Wednesday, 24 June 2015

My Concert Tips & Advice
Photograph by Ashley Osborn
In August I will be attending my 5th concert.  I'll be seeing All Time Low and Neck Deep in Edinburgh for their Reading and Leeds warm up gig and I'm really excited.  Although I have only been to a handful of concerts, I thought I'd share with you some tips (some my own and some I've learnt from others) that could be handy for attending concerts, especially since it's currently the festival and warm up gig season.
1. Stay hydrated.
This is probably one of the most important things.  But unfortunately most venues don't let you take your own drinks into the venue, even if it's just a bottle of water.  Which means spending money on their overpriced drinks but, it's worth the money if it means you'll stay hydrated.
Venues can get hot very quickly and if you're standing (and if you've been queuing for a long time) then you need to keep yourself hydrated for health reasons.

If you know you're going to be queuing for a while before the gig then take a few bottles of water with you and bin them at the door of the venue.  Also, if someone asks for a sip of your drink in the queue then it's probably best to give them some, cause you might need their help later on in the evening when you're trying to get a pick from the guitarist.
If during the gig you need a drink but there isn't somewhere in the venue to get drinks or if you can't get access to this area, then alert the security that are there that you need a drink.  They'll hopefully be able to help you out somehow.

Photographs by Elliott Ingham

2. Go to the bathroom.
Like I said above, staying hydrated is important.  But consequently this means you'll need to go to the toilet. 
If you're queuing for quite a long time then try and go to the bathroom in local businesses, even if it's just the nearest Starbucks.  I know that in the UK if you go into a public building, I'm pretty it's the law that they have to let you use their bathrooms.  Sometimes they'll insist that you have to be a customer to use their bathroom so, sometimes you just have to suck this up and deal with it by buying a chocolate bar so you can pee (some people just don't seem to understand that it's a normal human function to empty our bladders and we don't have access to bathrooms when waiting to see our favourite musicians).

 If you're standing and you want to get to the barrier then as soon as you get to the venue you're going to be trying to get a good space.  And it's understandable, you've been queuing for what may have been a long time and you don't want to miss the opportunity to be in touching distance of your favourite musicians.  If this is the case then try and go to the toilet at a local business just before the doors open.
And if you need the toilet during the gig then sometimes you just have to go and that's that, the condition of your bladder is more important than the gig (yes I know this is difficult to come to terms with but seriously, look after yourself and go pee during the gig if you need to pee).
3. Photography/Filming
One of my biggest regrets is that I have watched the majority of all the concerts I've been too through either a camera or a phone screen. 
Although I love looking back at my photos, I hate that I didn't enjoy the concert and the fact that my favourite musicians were performing right in front of me.  Yes, it's nice to share you're photos on Facebook later but I've learnt from experience that it's a lot nicer to have incredible memories from the concert you've attended, through your eyes not a phone screen. 
It's more than likely that artists will have official photographers with them on tour and will post countless professional photos from your concert on their social media sites.  And there are a lot of other people at the concert that will be posting photos that you'll be able to find on social media.
But, it's still nice to have some photographic memories from our own perspective but enjoy the gig at the same time so, I'm giving myself the following rules for gigs in the future:
  • I can take photos during the first song and be as trigger happy as I like.
  • If there's an acoustic set then I can take photos during this.
  • I can take photos and short film clips during the final song.
  • I can film two songs during the set.
  • I can take as many photos as humanly possible if I'm ever lucky enough to meet any of the musicians at a gig.
I'm hoping that by sticking to this it means I'll be able to enjoy the concert but also have some photos and videos to look back on and remember the gig.
Photographs by Adam Elmakias

