AJR

Get this – imagine standing on a stage, immersed between / in the mountains, looking up at 9,000 people who paid to come watch YOUR show. Imagine then remembering back to how it all started: street performing in New York City. Busking. Random strangers of the city passing by as if you were nobody. NOW, you are performing for 9,000 people who came to support. To feel the energy. To sing along to every song.

“We made it” is probably the phrase AJR has been saying ever since their song “Weak” flowed through the radio world & sky rocketed as their biggest hit a few years back. But this time, after playing Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO, the words “we made it” probably hit harder than ever. One of the most iconic venues (in my opinion) in the world & AJR sold that bitch out. Hell, it was sold out even before I bought my ticket to go.

I can’t even begin to tell you peepholes (peoples) how INSANE their show was. I’m still in utter and complete AWE of how creative these guys are with every. single. thing that they do. From the production. To the crowd interaction. To the creative thinking that went in to the performance of each song. I wish I could just post a video here of the entire show because honestly, words can’t even being to describe the magnitude / greatness of the show. They had lit up platforms on the stage. A massive screen [what I will refer to as the “big ass screen”] behind them with graphics that were out of this world. A dope ass trumpet player. & let’s not forget their killer dance moves – so nerdy but just AJR vibez for sure.

To start – the lights (obvi) go dark, the crowd goes wiiiiiiild (of course), & all we see is typing on that big ass screen I mentioned above. I don’t remember the exact wording but it went somewhat like: “Hey. Can’t come out yet. Gotta push the show back (awkward pause) fuck it lets start the show” – and the next hour and a half, I blacked out.

JUST KIDDING. Where to start, though. Let’s just rattle off some highlights & hopefully I can convey this to you as great as it was to see live:

First off, on the rocks in the venue, they had “Welcome to the Neotheater” displayed for all to see. I’m not sure if they do this at their other shows in the venues, but it almost felt as if Red Rocks was transformed into the actual Neotheater. I was LIVING for it.

During “The Entertainment’s Here,” Jack was walking on a treadmill (YES, A TREADMILL) on the stage in front of some graphics showing him “walking” through the city. Check the vid below.

They also created a setting during “I’m Not Crazy” that portrayed that of their street performing days in NYC, even having people in their crew walk across the stage and putting “money” in their guitar case. Jack even saying “thank you, man” as if they were still street performing. Made for a funny, lighthearted moment during the set.

There was also a part during the show where Jack & Ryan explained/showed us their creative process when they are making a song (different samples, editing, what sounds they choose & then mixing them up from there). I love when artists do this during a show that explains and gives a background to their thought process during the making of a song. I feel like it’s rare these days to see that & gives the fans a little more insight into them (because the average person has no fckn clue what goes into making a song). I unfortunately didn’t video this part because I was so in the moment.

One of my [second] FAVORITE parts of the show was the segue way leading into their performance of “Come Hang Out.” Jack uses the big ass screen to give the illusion that he is painting. He “paints” two larger versions of himself who he then uses to clap with to create the beat of the song. As I said before, the creativity of their set: MIND BLOWN. If you didn’t watch any of the previous videos, you CANNOT skip this one.

Another part I unfortunately didn’t get a video for was a part in their set where the trumpet player [who killed it, btw] played little snippets of other songs that they didn’t play the fuof during their set [because as Ryan said, they have too many songs these days that they had to pick and choose what to play during the set – sad day because they didn’t do “I’m Not Famous” and I go so hard to that song].

LAST BUT NOT LEAST – the most INCREDIBLE part of the show was the finale. A few songs before their final song, everyone on stage came back out wearing these all black jumpsuits with white lines. I immediately knew – they’re going to blackout the stage and light up themselves. JUST WATCH FOR YOURSELF, PLZ. So magical & the most insane way to end a show.

I first saw these guys play at a venue in Columbus, OH in 2014, at a radio show, to probably less than 100 people. The tiniest of venues. Going from that to seeing them play to 9,000 people at Red Rocks – my heart is just so happy for them. Such genuine, humble dudes, changing the world with their music, one day at a time.

If you get a chance, check them out on the rest of their tour: ajrbrothers.com/tour

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Spencer Sutherland

HI FWIENDS. I’m just here to let y’all know about one of my favorite & definitely underrated artists who also KILLS IT live. Also cool to support an artist from ya home – Columbus, OH!

I’ve seen Spencer before but in very different settings & never a headline show (well, duh, because this is his first headline tour…) and I could sit here all day & hype you up about him because he is just THAT good.

I was able to catch Spencer on tour last week in Denver, CO at Globe Hall. First & foremost, the jacket he wore I am dyinggggg to cop one of my own (see below). Hello glitter. Hello glam. Hello FUNTIMES.

