Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Music Love Affair

I simply cannot date someone that is not as passionate about music as I am.
Several years ago, I was on a date with a guy when the all-important question came up.

I asked: "So, what are you favorite bands?"
He breezily replied: "Oh, I don't really have any, I guess. I kind of like music, but I don't have favorites".
I spent most of the rest of the date trying to figure out how the hell I was going to get out of there quickly.

My entire life was built on a musical foundation. I attended my first concert at age 5. I started seeing local bands when I was 14. I've been advocating for the scene since I was a teenager, let alone hours upon hours I've poured into listening to albums and going to concerts featuring my favorite national acts. I built a career around my love of music. I can't play an instrument, but I sing and perform with bands whenever possible.
It stands to reason if I eat, sleep, and breathe it: I'm looking for someone to share that with.

...And along came Luis.

We're both in the industry. We're both huge music lovers, and agree on most of the same bands. We have the same attitude towards music: You don't have to knock someone else's taste to be satisfied with your own opinions.

If we're going out on a date, it likely involves going to a concert.
If we're staying in, Luis cranks up the half stack and plays guitar in the living room. Or we throw on a concert dvd as background noise. Last night, we laid in bed in front of the computer watching interview clips from Mark Hoppus's show on Fuse TV, and Dave Navarro's web-based tv show.

Sometimes we just turn on Pandora and lay around singing along to tracks we like, and joking about how fast we can turn off the ones we don't. Whether I'm doing my best Brandon Flowers impression, Luis is showing me videos of Tyson Ritter making a very disgusting tuna melt, or we're debating the merits of underrated drummers...music is very much the core of our relationship.

Really, does it get much better than that?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Music Friends!

Almost all of my friends are borderline obsessive about music. There is an unofficial litmus test to determine whether I can socialize with you on a regular basis, and music is the backbone of the examination.

If you're not interested in coming to see a local show with me, we probably won't be spending much time together.
If your musical taste has the range of 10 bands from 20 years ago that are no longer relevant, we probably won't have much to talk about after the first day we meet.

I mention these things because my music lovin' friends have banded together and given me some great new tunes recently. The onslaught of new music started at the end of April.

Joel burns a mix cd for my birthday every year, and the diversity always runs the gamut from classic blues to Michael Jackson.

Heather and Kyle made it a point to take me to see Clutch, whom I've been threatening to get to know better for years. What a fantastic show. Subsequently, Heather gave me two Clutch albums and Josh Ritter's The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. I was quite certain years ago that I'd filled my quota of singer- songwriters. I was wrong, and now I can't stop playing that damn album. It comes to a close and I let it roll right back to track 1. She also made me a mix cd with a great variety of artists.

Lisa made me a mix of songs as upbeat and happy as the two of us (a.k.a. Ersa) and I danced in my seat in the car on the drive home from her house.

Luis and Andrew both mentioned Thrice within 24 hours of each other, which lead to a YouTube blitz of all things Thrice, plus The Starting Line, Saosin, and Something Coporate among others.

A Facebook status about this latest group of bands led to suggestions from Tom, Gaston, and Emily for other bands that I can't even begin to list right now. More research to be done later!

Meanwhile on the local scene, Joel DaSilva and the Midnight Howl are working on their debut. Beauty to the Moon just announced that they're working on a follow-up album. I've discovered Bobby and the Renegades, Hymn for Her, and gotten more into the Shakers. Hit Play! has drastically changed their lineup. Checking out Sugar in the Gas Tank live is on my to-do list, thanks to Spano's new hosting gig on Buzz Junior.

I have the greatest music friends in the world.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jimmy Pagano Memorial @ America's Backyard

I spent last evening with my local music family, celebrating the life of drummer and music promoter Jimmy Pagano.
Standing off to one side just after I arrived, I surveyed the motley crew of rockers assembled for a night of music and memories. It was a bit surreal to see bandanas, torn jeans, and myriad tattoos at a Top 40/dance club, but what a great time indeed.

The guests in attendance read like a who's who among South Florida musicians, photographers, and artists. There was absolutely zero ego in this room, however. Lots of laughter and rotating jams as everyone took turns hitting the stage and playing some really solid covers.

Judy Blem and several fantastic volunteers organized a fine event, along with the help of area businesses donating items for raffle and silent auction. A program has been set up in Jimmy's memory: The Jimmy Pagano Music Scholarship Fund. This has been arranged through the Dan Marino Foundation, and information can be found here:

I did not know Jimmy personally, aside from a few haphazard Facebook run-ins. But to hear what a beautiful soul he was, such a hard working and positive force in our community, made me proud to be part of this community, too.

This gathering allowed me the opportunity to catch up with some old friends, and meet a bunch of new ones as well. It was nice to spend the evening with good music, great company, and a few drinks.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hep Cat Boo Daddies at Elwood's Dixie BBQ

It's no secret the Hep Cat Boo Daddies are good friends of mine, so when I learned they were going on an indefinite hiatus, I made it a point to attend their show this past Saturday at Elwood's Dixie BBQ in Delray Beach. I stepped in halfway through a song, taking a seat at an empty table up front. I settled in with a Magner's, propping my feet up on the chair in front of me, readying myself for three sets of HCBD.

