Category Archives: Music

Monday Update: Marilyn Manson Concert Edition

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Monday Update: Marilyn Manson Concert Edition

Hi everyone and happy Monday! This past Friday my sister, Kristen, and I trekked to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (About a two hour drive.) to see Marilyn Manson in concert for his Heaven Upside Down tour at Stage AE. After literal months of anticipation for this show, it was finally the night and the performance definitely didn’t disappoint. ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THAT WE WERE RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE STAGE!! Take a look at some low quality iPod pictures and let’s discuss:

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^^^ Lol, I love that last picture. “Ayyy”.

First of all, Stage AE was an absolutely excellent venue. It seemed like no matter where you stood in the crowd, your visibility of the stage was average at a minimum and amazing at the max. Kristen and I began our concert experience with an okay viewing for the opener (Alice Glass, who I’m not even going to talk about because she sucked.), and ended our night in front of the stage.

How, you might ask?

Well, it’s not like the crowd was intensely rowdy throughout the show. Some fights definitely did break out but nothing “major”, and some people just weren’t comfortable with it (understandably) and opted to get away from the vicinity of the mosh pit. So as soon as people left the area for safety purposes, drinks, or what have you, Kristen and I would make our way forward until we had a view of Marilyn Manson at all times during the concert.

And speaking of the concert…

It. was. AMAZING. Manson is nearing fifty years of age, and I told Kristen on our way home that this is probably the best we’re going to see of him since he isn’t getting any younger. There was no on stage self harm, no crazy gimmicks with girls, minimal audience banter, and not even an inkling of violence. This show was everything that his performances weren’t when the band was just starting out, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a lot of fun.

The Heaven Upside Down tour didn’t seem so much of a celebration of his new album of the same name, rather, an ode to some old school Marilyn Manson hits that even people who don’t even like Manson love. We’re talking The Dope Show, Lunchbox, mOBSCENE, This Is The New Shit, No Reflection, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), and The Beautiful People.

Marilyn Manson played four songs off of Heaven Upside Down and opened the show with the album opener of Revelation #12. He then peppered KILL4ME, WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE, and SAY10 into the set list. The rest of the show was filled with Deep Six (I’m disappointed that more songs from The Pale Emperor weren’t played.) and Tourniquet, which is another old love. (Manson then encored with Coma White but, alas, Kristen and I had to make the two hour drive home so that she could work early in the morning.)

^^^ Obviously the set list rocked…

And the performance that came along with it was just as good. The lighting, the different costumes Manson donned, his gorgeous speaking/singing/screaming voice – it all worked so well. I mean, a front row view doesn’t hurt, but it was a damn good show. Fans that were able to see Marilyn Manson in the beginning might think that he is slowing down (Unfortunately, I was a toddler so until time travel is invented, I will never know what his early shows were like first hand.), but, to me, he is just getting started.

Marilyn Manson dragged his last album, The Pale Emperor, through some gritty, rough blues influence and it came as a triumphant, different comeback. Yes, some tracks off of Heaven Upside Down does sound like classic Manson (KILL4ME and WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE, anyone?) but that doesn’t mean that the whole album will, and I’m looking forward to exploring it in its entirety when it comes out on October 6th.

Marilyn Manson is at a stage of experimentation that is working in his favor – from his art, acting, and playing with new and unique sounds – everything seems to be a success. I expect Heaven Upside Down to reflect these gutsy changes and the fact that he is soon going to be a half a century in age. Friday’s concert brought us some old school fun mixed with new favorites, but it seems like the party is raging on just fine for Manson in a way that’s not only, dare I say, age appropriate, but totally fucking cool.

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Marilyn Manson Concert Edition! What was the last concert that you attended? How do you feel about Marilyn Manson? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Moving Past Open Mics With Your Indie Band

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Moving Past Open Mics With Your Indie Band

Sure, there are people out there who are going to tell you that now is the time to be a musician for the simple fact that there are more avenues than ever to explore. But just because there are a lot more ways to get heard does not mean that it is easier. In fact, being an indie band now is probably harder than ever before for the simple fact that there are so many options. Playing yet another gig at yet another tavern hidden way off the beaten track, the kind of place that makes you pay for your own water is not exactly a great way of making it. Don’t believe us, just look at your band’s communal wallet.

