Edel Grace

Programmer, Developer, Enthusiast

Concerts

Concert Bucketlist

Oct 31, 2018 | Comments

So this year I went to a bunch of concerts. Two of those concerts (Alexisonfire and Coheed and Cambria) were big wish listers for me and this got me thinking. What other artists do I want to see live?

L’Arc~en~Ciel

I know for sure that I want to see L’Arc~en~Ciel live in concert. L’Arc~en~Ciel is a band I got into around junior high. Thanks to the power of the Internet, I know approximately the first time I fell in love with L’Arc~en~Ciel. I used to watch anime all the time on YTV, one of the cartoon networks in Canada. They aired Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa on October 19, 2007 where L’Arc did two songs on the soundtrack and I loved them immediately.

I remember when L’Arc performed in Madison Square Garden a couple of years ago, I was insanely jealous. I watched the footage, the concert reviews, the fan interviews and bawled my eyes out. Even now, the mere thought of the possibility of seeing L’Arc~en~Ciel live in concert is bringing tears to my eyes. Actually, at this moment I’m listening to their 25th Anniversary live disc and I’m very emotional right now (yes, this is what spurred this post).

And a couple years ago, when they were planning their world tour they asked for suggestions for cities to go to and I spammed Canadian cities so hard. Of course, they never came. But I so desperately want to see them live one day.

L’Arc~en~Ciel is definitely a classic band for me. I remember making this post a like six years ago on Tumblr (god, remember all the confession tumblrs back then??). It’s still true to this day.

L'Arc~en~Ciel is my one and only real favourite band, even though I've gone through periods of not listening to them for months on end. They're the only band that I can come back to after a long time and listen to their songs as if I've listen to it for the first time and love it with the same intensity as before

I say “I can die happy now” after like every concert I’ve been to but seeing L’Arc~en~Ciel would be the concert that would actually make the statement true. I’ve been wanting to see them for 11 years now. I hope to god L’Arc~en~Ciel will continue touring until I can see them.

Björk

One of my friends asked once me who my musical goddess was (no joke) and when I answered with Björk he was surprised. “I thought it would be Beyonce,” is what he replied. No offense to Beyonce (love her, she’s amazing and empowering and makes great music) but she is definitely not on the level of artistry as Björk.

I remember watching TV in the dark late at night on MTV and Björk’s Bachelorette came on. I was entranced. This big voice coming out of a rather small woman wearing jeans and what seemed like a dress. I listened to so much Björk ever since.

Admittedly, some of her latest music kinda flies over my head nowadays but what I would give to see her live in concert.

Joanna Newsom

Continuing the trend of amazing women musicians… Joanna Newsom. I would love to see her live as well. I remember my ex in high school was the one who introduced her to me. I thank god I never think about him whenever I listen to Joanna Newsom. Her music transcends silly things like temporary bonds.

Most of the songs I love, Joanna would probably never play live again (okay, I really just want to hear Only Skin which is a 16-minute epic) but it would definitely be cool to see her live. She doesn’t do concert DVDs (as far as I can see) so most live footage I’ve seen have been shitty fan videos. I would want to hear harp live in action.

Green Day

This one is a little silly. I haven’t really loved Green Day in years. A lot of their songs have aged even if I do enjoy them from time to time. But I want to fulfill 12 year old me’s dream of seeing them in concert. I think it would definitely be a fun experience, they can put on a show.

Who Would I Not See Live?

I looked at my top artists on Last.fm and there are a couple of musicians who I love dearly but would probably be okay with not seeing them live.

DIR EN GREY is definitely one of those bands. While their music is banging, I’ve never liked watching their performances. If I had the chance to see them, I would do it but it’s definitely not pressing.

Utada Hikaru is another artist. I love her but she is definitely a studio artist and not really great at performing. Her voice is a bit weak and it doesn’t translate to great concerts. The Strokes is a band I wouldn’t see for a similar reason. Their concerts always seem really lacking in energy. Julian Casablancas has a great voice regardless but they’re usually just… Standing around on stage and engaging at all. They never seem like they’re having fun.

My friend asked me to go see Thrice with him this February (I said no, mostly because he lives all the way in Australia). It would be a lot of fun to see Thrice but I’m not that dedicated of a fan to do so. I only really like one of their albums. I don’t know much of their discography.

That being said, even if I wouldn’t go out of my way to see these artists live (I would fly to Japan to see L’Arc~en~Ciel if I have to), I would totally go see them if it wasn’t a hassle. Concerts are a lot of fun, even if you don’t really know the band well or at all. Here’s to hoping for more concert going in the future!

