Buzz Under The Stars

May 28, 2009


I had been looking forward to this concert for months. As the days passed and Friday, May 22nd, 2009 came my stomach was boiling with much anticipation. You are probably thinking I had the best time ever and there is no way I could ever forget a concert like this. Well, it was a lot of fun, but I had been stoked to get to see Taking Back Sunday and The Used in just one show! I saw them both from afar and if I was being honest, I am a little sad.

The outdoor venue was huge. There were people just about everywhere. With little tents set up for drinks, merchandise, and even a VIP area. People with hair dyed wild colors and strange hair styles, tattoos, and about a million piercings; short people, tall people, and the list goes on.

Anberlin were the first band to play. I have now seen them in concert three times! Anberlin were putting a lot of effort into that performance, but very few people would move around to their music. Now I really do like Anberlin, but the gig is just starting to get old and I was ubber excited to see Taking Back Sunday. I don’t think Anberlin played more than five or six songs before they left the stage, but they had fun with it.

During the intermission the crowd would inch forward and Tracey, my mother, and I tried to socialize a little with a couple people around us. Including two boys who proved to be nice; one of them was named Kelvin. When I looked around I would see angry boys or smiling faces. I could smell pot once again, cigarettes, and beer. I could feel the tension build as Alkaline Trio’s performance was about to start. I heard yelling and turned around to see Kelvin grabbing a guy’s shirt. I don’t know how they got into a spat, but I was a little worried a fight just might break out. Kelvin shoved the passerby off and cooled down. “It kinda gets the adrenaline goin’ don’t ya think?” Kelvin smiled, not really directing the question to anyone in particular.

I’m not even sure if Alkaline Trio were two songs into there set when a mosh pit broke out. As some of you may not know, a terrified look spreads across my face whenever I am near a mosh pit. I turned around to see my mother’s face for a sense of protection. One girl says to me, “It’s okay, I got you.” I smiled and said thank you. While people are moshing all I could think was that I am anything but hardcore. How can these kids enjoy banging themselves up for no real reason?? The last mosh pit I saw, I was literally standing right next to it. Though, those boys were having fun with it. These people in the mosh pit during Alkaline Trio’s set were mean to each other. In fact, I am pretty sure I saw a couple of people punching each other. There would be boys with their girlfriends pushing out of the crowd. I heard one of them say, “She needs help.”

At the beginning of The Used’s set I was singing to “Liar Liar (Burn In Hell)” (which I love dearly) when a drunk guy knocked into me. He took a look at me and noticed that I’m was a bit younger than most of the kids there. Kelvin’s friend pulled him off me, then the drunk says, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” repeatedly. As the drunk is ready to push in front of me I was fine with it, all I wanted was for him to be gone. The drunk reaches across and his hand accidentially brushed against my chest. “I didn’t touch her! I swear I didn’t touch her…” he said over and over. I panicked more than I did when the first mosh pit broke out. My mom pleads, “Just go. Just go.” “Please,” I added. With the fresh air shortage and the angry boys I told my mother, “Let’s go. We need to go.” I grabbed Tracey’s hand and we shouldered our way away from the stage.

Finally we had space, I bent over and took a couple deep breaths and said, “Let’s go buy merch.” I walked over to the big merchandise table set under a small roof. I was eyeing a yellow T-shirt that read, “I used to be in Taking Back Sunday”. I smiled to myself and asked the woman at the table, “Can I see the yellow Taking Back Sunday T-shirt in a small?” “Sure,” she replied, turning around to find one my size. The woman layed the shirt out on the table and all I was thinking is, Jeez, this is a size small?? “Is this the smallest size you have?” I asked, hoping there might be an extra small. The merch girl responded, “Yep.” Hmph. Instead I settled for a blue T-shirt with cute monster looking things with the words “Taking Back Sunday” printed across the top and bottom of the shirt.

Walking away from the merchandise table I saw a familar looking Hot Topic employee. No, not the mysterious Eli, but a different guy. Honestly, I don’t even know his name after seeing him several times. But he recognized me once I pointed out that he had given me one of his buttons from his employee necklace. His mohawk (or more so frohawk) had grown out since I had last seen him. “You guys have fun!” he said, and left to wander somewhere else.