However, just because you’re broke and living at your bass player’s mom’s house does not mean that you should give up the dream. That is because you can still make it and live out your dream of touring some far-off country where fans chant your name in their adorable local accents. It is just about following the rules and knowing how to maximize your chances.

Of course, telling you that and then skipping town would hardly be rock n’ roll of us. So, to help you start living the dream and escape your bass player’s mom’s house (No offense, Barbara.), we have pulled together a list of insider tips and tricks. Check it out:

  1. Get To Know Your Fans Like The Back of Your Hand:

Pennies are short and, for some reason, no record labels seem to hang around open mic night’s held in Big Dave’s Garage (lol.). Basically, there is no sign of an advance floating your way just yet, which means your fans are your biggest financial life jacket. That is why you need to make sure that you are giving your fans something for their loyalty and love. Get to know the names of those guys and girls that are always in the front row. Give your fans a way of listening to exclusive music or interviews by creating a band website and then sharing this sort of content there. Share video recordings of acoustic sessions and behind the scenes banter on your social media pages and make sure that you are replying to any comments or messages that float your way. We used the life jacket analogy for a reason because, in the same way, you need to inflate your life jacket by blowing air into it, you need to give your fans something in return for being so awesome.

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 Party over hereeee!

  1. Play Your Strengths As Well As Your Guitar:

Every band has their own strengths, so make sure that you are aware of what yours are and then play to them in every way possible. Just being great songwriters with above average talent and the technical know-how when it comes to uploading your music onto Soundcloud, Youtube, Spotify or whatever else isn’t enough. You need to find other ways to shove your musical abilities into the realms of greatness, and that requires a little bit of magic (aka creativity). If you’re a band that offers more stage presence than the lovechild of Katy Perry and Bruno Mars, then try and play as many live gigs as possible, and maybe even consider getting a residency somewhere. Not only will you get paid, but you will see your star start to rise as more and more people see you. It could be that your sense of humor is your secret weapon, in which case document this and share it, get interviews with niche magazines and little radio stations, and then let this personality of yours show in your music videos. OK Go became famous for their viral worthy music videos, which means that it is totally possible to emulate this approach to success.

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 A cool band name is a must!

  1. Grab People By The Eyes And Ears:

Having a sound that people recognize is one of the most important factors when it comes to carving out some Top Of The Pops like success. But so is having the right visual branding, too. That is why it is worth spending a little bit of time and money (Presumably borrowed from your parents. Barbara, we’re looking at you.) on a graphic designer. This branding of yours is going to be stamped across all of your promotional material – Facebook page profile pictures, website homepage, Instagram, flyers, album covers, t-shirts, USB drives, and pub mic-night posters – and will help establish your place in the industry. Think about some of the greatest and most famous bands to ever walk the boards of the biggest venues. The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Run DMC, Daft Punk. All of these legends created a visual identity so powerful that just their shadows would halt you in your tracks. Basically, get your branding right and you’ll have people want to sport your promotional products, whether t-shirts or posters, and that will spread the good word faster than the flu.

  1. Forget All About A Record Deal. Period.

No one from a record deal is going to turn up at one of your small gigs – or your bass player’s mom’s house (No offense, Barbara.) and hand you the golden ticket that is a record deal. That just isn’t going to happen, nor should you want that to happen. The hard work is there to be enjoyed, used in your music, and make you successful. Most importantly, though, you need to understand that no record label has a secret recipe that guarantees success. They just don’t. Instead, they pick up talent based on their independent success; so they will pick you up based on your independent success. That is what you want. You want to use this as a bargaining chip should the day ever come where labels start to notice you instead of getting snapped up early and dropped or, worse, hung out to dry. Concentrate on what you are doing, focus on your trade and doing your own thing; that is what will lead to success – not trying to chase the money and the labels.

Being in a band is cool. Finding success in something you love is cooler. Prepare for a lot of hard work and with just a little bit of luck, you won’t be crashing on Barbara’s couch for much longer.

