Here’s another slightly overdue blog post for you. Again, ideally I wanted to get this posted on New Year’s Day but things just got away from me. But, as it is the new year I just wanted to take a moment to talk about my highlights of 2013 and say thank you to the people who made those experiences possible.
In all honesty blogging took a backseat this year, I was in my last year of university and so all my time and energy was focused on that. January to February saw me working on my dissertation, and February through to April I was working on my final major project (which I’ll talk a bit about later in this post.) I graduated from university in June and by the end of May right through to the beginning of September I was enjoying some long overdue chill-out time, without the little voice in my head saying ‘you should be doing this, you should be doing that’, so as a result I didn’t post as much this year.
However, during the summer and at the tail end of this year, I’ve done some things and had some great opportunities that I’m really thankful for.
I went to some amazing gigs, particularly The Summer Set on their first ever UK headlining tour in May, Room 94 on their sell-out UK tour in April, and Set It Off during their stint supporting Aussie Pop/rockers Tonight Alive in October.
These gigs were all standout to me for a host of different reasons, which I can’t really explain fully because it’s more to do with the experience and the atmosphere, and it’s hard to convey how being in a live environment truly feels unless you’ve experienced it. The excitement, the anticipation, the mutual appreciation and – as cheesy as it sounds – the love in the room.
The Summer Set always deliver a knockout show and it was their first ever UK headliner. The crowd lapped it up and the atmosphere in the room was nothing short of electric. It was one big party no body wanted to end.
Likewise with Room 94, their shows are always bursting with energy and fun, but it was Set It Off that caught me completely off guard. Like I said in my ‘Top 3 Albums of 2013’, I’d never listened to them before so I didn’t really have any expectations going into this show. But OH. MY. GOSH, it completely knocked me for six. Their live show was/is immense, energetic as hell, chaotic and really fun!
At shows I’m not usually in the crowd or the pit, and in this instance I was. It was really great to be in the thick of it and see everyone around you – as well as the people onstage – really feeling it.
The show its self was very theatrical, and the music lends its self to that 100%. There were also some memorable moments that have stayed with me. For instance, before playing their song ‘Dream Catcher’, vocalist Cody Carson gave this really heartfelt and inspirational speech before asking the audience to shout ‘I am not alone’. This intro and the audience’s reaction, the feeling in the room during that moment, had me in tears. This is a band that I would tell everyone to go and see for themselves, because it is truly something to be experienced. Now whenever I listen to the album it takes me back to that night, how much fun I had, and it always puts a huge smile on my face.
I also got to do a quick interview with Cody that night, and he was such a sweetheart about it considering that we had to stand outside the venue in the cold. Despite that, it was a lot of fun, he was really down-to-earth and easy to talk to, and we laughed pretty much the entire time. I really hope that I get to speak to him, and Set It Off, again in the future.
Speaking of interviews, after a year of trying, I finally got to interview pop/rock party animals Room 94. Yes, it took a year of tweeting, emailing, I even chatted to, singer, Kieran Lemon about it being a possibility when I met them at shows. But you know what they say, if at first you don’t succeed…. And at long last my persistence paid off and I finally got through to management.
Despite some initial confusion when I turned up, everything was fine, and it was probably the most fun I’ve had doing an interview to date. The lads are such characters and they were really lovely. The whole thing was pretty hilarious really, I’d interview them again in a heartbeat.
Aside from this, I also created a start-up online magazine called ‘Music Is Love’ as part of my final major project for university. I’m not going to go into detail about the site because I’ve talked about it in the past, but I did want to mention it because in doing so I got to talk to some artists that I really admire. Some that I’ve spoken to before, like Elissa Franceschi, and others that I haven’t, like Austin Nivarel and Versaemerge’s Blake Harnage.
I also had the freedom – and time – to come up with, research, and write some interesting features that engaged me as a writer and put me in touch with certain people who I now consider friends. Such as, the breakdown of the divide between the artist and the audience, and the decline of the live music scene. (click to see each article.) Even though it was a lot of work, I’m very pleased with the website and proud of how it turned out.
So really, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who was involved in any way, whether it be the band members themselves, the managers or the PR reps. Particularly, in regards to interviews because without people agreeing to do interviews, or agreeing to let me interview their artists I wouldn’t get to do it, and the fact that I do means a lot to me because this is what I love. So thank you.
I want to get back into the habit of blogging, at least, twice a week in 2014 and catch up on the ideas for posts that I have accumulating in a list on my desktop. I’ll be doing a few more discussion type blogs as well, because writing reviews and interviews can get tiring when you’re constantly re-drafting and trying to make sure everything is polished and professional. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit down and say what’s on your mind. That being said, I also want to start writing more features because it’s something new to get your teeth into, and I enjoyed doing them for Music Is Love because it got me talking to different people and doing something a little different.
Also, I want to continue and complete my weekly ‘Throwback Thursday’ series that I started back in August, charting the evolution of my music taste. I started it with the intention to post every Thursday in the hope that it would get me blogging more regularly again, but things just got in the way. As I said, I’ve got a lot of ideas for posts backed up on my computer so I don’t know when I’ll pick this back up, but I will.
So there we have it. If you’ve made it this far, well done. 🙂 I know this blog was quite long and rambly but I don’t get to say a proper thank you often, and seeing as it’s the new year I thought it was fitting to do so, and to show that I don’t take these opportunities for granted.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you all have a fantastic 2014. 🙂