Kentucky kicks ass via Kentucky for Kentucky
My name is Erin Sheaand this is my blog.
I live in NYC and I write about stuff.
"The only credential the city asked was the boldness to dream. For those who did, it unlocked its gates and its treasures, not caring who they were or where they came from."
I was once asked the question:
“If you could see any band in history live—at any point in time—who would you see?”
Without delay, I answered: “Daft Punk.”
My friend responded, “And that is why I love you.”
This incident was funny because the night before I had tweeted something about how I would sell my soul to see Daft Punk live. I still feel this way. 2013 could be my year!
However, this is such an unfair question. How can I pick just one? As a very indecisive person, I’ve decided to compile a list of the top four shows that I wish I could have seen live.
I can’t even believe I narrowed this down to four.
Seriously, there are so many more bands and shows that I would love to see/wish I had been alive to see back in the day.
Note: There are so many bands that I would love to see again and again because their shows were just so magical, but I tried to keep this list to artists/bands that I’ve never seen.
Also, this scene took place in an old minivan while tailgating at a Phish concert. We convinced a friend’s younger brother to drive us to the concert in their family car while my friend and I sat in the back seat and drank champagne straight out of the bottle. Also, I had Taco Bell twice in 24 hours this day. Once before and once after the concert. All in all, it makes the list of the top 10 days of my life.
So last night I attended my first CMJ Music Marathon show instead of watching the Presidential debate (whatever, I already voted). It was this:
The venue: Santos Party House is in the trendy neighborhood of the lower east side of Manhattan, so I was already expecting a lot of hipsters and maybe some asian people who had wondered in from the nearby Chinatown. It is so “trendy” that there is no name or posters or any sort of sign that it is a functioning establishment. The windows are painted black and on a Tuesday night, when everything else in the neighborhood is closed by 10 p.m., I only knew it was the place to go because there was a small line outside.
It was a nicely set up small venue, two bars on either side—so you’re guaranteed to get a drink—two (maybe three) VIP looking area that were probably actual VIP areas when the place is a nightclub, and it wasn’t too crowded. But maybe because it was a Tuesday night.
However, the sound quality wasn’t great. Every set I saw had issues with the microphones, which had to be adjusted multiple times. The DJ sets all sounded fine, so I guess that’s all this venue really cares about.
The drinks: Typical Manhattan prices—meaning they were overpriced. $11 for a vodka Red Bull and $6 for a Bud Light. They automatically add 20% gratuity if you open a tab. And there are bathroom attendants. So be prepared to tip out of the ass for mediocre night club service.
The crowd: This was a fun show with good music for jumping around and dancing. A good amount of the crowd did this. A lot of the crowd didn’t. I think some of the crowd either came because their significant other/friend made them come (and the show was $5-10) or because it was the “cool” thing to do that day. One guy who was standing next to me was watching the score of the Yankee game the entire set of Savoir Adore. It was super annoying, especially when he loudly announced, “AHH THE YANKEES LOST!” All I have to say to that is: 1) no one cares right now, you’re seeing live music and 2) I hate the Yankees so get out.
Another large part of the crowd consisted of hipsters. Hipsters who were too cool to show any sign of enjoyment. Hipsters who were too cool to be bothered with clapping after sets, or telling the band they had a good set when they were walking through the crowd. Is someone forcing you to be here? Is that it?
The redeeming part of the crowd was REALLY into every set, which was awesome and how shows should be. A guy in the front row was waving his arms around at every song (what a good arm workout) and passing around a bottle of champagne. So some people were having a great time.
The music: I arrived way later than I thought I was going to, of course. I caught all of Ghost Beach, Savoir Adore, Alex Winston and half of RAC.
If you have never heard of Ghost Beach, I would definitely check them out. According to their Facebook page, their genre is “tropical, grit, pop” so imagine how those things would sound together and you pretty much got it. Their set was short, but fun and energetic, and I sort of just wanted to be friends with them—they’re based in NYC so maybe this will happen. The duo, made up of Josh Ocean and Eric “Doc” Mendelsohn, gave off an ’80s vibe with their synth heavy songs and their awesome shirts, one was an atrocious brown plaid button up—buttoned all the way up—and the other was a worn looking white-t with an American flag on it.
