14 October 2012

Frightened Rabbit October 12, 2012 Minneapolis, MN

Amy, Lynna, Me, Nikki, Jen
I went to Minneapolis this past weekend to see Frightened Rabbit in concert. This was one of those things that I'd been looking forward to for so long that I was a little nervous it wouldn't be as good as I'd hoped.

Turns out there was no need to worry. The concert was everything I'd hoped it would be and more. They played all the songs I wanted to hear except "Keep Yourself Warm", but according to a review I read about the Chicago show the night before, Scott has a cold so he had to cut out some songs.

Modern Leper

After listening to an opening band that wasn't ... bad, per se, all their songs just sounded the same, it was finally time for Frightened Rabbit!!

Old Old Fashioned
I have their live album (songs from The Midnight Organ Fight) and I've watched videos of live performances so I knew they would give a brilliant performance. But nothing quite prepared me for actually being there: the atmosphere of the crowd; the energy of the band; hearing "Living in Colour", "Swim Until You Can't See Land", "The Loneliness and the Scream", and all the rest of the songs live; listening to Scott tell the story of how he wrote "Boxing Night" ... it was a surreal experience and one I won't forget anytime soon. 

Grant - Old Old Fashioned

There was a lot of bantering back and forth between Scott and the crowd - with a lot of people asking him to marry them. A couple of guys even asked Grant to marry them except they referred to him as "Scott's brother". Scott said something along the lines of "You should probably learn his name first."

Scott told a story about how he and his older brother used to gang up on Grant when they were younger. I wish I could remember the story because it was really funny.

Anyway, after telling us all how he used to pick on Grant, Gordon suggested that Scott might not want to turn his back on Grant. So, for The Twist, Scott turned the microphone around and faced Grant.  As Jen put it: "... he did sing a good portion of The Twist with his arse in my face. :)" Yes, that's right, we were front row, center! I don't care how much my feet hurt by the end of the night (I was wearing my "sexy" boots), it was worth it to get there an hour before the doors opened!

The Twist
If I had to pick a favorite part of the show, it would be the encore. The encore opened with Scott playing "Scottish Winds" on his acoustic guitar.  "Scottish Winds" holds a special place in my heart ever since I saw a video of him playing it acoustically. But to see and hear it live was something else. I could watch this man play the guitar for hours on end and never tire of it. He followed it with "Poke", which is an incredibly beautiful song. Jen said it perfectly:  "Best show ever. There might have been tears." 

Scottish Winds
"Good Arms vs Bad Arms" started with just Scott playing and then one by one the band members joined in. Except for Grant, who was giving Scott a hard time for his earlier story, and standing just off stage. Scott finally stopped playing and told Grant to stop fucking with him and Grant made his way on stage. Scott picked back up where he'd left off and they finished the song. Hands down my favorite version of that song I've heard yet.

All too soon the concert was over. I could have stayed and listened to them the rest of the night (though I might have taken my boots off). Scott threw his guitar pick and it landed right in front of us. I didn't see where it landed, but Lynna did and she grabbed it for me. Eeeep! So, yeah, I have Scott's guitar pick - signed, even. :)

Simon from Olympic Swimmers
We hung around for a little bit after the lights came back on. Lynna got Gordon's set list from the cute roadie, who turns out isn't really a roadie at all, but a guitarist for Olympic Swimmers (another band from Glasgow) and he also tunes guitars for Frightened Rabbit.

Gordon came out to help take down the stage, and Lynna asked him to sign her set list. I had purchased the Sing the Greys CD to complete my collection so I had him sign that. Amy got him to sign her shirt - except that the shirt was wrinkled so his signature ended up looking like "Gorky". LOL

Then Scott came out and we asked him to sign our stuff too (that's when he signed his guitar pick). We chatted with him for a little bit. He told us that they'd be back in the spring touring for their new album which comes out in February. YAY!! Somehow I ended up telling him that I'd driven from Missouri for the concert - 9 hours one way. At hearing that he held out his hand and we shook hands. We talked a little longer, and I think I told him that he should come to The Blue Note here in Columbia if they do come to Missouri next year.  There were other people waiting to get Scott's autograph and pictures though so we left. Grant had come back to help take down his drum set so we got his attention and had him sign our things as well.

