If you’re an avid supporter of my blog you may have noticed two recurring themes: One, my constant ingenious assassination attempts against Justin Bieber; and two, my undying devotion to live music.
Since I can’t actively try to kill that little shit without drawing attention to myself and therefore creating a hefty criminal record (ha…creating. Let’s go with that), this month’s Aural Sex is focused on the healthier part of my obsession- those particular concerts that changed my life, that inspired me, or that stirred something in me I never knew I had. Here’s my list:
(Some of these aren't from the actual shows that I went to, because I couldn't find the posters for those. Obviously, they were all in the tri-state area.)
GREATEST MUSICAL O’S OF MY LIFETIME
BAD RELIGION/THE AGGROLITES/OFF WITH THEIR HEADS (2010)
I’d already seen Bad Religion at Warped Tour a billion years ago, but this show was so much better because it was their 30th Anniversary Tour, so this one was entirely about them. They played for about an hour and a half, and while they focused mostly on this past decade, they did some of their old stuff, too. Everyone went nuts for “Los Angeles is Burning,” which is my absolute favorite BR song. Their encore was like, four songs long, also.
I’m also crazy for Off With Their Heads, a punk band from Minnesota that have a song called “Fuck This, I’m Out.” If that doesn’t make you want to at least check them out, you have failed me.
I’m most in my element when I attend punk shows, even when I go alone. Most of my friends don’t listen to the genre, so I usually have to go by myself, which gives me the opportunity to scream, jump around and act like a total lunatic. Bad Religion is arguably one of the most influential punk acts ever, so seeing them live was one of the most cathartic musical experiences of my life.
SHINY TOY GUNS (2010)
I’d been tracking this band for YEARS before I finally saw them perform this summer, and it was everything I expected. Shiny Toy Guns uses crazy visuals to amp up what are sadly under-discovered tracks that have just recently earned more of a following thanks to their advertisement deal with Lincoln.
I totally embarrassed myself at this show with my camera, but it was worth it because I finally got to see them live. They played EVERYTHING.
JOURNEY/HEART/CHEAP TRICK (2008)
I don’t give a shit what anyone says- Steve Perry is one of the most incomparable rock vocalists of all time, and Journey has some of the most superior tracks to come out of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s (“Don’t Stop Believin’” isn’t even their best song, but if it gets them the recognition they deserve, I’ll take it). Did you guys even know that lead guitarist Neal Schon played with Santana when he was only a teenager? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
I make zero apologies for my unhealthy infatuation respectful admiration for Journey. I’m so into them that I even paid 25 bucks to see a Journey tribute band by myself and got incredibly angry when they busted out “Oh, Sherrie.” That’s not a Journey song! (When I mentioned this to my dad he got really quiet, and then suggested I “talk to somebody.”)
When I found out they were playing in 2008, I asked everyone I know to go with me and (understandably), they all turned me down. I was dating The Sexaholic at the time and he started laughing; then finished with, “Oh, you were serious? Oh. Then no.”
Luckily, my dad is a Journey fan, and he also loves Cheap Trick. He wasn’t too ecstatic about the concept of seeing Heart, but I was, because I love them, and he also can’t resist my sad puppy face (I do have the tendency to be rather adorable).
The entire show was great- Heart can still rock out, and Cheap Trick put on an absolutely stellar performance that I would have expected from artists 20 years younger. Journey was the last band on and I was the youngest one there, and I knew every word to every song. Of course, when I told this to all my friends, they all got that look on their faces.
I don’t care, dude. I would still see Journey again. I would rather see them with Steve Perry than with some guy that they found on Youtube, but at least I can say that I saw Journey live.
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE/NINE INCH NAILS (2006)
During my first couple of years of college I interned for a guy who was a few years older than me, so our taste in music was pretty much on par. One afternoon I was in his office, doing assistant-y stuff, when he asked me what my plans were later. Someone had given him tickets to that night’s QOTSA/NIN show, and he couldn’t make it, so he was offering them to me.
After I picked myself up off the floor, I called my brother. I knew not inviting him to a free Nine Inch Nails concert was akin to taking an aluminum bat to his car after having his best friend fuck the girl he was in love with right in front of him.
The show itself was fucking insane- I still think about it as if it happened yesterday. It’s easily in my Top 5, and even though I’m no longer at that company, that guy is hands-down one of the best bosses ever.
THE PRODIGY (2005)
I often go to concerts by myself, because my taste is radically dissimilar from that of the rest of my group, but The Prodigy is the first live show I ever saw unaccompanied. It was totally agonizing, especially because there were two couples groping each other in front of me, but that changed after about half an hour because I met a guy who I still hang out with five years later. We started chatting, exchanged email addresses, and a friendship based on an insanely nerd-tastic love of music and sci-fi developed from there. This year for my birthday he even bought me a PS3 and didn’t even laugh at me too hard when an alien ate my head.
So, thanks, D. This entire post is for you.
HOT HOT HEAT/WEEZER/FOO FIGHTERS (2005)
|Actual concert ticket purchased by me. I saved it.|
I’ve probably seen Foo Fighters five or six times by now. Dave Grohl is a musical mastermind and every live show is completely new- it’s like how a Catholic schoolgirl feels when she walks into a sex shop for the first time. If you haven’t seen them yet, GO.
