Birthday wishes

August 26, 2010

Today is my little brother Val’s birthday as well as our old friend Ian, and the musician Craig Owens.

After Craig was booted from Chiodos I was –this is very, very cliche but– heartbroken. They really had something good going for them. Chiodos are still alright but those sparks will never burn as bright, burn as big. I still follow his solo project and listen to his other deceased projects such as Cinematic Sunrise and Isles & Glaciers. But it seems he is still growing musically and as a person because he posts updates of his new band and self-help quotes on Twitter.

Craig has been one of my heros lyrically for a short while. I think I started listening to Chiodos at the beginning of 2009, though I wish I could have bragging rights over say, three years. Chiodos as a combined effort changed the way I listened to music; by that time I was far from my Disney roots. Today the harder or faster music I’m listening to is mainly from the likes of Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, A Day To Remember, Pierce The Veil, and Underoath. Chiodos was like a gateway drug into this fascinatingly insane music — I think I can say I have warped roots now. Craig’s voice was piercingly highpitched but he never failed to come back with a growl. I loved how he could sing the most hateful, blunt, heartfelt, and truly creative lyrics yet they could sound so beautiful. His voice is a gift and that he chose to share it and connect with people through music is an accidental accomplishment.

I support whatever he continues to do with his mucial career and hope that some day I meet him so I can tell him all of this. 

“No Hardcore Dancing In The Living Room” will always be my favorite.

***Love you Val!

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Warped 2010

August 20, 2010

8/2/10

Without seatbelts and cigarettes shoved into our bag we sped down the highway on our way to the 2010 Vans Warped Tour. “State Avenue west exit,” Tyler kept repeating to Mackenzie. As we neared the west exit Mackenzie see’s the State Avenue east exit and as she’s about to turn into it Ashley and Nicole shout, “WEST!” We swerve out of that lane and I think about if my parents were driving behind her they’d get mad because of her reckless driving that I love.

We walked over to the big blow up billboard with all the set times patched onto it and onto the burning pavement that covered most of the Sandstone amphitheatre’s ground. All I could really feel was my sunscreen covered skin burning underneath the sun. Out of all the days Warped Tour could come to Kansas City they picked today August 2nd, the hottest day of the year, the temperature reaching a staggering 100 degrees with a heat index of 110.

The first thing Mackenzie said when Vic Fuentes, the lead singer of Pierce The Veil, walked up to the microphone after the guy wearing the day of the dead costume completed with a giant sombrero finished his intro was, “They’re cute,” with a smile turning her lips. Pierce The Veil opened with “Besitos,” the first track of their new record Selfish Machines. “Open that pit up!” Vic kept instructing. Each time the pit calmed down Nicole reached out for my hand as we wormed our way to the front. After a few more songs Vic came down into the crowd. Nicole ran to the front to reach at his sweaty arms and I whipped out my camera and followed her. The best part of Pierce The Veil’s set was before they played “Drella” Jaime, Vic, and Tony were working on build up guitars and Mike on drums then the clip of Ludacris’s “How Low Can You Go” soprano voice came in and Jaime, Vic, and Tony raised their guitars all together that read in colored duct tape, “GET FUCKIN’ LOW.” Then the clip ended and the guitars came back in as they headbanged in sync.

You Me At Six walked onto the makeshift Altec Lansing blow-up stage in all their British glory. I was stoked to be seeing them to the extent that I showed up to the stage ten minutes early. I claimed my spot in the front row but I burned like a leaf under a magnifying glass. You Me At Six put on a fair show but sadly the crowd was very, very weak. There was no excitement of a moshpit and I only had to hand up one crowdsurfer. They mostly played songs from their new record Hold Me Down but I was content with jumping around to “Underdog” and echoing Josh on “Stay With Me,” though they did play “Save It For The Bedroom.” I wanted to inhale excitement at the You Me At Six set. I wanted to be pushed against the barricade and have fear I’d get stuck in the pit if I got pushed. I wanted Josh to look at me and sing back to me, something.

Walking away from their set sweat was literally dripping down my legs and the air didn’t seem so hot anymore since there wasn’t so much combined body heat building up. A dizzy head and with queasy stomach, my hands were slippery with sweat and dirt stuck to my fingers from the little valley we would sit in to cool off. I walked over to Tyler and said, “Can I have that water? I feel like I’m gonna pass out.”
“Really?”
“Yeah.”
I slid down to the burning pavement that had been heating the barricaded sound system and drank what was left of our boiling water.