Grant had hash marks on his jeans and when Amy asked him about them he said there was one for every hour they spent in a room at Customs the day before. They'd gotten held up for 5 or 6 hours coming back into the US from Toronto because they'd not declared their money correctly or some such thing. I guess US Customs seized over $20k of their money.  They were understandably pissed.

Me and Scott 
We were about to leave when I decided that I wanted my picture taken with Scott so we walked back over to him. When I asked if I could take a picture with him he said something along the lines of, "For 9 hours, of course you can have a picture".

After that it was time to leave. :( I will see them again next time they come to the States. If they make it to Missouri I'll see them here, otherwise, I'll be going back to Minneapolis! This is one show that I will not miss!

This was truly one of the best nights of my life and I'm so lucky to have shared it with Jen, Nikki, Lynna and Amy! Love you guys!

Must give a shout-out to Jeri Smith-Ready because without her this night would not have been possible. She's the reason I know Lynna, Jen, Nikki & Amy, and the reason I know who Frightened Rabbit are.

Set List:
Modern Leper
Old Old Fashioned
The Twist
State Hospital
Fast Blood
Music Now
Head Rolls Off
Swim Until You Can't See Land
Boxing Night
Backwards Walk
Square Nine

Scottish Winds (solo acoustic)
Poke (solo acoustic)
Good Arms vs Bad Arms (acoustic, w/ band joining in one by one as they came back on stage)
Living in Colour
The Loneliness and the Scream

13 March 2012

Teaser Tuesdays: Darkness Unbound

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
 BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
 Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Kissing another Aedh is like flirting with the sun.  There isn't another sensation quite like it."

~ p. 108 Darkness Unbound by Keri Arthur

11 March 2012

Thoughts on My Soul to Save

Finished my re-read of My Soul to Save a few days ago.  I didn't have as much trouble keeping out of my head the knowledge of what happens in future books as I did with the first one.  While re-reading My Soul to Take I kept thinking about how much Nash changed (and not for the better) in the later books and that kind of took away some of my ability to enjoy it.  Not so with this one.  Some random thoughts I had while reading:

  • Tod has a much bigger role, which I liked. Because one can never have too much Tod! :)
  • I'd forgotten that Tod could be ... for lack of a better word, dangerous and vengeful.  I mean, he took that Dekker guy and just handed him over to Avari and didn't regret it.
  • I'd forgotten the scene where Nash had his first taste of Demon's Breath.  
  • I like how Kaylee and her dad are still figuring out their relationship.  It's written so realistically.  
  • It made me laugh when Tod interrupted Nash and Kaylee. I hadn't remembered him doing that quite so early in their relationship.
  • I finished reading and wanted to dive into the next book right away. 
  • Rachel Vincent does a fantastic job of really sucking you into the characters - their lives, their feelings - so that you feel like you're there with them when they're trying to make their decisions.  You can feel their internal struggles.  
All in all I'm enjoying my re-read of this series.  I'm discovering new things that I missed the first time around, falling in love with the characters all over again (yes, even Nash and yes, even knowing what he does to Kaylee), and falling in love again with the world that Ms. Vincent has created.

    20 February 2012

    My thoughts on Undone Deeds

    I finished the latest Connor Grey novel Undone Deeds by Mark del Franco tonight.  And I loved it though I'm still trying to come to terms with the ending.  So many questions were answered and there was a definite feeling of finality to Connor's story.

    And that's the part that I'm having trouble with.  I love Connor and I love his world.  And I'm not ready to be done with him or it.  According to what Mark posted on his blog, there could be more books set in the Convergent World, but if there is, will those books be more of Connor's story or be told from the point of view of someone else?

    There is already another series set in the same world, but starring a different set of characters.  I've read the two books in that series and while the stories are good and the characters are interesting, I prefer Connor and his story and characters.

    So I'm left with a feeling of satisfaction overall, but it's tempered by the knowledge that this might be the last Connor Grey book.  I really hope it's not.

    5 of 5 stars ... even if this isn't a proper review.

