Guster is officially old enough to rent a car.

When I’d purchased my solo ticket to Guster’s annual Thanksgiving tour stop at the Beacon Theatre, I’d completely forgotten that it was their 25th anniversary until I showed up to the theatre. When I arrived and saw the displays of all their old tour tshirts, drum sticks, backstage passes, etc. It was super neat. I sat down in my seat and waited for the show to begin, after the opener, The Pisapia Love-In, who was pretty fun, but let’s be honest, we were there to see Guster. The lead singer did come back out during Guster’s set to sing a few songs with them which was fun (1st photo)I sat down just to promptly stand back up the moment they came out. Everyone in the Beacon was excited to be there and so were they. Guster has three main groups of fans: families who have been fans for forever, bros, and nerds. I had a family of four sitting in front of me and their youngest daughter slept through the entire thing. Amazing. 

Ryan announced at the beginning that they were going to play all night and play the longest concert they ever played, and we all cheered, but we knew there were rules. In the end, they ended up playing for about 2.5 hours. A generous concert, indeed! They even brought up one of their oldest fans (in the fourth photo) who has seen them hundreds of times and always makes a point to be super honest and critical about how their performance was. 

They also brought out a choir from Long Island to sing a few songs with them. “We thought it might be fun to have a choir and then my manager goes, ‘I know this choir on Long Island but their audience is mainly the 60-70 year olds,’ and I go ‘Look no further! That is exactly what we’re going for!’” But the choir added a fun element to Empire State and Jesus on the Radio

The entire setlist (here) was a good time and I had a great time rockin’ out for two and a half hours. I hope they stick together long enough to celebrate their 50th. I will definitely be there. 

Gratitude List

I have an alert set on my phone that goes off nightly as a reminder to make a mental list of things I’m grateful for that day. Thanksgiving Day was yesterday and I’ve just gotten done eating a second plate of leftovers today. I’m grateful for that today.

I took the train out to my parent’s house yesterday for an early dinner with most of my mom’s side of the family. A cousin’s fiance commented on my plate above, “Wow, you’re going to eat all of that?!” I’m thankful to have the self control not to punch you in the face. There was lots of talk about the election. I’m thankful that it’s over. I was thankful to see my family, who I hadn’t seen since before I went to Poland. I was also thankful to have the chance to play with their 12-week-old kitten. She’s weighs a whole four pounds now. And she’s cray-cray. 

I stayed the night and left early this morning to return to my apartment for a day of relaxing with Playbill, watching Confirmation on HBO Go and another episode of The Crowns, and tonight I’m going to see Guster at the Beacon Theatre. 

There are still two days left to the holiday weekend. I hope the rest of the weekend has yoga and coffee in it. 

On Saturday night my friend (and yoga teacher) invited me to see her husband’s band, The Salted Hand, play down at Fontana’s on the Lower East Side. It was kind of like a guitar school band recital for guitar students from the NYC Guitar School

All of their songs were covers and it was basically a concert of my favorite songs. They started with Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams, then played Amsterdam by Guster, followed by Weezer’s Buddy Holly

Their short set was awesome and the perfect way to begin a night out downtown. We went after to Excuse My French, The Mockingbird, and a late-night snack at Joe’s Pizza

Last night I went to Central Park to see a favorite band of mine play: Guster. Their last concert in January was awesome and despite the heat, I was looking for to seeing them. I hung back and enjoyed a beef brisket sandwich from Lonestar Empire while the opening act Kishi Bashi performed. He was interesting, to say the least. 

I managed to get pretty close for not trying at all. I was pleased. They played favorites like Diane, Careful, Barrel of a Gun, Do You Love Me?, and This Could All Be Yours Someday., in addition to tracks from their newest album like Long Night, Doin’ It By Myself, Kid Dreams, and Simple Machine (which is probably my favorite track off the album). 

As usual Ryan Miller went off on a million rants in between songs and made us all laugh. They had Kishi Bashi back onstage during their fake encore. As usual Ryan explained how the “B Side” of the setlist would work: “We’re going to do a couple more songs, a fake encore – so get excited – and then go offstage for about 4 minutes and then come back on to do another four songs. I always like to know what’s going on, so I think you do too!” 

By the end of the two hour set, I was sweaty, my legs were sore, my voice was a tad hoarse, and I was a bit hard of hearing.

But it was all totally worth it.

I have set lists from Julia Murney’s album release concert, a Tom Kitt Band concert, and a Daphne Rubin Vega concert already framed. #theatrenerd

But now I have these that I also need to frame and then I thought I’d make a collage on my wall. From left to right: Ted Leo, Guster, and Jeff Daniels.