I’m sitting here racking my brain as to what Spencer opened with but my mind just cannot remember (hence why I should probably write these things right after the show…epic fail, Jessica). Let me just give you a run down – Spencer gave us some HEAVY vocals throughout the whole set, from his high pitched “That’s my sweater” lyric [which Sweater is an amazing song, btw & omg his voice! Check tha vid belooow] to his runs during “Tell me” to the choir-y chorus in “None of this has been about you” – the entire set was a banger. Not to mention he completely pulled off a version of Ariana Grande’s “Thank U Next” that had my friend saying his version was better. Hats off to you Spence [I say Spence as if we are buddies…lol]

On another note, he gave us a few acoustic songs & also a remix on one of them going ham on his sound board (giving me AJR vibez, for sure). Different beats. Mixing it up. I always love those little things during a live performance. It adds an extra flair that you can’t really get on just hearing the track. One of my FAVORITE moments during his show, though, was hearing the crowd sing almost EVERY song back to him. I can’t even imagine as an artist to play a show & have the fans sing words that you wrote back to you. What a moment that has to be.

Like I said, I’ve seen Spencer before (pretty sure I was at his first ever live performance, evah – hello WNCI Spring Beats — ANNND I just googled that & it wasn’t but whatevs, it was in the early dayz). I first heard Spencer on the radio in Columbus with his song “Heartstrings” [which I haven’t actually heard in a good minute] & immediately fell in love. I also am a huge supporter of supporting people from where I’m from (TwentyOne Pilots, Walk the Moon – yassss Ohio). He’s always got a way with words & I just cannot get over how insane his vocals are. Would it be even crazy to say I think his are better than….ADAM LEVINE? ANYWHO, going from seeing him perform at a radio gig to playing a small show in Nashville to his headline tour where people are singing his lyrics back to him?! I feel like a proud mom to see the growth in his music career.

Due to my laziness & lack of commitment at the moment to writing these things, Spencer’s tour ends on 8/28 [lol, in 5 days] BUT if for some reason you happen to read this beforehand, catch him on tour [but like, he’ll obvs be around & touring again, OKAY OKAY]:

  • August 23 – BROOKLYN, NY
  • August 24 – CAMBRIDGE, MA
  • August 25 – WASHINGTON DC
  • August 27 – ATLANTA, GA
  • August 28 – NASHVILLE, TN

Tickets here.

I also can’t complete this post without highlighting the amazing openers:

YaSi 

So she’s a local Denver artist & by golly, if she doesn’t blow up I will have a fit. I can’t even explain her voice but it has SO MUCH POWER. I also missed the moment, but she was spittin game / rapping to (I believe) Cardi B & even from outside in the bar area, I was like WOAH WHAT IS HAPPENING. Please watch the video below & you betta not tell me her voice isn’t anything but fiyah.

Justice Carradine

Hate to admit this, but didn’t know who he was before the show (but that’s the beauty of concerts & openers – you get to discover new artists! YAY). He performed his new single “Dangerous Love” & I am feelin’ it I tell you. This kid seems like he on the up & up & I will not be surprised if he is a NAAAAME one day.

See “Dangerous Love” below

&& if you’re a Shawn Mendes fan, this acoustic number he did during his set gives me alllll the Shawn vibes. ENJOY!

 

Signing off with that PCD, yo.


Garth Brooks

Imagine a stadium full of people (around 84,000 but who’s counting) just joyfully cheering your name & singing along to the songs you’ve written, recorded, & performed so many times. I just can’t even imagine what kind of feeling that produces in someone’s heart.

Well, that’s probably what Garth Brooks was feeling when performing at Mile High Stadium. The amount of energy the crowd brought alone made the concert experience that much more top notch (except for the guy next to me STOMPING, I mean STOMPING, to show his excitement instead of clapping and cheering like any normal human).

To be honest, though, I never really had the desire to go see Garth. I’m a newbie “bro country” fa, if you will, versus Garth’s classic style of country music. Yeah, hate me for that, but whatever. To each their own. But when a last minute ticket came up, how could I say no?! Let me tell you, I was so glad I was able to go and experience it. I knew maybe one song but was so in awe of him. The production. His lyrics.

I was especially moved when he sang Unanswered Prayers – it was almost a moment of worship for me & really spoke to my heart. “Just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care. Some of Gods greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” PREACH IT GARTH.

