Thursday, 18 March 2010

Top Five: Life Changing Gigs

These are not necessarily the five best gigs that I have attended, but the ones that have changed my life the most in some way or other. It might sound a little over-dramatic, but bear with me on this one. Also, you should bear in mind that I do not have an impeccable memory, so any dates mentioned will be courtesy of my dear friend Mr Google, or the stash of tickets currently living in a yellow box under my bed. I apologise in advance for the number of times I am probably about to use the word "gig". I also apologise to person I shall refer to as "Music Guru" who has attended the majority of these events so probably doesn't want to read about them again.

5. 30 Seconds To Mars @ Bristol Academy - 2008
One of the many bands that have come into my life courtesy of my dear friend and music guru (they are the same person by the way). I was a little sceptical of seeing a band with a celebrity lead singer, and was a little scared by the screaming girls/women surrounding me, but it turns out that 30 Seconds To Mars are a band that benefit from the live environment. I don't think I would be as keen on this band if I had never seen them in this live capacity. To be honest, I mostly threw this gig in the mix because I couldn't think of five gigs. But it was a pretty awesome show.

4. 911 @ BIC, Bournemouth - late nineties
This was the first gig I ever attended. I went with my mother. The support band was Atomic Kitten, back in the days when they were called Automatic Kitten. This probably tells you everything you need to know about the whole experience to be honest, and I can already foresee that you are all now bitterly disappointed that my taste in music has not always been at its current high standard *cough*. However, had I never danced the night away with 911 & co, I may never have caught the gigging bug, and that would have been a little bit tragic, as this was the night that I realised that music was meant to be played live, not out of a stereo.

3. You Me At Six, Forever The Sickest Kids, We The Kings @ Newport Centre, Newport - March 2010
Two Reasons. 1) I had been desperate to see FTSK live for ages and ages, so I feel like an ambition was reached. 2) It has triggered a slight YM@6 (though admittedly mostly lead singer based) obsession. I have always liked the band, but something happened on that fateful evening in Newport which has resulted in my brain being consumed by an urge to listen to their music at all hours of the day. Plus, I melt a little at the sight of Josh Franceschi's smiley face. I'm not sure how long this will last, but for now, I am 100% hooked. I feel slightly better as Music Guru is in the same boat.

2. Muse @ Earls Court, London - 2004
To date, probably the best live band I have ever seen. I have seen them in a few different locations over the years, but this was the first time I witnessed them, and to say I was blown away is a little bit of an understatement. It raised my expectations of what to expect when seeing a band. I may be wrong, but I also believe it is the first time I have had to leave gig early and have a (not so) leisurely run through the tube station with Music Guru in order to catch the last public transport home. The annoyance at having to skip out before the end is slightly balanced out my the tannoy announcement telling us to stop running as we sped through Earls Court train station, but only slightly.

1. Taking Back Sunday @ 93 Feet East, London - August 2006
Prior to attending this gig, my only experience of this band was through Music Guru. I had liked the music, and as the gig was to take place in one of the smallest venues known to man, this was too good an opportunity to waste. As it turned out, we were stood effectively in the second row, which remains the best "seats" I have ever had at a gig - I could actually see the band for one thing (something that is not always easy when you are a person as short in stature as I unfortunately am). I went from casual listener to huge fan during the set and haven't looked back since. I remember the set drawing to a close and me thanking my friend for introducing me to the band, and said friend buying me a TBS T-shirt as I really wanted one, and at the time was a bit on the poor side. It remains one of my prize possessions. This awesome show was followed by seeing the band AGAIN just a few days later at Reading Festival, which was in turn followed by me and the music guru queueing up to meet my brand new heroes. I will never turn down a chance to see these guys.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Top Five: Pros of the Common Cold

As it is time for my annual Summer Cold, I thought it best I try to cheer myself up by thinking of the positive aspects of my current state. I will admit now that it was a bit of a stretch to think of five things, but bear with me. If you can think of anything I've missed, please add it to the comments section below.

5. Taste Numbness
Although it is slightly annoying that you can't fully taste good food anymore, at least if you are eating something that doesn't taste so good, you aren't really aware of it. This is especially useful if you are being made to eat somewhere that doesn't make food of a very high quality as you can pretend that it actually tastes awesome.

4. Comedy/Childrens tissues
I am currently using HSM 3 tissues, courtesy of my mother. Marginally more exciting than regular tissues. If anyone is interested, while the packets are adourned with HSM related pictures, the tissues themselves are just plain white, which is a little bit of a letdown to be honest.

3. Cough Mixture
Although all the medicine in the world is not able to actually cure the Common Cold, at least it tastes better than the stuff you get for other illnesses. Although its no Calpol. Children's medicine is so much better.

