Keep Rockin’, Pop-Punks

Well, guys…looks like this is the end of my show. Will I come back for my encore someday? It’s very possibly. But for now, I need to focus on my other passions.

I started this blog for my online journalism class in hopes to reach many other outcast pop-punks and rockers like me. While I wish I had the time and resources (and guts, for that matter) to have created better quality content, I’m happy with this blog and the posts I’ve written/made. I learned a lot in this course, from recording and editing video interviews to building up enough courage to ask someone for an interview. It’s not easy being a reporter on a deadline, but I must say that I love the job and the people I’ve met along the way.

I hope to create more content from time to time when I’m not too busy with work (just graduated and am starting full-time as a business journalist in New York soon — ah!!) But for now, I may take awhile adjusting. I’d like to cover some summer concerts, like the Blinkin Park one that I am DYING TO GO TO! So please — stay tuned…

…and keep rockin’.

Spotlight: The Fillmore Philly

Have you ever been to a venue for a concert and just felt entirely at home, like you’re exactly where you belong with people who share the same interests and perspectives? That’s The Fillmore Philadelphia to me.

The Philadelphia Magazine named the concert hall the Best New Music Venue. Located at 29 East Allen Street in Philadelphia, it is a former World War II munitions factory that offers a unique experience.

The first band I saw there was SafetySuit, one of my favorite rock bands; and I was so close that I could practically touch the stage. I even got a picture with the lead singer, Douglas Brown.

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Basically tore Douglas Brown’s arm out of its socket for this photo with him at the Foundry. Worth it!

The venue is actually two clubs in one — the Fillmore (main hall) and the Foundry (top floor, smaller club for developing and local artists.) Though different sizes, they both provide that up-close-and-personal feel.

Having seen shows in both, I prefer the Foundry to the Fillmore because it’s much easier to connect with the band. Of course, for concerts with larger crowds, it’s not so easy to hold too many people in that size room. However, I personally enjoy shows that aren’t as packed, ones where you can hang by the gate and make eye contact with the lead singer. It’s an awesome feeling.

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I was super close to SafetySuit at Foundry.

Garret Kennel, 21-year-old Rowan University student, gave his opinion on the main venue at the Fillmore after seeing Simple Plan there this March. “I really like the set up, how there were bars and open areas outside of the stage area while also having bars in the stage area. The thing that stood out from other venues is that it kinda felt like just a giant house party,” he said.

Since the band was touring for their 15th anniversary, Simple Plan drew quite an audience and performed in the more spacious room. “It was just good vibes all around,” Kennel stated.

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Simple Plan performing their anniversary concert at the Fillmore.

Not only do you get to enjoy the concert, you can also order food and alcohol at the bar to accompany you during the show. Maybe that’s why this is my favorite concert hall — food, alcohol, AND live music? I might as well move in.

I’m not the only one who fancies the notion of booze and tunes. Nicolette Cerminaro, student at University of Sciences in Philadelphia, gushed about how the venue is “much bigger than Electric Factory in terms of moving around room and accessibility to the bar from the general admission areas.” Cerminaro saw Tegan and Sara around Halloween, and they sold themed drinks for the holiday. How festive?!

Denis Conrad, 23 of Westmont, New Jersey, was also impressed after his recent experience there. “It had a real cool atmosphere and the sound carried well. Beer wasn’t horribly expensive compared to normal concert prices, not cheap but not eight bucks for a Bud Light or anything.”

On a historical note, this 25,000-square-foot venue maintains the values of the original Fillmore, which opened in San Francisco in 1965 and is essentially a legend. In fact, according to the venue info on their site, “The Fillmore was the focal point for the psychedelic music scene during the 1960s and ’70s, helping to launch the careers of acts such as The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Santana, The Doors, Hot Tuna and many, many others which helped it grow into the legend it is today.”

Any time I return to concert hall, I immediately feed off the passion and excitement of everyone in the room. There are rarely seats unless you’re in VIP, so the crowd packs together to celebrate the art of music, laughing and jumping around like old friends.

Shannon Gausepohl, Rowan alumn, told me about her escapade seeing her all-time favorite band at the Fillmore this March. “I saw Thursday there. It was so chill. The Thursday shows I’m used to attending are a little wild and it’s very possible I was the wildest there,” she said. “The staff was friendly, it’s in a great spot for bars and there are a lot of great lineups. I would definitely go back.”

