Dashboard Confessional or revisiting long lost loves

Job hunting is exhausting, so I better have a damn good soundtrack for it! My choice for today is an album I only found about yesterday: Dashboard Confessional – Alter the ending.
Now my story with this band is rather special for me, since it is the first band I found out about on my own ramblings on the internet and fell in love with instantly. At first it was the acoustic versions of their songs that got to me and I still believe that Dashboard Confessional are a great acoustic band, but I know that there’s more to them than that. To be honest, there is no album they’ve released that I haven’t had on repeat in loop for at least a week. Now they have a new song that’s free to download on their website: http://www.dashboardconfessional.com/default.aspx and it sounds good.
My song for today, however, is from their previous album I was telling you about. I love it!
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Chinese New Year

Last week was anything but quiet, so I took some more photos. This is from the Chinese New Year celebrations on Sunday.
Pretty Chinese girl
The dragon

The peace balloons hit the wall

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Winter?

Lots of new music this time of year. Just discovered The Temper Trap (awfully late) and Noah and the Whale’s first album. There is a little gem in there called “5 years time” that features Laura Marling singing that it was “fun, fun fun”. But the true revelation is a new song, L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.
I have no idea how many times I have listened to it in the last days and I don’t want to count. I felt happier and happier with every listen, so I don’t want to quantify that. I will be hearing this song live at the end of March in what I hope will not be my only concert for this year (although the current situation makes me think so).
But good music was never scarce, so here is the other discovery that brightens my days: Lail Arad. Have a listen here: http://soundcloud.com/lailarad/tracks
If not, watch “Winter”. Smiles guaranteed.
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Gig No 7 – Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon
So it has come to my last gig for this year and I was a little sad about it. Good thing: I had a little fun (involving a few glasses of wine) before the concert. Bad thing: I was expecting more than I got.
The set was good. No, it was great! On call and Knocked up sound brilliant live, and as long as they play Mary, Closer (big grin for this, favourite song!) and close with Black Thumbnail, I’m happy. And I was. But it takes more than a great set to make for a great show. The lighting was interesting, but at times they kept blinding us with this massive panel of light. Not nice! Then the interaction. Really, Caleb, please sound more convincing when you say this is the craziest crowd. Bet you said that the night before as well…
Another thing that really upset me: they didn’t let me take photos. Apparently my zoom was too big. No shit, so if I can take a photo in which I can actually make out who’s on stage, the zoom is too big. Complete bummer. So this photo by James Arnold found on Flick will have to do (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesparnold/3663124928/in/set-72157620371232286/).
I did have a good time. The lady on my left was really excited, the lady behind me was wondering if Caleb would take off his shirt and I saw quite a few 13 year-olds singing the lyrics to Use Somebody or Sex on fire. Sure, it might look wrong, but for me it was just very funny and I truly wish my sis would have been there with me.
So yeah, good concert, but I’ve had better. Then again, I’ve had a lot, so I have a lot to compare to. Anyone else though should  see Kings of Leon live.
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Gig No 6 – Villagers

I really never thought something so beautiful could come out of only one night. And the Villagers’ show was the best I have seen this last few months, hands down.
In case you don’t know Conor O’Brien, he is the blue-eyed boy who wrote the most beautiful lyrics I have come across:
“So before you take this song as truth
You should wonder what I’m taking from you
How I benefit from you being here
Lending me your ears while I’m selling you my fears”.
The venue was so small, I was at arm’s reach from the guitarist and close enough to read the setlist, to hear the boys talk to each other between songs, to hear every word sang away from the microphone and to read the note Conor was holding in his hand, saying that 2 of the ladies in front had come from Paris to see the concert. And yeah, close enough to see him hug them and wish I had a note like that myself….
I felt like in someone’s living room, watching some friends play only what are the best songs I have heard lately. And if you can truly say you don’t want that yourself, only then would I understand why you wouldn’t listen to the Villagers.
I can put down many more words about this concert, like how magnificent it was to see a girl look in awe at the stage during every song, like how beautiful music can be, even if you don’t dance to it, like how some lyrics are so true they change your life and hearing them from the person who wrote them is the closest to bliss you’ll ever get, like how 200 people can connect so easily when they have only this one thing in common, like how every band that can pull off playing so beautifully in a bar so small deserves arena-like attention. But I will not.
The last song played was Memoir, a new song I had heard only on Youtube and that I can’t get out of my head. Which is why I have to share it.
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Gig No 5 – Arcade Fire

I love happy people. And Arcade Fire are happy when they sing.
Their Birmingham show was a quick one, if you ask me. When they announced the last song I was expecting it to be just the middle of it all. But then again, that’s a good thing, right? It sounded appropriate to open with Ready to Start, it was a great beginning for what was a grand set. All the songs sounded like they were made to be played in big arenas, which is not obvious from listening to the albums. But they make you fall in love with Arcade Fire much more easily.
I did spend a lot of time just humming because I didn’t know the words, but I heard my favourite song, We used to wait, and I received another instant favourite, Rebellion (Lies). And by looking at Regine dancing and at Win playing his angry guitar, you have to admit, it’s one hell of a show whether you know all the songs or not. End of story: I’m in love.
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Gig No 4 – Biffy Clyro

Biffy, Biffy, Biffy! Hearing an entire room as big as Manchester Central screaming like this was no little thing! And neither was the concert.

I’ll start with the one bad, bad thing: this guy who was already drunk and not being able to stand right 15 min after the first opening band started to play. That’s 15 min after the doors opened… Why would you come to a concert in that state? He was clearly bothering everyone he was constantly falling on and I doubt that today he remembers anything. Alcohol was NOT created for this…

Then the extraordinary things. First, the stage set. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stage set that effective and working so well with the songs. I really liked it when Simon sang Folding stars and Machines surrounded by lightbulbs and when they displayed the two flags from the last album’s cover on stage during the last song, Mountains. Then there was the setlist, which was incredibly long (25 songs with the encores!) and they played everything I could have wanted. There wasn’t much interaction with the public, but James kept asking us how we are, and that cheered everyone up.

I got pretty close to the stage, so I was able to have fun with the camera, but I would have liked more focused shots. Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the result, about 10 good shots out of nearly 100. For me, that’s worth having sacrificed some songs.

Then the concert itself was a real treat! After it I am irrevocably in love with Folding stars and I am sure I won’t stop listening to it on repeat for the next few days. The crowd was just right (apart from the aforementioned asshole), the songs sounded perfect and I cheered and screamed like I haven’t in a long time. A pure rock concert is something I don’t think I have experienced that often and now I see I should have. Because Biffy rock your pants of and yes, even after 25 songs you still want more! I’m oh so curious if Kings of Leon or Arcade Fire can top this. Bring it on on the 13th, Caleb 😛
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