Featured Image By: Pexels

Monday Update: Excited AF Edition

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Monday Update: Excited AF Edition

Hello everyone and happy Monday! When it comes to Marilyn Manson, people either love him or they hate him. I’ve honestly never met anyone who was like “yeah, he’s just okay”. Myself? I absolutely one hundred and fifty percent freaking LOVE him. His music, his art, his style, his speaking voice, his devil may care attitude peppered with a childlike love for metal lunchboxes. He really is just mesmerizing to me.

My above profession of love shouldn’t come as a shock. You all know by now that I’m an emo kid at heart so, of course, I have a major soft spot for Marilyn Manson. And now, after literal years of being a fan of his, I finally get to see him in concert for his Heaven Upside Down tour at the end of the month. My sister and I will be venturing to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Stage AE to see Ohio’s own on stage doing what he does best: Performing that strange, beautiful heart out. I. Can’t. Wait.

We have all heard the rumors and stories about what goes on at a Marilyn Manson concert. We’ve seen the fake affidavits penned by various family councils. We’ve heard Manson’s name come up as the scapegoat for a litany of adolescent problems time and time again. Needless to say, he is a bit much. He is not everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s okay, because he is a man that is so uniquely himself that the last thing he needs to worry about is pleasing everyone. So, despite the stories and slander, he has me hooked.

I have no idea what I’m going to be walking into on September 29th for this show. Is it going to be as wild and disturbing as the concerts described in his autobiography, The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell? Or will we see a more toned down version of Marilyn Manson as he nears fifty years of age and has cut back on drinking absinthe – his favorite. I’m about to find out, and if the anticipation doesn’t kill me first, then I’ll be back to report on the show here on lifewithlilred!

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Excited AF Edition! What concerts do you plan on seeing soon? What was the last concert that you went to? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: The Awesome Daily

Green Day Concert

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Green Day Concert

Hellooo everyone and happy Hump Day! This past Monday, I went to see Green Day at the Blossom Music Center in good ol’ Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Unfortunately, I was (and still am) feeling pretty under the weather, so I can’t say that I enjoyed myself as much as I would have liked to. I would by no means say that Green Day is one of my favorite bands or anything, but I don’t dislike them at all. I actually like them quite a bit, but their concert really just missed the mark for me. Let’s discuss:

I will say that the set list for the Revolution Radio tour was excellent. They focused on some old and new favorites that really took you through the thirty years of Green Day’s existence. Opening with newer heavy hitters like “Know Your Enemy”, “Bang Bang”, and “Revolution Radio” then transitioned seamlessly into older jams like “Holiday”, “Hitchin’ a Ride”, and “Minority”. Like I said, the set list really was good. BUT…

The major BUT(T) is the pure bullshit that happened throughout the show. Literally after EVERY SONG there was at least five minutes of dicking around that ranged from Billie Joe making strange noises into the microphone, encouraging everyone to get “fucking crazy”, or making the audience repeat “hey-oooooo” back at him for the thousandth time.

At the beginning, this was funny and entertaining. But, rest assured, that it got very old, very very quickly. I kept wondering if I would have had a better time if I wasn’t feeling so poorly, but I genuinely don’t think that I would have. The constant silliness of what was happening between the songs was just too much.

All of the bullshitting took away from how wonderful the band sounded live, and that’s sad that I’m just now bringing up how amazing they sounded. Everything about their playing was just perfect, even better than on the albums, really. BUT(T), their live performance turned into well over two hours of tom foolery peppered with good music. It was a shame.

It actually pains me to write such a poor review because I was looking forward to this concert so much. Don’t get me wrong, I have mad respect for Green Day. Thirty years of making music is something that should be celebrated. And maybe what they were doing during their show on Monday would have worked twenty years ago…but, sadly, it fell incredibly short of the high expectations that I had.

Am I glad that I went? I guess. Would I recommend seeing them live? If you’re a hardcore fan, then sure. But I can’t say that I would want to see them play again in the future. Whomp whomp.

So there you have it, my review of the Green Day Concert! Who of my readers are Green Day fans? Have you ever been to a concert that disappointed you? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

PS: Sorry for the lack of pictures! We were quite far away from the stage, so getting a good quality shot was impossible.