I focused first on Joel, watching him play and sing like I have done so many times over the years I've lost count. He played carefully, with alternating focus and ease. In a conversation we had after the set, I told him I've enjoyed watching him grow as a musician. He has become even more proficient of a player, and his stage presence is more electric than I've ever seen it.

I turned my attention to Evil, the bass playing embodiment of cool. Standing off to one side sporting his trademark shades, he makes playing look so effortless that I'd be tempted to jump up there and jam myself. He's always a joy to watch.

George is a fine addition on the skins, having replaced Randy Blitz several months ago. He was all smiles and even sang a couple of covers, including "Folsom Prison Blues".

By the second set, the boys started breaking out some tracks from HotRodSexGod, which did not leave my cd player for approximately the entire length of the summer of 2007. I tapped my bottle to the table in time with George's drums, singing along with Joel.

The third set was a half hour, anything goes impromptu jam with a roundtable of musicians that happened to be at the gig. Joel invited me up to sing a song, but I was caught off guard and didn't know what we'd all be familiar with so I declined. I'd gladly take him up on the offer another night, as sharing a stage with him would be my pleasure, indeed.

Catch the last Hep Cat Boo Daddies performance before hiatus at Big Easy Bar and Grill in Hollywood: Saturday, June 18th.

You can also check out Joel's new band: Joel DaSilva and the Midnight Howl

Monday, May 16, 2011

Listening With Fresh Ears

Last year, my friend suggested I check out "Warning", his favorite Green Day album. It was the only one I'd never heard, so I gave it a listen. I've heard it a handful of times over the last several months, but only yesterday did I pick up on the jingle bells in Deadbeat Holiday. As Billie Joe Armstrong begins the lyric: "Christmas lights in the middle of August", the bells chime in subtley. My ears perked up, and I admonished myself for not having noticed it sooner.
One of my favorite things about being a passionate music lover is discovering the nuances a band chooses to include in its music. Sometimes the choice is in the instrumentation, like the Green Day song I mentioned above. Other times, the choice is in the mixdown, when the music floats from the left channel of your headphones to the right. If you're a radio personality, the mixdown could send you into a state of panic. We often wear our headphones over just one ear. If the song starts in the left channel, as Korn's "Coming Undone" does, you'll flip out thinking you have dead air. Your heart skips a beat until the drums kick in, and you laugh at yourself for the mini freak out.
When I was younger, I used to spend an entire afternoon with my mom and dad's record player, headphones engulfing my tiny head as I pulled out the sleeve and followed the lyrics intensely. As an adult, the closest I can come to that is a car ride to work. I miss the days of devoted listening.
What are some of your favorite subtle music discoveries?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bobby and the Renegades

I've had the pleasure of seeing Bobby and the Renegades a couple of times recently, and have yet to be disappointed.
Regardless of the size of the room or the number of people in the crowd, the boys play with the same level of intensity.
Comprised of members of hard rock band Beauty to the Moon and blues rockers The Helldorados, Bobby and the Renegades was formed just under a year ago.

Vocalist Greg Magnanti may be new to the group, but is clearly a good fit with the rest of the band. The ease and chemistry with fellow members is evident in his performance.

Guitarists "Mean" Dean Haddox and Steve Laudicina are fun to watch: alternately grinning and trading licks or getting swept away in a passionate solo that fills the room.

Drummer Harry Brooklyn and Bassist Mason Randall provide a solid foundation, keeping a steady beat for covers and originals alike. Their experience shines through in their playing, both members show a combination of precision and relaxed confidence.

It's a blast when everyone gets in on the fun, and the band's cover of Muddy Waters' Got My Mojo Workin' gets a crowd on their feet with ease.
On the other end of the spectrum, the guys wrapped up a recent set with Bill Withers' "Aint No Sunshine", a great match for Magnanti's vocals.

Join them on Facebook for upcoming shows: Bobby and the Renegades

SW 3rd Ave Music Festival Recap

When you love as many local bands as I do, you're often faced with difficult decisions. How do I divide my time when attending local shows? Do I support my friend's band, or see someone new? Do I travel across county lines, taking a chance on a show that might be less-than-stellar? What's a music lover to do?
SW 3rd Ave fest was the perfect cure to my woes. I was able to see a bunch of great bands in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, close to home and in venues I love.

After chowing down on tacos at T-Mex, my friends and I made our first stop at the PoorHouse for Juke Singer Eric Garcia greeted me from the stage as we walked in, and it was like being welcomed home at the end of a long day. The band blew through a few blues tunes in what seemed like a split second, reminding me of my least favorite thing about festivals: short set times. It was a tease, leaving me mentally arranging my schedule to catch them later in the week, at The Stage in Miami.

