Technology Has Ruined the Concert Experience

The smart phone is a beautiful tool that has been created in society. It allows us to stay in contact with people who live far away, keeps us from losing our minds on public transit, and gives us the ability to schedule our entire life in the palm of our hand. It can be used for videos, music, and taking pictures. I am a huge supporter of technology, and every time something new comes out I am right there with the general population exploring the the new tools that man has created. But are we losing touch on what is important? Do we really need to be on, near, or have access to our phones 24/7?

Being on vacation these past two weeks I have been observing the public especially at concerts. What I have noticed is that society is obsessed with having a phone in there hand and documenting everything. What happened to actually experiencing something. A music concert is not meant to be video tapped and watched through your phone. It is meant to take in the artist’s music, experience a feeling that you can’t get from a video, and live in the moment. I feel like that concept is hard for people to grasp. Living in the moment means putting the phone away and gaining an experience from the people around you, the artist and musicians on stage, and being with the people that you came with for that show and in that moment in time. A story that you can tell your grandkids from one picture, because let’s be serious, no kid is going to watch the hours of footage you have recorded of some old person they don’t know.

I know what you phone addicts are going to say is how are we suppose to remember the experience if there are no videos, no pictures, no physical object(s)? I know this a new concept, but how about a journal or a personal blog? I am not saying that you should never take picture or video, but do you really need thirty minute video of concert that you can’t even make out the person you went to go see? If you are up front near the stage absolutely take a short one minute video and snap a few pictures, but to have your phone up to record a show the whole time is absurd. You not only have ruined your own experience but what about that person you blocked by having your arm up the whole time? Let go of the phone! Let go of technology! And experience a concert through your own eyes instead of the screen of your phone.

Concert Etiquette – Treat Others How You Want to be Treated

Going to music festivals can be eye opening how the general public acts.  In short, people can get mean, rude, and pushy when it is a band they like and want to be front and center, but there is a concert etiquette that needs to be followed.

Recently at Coachella, I really wanted to see was AC/DC and so did everyone else who is a music lover.  Knowing this, my brother, my roommate, and I got there two and a half hours early, watch the act before, and then waited.  We were by no means in the front, but we had a decent view of the show.  A few songs in, a group of  four teenagers/ early twenty kids decided to push there way through the crowd, jump around slamming into people, as well as used people as a brace to get up on each other shoulders.  Now, I am not saying that you should stand still in a bubble at a concert or not sing along and dance to the music, but if you are unable to lift people without using strangers as a brace you probably lack the strength to actually have someone on you shoulders. Also, the people standing in front of you don’t enjoy being kicked in the head.  So what’s the lesson?  Dance around, sing along to the music, but don’t push in front of others who have been there for hours and preceded to slam into them, because eventually you will run into someone like me who will tell you off and scare the living sh** out of you to behave like a normal person in society.

Celebrities go to concert too, and they want to enjoy the music not have you screaming at them to take a picture on your phone.  Famous people are just normal people who happen to be well-known.  If you ever want the chance to meet one you need to act normal and not crazy.  Being at Coachella you run into various celebrities.  For example, Paris Hilton was standing in front of my brother and I at the Kaskade concert.  There was a barrier, and this girl next to us preceded to scream at her as well as ask every person in front of her to take a picture of her.  Of course everyone looked at her funny and said no, but that didn’t stop her.  Seriously, if someone can explain to me the obsession with celebrities I am all ears because I just don’t get the spastic emotional frenzy that people become around someone famous.

Finally, be nice to the staff.  At a large music festival I applaud the staff.  Being a person that manages sixty to eighty events a month, I sympathize with the staff and how much the general public can be a pain.  Don’t throw trash on the ground, there are garbage cans all around the festival site.  Those big blue cans are not just there for decoration.  Follow the rules and be respectful to the security team.  There were a bunch girls who continuous were sitting up on the barrier to watch the show even after the various security told them to get down.  Now I am 5’2” so I understand being short and not being able to see but seriously get over it.  I can tell you if I was that security person I would have told you if I tell you a second time I will throw you out.  The security team as well as the staff have a lot of power and they are not the people that you want to push because they can have you ejected no matter how much money you paid to be there.

To all you concerts goers out there follow the concert etiquette, and the bottom line of it all is don’t be a douche.