Album Reaction: Vaxis - Act I: Unheavenly Creatures by Coheed and Cambria

Oct 10, 2018 | Comments

Vaxis - Act I: Unheavenly Creatures

Track Listing

  1. Prologue
  2. The Dark Sentencer
  3. Unheavenly Creatures
  4. Toys
  5. Black Sunday
  6. Queen of the Dark
  7. True Ugly
  8. Love Protocol
  9. The Pavillion (A Long Way Back)
  10. Night-Time Walkers
  11. The Gutter
  12. All on Fire
  13. It Walks Among Us
  14. Old Flames
  15. Lucky Stars

DISCLAIMER: This is a reaction blog post which is mostly incoherent rambling and (you guessed it) real-time reactions to the songs. This is not a review.

The last time I did an album reaction was back in 2012. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), the last album reaction I did was to Coheed and Cambria’s The Afterman: Ascension. It’s fitting that the next album reaction is also Coheed and Cambria. With Ascension, my love for Coheed rekindled and with Unheavenly Creatures, I can see my love for Coheed rekindling for the second time.

I saw Coheed and Cambria live a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been following their singles pretty closely. The singles off this album are all pretty legit. Like most Coheed songs, it took me a while to get used to the singles but they still got me pretty excited about the album.

Because I’ve sacrificed my soul to Spotify, I streamed the album. I had work the day the album was released and at work, some people were talking about the album already. I debated listening to the album while working but no, I wanted to dedicate a solid hour of my undivided attention to this album. And I’m glad I did!

  1. Prologue

    I really like the prologue. I’ve gotten used to the piano bit from the singles and what not. I love how the music builds behind the narrator. It really does transition nicely into The Dark Sentencer.

  2. The Dark Sentencer

    Somehow, because of the prologue, this song sounds even more epic than it usually sounds. I love the beginning riff. I can’t really say much about this one because I’ve been listening to it for quite a while now. It’s a good heavy song which I enjoy. I know some people enjoy Coheed’s heavier stuff and while I do relish those heavy tracks, I don’t mind it when they depart from it.

    Looking at the lyrics now, I never paid much attention to the bridge where Claudio’s voice has some sort of effect applied to it. It sounds like a robot but layered so not quite like autotune. I actually like it.

    A place where the blind truly can see Hear my voice, dearly departed, I beg on my knees

  3. Unheavenly Creatures

    Interesting how the next song is another previously released track. It definitely jumped straight into Unheavenly Creatures without any sort of reprieve from The Dark Sentence. I do enjoy the synth sci-fi sounds in the background. I can probably see why when I saw Coheed and Cambria live, Claudio didn’t bust out his guitar for this song. It’s definitely not guitar heavy, or, at the very least, it’s not the highlight of the song. It’s definitely a poppier song. I’m down with pop so I enjoy it.

    So run, run, run, run like a son of a gun

  4. Toys

    Interestingly named. The intro to this song is very interesting. Wow. Immediate guitar chord. Claudio sounds like an angel. He’s really going up into that falsetto. But I love those guitar chords. Sounds very rock opera-like. It’s funny but once the guitars really kicked in, I was reminded of Green Day.

    They seem to really like the build-up before the chorus.

    One of my friends said that Coheed is really going “Queen” as in theatrical. I could see it.

    I think this song might be lacking lyrically, unfortunately. No lines really stand out to me, yet. But I do find myself bopping my head to it. For some reason, I think “knees” might be the most used word in their lyrics.

    It’s kinda sad but I’m resisting the urge to click to the next song. It seems really poppy, which I don’t mind. But I feel like it’s lacking. This song drags out a bit which is ironic because:

    Oh can’t you see, you’re dragging me

    Also. Fade out. Nice.

  5. Black Sunday

    Oh this starts out pretty promising. I love it when Coheed gets all sinister. Claudio is doing some good vocal stuff in here. The guitar is on point in this one. I love the random sounding licks in the background. Very chaotic. Oof, more power rock-opera elements.

    I wouldn’t call this track heavy but it’s definitely rock.

    W O W. I enjoy the “Black Sunday” chant. I can see this being great to hear live.

    Oh man, they busted out the military-like snare drum. Really reminds me of My Chemical Romance in a way.

    The outro is nice.

    Black Sunday, Black Sunday

  6. Queen of the Dark

    This sounds like a ballad. It starts off with some scarce piano. Then the guitar, drums, and Claudio come in. Definitely not a ballad.

    I don’t know how I feel about this song. It feels like exposition to me. There’s a lot of repetition in this song. I feel like chanting two songs in a row is a bit excessive.

    It has an interesting outro though. Some cool guitar effects. And then another kind of fade out. It doesn’t actually fade out.

