This morning I was casually listening to a live internet chat with two of the members from Scottish alt rock band, Twin Atlantic. Sam (vocals) and Ross (bass) spend some time answering random questions from fans and then played a couple of tunes from their record, Free. One of the songs played was “Make a Beast of Myself” which, incidentally, is one of my favorites from the album and their newest single. The band just released a video for this song. What’s more is that if you watch this video and can find and click on the hidden link, you’re entered into a contest to win a guitar that was used by Sam in the “Time For You To Stand Up” music video.
I think this idea for a contest is genius! Even if you don’t win the guitar, you can still get a free song download.
Here’s the video. The hint for the contest is that Sam likes to paint…
Even more exciting than the potential to win a guitar, is the guarantee to see these gents live during their upcoming US tour with AWOLNATION (another band that made my SXSW ’11 mix). They come to LA in a little over a month! November 3rd at The Music Box.
It was at this time just a week ago that I was still driving back from Las Vegas. No, I wasn’t there for Evo2k11, the giant gaming tournament. Nor was I there to gamble. But, I was there to see a show. If you haven’t guessed already, I was there for the 4 day residency of The Silent Comedy and Saint Motel at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.
The great thing about Vegas is that it is a mere 5-6 hours away from cozy little San Diego. I was itching for a vacation and what better way to have one than to spend it seeing a band you love? My friend Beau and I made the drive out there to the Monte Carlo where we were staying on Wednesday while my other friends would be joining me late the next day. While I’m not going to detail out every day and every show (really, who wants to read all that?) I will tell you what an amazing time it was.
First off, nothing compares to seeing a band you love playing an unfamiliar stage and watching new admirers form. However, that level of rad is magnified when you are surrounded by friends that you never see enough of. It was magical. It was as if we all made a pilgrimage to Vegas so we would convene at one hotel, for one purpose. Some familiar faces were missing from the fold so we took it upon ourselves to be rowdier in their absence. But by Friday, anyone who was coming out was in attendance and it made everything so special.
The bar itself was an interesting place to be. The Book and Stage Bar was more bar than stage. Don’t get me wrong, there was ample stage space for the bands to utilize but not much any fan could stand in front of. Granted, this was more of a lounge anyway but more than half the stage is covered by the bar. There was a nice little nook off to the side but I think most of us preferred standing in the way of the bar staff because it had the best view. I know this because they sectioned off an area for people to stand the following day. But don’t take my word for it, this is a picture of the bar with San Diego’s own Nervous Wreckords.
But I digress…
Music wise, each night was special and unique. Saint Motel and The Silent Comedy would rotate set times. One night, Saint Motel would close out the show and the next, it would be The Silent Comedy. Saint Motel had their usual video production going with their set and I could feel their energy increase with each show they played. Not one to be predictable, The Silent Comedy switched up their set every night! The first night, I made it in time to catch part of Daisy which they rarely play these days. Every night was an eclectic mix of new and old tunes from “Lyin'” and “Victory” to “Gasoline” and “Moonshine.” And not being one to waste space, Josh Z. would walk onto the space behind the bar and be silhouetted amongst the many bottles it held. It definitely made each night special and unique. I suppose the best night show wise was the final one on Saturday. Saint Motel had a rowdy crowd there cheering for them and it was no different for The Silent Comedy who busted out “Beware” amongst the rowdy uplifting tunes. The kicker was during “Road Song” where Joe got on stage, grabbed a tambourine and danced off the stage, leading a pack through the bar and out to the casino area where we proceeded to get crazy. Needless to say, we had some sideways glances from onlookers who didn’t know what to make of it, but no one cared. We were dancing our hearts out as if possessed ourselves. I should also note, were as sweaty as the band after all that dancing. I distinctly remember seeing nothing but smiles from everyone after that.
Each night after the show, there was adventuring of sorts. One night we ended up in the Downtown area of Vegas to find all the fun bars closed. So, we ended up at a place called Insert Coins which is essentially a gaming bar that plays 80’s music. Another night involved a strip club. Don’t ask me the details on that because I won’t tell you. Ha! Another night ended in a quiet peace with everyone going separate ways after a walk over to Caesar’s Palace in an attempt to get into Pure. The last and final night, a dance party ensued at another bar in the hotel. It didn’t really matter what we ended up doing though because there was always excellent company involved. It wasn’t really what we were doing, it was who we were doing it with. From poolside hangouts to yummy pizza from a hidden place on the third floor at 3:30 am, everything seemed just so perfect.
I guess that’s the beauty of Vegas. Everything seems so shiny and perfect but like all good things, it eventually came to an end. I know both bands gained new fans from the experience as I overheard people asking “who is that playing on stage?” Friends and fans alike enjoyed a musical vacation of sorts and bonds were deepened and new friendships forged. It’s an experience I will not be forgetting anytime soon.
While I don’t have anything to post from Vegas apart from my words, I think I’ll leave you with a new song and a classic…
It’s been about six months since we first heard and fell in love with Parade of Lights so this post is waaaaay overdue. If you’re looking for some perfectly crafted pop music that just makes you want to DANCE, look no farther than Las Vegas based Parade of Lights. Ryan Daly (vocals, guitar), Matt Frey (keys, guitar), Randy Schute (bass, keys), and Anthony Improgo (drums) have known each other for years. They used to play together in a group called Polus. Then they drifted apart with Anthony drumming for Metro Station and Matt on tour with 30 Seconds to Mars. But now they are back together, rechristened Parade of Lights!
The first time I saw them, I was instantly drawn to their sound; catchy and fun…tunes that you just can’t get out of your head. One of the great things about following a young band is watching them develop. At the Parade of Lights show a couple weekends ago at The Vault in Temecula, I was amazed at the growth and maturity that had occurred over the last several months. The band seems to be adding more texture to their songs, infusing softer openings and head banging outros to their boppin’ pop core. I actually stopped jumping up and down for a few seconds just to marvel at their progress. I thought, it’s time to get the word out there. The world needs to know about Parade of Lights!
Fortunately for you, many of the band’s songs are available for FREE download on their facebook page. “Starstruck” is the song that made my end of 2010 mix…but it’s “Young Again” that’s been swimming in my head more recently.
If you’re curious as to how Parade of Lights got their name (we were!), watch what they said when we asked them about it:
No Parade of Lights shows on the horizon, but we’ll be sure to let you know if they come anywhere near Southern California…
So, when one of your new favorite bands goes on tour, you take notice, find the date in your city, and buy tickets. When TWO of your new favorite bands decide to team up and go out on the road together…well, then you start thinking about how many of the shows you will be able to find people to road trip with you to go see! Both Civil Twilight and Paper Tongues are bands I’ve discovered and fallen in love with in the last year. I would never imagine them going on tour together as they don’t strike me as very similar…other than the fact that they both had free singles on ITunes, I can’t think of anything that would tie the bands together.
Also on the bill, Neon Trees, a band that’s been on my watch list since they did a tour with Nico Vega that never quite made it to LA. Their song “Animal”…hey…come to think of it this song was also a free ITunes download…hmm…anyway, I like it and have recently purchased their album Habits.
Point Being: They’re calling it the “Bang the Gong Tour” It starts next Saturday and It is going to be amazing. If you can, you should try to check it out.
The dates are (as listed on the Neon Trees myspace):