Tag Archives: concerts

Why It’s Never Too Late To Learn How To Play An Instrument

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Why It’s Never Too Late To Learn How To Play An Instrument

“I should have learned to play the guitar, should’ve learned to play them drums”, so sang Dire Straits in 1985. While a total lack of musical knowledge or awareness hasn’t been an impediment to many people working in the music industry today, many of us regret either not having learned or abandoning the learning of a musical instrument. Today, we’ll look at why it’s never too late to pick up an instrument, the pedagogic and psychological benefits, as well as looking over some great instruments for neophyte musicians. Learning a musical instrument is more than just a fun hobby, it’s a valuable skill that has numerous cerebral benefits as well as being a cool trick to bust out a parties!

It’s literally never too late:

Virtually everyone benefits from some sort of creative outlet and while we’re all just sort of expected to find the right one in our teens or early twenties, many of us don’t find the right mode of self-expression until they get into middle or even old age. There are few subsets of people for whom the dexterity and mental faculties to play an instrument are prohibitive. If, for example, your arthritic hands make playing the guitar or piano problematic you may benefit just as much from learning the harmonica or the panpipes.

Getting over the learning curve:

The landfills are littered with guitars that were discarded because their owners deemed it “too hard”. Most of them were impatient children or teenagers (We all knew someone at school who quit their guitar lessons because they didn’t become a virtuoso within a month.). As an adult, you may surprise yourself with how well you navigate the learning curve. While your older mind may be set in its ways, you will have learned the value in persistence elsewhere in life.

For most instruments, unlocking the fundamentals is a huge step in smoothing out the steep learning curve. In guitar playing, for example, much of your musical vocabulary is formed by mastering the ‘barre chords’ – moveable chords. When one has the measure of these, they can play any minor or major chord from a good root position. It takes time to master, but it unlocks so much of the instrument’s potential when you do. When this obstacle is hurdled, a player has the inside scoop in learning to cover their favorite music and even learning to write their own.

Cerebral and psychological benefits:

When playing (or even listening) to music, multiple areas of the brain become active. Musicians may look calm and composed but there are firework displays in their neurons. Processing music is actually an incredibly complex mental process, giving our brains a great workout that most of the time we’re not even aware of. It keeps our brains young and aids cognitive dexterity.

Finding the right instrument:

Hopefully, you’ve been moved to consider taking up a musical instrument, but you may wonder which are the best or most accessible ‘starter instruments’. String instruments such as guitar, violin, piano, cello, and bass are fairly accessible for new learners, as are the flute and clarinet. The saxophone presents a slightly steeper learning curve but it’s so ubiquitous in so many forms of music, that learning to master it opens up a lot of doors.

There’s no such thing as the wrong instrument. Even learning an instrument that you don’t stick with tends to be a gateway to learning more. And isn’t it always fun to try new things?!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

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Hot Jams For A Cold Day

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Hot Jams For A Cold Day

Hi everyone and happy Tuesday! As all of you know, I have a deep love for my iPod and my beloved music collection. Recently, I solidified this passion by purchasing a hot pink 128 gig iPod so that I never have to worry about running out of memory space ever again. I’ve been so happy to add new music onto my iPod after a long hiatus of not doing so because of the memory issue. I even treated my mom to my old iPod so that she can rock out to all of her funky time favorites. And, best believe that I’m rocking out to all of my funky time favorites, too! Check it out:

As you can see, I’ve been really feeling Marilyn Manson lately, but then again – when am I not? His two most recent albums, The Pale Emperor and Heaven Upside Down, are so fantastic to me and although I do love old school Manson, his new music has me swooning. And, I know I’m a little late to the party, but I am so enjoying Glass Animal’s most recent album, How To Be A Human Being. We’ll blame that on not having enough memory on my iPod.

I have had the pleasure of seeing both Marilyn Manson and Glass Animals in concert, so any chance that I get to binge listen to either or is one that I take gladly. It’s nice to listen to a band that you have seen live before, because you get to relive the concert in your head every time you hear them in your car or while you’re getting ready for the day. So, if you happen to be around me and are sick of hearing my main man Marilyn Manson or one of my fave bands, Glass Animals, THEN SORRY NOT SORRY, because I don’t think that my binge listening fix will be ending any time soon!!

So there you have it, some Hot Jams For A Cold Day! Which artists are you loving right now? Who should I add to my must listen list? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

PS: As always, I have no rights to any of the songs or videos seen above.

Maintaining Good Auditory Health? Sounds Good To Us!

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Maintaining Good Auditory Health? Sounds Good To Us!