    All hurt in time gets better

  7. True Ugly

    Hard hitting. There’s some clapping in this song. Interesting. High energy. I like. This song definitely has a more upbeat tempo. Oh shit. Claudio is doing some semi-scream thing and I dig it a lot. Claudio is definitely blab-singing (I have no idea how to describe it) but it’s really interesting. Sounds really happy go lucky in the middle of a song like this.

    I like this song. It deviates a little more from what I expected. It’s a good mix of pop and prog. Sometimes I notice that there are points that seem to drag a bit. The difference is really noticeable in this song.

    And another fade out.

    Break, break, breaking up Break, break, break,follow me Can, can, can you hear me?

  8. Love Protocol

    And another immediate transition! The guitar sounds familiar. I wonder if it mirrors the prologue motif. This song’s like another cheesy Here to Mars type song. A typical love song. But some of the lines really catch me. I also love the name of this song. Are there any protocols to love?

    Oh, I can be your dancer The one you set within your sights When I admit surrender Then maybe goodbye will turn to goodnight

  9. The Pavillion (A Long Way Back)

    Y E S. I love titles with parentheses in them. This is another rock-opera sounding song. Maybe another ballad too? Not sure how I feel about the song itself though. Coheed is really channeling their inner Green Day/Queen/I don’t really know what to compare them to.

    Goodbye for now

  10. Night-Time Walkers

    Hmmm. Zombies are my first thought.

    Okay. The intro is hella cool. I love the sci-fi space effects they’re using on this album.

    Ah. Another power ballad love song. Why is this album so cheesy? Could do with the fact that the two characters are a couple… It’s right there in the album cover. I don’t know why I thought different, haha.

    The Claudio robot comes back. I really like it. But I don’t understand a single thing. But it’s good.

    The thing about this though is that the power chords just slow this song down so much. It does that for a lot of songs. It makes sense here but I’m getting fatigued by it.

    I don’t wanna see you, I don’t wanna believe you’re here But it’s too hard not to when your songs I hear

  11. The Gutter

    They love their hard cuts to the next song. The Gutter sounds really good in the context of the album.

    Okay, I really love The Gutter. I love the pseudo screamy bits. Claudio’s enunciation of “gutter” is perfect. This is probably my favourite song on the record. I would have been really happy to hear this song live in concert.

    On a close listen, I can hear the orchestra in the background which is nice. I don’t know how I never noticed it. It’s pretty good right now. ALSO. Claudio laughing like an evil dude. He does it so well.

    Now if I had my way I would leave you here to waste your final days

  12. All On Fire

    Okay I am gutted (haha) that The Gutter does not go to Old Flames. But this song has a piano intro which kinda makes up for it. Oooh this song sounds like a throwback. Hm. I also don’t know how I feel about this song. I think this is definitely a grower. I could also see some of these lyrics becoming memes among the fandom. “Please bring water” x3. Amazing.

    Come slither, you snake, please bring me back To when life was wonderful

  13. It Walks Among Us

    Another zombie sounding title. I love the intro effects. It sounds like clockwork. And the opening riff is some good stuff. Good synths too. More power chords. I. Think I like this. I’m only a verse into it. I see a trend. I really like the sinister songs. When Claudio gets all kinda angry, haha. Not sure about the mixing on Claudio’s voice in some parts though.

    This song has some really good lines. I changed my most liked lines like three times. It’s hard to pick.

    Okay. Yeah. This is a good song.

    Infected, don’t provoke ‘em Feel free to cock and load ‘em

  14. Old Flames

    Hearing these songs in the context of the album make me appreciate them a lot.

    When the music video of this came out I was little apprehensive. They have a lot of interesting music videos but they never really jive with me. So when they brought out synchronized dance numbers, I was a little weirded out. It makes sense though.

    Ah. I love this song! I’m so torn between this song and The Gutter as my favourite song from the album. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s so poppy that I like it. The outro is also really good. It somehow fits the song. Going out with a bang and then revelling the last peaceful moments.

    “Are you ready?” “As the day we met.” “You’re adorable.”

  15. Lucky Stars

    The closer. I am heavy in anticipation.

    Ooh, an acoustic guitar. Interesting. Another ballad? This is a true ballad, however. I remember reading somewhere about how some people were hoping it wouldn’t end on a ballad. I do prefer ending out with a bang but Old Flames kind of fills that need. This might be another Wake Up for me. Way too cheesy but I’ll end up memorizing the lyrics and singing along to it in concert.

    This could be the biggest mistake we make in this life Chasing as we tried to compete for each other’s time

TL;DR

So I’m slightly disappointed this isn’t an immediate “wow I just fell in love with every single song” record like The Afterman: Ascension was. I might have just been riding the hype of the singles and the concert. I felt the urge to skip a couple songs. There are some songs I already know I like but the others… They might have to grow on me. But I think it’s a pretty good mix. I liked 9 out of the 15 songs (including Prologue). I think that’s a good ratio especially for a first listen.