Tracey, my mother, and I found a little spot where you could see the stage just fine, but it was that whole “experience” I was missing once again. Taking Back Sunday opened the show with “Error: Operator”, and there was just no way I could keep my girlish screams silenced. There would be moments when you couldn’t hear Adam’s voice because he was too busy performing, but I decided I wouldn’t hold anything against him or the band. The only thing that was running through my head was, Please don’t let Taking Back Sunday’s performance end. Adam Lazzara, the lead singer, asked, “If you have a left hand, can you raise it in the air?” I lifted up my left arm as told. Adam continued,”Now if you have a right hand to go with that left hand, go ahead and raise that one too.” The crowd was now holding their arms high above their heads. “Now clap them together like so,” Adam finished. With that Taking Back Sunday performed their single “New Again” off of their upcoming record, New Again. At the end of Taking Back Sunday’s performance Adam Lazzara climbed up on the metal railings that held the stage lights. He hung upside down and sang. I yelled and pointed in awe.

Taking Back Sunday’s set list included, “You’re So Last Summer”, “Liar (It Takes One To Know One)”, “A Decade Under The Influence”, “Sink Into Me”, and ended their performance with “MakeDamnSure”.

There was about a thirty of forty minute break before The Offspring were due to come on stage. And in that short time Tracey was “hit on” by a couple, well, technically one guy.

REPLAY: A guy in a green Blink-182 T-shirt turns to face me and Tracey, and for a minute I was wondering if he was going to talk to us. Of course, he does. “Hey, my cousin over there, the total poseur with his shirt off,” he points to guy without a shirt. Tracey nods her head. “I’ve been trying to get him to talk to you, but he’s too scared. He thinks I’m tryin’ to set him up. He thinks I know you. Would you please just tell him you don’t know me?” Tracey looks a bit confused and replies, “Um, sure?”

This Blink-182 t-shirt wearing guy goes over to get his cousin. His shirtless cousin has brown hair, an average short cut, a smiling face, and a tad bit of chest hair growing in an odd shape (ew). “You don’t know this guy?” the shirtless dude asks, smiling. Tracey shakes her head, “No.” All the while I’m just standing there, entertained, watching some random guys talk to Tracey. Finally, these guys introduce themselves as Joe (the green Blink shirt wearing boy) and Adam (the shirtless one). “What’s your name?” Joe asks. “Phoenixx,” I lean in to tell him because of the booming sound of music and other people’s laughter and voices. Joe laughs and says, “He’s got a Phoenix bird on his chest!” I laugh at how ridiculous this sounds. Adam says, “Phoenix risin’ from the ashes!”

A couple minutes are filled with small talk and my mom walks back over. When Adam told my mom about the whole chest hair deal and she asked, “Do you shave it like that?” Adam smiled, “No, it just grows that way!” Adam asked Tracey quite a few questions including, “So, are you going to any parties after the concert?” Tracey replied, “No, I don’t think we could sneek this one in.” Obviously referring to me. As much as I was entertained by these boys, they left and The Offspring were soon to come on stage.

Kelvin also found me again. He came over and touched my shoulder. For a minute I thought it was my mom until I turned to see who it was. Kelvin asked if I was okay, he said his friend told him what had happened. I told him I was fine now that it was over. (Though, I actually saw that drunk guy again during Taking Back Sunday’s set, but I decided not mention that.) “Did you like Taking Back Sunday?” Kelvin asked. I replied grinning, “Yesss!! They are my favorite!” He smiled kindly and left.

The Offspring totally respected us Kansas City people. In fact the lead singer, Dexter Holland said in the past few days they had been on tour the Kansas City crowd had “totally kicked their asses!” He also noticed how messed up these Kansas City kids were and said, “You know, kids from Kansas City are just as messed up as anyone else.” All those angsty people out there must have loved that quote.

