Tag Archives: live music

Beautiful Tragedy


Last post, I whined about the high costs of going to see live music.

Let’s focus on the good.

The show itself was a lot of fun. New kids We as Human rocked out for four songs. I’ve been listening to them on SiriusXM Octane and recognized two of the four. Oh, sure, their sound was horrible, but that’s part of the rite of passage of being the new kids. That and the two inches of stage they were allotted. Lucky ducks. They got two. (cue Beavis and Butt-head laughter)

In This Moment played next, to a still empty pavilion that seemed not only unfamiliar with the band but also a bit befuddled. Musically, I think they were the most exciting on the bill. They’re doing things no one else has the guts to — but frontwoman Maria Brink looks brittle. Along with the tone change from last album to this, it looks like this poor woman has been through hell and back.

I’d love to have dinner with her.

Back to the show…

Between the knee braces and the way Maria hobbled off the stage for a costume change between each of their five songs (all from the new album. Bummer.), as well as the fact that she never moved, staying put on a platform and flanked by two barefoot, corseted dancers … well, it was bizarre. I expected that from Maria. I did. And I’m all for musical theater, too. But I didn’t expect the lack of showmanship from her band, nor would I have ever imagined that while she was off changing her coat, the band would turn their backs to the audience, almost as if we were only allowed to look on their faces when Maria was there to capture the spotlight and distract us from them.

Next time, Maria, wear the same outfit for more than one song and add Beautiful Tragedy into the set.

Papa Roach played next. Twenty year veterans of the scene, and it showed. They might have owned the best set of the night.

I can’t say the same for Skillet. While they are fabulous showmen (and I met their cellist when he was playing with local Rock Cello band Cello Fourte … and did I mention he used to work with a friend of mine?), their sound was muddied and bass-heavy. The top end got lost, particularly the vocal work by their guitarist. BIG disappointment. And Tate? Dude. I hope that’s not an addiction problem I’m seeing you with because the Tate I met, the one who worked with my friend, wouldn’t let himself turn into the slovenly onstage creature I almost didn’t recognize.

And finally, Shinedown. Ahh, Shinedown. The big draw of the night for me and my concert buddies. They were everything I expected and more — but like In This Moment, they took overly long breaks between every song. They also had long intros for each. Personally, I prefer it when a band flows from one song into the next. That’s when time stands still and all that matters is what’s happening on the stage. We, the audience, never leave the magic you are making.

Shinedown is a band who gets that magic, too. So why they interrupt it, I’ll never know. I wanted more of those moments when the concert buddies and I had our arms around each other and we swayed and sang. There’s your magic, right there. But it wasn’t enough.

Same thing that I told In This Moment: quit with the breaks and play another song. I’d have loved to hear a live version of My Name. That was my theme song for awhile there. It might still be.

And that finale? Powerful. Very powerful, and you’re hitting the exact right audience with the message, too. I loved it … except… the audience is so focused on the video screen and the story being told that the song got lost. Totally and completely. There’s got to be a better way to make the point, guys. You’ve got good people working for you. Put them on it.

All in all, it was a great night. We even jumped in line to meet We as Human and get the concert buddies some autographs. Nice group of guys, with great synergy. And they loved my pink ESP Explorer earrings.

I may have a new crush. I know my iTunes wishlist is groaning with the new additions to it.

But mostly, I realized I was wrong to stop going to see bands play live. That of all the things I gave up and sacrificed, this shouldn’t have been one of them. This is my lifeblood. Always has been and quite probably always will be.

I do need better concert buddies, though. And a few more bucks so I can afford those service charges and those inflated food prices.

But what I’ll give you for those nights out is more and better fiction. I promise.


Kerri’s Diary: First Show


This week’s Three Word Wednesday and #FridayFlash combines with my new Kerri’s Diary series. This piece, obviously, is set during Trevor’s Song. As we get closer to the release of King Trevor, the newest book in the Trevolution, you’ll be reading more snippets from Kerri’s Diary. Hope you’ll join me for the ride — and pick up the books, while you’re at it.

After all these months, it finally happened.

I got to see ShapeShifter play live. A real, live concert. Not a practice, not a warm-up show in a mostly-empty arena. A concert.

Mitchell was right. I didn’t get it until I experienced it.

Amateur that I was, Eric told me I had to go down into the crowd and watch that way. Right down there, at the barrier, he said. He found a member of the local security team to put me in place and stay with me, to make sure I wouldn’t get trampled. I laughed, but it turns out, Eric was right. I needed the guard’s diligent ways; ShapeShifter fans are rough. It’s not that they mosh so much as they almost have this need to get up in the band’s face and touch them and be close to them, especially Mitchell. He’s more than just the guy in front, as he calls himself. He’s electric up there, magnetic. He’s calling people to him, and I doubt he even realizes what he’s doing.

I watched big, beefy guys get hauled over the barrier, red-faced and gasping for breath. Girls who looked like they were about to pass out, who’d immediately burst into tears at where they found themselves. So close to the band and yet being shown the way to someplace that’d only move them farther from their heroes. They’d get yanked free, and there’d be six more people cramming into that space they’d just come out of.

The crush was incredible. And there were only eighteen thousand total fans in the arena. The security guy said he’s been on the road with bands who’ve played in front of fifty or sixty thousand. This, he said, was nothing. When you get numbers like that, the floor’s packed. People can—and sometimes do—get trampled.

I believe him. And … I don’t. It’s just too hard to get your brain around. I’ll admit it here since I can’t admit it anywhere else, but at times, I was scared.

I spent the rest of the night drawing, and yet I couldn’t draw anything. I was too busy watching, taking it all in. This was my first experience with the whole spectacle: the hurry-up-and-wait once you get to the venue, the interviews, the pre-show, the after-show, the fans, the media types, the label people. And the groupies. Oh, yeah. Don’t forget the groupies. They hate me already and half of them don’t even realize the woman standing in the band’s shadows is the wife. They hate the very concept of me. I’ve taken Mitchell from them.

Eric said the thing to do is get to know a few. I’ll know which ones, he promised. Nurture a friendship with them, he said. Let their influence pave the way. I’m betting he’s right.

Mitchell said that after tonight, I can go down into the pit, the area between the stage and the barrier, and watch from there. He said Eric was right: my first time had to be done right.

Then he winked, the horny bastard.

One final plug: if you like serial fiction, be sure to stop in at Alice Audrey’s spot on the Net for us Serialists. Read a few, add your own… it’s all good.