Green Day @ Barclays, 3.15.17

I’ve seen Green Day a handful of times now. I don’t know how many; I don’t keep track. But I do know that music brings people together and anytime Matt and I are brought together for Green Day, it’s a good time. I failed to secure GA tickets when the presale came out months ago and we debated what or how to get seats for the past several months. 

Well, it came down to game time this year. Or, I guess you could say, it came down to Fuck Time. We bought seats in the nose bleeds on StubHub four hours before and we thought, well, it’s Green Day and our seats for PNC in Holmdel, NJ in 2010 sucked, too, but it’ll still be awesome to be in the room. When we arrived at our seats, which were basically on the right side of the stage against the wall, Matt and his girlfriend sat down and I went to ‘use the bathroom,’ aka scope out new seat as I’ve never been one to accept the shitty seats I’ve been dealt, even if they were the ones I bought. Nobody puts baby in the nosebleeds.

I found an area, still on the second level, but lower than where we were, directly across from the stage, that was inhabited by a railing, three or four high top tables and a few folding chairs, with a few people milling about. I scoped out the area, leaning against the railing, seeing if anyone would tell me move, and after 3 minutes, I rallied to the troops to relocate. The view was much better and we were all more than happy to sit (or lean) for the duration of the concert. Photos and more thoughts after the jump. 

Against Me opened and they were great, but we didn’t really pay attention to them. The setlist was the standard setlist that they’ve been playing on this arm of the tour and it included King For a Day, which although it’s a song all of us would like them to stop playing for the rest of time, I couldn’t help but sing along. Matt and I performed as much of the American Idiot choreography as we could. Some dude rocked out during Longview and BJA asked him after, ”are you trying to take my damn job?” BJA asked after, and I’m pretty sure the fan Billie Joe pulled up onstage to sing Know Your Enemy didn’t actually know the lyrics. 

I have a newly found respect for a couple of the songs from Revolution Radio that they played, mostly Youngblood and Forever Now

Billie Joe, a master in the art of subtlety let out an exasperated, “Fuck you, Donald Trump!” at the end of Letterbomb

St. Jimmy was out of this world energized. Always a favorite of mine to see performed. 

We watched on in horror, and also laughing, at the two kids who were sitting in folding chairs covering their ears and sulking while they’re parents (probably mid-to-late 30 something’s) danced and embarrassed the hell out of them.

The GA area was outrageously small and had no energy in it whatsoever. The three of us plus another couple who were probably of a similar age had more energy than all of the kids on the ground. I’ll just say this: There were far too many seats on the floor and the first rule of Green Day is: you don’t sit at Green Day

The energy was high for the first encore which included American Idiot followed by the sensible 7-minute Jesus of Suburbia

Lastly, I’m glad they’ve gone back to ending with Good Riddance. It’s just not the same when they don’t. 

i have a thousand other thoughts but they’d make no sense and this “review” is pretty consciousness as it is. Green Day concerts, regardless of where you’re sitting, are always a good time and should always be attended when possible. They bring people together and get people off their news feeds, even if only for two-and-a-half hours. The backdrops, pyro, and lighting were fucking awesome, too. Snaps for whoever designed the tour. Last, but not least, here are a few photos:

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So much pyro onstage!

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Tiny GA section. 

Field Trip to Greenpoint

I found the only reason to ever venture on the dreaded G train and it’s the above chocolate, E. Wedel, a well-known chocolate from Poland. I brought back a bunch of it from Poland last month and people (like myself, for instance) ate it and it’s gone now. So, I Googled where I could buy it in NYC and found a store in Greenpoint (of course). 

I took three trains with J to get to Greenpoint this afternoon to find a store named Slodycze Wedel on Manhattan Avenue. But unfortunately it was out of business. Of course. 

BUT I wasn’t going to be dissuaded so easily. I scoured the pharmacies and general stores on Manhattan Avenue and I was thrilled to find a few different kinds at Rite Aid. Surprisingly, the imported chocolate cost under $2 a bar. Score.

So, I’m set for the winter now. Seriously, this chocolate is the. best. ever. Better than any of the shit we have in America and it’s totally worth the ride on the awful G train. 

Fancy Honey From French Bees

J came over last week and knowing my love of honey in my tea and on toast, he deposited this jar on my counter and told me I had to try it. His colleague owns the company H. Eckford Specialty Foods and imports the honey directly from France. 

This isn’t flavored honey, though. Each individual honey has the distinct flavor of the flowers the bees took the pollen from, which is a super cool concept. 

I’ve been using this honey nonstop in tea, on peanut butter toast, on crackers. You name it. It’s just sweet enough to make my green tea tolerable (because if we’re being real, green tea is super bland).

If you like artisanal anything (or everything!), give this honey a go. I’m looking forward to trying the lavender one eventually.

Weezer @ Warsaw, 3.30.16

Two weeks ago I ventured to the border between Greenpoint and Williamsburg to a little venue called Warsaw for an intimate night with one of my favorites, Weezer. I love their music but admittedly, I don’t follow them as closely as I do Green Day and sometimes I’m not happy about that (I know, #firstworldproblems). I saw them play an epic concert with The Flaming Lips in 2011 and hadn’t had the chance to see them again since. 

Warsaw felt smaller than Irving Plaza. Ben and I stood to the side near the front the entire time. There was another fan next to us who was probably in his late 30′s and was likely in college when the Blue Album came out. He looked like he probably asked his wife to watch their first born for the night so he could relive his college memories. 

They played for an hour and a half and they played all their hits (no, really, look at this setlist). Including Beverly Hills! This was the one song they didn’t play in 2011 that I wanted to play. Weezer is a trip down memory lane through grade school and now through my 20s.

I didn’t get home until 11:30 on a “school” night, but it was worth it. 

Drama-Free Valentine’s Day

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I’m happy to say Valentine’s Day was drama free. I wasn’t expecting any drama (my dude and I are both pretty chill) but after hearing some friend’s stories, I was extra grateful. We went to a friend’s party in Brooklyn – walking way too far in the frigid cold from Barclays after the F train was refusing to appear. The party was lots of fun and we we were diabetic after from ingesting way too much sugar, as expected. We stopped at Sugar Shoppe on the way home, and Fat Daddy Taco (we needed to eat food that wasn’t 95% sugar).

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We started Sunday off with a leisurely brunch at The Hamilton before showering and attempting our plans of milkshakes and The Boy. Upon arriving at Black Tap in the Meatpacking District, we witnessed the most ridiculous wrapping line plus a bouncer in 10* weather and immediately abandoned ship. Starving, we stopped at The Diner on 14th and 9th for some delicious (albeit overpriced) comfort food. We hopped on the train to 42nd Street to attempt an earlier showing of The Boy. It’s been out for weeks, so how could there be a problem? It turns out that EVERYONE wants to go to the movies when it’s Arctic outside so our movie was sold out plus the theatre was mobbed because the machines to buy tickets were down.

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the scene outside Black Tap Burger. guys, they’re just milkshakes. 

Our plans were just not meant to be, I guess. We ended up making dinner at my apartment and settling in for a double-header of Frozen (that was better than I expected, said Justin) and a movie called Dark Skies (it’s a thriller about aliens with Kerry Russell and I totally enjoyed it).

And we ate more candy. So much candy. Because: Valentine’s Day. 

Weekend Things.

Friday night: BANG! Said the Gun had their second installment. It was, again, AWESOME. I highly encourage you to check it out, last Friday of every month. It’s a slam poetry night that originated in London.

Saturday: Yoga, duh. Then I chatted with a lovely International Politics professor from Baruch in The Hungarian Pastry Shop, picked up “Street Justice” for $6 from Book Culture, and listened to the Columbia University band practice out on their quad. Saturday night I celebrated my best friend’s husband’s birthday at Subject, L.E.S. It was a cool place with $6 Abita, but it was too crowded. They also lost my credit card (which I’d just activated that day) until I looked on the floor behind the bar and was like ‘IT’S ON THE FLOOR. RIGHT THERE.’ I don’t think I’ll be heading there again. Also: the Lower East Side on a Saturday night? Shit show. We all know this, but come on. Really, it’s a shit show.

Sunday: I tried out a class at the new 104th/Broadway Yoga to the People. It’s a great place to go for experienced yogis but I wouldn’t suggest it unless you have a solid practice already. I bought the wallet (on the right) that you see above at the street fair on Broadway. It’s from a company called Big Skinny and it’s amazing and so compact. I ventured later on to Brooklyn to see Ghosts at BAM (review coming!) and went with a lovely guy to an Italian restaurant called Frankie’s 457 in Carroll Gardens. Another upside to my new purse? The middle part is the perfect size for fitting Playbills. 

Last weekend the CEO where I work sent out an email to a bunch of people who he thought would be into doing yoga outside office hours. Where were we going? Wilkommen Deep House Yoga at Verboten, a night club, in North Williamsburg. There are projections all around the club the entire time and jams provided by a DJ, this time it was amazing Tasha Blank.

I made the decision to go to the front so I was in the same row as a colleague and our teacher for the night, the wonderful Elena Brower. The class was an hour and fifteen minutes, I think. It was a really cool experience.

Yoga in a nightclub with my colleagues is never something I thought I’d be doing. But I’m glad I did it.  

I’d heard mixed things about Let the Right One In at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. This was brought over from Scotland and I’m always intrigued to see a film-to-stage adaptation that’s based on a horror movie. I’d seen neither the original Swedish film or the recent remake, but I really wanted to see this. It was on my short list of “Things To See This Season,” so Kristen and I ventured to Dumbo, Brooklyn on Friday night to rush. Rush was easy to get and cheap ($20!). We got coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Company next door and drinks at 68 Jay Street after. 

Let the Right One In was about a young boy who’s often bullied who’s life changes when he meets the new girl who moves in next door with, presumably, her father. 

Spoiler alert: She’s a vampire. But they fall in love. Her father, who turns out to be a man who’s in love with her (because she is, obviously, much older than she looks) and when he starts acting out when he realizes he might lose her, he ends up dead. 

The story is OK. It’s a very subtly frightening. it’s more eerie than anything else. There’s one cool special effect and one moment towards the end of the second act that made both Kristen and I jump out of our seats. It gets LOUD. 

The real star of this show is the staging. The staging (along with the set by Christine Jones) is stunning. The trees onstage (pictured above) are real trees too! The lighting (by Chahine Yavroyan) was perfect and beautiful too. I’ve talked about how I love Steven Hoggett’s movement and it was mesmerizing in this production too. 

Rebecca Benson (Eli) and Cristian Ortega (Oskar) are unbelievably talented and carried the show effortlessly.

Let the Right One In plays through March 8th. Check it out. 

January 13th, 2015: Guster at Rough Trade

Last Tuesday one of my favorite bands, Guster, released their 7th album with an acoustic set, a CD signing, and a full concert after that. I didn’t think I’d be getting to meet the band so I was completely speechless when it set in that I was merely feet from them. The above photo is the result of my meeting them. Goofy/stupid/happy.

Their first set was 8 songs long and they performed it on a small platform in the middle of the floor space inside Rough Trade. It was really awesome. The setlist is here. They performed Window off of Parachute, so that was special.

After the signing and photos, there was a ways to wait and then Frozen’s “Love Is An Open Door” started playing over the speaker system, we all started singing along, and the guys came out. Apparently one of their kids loves Frozen so they thought, “why not!”

This was the smallest stage they ever performed on with the most instruments they have ever performed with so the stage was quite crammed. This show was their first with their new material and basically a big experiment to see if they could even perform these songs live at all. They had a new band member with them too, Dave, because they needed an extra person with them onstage to fully play the songs. Ryan said multiple times, “Wow! That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be!” when they finished a song. He told lots of stories, followed by, “I don’t know why I’m telling you this now or why I’m still talking.”

Guster might be one of my favorite bands to see live because they give exactly zero fucks onstage. They just play their music and have a good time. (Full set list here.)

I was tired at work the next day but it was totally worth it. Even the trip to Brooklyn. 😉

Some videos I took:

“For some reason people think I’m a Merchant of Cheer.”

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Last Sunday a friend and I trekked out to a tiny space called Silent Barn in Bushwick to see a solo show: Ted Leo. (The Pharmacists are currently on hiatus!) It was a benefit show to save the space and it’s a cool space, but they need to really get a better air conditioning system. (It was hot as hell in there.)

Ted Leo played an awesome setlist (see below) with a lot of new songs that he was trying out . He proclaimed that people thought he was a “merchant of cheer” and then he played his “darkest song” he ever wrote – but sadly (?) it wasn’t all that dark. After about a dozen songs, he gave us permission to leave if we wanted, “I think I’ve played enough to fulfill the social contract we’ve made with one another, so I’m going to keep playing but if you need to move on with your night, feel free!” Needless to say, none of us left. 

Ted Leo has been one of my favorite artists for the last decade, so to say it was awesome to see him in such a tiny space with only about 50 other people would be a massive understatement. I talked to him briefly after the show and he’s a massively chill guy. 

He’s performing tomorrow at the Bell House in Brooklyn with Julie Klausner on her weekly show. If you’re in the area, you should definitely check it out. 

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