Things seemed to mellow out quite bit in fact a guy with a sign that read, “Free Hugs” wandered around. The first time he zipped past me I didn’t have the guts to hug him, instead I watched other people chase after him. “Hey, Free Hugs Guy!” one girl shouted pushing past everyone and practically tackling him. — I get a laugh out of that every time I think about it. — Later he came back around and I rushed up to him asking, “Can I have a free hug?” I hugged him and he hugged me, and that is the part of the night I remember and cherish most.

After several songs Tracey said, “We can leave early, I’ve seen them like three times already.” I told her I wanted to stay for “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” and then we could leave. The Offspring put on a fabulous live show, but nothing was more fabulous than Adam Lazzara up on that stage. The only thing I am still missing is my bubbly excitement. The kind that leaks out of me and makes other people smile. My favorite songs from The Offspring’s setlist are “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)”, “Americana”, and “Keep ‘Em Separated”.

Driving away from the venue I slid into my vibrant blue Taking Back Sunday T-shirt; then we made a stop at Chubby’s for a burger at midnight.

My Number One

May 23, 2009

  Reader of you may remember a post I had called “My List”. I had posted my top five celebrity crushes. Well, now I’m back with a new and improved list. And if you’re wondering why I’d take the time to make such a stupid list, I made it out of pure boredom.

9. The big haired Nick Santino


8. The performer Adam Lazzara

Adam Lazzara

Adam Lazzara

 7. Brandon Flowers the well spoken


6.  Aaron Gillespie the multitasker


5. Mr. Tyson Ritter (Yes, this is my photo, I thought you might recognize it. *wink*)

Tyson Ritter

Tyson Ritter

 4. The “uber cool” John O’Callaghan

John O'Callaghan 
3. The charming William Beckett
William Beckett

William Beckett

 2. The gorgeous Josh Beech

Josh Beech

Josh Beech

 1. Gerard Way remains my number one. Not only because he has been so inspiring and thoughtful, but also he is my only real “crush” and I don’t want that to change.

Gerard Way

Gerard Way


Career Day: Musician

May 21, 2009


In the words of Doug H. being a musician takes three things, hard work, hard work, and more hard work. “Does anyone here love music?” Doug asked. Most of the audience replied yes, then Doug asked again, “Do you really love music? And I mean love. Not just, Oh yeah, I ‘love’ music.”

That glamorous life you have all heard about, it isn’t real. “About one in a million bands get the limousines, concerts, and money,” Doug said. If you truly enjoy making reckless, yet joyful noise on your instrument of choice then go for it. But if you really love it then you won’t just practice oh say, thirty minutes a day. Doug continued, “We’re talkin’ three to five hours a day and you practice that long because you feel like you need to.”

According to Doug H. as a musician you are never simply finished. There is always something to work on, something to improve. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t become a musician. It’s hard to pay rent et cetera. And it is extremely hard to “make it” as a fellow musician. If you are passionate about making and listening to music then all the fame, glory, and money shouldn’t matter. Some people may ask why you would “throw away” so much to be a musician, but it’s what you want and you do it because you love it.

Amazing Because It Is

May 20, 2009


Yep, if you’re guessing the title of this post was inspired by The Almost’s song “Amazing Because It Is” then you are correct! I’m back with the usual topic, music. If you are a frequent reader of my blog I know this must get annoying. Unless of course you enjoy finding out about good bands and reading a young girl’s concert reviews. I should probably just say this is a blog meant for talking about music. But you see, some days I feel angsty or inspired and I want to be able to express that. So if you are already bored by my rambling I suggest you read something else.

I used to consider myself a music obsesser. Really, I’m just a music addict. It’s hard not for me to be without music for just one day. And today you will learn about me being inspired and listening to The Almost and Underoath, and mainly talking about Aaron Gillespie. Here’s the deal, one day way back when I heard about a band called Underoath. When I heard Underoath I couldn’t understand how someone could listen to another person’s screaming. Literally. My music taste has matured and changed quite a bit, and now I do appreciate some impressive screaming. I later heard about a little band called The Almost.