Coachella – An Experience of A Life Time

imageOn April 17-19, 2015 I went to the musical festival Coachella, which was totally epic!  Excuse me for my teenage verbiage above, but if you ever get the experience to go you need to make it happen.  Yes it is crazy expensive, no the VIP tickets are not worth the cost, and camping is for  chumps, because the resorts and a nice bed are where it is at.

Being from the east coast the three hour time adjustment was rough and if you are coming from a time difference give yourself more then a day to recoup your body.  Usually such a small time adjustment isn’t a big deal, but when you are going to bed at 3 AM and get up at 9 AM there is really no time for your body to reset.  Let’s talk about being a VIP at the festival.  It is seriously pointless.  You pay $800 to get better food that you pay more for, shorter bathroom lines, and more shaded areas.  If you have difficulty with hundred degree plus weather then VIP is for you, but if you are like me and heat feels like a warm blanket go for the general admission.

The great thing about a festival like Coachella is there are dozens of bands, a slue of music genres, and five stages that you can bounce around to see various acts all day and night.  The first day of the festival is the best day to really explore the venue, get your merchandise, and see the art installations.  Three of my favorite acts on the first day were AC/DC, George Ezra, and Kiesza.  For a bunch of old guys I think AC/DC rocked harder then any other band at the festival.  The long guitar solos that you never hear anymore in music is a breath of fresh air, the movement and jumping around on stage to get the crowd going, and the ability to bring various generations together with a form of music that never dies – rock n’ roll.  George Ezra is a modern day singer/ songwriter.  His voice reminds me of Don Henley with a mix of Johnny Cash.  He has an old soul when he sings.  You can tell in his voice that every lyric and note means something and he has that old school rhythm and blues sound that makes you connect with the music.  Those of you who don’t know Kiesza you need to crawl out from under that rock.  She is a dancer turned singer and her show was full of dance, music, and connecting with the audience.  She even had back up dancers for the show and she was dancing and singing with them.  She showed no signs of being fatigued or out of breath.  Her stamina and energy was something that I haven’t seen from a current century music artist in a long time.  I think the public is going to be seeing and hearing a lot more of her, especially if her live shows continue to bring such a powerful energy.  On day one we also saw DJ Snake.  I have never seen my brother so excited as when we saw DJ Snake take the stage with two old school rappers DMX and Sir Mix A Lot.  The energy in that EDM tent was busting by the end of that set as everyone was dancing and singing along.

On day two and three we took a different approach to seeing artists.  Obviously at music festivals you are dealing with large crowds, drunk and high idiots, and lack of sleep, so, the less you have to deal with too much stupidity the better.  The first day we bounce between the varios stages and saw artists at every venue there was to see, but the following two days we stayed mostly at the outdoor and main stages.  Staying between these two stages allowed us to get a better viewing spot for the people we wanted to see such as Jack White, the Weekend who brought out Kanye West, Royal Blood, Florence and the Machine, Marina and the Diamonds, and Bad Religion.  We got right on a rail and could brace ourselves with the crowd, as well as saw some other artists who were pretty amazing that we might not have otherwise heard, such as Saint Motel, The Orwells, and Circa Survive.

So what are you going to do on your next music festival excursion?  Explore artists that are unfamiliar, make sure the VIP tickets are actually worth it by talking with someone from the festival and not just online, and be sure if there is someone you really want to see camp out there all day because more then likely everyone else really wants to see them too.  You don’t want to be that jackass pushing through the crowd of people that have been there for hours.

My First Job at a Dance Company

We all have jitters when we get our first big person job right out of college.  I graduated from College at Brockport in 2008 which seems like ages ago now.  We all have those negative thoughts that nobody is going to hire us, and just hoping that someone will take a chance on a youngin and give you a job.  A company based in Rochester, New York took a chance on a young twenty-one year old girl with big dreams of starting her own dance company; me.  Granted those dreams have grown and changed, but I’ll never forget the people that took a chance on me.

Natalie Rogers-Cropper, Director of the Garth Fagan Dance School hired me as the her assistant.  It was a part-time job, but it was a starting point on getting my foot in the door to understanding the running of a dance company.  As her assistant, I organized and collected payments from students, managed scholarships, helped with grant writing, and had my hand in the three week summer program, where I worked with Natalie to layout the schedule for a three week intensive.  It was the best first big girl job I could have had because I had mentor who not only was a talented dancer, but was in the business world of dance too.