After visiting the sprinkler showers again I caught the last of VersaEmerge’s set. I left the crowd when Never Shout Never came on to climb the hill and sit in the seats with Tyler as Mackenzie and Ashley left to cool down the car.

Driving home in Mackenzie’s air conditioned car we all complained about how much we smelled and how grimy we felt. Then Tyler said from the passenger’s seat, “I’m as fresh as a fuckin’ daisy.”

I cherish Warped Tour no matter how miserable it can be in the heat because it’s usually my last summer stint. It feels like home, like a giant party. It’s the last something that means anything before I go back to school. So I bought a red Set Your Goals shirt with a picture on the back of Jordan Brown singing to a crowd of kids. It reads lyrics from “The Fallen…” – May I never lose my youth/All of this is too unforgettable.

(pictures)


Do I fight shy of everything?

July 9, 2010

It’s all too overwhelming. As soon as the first month of summer break dries up the new school year seems too close. It’s like falling face first into a cement sidewalk. The aftermath is a bunch of scrapes and a few cuts, maybe a bruise to the cheekbone. It’s moderately better than having a broken face yet still comparable. I don’t know. I’m not really sure what to do. When I think about it too much (which I have a bad habit of doing) I feel like swallowing rocks.

It’s my second year at a new school I don’t much like. I graduated last year with a 4.0 (surprisingly that didn’t take as much effort as I imagined) but it’s not the classes I’m worried about it’s the kids that sort of hate me. And to my previous science teacher, I don’t need after school academics to throw around unconnected pointless dates and historic events that I have never been taught to remember. I am ambitious enough to achieve whatever I truly want on my own. — I wear my purple hoodie some days to give me Gabe Saporta confidence and I live by the Sid Vicious quote, “It’s not really my problem if they think I’m weird.” I’m not worried about them bullying me about the way I am, I’m more worried about them bullying me about last year’s end of school drama. I fugging hate that. I don’t deserve to be pulled into that nonsense and I’ll tell everyone off again and spit venom if it’s necessary, though the inner city kids at my school are physical to say the least.

So I’m listening to Paramore’s The Final Riot! which is calming me down, especially the acoustic rendition of “My Heart”. Hayley’s voice is soothing. Earlier I was in hysterics and my mom looked at me funny. I’m listening to music all the time (though it’s kinda hard to boost your iTunes playcount on a brand new computer). It helps me write and it helps me think. I should just remind myself not to overthink everything.

Here’s a playlist I am in love with: http://8tracks.com/xiu/light-on


Cage the Elephant concert

June 28, 2010

I burst through the door of our office screaming at my dad, “HE HELD THIS HAAAND!” shoving my left hand in his face. That’s all I could think to do with uncontainable energy spilling words of awe out of my mouth. I had just witnessed a Cage the Elephant concert for the second time, the second time I was in the front row, and the first time I ever met the lead singer, Matt Shultz. I am somewhere on cloud nine, not wanting to wash Matt’s sweat from my left hand. – My mind keeps wandering back to holding his hand during the show, I squeezed his hand and he squeezed back as other people of the audience tried to cling to his arm. I wish we could have been inseparable, breaking all clocks to be frozen in time holding onto his sweating hand.

But let’s start at the beginning.

I showed up outside of the Beaumont Club two whole hours early. (Thinking about it after the show now, I’m glad I showed up early otherwise I would have nearly passed out in middle of the crowd.) I was waiting outside of the venue with my mom and my friend Taylor when I caught sight of Matt Shultz pacing past their tour bus talking on the phone. After I heard Matt murmur, “I love you too,” into his cell phone he bowed his head and started to walk on. I stopped him and said, “Can I just say hi because I think you’re really awesome.” He looked up and smiled, the parentheses around his mouth became more defined on his strong square chin. He stuck his hand out and I introduced myself, “I’m Phoenix.” He looked right at me through his Ray-Bans.
“Phoenix, I’m Matt.” His smile made my insides squeal with that happy fuzzy feeling. He continued to exchange introductions with my mom and Taylor. Then I spoke again smiling and told him I was so excited for the show I arrived at five. (The doors opened at 7:00PM.)
“Yeah?” he sort of trailed off and finished still smiling, “Awesome.” (My mom also noted we saw them last November and how amazing of a show it was and he thanked her.) After that he told us he had to leave for Cage’s soundcheck but I had already determined the show would remain a lasting memory.

