April 27, 2016

Concert Stories #42: Mumford & Sons with Cadillac Sky and King Charles

Mumford & Sons

Openers: Cadillac Sky & King Charles

The Riverside Theater

October 30, 2010

Age 27

There is something about seeing a band in a smaller venue before they really explode that makes the moment feel so special.  By late 2010 Mumford & Sons had already gained a huge fan base after their album Sign No More was released in 2009.  The folksy passion that their music evokes was something that was really needed in the music industry at the time.  I, like the rest of the world, took hold of their music and loved all of it.  When they came to Milwaukee in '10 I was so excited to see them with my friends Shannon and Mark.

M&S played the night before Halloween and the keyboardist promptly pointed out to the crowd that our Halloween costumes were a day early.  If you are wondering, I was in half costume, black faux-leather jacket and paints and leopard kitty ears.  We were also sitting right behind Jesus and Mary.  It may have been a day early but it was awesome to see maybe a third of the crowd in costume.  T

The venue, The Riverside, really fit M&S well with it's large but intimate space (I believe it sits under 3,000).  The tent like lighting also made the show feel so much more cozy, like we were their friends just watching them jam out in the backyard.  Listening to the crowd sing every word to each song was such a thrill.  M&S performed at the high level I was hoping they would, finishing the night by quieting the crowd down so they could sing with no microphones.  It was so beautiful.

What I would like to point out though is my wonderful brother, who also attended the show but managed to get in without a ticket and stood right in front of the stage.  I could see him from my second level seats (which I was happy with) and texted him multiple times to try and get me down there with him and he blissfully ignored all my texts.  When I saw him later and said I could see him from my seats he seemed surprised I was even at the show!  Oh brothers.....

Cadillac Sky, a band from Texas opened the show with their folksy sound along with King Charles.  King Charles was a very weird, funny, and random comedian.  He left you thinking "what did I just witness?" but in a good way.

Overall the night was an amazing fun filled night that I'll never forget. I'm eternally thankfully I got to see Mumford & Sons in this smaller venue as I am sure they won't be playing these size venues again any time soon.

April 20, 2016

Concert Stories #41: Bon Jovi with Kid Rock and some swingers!

Bon Jovi (4th time)

Opener: Kid Rock (2nd time)

The Circle Tour

Soldiers Field

July 20, 2010

Age 27

Swingers at a Bon Jovi concert? Yup, that happened.

For the fourth time I went to a Bon Jovi concert, this time in Chicago at Soldier Field with my friends Shannon, Jodie, and Jamie.  We made a day of going to Chicago, getting there a little early and walking around all the great shopping.  Also, moving our car twice to help save on the crazy parking prices in downtown Chicago.

When we arrived at Soldier Field, where the Chicago Bears play, I was impressed with how massive the stadium is. In Wisconsin we have Lambeau Field, which is large but maintains an intimate feeling.  Our seats were in the back corner and in the very top section of the stadium.  It was the first time I was actually afraid while walking up bleachers as the seats where so steep!  By the time we got all the way up to our seats we were very content to not go back down again for a lonoooog time.  This was fine because we started surveying the crowd and boy was it interesting.  Kid Rock was opening for Bon Jovi and his fans where in full-force.  I few rows below us I was enamored by a couple which I could not determine if they were mother and son or husband and wife.  They wore these awesome white t-shirts with hot pink Kid Rock pictures spray painted on.  It was so awesome, and I say this not in a mocking way, I genuinely love seeing what people wear at concerts to support the bands they love!  Kid Rock came out and gave a great show.  I was happy that I was able to see his show again after having to leave early the first time.  .

After Kid Rock we decided to hit the washrooms before Bon Jovi and boy was that the worst idea ever.  First, going down the stairs was terrifying, thankfully no one fell down them.  Then we came across the longest line for bathrooms that I have ever witnessed in my life.  Note to Soldier Field: you need more bathrooms!!!  Plus there was no room to walk and people were smashed against each other.  How we made it through the line and back to our seats in time I do not know.