As for Weezer, I would definitely recommend their older material, although I would have to put them in the "lame" category recently. However, they do have a shout-out to Lost on their latest CD, so I might check it out.
THE USED (WARPED TOUR, 2003)
Besides having the distinction of being the first ever free show that I’ve attended, seeing The Used play the 2003 Warped Tour was also a bonding moment for my brother and I.
Before anyone knew who the hell The Used actually were, my brother used to hang out with them, and they invited him to watch their set at Warped. I thought that he took me along to be nice, but he later told me it was because I had a camera phone and he didn’t. Um, thanks.
Anyway, not only did I get to hang with the guys in The Used, I also met a few of the other bands and had the opportunity to lounge on the corner of the stage while they shot a video of their performance. Considering the occupation that I currently hold, that isn’t a big deal anymore, but back then, it was pretty fucking sweet.
Spending time with my brother and realizing that we shared a common interest also helped cement the relationship we have now. We go to shows together all the time, but it’s this first one that really sealed everything.
NO DOUBT (2000)
No Doubt’s Return of Saturn tour was the first one I was ever allowed to see without parental supervision. I was in high school and my best friend was the first one of us to get her license, so seven of us piled into her parents’ van and drove all the way to New Jersey. We all thought that attending a concert by ourselves and staying out past midnight made us total bad-asses (note: it did not. It wasn't even a school night).
Gwen Stefani annoys the shit out of me now, but I’ll never forget the experience of seeing her perform. I can always tell when an artist truly revels in being onstage, and she loved every minute of it. It made that particular girls’ night out that much more unforgettable.
GREEN DAY (1995)
There are two musical moments that I credit with steering me in the direction that I ultimately wound up in. One of them was when I saw Almost Famous, which I won’t go into again because you’re all probably totally sick of that by now.
The other was the release of Green Day’s Dookie in 1994 and subsequent tour. When that record came out I was really young and still poisoning my ears with Wilson Phillips and Nelson (all of you can go fuck yourselves- I already said I was really young). Then I went to my cousin’s house and heard “Longview” blasting from his stereo, and that was it. My entire CD collection went into the trash, and my mom was horrified forever.
Dookie was the first CD I ever bought for myself, with my own money, and I played it over and over again until I wore it out. When I learned that my cousin was going to see Green Day live, I pretty much forced him to take me with him. I’m sure he was really stoked for that one. He’s a lot older than me and I was a major cock-block, considering he brought a date with him also. In retrospect, he was pretty cool for agreeing to it. I’m not exaggerating when I say that that show completely altered my life.
Discovering Green Day totally transformed my taste in music. I became a punk addict and used my love for the band to spin-off into the mid-nineties So-Cal scene and artists that dominated the grunge genre. While all of my friends were collecting NSYNC and Britney Spears albums, I was filling my CD booklets with Rancid and The Offspring. Later on I fell in love with The Clash, The Ramones, and the pioneers of the '70's New York and UK punk scenes as well.
My love for Green Day has died down considerably since then, especially after “Time of Your Life” came out and pansy-ass twelve year olds pretended that they loved the band when they had NO idea what else had been previously released. However, no one can argue that Green Day is a fucking powerhouse and that American Idiot is already considered a classic. I would absolutely see them again- but only if they played their old stuff.
THE BANGLES (1980-something)
This was the very first concert I ever went to. I don’t remember what year it was, but I think I was like three. My parents say that Susanna Hoffs looked at me when they did “Walk Like An Egyptian,” and this is most likely why I’m so involved with music now. Foreshadowing, yo.
OK, probably not. But I still listen to The Bangles today. Seriously, “Eternal Flame” is one of the best songs written about love in the eighties.
Here’s a weird fact: Hoffs is married to the guy that directed the Austin Powers movies. Turn that one around for a while.
FUTURE AMAZINGLY EPIC SHOW THAT IS GUARANTEED TO MAKE MY HEAD EXPLODE:
SOCIAL DISTORTION (2011)
A few months ago I found out that Social Distortion, who I’ve been stalking not at all frighteningly consumed with for almost 15 years, was embarking on a double-legged US tour. First I was totally bummed out because they were coming nowhere near LA. I even wrote a post pleading with them to play there. I promised to degrade myself for tickets, and it was extremely humiliating. Then I almost wet myself when I realized that we were going to be in New York at exactly the same time, but the tickets were 50 bucks and I’m broke as hell.
I told my dad over the phone and he was all, “oh, sorry, that sucks.” Then a few days later he dropped the bomb that he’d looked up Social Distortion’s tour dates and found out that they’re coming to Los Angeles a couple of weeks after my birthday, and he’d gotten me two tickets as a present.
I was speechless on the other end for so long that I think my dad thought I was clinically dead. I don’t know whether he’d had the tickets all along and wanted to surprise me, or he decided to get them for me after that first call, but I think he just won some sort of Award for Dads that hasn’t yet been invented. Social Distortion is one of my all-time favorite bands that NEVER tours, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll cream myself at the show, if I even make it there. I might die from delirium first.
BTW, if anyone EVER wants to get me Radiohead tickets, I can’t pay you or anything. However, I do have an interestingly shaped tongue and tiny yet dexterous fingers. Just saying.