Now it’s May of 2009 and I’m listening to The Almost (and Underoath) and loving every single one of their songs. The overwhelming sound of Aaron Gillespie’s voice makes me stop what I’m doing just to finish the song. My personal favorite is “Dirty and Left Out”. You know you have those artists or albums that you can listen to over and over again? (In my mother’s case, it is Snow Patrol.) I have just found that band, and The Almost’s album is quite fabulous. And the fact that Aaron recorded all the instruments except for a few tracks on the album without anyone else is astonishing (he later formed the band). I find Aaron to be an amazing vocalist and drummer and I wrote this post to acknowledge that.

Hello and Goodbye

May 17, 2009

Well Mackenzie, you’re almost eighteen and graduating high school. Let me just say, I am utterly sorry I cannot be at your graduation ceremony today. Though I hope you didn’t mind us calling to say hello.

I remember when you would come and stay with us for a week or so over the summer. My parents would pay you to watch my siblings and I and clean house a little. I think you were either twelve or thirteen when you said, “When I’m eighteen maybe I could drive you to the mall and we could go shopping together.” Or at least something like that. You have always been my favorite cousin and the nicest. Using your manners and if you ever did get mad or annoyed by me, you didn’t show it. I used to look up to you like you were the coolest girl on the planet. You would take me to the mall or play Barbies with me. There were times when you didn’t want to hang out with me, but you never did it in a mean way.

Now you’re going to college and turning eighteen and I’m still stuck at school. It feels like some parts of the years go by so quick while others drag on, and two weeks can feel like two months. Occasionally we would email each other, but I ran out of things to say. All I can say now is happy graduation and good luck when you go off to college this fall.


— Phoenixx

New Again

May 17, 2009


Today has gone surprisingly well. I woke up from a dream of meeting Craig Owens and freaking out about a bug I could’t get off my shirt. A few minutes later I skipped down my basement steps to satisfly my craving for the internet. I logged on to Polyvore for most of the day, creating fashion sets. (As stupid as this website may sound, it is exremely addicting!)

 Later I went up to my room to write. You see, I’ve been trying to write this piece (and no, I’m not giving away what it is) purely for my own enjoyment. I want to write something worth reading, something where you can feel emotion, y’know? While writing I listened to The Used’s In Love and Death album, though I found it hard to get into if you’re not in the right mood. After that my mom ran to the store with my two younger sisters when they came back, one of my sisters found me and said, “Here Phoen, this is for you.” In her hand was Green Day’s new album, 21st Century Breakdown. Eighteen tracks purchased for only 9.99, what a deal!

By 3:30 it was time to get ready for the school carnival. I was bummed that I had to go because (a) it was on a Saturday this year and (b) I had to work a shift of putting little dragon tattoos on little kids. I’m not sure why I was worried because I had been walking around all day with a good feeling in my gut. I had a feeling something good would or will happen. Or maybe that was excitement?

My stomach has been flipping with anticipation, and as annoying as this feeling may get, I still love it. Taking Back Sunday will be in Kansas City May 22nd. That means this coming Friday I will be standing in the crowd listening to one of my favorite bands. Oh how I’ve gotten so lucky with concerts this year! Taking Back Sunday’s new album, New Again will also be released June 2nd. For that, I am stoked. Ever since I became a fan of Taking back Sunday and bought all three of their records, I wanted to see them live. Especially after I heard they are friends with My Chem, which is a silly reason. Though I’ve heard Adam Lazzara is a fabulous performer and I am all about having a good time. Their single “Sink Into Me” was an ubber rad comeback, and I didn’t mind the music video at all! In fact I watched the premiere Monday evening on MTV. And I LOVE, LOVE their new single “Everything Must Go”!!

When I arrived at the carnival I asked Paula, the woman I babysit for, what time my shift was because she was the person organizing the carnival. Turns out, it had already begun so I rushed over to the tattoo stand. “Business” was slow, I think I only gave seven or so tattoos. But I don’t blame the kids, there was only one tattoo choice and well, it kind of sucked. (In the end the tattoo station was just closed.) I mainly just waked around people watching, wishing I had brung my digital camera. I ate cotton candy and watched my friends get dunked in the dunk tank. I saw my friend Sarah’s older brother with his “clique”, don’t tell her I told you, but her brother is cute! No, seriously.