Thankfully it was time for Bon Jovi.  This would be the last time I would see Bon Jovi with all the original band members sadly (but not the last time seeing Bon Jovi).  Their show was excellent as usual with all the main hits that the crowd ate up and enjoyed.  What I really loved about this show though were the swingers.  Yes, swingers.  We had noticed them before the show had started a few rows below us. There were two couples attending the show together and throughout the night we witnessed each couple make out, the women making out with each other, and the couples interchanging partners for make out sessions as well. The only thing we did not witness was man-on-man action.  They were all over each other the entire night. Which is mainly why I don’t have more memory of the actual concert because we were all pretty obsessed with watching these people.  But hey, they all looked super happy and like they were having a good time so why not?

April 13, 2016

Concert Stories #40: Florence + The Machine and Holy Hail

Florence + The Machine

Opener: Holy Hail

Lungs Tour

House of Blues Chicago

April 12, 2010

Age 27

The instant I heard "Kiss with a Fist" from Florence + The Machine I knew I had found my musical spirit animal.  The song was FTM's debut single and was on the soundtrack for the movie Jennifer's Body.  The song had this raw, wild, and intense feeling that I had not heard before.  I immediately had to know what other music FTM had on their debut album Lungs.  The album did not disappoint, the big commercial songs like "Dog Days Are Over" and "You've Got the Love" were amazing along with every other song on that album.  My favorite songs to this day are "Cosmic Love" and "Girl with One Eye".  Florence Welch  and Isabella Summers have such an interestingly wicked writing style that I connect to.

When FTM went on tour to support Lungs I knew I had to see them live. They were playing at the House of Blues in Chicago and I gladly took the day trip down there to see them play along with my friend Katrina.  Being a general admission concert I annoying had to get there early to secure prime position and we were able to get pretty close to center and just one row back of being on the rail.  When the show started it was amazing.  Welch came out barefoot and in a black lace dress and howled her way through the energized set while Katrina was focused on how hot the harpist was.  At one point the people in front of us left so we were able to move up and lean against the barricades which leads me to one of my all time favorite concert memories.  During "Dog Days Are Over" Welch quiets the crowd and gives them instructions on when to release and jump up and down together.  As the crowd listened and then proceeded to jump in pure joy during the song, the weight of the crowd jumping up and down on the floor caused Katrina and I to be lifted off the floor (remember we are standing on the metal barricades now).  We didn't have to jump at all ourselves, the power of the crowd was vibrating the floor and pushing us up off the metal we were standing on.  That pure joy of a  crowd literally put us in the air.  It is something I will never forget!

Opening for Florence + The Machine was Holy Hail.  A folksy hipsterish band that  sounded okay but was just not my type of music.

Below is a video from Glastonbury where FTM performed in 2010.  You can skip to around the 5:40 mark where Welch quiets the crowd the same way she did in Chicago and see the crowds reaction and just plainly why I love her so much.

And here's the required blurry pictures from the night!

Holy Hail

April 06, 2016

Concert Stories #39: Kelly Clarkson with Parachute

Kelly Clarkson

Opener: Parachute

All I Ever Wanted Tour

The Milwaukee Theatre

October 23, 2009

Age 26

The original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson came to Milwaukee in late 2003 promoting her new album All I Ever Wanted.  I had not watched her on American Idol but was a fan of all her albums.  My favorite Clarkson album is My December, which she co-wrote all the songs on.  It was a darker album that may not have had any major breakout singles, but was rich with content.  I was very excited to see how Clarkson would be live and went to her Milwaukee show with my friend Shannon.  What was not particularly fun for me about this show was that I had broken my foot about two months earlier and was in a walking cast.  That cast really brought my dancing game down but I was very thankful for a few songs where people sat down so I could as well (I probably should have sat the entire show but stood and balanced on one leg as much as I could!).  Clarkson, though, was phenomenal.  Her voice is incredibly powerful and she sounded amazing live.  Her quirky funny personality was also on display that night.  She has a quality about her that is disarming and makes you feel that you could meet her and just be great friends with her.  Talking and laughing with the crowd and seeing how much she appreciated her band was really great to see.  Clarkson also performed a great cover of the White Stripes "Seven Nation Army" and did it justice.