    15 February 2012

    Thoughts about "My Soul to Take"

    Instead of writing an actual review (because I basically suck at them) I decided to go with just putting down some thoughts I had while re-reading My Soul to Take.

    • It was very interesting to go back and see Kaylee and Nash's story from the very beginning knowing what I know about how their relationship changes over the course of the books.  I found myself questioning everything Nash did or said, trying to find hidden meaning or some indication of his addictive nature.  
    • I'd forgotten just how snarky Tod is in this book.  I remember thinking he was a cool minor character during my first read, but I was definitely all about Nash then.  
    • Knowing what I now know about Nash and Tod and their relationships with Kaylee, colored how I looked at each of them.  This is not a bad thing, but I almost wish that I'd re-read My Soul to Take before Nash got addicted to frost and before the events that happened in If I Die. Because I will never again be able to read about Kaylee and Nash's relationship with the innocence of that first read.  
    • I remember how much I loved Nash and how he was the only person who was truthful with Kaylee.  And how much he loved her and would have done anything for her.  It almost killed me to remember how horrible he was to her when he was addicted to frost.  
    • I've re-read book series before (too many to count) and I don't remember the consequences of each character's decisions in later books in the series having such a profound effect on how I felt when re-reading the first book.
    • Even knowing what what happens in later books affecting how I saw the characters didn't make me love this book any less the second time around.
    And ... that's all I can think of right now.  (Note to self: write this post sooner than three weeks after finishing the book!)

      26 January 2012

      Change of plans

      Yeah, so, as it turns out, I suck at writing reviews.  I've tried.  I really have.  But every review I've tried to write comes out sounding ... well, less than stellar.  Even the ones where I absolutely, positively loved the book *THIS* much (pretend I'm holding my arms out as far as they can go here).  I don't know why this is.  I can be articulate when I want to be.  So why not when I want to tell people how awesome (or not awesome) a book is?  I dunno.  It's one of life's mysteries.  And I'm done beating myself up about it.  After all, there are a TON of book blogs out there so I'm just going to stick with what I do best:  random musings.

      Yep, I've decided to just start writing down my thoughts on books.  Which is kind of like a review, but much more informal.  Should be easier, right?  Right.  And if my random musings happen to be incoherent, well, that's the beauty of randomness.  It doesn't have to make sense.  (Just go with me here, k?)

      Since I'm participating in the Soul Screamers Reading Challenge, I thought that I'd tackle My Soul to Take for my first attempt at a random musing.  Hopefully I'll be able to get something written up this weekend.  Why not now, you ask?  Well, because it's late and I need my beauty rest, that's why.  And I need time to get my thoughts in order.  Er, I mean, time to think about what I want to randomly muse about.

      24 January 2012

      Teaser Tuesdays: Enclave

      Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

       Grab your current read
      • Open to a random page
      • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
       BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
       Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

      "Unlike the others, this place had an air of majesty, even in its disrepair.  I could tell great things had happened here."

      p. 185
      Enclave, Ann Aguirre

      I chose these two sentences because of what they're describing: a library.  Isn't that a great way to describe a library?  Yeah, I thought so too!  

      18 January 2012

      Twas a good mail day today

      You know how when you order something online but it doesn't come for a while so you sort of forget about it?  I mean, you remember that you ordered something but it's not at the forefront of your mind anymore because it's been a while since you placed the order?

      Well today my order finally came:

      • Midnight Organ Flight by Frightened Rabbit
      • Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters by The Twilight Sad
      • Aspect of Crow trilogy by Jeri Smith-Ready
      SO excited!!  Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad are my new favorite bands and I can't wait to listen to these new (to me) albums.  (The Twilight Sad has a new (to everyone) album coming out in February two days before my birthday so I think it'll be a happy birthday to me present. So I'll have more new music from them to enjoy!!)  I could listen to both bands all day long, every day and not get tired it.  (Along with Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More. I love that album too!)

      AND, the Aspect of Crow trilogy? I've heard such good things about these books and since I pretty much love everything that Jeri writes, I can't wait to get started on the series.  I have no doubts that I will love this series as much as I do her WVMP and SHADE series.  