And after the concert, as suggest by Conrad, you can walk over to Fishtown’s main stretch for some more fun.

Check out additional pictures of the venue below!

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Band Practice with Hello Japan

Hey, pop-punks! Last week I got to sit down and talk to an upcoming band, Hello Japan. The members, Jim Pizappi, Ryan Aubrey, and Kenny Kotala, all go to Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. Though they’re just starting out, they already have their journey mapped out, with aspirations set high and dedication to rise up.

Check out their interview to get a glimpse of who they are — you won’t want to forget their names.

Photo credit: Adam Badalamenti

Song Review: “Parking Lot” And “Misery” From Blink 182’s “California” Deluxe Edition

I was driving around with my older brother this weekend when he mentioned that Blink 182 released two new songs off their upcoming deluxe edition of their recent album, “California.” My jaw hanging open and eyes wide, I told him to put them on immediately, nearly squirming out of my seat. Blink 182 was my childhood — the start of my pop-punk obsession.

I loved both songs instantly. I have to say, I really enjoy Mark Hoppus and Matt Skiba’s singing. Of course, Mark’s always impressed me; but I find Matt to be the perfect new band member (though no one will ever replace Tom DeLonge…you broke us, man.)

These two songs are much like “California,” but I find them to be a bit heavier and more like modernized pop-punk. Sure, I totally miss their old content, like that of “Dude Ranch” and “Enema of the State,” but their progression is respected and admired. They are, in fact, nearly 25 years old.

Maybe my soft spot for Blink is much thanks to Travis Barker, whose drumming can make any song sound epic. Regardless, this band will always have my heart. Here’s what I thought about “Parking Lot” and “Misery” — which you need to listen to ASAP!

“Parking Lot”

This song had me hooked from the first second, with its heavy guitar line and modern pop-punk sound. I love the fast-paced melody; sitting in the car, I pictured myself jumping ’90s style at their concert on the outskirts of a mosh pit.

The lyrics are also relevant and reminiscent, which I think is an important characteristic of any song in this genre. My favorite verse is:

I can’t wait ’til I’m off of work
I’ll meet my friends at the Target curb
I rolled my ankle, Matt just broke his wrist
I climbed through your window at 3am
We listened to The Smiths and The Violent Femmes
Yeah, we both sang, “Why can’t I get one kiss?”

Okay, anyone else instantly think HIGH SCHOOL, because I totally did. There’s an innocence in this passage, a reflective voice that begs society to stop stripping today’s youth of a childhood, to quit tearing down and urbanizing places that were once a child’s sanctuary for creating memories. I actually thought they based their chorus of the song “Big Yellow Taxi.” I think Blink is attempting to relay the same message — only in a more satirical manner.

Also, they brought back their infamous “na-na’s,” like in “All The Small Things.” Major props, guys. No criticism from me on that one.

“Misery”

Okay. I’m a writer. You already knew that. So you probably won’t be surprised to hear me say that these lyrics are everything. I’d choose a favorite line, but I’m afraid I’d be quoting the entire song. There’s some raw emotion in the words of “Misery,” which I’m concluding is about a breakup of two people really only make each other miserable.

I’m a sucker for sad songs, and this one covers that need for me while still hyping me up with a quicker chorus. This piece is definitely my favorite of the two. The verses are personal, the chorus is full of passion and pain, and the bridge just downright breaks my heart:

Fifteen times a night, when the sun’s gone down
In the dark awake, and you’re not around
And the closest thought is the edge of oblivion
Fifteen times a day when you check your phone
And I won’t be there and you’re all alone
‘Cause we always lived on the edge of oblivion
Left to find our way through a Hitchcock film
In an empty bed with an hour to kill
‘Cause it’s only fun on the edge of oblivion (oblivion)

Dammit, Mark. Your voice made that even more excruciating — in the best way, of course.

I’m not the only one who’s captivated by these lines. Nicolette Wescott of Medford, 21-year-old Rowan student and fellow pop-punk, gushed about her love for this song. “It’s kind of different…I really like the guitar and the lyrics!” she said.