4. Mosh Pits.
If a mosh pit starts then don't feel you have to get involved.  If you want out of there, then get out.  Sometimes this is easier said than done because in those moments people are in the moment and moving to the music.  Try and get to the sides or the back of the venue.  Try and let someone know that you're maybe a bit shaken because these experiences can be scary.
It's more than likely that people will want to help you out, whether these are fellow concert attendees, the venue staff or the security at the gig.
If you're the kind of person who feels at their element when in the middle of the pit then you have a bit of responsibility in these situations. Yes, enjoy yourself and enjoy the music by moshing with people who feel the same way as you but, if you see someone in the pit who has been pushed/pulled in and clearly looks uncomfortable then do what you can to get them out.  If you don't feel comfortable in this situation or can't get to them to help them, then try and get the attention of someone who can.  Remember that the security are there for a reason, this being one of them.
5. Standing at gigs.
 Don't push people.  Try and keep your elbows in.  If someone falls over then help them up, this one's just common sense and manners. 
If you're feeling light headed, dizzy, dehydrated, overwhelmed, anxious or anything similar at any point of the evening then let someone know and try and get out of there.  Even if this means just standing in the toilets for 5 minutes to get a bit of head space.
If it's the kind of gig where there could be crowd surfers then be aware of this if you're near the front, you may get knocked in the head a few times.

When someone asks you to save their space while they go to the toilet or get a drink then try your best to save it, it means they'll help you if you need it during the gig as well.
If you think someone needs help because they're hurt/dehydrated/have fallen over/having a panic attack then try your best to get the security's attention.  Again, they are there to do a job and will help you out as much as they can. 

If you are standing but know you don't want to put up with being pushed around and squished up against the barrier, then as soon as you get to the venue position yourself at the back or the side venue.  This way you can enjoy the gig without worrying about being shoved around.
Photography by Thomas Falcone

6.  Sitting at gigs.
You're going to have a more relaxed time than the people standing and that's just a fact.  But that doesn't mean you can't have just as much fun. 
If you're on a balcony, then it's normal in most venues that people in the first two rows aren't allowed to stand for safety reasons.  So, if you're wanting to dance around then go for the third row or further back otherwise be prepared to have a good view in the front two rows but be restricted to staying on your chair the entire time.

If you're seating is unreserved then you'll probably want to be at the venue near enough to the door opening time so that you can get a good seat.  Also, make friends with the people you're next too, this means you can keep each others seats when someone needs the toilet/a drink/wants to buy something from the merchandise table.  And you might even make a new friend.
If seating is reserved then you don't need to be at the venue straight away, you could save yourself the annoyance of queuing in the cold and still be on time for the opening acts, even if you just go the venue for half an hour after the doors open.


7. Buying tickets.
When buying tickets go through a trusted site, such as the musicians own site, the venue itself or a site that the artist has advertised on their social media.  This way you'll know that you're ticket is genuine and that you're not being scammed.
There's nothing wrong with buying tickets second hand from people but, be extremely careful who you're buying it from and the price that they're selling it for.
Make sure that the price you're paying is one that you think is worth it, if you feel you're going to be ripped off to see an artist that you're only slightly a fan off, maybe it's best to wait till they're touring another time or saving the money for a concert you'd enjoy more.

Photograph by Thomas Falcone

8. The queue.
Be prepared for all weathers.  I was waiting in a queue to meet Lawson at their CD signing and my arm got horrendously burnt, it was bright red and resulted in Ryan from Lawson commenting on it at the signing and, it was extremely painful . 
Take sun cream with you if you know you're gonna need it and share it with others who need it.  Likewise, if it's going to be a bad forecast then take a cheapy rain coat with you.  This means you won't feel guilty about binning a £3 coat from Primark when you get in the venue and, you'll be dry when you get in the venue which is the most important thing.
Make friends.  You are surrounded by people who love the same music as you, this is a situation you could be taking advantage off.  If you feel you have the courage to start a conversation with someone then go for it, even if it's as simple as asking if they've seen the artist in concert before. You never know where a conversation can lead too, I've heard of people who met their boyfriend/girlfriend by talking to them at a concert.  It might not come of anything but, you've had a chat with someone with a similar interest and if you're queuing for a long time then you've killed some time.
Other bands and musicians will use concert queues as a place for promotion and I love this.  I love finding out about new music so if someone comes up to me with a leaflet about a new band, wants to promote their underground band by selling a CD or having a chat, then I'll be more than happy to have a chat about their music. 
But don't feel you have too, if you're not interested then politely tell the person this and they'll more than likely move onto the next person in the queue, they're not going to waste time on someone who isn't interested in the music they're promoting.