I moved up the ladder pretty quickly in the Company.  After spending eleven months as a part-time assistant I became the full-time Advancement Assistant while still working with Natalie in the School.  As an advancement assistant I got to work with marketing and development, assisting with press releases, writing grants and final reports, as well as helping with program layouts for events.  From there, I become Assistant Company Manager where I got to work directly with the Artistic Director and Executive Director on touring contracts, tour programming layouts, assist with marketing plans and marketing designs, as well as organize and manage our self-program performances and events.

Working for Garth Fagan Dance and getting involved with so many parts of the Company helped me to develop my own direction of where I wanted to go in life.  Even though I no longer work there, I am a big supporter of the Company and follow them online to see what they continue to accomplish.  The Company is going on its forty-fifth anniversary year.  What a landmark for a choreographer who has collaborated with so many musical and visual artists, and brought to life some serious pieces of work such as Griot, New York, Mudan 175/39, and Two Pieces, One Green (a personal favorite).

Garth Fagan Dance isn’t only a dance company, but an eternal apart of the Rochester community.  They work with underprivileged youth through community outreach, as well as provides scholarships for students to study with professional dancers of the company throughout the year.  One of the things I loved about the Company is how intertwined it is with the Garth Fagan Dance School, from the instructors to the students and families involved at school who volunteer at shows.  It is like a family pushing towards a success of a common goal.  It all goes back to the motto of Mr. Fagan – “Discipline is Freedom.”  With hard-work, drive, and a family behind you, the possiblities are endless.

If you live in the Rochester area you should check out the gala event that will be happening at the end of April.  You can purchase tickets here.

Concert Review – Walk the Moon & The Griswolds at the House of Blues (Boston, MA)

On, April 11, 2015, I jumped up and down like an idiot at the House of Blues as Walk the Moon commanded the stage to a sold out crowd.  For those of you who don’t know who Walk the Moon is, they are a pop-rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio  and consists of members, Nicholas Petricca, Kevin Ray, Sean Waugaman, and Eli Maiman.  Their name comes from the song ‘Walk on the Moon’ by The Police and gained their first hit on the radio airways of the alternative stations with ‘Anna Sun’ in 2010.  In 2014, their sophomore album ‘Talking Is Hard’ was released where the first single to hit the billboard 200 charts was ‘Shut Up and Dance.’

Now that you are educated back to the concert.  The opening act was an Australian group named The Griswolds.  This young band far from home has a young sound, but their music has a real 80s flare.  That techno sound with a mix of rock n’ roll of guitar, bass, and the drums as the musicians add in lyrics and simple backup vocals to give it that danceable beat.  A personal favorite of mine that they opened with was ’16 Years.’  A synthisized type keyboard with various rhythm instruments such as a tambourine and drums as you hear an elegant bass line and the guitar came in strong as they break into the chorus.  These Aussie boys I’m sure will be making waves soon in the states as they gain more confidence on stage and really learn to command the crowd at live shows.  What a band to learn from like Walk the Moon!

Walk the  Moon is the whole package.  They are not only great musicians and songwriters, but they are fantastic entertainers.  The start of the show had these crazy neon lights of various shapes and sizes, as well as neon lights that surrounded many of the instruments.  These lights exploded on the stage in strobe like form as they opened with a song from their new album, ‘Different Colors’.  As I watched the crowd you could tell that almost everyone there were such devoted fans from the lip syncing of the lyrics, to the the dancing around, clapping to the beat, and the waving of arms side to side as each start of a song got the audience more and more excited.

Nicholas Petricca (Lead singer) was constantly interacting with crowd through each song transition.  As Petricca asked who was a Walk the Moon show virgin it felt like we were joining a cult.  As he asked all us to put our hands up in the air and let all the bullshit fly out and to just dance it out.  This led into their hit song ‘Shut Up and Dance,’ which is awesome.  They closed the show out with ‘Anna Sun,’ which goes to show that no matter what happens we always end up back at the beginning.

Check out the video below that MsTabularasa put together of some epic movie dance scenes as it is intertwined with Walk the Moon’s ‘Shut Up and Dance.’