Thoughts on Coheed and Cambria

Sep 19, 2018 | Comments

Disclaimer: This is not a concert review and really is just me rambling about a band I like

Last Saturday, I went to go see Coheed and Cambria live. Coheed and Cambria is a progressive rock band. Prog rock is a genre that’s hard to define without hearing it. The way I see it, prog rock is definitely a more artsy genre. It’s usually complex musically and lyrically incorporating several genres such as jazz and pop but still maintaining an aggressive and heavy rock sound.

Coheed loves their concept albums. Most of their albums follow a storyline, called The Armory Wars. I don’t really pay much attention to it (you will learn that I’m a bad Coheed and Cambria fan) but it is extensive. It’s a science fiction concept and they’ve even made comics based on them.

I’ve been listening to Coheed and Cambria ever since the days of Rock Band. Everyone knows (or everyone should know) Welcome Home, which was one of the playable songs from Rock Band.

I was a shut-in as a kid and I remember meeting other people online and talked to them about Coheed and Cambria. I distinctly remember my friend sending me a WinRAR file of one of their albums via MSN. With that same friend, we would write fanfiction based on Coheed and Cambria songs and post them online. This was around 2010.

Yearly Listening

2012 and 2013 were prime years for me listening to Coheed and Cambria. I’ve been keeping track of the songs I’ve been listening to on Last.fm ever since 2011 and I have a lot of data on my listening habits. In 2012, they released their album, The Afterman: Ascension. It was a really great album and it remains one of my favourite albums of all time. In fact, I even wrote a reaction blog post back in 2012 (it’s really cringy when I read it now).

After that, I kinda stopped keeping up with them. Their follow up albums didn’t really grab my attention although there were a couple of singles here and there that I did like.

Yearly Listening: Album Breakdown

I mainly just listened to three albums on repeat: The Afterman: Ascension, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV Vol 1, and Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV Vol 2. In 2013, The Afterman: Descension came out and I listened to it once or twice before writing it off. Also in 2015, I started using Spotify. It was great to listen to the rest of their discography without the guilt of listening to it “for free.”

Just to hammer the point even further, here is a better representation of the albums I listened to the past seven years.

Album Breakdown

94% of all songs that I listen to Coheed and Cambria come from three albums. It’s kinda crazy to think about. I’ve tried to listen to other albums in the past and they never stuck with me. Some of the albums don’t have great production which really turned me off. Which is a shame because now that I’ve revisited more of their albums, there are a lot of great songs hidden there.

However, I think the real reason why my listening count is so skewed to these albums is because I love putting individual songs on repeat.

Top 10 Songs

Apollo I: The Writing Writer is a song that really spoke to me back then. I can’t for the life of me remember why. Nowadays, I love it purely because of how good it sounds as a song. The lyrics don’t resonate with me as much anymore. This song is really sinister but it’s a great song to sing to.

When I first listened to Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria the Faithful, it quickly became my favourite song on The Afterman: Ascension and my favourite Coheed and Cambria song in general. This was another case of relatable lyrics. I’m taking this out of context of The Armory Wars but I saw this as a song about someone who is too good that one could not possibly be with that person. I wish she’d stay mine, but her place is in some other time. Man, that still makes me nod sadly every time.

Anyway, I could talk forever about the rest of the songs but Apollo I: The Writing Writer and Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria the Faithful remain as my favourite Coheed and Cambria songs.

Despite not knowing most of their discography, I just knew I had to go see Coheed and Cambria live.

The Concert

I follow the band on Facebook and when I saw that they posted tour dates, I immediately went to look. I was seriously in disbelief that they were coming to Calgary. I don’t know why I was so surprised, they’ve been to Calgary a couple times but I’ve missed every single one of them until now.

I bought the tickets super in advance, the day they come out back in June. I posted on social media asking if anyone liked Coheed and Cambria enough to go see them with me but no bites. The only people who responded were my friends from England and Australia. Of course. But since most of my friends are unemployed broke university students, I didn’t feel like pestering any of them to go to a $50 concert with me.

Pro tip if you bought general admission and not VIP: don’t go to the concert super early. I made that mistake. VIP/Gold/Platinum ticket holders were all lined up around two hours before the concert but they didn’t start forming the regular line until around an hour before doors opened. I could have shelled out the extra money to see that one extra song and all the other perks but the concept seemed really ridiculous to me. Looking back on it now, maybe it would have been worth it. I love Coheed and Cambria enough that I should probably give them more of my money.