If you're planing to queue for quite a long time then take food and drink with you.  This is extremely important cause if you're not eating and drinking throughout the day then you're highly likely to feel ill when you're in the venue and that's the last thing you want during a concert.
Photograph by Ian Coulsen 
9. Clothing, makeup & hair.
I once saw a post on Facebook where someone said that "people shouldn't wear the musicians merch to said musicians concert".
I personally find this kind of silly.  When I've been at gigs almost everyone there is wearing merch for one of the musicians that's playing at the gig.
But, this doesn't mean you have to wear merch to a concert.  You can wear whatever you want to a concert, obviously within reason.  Make sure you're comfortable and happy in what you're wearing.
If the concert you're going too is the kind where there will be moshing and a lot of overexcited fans then it's probably best not to get dressed up.

As far as makeup goes a good primer is probably your best friend.  You want your makeup to last as long as possible but, it's best not to go overboard with your makeup.  The venue is going to be hot so you're going to get sweaty and, if you get emotional during songs you don't want eyeliner running down your face so you look like an extra in the Welcome To The Black Parade music video.

But I think the same for clothing as I do for makeup, wear what you want to wear and what makes you feel confident, comfortable and happy.

If you're going to be standing then it might be best to have some or all of your hair up, because it is more than likely going to get hot and a little sweaty, quite quickly.  If you're hair's up then it means it won't be hitting you or other people in the face or getting tangled.

10.  Merchandise

I love wearing band merch.  It's a way of identifying with people who like the same music as you.   
 But, buying merch at a concert is expensive and not all of us can afford to do this because we're poor students.  If you know that the merch they are selling is available somewhere cheaper such as Pulp, Hot Topic or on the artists online store, then wait and buy it from there and save yourself some money.
However, if you want to buy a shirt with tour dates then you'd be best buying it at the gig as it is highly unlikely it will be available to buy at any other time.  Although make sure you definitely want it as most of the time you can't return items that have tour dates on them so make sure you definitely want it and that it's the correct size.
If you're not wanting to spend lots of money on merch then you can always get a wristband, tour programme or other accessories instead of a t-shirt as they'll be cheaper.

A lot of the time support bands will be hanging around the merch table, if not running their own merch table.  Have a pen or a sharpie with you because it's an opportunity to have your ticket or merch signed by one of the musicians from the gig.

11. Attending a concert on your own.

Going to shows alone is quite scary and can be very daunting.  I've personally never been to a concert by myself but I know that I would find it very difficult.  If you read this post from Alternative Press you'll find a lot of great advice about attending a concert by yourself, especially if you're a girl.

If you see someone attending a concert alone then offer for them to stand with you if you feel okay talking to them.  They're probably just as nervous as you and will appreciate a friendly face and someone to stand with.  And it means you can bond while screaming "I see your name in lights" during Dear Maria, Count Me In.

12. Have fun!

You're seeing live music, most probably from a musician/band whose music you really like.  Appreciate it, have fun, sing from the top of your lungs, dance around like an idiot, and enjoy it as much as you can.

Photograph by Cydnee Australia Photography

I hope you all enjoyed reading this post and that there was some useful advice.  If you have any other tips or advice about attending concerts or festivals then let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear from you.



Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Spotlight On: I'm There by Hey Violet

At the beginning of last month I started listening to a band called Hey Violet after they came up on my 'recommended' videos on YouTube.  I decided to give them a listen (as there are too many times that I see bands on YouTube but don't bother giving them a listen and I regret it so much) and I'm really enjoying listening to their music.

At the end of last month they released the music video for their song I'm There, so I thought I'd share the song with all of you as part of my A Spotlight On series.
 The song opens with an instrumental introduction and this definitely helps to set up what the overall sound of the song is going to be; acoustic. 
Not only does this introduction set up the song nicely but, instrumentally, it also leads very well into the first verse.  Instrumentally, the first verse starts off with just the acoustic guitar but, partway through the other instruments join in and I feel this helps to give a strong rhythm to the first verse.  I feel as though the vocals in the first verse could come across as stronger but, the harmonies that are there are really strong and well selected.