There are certain things in life that we can easily begin to take for granted. Our auditory health can be one of them. Think about how much you actually use your sense of sound on a day to day basis. It’s in action 24/7. From the moment you wake up, it’s present, alerting you to your morning alarm, helping you to do simple tasks like crossing the street, and helping to warn you of approaching danger.

We use it to converse, listen to our favorite songs, and even bask in tranquility when we get a break from the clatters and bangs of all sorts of happenings. Your hearing is even in action while you sleep, picking up on the most minute, unexpected noises and helping your body to jump back into action if need be. So, it’s important to take care of your hearing at all costs. Here are a few ways to help maintain the best levels of auditory health possible throughout your lifetime:

Ear Checks:

We are all used to going for regular eye checks. But when’s the last time that you went for a hearing check? Most people neglect these kinds of appointments. It’s recommended that as soon as you experience any change in your hearing capabilities, you find an audiologist. These professionals will be able to conduct tests and exams to identify the source of any problems that you are experiencing. Having diagnosed the cause of changes in hearing ability, they will then be able to recommend the best course of treatment. This may include fitting a hearing aid, if necessary.

Eating Well:

It may sound odd to say that your diet can affect your hearing. But what makes your ears different than any other part of our body? We know the food groups that are good for maintaining strong bones, a healthy heart, and good eyesight. So we should be equally familiar with the proper diet for good auditory health. The first thing that you should aim to incorporate into your diet is magnesium. This can help to protect you if you are exposed to high levels of noise by acting as a protective barrier to the hair cells in your ears. Second on the list: potassium. Potassium serves to regulate the fluid that naturally resides in your inner ear. If these levels drop, you can experience hearing loss. So keep potassium levels sufficient. A third thing to incorporate into your diet should be folic acid. This helps to generate new cell growth throughout your body in general, which further serves to help with the renewal of cells in your inner ear. Crazy, right?!

Say Goodbye To Q-Tips:

We know how tempting it can be to use Q-Tips for the purpose of cleaning your ears. But the warnings on the box have good reason. You should never insert a Q-tip into your ear, as you may press too far and damage your eardrum. A certain amount of earwax is healthy, anyways. A normal amount of earwax helps to keep bacteria and small bugs out of the ear canal. Excess amounts should generally dispose of itself, naturally leaving your ear canal, spurred on by the chewing motion of your jaw as you consume food. If you find that you do have excess wax, visit your doctor, who will be able to syringe the excess out professionally.

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Bye bye!

Avoid Excessively Loud Noise:

Nowadays, we are exposed to louder noises than ever before on a regular basis. Earphones mean that we can listen to music on the go. However, many of us turn up the volume so high that it can have permanent effects on our listening capabilities. We attend concerts, shows, and festivals, where volumes may be louder than recommended. Then there are things like trains passing us by as we stand on platforms, sound systems in clubs and bars, and chanting in crowds at sports games.

When possible, avoid excessively loud noise. However, if you know that you are going to find yourself in a situation where your hearing could be damaged, take a pair of noise-canceling headphones or earplugs. These will help to minimize the detrimental effects of all of the noise that surrounds you. This is especially important if you work in an industry or environment where you are exposed to large decibels on a regular basis.

By following these simple steps, you will ensure that you have the best auditory health possible. They are simple to stick to, so there’s no excuse not to!

Featured Image By: Pexels

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

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

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

U2 Concert Excitement!!

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U2 Concert Excitement!!

Hey everyone and happy weekend!! I am starting the month of July off with a bang because I get to see one of my favorite bands live for the SECOND time – U2!! It’s a very exciting time to be a Lil Red because not even two weeks ago, I got to see my other favorite band in concert, AFI. I have loved U2 ever since I was a kid (so a real Lil Lil Red!). Having two parents that simply live for them instilled a deep love for U2 in me from a young age.

Lyrics from “Beautiful Day” was the first thing that I got tattooed on me the day that I turned eighteen and it will always remain one of my favorite songs until the day I die. I was lucky enough to see U2 in Pittsburgh a couple of years back for their 360 tour and I had the time of my life. Best believe I ugly cried the whole time. Anyways, when my family heard that a 30th anniversary tour for The Joshua Tree was happening, it wasn’t so much as a need than a must to see them again – especially since they’ll be in Cleveland!

OneRepublic will be the opener, and although I’m not their biggest fan, they are sure to put on a fun show. But to see songs from U2’s iconic album live and in the flesh will definitely make tonight one to remember! I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!! Definitely check back for my concert review and think of me if you happen to listen to U2 today. What concerts are you attending this summer? Who else is a major U2 fan? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Live Nation