Smashing Pumpkins Homecoming

October 22, 2012 § 3 Comments

If you know me at all, you know that Smashing Pumpkins have been my favourite band since I first saw them live in 1996; my first concert ever. Since then, I have seen them in many incarnations: Billy, James & D’arcy; Billy, James, Jimmy & Melissa; Billy solo; Jimmy’s jazz band; Zwan; Billy reading poetry in a church; and Billy with a band full of hired musicians who called themselves Smashing Pumpkins. This however, was the first time I was able to see them in Chicago, their music-rich hometown that I’ve always had a soft spot for.

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Nick’s band Anberlin was opening for them this leg of the tour, so we flew out on Friday afternoon for the show that night. Arriving on a windy and rainy day (miraculously) without any problems, we checked into our hotel and did a bit of work and ate some dinner before heading over to the Allstate Arena.

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Now, I’m a 31 year old former-music industry professional and have been around many rockstars in my time, including Billy Corgan, but I still get a little silly from time to time. If you’re also a fan, you’ll appreciate that my flight number was 3-33 and that there were porcelain pumpkins sitting on the counter at our hotel’s check in desk. IT WAS MEANT TO BE, YOU GUYS.

When we arrived, Anberlin’s lovely tour manager Andy had these waiting for us.

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Then I found out there would be a VIP pre-concert mini show in the room right across from Anberlin’s dressing room. YES! I was so happy they left the door open for the first song, so I could watch Billy’s entrance. Even after the door was closed, I listened to all of the short set, including a rendition of Plume from Pisces Iscariot. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one live before!

Anberlin were great! I don’t think I’ve seen them in years and years. Nicest guys ever. They were the only opener since SP played for almost 3 hours.

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Their stage show included an enormous orb, used as a film screen but as a complete sphere.

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They played Oceania in its entirety.

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Then they rolled out the hits including XYU, Cherub Rock, Mayonnaise, Stand Inside Your Love, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Tonight Tonight, a cover of Space Oddity, and more.

Tonight Tonight video playing on the orb

The performance of Tonight Tonight was almost out shined by the projection of the video on the sphere. It was so cool to watch all warped!

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Friday night was one of those amazing moments in life where I had to sit back and remind myself just how great what I was experiencing was. One of those times where you feel like you must have done something right to be in the situation you’re in now. In short, thank you Nick and Anberlin for crossing another “must do” off my list of life goals – watching Smashing Pumpkins live in their hometown.

(P.S. Click on the photos to see them larger on Flickr – they look much better that way!)

Tomorrow Never Knows

October 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Listening to one of my favourite Beatles’ records, Revolver, this morning made me realize that whenever “Tomorrow Never Knows” comes on, I think of that great scene in last season’s Mad Men. It was used so perfectly, it was worth the $250,000 it cost to license it for the show. Then I found this fantastic round up of season five.

Warning: serious spoiler alert!

Mad Men season 5 is released on DVD two weeks from today. I can’t wait to rewatch it!

Governor’s Ball

June 25, 2012 § 1 Comment

This weekend’s weather was perfect! I was lucky enough to spend Saturday at the beach in Long Island and Sunday at the Governor’s Ball music festival.

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The festival was held on Randall’s Island, a skinny piece of land between Queens and Manhattan, very full of grass and trees and everything nice. I felt almost like I could have been at a Toronto Island summer concert.

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I arrived at 2:00, just in time to see Phantogram. I came alone, but found some old TAG coworkers pretty quickly.

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I also found my former Deja Vu Discs coworker/old friend Travis and his girlfriend Lisa there! I was just in time to join them for a game of beer pong.

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What’s better than sitting on a grassy hill, drinking beer with Canadians?

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Some other favourites from the day included Built To Spill

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…and of course Modest Mouse!

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Summer has officially started! Here’s looking forward to the next ten weekends.

Travis and I

Strangers

June 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

I am on a bit of a Wes Anderson kick (when am I not?) and finally gave The Darjeeling Limited a second chance this weekend. Of course, I loved the movie and especially its soundtrack. This Kinks song stood out to me in particular. A perfect tune to accompany Anderson’s directing opinion that everything is better in slow motion.

Top This, Summer 2012!

