Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My unrequited concert

I really wanted to see Howling Bells tonight. I first read about them in a music magazine I bought in the airport in Amsterdam- Dazed I think it was called and knew immediately I would like them. I was right when I took a gander at their website. I saw that they were playing at the Little Civic in Wolverhampton, and little that it is, I thought I'd be able to get a ticket that night. My two friends (in this country) that are willing and open-minded about going to see new music, (new) Tom and Bri, were either not up for it on a Tuesday or already going to see another band, respectively. I was happy to go by myself and had checked each day and there were still tickets available up to a couple days before. Surely there would be one ticket for little ol' single me. I got there and of course, there were not. I was so disappointed, I sat somberly with a pint of Guinness and then went home. I could have joined Bri next door at the Civic (Big Civic if you will) but I'm not a fan of Fall Out Boy and didn't feel like pretending to be. Just as well, I need to rest up for nights out with Matthew (who is in town!!) and Old Tom later this week. As my luck would have it, I think they are coming back in August! I will buy my ticket in advance this time. Shame on me for thinking such a good band wouldn't sell out at such a little venue!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Soundstation Festival

For the bank holiday weekend, the choices were A) Gay Pride or B) Soundstation Festival. I went to Gay pride last year and didn't enjoy it too much compared to some other similar themed events I've been to. It seemed more like Chav Pride than Gay Pride. My friend Tom (new Tom for those of you keeping track) had told me about Soundstation and I had only heard of one artist but after checking out who else was playing and liking some of the sounds I decided to go. Bri and her mom and aunt (who were visiting) and my friend Martyn and his mate Jason all ended up going as well. I went with Martyn and Jason, which meant there was a couple pub stops before we made it in to the festival.

Three pints of Guinness later. . .We found our way to the festival and the six of us met up with Tom and his sister briefly as they headed for the BLive tent- where all the DJs were playing and we stuck around to see what was happening on the main stage. So, I am not even going to bother listing these bands that played at the beginning of the day because they all sucked. They were all pop-alternative, claiming to be indie, teenie-bopper bands (including that Boy Kill Boy crap!). The festival was not marketed very well at all, I only heard about through Tom and the rest of our group heard about from me at the last minute. It was supposed to be this great eclectic mix of indie/alternative and DJs and I guess, eventually it was. After putting up with the crap bands in the main stage for a while I joined Tom and his sister in the BLive tent and Martyn, Jason and Bri eventually joined me. Bri's family wasn’t feeling it at all so they headed home early. As the day went on the music gradually got better. I made it back with Bri to the main stage for the Guillemots and ended up standing through Boy Kill Boy. . .then Martyn and Jason left after that performance.

Finally, the Guillemots came on and they were fabulous! I had only heard of them because of this festival. I looked them up when trying to decide whether to go or not and was intrigued by their website. I did a bit of research and bought their album and loved it so much I knew most of the words by the time I saw them live. They were energetic, unique, and melodic. The repertoire included organ/piano, stand up bass, percussion, various horn instruments and a typewriter. I would strongly recommend checking them out if you get a chance.

It got mighty cold as the evening grew dark and we headed back to the DJ tent to hear Mr. Scruff and warm up a bit. Another artist I did not know much about before I heard about this festival but bought an album of his soon after I did. He played the crowd wonderfully with some basic animation and conversation on the screen with the audience. As you all know, I am not and never was into raves, trance music and a lot of drum and bass, but you can't help be exposed to more of it here in the UK (it's much more popular here than it ever was in the States) and I have started to like the more melodic attempts at spinning something old into something new. Mr. Scruff does a good job of this, creating an eclectic funk, jazzy, electronic sound.

We left Mr. Scruff, reluctantly early so we could catch all of Graham Coxon, the one artist we all actually knew. He was the guitarist in Blur but has been flying solo for sometime now. He capped off the night nicely and with him and the other two performances mentioned made the 25GBP worth it. Graham Coxon is kind of on the smallish side and not your typical rocker, but he's got that dorkish cute quality that I like in some guys (with the added bonus of the thick rimmed glasses). His appearance gives way to a phenomenal guitar sound, good lyrics and a very entertaining performance. I guess he actually played his guitar with his teeth but I think I was in the port-a-loo when that happened.

So, it may have started off bad and they definitely need to do some work if Soundstation is to come back strong next year, but the later afternoon and night made it all worthwhile!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A visit home to Florida

So I just got a comment that I need to put up some new posts from "Anonymous," although I have a few guesses who that person might be. I know, I have slacked this month and I guess being busy isn't an excuse because I should be posting about it. So I'm going to get back up-to-date now before I head to Israel and Paris and have a lot more to post about!

So, as you all know I went home for a bit suddenly because my grandmother passed away. Thanks to all of you who gave your kind words and condolences to me and my family. We were expecting it but it is still never easy and the loss of my Grandma Alena has had me thinking a lot about family, memories of her as a vibrant woman, mother and grandmother and the things that are most important in life. You'd think I would have no pictures from this trip, but after the tears and my grandmother's memorial we were able to enjoy each other's company and have some great laughs, as we always do in our family. First with my dad's side and it was so great to see all my uncles and aunt and grandpa and spend time with them. I also got to catch up a bit with two of my cousins, Kristan and Laura. After we left my Grandpa's I got to spend time with my mom's sisters, my other grandmother, cousins and my gorgeous niece Milena and nephew Gabriyel. I've missed them the most of all (and their brother Alek) because they are growing so fast and I am missing it! I got lots of time with them and in my last weekend was able to see Brian and Monica and Aleksander when they arrived and was fortunate enough to be able to help them move into their new house (oh what joy! :-)

The sunrise Wednesday morning.

And Thursday morning. . . My dad's birthday.

Gabe had his cereal every morning on my lap while we watched the sunrise and I had my coffee and took pictures. We (along with Dad) were always the first two up.

Chia! It's too early for all these pictures.

Gabe gets reacclimated to the ocean on an early morning walk.

We had a very fun birthday party with some great shrimp, crab, all the fixins and typical fun family times. Here's OB with Dad and Milena.

Ended the week in Gainesville where I finally got to see my youngest nephew Alek (here in his new back yard)and spend some time with my brother and sister-in-law while helping them with the chaos of moving into their new home.
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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Baby Uma!

Just got a call from Julia from the hospital. Baby Uma was born last night and is happy, healthy and well, as is Mamma Julia. I got shivers of excitement to hear she is finally here! I wish I could be there to greet her, but at least by the time I see her she will be coming into the fun, playful age. Welcome to the world Uma!!!