Well there you have it — mere opinions of these two pieces. It’s up to you to decide now; what do YOU think about them?

“California” deluxe edition will be released on May 19! Mark your calendar!

(Photo from Pexels.)

Spotlight: Simple Plan Concert in Philadelphia

On Tuesday, March 28, beloved pop-punk band Simple Plan came to Philadelphia to perform at The Fillmore. On this 15-year anniversary tour, Simple Plan played their entire first album, No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls.

I was lucky enough to attend this legendary concert and meet some pretty great people there. Pop-punk concerts are unlike any other, and I wanted to give you guys a feel of the atmosphere and passion in the venue. I was able to interview a few people who were in the audience — Angela Kotala, Garret Kennel, and Kevin Momat (in that order.) Kevin specifically opened up about the intimacy of the show and some characteristics of this type of audience.

Listen to what they had to say below!

Spotlight: Lois Shearing of “In Punk We Trust”

The awesome part about music is that it connects people from all across the world. There are countless bloggers covering the pop-punk scene, but one specific writer caught my attention: Lois Shearing, author of In Punk We Trust.

Shearing, age 22, grew up in Eastbourne, England and studied journalism in Bournemouth. She now lives in London and maintains her music blog, which she created in July of last year. “I started it because I wanted a new blogging project as I left uni and pop punk/hardcore music was something I knew I could talk/write about for a long time without getting bored,” she told me in an email interview.

Though she posts articles at least once a week, from interviews to reviews, she admits to experiencing challenges along the way. “Blogging can be very time consuming if you want to post regularly and it can be hard to find the time to sit down and research and actually write,” she stated.

But despite the fact that she also works, Shearing still finds time to share valuable content quite frequently — because she enjoys doing so. “For me the most exciting part is interviewing bands and musicians. I love talking to people about something they’re so passionate about and that they spend so much time on,” she explained. “It’s really exciting to feel a part of a scene that I feel so connected to.”

Blogging is more than just a hobby — it’s an important part of journalism that’s advancing right along with technology. According to Shearing, “as media and magazines become more monopolised [sic], readers like having a face and a personality behind what they are being recommended and promoted.” However, blogs will most likely never replace professional news sources due to lack of resources, as stated by Shearing. That’s not to say that blogs do not play a vital role in journalism, however, offering unique information on an online platform.

When asked what she’d recommend to others starting a beat blog, Shearing advised that the more specific the better in order to have a hook. “Pick a subject you already have a lot of knowledge about and write what you would want to read!”

Spotlight: Ivy Inn in Princeton, N.J.

I’ve been on the hunt for a laid back bar with live music for awhile now. Of course, I’m sure there are many to choose from in the area; but I wanted to spotlight a place that’s adored by its crowd, one whose atmosphere is as kick-ass as the bands who perform there.

Ivy Inn sits right on Nassau Street in Princeton, essentially in the downtown area. When I visited this Sunday to snap some shots of the stage, it was relatively empty — but I could still get a sense of atmosphere from the night before. The bar was quiet, a few people chatting with the bartender like old friends. I got a sense that the pub sees familiar faces each week, which adds to the magic of it.

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Ivy Inn has its own parking lot in downtown Princeton where music-lovers and beer-drinkers gather for live music and DJs. Though relatively small, it’s an inviting pub with friendly faces welcoming you as soon as you walk in.
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When you first step inside, you’ll see a pool table to the right for some drunken games with old friends.
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A corner bar with a few stools, this spot has a perfect view of the stage.
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The main bar is lined with chairs, and there’s a booth in the corner that could fit a whole group. “The rich history of Princeton, along with some wood paneling from a basement in 1975, makes each show at the Ivy unforgettable,” said the Seth Tieger Band, a New Jersey based band that performs here regularly, covering songs by bands from Bon Jovi to Paramore.
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On Fridays and Saturdays, live bands perform after 10p.m. “Even though the stage is the size of a postage stamp, the energy that can be projected from that little corner is incredible,” said the Seth Tieger Band. When the band starts playing, the people start crowding around, dancing and singing ’til closing time.
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You can sit with some bar food and a couple of beers with entertainment all around you. The local bands play.

From the words of the the Seth Tieger Band: “We love the Ivy because there is always a built-in crowd that is ready to rock…”