Now that I’ve been doing production for my church, that seems to be all I notice at concerts anymore. I’m always amazed at what kind of tricks are up the sleeves of the production crew when it comes to large events such as this one. I wasn’t sitting in the highest, upper section but I’m assuming they were given some sort of hand held lights that were controlled by Garth’s production team. There were many songs that were lit up & went along to the music & it was S’COOL. I guess instead of me explaining, just watch da video below 😎

I had to leave the show early as I had to work (woo, night shift) but all I really cared about was hearing Friends in Low Places & I did so I was a happy camper. Woo for that! Brings me back to the days when I lived in Nashville & the bars on broadway were swarming with this song. OVERALL, I was NOT disappointed. Now, I am fiening to actually listen to his music & attend another concert so I can belt out every lyric (it’s just more fun that way, don’t you think?)

I am DEF feeling that post concert depression, yo….


Cal Scruby

This is not a post about a recent show of Cal’s, although I’ve seen him live my fair share of times. I wanted to change things up a bit & let ya know bout his new ALBUUUUM.

So, I’ve followed and supported Cal’s music since I saw him open at a Timeflies show in 2012. I have always been a fan, but you could say I kept my distance. Didn’t follow as closely as I did other artists, etc. BUT PLEASE, let me tell you. He just released a project called Unsigned & I am OBSESSED. I have never listened to his music on repeat as much as I have with this album [except for his song Ain’t Shit Changed with Chris Brown].

A few highlights are:

Shut Up – this song is a BANGA. & Cal starts the song going OFF on why labels suck & try to control you. I FEEL YOU BRO (even tho I ain’t an artist it seems like some bull to me, tehe). Chorus is catchy, and just an all around good song.

Smash Mouth: “150 bitches that can tell you how my dick taste” okaaaaay lollll.

Blink 182 – “If you blink, I bet she gon’ pull a 180 too,” LIKE YAS PLEASE. I’m always a sucker for a good play on words. Also, the line[z] “When I meet Selena I need me at least a Weeknd. I’m already a legend I need a Chrissy Teigen

Instincts – “On Survivor I would vote you off, you and Logan Paul yeah cause like, Logan Paul just ain’t that likeable am I riiiiiight?

NOOOOOW, if you’re a Taylor Swift fan, I’ve noticed a few references on the album – first would be there’s the song that is ACTUALLY named Taylor Swift (obvi). Famous line: “white girls at my show dancing like they’re Taylor Swift” (that is DEFINITELY me). There’s also a line about making seven layer dip & we from OHIO so… just wanted to point out I’m disappointed the line wasn’t about skyline dip. Okaaaaay moving on – there’s also a line in Blink 182 where he says “look what you made me do.” There’s a third one but I literally can’t remember it (hoping my girl Meg will come thru and help me remember – potential update to come).

In conclusion, (am I writing an essay, jeez Jess what the heck) I could continue on and on and on about this album, but it’s probably just time you go listen to it for yourself. He also doing videos for allll da songs (at least I think that’s the plan) so be sure to check those out too.

CLICK IT:

https://linktr.ee/calscruby

& for your viewing pleasure, here’s a throwback photo with the man himself.


Maren Morris

My friend & I were standing pretty side stage but a few rows back from the front. We were at an angle & could see Maren fairly well. I’ve never been that person who needs to be front & center (okay, maybe @ Timeflies shows) but even so, if I’m even remotely close to the front but on the side of the stage, that’s totally fine with me. No heads in my way, not much to peer through. To see someone so close, as if you were there with them just hanging out, is a feeling you don’t get anywhere else.

Cassadee Pope (luh her) struts herself on the stage – couldn’t tell you her set but she played my FAVE, “Bring Me Down Town” which is a total play on words & I LURVE. Puh lease check it out (on her new album, Stages, DUH). What I loved about her set, though, is she was totally interactive with her fans. She kept pointing & smiling at people (which not all artists do this) but it adds to the excitement when you see someone live. You’ve been seen. They know you. They see you. Jammin out with you. It adds a personal touch & gives you that moment where it feels like it’s just you & them. Let’s throw it back a notch, though, cause she mentioned during her set that she played that venue (The Fillmore) 10 years ago opening for Fallout Boy (w/ her old band Hey Monday – please be with me on this: jammin out to their song Homecoming in high school emo music dayz). A total 180 – now she was there opening with country music & for one of the hottest female artists at the moment.

After her set, she said she would be meeting fans by the merch table & of course, my friend & I had to go say hello (even though I met her before when I lived in Nashville). It was pretty much a mob of people, instead of a line (but what else would you expect?) so I just felt crammed & when meeting her a little rushed because of all the people. If you’ve met artists in this way, you feel my pain. I appreciate that she took her time to meet everyone, though, because some people won’t do that. Again, gives you more of a personal experience than just attending the show.