Front row and center most literally I stood and frowned at the huge barricades keeping me from grabbing hold of Matt. AutoVaughn were the only openers for Cage because the 22-20’s had come down with an illness. AutoVaughn gave us a show. The guys chased each other across the stage dueling with their guitars. The lead singer often added little remarks like, “If you guys are into that kind of thing,” in a lighthearted tone after introducing the title a song and its meaning. The lead guitarist of AutoVaughn, Steven Wilson would jerk his neck to the beat moving his feet around with mad skills of some modern dance, scuffing his shoes. He told the crowd that they were preparing us mentally, physically, and spiritually for Cage the Elephant to blow our minds. I believed it when his guitar would plink out solos, his fingers washing across the neck of his bandaged mint green guitar skillfully, easily. They closed their set with “Hell of a Place” and carried the song on with the sound of our clapping and improvised guitar jams.

Matt Shultz in short is “mad as a hatter, thin as a dime.” When Cage walked onto the carpeted stage in almost total darkness I screamed. Cage hurled into the first song “Dr. Dr. Dr.” Matt shook wildly flailing his arms in different directions. He screamed into the microphone his words incomprehensible but the guitars screamed back licks that sounded like heavy southern punk. The guitars echoed the fast paced beat of the drums. I kept reaching out to him hopeful but his hand was bunching up the fabric of his shirt. I am sure that he looked right at me underneath his heavy lids a couple times. He recognized me, I thought. Then finally during one of the songs Matt thrust his hand out. In that moment I slapped my hand onto his and squeezed. He squeezed back while other people in the crowd clung to his slick arm, he just kept singing.

The push of the crowd was terrifying. I constantly had to push back so my lungs didn’t get crushed. Being in the front row and in the center I was kicked in the head easily more than eight times by crowd surfers. I was dizzy and my head hurt, my curly hair gone frizzy but I kept singing the lyrics I knew (which wasn’t many considering Cage played so many new songs). I kept thinking I am going to die. I am trapped and I can’t even climb over the barricades or push through the crowd to get out. In line of the last song before the “In One Ear” and “Saber-Tooth Tiger” encore, “Sell Yourself” bent over after stage diving Matt looked at me and screamed into the mic, “Save yourself!”

After the show I met the guys from AutoVaughn. Darren the lead singer asked, “What’s your name?” as I handed him the CD I had just bought from their merch table.
“Phoenix,” I answered.
“Spelled like the city?”
“Yeah.”
“With an extra ‘X’,” my mom added, smiling.
“Boom!” Darren said pointing to the little note scribbled into the liner notes of the CD. When I met Steven I told him he had mad feet dancing skills. “Yeah? I don’t even realize it. I’ve never been able to dance for my life,” he replied.
“Well now you can!” I said. I made movements to exaggerate his feet movements.
“Kickin’ shit and stuff,” he said nodding his head.

I had left the venue, knowing there was no re-entry. I said goodbye to Taylor as her dad’s car pulled up to the curb of the street. Then I saw it. A small group of people huddled around something, or someone. “Can you move over Matt?” one of their crew members said pushing a luggage cart loaded with instrument cases. I saw Matt signing and taking pictures, grinning and laughing with fans. I wanted in on it though our first encounter was more intimate. I wanted a picture to remember it by. – I watched the fans as I waited my turn for a picture. A girl muttered something about not being cool and then Matt said to her, his tone changed to be more serious, “Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t… don’t do that.” – After I got my picture I opened the car door and said in a daze, “That was… amazing.”

It’s official. Cage the Elephant did indeed blow my mind.

(Pictures)


Whoever she is.

March 8, 2010

I would like to set a goal for myself and for anyone who wants to tag along. All this week I will listen to only happy music. I will admit I sold out and began listening to Never Shout Never, but that is only because I read his article in AP magazine (he seems like a really nice, incredibly cool person). Today is a start because I got off the bus and the spring feeling filled me up like a glass of water, washing away any bad feelings. The first song that popped into my head as I began to walk down the sidewalk was “This Is The End” by The Maine, so I sang the words to myself and smiled. It made me happy just hearing John Ohh’s voice inside my head.

It is about 63 degrees outside and sunny with a slight overcast sky and a cooling breeze. The best type of weather I would say: cardigan weather. – When I reached my front porch I found my dad sitting there reading a book. I walked into the house and smiled at the reflection of my wildly curly hair and then placed my copy of The Maine’s Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop album into my CD player. I have begun to think of music in seasons and I can tell you The Maine sound so much like spring. The grass is starting to green and small flowers coil around fences only to be picked up and set in little girls’ hair.