Lyrically, I'm in love with the chorus.  I think that the lyrics in the chorus are really beautiful, especially in the second stanza;

"'Cause no-one wants to be alone
And feelings like this
They need a home
You just have to say the word
And I'm there"

 Again, the vocal harmonies here are really good, a high standard was set for this in the first verse and they've carried it on without fail.  The lead vocals become more stronger at this point and I think that this paired with the percussion becoming more prominent in the chorus was a really good decision, it helps to make the chorus stand out in the song which I feel is an important thing.

One of my favourite things about this band is that they're not shy in making their bass guitar part heard.  There are some bands that I listen too and I'm straining to hear the bass guitar which I hate but, with Hey Violet this is yet to be the case and this song is no exception.
In the second verse I feel that it becomes a little more prominent than it previously was in the song which I really like.
I really love how well this verse leads on from the chorus lyrically, there's a story being told and a lot of thought has clearly been put into what's been written.
In the third verse you can hear lead singer, Rena Lovelis, putting her all into the vocals which I love.  One of my favourite things about the third verse is how well the percussion works alongside the vocals, you can hear them feeding off each other which I think is brilliant.
I think that the layout that they've chosen for the vocals and lyrics in the third verse is amazing, it creates an expectant atmosphere and a really good set up for the final chorus.
The vocal ad libs in the final chorus sound amazing, you can both hear and feel the emotion in them which I love.
As an entirety you can hear the band putting their all into the song during the final chorus which I love, it makes the final chorus more powerful.  I particularly love the percussion during the final chorus, I think this is mainly because I used to play the drum kit and I'm finally finding the motivation to maybe get back into it.  So, I always love hearing a drummer giving it their all and you can definitely hear that at this point as it's being continued on from the third verse.
I think that having a separate verse as an outro for this song is a really unique twist to put on this song.  It helps to close the song in a way that isn't abrupt and without using a vocal fade. 
Instrumentally it's softer which fits in nicely with the vocals also being softer at this stage and makes them work really well together.

 I'm really excited to see this band grow and I'm looking forward to the release of their debut album, it's definitely one that I can't wait to hear.
Let me know in the comments what you think of this song, I'd love to hear from you.


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Album Dissection: Future Hearts by All Time Low


Although it's only been just over a week since I last posted, it feels like so much longer.  This past week has been quite busy for me but now I have some time to get my head down and get back into my blogging game.
I've had this post sitting in my drafts for a while and today I finally got around to properly taking the time to sit down and write this post.

If you've been hanging around my blog for a while then you'll probably have figured out the I'm a pretty big fan of All Time Low.

So, it was probably quite predictable when they released their new album that I'd write a post about it, I hope you enjoy.

All Time Low
Future Hearts 
(Hopeless Records Deluxe Edition)
Hopeless Records
John Feldman
(Additional Production by Alex Gaskarth)
April 7th 2015
Track List:
1. Satellite
2. Kicking & Screaming
3. Something's Gotta Give
4. Kids In The Dark
5. Runaways
6. Missing You
7. Cinderblock Garden
8. Tidal Waves (Featuring Mark Hoppus)
9. Don't You Go
10. Bail Me Out (Featuring Joel Madden)
11. Dancing With A Wolf
12. The Edge Of Tonight
13. Old Scars / Future Hearts
Bonus Tracks:
14. Bottle And A Beat
15. Your Bed
16. Cinderblock Garden (Acoustic)

My Dissection (Track by track):


I think Satellite is really good as an album opener.  It's very atmospheric and has an incredibly powerful build up in the third verse but, then it just ends!  I really don't understand what that's about but at the same time it makes complete sense to me, musically any way. 
I feel that since this song ends on such a high it creates a great set up for the following track, although there is some static effects which stop this lead on happening automatically but, I think this actually helps to give this song it's independence on the album which I think is really important.