Parachute opened the night. They are a pop rock band and at the time "She Is Love" was their big single.  I remember being pleasantly pleased with their performance.  The Veronica's were also supposed to open but did not perform.  No reason was really given, which was a bummer because I was a fan of their single "Untouched" and excited to see what they would bring.

March 30, 2016

My current music favs

I have not written lately about what I am currently listening to so thought I would take a week off from my concert stories and highlight a few of my favorite songs right now.

"River" by Bishop

I am straight up obsessed with this song right now.There is a bit of savage darkness to Bishop's voice that draws me in tight.  I would also recommend her other single "Wild Horses".  Bishop is probably the most exciting artist I have heard since Florence + The Machine, I really can not wait to hear what she comes out with next.

"Way Down We Go" by Kaleo

This is the first song I have heard from Kaleo and it reminds me of something I would hear from The Black Keys.  It has a bluesy rock vibe that starts off slow and then just grows and opens up.


"Dangerous Woman" by Ariana Grande

This song is off of Ariana Grande's upcoming album and if the other songs off of her new album out in May are like this the album is going to be straight up amazing.  "Dangerous Woman" showcases Grande's strong vocals and a more mature side to her.  It has a sultry swagger to it that I love.  I also suggest looking up her flawless acappella version of the song.


"Shadows" by Ryan Adams

This song is two years old off of Ryan Adams self titled album Ryan Adams.  It was just featured on ABC's Quantico this past week and listening to it the first time I thought it was U2.  Adams sounds so much like Bono in it to me and the song has a very 90s quality to it.

"Lost Boy" by Ruth B.

Ruth B. is a 20 year old Canadian singer who just released her first ep late last year.  I just heard "Lost Boy" from it this week and was intrigued.  The song does reflect her youth but also a sweet musicality that is really pleasant to listen to.

March 23, 2016

Concert Stories #38: Bon Jovi with Soraia

Bon Jovi (3rd time)

Opener: Soraia


Marcus Amphitheater

July 25, 2009

Age 26

I feel like Bon Jovi has been talked about too many times already on this blog, but there are still shows to discuss!  In 2009 Bon Jovi played the opening night of Summerfest, which I attended with my friends Shannon, Jodie, and Claudia.  Bon Jovi had done a massive tour the previous year for their album Lost Highway and while playing Summerfest was not officially part of that tour it seemed like a bonus date added to the end.  This was also still when the great Richie Sambora was still part of the band as well (please reunite Jon and Richie!)  While Jon Bon Jovi still sounds amazing live, it is not a secret that his long career has taken a toll on his voice.  Sambora provided heavy vocals in backing up Jon's voice and they sounded great together.  Sambora is basically the lead for "I'll Be There For You" and was amazing to hear.  Overall the show was just as excellent as the two previous times I had seen Bon Jovi.  They played just over two hours and included their long list of hits.  My favorite songs, "Keep the Faith" and "Wanted Dead or Alive", were of course played and as excellent as ever.  What's funny for me is that I pretty much know Jon's dance moves for certain songs and I love them every time they happen.  

A great addition to the night was the fireworks.  Summerfest's opening night typically has an amazing set of fireworks and because we were in the bleachers of the Marcus Amphitheater, we were able to see the show while watching Bon Jovi played as well!

Opening the night was Soraia and I am sure they were great but I have zero memory of seeing them sadly.

What I do remember specifically was the end of the night.  It was so incredibly hot and I had been dancing so much that I was grossly sweaty. When giving hugs good-bye I said not to hug me because I was so gross and Claudia didn't care and hugged me anyways.  When she felt the back of my tank top I remember her pulling away and exclaiming "Wow, you weren't kidding!".  Nope, I go hard when a great band is playing.

Warning: terrible pictures below!