Turn on the Brightest Lights

Before the out-of-nowhere snowstorm that caused Interpol to be stranded for 50 hours, I had the pleasure of seeing Interpol at Marathon Music Works on the unusually chilly night of November 11. I went over to the venue and was immediately greeted by a large, excited crowd. What came after definitely did not disappoint and made my Tuesday night go from ordinary to extraordinary.

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Punky Reggae Party

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When you think “punk” it is likely that images of garage bands, spiked hair, and lyrics about anarchy and disestablishment come to mind. However, when you think “reggae” you may conjure up images of the beach, slow beats, and lyrics about peace and love. After taking a closer look, the two seemingly opposite genres are in fact not all that dissimilar. While the two originated in different times and in different ways, they have since been brought together to make some groundbreaking tunes that we now usually refer to as “ska.”

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The Human Panda Bear

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Noah Lennox, who goes by the stage name Panda Bear, has recently released an EP titled Mr. Noah. However, the good news does not stop here. The release of Mr. Noah comes shortly before the anticipated “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper” album that is due to come out on January 13, 2015. With Panda Bear’s renewed activity in the music industry, I wanted to take time to recount the many accomplishments and upcoming developments of an admirable musician.

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Music City: True to its Name

Recently, the Travel and Leisure Magazine came out with rankings of America’s favorite cities and lo and behold, Nashville was listed number 1 for concerts, the music scene, and also as the friendliest city around. Even only after a year of living here, I wholeheartedly agree that this is the place for music and entertainment. For those of you who are a bit skeptical, I’ve compiled a list of reasons that this ranking is well-deserved.

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Animal Sounds

The Glorious Goat
The Glorious Goat

As I have been browsing through my music collection, I have come to realize that I have an affinity for bands that have a name referencing animals. Is this a coincidence? Perhaps. I’ve been trying to figure out what else they all have in common, but alas, they are all excellent in their own right. I would like to share some recent artists I have come across with this theme and hopefully you can decide for yourself if they truly resonate unique styles of animalistic music.

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Live on the Green: Being Off the Green

I’ve been to Live on the Green three times in all. My first time was last year as a freshman and my was it wonderful. Naturally, I returned this year and went to the first show I could – Head and the Heart. However, I was most excited for Cage the Elephant. While I imagined myself watching from a spot close to the barriers, carrying crowd surfers, and fighting for room to breath, I took on a very different perspective as a photographer backstage instead.

Live on the Green through a different lens
Live on the Green through a different lens

The opportunity arose through the Vanderbilt Hustler. I spent most of my summer exploring the world of photography and was interested in joining the photo staff for the school newspaper. Upon seeing the availability of shooting (taking photos) Live on the Green the Thursday Cage the Elephant was playing, I immediately volunteered. And just like that, I had backstage passes to what was bound to be an incredible show.

One fun fact I learned about concert photography is that in most cases, once a set goes on photographers are only allowed to stay in the “pit” (the space between the barriers and the stage) for the first three songs until they are escorted out. I got there just in time for Johnnyswim. One thing that I noticed as a photographer was the movement of the musicians. We are usually so focused on the sound they make, but their stage presence is so incredibly important. I suppose that some musicians make it look natural, but I could tell that they are particular in how they stand, hold their instruments, and where they move.

Delta Spirit, the next band up, was a rock band and adhered to their own form of rhythm. They were a bit more show-y than the acoustic Johnnyswim and the lighting and motion reflected this. As the night went on, photographing the singers became more difficult as night fell and lighting became more difficult. However, I noticed that the most striking pictures I took were of the people in motion – frozen in time with guitar in hand or holding that high note on the mic. It became all the more magical.

Finally, Cage the Elephant went on. As fantastic as they are live, they were a nightmare to shoot. One could say that the better the stage presence of a band (engaging with the audience, moving around the stage, immersing themselves in the music) the more difficult they are to photograph. The lead singer was all over the place and ended up crowd surfing, jumping on the guitarist, and going through various stages of stripping. But wow what a show. The energy was like nothing I had ever seen. Having to capture these moments of insanity and excitement made me realize just how much work goes into performance. Playing music is one thing, but stealing the spotlight is a gift that so few people possess.

The craziness that ensued.
The craziness that ensued.

Moral of the story is next time you’re at a concert, don’t just pay attention to the sounds. You could do that on your own computer or iPod. Instead, make sure to also focus on their expressions, their movement along to their own music, and how they react to a swarm of people chanting their name. What you see may surprise you.

My favorite shot of the night
My favorite shot of the night

Five Albums from Five Different Eras

Saint Motel
Saint Motel

As you might be able to tell by now, I really like lists and I enjoy the number 5. So here’s to a bit of both. Lately I’ve been going through my Itunes library and come across some old favorites; the one’s I’ve been meaning to get into more but haven’t had the time or energy to. But here I am to revive that spirit and to enlighten you all about some albums you may not have heard of, but will be glad that you did.

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Five Recently Discovered Semi-Recent Artists

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I’ve come across a lot of new music through a few friends of mine. “New” of course is quite relative, since for the most part the songs I’ve discovered were released months or years ago. The genres vary greatly, artists have little in common, but all give off excellent vibes and are all tunes that I would highly recommend to others. Without further ado, here are the top five artists I’ve been enjoying the past couple weeks.

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