      Tonight though I am continuing my re-read of Rachel Vincent's My Soul to Take, which is the first book in her Soul Screamers series (well, technically, My Soul to Lose is the first book, but it's more of a prequel novella to the series ... meaning you don't have to read it, but it does provide some insight into Kaylee's character).  I'm participating in the Soul Screamers Reading Challenge hosted by Rachel Clarke at Fiktshun and having just finished Ashfall by Mike Mullin I needed something a bit lighter.  Not that a story about teens dying is necessarily lighter, but it's not as realistic as Ashfall.  

      Anyway ... I've been enjoying the re-read so far except that it's made me remember just how much I loved Nash and knowing what's in store for him and Kaylee makes me sad.  

      17 January 2012

      Teaser Tuesdays: Ashfall

      Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

       Grab your current read
      • Open to a random page
      • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
       BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
       Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

      "The volcano had taken our homes, our food, our automobiles, and our airplanes, but it hadn't taken our humanity.  No, we'd given that up on our own."

      p. 344
      Ashfall, by Mike Mullin

      10 January 2012

      Teaser Tuesdays: Every Other Day

      Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

       Grab your current read
      • Open to a random page
      • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
       BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
       Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

      "I transferred to Heritage a few weeks ago.  When I'm not failing history tests, I spend my time as an insurgent superhero who lives in fear of being hunted down by monsters or bureaucrats."
      Every Other Day, pg 16

      07 January 2012

      Books I can't wait to read!

      In no particular order, these are just some of the books that I'm looking forward to reading.  A mix of not-yet-released and already-released books.  Admittedly this list is a little YA-heavy, but there are so many awesome YA books out there right now.  I'm a little late to the party for a lot of them, but I'm doing my best to catch up quickly!

      *Note: I just found out yesterday that Undone Deeds is going to be released on 31 January 2012. SO excited for this new Connor Grey book (one of my favorite UF series)!  Definitely going to pre-order this one!

      06 January 2012

      Blogging Goals for 2012

      Now that the first week of 2012 is over and done with, I figured that I better make some goals for this blog.  Considering that I've not done much with this blog, I'm starting small.  If all goes well then next year I'll have loftier goals.  

      So here goes:
      1. Write and post at least one book review a month. Yeah, I know that's not much but considering I've yet to actually write a review that's worth posting, I figured I should start small.  If I do more, great.  But I should be able to at least do one review in a month.
      2. Participate in at least one weekly book blogging event.  I'm thinking that Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading would be a good place to start. 
      3. Participate in a couple of challenges.  I've already signed up for one: the Soul Screamers (Re-)Reading Challenge hosted by Rachel at fiktshun.  So yay me!  Not only will this allow me to re-read the Soul Screamers books (which I've been wanting to do), but it will also (hopefully) get me to write reviews as well so that my first goal will be taken care of too.  :)  I've also signed up for the reading challenge on Goodreads which I participated in this year.  Last year's goal was to read 125 books and I surpassed that (though a lot of those books were novellas so it's a little misleading in that I didn't read almost 130+ full-length books).  This year I upped my goal to 130.  I'll see where I stand in June, but considering all of the books that I have in my TBR pile, not to mention the number of sequels coming out this year that I'm looking forward to reading, I don't think I'll have a problem finding books to read.  ;)  
      So that's it.  Three goals.  If I can't manage to meet those then I have no business doing this blogging thing.

      02 January 2012

      Favorites of 2011

      Since I've obviously failed miserably in my attempt to write a review that's worth being seen by anyone other than my cat (I do have a couple of drafts, they're just ... well, not good), I decided to turn my attention to my favorite things about 2011 - in a stream of consciousness sort of way.  So, without further ado ... drumroll, please ...

      Favorite series I discovered:

      1. SHADE series by Jeri Smith-Ready.

      I'm a big fan of Rachel Vincent and her books and follow her on Twitter.  This past summer there was a little thing called the YA Crush Tourney in which Tod (from Rachel's Soul Screamers series) was up against Zach (from Jeri's SHADE series).  After watching the "battle" on Twitter between these two fictional boys and their fans, and reading some of the teaser incentives that Jeri posted during the match I had to check out Zach for myself.