Also my phone ran out of battery like an hour before the concert started and I only took a picture of the sign. I’m slightly salty that I didn’t check if my power bank was charged first before taking it with me.

Signage hype and the only picture I took

Anyway, once I got in there, I immediately went for the merch table. I instantly got flashbacks to my first concert which was My Chemical Romance at the very same venue. I bought a sweater that had Unheavenly Creatures on the back of it. I kinda wish I got a tour shirt instead but I was nervous at the last second and I didn’t know how to say that so I just asked for the easiest thing: the sweater.

After I got the sweater, I had no idea where to go to get inside. It turned out they opened the entrances on the side. The hall was split off into two halves: the beer gardens and the non-beer gardens half. At first I thought the whole thing was age-gated and for some reason, even though I am well over 18, I was nervous seeing the “No minors” sign to the beer gardens. In the end, I just stealthily walked behind a mom with her kid into the all ages section of the hall.

Since I went alone to the concert, I got there and tried to scope out the best place to stand. There wasn’t a lot of people yet so I tried to get as close as possible. When I looked around, I found one of my family friends! He was really surprised that I liked Coheed and Cambria. He couldn’t process the fact that he had a “cool cousin.”

So I talked to him and his girlfriend for a bit but then I saw one of my friends from university walk by and I joined him instead. I was relieved I found one of my friends because I secretly wanted a mosh pit shield. He was also good company and we bonded over Coheed and reminscing about university since we were both graduated.

The doors opened at 18:30 but the first act didn’t start until 19:30. It was a band from Ontario, Crown Lands. They were pretty good! It was just a duo (I was instantly reminded of The White Stripes but their sound is completely different). The guitarist had the longest hair and beard I had ever seen. When he busted out his double-necked guitar, he looked like a guitar Jesus.

The next act was Protest the Hero. I’ve heard a lot of praise for Protest the Hero from one of my friends. I’ve listened to a couple of their songs and I really like Without Prejudice. Otherwise, I wouldn’t say I’m a fan even though I recognize that they are pretty good.

The vocalist was hilarious. In between songs he would tell stories about past concerts they played at Calgary. I think that’s a really great way to connect to audiences. People like being remembered! Anyway, they were phenomenal. The band is pretty intense so there was mosh pits every single song. I was in a place right where the mosh pits kept forming and I did get pushed around a couple of times. Whoops.

Finally… Coheed and Cambria came out.

The Setlist

When I saw Claudio and his full head of hair, I freaked out. The fog machines were kicked up a notch and the lights were shining behind them like they were rock gods descending onto Earth. I will admit, since The Dark Sentencer is a rather new song, I didn’t know it very well but it was amazing to hear.

This is another song that I’m not super familiar with but I had been listening to it a couple days prior to the concert and it was growing on me. I loved hearing the crowd sing along to the chorus. So what? Here we are, juggernaut!

I really like this song! It was such a banger to listen to it live. I always mess up the chorus though when Claudio sings “Sayanora”. I like this song because it’s definitely a song I can dance to.

It’s a crime that I haven’t listened to the album In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 until this week. There are a lot of good songs on this album. The title track is really good and pretty long, clocking in at eight minutes. Singing along to the chorus made me feel like I was marching into battle especially with my fist pumping into the air.

The guitar break near the end was absolutely legendary. I forgot that it was there in the song so when the chorus started up again I was caught off guard. But it was beautiful.

Unfortunately, I don’t like The Crowing a whole lot. It’s a good song but not really a song I would like to hear live. I prefer really pumped up songs for concerts and this one was a bit too mellow for me. Strangely enough, I think I do like this song better live than on the album.

This is another one of those songs that started to grow on me. The chorus is super catchy. It’s a bit mellow like The Crowing but has enough energy to keep it going. I messed up the chorus though. Since I’m not familiar with the lyrics, I kept saying “yeah” instead of “this” even though I knew it was “this.” I was actually thinking about this exact thing before the concert. I knew I would mess up those exact lyrics, haha.

Good eye, sniper. Now I shoot, you run. This song has a bunch of good lines. It was a feel-good song so much that I danced a bit to this song. There’s no other way to do it. Even though I don’t have much to say about this song, it’s definitely a favourite from the concert.

Before the song started, they played an All Mother sound clip. My friend and I got excited because we thought they would play a song from The Afterman but it didn’t end up happening. So while it was a disappointment, this song made up for it.

When this song started, I literally yelled “Yes!” This is one of my favourite songs. I wish I was a lyric fanatic and then I would have sang along a lot more to this song. I feel sorry for the people who had to hear me mess up the lyrics to the song. Ten Speed, if I must then I must is a line I messed up a lot, haha!

