was pointing.

“What? Where? Under the piano?”

Indeed, as he cautiously and incredulously approached said instrument, sitting forgotten at the end of the stage, a tiny brown rodent shot out from underneath it, and disappeared quickly behind the backstage curtain.

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Pit Wristbands

Rolling Stones: Pit Wristbands

Live Report: Rolling Stones – 50 and Counting…
Honda Center – Anaheim, CA
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 21:00

If you had told me last year that I would be seeing the Rolling Stones in concert, I would not have believed you. If you had said I would be seeing the Rolling Stones in concert, from the pit, I would’ve called you mad. But that is exactly what happened last Wednesday- an unbelievable display of age-defying musicality and showmanship I would have never in a million years expected to be able to experience in my lifetime.

When they first announced the tour, I just wanted to get in the building so opted for the “cheap” lottery seats. $85 is more than I normally pay for shows but it was such a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I couldn’t resist. It was a bit nerve-wracking not knowing where we would end up at the venue but on the day of the show, we packed up the binoculars and hoped for the best.

Some people have asked me how the seat lottery works. (more…)

Bryce Soderberg & the 2nd Wheel + Charming Liars
Monday; March 25, 2013 @ 7:30 PM
  The Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA

I originally went to this show just for the 2nd Wheel. I’ve been an on-again-off-again fan of Lifehouse a few years now and have seen them live a handful of times. One of my fave songs is “Wrecking Ball,” a sweet, catchy thing with brighter vocals than their usual fare. The change perplexed me until I found out their bassist, Bryce had taken lead mic. So I was incredibly excited when Bryce announced his solo work with 2nd Wheel. They released “Stardust” via Bandpage earlier this year and I immediately fell in love.

Fast forward a few months later, Bryce announced he’d be opening a show at the Troubadour. (more…)

Live Report: Simon Amstell – Numb

Posted: November 15, 2012 in Shows
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Live Report: Simon AmstellNumb
Largo at the Coronet – Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 @ 20:00

(Quick note: In case it wasn’t obvious or you haven’t watched the video yet, the clip above is NOT from the LA show being reviewed. It’s from Simon’s Brooklyn Warm-up 2012.07.19)

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I decided to brave hellish LA traffic to see Simon Amstell Tuesday night. As I drove, every route my GPS turned bright red, telling me I basically had a better chance trying to walk to Hollywood. Despite angry honking hybrids, largely indifferent trucks, and several near misses, I made it to the theater with about 20 minutes to spare.

The Largo is slightly beautiful. It had a very cozy sort of feel, with three distinct areas- the front room with the bar, the larger reception area with scattered tables, and the coffee counter in the back near the restrooms. I didn’t linger though, being too intimidated to take the time to look around, as well as frazzled from the harrowing ride. I just wanted to find my seat so I could chill out and take in the fact that I was there, sitting at the Largo, about to see Simon Amstell.

As I settled down, it occurred to me to question what I was doing there. I didn’t even know the man existed at the beginning of this year. The last few months have seen a great influx of British comedy in my life, largely spearheaded by the “whimsical musical pop quiz,” Never Mind the Buzzcocks, which Simon used to host. Had the rabbit suit really made that much of an impression?

Apparently so. While I was largely unfamiliar with his work outside the show, what I saw during those episodes was enough to make me curious enough to spend money I didn’t exactly have (even if it “wasn’t that much” according to Simon) to see the man in action. I’d only been to one other comedy show in my life, for a work social. I was nervous- equally for myself as I was going alone, and for him. I’m not entirely sure why. There’s something frightening about getting up onstage and baring your soul in front of strangers, hoping to get a laugh. Maybe I was projecting my own fears onto him.

Before I knew it, the theater had filled up and they were locking us in- I mean, closing the doors. The house lights went down, the spotlights came up, and Simon was crossing the stage with this unsure-but-game sort of stride. He reminded me of a shy child, pushed reluctantly onstage to perform by his mum, despite the fact that he was secretly a ham and couldn’t wait to get out there. He deposited a water bottle onto a nearby stool (or table, or something) and liberated the microphone. He surveyed the crowd with what I imagined to be a shrewd gaze, cleverly disguised by wide eyes and a slightly rabbit-in-headlights look, before uttering his first word.

“Hello.”

It was soft, wavering, a bit unsure, maybe even hesitant. It also earned him his first laugh. With one word, he’d confessed his anxiety about the show, simultaneously putting us at ease and in the position of taking care of his seemingly fragile ego. Who could think of heckling this frightened-looking creature who’d come all this way across the pond, in hopes of bringing some laughter to our lives? In that moment, I remember thinking, “Oh he’s good.” He was either the sweetest, most charming person or the most calculating professional comedian I’ve ever seen. The truth, I’m sure lies somewhere in-between.

I won’t go into too much detail about the set. I’d half heard one of the lines before I went in and it didn’t have quite the punch when it was delivered during the show. I wished I hadn’t heard any of it to be honest, to maximize the impact of the performance. The video above is more than enough to give an idea. There was so much material, touching on a wide variety of topics- from childhood traumas to spiritual quests, from breakups to hookups, from boy to man to cat to cat-man. I couldn’t stop laughing, and was in actual pain at one point, clutching my stomach and doubled over in my seat from lack of breath.

As he took his final bows, I had to fight not to run up and hug him. Only the touch of cynicism kept me from acting, reminding me that he was a professional comedian and made a living provoking these types of reactions. By the time I cast that little voice aside (it only rears its ugly head when I’m afraid of being wrong), he had disappeared, saving both of us from a potentially awkward moment.

In truth, I loved every moment of the show. I wanted nothing more than to squish him like a plushie until he squeaked afterwards, and thank him for being awkwardly brave and adorably honest. His talent with words enabled him to deftly navigate uncomfortable subjects, even as he challenged mainstream beliefs and social conventions. His stories, told mostly from the point of view of an outsider looking in, made me want to root for him regardless of whatever situation he found himself in. As someone who is rather shy, uncomfortable in new situations, and tends to stay on the fringes instead of shine in the middle of things, a lot of what he said hit home. Often, I feel like the odd one out because my views aren’t quite the norm. It was so refreshing to hear someone I respected, share and validate some of that. I walked away inspired and hopeful that if he could find a place in this world, so could I.

Numb moves on to Theater 80 at St. Marks in New York, with performances from 11/15-11/17 and 11/19-11/21. Get your tickets here. If there is any chance at all you might get to see this show, either live or perhaps on DVD or TV, watch it. I cannot recommend it enough.

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For those of you who might want more of a sneak peek (though I still discourage this) or perhaps have seen the show and would like to relive, here are a few of my favorite moments, written as dryly as possible so as to hopefully minimize the spoiling:

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