By six o’clock I stood with my dad at his shift for Plink-O. Some of the most adorable little kids came to play including a little boy named Jayden and another named Eli. (Yep, a little boy named Eli, but they look nothing alike. This Eli has fly-away blond hair and blue eyes with chubby four year old arms.) A little after seven we left the carnival and I can honestly say it was better than the one last year.

That brings us to now and me typing this, but soon enough I’ll be looking back and reading this.

The Killers Concert — “Golden Gods”

May 4, 2009


I’m going to sum things up for you. Reader, do remember when I told you if I could go to one concert all year it would be The Killers? That performance came yesterday night and I was in awe. I understand I say that quite frequently, and I’m getting tired of telling the same stories with different endings. When I go to shows I say “amazing” a lot, but this was not just an experience you save to your memory for the fun of it. It was more of an experience where it’s really hard to forget. The Killers are brilliant no matter what other people may say.

I sat in Roxann’s car panicking. My voice quivered when I spoke and my hands were shaking. “Oh my god.” I kept repeating looking at the longest line of traffic all waiting to see The Killers. “Woo-sah” Roxann began to say in order to relax me. Each time we inched forward a jolt of eagerness ran through my body. My palms became clammy and I unnecessarily fanned myself with my ticket. Finally the line of cars started to move. “Crap, it’s that Phelps family.” Roxann mutters. “Who?” my mother and I both ask. “Oh, this hate family who carry signs around saying ‘God hates fags’.” Roxann went on saying how they are this religious family who hate homosexuality and carry disgusting signs around stating effed up “facts” (look up Fred Phelps). As we drove past them I couldn’t control myself and shouted, “F*** you!” I also heard other cars shouting at these haters so I repeated myself loud and clear. I wondered why this Fred Phelps family would be at The Killers’ concert, then I put it together. Brandon Flowers, the lead singer, has said before that he is bisexual. So I’m guessing that is why the Phelps family would show up to piss people off.

The Killers opened the show with “Human”. When the audience recognized the tune, screaming burst into the night air and arms were flung over heads. I could still smell someone’s pot, cigarettes, and tons of beer. (I only know how pot smells because my mom burned sage around my house and told me it smelled like marijuana. Only, pot is a heck of a lot stronger. No matter what they tell you in shows and movies, pot does not smell good… unless you’re the one smoking it I suppose.) The tall man in front of me got his friends to move a bit so my view wasn’t completely blocked. I find it funny how at almost every show I attend there is someone to help me out. Or there is a just tall guy standing in front of or next to me. The woman behind my mother was annoying me and many other people. She was loud and obnoxious and she yodeled. During the intro I decided I’d just enjoy the moment without needing to take pictures to remember it.

Brandon’s voice sounded only slightly off pitch. I imagined him to be stiff and look nervous like he was on Saturday Night Live. Never would I have thought he’d dance around that big ol’ stage, beaming with energy.”I hope you brought your dancing shoes.” Brandon said. “There’s nothing wrong with it.” He finished. With the glowing blue lights shining down the far ends of the stage, you could see the guitarist and bass players’ silhouettes. The drum set had an oversized bouquet of flowers laying atop them. My mother thought they were trying to set the mood. Brandon Flowers, do you get it?

The next song on the set list was “This Is Your Life”. The yodeling woman behind us danced around with her messy hair and stained crooked teeth, beer in hand. The lyrics “Candy talks to strangers, she thinks her life is in danger, but no one gives a damn about her hair.” escaped Brandon’s lips. I was yelling along, not aware how horrible my voice sounded. These are some of my favorite lyrics. I danced like nobody’s business, and I thought I had “danced” at the AP Tour! I felt loose and calm, for once I didn’t feel an ounce of regret for my foolishnes. I have felt like I have to fight for happiness when it’s right in front of me, but this time around it came to me. And I didn’t “give a damn about my hair.”