June 7, 2012 § 5 Comments

It’s not even officially summer yet, but I’ve already found what I think will be my three favourite records of the summer of 2012:

Japandroids “Celebration Rock”

Santigold “Master Of My Make-Believe”

Silversun Pickups “Neck Of The Woods”

What are you listening to right now? Tell me your favourites and I’ll give them a listen!

Wonderful Weekends

June 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

This weekend kept me busy! Beginning unofficially on Thursday night with a trip to New Jersey to see Radiohead and continuing on with a visit from my super sweet little sister Jenn, the only thing I could have asked for was relief from seasonal allergies!

Thursday night, Nick and I ventured to Newark to see Radiohead at the Prudential Centre. Nick’s not a huge Radiohead fan, but he is a gentleman that wouldn’t allow his wife to take public transit to what is or maybe just used to be the nation’s murder capital.

This was my sixth time seeing them and they only seem to get better and better with age. The band has such an extensive catalog of songs that I would watch them for hours and hours in hopes of hearing every tune I love. Two hours is still a treat though! Their stage set up was also great with floating square video screens that changed shape for almost every song.

{More Radiohead photos & video at Brooklyn Vegan.}

On Friday night, I had a visit from Jenn! She was lucky enough to get the last flight out of Toronto to New York after torrential rain hit and severe flooding. What a lucky gal.

It’s becoming our tradition that when she visits, I bring her into Manhattan and stuff her full of gluten-free treats. Here she is at Babycakes on the LES, obviously excited to bring home a sampler box of baked goods.

Very excited to shop for gluten-free treats at Babycakes!!!

Afterwards, we met Kate and Lisa at Risotteria in the West Village for dinner that included gluten-free breadsticks!!!

Kate, Jenn & Lisa at Risotteria

Later, we took her to The Spotted Pig for another glass of wine before heading home to get some sleep.

Jenn & I at The Spotted Pig

It was great to spend so much time with Jenn and spoil ourselves with pedicures, yoga, wine, and food. Nick and I did everything we could to make sure she’ll come back to visit us again soon!

An Ohio Wedding

May 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

This weekend, Nick and I ventured to West Chester, Ohio for a low key, rock & roll wedding. Alex and Erin got married in a lovely barn wedding on Saturday and we were so happy to celebrate with them!

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It’s also always a great excuse to get dressed up.

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Our outfits had nothing on Daisy’s though! I think his lady made this whole thing.

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The ceremony took place on the deck of the barn. The guests stood below and watched from above, like a really tall stage.

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Here comes the bride – Erin was so brave climbing up all those stairs in her dress and heels!

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Sky was ordained online and performed the ceremony. He did a great job and really looked the part with his beard and sash.

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Afterwards, we all went inside for drinks and food. Our table was dubbed “the industry table”, but full of great people!

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It was great to see everyone and catch up in such a normal setting – these days, I only see these guys backstage at their shows when they’re trying to entertain 20 people in a very small room!

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Look at all those handsome men.

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And of course, we danced.

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Congratulations to Alex and Erin! Thanks for giving us a reason to visit Ohio and enjoy some of the nicest people in the country!

Happiness

May 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

Happiness is just how you feel when you don’t feel miserable.

– John Lennon

Feeling inspired by this collection of John Lennon quotes from The ShortList.

A quick trip to London

April 17, 2012 § 4 Comments

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Nick and I spent a lovely long weekend in London, England! Flying out on Thursday morning, we arrived in the evening and quickly adjusted to the time difference. Flying makes the day feel 5 hours longer anyway! I was happy to eat some room service for dinner and drink the most delicious bottle of Heineken I’ve ever had then go to sleep. Those Europeans sure know how to make beer.

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Nick had meetings on Friday morning and early afternoon, so after ordering some breakfast and doing a bit of work in the hotel room, I happily wandered the streets alone for a few hours. I felt very proud in remembering the area from last summer and never had the feeling that I was going to get lost. You see, my sense of direction when I was younger was horrific.

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I wandered the streets of Picadilly Circus, taking photos and window shopping. The only thing I ended up buying, besides a stockpile of Cadbury chocolate of course, was the British version of 1Q84. Look at those cool black pages!

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Was also tempted to buy this neat British pressing of the first Harry Potter book, but took a picture instead.