This is my favorite of theirs right now:
After having a unexpectedly fun set from Ghost Beach, I was somewhat disappointed in Savoir Adore’s set. It really wasn’t bad and I really do enjoy their music, I just wasn’t hooked into it like the last set. I didn’t feel as much energy on stage. Maybe it was the crowds fault since this is when other people started to tune out as well or leave.
Whatever. It didn’t ruin their music for me. I’m still a big fan of this song:
I was starting to get bummed out and I kept checking my phone for the time even though I didn’t have anywhere else to be, but then I was saved by the energy of Alex Winston. She is super adorable and knows how to put on a fucking show. She was joined on stage by her “sister wife” Sara (maybe Sarah?), five other band members and three tambourines that she willingly tossed out in to the crowd at various points in the show. As soon as she took the stage, she immediately announced that her mother was in the crowd and this was her first time seeing her perform. She later tweeted a photo of her and her mom, aka Big Ang. Alex was probably only on stage about half the time during her set, she moved all around the front of the venue, going from one side of the stage to the other, and jumping down into the pit with the crowd. She’s fairly short so during this time it was almost impossible to see her, but she still rocked it out.
This is a great remix of one of my favorite songs of hers:
Approximately 30 seconds after the seven-person band cleared the stage, RAC immediately went into some remixes and got the crowd—or what was left of the crowd at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning—into a dance party. I love DJs and electronic music, but RAC didn’t start off with any of their mixes that I was too familiar with or dying to hear. And after seeing someone sing their heart on stage, watching two guys nodding behind a laptop just doesn’t seem as interesting. So, I’m sorry RAC but I couldn’t get into it. However, I would totally go see you again and you better play this:
DJ Viceroy spun tracks between each set. It was alright, serving more as background noise except when he played Michael Jackson and everyone got excited.
Overall. It gets an “eh.” If you missed it, you’ll survive.
Chicago bucket list has been made. My goal is to complete it before I move out of Chicago at the end of August.
Here are some of the items on the list:
-do a tour at Goose Island/become a beer master
-try Goose Island Sofie - DONE!
-go to Weiner Cirlce/Hot Dougs (I love hot dogs)
-drink on the roof at the gym (my gym has an awesome cabana area that has an awesome view of the skyline) - Done, more than once.
-go to The Southern (not really necessary because this isn’t really a true Chicago thing)-Done, it was alright.
-go to Local Option-Done, their beer list is impressive.
-try chicken and waffles from Chicago’s Chicken and Waffles
-go to the MCA
-go to another museum or Shedd
-80s movie house tour in the suburbs (16 Candles, Home Alone, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
-go on an “adventure” in the park (inside joke)
Okay I know this isn’t the best list ever, but it’s all things that are fairly easy to do, don’t take a lot of money/time and can be done at anytime. Of course there are other things that I’ve always wanted to do in Chicago, one year here is just not enough time to discover all of the amazing things about this city.
Illegitimi non carborundum
Doc’s Motto, a sign at Kingston Mines Blues Club in Chicago
(A fake Latin phrase meaning: Don’t let the bastards grind you down)
So when I moved to Chicago, I remember listening a song over and over that was just so Chicago. It got me hyped to move here and be a part of this amazingly fun city. Now that I only have less than two months left here, I figured I would make a list of my favorite songs that make a note to the second city.
“Sweet Home Chicago” was originally written by Robert Johnson. Out of all the covers, this one has to be my favorite. And you should appreciate this no matter your political affiliation, he’s your President if you’re American. And this is pretty awesome for a President.
Chicago native Lupe Fiasco (aka Wasalu Muhammad Jaco) raps/sings about his hometown in this song, saying things like “I’m from the city in the midwest best city in the whole wide wide world” and “got the windy city on my back.” He also mentions his humble beginnings, he grew up in the Madison Terrace housing projects in Chicago, when he says ”from the M-A-D-I to the S to the O-N.” If this song doesn’t get you pumped about life in Chicago then I don’t know what will.
Okay I know this song mentions other cities and isn’t really about living in Chicago—just living the good life in general— but I LOVE how “Summertime Chi” is mentioned (and obviously Kanye knows summertime Chi since he grew up on the South Side). Anyway, in the official video Chicago definitely has the best setting. I don’t know, maybe I’m just biased.