Kicking & Screaming

I really love how this song displays All Time Low's talents as individual members but also as a group.  There's a strong emphasise on the 'punk' sound in this song which I like, it's overall sound is grittier than others on the album but it still has that pop feel to it as well.
Lyrically, I really like this song, especially the first stanza of the first verse and I feel the fact that it's repeated as the third verse adds a nice effect to the song lyrically.
Instrumentally I love the drums in this song, Rian Dawson never fails to impress me with his talent when it comes to percussion and this song is definitely no exception.

Something's Gotta Give

This song was the first release from the album and created a huge buzz and hype for new music from All Time Low.  I think it was a great choice as a first release from the album, the overall sound is very upbeat pop punk but, still has lyrics that are a little grittier that still fit into pop punk genre.
When this song was released I wrote a post about what I thought of it in quite a bit of detail, you can read that post by clicking here.

Kids In The Dark

Kids In The Dark is the second single from the Future Hearts album, and like with Something's Gotta Give I think it was a good choice of song to release before the full album was released.  I feel this song definitely has more of an emphasise on the pop side of All Time Low's music but I don't see that as a bad thing.
When this song was released I wrote a post about it for my A Spotlight On series which you can read by clicking here.


Runaways was also released before the full album and out of all the songs that were released before the album, Runaways is probably my favourite.
Lyrically I really love this song and it vaguely reminds me of All Time Low's song Somewhere In Neverland from their previous studio album Don't Panic.
I also wrote a separate post where I talk about this song in a lot detail, if you'd like to read the post then you can do that by clicking here.

Missing You

How dare they, how dare they, how dare they!  This song is just so freaking emotional, forget pulling on my heart strings, they have literally ripped my heartstrings out my chest!
I feel as though this could be part 2 to their song Therapy.  This is the sort of song that is so filled with emotion that you're bound to get tearful at least once while listening too it.  It's definitely a song that a lot of their fans will feel a personal connection too and they most probably knew this while writing it. 
The main guitar part is played on an acoustic guitar which I think is very fitting for this song, and I think this allows them to do a lot with this song in a live setting as well.
Vocally, I really like the harmonies and how they're used sparingly, I think this helps to put emphasise on certain lyrics and parts of the song which I think is a really nice touch.
This song is raw and 'real' lyrically which I think is why there will be at least one part of this song that anyone who listens too it will be able to relate too.

Cinderblock Garden

Again, how dare they, how dare they, how dare they!
When I saw the track list for this album I saw the title for this song and got a gut feeling that I was going to really love this song and, my gut feeling was absolutely correct.
This song is just so beautiful!  It just makes me think of a fairy-tale and this is something that I really love.
I feel as though this song is a sort of prologue for Runaways, especially because of the lyrics.  I love the effects used on the vocals, especially at the beginning of this song and I really love the vocal harmonies that have been used. 
Instrumentally, I really love the lead guitar in this song, especially how well it works with the vocals and how they compliment each other.

Tidal Waves (Featuring Mark Hoppus)

When I heard that All Time Low had recorded a song with Mark Hoppus from Blink 182 I was pretty freaking excited. 
For those of you who aren't All Time Low fans I will cut it short for you, Blink 182 were one of the main influences for All Time Low to get together in the first place so, without Blink 182 there would be no All Time Low.  Therefore, I was very excited to find out that All Time Low had recorded a song with Mark Hoppus because he's in a band that are one of their biggest musical influences.
Also, it's Mark Hoppus from Blink 182, which in itself is a pretty big deal.
To be quite honest though this song is not what I expected it to be at all.  But then again I don't really know what I expected from their song with Mark Hoppus, maybe a bit of an 'older punk' sound to it?

But even though this song isn't what I thought it would be, I still really like it.
I'm a big fan of the lyrics, especially in the chorus and the third verse.  And instrumentally I like how they've made the acoustic guitar quite prominent. 
At first I wasn't a fan of Tidal Waves but I've grown to really love it and I think it's a great choice of song for Mark Hoppus to do guest vocals for, his voice fits in really well with the overall sound of the song.

Don't You Go

Don't You Go is fun, high energy, jokey lyrics and the sort of song that I expect from All Time Low. 
When I first listened to this song I wasn't really a fan, mainly because of the lyrics.  But this is the sort of the song that you can blast really loudly and just sing along too at the top of your lungs while dancing around your kitchen.  It's a fun song and this is probably one of the main things that I like about Don't You Go.

Bail Me Out (Featuring Joel Madden)

This song is not what I expected it to be.  When I first heard it I didn't like it as much as the others on the Future Hearts album.  But now I actually like it quite a lot and have gone through a few phases of playing it on repeat (and dancing around my kitchen but we won't talk too much about that).
Like with Tidal Waves, I had a vague idea of what to expect from this collaboration but the song that they've produced isn't what I thought it would be but, I don't see this as a bad thing.
This is a really fun song and I think that Joel Madden's vocals work really well with Alex Gaskarth's and I really like how sharp and clipped the vocals are during the chorus, I think it works really well with the instrumental parts.  

Dancing With A Wolf

The overall sound of this song reminds of the overall sound of Kicking & Screaming which I love.  Dancing With Wolf reminds me of All Time Low's previous album Don't Panic but I do feel it fits in better with the Future Hearts album. 
Instrumentally I really love this song and think that the bass line works really well with the other instrumental parts of this song really well throughout the song.
Compared to other songs on the album, Dancing With A Wolf has a grittier and darker sound to it, both instrumentally and lyrically which I really like.

The Edge Of Tonight

When I first passed my driving test this was the only song I played when I was driving home from work.  It's atmospheric and emotional and I think this is really heard through the vocals in the song.
Again, hats off to Rian Dawson for always amazing with his percussion skills, the drums in this entire album song are amazing.
I absolutely love how throughout the entirety of the song you can hear absolutely everything being out into the vocals, which in turn helps to really bring out the emotion in the lyrics.

Old Scars / Future Hearts

For me the sound of this song is like the overall sound of the Future Hearts album meets the overall sound of All Time Low's album Don't Panic.  And I absolutely love it.
When I first heard it, I thought the effect used at the very beginning reminded of their song Weightless which confused me a little but it fits in really well with the intro of this song.
I think this is a brilliant song to close the album with, it really sums up the overall sound of this album and has a good balance of pop and punk.  Although I feel it does have a grittier sound to it which I love. 

Bonus Tracks:

Bottle And A Beat

My favourite thing about this song is probably the percussion.  This is the sort of song that I'd group with the likes of Don't You Go or Bail Me Out.  I started of not being a fan of this song but after giving it a few listens I've started to like this song.  It's a fun, up beat, dance-around-in-your-head-whenever-you-hear-it kind of song.
This song reminds me of their Nothing Personal album (you can read my album dissection for All Time Low's Nothing Personal album by clicking here) but I feel the instrumentals during the chorus give it a solid grounding for belonging on the Future Hearts album.

Your Bed

This is probably my least favourite track on the album, mainly because of the lyrics in the chorus, they just put me off. 
Lyrically, I really like the verses in this song but, the chorus has just put me off this song altogether.  I haven't really listened to this song much since I got the album but, maybe if I give it more of a chance I could end up liking it.

Cinderblock Garden (Acoustic)

And again, how dare they, how dare they, how dare they!
They just had to take one of my favourite songs from the song that already makes me emotional, and they just had to record an acoustic version and they just had to put it on they same album.  They just had to!
I already find Cinderblock Garden an extremely beautiful song but this acoustic for me just highlights how beautiful it is.  I absolutely love the vocal harmonies in this acoustic, and I really love when you can hear that little bit of extra emotion being put into the vocals.
I think adding a more prominent piano part for the acoustic was a great decision, it really helps to compliments the percussion in this version and I love it.

Overall I absolutely love this album.  I feel it's All Time Low's Nothing Personal album meets their Don't Panic! album which I think is an incredible sound.  But at the same time this album has it's own unique collection of songs that I think really show of all the musical sides of All Time Low.

I think the artwork for this album is really beautiful.  I love that the photography is black and white but that the future hearts symbol stands out in red but has a fade so that it doesn't draw away from the photography.

I hope you've enjoyed reading my album dissection for Future Hearts by All Time Low, let me know in the comments what you think of the album cause I'd love to hear from you.

Buy a physical copy of the album:
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