2. Laziness
You don't feel any internal guilt for being lazy when you have a cold. You can embrace your inner Man Flu and justify spending time not doing anything. Plus, as you can normally sound more ill than you really are, so others tend not to disturb your lazy time (although I think part of that is just the fear that they will catch it). This also translates to not feeling bad about making lazy food like microwaveable delights, instant mash and toast.

1. Singing like Adam Levine
I take my in-car singing very seriously. I treat it like my own sound booth, as no-one can hear me, or my choice of music. My current CD of choice is the latest Maroon 5 album. On a side note does anyone know when the next one is coming out? Anyway, in the seriousness of the afore mentioned in-car singing, I find great joy in the fact that while I am in the 'stuffy nosed' section of the Common Cold process (before I get to the 'i can't speak without coughing' section), my voice sounds marginally more like that of Adam Levine's. Admittedly its not quite at the Stars In Their Eyes level, but its enough to make me feel a bit better about myself.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Thoughts: KCA Awards 2010 nominees

I am indulging my inner child and voting for Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards, and as with the Empire Awards, I thought I would share my choices with you. I am not entirely sure when the voting closes, but the ceremony itself is 27th March, so I guess if you click here at some point before that date, then you can vote too. Apparently, if you have nothing better to do with your time, you can go back and vote every single day!

Favourite Couple:
Edward and Bella (New Moon)
Jacob and Bella (New Moon)
The Obamas
Neytiri & Jake (Avatar)

Favourite TV Show:
Sonny With A Chance
Wizards Of Waverly Place
The Suite Life On Deck

Favourite TV Actor:
Cole Sprouse
Dylan Sprouse
Joe Jonas
Nick Jonas

Favourite TV Actress:
Miley Cyrus
Keke Palmer
Selena Gomez
Miranda Cosgrove

Favourite Music Group:
Black Eyed Peas
Jonas Brothers
Linkin Park

Favourite Female Singer:
Miley Cyrus
Lady Gaga
Taylor Swift

Favourite Male Singer:
Sean Kingston

Favourite Song:
I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
Party In The USA - Miley Cyrus
You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift
Paparazzi - Lady Gaga

Favourite Movie:
New Moon
Transformers 2
X-men Origins: Wolverine
Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

Favourite Movie Actor:
Zac Efron
Taylor Lautner
Shia Labeouf
Tyler Perry

Favourite Movie Actress:
Sandra Bullock
Miley Cyrus
Megan Fox
Zoe Saldana

Favourite Cartoon:
Spongebob Squarepants
The Simpsons
Penguins of Madagascar
Phineas And Ferb

Favourite Reality TV Show:
American Idol
Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?
So You Think You Can Dance

Favourite Female Athlete:
Serena Williams
Venus Williams
Danica Patrick
Misty May Treanor

Favourite Male Athlete:
Kobe Bryant
Lebron James
Ryan Sheckler
Shaun White

Favourite Video Game:
Wii Fit
Mario Kart
Wii Sports Resort
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Favourite Book:
Diary of A Wimpy Kid Series
Twilight Series
Vampire Diaries Series
Where The Sidewalk Ends

Favourite Animated Movie:
A Christmas Carol
Monsters vs Aliens
Ice Age 3: Dawn of The Dinosaurs

Favourite Voice From An Animated Movie:
Jim Carrey
Seth Rogen
Renee Zellweger
Ray Romano

Friday, 5 March 2010

Top Five: Rock Band Front Men/Women : RETRACTION

It has come to my attention that back in October 2009, I declared Gabe Saporta as one of the top 5 front men. I wish to take this back. I have since seen the error of my ways, as more recent posts have probably indicated. If you could all pretend I had never said it, it would be very much appreciated. I shall be issuing a new list in due course, just in case anyone is concerned.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Thoughts: Empire Awards 2010 - Nominees

As I go through the nominees for the Jameson Empire Awards 2010, I thought I would share with you all who I have voted for. I subscribe to the magazine, its only fair that I vote in their awards. If anyone else wants to vote, you only have until the 10th March to do so, so get a shimmy on. The voting form can be found here. My vote is highlighted in bold.

Best Newcomer:
Carey Mulligan (An Education)
Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy)
Sharlto Copley (District 9)
Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air/New Moon)
Katie Jarvis (Fish Tank)

Best Thriller:
Harry Brown
Public Enemies
Inglourious Basterds
The Hurt Locker
Sherlock Holmes

Best Horror:
Let The Right One In
Paranormal Activity
Drag Me To Hell

Best Comedy:
In The Loop
A Serious Man
The Hangover
Up In The Air
The Men Who Stare At Goats

Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy:
Star Trek
District 9
The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus

Best Actor:
Sir Michael Caine (Harry Brown)
Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Robert Pattinson (New Moon)
Sam Worthington (Avatar)
Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)

Best Actress:
Anne-Marie Duff (Nowhere Boy)
Carey Mulligan (An Education)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria)
Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds)

Best Director:
James Cameron (Avatar)
Neil Blomkamp (District 9)
JJ Abrams (Star Trek)
Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)

Best British Film:
Harry Brown
The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus
An Education
Nowhere Boy
In The Loop

Best Film:
Star Trek
District 9
Inglourious Basterds
The Hurt Locker

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Top Five: Fueled By Ramen (Past & Present)

I'm not gonna lie to you folks, when I was young and impressionable, I pretty much lapped up everything that the Fueled By Ramen folks threw in my direction. To be honest, that is pretty much still the case, just not with quite the same level of enthusiasm as before. There are loads more bands I could mention who could have quite easily been in the list. Gym Class Heroes, Cute Is What We Aim For, The Hush Sound, The Academy Is..., Friday Night Boys, October Fall... all are quality bands that nobody has probably heard of, unless you are of the pop punk/happy emo persuasion.

5. Cobra Starship
If I had done this list about a month or so ago, then Cobra Starship would have been a lot higher in this list. However, I have recently seen them on their headlining theatre tour, and it has come to my attention that the lead singer of said band, Mr Gabriel Saporta, is an arrogant, vain numpty who likes the sound of his voice WAY too much and has an inflated sense of his own self importance. That aside, the rest of the band is made up of highly likeable boys and girl (Ryland, Vicki, Nate and Alex) who make genuinely happy music that makes me want to join the band, apart from the fact I may actually kill the lead singer. And to think, I once had that man on my desktop. The computer desktop that is. I don't think I have sold them too well...
Best Tracks: Good Girls Go Bad, You're Not In On The Joke, Guilty Pleasure, Keep It Simple, Snakes On A Plane

4. Panic! At The Disco
I was/am a little bit in love with their first album. I listened to it nearly all the time and even my mum seemed to like them. So it was with great excitement that I pre-ordered album number two, in a special pack including a jigsaw, CD, LP and t-shirt (value for money, people!). Unfortunately, the album is god awful - a prime example of when a change in direction was a really bad idea (hence why I've used the name with the "!"). The early stuff though is still one of my favourite albums with music that transports you to another place and lyrics that you would not expect to come from eighteen year old boys. Recently, the band has split into two citing "musical differences" (i.e. we aren't friends anymore), so I have high hopes that all members will return to their former glory - they're most recent single, by those still allowed to work under the Panic umbrella, is definitely a return to form.
Best Tracks: New Perspective, I Write Sins Not Tragedies, But It's Better If You Do, Build God Then We'll Talk, Camisado.

3. Fall Out Boy
Another band who suffers from arrogant band member syndrome, although this time not the lead singer, but the notorious bass player, whose douche behaviour far extends band activities. I loved this band before they were the toast of the town, ever since I discovered them in some cheesy girls magazine. But no-one cared about them in those days. I have no idea how exactly they became popular, but they no longer seem to be an active band, so are likely to fade away in the not too distant future, which is quite a shame, although I don't think their latest album was one of their best. I don't think this list is going to do much to encourage anyone to listen to these bands. I promise to only say nice things about the final two.
Best Tracks: Sugar We're Goin' Down, Thnks Fr Th Mmrs, XO, Grand Theft Autumn, I Don't Care.

2. The Cab
I can't really think of much to say about this band, expect I am in love with their boy band-esque lyrics and happy, rock backing music. It sounds awful on paper, but they are so good. I clearly remember being introduced to this band by a very good friend while sat on her bed and was instantly hooked. A criminally under-rated band of the highest degree.
Best Tracks: Vegas Nights, Bounce, High Hopes & Velvet Ropes, One Of Those Nights, Risky Business.

1. Paramore
I think my views on Hayley Williams are pretty clear by now. I have never heard a song of theirs I didn't like and would go to see them live a hundred times, and I am pretty sure I would never, ever tire of them. With every album they release I fall in love with them, and I am glad that the rest of the world is catching on to their brilliance, even if it did take being associated with a certain vampire movie for it to happen. Although they weren't exactly unpopular prior to this, it was a pretty good business decision by my reckoning. Even NME approve of them now, and they are a right bunch of music snobs.
Best Tracks: Misery Business, Decode, Brick By Boring Brick, Emergency, Born For This.

Monday, 1 March 2010

What I've Watched: February

Hot Rod
Princess & The Frog
Fast & Furious
Yes Man
Sunshine Cleaning
The Hangover
The Wedding Date
Valentine's Day
I Love You, Beth Cooper
Up In The Air
American Teen
Sex & The City: The Movie
Man About Town
The Wendell Baker Story