BUT, Maren Morris, y’all. That girl is straight FIYAH. I can’t even begin to express how in awe of her that I am. I spent most of the concert just wanting to trade outfits (you can capture that beauty in the video below).  Well, I guess voices as well because this B cannot sing AT ALL. The notes she can hit. The tone she has. It’s as if she doesn’t even have to try. Effortless.

I wanted to touch mostly on her song Girl: the chorus.

Girl, won’t you stop your cryin’?
I know that you’re tryin’
Everything’s gonna be okay
Baby girl, don’t you hang your head low
Don’t you lose your halo
Everyone’s gonna be okay
Baby girl

Especially – don’t you hang your head low, don’t you lose your halo. Can we shout WOMEN EMPOWERMENT?! I mean, come on! I am a superfan of women supporting women. Keep your halo. Keep your head up. Keep pushing on because you deserve to shine & stand out. Don’t let anyone or anything bring you down & if they do, you pick yourself up & fight back.

That song was probably the stand out of the show. It moved me. I’m sure it moved others as well. If you’ve ever felt down & need a reminder that everything’s going to be okay. It’s so crazy how lyrics like that can truly change peoples lives & may be just what they need to get moving & motivated again to believe in themselves.

It’s been a little while since this show, & y’all, I’m still having post concert depression…

Catch Maren on the Girl World Tour: https://www.marenmorris.com/ 


To My Favorite Band

This is an open letter to the band I’ve been following for *GASP* 7 years now. I wish things were the same as they were at the beginning. The excitement of the new. The excitement of the unknown. The excitement of waiting for front row. The excitement of waiting after to see if you’d come off the bus & say hello, take pics & be goofy.

I’ll never forget the first time you remembered my name. Like, how sweet was that? I never imagined my favorite band would know me, my name or even remotely care about my life. We were hanging out at a bar, on a random Thursday night, when this happened. Why can’t it be like this still?

I’ll never forget traveling and taking so many road trips on end to see you play a random college show with some of my best friends. The great feeling of hearing you call out “where are my Ohio girls at?” Why can’t it be like this still?

I’ll never forget you making us fans feel so special and loved for being as crazy as we were. But we were always there, always down & 100% supportive. Why can’t it be like this still?

We’ve grown together & grown apart. I always knew this time would come where it wouldn’t be the same as it was before but why has it come to this? It’s not over for you but it feels as if it’s over for me. I am at a constant battle with myself if I should continue to support or if I should walk away. But how can you walk away from something that has been a huge part of your life for that long? It’s just not that easy.

When you think you know someone, their values, their beliefs from following them all this time to feel like it’s been ripped from you from just one tweet. I don’t know what to believe anymore. My heart is so torn. So broken. So confused.

I want answers but is it really any of my business? No. Do I feel I am owed an explanation? Maybe. But ultimately, I don’t know you to your core and you don’t know me to my core. You really don’t owe me anything, which is the most heartbreaking part.

I don’t want this to be the end, but, my heart and my head are at a constant battle & it may be time to let things go. It was fun while it lasted. Thank you for the memories, laughs, friends made, road trips, amazing songs, amazing shows, tons of selfies & genuine love you showed me for supporting you for so long.

This may be the ultimate “post concert depression” I’ve ever, ever felt…


A new encore?

Have you guys ever been to a show & the artist plays their “last song” & thanks the crowd for a great night? They leave the stage & a few minutes later come back out for their encore? Pretty much the concert expectation these days, right?

I’ve always had on my mind to see a show that gives an element different to the encore. I feel it used to be a special thing the crowd would roar so loud for. These days, it definitely is something that is pre-planned into an artists set [from my experience, at least]. The only thing remotely close to something other than an encore was when I saw Ed Sheeran play a radio show in Michigan a few years ago. This was when his song, Sing, was a massive hit – he had the crowd sing along with him the lyrics: SING, oohhhweeeeohhhh, oooooohhhhh, oohhhweeeeohhhh, SING [that’s definitely not how the oh’s go, but cut me some slack LOL]. The entire crowd was singing along & all of a sudden I noticed that he was no longer on the stage. HE. WALKED. OFF. Leaving the crowd to their own accord, but also, left me wanting more. Guessing. Confused. It was such a crazy feeling & something I had never seen before. That is probably THE closest thing other than an encore that I have experience.

I’m not even sure what that would be., though I’m not an artist. I don’t have that creative production mindset that people who work concerts have. However, as a concert go-er, I am ready for SOMETHING ELSE. Yet, I’m here thinking, I don’t even know what other avenue a concert set could take other than an encore.

What I pose to the music world is: get creative, leave us guessing & wanting more. Change up the concert experience. I DARE YOU.