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After that, I wandered some more until my feet hurt and I began to feel hungry. I had a very British lunch with some Earl Grey tea at Caffe Concerto. I ended up sitting beside two very chatty Polish women and laughed to myself that I could have just done this at home in Greenpoint, the biggest Polish neighbourhood in New York.

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Friday night was the reason we were there – Frank Turner‘s headline date at Wembley Arena! Nick and I headed over there around 4pm to see everyone and make sure things were going smoothly. Everyone was in a great mood, a little anxious, but very excited. The show was being photographed and filmed for a documentary, so we got to see lots of photo ops, like this one. Can you spot Billy Bragg?

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It was really cool to walk around the deserted floors of Wembley Arena, but after a couple hours, I was happy to have convinced Nick to leave for an hour to eat some Indian food for dinner. Yum!

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The show was great. The fans were ecstatic to be there and responded to Frank’s every word.

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The finale was the best part. Between the end of the set and the start of the encore, Frank ran off stage and got “Wembley Arena” and the date tattooed on his arm, the whole thing filmed and broadcast on the big screens to the crowd. Naturally, they went nuts and confetti cannons showered the entire arena.

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Backstage later, the band was presented with framed gig posters and little glass trophies with their logo on it commemorating the show. We toasted with Veuve Clicquot and everyone’s great moods continued. It was so great to be there for such a moment!

The next day, Nick and I ventured up to do the only touristy thing I wanted to do on the trip:

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See Abbey Road!

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There were many other people there, doing the same thing as us and annoying traffic in order to get a photo, pretending to walk across the street where the cover of The Beatles’ Abbey Road was taken. Myself included!

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I can now say I’ve been to one of the best music history landmarks ever! I wish my Dad could have been there too, but for now, these photos will suffice :)

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A great trip, all in all. Short and sweet, just how I like it!

Edit: Thanks to Angela for sharing this link – Abbey Road Webcam –  watch Beatles fans prance across the crosswalk and take photos and see exactly what was happening around me as Nick took the photo of me crossing. Hilarious!

2011: A Year In Review

December 31, 2011 § 2 Comments

Happy New Year’s Eve! As Nick and I prepare to do our traditional New Year’s watching of “When Harry Met Sally” and make/share our lists of goals for 2012, it seems like a perfect time to look back on 2011. Even though this year seemed to fly by, so much happened!

JANUARY

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– After the holidays, returned to work at Insound to find approximately a trillion online orders for the new CAKE album that had to be processed and sent out

– Met Ezra who was hired temporarily to help get the records sent out quickly. We realized we had a lot of the same musical taste and I declared him my New York Eli.

– It snowed and snowed and snowed

– I spent most of my mornings holding on to the iron gate below so I wouldn’t slip and fall on my way to work

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FEBRUARY

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– Nick and I attended our first New York Knicks basketball game, which was a ton of fun.

– We celebrated our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple at – where else? – Peter Luger!

– I changed positions at Insound from White Label to Fulfillment.

MARCH

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– The Japan earthquake and tsunami bummed me out

– After a few weeks at my new job, I started to experience serious leg pain. Turns out, my hips and knee joints were inflamed from over use. My body was very unhappy with my new job, working in a warehouse and running around all day. I started to get hives and thought I had shingles!

– Needless to say, I gave my resignation. I need legs more than I need discounted records.

– I planned a trip home to Canada the weekend after my last day at Insound. I needed some family, friend, and Canada time, big time!

– Coincidentally while in Toronto, my old employer of 6+ years, The Agency Group, was throwing themselves a 15th anniversary party! I was invited and of course I went.

– An old coworker from The Agency Group who now manages bands got a hold of me and hired me to do design, web, and social media for one of her clients, USS!

– I also started doing a freelance wedding planning assistant job for an older couple from New York

APRIL

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– By April, my freelance work was really coming along and keeping me busy. I stopped applying for other jobs.

– Experienced the best “April Fool’s Joke” ever – Elvis Costello playing three of his best songs before The Strokes hit the stage at Madison Square Garden!

– Nick and I moved into a fantastic new apartment, just one block away from our old one. Check out our sweet “box blinds” above!