I’m not gonna lie, I’m not completely sure what the lyrics of this song mean or how they really relate to the city of Chicago or anything really. But whatever, this song is great and this band is great—see them live, it’s worth it. And if you see them in Chicago, this song seems even better.
I already feel incredibly lame for posting this one but there’s a line in here that I absolutely love: “there’s a light on in Chicago and I know I should be home.” Oh and this was back when Fall Out Boy weren’t super mainstream and before Pete Wentz became and uber-douche and opened some lame bar on Michigan Avenue. Let’s just pretend everything after this album didn’t happen, okay?
I posted a song from Fall Out Boy, so I obviously had to post one from the best band on that label, my personal favorites and Chicagoans, The Academy Is….
I really miss this band.
No list would be complete without this song. I mean, the album itself was named “Illinoise” and the album cover has the Chicago skyline on it. It’s a perfectly beautiful anthem for the young and confused nomad.
Apparently this band from England is also a big fan of the second city… and Logan Square. They love their hipsters.
Common raps about his hometown. Kanye West is the producer to have an epic Chi-town team. Great visuals of the city from this video.
Kiss and ride on the CTA! Chicagoans singing about how much they miss their city. This already makes me sad. Wilco is such an awesome band, I have unfortunately never seen them live but they still play some of the smaller venues in Chicago that they used to play before they got big (usually these shows are also super expensive because everyone wants to go).
Our lovely lake that provides us with a beautiful skyline and awesome beach that we can use one month per year. Just kidding, sometimes it’s two months.
With lyrics like, “If you’re living in Chicago, it’s your home/ If you’re living in Chicago, you’re alone.” I feel like this song makes it seem like it is ridiculously sad to live here alone, seriously, it’s not that bad!
Normally I don’t think of Chicago when I think of Sinatra, but I’m glad he’s paying tribute to the Windy City.
I suffer from anxiety disorder and panic attacks. Before I got help, I didn’t think it was a real thing. This is an accumulation of thoughts I’ve had at various times in my life.
Wake up. Panic. Am I late? Did I sleep through my alarm? Check phone. 6:30 a.m. Okay, I have another hour to sleep. Go back to sleep. Seriously, go back to sleep. Lay in bed. Check phone again. 7:02 a.m. Only 28 more minutes. Helplessly lay in bed. Check phone again. Check email. See new emails. Worry about the day. Worry about tonight. Worry that he hasn’t texted me. Alarm goes off. 7:30 a.m.
Get up. Get dressed. Will people notice that this is the same outfit I wore last Friday? I mean, it’s been a week, is that long enough? Is this my signature Friday outfit? I need to buy new clothes. I have no money. Or time. Eat breakfast. Check email. Check texts. Why hasn’t he texted me? Feel a wave of panic.Walk out the door. Go to work.
Get to work. Over analyze the dynamic of the room. Over analyze the “good mornings” said. Do people like me? Am I weird? Am I not friendly enough? What if I have a panic attack right here? What time will I get to go home today? What am I doing tonight? Just breathe. Realize I’ve been picking at a hangnail for 20 minutes. My finger is bleeding. Wonder if anyone notices. Or cares. Check email. Reply to emails. Why do I have so much to do? Panic about emails. I’m okay… I’m okay…one, two, three… one, two, three… one, two, three.
Check social media. Why did she post that on her wall and not mine? Why am I not included in this? Do people not like me? G-chat friend about work problems. Do work. Worry about not having as much interaction with people as I think I should. Worry about plans for tonight. Worry about social interactions. Worry about what I should eat for lunch.
Lunch time. What should I eat today? I should have packed my lunch. Do people notice when I bring lame food? Should I be eating healthier? Do I need a diet coke after my morning coffee? Will that much caffeine give me a panic attack? Buy sandwich. Eat sandwich. Notice other people eating awkwardly. Eating in front of others is so awkward. Does anyone else notice this?
Decide to leave as early as possible. I need to get out of here. What am I going to do tonight? Respond to various text invite. Should I stay in and do work? Will I really do work if I stay in? No more Netflix.