This is a totally underrated song (underrated by me). I did like this song back then but I think this song will be a new favourite. I sang a lot to this song. If it was up to me. I would have figured you out, way before the year clocked out.

Unfortunately, The Color Before the Sun is an album that fell off my radar. I only really liked Here to Mars from this album. So much that I’ve memorized this song. I also heard my friend beside me belt out the chorus every single time.

Claudio introduced these songs as songs he wrote about/for his wife. I never really liked Wake Up much (too cheesy of a love song for me) but it was touching and a good sing-along session (somehow I memorized the lyrics without liking the song). So I was just swaying back and forth listening to Claudio crooning this song.

This song totally was not on my radar. I did not listen to The Color Before the Sun in depth and most of the singles other than Here to Mars didn’t stick with me. I felt like a lot of people just stood there with their heads slightly bobbing to this song. There was one guy up in the front of me who was going crazy to this song. He was dedicated.

AHHHHH. What a good “last song.” Claudio gave up his guitar and just paraded around the stage with his mic. It was so weird seeing Claudio singing without a guitar in his hands. I freaked out during this song. It’s just so good. It made me super hype for the album. Oh pretty angel, swinging from your cable. I fear my dear, the end is near. So run, run, run, run, run, like a son of the gun.

Is it an encore even if everyone knows you can’t end a show without playing that number one signature song? When Claudio came back out, his hair was tied into a ponytail. Then he took out his double-necked guitar and unleashed his hair. My friend was saying how he hoped Claudio would do it and he did.

There is absolutely no words for the performance for this song. It’s literally their trademark song. Every single moment and beat was just pure getting lost in the sheer awesomeness of the song. My neck hurts solely because of this song because I was just headbanging like crazy.

When it was over, I was in disbelief. I didn’t want it to end. It was an hour of bliss and it ended just like that. Being able to groove out to the songs were great. I am a little peeved that they didn’t play ANY songs from The Afterman, especially since that’s my favourite album. That just means I will have to see them again and hope they play it!

TL;DR

Seeing Coheed and Cambria was so surreal. I can’t really believe it happened. When I saw Alexisonfire, I was just so absorbed in seeing them in the flesh. This concert was definitely more about the music and just grooving out even if I didn’t know the songs too well. It just felt great to be surrounded by people who also love Coheed. I’m still salty that they didn’t play a single song from The Afterman because that is my all time favourite album but overall I think they had a good setlist. The band isn’t really known for hyping up crowds or crowd interaction. They really do focus on creating a great atmosphere and a musically oriented show. Which was great.

Would I go see Coheed and Cambria again? Hell yes. I’m super excited for their next album coming out next month, Unheavenly Creatures. The singles they’ve been releasing the past year have been really good and I can’t wait to get my hands on the album.

In the meantime, I need to listen to the rest of Coheed’s discography.

Thoughts on Alexisonfire and Billy Talent

Aug 1, 2018 | Comments

Disclaimer: This is not a concert review and this post contains swearing

One of the things on my 25 before 25 bucket list was to go see a concert. The last concert I went to when I made my bucket list was the Japanese band Lix at an anime convention back in 2012 (but that slipped my mind when I wrote it and I said the last concert I went to was a My Chemical Romance concert). Technically I already fulfilled this earlier in the year when I saw a video game cover band at the same anime convention but for some reason I don’t really count that as a real concert.

However, this month I saw a bunch of concerts thanks to the Calgary Stampede’s Coca-Cola Stage. Every year my city hosts a stage where musicians perform at for 10 days. Usually I skip out on it because I don’t like any of the musicians that attend. However, this year they came out with the news that the bands Alexisonfire and Billy Talent were coming and I knew that I just had to go.

Alexisonfire

I watched a lot of Much Music on TV as a kid, which is essentially Canada’s equivalent of MTV. What I really liked about Much Music was that they featured a lot of Canadian artists and a lot of bands. I’ve always been a rocker at heart and I was so glad that they were diverse and played bands alongside the more mainstream pop musicians. Now that I think about it, the mid/late 2000’s seemed like a better time for bands but that’s beside the point.

Every week there would be a countdown of that week’s hits. Back in 2006, I distinctly remember watching Alexisonfire climbing the charts all the way up to number one with their song This Could be Anywhere in the World. I tried to listen to their previous works but back then I had very little tolerance to screaming in songs and their newer songs were more melodic. Most of the songs that I liked by Alexisonfire was from their Crisis album.

It wasn’t until 2015 that I delved into their discography again. They somehow got on my recommended on YouTube and I was hit by nostalgia. My taste in music had definitely changed since 2006 and I found a new appreciation for both the screaming vocals and the clean vocals.

I’ve been keeping track of all the music I’ve been listening to since the end of 2010 and you can really see that sudden 2015 spike. I was riding the Alexisonfire phase until about 2017. I think I would attribute the 2018 spike to the news that Alexisonfire was coming to my city, where I was just hyping myself up for my favourite songs and listening to more of their discography just in case they played any unfamiliar songs.

The Concert

You can barely see Dallas, George, and Wade in this shot

My friends and I ran up to the area where Alexisonfire was playing about an hour and a half before the concert started. I saw that they put up barriers pretty early. Initially I didn’t know what the barriers were for but later I learned it was for keeping the mosh pit contained. So my friends and I were right up against the barrier before the crowd turned into the mosh pit section. We were fairly close to the stage but not quite enough for my short self to see past the sea of tall people.

That didn’t matter too much to me. What I really came to hear was the music. I also really wanted to see George Petit (the screaming vocalist) in the flesh at least once.

They ended up playing a lot of my favourite songs (except for maybe two or three). They started off with Young Cardinals which kicked things off really well. It was great whenever they handed off the singing to the crowd. It gave me goosebumps listening to everyone around me and barely myself singing along. It just got me hyped. Next, they did Boiled Frogs. This is one of my favourite singles from 2006.

One of George’s strong points is hyping up the crowd. When they played We Are the Sound I screamed my heart out whenever George prompted the crowd to, “repeat after me!” Another example is Dog’s Blood, which isn’t one of my favourite songs ever. I was reading people’s comments about the concert after and one poster said at one point in the song, they learned over to their girlfriend and said to her, “After this, George will say ‘Now fuck this place up!‘” He says that in every performance of Dog’s Blood but I don’t care, it’s fucking hype anyway!

There were a couple of songs that they played that I wasn’t too familiar with (Crisis, Accept Crime, Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints) but those were still really great songs to just headbang and groove to.

Of course, they played This Could Be Anywhere in the World as their “last” song. It was absolutely amazing. That’s hands down their most well-known song. The girl to my left was really quiet the entire concert but once this song started, she was just all into it. That’s one of my favourite things about concerts: when everyone is just freaking out over really good songs by a really good band that they all love.

The encore was what got me the most though. Most notably, they played Pulmonary Archery and Accidents. When I heard the opening riff of Accidents, I yelled “yes!” and threw my hand in the air. I don’t know the lyrics to Accidents really well but I screamed my heart out to what I thought Dallas Green was singing. Right now I’m listening to the song and just reliving it. I screamed “Let’s redefine” so hard my throat started to hurt. That was the absolute highlight of the concert for me.

Even weeks later, I’m still a little bit in a daze of seeing Alexisonfire live. I got to see George Petit’s head pop a couple of times and saw him tear off his shirt. I saw Chris Steele briefly go across the stage deliriously. I witnessed a dude in a wheelchair crowd surfing. Wade McNeil yelled at some crowd surfer blocking the view of the stage and cemented the fact that he is probably the coolest and kindest dude in the band. It was just a whole lot of fun. I am still so extremely happy that I got to see them live.

Billy Talent

Billy Talent is a bit of a different story. At first I was a little bit hesitant to see Billy Talent because I’m not a big Billy Talent fan. I also got into Billy Talent in 2006 so they still had a bit of a nostalgia factor to me. 2006 was when *Devil in a Midnight Mass came out and I really liked that song. They came out with a lot of singles off their 2006 album Billy Talent II that I really liked. I also liked the singles off their previous self-titled Billy Talent album. However after that, Billy Talent fell off my radar and I just listened to those singles over and over again.

2006 was right around that middle school age and that was when I was probably at my edgiest. Billy Talent had a lot of relatable songs that are comparable to Linkin Park’s songs in their hay day. That was a big reason why I was drawn to Billy Talent. I could emotionally connect to a lot of their songs.

You can see that in 2016 I only listened to two songs by Billy Talent. In 2016, Billy Talent came out with the song Afraid of Heights and I decided to give it a listen. Evidently I didn’t like it that much back then because I only listened to it once and to one other song from the album.

When I learned that Billy Talent was coming to Calgary, I decided to try to listen to more of their songs. I eventually grew to like Afraid of Heights and I rediscovered a lot of Billy Talent songs I used to love when I was younger.

Compared to Alexisonfire

For the first four years, I listened to just slightly more Billy Talent compared to Alexisonfire. I think this is because there were more songs I liked by Billy Talent. When it came to Alexisonfire, I only liked a couple of songs, maybe four at the most, but I played them a lot. Of course, 2015 changed how I listened to Alexisonfire.