Featured Image By: NME

Basic Space: Creating Your Songwriting Haven

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Basic Space: Creating Your Songwriting Haven

Do you remember the early days when you were locked away in your room learning the guitar or piano and finding out there is no such thing as B-sharp? It was your continual curiosity that piqued your interest in becoming a musician in the first place. And if you are moving on to that next stage where you are trying to create your own music and writing songs, it’s important to get back to that metaphorical head space where you were curious. But it’s also important to get a good physical space in which to create, so here are a few things to think about:

Learn From The Best: The greatest thing about being a songwriter is that you have thousands upon thousands of people to get inspiration from and you can spend countless hours learning from others. You could spend your time reading books and listening to other artists to help you keep fresh when you are in a creative lull. If you are ever feeling dry, it’s very likely because you’re not assimilating enough inspiration.

Create a Space Conducive to Songwriting: If you haven’t got somewhere that you can tune out the world, you’ll be lucky to get any semblance of songwriting completed. But it’s also vital for your practice that you have somewhere where you can be free to experiment in a place that’s your own, but also be surrounded by a constant source of inspiration.

A good place to start in your space is with the classic vinyl records that are clearly pointed out to be a superior listening experience (which we all know deep down). It’s important to be surrounded with the right materials. New Order’s recording studio had a poster on the wall with a lot of old film titles which ended up being the basis for a lot of their songs in the 80’s including Cries And Whispers. So if you have the right environment in which to create, with adequate inspiration from books to posters and, yes, records, it will start you off on the right foot.

Throw The Rule Book Away: Thom Yorke (by way of Tom Waits) said that it was the ignorance of certain instruments that made them more infinitely fascinating. Noel Gallagher has been using the same 4 chords for 20 odd years but is still able to make them sound like new. So sometimes it’s important to unlearn what you have learned to free you up. If you are bound by structure, it can be inhibiting in certain ways, which is why it’s important to be able to make mistakes and play a bum note because you are in the experimental stage.

People place a lot of pressure on getting things right the first time especially if you’re in a band, but even a band like Genesis (love them or hate them!) made the vast majority of their later songs out of studio. The musicians were freer with each other by this point to experiment. Your own worst critic will always be yourself and when it comes to songwriting and creating the right atmosphere in which to do it, it’s important to create this space inside of your mind as well as in a physical location.

Featured Image By: Pexels

Hump Day Jams

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Hump Day Jams

Helloooo everyone and happy Hump Day! We’re halfway through the week and so close to the glorious weekend so it only seems appropriate to provide some jams to get us stoked for dumb old Thursday and Friday! As you guys know, I’ve been trying to update my iTunes after quite a few years of neglect and I am having such a blast rocking out to some new and old favorites. Here’s what I’ve been listening to as of late and bear in mind that I have no rights to these songs or videos!

Lol, obvs it’s a pretty random compilation that I’ve been playing but when isn’t it?! I’ve been in love with finding songs that I can literally play on repeat and enjoy myself as much the tenth time listening to it as I do the first. All of these songs do that for me, particularly Left Alone by Flume & Chet Faker, which I have no problem playing on repeat while I’m getting ready for the day in the morning EVERY MORNING. If you listen to one of these suggested songs by yours truly, make sure it’s that one!

So there you have it, my Hump Day Jams! What are your current music favorites? What are some of your play on repeat for the rest of eternity jams? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

U2 Concert!!!

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U2 Concert!!!

Hi everyone and happy Tuesday! Saturday, July 1st was a fantastic and wonderful day, because I got to see one of my favorite bands, U2, perform live for the second time. My Irish lads graced Cleveland, Ohio with their presence for their last concert in America for the 30th anniversary tour of The Joshua Tree and I was lucky enough to be there for it.

Honestly, saying that I felt euphoric that night is an understatement. There is nothing quite like seeing one of your all time favorite bands live. Like, you’re hearing them in person, actually seeing them with your own two eyes, and breathing in the air that they are. In CLEVELAND, OHIO?! Lol, it’s insane. I still can’t wrap my head around it, but it happened. U2 was so nice that I saw them twice and this tour was even more magical than the first.

Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss. BUT, bear in mind that my iPod camera sucks so some of them are pretty low quality. However, there are some awesome shots that my dad took with his camera thrown in for your viewing pleasure!

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^^^ Pics taken by yours truly!

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^^^ Pics taken by yours truly’s father!