Go home. Decide to go out. Am I making the right choice? What about all that work I have to due on Monday? If I stay in will people know and think I’m lame? Feel panic. Extreme panic. Feel things closing in on me. Chest is tightening. I need to sit down. Just breathe. Reach for meds. Breathe. Feel okay.
Burn off anxiety—and calories—at the gym. Respond to friends via text. Shower. Get ready. Panic about what I’m wearing.
Pregame. How much can I have to drink? I don’t want to be hungover. Marijuana is passed. I can’t smoke in front of other people. What if I get a weird high and get really quiet? What if I get a weird high and have a panic attack? Take one puff. Pass weed. Watch everyone else get blazed. I feel like I’m stuck in a slow motion world. Text other friends not at the pregame. Get a few drunk responses. Why am I not drunk yet? Are my other friends hanging out without me? Do they miss me? Why has he not responded today? Does he not love me anymore?
Go out. Judge level of soberness. Too sober for this situation. Do I drink more? Do I really want to drink more? Sometimes I wish I didn’t drink. Can I stop? Do I have a problem? Watch someone hit on friend. Am I not as attractive as I used to be? What is wrong with me? Am I too awkward? Am I too neurotic? Do my friends like me? I need to have sex. I wish he was here.
Have more alcohol. Get drunk. Talk with friends. Talk with strangers. Refuse shots. Get made fun of for refusing shots. Am I lame? Why can’t I drink like I used to? I think I may throw up if I drink that. I need to stop drinking. Panic about not being cool. Panic about people not liking me. Realize I haven’t talked to my parents in three days.
Closing time. Stumble home. Part from group. Call friend. No answer. Is she out too? Is she with a guy? Is she tired of my phone calls? Does she like me? Does she think I’m crazy? Panic about walking alone. This is a safe neighborhood, isn’t it?
Get home. Realize I’m too drunk to function. Or go to bed. Check email. No, get off email. Check social media. Feel unfulfilled. What am I doing with my life? Am I ever going to get married? Why is everyone else getting married? Do my friends like me? Will I ever have a job I enjoy? Will I make enough money to do what I want to do? Am I doing what I want to do? Check text messages. Feel sad about losing connections with old friends. Feel sad about not seeing him. Panic. Realize I’m too drunk to fully examine feelings.
Lay in bed. What am I doing with my life? How much work do I have to do tomorrow? Should I set an alarm? Set alarm. Lay back down. Check alarm to make sure it’s on. Twice. Lay in bed. Stare at ceiling. Overflow of thoughts. Watch TV. Feel tired. Thoughts go away. Finally, peace is here. Fall asleep.
Okay, I’ve always been skeptical about Kurt Cobain’s suicide. After watching “Kurt & Courtney,” I’m convinced that his death wasn’t suicide, and I’m completely terrified of Courtney Love.
I watched the movie because it kept coming up in my Netflix (I’m not a huge Hole or Nirvana fan, but I enjoy them from time to time) and I was interested in the controversy.
I didn’t think that this movie would actually make me scared, but it did.
Courtney is a complete bitch throughout the entire thing. Everyone seems to hate her, especially her father. And SPOILER ALERT—is that even really necessary at this point? — There is a man named El Duce who supposedly was offered $50,000 by Courtney to kill Kurt. El Duce even took a lie detector test, which further proved the offer’s validity.
Alright, I admit that since I was not physically there when this took place, I’m not sure if its 100 percent true. I found those details on IMDB. Look at the FAQ: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0138563. But I trust the Internet, okay?
The part that sent chills up my spine was when El Duce was found dead not long after he did an interview for this documentary, where he said Courtney paid him to kill Kurt. Coincidence? I think not.
She apparently tried to get this documentary banned too.
It is scary that there is a psychopath running around who’s being photographed by paparazzi and getting away with this stuff.
If you want to be scared, watch this movie. If you like conspiracy theories, watch this movie. If you like murder mysteries, watch this movie. Actually, just watch this movie, it’s quality entertainment.
This is J. Silva. She won “Best New Entertainer” at the Chicago Music Awards in January. More recently she’s been working on a larger tour schedule, making music videos and recording a mix tape. Her producer, Naki the Beatman, is a voting member of the Recording Academy and a former host on VH1. I was able to hang out at their studio with them while they were working on new projects, such as getting a new music video out, preparing for J’s upcoming show in Miami and recording her new mix tape. These are a few of the photos I took.