2014 or 2015 was around when I started to use Spotify so I was listening less and less to my personal music library. I essentially rebuilt my music library from scratch through the Spotify catalogue. Billy Talent did not make the cut but Alexisonfire did.

Obviously, in 2018 pre and post-concert I’ve been listening to a lot of Billy Talent. Who knows, maybe I’ll be listening to Billy Talent more than Alexisonfire in the future.

The Concert

We were significantly further back but that was okay

I wasn’t expecting much from the concert because I never saw myself as a big fan of Billy Talent. But I was amazed at how many songs I recognized at the concert. They played some of my favourite classics like Devil in a Midnight Mass, The Ex, Try Honesty, and River Below. They also played some recent songs that I didn’t really know but liked enough to headbang to.

This is How it Goes is one of those songs that wasn’t familiar with but when they played it, I just lost myself to the music. Later I found out this song was written after the drummer, Aaron Solowoniuk, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The song had a good amount of “fuck it, I don’t give a fuck anymore” that resonated with me.

The encore was the real banger though. I can get why bands save the really good songs for the encore but damn. I am so happy they played Red Flag. I wasn’t expecting it but they did it! I screamed out the chorus every single time. Fallen Leaves is another one of my favourites. I never saw it as a show closer but oh man, now I understand why they ended it with that song. It has a similar sentiment to Alexisonfire’s This Could be Anywhere in the World, of being disgruntled about the place you currently live in and seeing nothing but corruption everywhere.

Ben, the vocalist for Billy Talent, made a really great effort to connect to the crowd. Like Alexisonfire, they commented about coming back to Calgary after so many years which was really nice to hear. Also similar to Alexisonfire, Ben stressed about being inclusive to everyone and had a spiel about loving everyone no matter their background.

Something that was pretty cool was that one of the sound technicians had a birthday that day and Ben passed a cake through the crowd from the front of the stage back to where the sound booth was. My friends and I watched the cake float through the crowd. One time the cake almost fell. I’m glad the band trusted us with that cake.

Overall, it was an awesome concert. I screamed a lot more at that concert than the Alexisonfire concert, partly because Billy Talent songs are a lot more singable for someone who can’t do screamo vocals. I feel a little unfair for comparing this concert to the Alexisonfire concert (one of my friends said he heard someone else talking about how “Alexisonfire had way more people than this”) especially when the two bands have the same touring drummer, Jordan Hastings. But these two bands were both prominent in my early life right around the same time. They really defined the Canadian rock landscape in the early/mid-2000’s. It’s amazing that they can still draw huge crowds and are (in Billy Talent’s case) making new music.

In the end, I enjoyed Billy Talent and Alexisonfire for different reasons. My junior high self would have loved seeing Billy Talent live. My current self is just so glad I got to see Alexisonfire. I am still grateful that I got to see both of them. I will hopefully never stop listening to these two bands. I think I will always be able to listen to my favourite songs and rock out to them.

My Chemical Romance in Concert

Apr 8, 2011 | Comments

Last night, I had my very first concert experience. That’s right, I saw My Chemical Romance. It was amazingly awesome. For some reason though, I expected it to be much more… Epic. A lot of people here on Mibba describe their first concert like it was the best orgasm of life.

But for me, it was kinda awkward and surreal. I can’t believe that the band was really in front of me. It just felt like I was watching a video or something. It didn’t seem real. The people around me were pushing and shoving and throwing their fists in the air and screaming. That part was so real. But the band was like a hallucination or like a dream. Ahh, I can’t even remember what any of the members looked like. TT_TT

The music was awesome though. I was so pleasantly surprised at all the older songs they played. They played This is How I Disappear as one of the first songs, and then I knew my life was complete. I’m not a huge fan of the new album, and I knew all the songs they played from that album except for one or two so I was thankful for that. I got lucky, haha. I didn’t listen to Danger Days as much. Destroya, Planetary (GO!), and Thank You for the Venom was AMAZING live. The energy was so high.

Also, I feel like a need to grow already. I’m 4’11”. I was swarmed by tall people. There was the odd moments when I could see over some shoulders but then another head would get in the way. Ah well, there’s other people taller than me who couldn’t see. The music mostly got me pumping. I just wish I was taller.

I still can’t get rid of the surreal feeling though. It didn’t seem real. Maybe it’s supposed to be like that?

Q U E S T I O N S

  1. Describe your first concert experience. If you haven’t been to a concert yet, what would you like it to be like?
  2. MCR. Yay or nay?
  3. Danger Days. Yee or naw?
  4. How do you feel about orange peelings?

About

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My name is Edel Grace Altares. My programming interests include full stack development and back end development. My languages of choice are Python and Java. Outside of programming I enjoy crocheting, video games, cats, historical fiction, and reading.

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