When they played their cover of “Shadowplay” originally by Joy Division, the music video was playing on the big screen-like lights on the stage. I had never really cared for this song until my slate was cleaned last night. My love for that song began to build up and the eerie guitar in the beginning of that song definitely “set the mood” for the crowd. When you take time to think about the lyrics they are really quite depressing, but it’s such an addicting sound you cannot help but to fall in love with the lyrics. I later looked up Joy Division and Ian Curtis and it’s a brilliant, but terribly sad story. I also enjoyed “Sam’s Town”. It was played “acoustic”, but instead of a guitar it was piano that gave Brandon’s voice a foundation. “I hope you all have a place you can go to that makes everything better. Whether it’s in your head or a real place. And for me, that’s in the Mohave desert in Nevada.”

When The Killers were on stage you could sense these guys are passionate about making music. Similar to Jack White, except he comes out with a new band (Check out The Dead Weather, rad female vocals.) Though Brandon also spoke of love. “People let me ask you, have you ever been in love?” Brandon asked in a sort of sing-song tone. While some people screamed with excitement others remained quiet or simply said no. Brandon went on, “It comes so easily like a beautiful tattooed girl’s hair falls down her back.” I wonder how a frontman comes up with quotable things to say. I honestly can never seem to find the perfect words without having to think about them. Brandon continued, “And you know you wanna breathe that fire again.”

My favorite song by The Killers is probably “All These Things That I’ve Done”. I’m not sure how they do it, but The Killers can create masterpieces and this has to be one of their best. I am a big fan of their first album Hot Fuss, but their other albums have just as much potential. The Killers played “All These Things That I’ve Done” and the place blew up. The huge screen-like stage lights behind the entire drum set would flash back and forth between the words “SOUL”, “SOLDIER”, and “HOLD ON”. As Brandon moved around the stage skillfully, I am convinced he is some “God” (har-har). Each other band member leaned over their instrument making sure to strum the guitars strings at the right moment or strike the drum with enough force. Just when I thought the song was over, confetti shot from the stage. I reached into the dark, navy blue sky hoping to catch a piece I could treasure. The performance was complete with beach balls lingering towards the front of the stage.

When The Killers left the stage I knew that couldn’t be the end of the show. So I kept cheering them on, hoping they would grace us with their presence again… and they did. “Did you miss us?” Brandon asked. I’m not sure how hard I was screaming, I could no longer hear my voice. “Well we missed you too. You are a great audience.” Oh yeah! Brandon Flowers likes Kansas City! I thought.

The Killers sang three more songs. One was “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” and “When You Were Young” was the closer. The Killers had an amazing set and what a good way to go. At the end of the song “fireworks” streamed down like a fountain behind the drum set and Brandon said, “Thank you all for comin’ out tonight! I hope you had a great night!” and The Killers left the stage.

If I was only allowed to go to one concert this year, The Killers’ show would have been well worth it.

(View my pictures from the concert here:


May 2, 2009


Last year my mother drove me to school every morning. Car rides are almost never interesting unless you have good music or a friend to accompany you. Though we soon started to see a passerby who looked to be about fifteen. His pale skin and red hair made him stand out in his slouching position. I also remember seeing a pair of Converse all stars upon his feet, all raggedy and falling apart. My mom and I later nicknamed him “Ronnie” after Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. Stupid yes, but each day we drove to school we saw this boy. “Oh, hey! There’s Ronnie!” we would point and comment.

One day I went to Price Chopper and I saw him up close, bagging groceries and I made sure to get in his lane. “Paper or plastic?” he asked me. “Um… plastic.” I replied. — Ha, this is pretty funny looking back on this. — Leaving the lane I looked down to see his torn and frayed Converse and left the store.

This year the school day began sooner so we no longer saw the passerby “named” Ronnie. I hadn’t seen him until recently. If I can recall, Wednesday my mother spotted him slumping along the sidewalk. “Hey!” my mom shouted, pointing to the familiar boy. I smiled and said, “It’s Ronnie.” I am absolutely sure it was the same kid I saw the year before walking to school. I was thinking, isn’t it odd when you recognize someone you stood next to at a concert (yep, that also happened to me) or in this case a passerby? It is indeed a “small world”, but I like to think of it as a coincidence.