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:

Bowery Ballroom is right around the corner from Sweet and Vicious. Chances of me going to this show are really effing good. I’m so excited. But I’m wearing a Guster t-shirt today…. That’s OK, right? Right. See you there!

(via » The Sweater Songs – Tickets – The Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY – August 22nd, 2013)

Tomorrow night, Mercury Lounge. Anyone like Weezer’s early stuff as much as I do? (via peterwknox)

Sixty bucks seemed like a lot to pay for a concert at Celebrate Brooklyn, especially when two bands I like were opening for a band that I didn’t even know was still around. But after I found a friend to come with me, I bit the bullet and bought tickets and we went last Tuesday night (what also happened to be the final night of the tour). 

Let me just say that the Prospect Park Bandshell is sorely I’m need of reorganization. The line to get in was at least a half mile long. It moved quickly but really? A line that long is a total downer when you’re excited for a concert.

Anyway, Guster was first and although we missed most of their set, we were able to hear it and that was cool. We got in to see them do 3 or 4 songs, one of which was Barrel of a Gun (I KNOW) which was the first song I’d ever listened to of Guster’s back in high school so it was exciting to me.

During the set change, we grabbed beers and snagged closer seats in the third row on the left. They were awesome! Ben Folds Five (who are ironically only three) came out and Ben Folds started hitting the keys like the genius he is. At one point I said to my friend “I hope he does Brick!” And a minute later he started playing it (video here)! He also did Army (a request via twitter from a fan who’d just gotten back from overseas), Song For the Dumped (lovvvve), among others. He was fantastic. I had so much fun during his set, as did most everyone in the bandshell.

In between Ben Folds’ set and the Barenaked Ladies, I heard the opening chords for “Amsterdam” and it turns out that Guster was playing another half-set in a tent towards the back of the the bandshell. I grabbed my friend’s hand and ran back. Amsterdam, another one of my favorites, is one I’d never seen live either, so I was ecstatic. They played a few others and then we made our way back to the third row.

I had no idea Barenaked Ladies was still around – or had been around since they had ‘One Week’ in 1999 (right?). It turns out they wrote the theme song for Big Bang Theory, If I Had a Million Dollars, and a bunch of others that I knew. They put on a really great show, which was a relief, considering they were the headliners. Ryan Miller, of Guster, came out and played with them at one point, as did Guster’s drummer, and Ben Folds came out and played with him too. And we all got excited when they performed “One Week,” of course.

It was an expensive concert, but it was four hours long and worth every penny. It was a good, good night. 

 

A Weekend in Maine

I decided a couple of months ago to see if I could go stay with my aunt, uncle, and cousin at their house in Freeport, Maine for a weekend. They said “of course!” I took the train up to Boston on Thursday, where my aunt was in town for business, and we drove back together. Over the past four days I did:

  • I learned “Imagine” on guitar, thanks to my uncle.
  • Had two jam sessions including multiple guitars, a ukelele, and a mandolin.  
  • Went to yoga
  • Meditated
  • Baked super kick-ass peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars.
  • Baked double chocolate chip cookies.
  • Cooked Indonesian-style fried rice with vegetables.
  • Went to see David Byrne & St. Vincent at the State Theatre in Portland.
  • Burned a CD from my family of a ton of Guster songs.
  • Shopped: I bought three bras ($47!), jeans from the Gap (originally $60, on sale for $22), and super cute sandals from Bass (originally $90, on sale for $37)… among a few other things.
  • Played Clue (yes, the board game) for the first time in FOREVER.
  • Two days in a row I slept until the exceedingly late hour of 9AM. 

I had an excellent time. I’ll post pictures of food and the concert later. Now it’s back to real life!

Two Points For Honesty

Yesterday I did something for the first time and it was easy and felt great. I told a guy that I didn’t think a second date was a good idea because I didn’t feel much of a connection. He said, “okay, that’s fair,” and that was it. I didn’t have to make up any lame excuses. It was awesome.

A few months back I was seeing a guy who I thought was awesome. We had tons in common and I thought we clicked. Well he actually wasn’t so awesome because he didn’t have the balls to tell me that he didn’t feel a spark until three (3!) weeks after our seventh (7!) date in a month.

We had gone to see Guster together so he ended things with “two points for honesty?” I didn’t reply. And I defriended him on facebook.

As I just learned, it’s not incredibly difficult to be honest and that honesty doesn’t usually take weeks to come by.