– I attended my first of many Creative Mornings  in DUMBO

– Started doing Ashtanga yoga, instead of the usual Vinyasa, and fell in love with it. Have been practicing 2-4 times a week ever since.

MAY

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Jenn at Babycakes

– Celebrated Cinco De Mayo with Kate and some Mexican wrestlers

– Nick and I discovered comedy shows at Caroline’s in Times Square. We saw Jim Jeffries, Bill Burr, and Whitney Cummings while eating dinner, sipping beers, and laughing. What a perfect night out!

– Kate & I continue our fun by attending a Seychelle’s party. We drink free vodka, eat a free dinner, then later pay $25 for a glass of champagne, justifying we would have normally spent more than that anyway!

– My sister, Jenn, comes to visit for a weekend. I take her to Babycakes for gluten-free treats, Risotteria for gluten-free dinner, then help this hard-working mom get drunk for the first time in 7 years on red wine!

JUNE

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– My old roomie, Angela, comes to visit from San Francisco. We attend the opening of Jeremy Fish‘s art show, then a rooftop party in Chelsea.

– I attend Smorgasburg in Williamsburg and fall in love with all the food stands

– June’s Creative Mornings helps get me a few other jobs when I meet Mark from BCS Interactive while waiting for the lecture to start. We nerd out on fonts, design, and then he and his partner Lou hire me to do Social Media for some of their accounts.

JULY

The apple of his eye

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Julia and Jay visit, Nick and I get to feed them all our favourite things. Of course, this includes another trip to Smorgasburg.

– Nick and I spend the 4th of July weekend in Lancaster, PA with Nick’s Dad

– Went to the beach in Long Island a few times and actually got a tan

– Nick and I fly up to Toronto, just in time to experience the hottest day ever! Luckily, we later go up to my parents’ cottage and swim in the river under the shady trees for relief.

– While in Toronto, we celebrate our first wedding anniversary

AUGUST

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– Canada’s NDP Leader Jack Layton passes away

Courtney and Jesse move away to Atlanta

– In preparation for mine & Nick’s trip to Europe at the end of August, I read an entire guide book on Paris and create the most-organized and complete trip itinerary of my life.

– Attend limited-time dumpster pool party “The Palms” in Long Island City with Olivia.

– Nick and I travel to London, attend the Reading Festival, take the train to Paris, then back to London to fly home

– I read most of The Girl Who Played With Fire on the plane, train, and our Parisian balcony and decide there’s something to this novel series.

SEPTEMBER

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– Nick goes on his yearly “man beach trip” with his best friends so I decide to treat myself to a bonus Canada visit

– Get to attend Julia and Jay’s engagement party while in Toronto

– I manage to get a ticket to one of the unattainable, sold out in 31 seconds Radiohead shows in New York. Go to the show solo, but end up chatting with Rolling Stone’s David Fricke.

OCTOBER

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– We mourn the death of Steve Jobs

I turn 30, promptly get called a cougar

– Julia and her two other bridesmaids visit, I finally have an excuse to go to Lovely Bridal shop and watch her try on dresses

– I luck out and get another trip to Toronto! My fourth of 2011. It’s a quick one though, just two days, but still enough time to see two shows, friends, and a family dinner at a steakhouse.

– While we’re in Toronto, New York gets a freak snowstorm! The snow melts in approximately one day.

NOVEMBER

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– Nick and I finally try out the Grand Central Oyster Bar

– I take part in a Rainbow Parade

– We finally get to see Louis CK do standup live during the New York Comedy Festival

– We spend Thanksgiving at home, celebrating with a trip to Central Park, another Jim Jeffries comedy show, and turkey tacos for dinner

DECEMBER

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– I realize now that I work freelance from home, I have no Christmas parties to go to! Then I get invited to The Agency Group NY’s party. Phew!

– Nick and I go to Lancaster for an early Christmas to visit his Dad. We scope out the mall, find Simpsons DVDs on sale at a music store, and the biggest assortment of gummi candy ever!

– We go see the Rockefeller Center tree a mere 3 days before Christmas and it’s a mob scene!

– Fly up to Canada for Christmas with the family. Spend 4 out of 5 days living in a cabin in the woods and have 5 moose keep us from being able to get to the grocery store.

How was your 2011? What was the best part?

Feeling nostalgic? Check out:

2010 + 2009

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