Unfortunately, we don’t have any halfway decent photos of OneRepublic during their opening set. The sun was just beating down and naturally, it seemed to focus right in on our seating section, so snapping any type of pic that actually looked good was damn near impossible. Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed myself while they were performing. It’s not like I hate OneRepublic but it’s also not like I’m their number one fan, either. But, my god, do they sound good live. The lead singer was an excellent showman and they did a wonderful job of hyping up the crowd.

OneRepublic sounded the same, if not better than they do on their albums and it was nice having an opener who actually did a good job. Interpol opened for U2 during the 360 tour, which I attended, and they were abysmal at best. OneRepublic essentially performed a best of their radio hits compilation including “Apologize”, “Counting Stars”, and “Good Life”, which I thought was an incredibly smart move on their part. No one wants to see an opener play obscure songs that they can’t sing along to. Despite never listening to the radio, I still was able to sing along to all of their songs, which was a great way to lift my spirits even higher for when U2 took stage.

Am I OneRepublic’s biggest fan now? No. Not even close. But they really did put on a sublime opening act. They were charismatic and had great quips with the crowd, which is always fun. But, most importantly, they showed genuine talent and musical ability and that made listening to a band that is far from my favorite an utter delight.

Now, let’s get to U2 because I almost had a heart attack when a lone Larry Mullen appeared on stage, sat himself down at his drum set, and began pounding away the iconic beginning to “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. And when I say that I almost had a heart attack, I literally did. Hello. They just opened the show with my favorite song instead of with The Joshua Tree’s opener of “Where The Streets Have No Name”. I genuinely believed that I had died and gone to heaven.

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” was followed by “New Year’s Day”, which was another obvious crowd (and Sarah) pleaser. My god, it was just magnificent. After two back to back strong openers, the pace slowed down a little with “Bad” followed by “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”. Despite an almost abrupt feeling change of pace, it was pure U2 and they were so in their element that you couldn’t even be mad at them.

Now, up until the band began playing The Joshua Tree in its entirety, they were performing solely on the tree silhouette, which can be seen in the pictures above. But, the show didn’t even seem to begin until they made their way back onto the main stage and “Where The Streets Have No Name” started to play.

With the shift into U2 playing their 30th anniversary album, the infinitely long screen backing the stage turned into the background for videos specially designed for each song. With every hit you were transported into videos that told stories of the land, war, poverty, agony, love, and pride. From ordinary citizens placing an army helmet on their heads to strong and stoic Native Americans gently guarding their homeland, you got the sense of what the songs on The Joshua Tree were originally written for and what they mean to the band now in a time of such political and emotional turmoil.

Throughout the show, you could tell how much the band genuinely enjoyed bringing this album back to life. A light-spirited Bono playfully called his whole band sexy as well as the entire city of Cleveland (ayyy!) and halfway through The Joshua Tree set he graciously took a moment to welcome us to the second half of the album. What a guy, what a guy, what a heck of a guy.

It was funny hearing The Joshua Tree live, because you often forget about that almost country twang that the second half of the album brings. This was even more emphasized with videos of a skinny jeaned and denim button down clad woman painting an American flag on an abandoned home. She then showed off her lassoing skills in a red, white, and blue bikini top. Mama Mia!

After The Joshua Tree set ended with “Mothers Of The Disappeared” that came with a powerful backdrop of children holding candles that eventually blew out, we were invited by Bono to “stick around” for their encore. You would have been a fool not to. The encore was a fun, upbeat party to some of their most well known hits, which included “Elevation”, “Vertigo”, “Mysterious Ways”, and my all time favorite – “Beautiful Day”. You guys already know how much that song means to me, so yes, the water works were definitely flowing at their hardest then!! (I have no shame in admitting that I cried like a baby for a majority of the concert – I really just can’t help myself!)

U2’s encore ended with a gorgeous performance of “One” to draw a perfect night to a close. Guys – it really was perfect. I can’t explain to you how special it was to see the band that is so loved by my entire family while standing side by side with them in the stands. I consider myself so lucky that I have gotten to see U2 not once but twice now at 23 and both shows would literally have to be pried from my memory banks to be forgotten.

So there you have it, my experience at the U2 Concert!!! What shows have you seen recently? Who is attending any music festivals this summer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah