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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Happy late Birthday to me! New year, new direction, and thankfully, some new music!

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’m one of those people who can’t really write anything unless I have music playing. I know some people have to have total silence to concentrate, but I’m not wired that way. Oh sure, I can make it happen if I need to, but music is what drives me, fuels my imagination. It gives me energy. I’m very fortunate, because Brother is a huge fan of Spotify and upgraded to a family plan about a year ago. Thus Parents and I are able to listen to music ad-free and create tons of playlists and radio stations. I have fallen in love with those features, let me tell you. Color me spoiled.

When I’m getting ready in the morning or sitting down to write something, I usually have Spotify up and running on either my computer or my phone. (Seriously, what did we ever do without technology?) I kept hearing these songs that I liked on one particular radio station that I had created, and every time I looked, I laughed because the name of the artist that I kept liking was “Sizzle Bird.”

Yup, that’s the name all right. However, don’t let his title fool you. If you’re looking for a mellow Lindsey Stirling alternate, Sizzle Bird is your man. Same electronic feel, with violin and sometimes piano overtones. While Stirling has been one of my favorite musicians for a while, it’s nice to hear something new, and I dare say that Sizzle might just give Stirling a run for her money in my book.

If you want to know what I mean, check him out here. My personal favorites so far are Imagine and Warm Heart. I’m stupidly excited about it. Of course, I’m always excited about new music of any sort. I’ll come back later with the two other new-to-me bands that I’ve recently discovered that have just blown me away with their abilities. However, they’re just about as polar opposite of this as you can get, so I’ll let them have a post all of their own. Just keeping the mood the same here, you know.

And now if you’ll excuse me, there are very clearly several songs of his that I’ve never heard, so I’d best correct that.

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Well, once again my brother and I got to witness the fantabulousness that is Nightwish. It’s always a treat when they tour North America, and especially when they’re in my home state of Oregon. It was well worth the car ride to Portland, and they put on just as good a show as last time, though there was a far larger crowd this time around than the last time we attended two years ago.

Nightwish2The concert was longer this time, too, thanks to having two cover bands instead of just one. I had heard of the first cover band, Delain, but I hadn’t listened to a whole lot of them. I was pleasantly surprised by their performance. Their lead singer was fun. She actually reminded me a lot of Floor Jansen, the new(ish) lead singer of Nightwish, not only in looks but in her style. She really got the crowd going.

However, I think the main reason for the huge crowd this time was because of the second cover band, Sabaton. I had never heard of them, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Low and behold, they’re apparently Viking rock. No really. Imagine Viking war songs set to rock music. I’m officially going to have to check out more of their stuff now, because they were pretty awesome. The lead singer pulled a little kid onstage at one point, because he’d noticed him in the audience earlier on. Gave the boy his sunglasses and let him rock onstage with the band for the last song. It was pretty cute.

I confess I probably would have enjoyed Sabaton a lot more if I hadn’t gotten stuck right behind a rather pungent, gangly young man who kept elbowing me in the chest. The frequency of this occurrence made me start doubting its accidental nature, so I spent most of Sabaton’s concert portion clutching my phone protectively in front of me to ward off the offending appendages. Not to mention every time he started headbanging I got an eyeful of his hair. (Just be aware, tall people, that when we shorties finally reach our breaking point, we tend to punch things. And given where we reach on you, it’s probably not going to be very pleasant. You have been warned.)

When Nightwish finally hit the stage, it was getting pretty late. That ended up working to my favor because the more people left from up front, the closer I could get to the stage. I ended up with a pretty good viewpoint and no Elbows McFartypants in front of me, which made for a much more enjoyable experience.

Nightwish1We got home around 2:30 in the morning, which made me supremely grateful that I had taken a half day off today. I didn’t have to be at work until noon, and so far this I’m feeling mostly okay. (Ask me in another day or so – it may change.) Once again, it was worth every penny and minute, though I’m thinking that the next time they come around I’m just going to shell out the extra bucks for the VIP passes and enjoy the concert from the safety of the upper level.

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Boy, does it really rock it!

Yeah, kinda crappy quality, I know. I only had my phone and it’s not the best at indoor lighting, sadly.

It had been years since I’d been to a real, honest-to-goodness, hard rock concert, and I’d really missed it. The last few rockin’ concerts I’d been to were even smaller than this, and no one really did anything but stand there. And they were comprised of mostly teenagers, too. Seriously, people? IT’S A ROCK CONCERT. Your parents probably rocked it harder back in the seventies than you are right now.

But thankfully, none of those people showed up last night. Everyone that attended was there to just have fun and enjoy the bands. I know it was a much smaller venue than Nightwish would normally do, but they really did put on one of the best concerts I’ve yet seen. I was ever so slightly disappointed that they didn’t stick around longer, but I know they have multiple other places to go to. I’m sure they had another show in another town the very next day, but still. I hope they come back, because I would gladly go again.

We started the night off with Kamelot, who I always enjoy.

Stood a little further away for these guys. I don’t have a fangirl crush on any of them, sorry.

I didn’t care for their casual tossing around of the f-bomb, but that’s just my personal opinion. Honestly, I knew that if that was the worst it got, it was probably considered a mild rock concert, ha! 😉 Kamelot did several good songs, including my all-time favorite of theirs, “March of Mephisto.” They also did “Ghost Opera,” which was pretty sweet.

Then it was time for the good stuff. I had read a press release prior to the concert that Anette would not be finishing the tour due to conflicts that they couldn’t resolve. I enjoyed her voice and felt that she did well enough considering the shoes she had to fill, but I wasn’t necessarily heartbroken that she wasn’t there. (No one can really replace Tarja, so why bother trying?) They ended pulling in another gal named Floor Jansen, who apparently used to sing in After Forever and ReVamp. Actually, I’d never heard of either of those bands, but I felt she did a really great job, especially since she’d probably only been practicing the songs for a few days.

I seriously wanted her shirt. It was amazing. Of course you can’t see it here, but you can trust me that it was gorgeous.

I was especially glad that they put together a variety of songs, including some older ones. They played two of my absolute favorites from when Tarja was with them, “Dark Chest of Wonders” and “Nemo.” Plus they did “Amaranth” and several of my favorites from their new album.

Yay for being on the side of the stage closest to Tuomas! The man’s talent is seemingly endless. Three different keyboards, and he bounced back and forth between them all with little to no effort.

OMG look at his hat! Love, love, love!

I think what surprised me the most was the band’s humility despite their enormous success. Their bassist, Marco, had a great personality and was so much fun. And every time Tuomas happened to look up and see a camera phone pointed in his direction, he just smiled and shook his head, nodding over to one of the other bandmates or the lead singer. Like, “Nah, you don’t really want to take a picture of me.” (Dude, why do you think I really came here??)

Bro and I eventually managed to get about two or three rows back, so I got an awesome view of all the band. (Of course that was only after staring at a guy’s shoulder blades for the first part. Stupid tall people. The upside of being only 5’2″ and fairly small is that I can usually squeeze into the front and no one minds because they can still totally see over me. The downside is that I’m at armpit height. Not so bad unless you’re in a crowd of teenagers. We’re lucky I survived the night.)

But, all in all, it was an awesome concert and I hope they come back to Oregon again in the near future.

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nightwishimaginaerum-vi

Oh. My. Gosh.

I have been anxiously waiting for months, poised and ready, for the newest album by Nightwish to be released here in the USA. As the time for its release approached, I began vainly counting down the hours, my fingers hovering above my mouse, prepared to click the very nanosecond it became available. It was worth the wait.

Very, very worth it.

I know that power metal isn’t for everyone. But this album is so amazingly epic that I can already picture the scenes in my next book thanks to it’s achingly beautiful, powerful score. A gorgeous blend of both instrumental and lyrical songs, it contains some of the most hauntingly wonderful music they have yet produced, in my humble opinion. After being blown away by the power and exquisite work of Dark Passion Play, I honestly wasn’t sure that they would be able to outdo themselves.

I am exceedingly happy that they proved me wrong. Yes, I know that their lyrics sometimes border on the overly dramatic, but that’s part of the fun. I certainly hope that they release an instrumental version of this album, just like Dark Passion Play. I have been refueled to start writing again, inspired by their symphonic/orchestral metal. Or, as my brother and I like to call it, “rockestra.”

I honestly can’t decide which song is my favorite at this point. As I continue to listen to it, there are elements in all of the songs that I like. Even the song “Slow, Love, Slow,” which has a very jazzy feel to it. I don’t normally care for jazz, but I appreciate the broad spectrum that it brings to this album. It shows that the musicians aren’t limited in their talents, that they can literally play just about anything.

I have yet to find another band that has captivated me like Nightwish has. I’ve searched for similar artists, but as far as I’m concerned, Imaginaerum just proves once again that Nightwish is in a league of their own.

And if my book is ever made into a movie, I’m going to beg Tuomas to write the score for it, plain and simple. It’s going in the contract.

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