I received several hugs today from Trinh and Taylor and reminisced with M and A about our day yesterday gallivanting around the neighborhood. (We walked over to The Sweet Guy and picked up gelatos, stopped at two parks, had a duel with the plastic and wooden swords I brought over, were chased by our younger brothers on scooters, told jokes about Geico Car Insurance, and made a sanctuary.) School wasn’t so bad and thankfully my science class didn’t have to make up the quiz about electricity and whatnot.

Right now while I am still listening to The Maine I just want to run or have someone to dance with. I am really hoping to the goddess Athena and even the titan Cronus that something good will come of this weather. I need something good in my life that will lift these heavy spirits. There are too many people and good friends that I know who are extremely depressed right now. Who knows maybe Elisha from HOLY Mountain will introduce me to some cool people (who are NOT annoying and immature) who just get music. Or maybe nothing will happen and I will just talk to him with Jane after their show on the 22nd.

“She could be rainy days, minimum wage, a book that ends with no last page. Whoever she is, whoever she may be one thing’s for sure, you don’t have to worry.” – The Maine


Are we all lost causes?

January 14, 2010

I don’t deserve anything I have. All the records I put forth my own money to purchase, my favorite grey sweater, and my favorite feather pillow with a deep green case. What have I ever done for anyone else?

I want to change the way I react to things. I know it is because of the build up of all the events of my day, but those feelings come out all wrong. Like tonight when I got mad at my little sister. I hurt her and she started crying and I had this smug grin spread my face. I’ll be honest- I am a bit sadistic, but I do feel bad afterwards. Though I know the next time I get mad my reaction won’t be much better. You can’t smother who you are, you can only bury it.

Today in geography class I heard about the earthquake in Haiti. (We are working on a writing piece about the earthquake.) Those people have nothing and suffer on a daily basis from poverty. They deserve what I have, a warm bed to sleep in, food on the table, and a cozy grey sweater. I know someone in that country is deserving of that.

Can you even believe it was a 7.0 earthquake? In geography class we looked at a map of tectonic plates and the earthquake wasn’t deep but Haiti was practically sitting on the Caribbean plate boundary so they got the worst of the plate shifting. And to think, they were just preparing for hurricane season when this hit. It’s estimated over 3 million people were killed, injured, or trapped underneath buildings. One of the worst parts, every single road is blocked and there is hardly anything we can do at the moment with an aftershock soon to hit.

When I told the news to my parents, trying to start conversation or debate the topic, the news didn’t seem to bother them at all. And that crushed me. I feel horrible and nothing has even happened to me. Now I sit here hoping the sound of Stephen Christian’s voice in “*Fin” will soothe me.

“Empty is the sky before the sun wakes up.
Empty is the eyes of the animals in the cages.
Empty are the faces of women in mourning
when everything has be taken from them.
Me? Don’t ask me about empty.” – Chiodos


If you’re a bird, then I’m a bird.

December 8, 2009

If you’re a bird, then I am a bird.

The song “We Are Birds” has been on replay in my head all evening. Brighten are another one of my recent loves. Justin Richards has such an angelic voice, it’s so cooing and sweet. Yet at the same time this song has a tinge of sadness when you hear it. It is a love song, but hear a slight catch in Justin’s voice. The guitar is strumming softly in the background.

This song fits me perfectly. There is always a catch. I will keep living, I will keep walking, but everyday is a replay a shadow of the last one. Same routine, same plan. Just make it another day and you’ll be fine. When this all blows over you will be glad you made it through. Anne, I wish you would have waited. I still look back. While most of us are rebounding, Max and Eva won’t and they never fully will. Jane, I am listening to you. I will not let this sadness become me and I have gotten over most of it. Though similar to “We Are Birds” there is still a pinch of sadness.

I smile when I think of the Meet The Robinsons motto, “Keep moving forward.” As you may have noticed this post is an endeavor of self encouragement. I am not trying to feel sorry for myself or give you any bullshit about being “depressed” because that is not what I am doing at all. No in fact, I find comfort in writing out what I feel and since I have not written on this blog o’ mine recently, I decided why not put this post out.

Anyway I would love if everyone who read this post will listen to these two songs.  \”We Are Birds\” Mindy White (cover) and \”We Are Birds\” by Brighten. (click the words, it’s a click-through link)