      I was prepared to like Zach from what I read about him in the YA Crush Tourney (Scottish accent, gorgeous, etc.) and I did, er, do.  What I wasn't prepared for was Logan Keeley.  Logan made his way into my heart like very few fictional characters do.  In fact, the last fictional boy to affect me like this?  Adam Eddington from Madeleine L'Engle's The Arm of the Starfish.  I've been in love with him since I was oh, I don't know, 12 or 13 years old maybe?  I don't remember how old I was the first time I read the book.  Suffice to say, it's been a long, long time.  (Jeri assures me that Zach will have my heart too by the end of SHINE and I believe her.)

      But I didn't just fall in love with Logan.  I fell in love with Aura and Zach as well (though not quite to the extent that I did with Logan).  Because I'm such a fast reader not many books (and fewer characters) stick with me after I've finished them because I need to make room in my head for new books and characters.  Not so with Jeri's books and characters.  Aura and Zach and Logan pop into my head still (months later) when a song I'm listening to reminds me of them.  Which brings me to my next favorite series because it takes place in a radio station and music is very important to the series.

      2.  WVMP series by Jeri Smith-Ready.

      I loved SHADE and SHIFT so much that I went looking for other books of Jeri's that I could read and found her adult vampire series.  I plowed my way through all three books in this series too.  Jeri's currently writing the fourth and final book in the series and I can't wait to see what happens.  She's promised us a happy ending for Shane and Ciara though! ;)

      3.  October Daye series by Seanan McGuire

      I'd seen these books and heard about this series but it wasn't until I went to Seattle in October that I bought the first book and that was mostly because I wanted to buy a book at the famous Elliott Bay Book Company.  I am not sorry that I picked Rosemary and Rue as the one I bought.  Upon finishing I immediately went out and bought the next two.  And before I was even finished with those I bought the next two.  I've not read One Salt Sea yet because it's the last book that's published and I kind of want to save it and savor it.  I don't know how long that will last.

      4. KGI series by Maya Banks

      On the surface these books look like your typical romance novels, just another addition to the myriad books out there starring special ops alpha males who have to rescue their women.  They're better than that most of the ones out there in that they have a plot and and are written well.  Yes, they're still romance books with all that entails, but they're also full of mystery and suspense.  The Kelly brothers are definitely alpha males and will do anything and everything to protect those that they love, but they also aren't afraid to show affection and love.

      Favorite book:

      Room by Emma Donoghue

      Hands down the best general fiction book I read all year.  A difficult subject matter told through the eyes of an innocent five year old.

      Favorite experience:


      I had the opportunity to go to Seattle for a weekend - the same weekend that the Smart Chicks Kick It tour was going to be there (with a LOT of my favorite authors) AND the same weekend as the Northwest Tea Festival.  Books and tea and me in a place I've wanted to visit for a while?  YES!  I had an incredible (though much-too-short time) in Seattle.  Not only did I get to listen to some of my favorite authors talk about writing, but I discovered new favorite teas.  It was my first "real" vacation by myself and I discovered something: I liked being on vacation by myself.  Don't get me wrong, I love going on vacation with other people too, but there was something incredibly freeing about being on my own.  I want to go back.

      Favorite music:

      1.  Frightened Rabbit

      I learned about Frightened Rabbit thanks to Jeri Smith-Ready and fell in love with them immediately.  I don't know what it is about their music, but their album "The Winter of Mixed Drinks" has gotten me through some rough times just in the past two months that I've had it.  I love the whole album - every single, solitary song on it.  And the free acoustic download from their website?  Absolutely brilliant.  Three heart-wrenching, beautiful and raw songs that will kill you.  But in a good way.  Mostly.

      2.  The Twilight Sad

      From following Frightened Rabbit on Twitter I discovered The Twilight Sad and ... yes, you guessed it, fell in love with them as well.  So much so that I'm (semi-)seriously considering trying to make a trip back to Seattle to see them in March.  They'll also be in Chicago, but as I'm tired of Chicago and not tired of Seattle I'd rather go see them in Seattle.  This will probably not happen, but a girl can dream, right?  They also have a free acoustic download on their website and, well, the raw energy that James Graham puts into singing those songs makes me shiver.

      So there you have it.  Some of my favorites from 2011.