After a quick load out, Joel DaSilva and the Midnight Howl took the PoorHouse stage. This lineup may be new together, but the members are hardly new to the scene. Frontman/Guitarist DaSilva is a member of The Hep Cat Boo Daddies, and drummer Stefano Rotati sat behind the kit for Juke. Bassist Kevin Simonelic rounds out the trio, along with Scott Rowell appearing on keyboards. The 'Howl is currently working on their debut album, set for release late summer/early fall. The boys sounded great, and the band was in good spirits coming off last week's big show at SunFest, alongside several national acts. A mix of originals and covers made for a fun set.

When J.D. and the Howl wrapped up, I grabbed a friend and walked over to the Green Room to see what was going on at the New Times Stage. I'd never seen a performance at Green Room, so I tried to find my bearings as John Ralston's band did their setup. I took in the decor (lots of white furniture!) and the crowd (music geek chic!) and determined I may not be cool enough for this place. John Ralston came highly recommended, and I was excited to see him perform. His band sounded incredibly tight, and I enjoyed his vocals and stage presence. I bopped around to the music for a couple of songs, but I was anxious to get back to PoorHouse for The Shakers.

The PoorHouse was packed for The Shakers, and they were already onstage when I re-entered.
The energy in the room was more intense than I've ever seen it at this venue. I couldn't help springing up and down like a pogo stick, letting the music move me for roughly two and a half minutes at a time. This was not my first time seeing the Shakers, and definitely won't be my last. These guys had everyone's attention, as the crowd bounced and raised their camera phones. An illuminated hula-hooper at the front of the stage lit the room with glowing swirls.

When the set ended, I stepped onto the street for some air, plotting my next move. It seems one group of my friends had convened at Fat Cat's, so I made the trek down the street for shots and good times. Justin Enco Band was playing a set strictly comprised of covers, and it made for a nice change of pace. We perched on stools on the sidewalk, starting a Sublime sing-a-long and talking about the night's events. The perfect way to wrap up a night of excellent music!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Cure For What Ails

I've never been one for change. If things could stay exactly as they are, in my happy little routine, with no shake-ups or upheaval, I'd be completely content. But life is at times tempestuous, and I'm clinging to my ideals in a world that demands constant reevaluation. What's a slow-moving Taurus girl to do?


The music is my consant. Even when it changes, it stays by my side; lifting my mood and supporting me in times of need.
Every morning I wake up with a song in my head. Sometimes, the song is a carry over from the previous day. Other times, it crashes my thoughts like a drunken partygoer, and I never fight it. I come to work and look it up on YouTube, then post the performance on Facebook to share with my fellow music lovers.

I focus on lyrics, finding the ones that suit my feelings best.
I focus on the bass line or the kick drum, wishing I had that kind of rhythm.
I focus on supporting my friends in their desire to play music to larger audiences, channeling their talents and passion into making their dreams a reality.

When you don't think anyone else can relate to what you're going through, share a song with them. You might be surprised.

Photo Credit: Kristina DaSilva

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Return to Form, Plus Random Musical Observations

I've been absent from this blog for some time. When the rock station I was a jock for flipped formats, I took myself out of the loop for awhile. There is still no mainstream contemporary rock station here in South Florida. I focused my writing efforts on other pursuits, using all of my free time to food blog for New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Looking over my last few entries here, I realized how much I missed talking about music, and sharing my love for it with all of you. (All 5 of you that read this, anyway!)
Soooo, I'm back.
In four months, this is where I'm at:

I can't tell you a damn thing that's going on with mainstream rock right now, save for a new Foo Fighters album and A Perfect Circle going on tour. And I like it that way. Not having to do repetitive research for bands I barely care about is refreshing.

In my cd player and/or my iTunes for the last month? Elvis Costello, The Drowning Men, The xx, The Black Keys, Dropkick Murphys, Jimmy Eat World, Weezer, Dave Matthews Band, A Perfect Circle, Beach House, The High Strung, and Timo Raisanen. The only one of those we ever played on 93 Rock was Weezer...and just one song: Hash Pipe.

It's liberating to not give a shit. I don't have to pretend to like Creed, I don't have to find nice things to say about Nickelback. I can just enjoy the music I like, and not have to make excuses or apologize.

On another musical note (wow, unintetional pun) my kid loves Weezer. I put the Green album in with him in the backseat one day, because I was looking for something happy and upbeat to stop him from being cranky and fussy. Before I knew it, we were listening to the Green album every day. He sings the "woah oh oh" backup vocals for "Don't Let Go". He does the handclap fills for "Photograph". He bobs his head to "Island in the Sun". Admittedly, I'm getting tired of hearing this damn album every day. But every time I stop at a red light and see his smiling face clapping away, I laugh with him and am less annoyed at hearing the same Weezer album for the sixth time this week. I figure, at least it's not the Barney song that was popular in the generation following mine.

So now you're all caught up with my musical life.
Please suggest new topics for me to write about, visit the comment section below.
As always, thanks for giving a damn :)

Timo Raisanen-My Sweet Marie

Moneybrother-Born Under a Bad Sign

The High Strung-The Luck You Got