She is seriously talented. One day she hopes to bust out the robot dance on stage. (Yes, for real.)
Check out her site at www.jsilvamusic.com/
Devon currently works at the News Editor for SPIN’s online content. I talked to her on the phone one evening about what it’s like to work in the world of music journalism.
How long have you been working at SPIN?
I started working here in the end of January, so I’ve only been here for a couple of months.
How did you get to the position your hold now?
I actually got the job through my former editor. I worked at Billboard a year before that, and my editor there is a friend with the editor here, who was looking for a news editor. So she recommended me. And it came through with my former experience.
Can you describe what your job is like on a daily basis?
As a news editor, it’s pretty much the same thing everyday give or take a little bit. I start working really early from home, I start working at 7:30 in the morning because you know, news comes up really fast. So for the first two hours or so, usually from bed, which is nice, and then I come into the office and I’m basically on an RSS feed all day. So a Google reader type thing where I’m looking at blogs, other publications, news wires, just seeing what’s actually out there and I’m on email so I’m getting press releases all day. So what I do aggregate the headlines and the stories that we want to do, so I sent them along to the editor-in-chief, who assigns them out to me and our other freelancer. We’re more of a features and interviews site, we don’t really do announcements of albums and tours. So basically I’m cranking out news stories all day, anywhere from 200 words to 550 words (sometimes longer), and talking to our photo editor. So I’m basically manning our blog. We have our news blog and news wire and then SPIN Mix.
It just depends on what happens in a day. It can be super busy or sometimes it can be not busy at all.
SPIN revamped their publication, and cut back on the number of issues, did this cause more of a push for online content? And do you see that happening more in the future?
I can’t speak for our entire news plan, but I think we are very dedicated to keeping it print. The new SPIN is a lot nicer, more featuring, not as much fluff. And we have our iPad issue, which isn’t really online, but it comes out every month. The website also was revamped in February, and there was a lot of personnel changes in the last couple of months. The website is much bigger than it has been, we have all these blogs: like our tech blog, film blog, and a style blog—which is something that we’ve never done before. I think the magazine has grown in the last couple of months with the revamp, but I think that the people at SPIN know that people like print.
I think that there is a lot of value in print.
I think if you’re writing for print you are unquestionably writing for online. I think the print thing is more of a vanity project. There is a lot more reporting there that we don’t get to do for online pieces because they come out a lot faster. There’s a piece in our recent issue about black metal scene in Cuba, and it was fucking incredible, and something that he could have never done if it was online because of the attention spans of people online. There is still a place for that story. While you need to be well versed in HTML and CSS, and have a grip on the internet, that is the parable now, but that doesn’t mean that you will never write for print, and if you do it’s going to be a treat.
What was your first job out of college?
It was actually at Billboard. I graduated in fall of 2010, a semester early. And they started a site called Billboard Pro, a DIY oriented subscription site. And I was covering the DIY scene and the business of doing it yourself as a musician. And sometime last summer they kind of shuttered it and they cut the whole staff, and I was the one of the only ones left, my editor left to take a job at Rolling Stone. So I stayed and I got to cover indie music for Billboard and some of the industry in general, it was very different than what I’m doing now. And I did that for a year and now I’m here.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in the music journalism scene today?
This is the question that I hate answering. It came out of the backdoor. It was something that I didn’t have my heart set on it. And I did college radio, and I was performing in an Acapella group in college and I didn’t expect it to happen. But I guess I would say, if there is any opportunity then fucking go for it because you never know what is going to happen. If I were to go back to myself as a freshman in college and say that I was going to be the news editor for SPIN.com, I would have laughed myself into next week.
I think people misunderstand what networking is all about. I got my first job because I was on a listserv for female music writers. It became like a conversation and I put myself out there and got to know writers. I don’t recommend pitching the hell out of one editor, but I think it’s who you know, and that’s scummy to say, but I think it’s helpful when you know someone who has job openings. Picking someone out of the blue is rare. I’m lucky to have what I have. You have to network without seeming like your networking. You have to be consistent and really intuitive. A genuine passion really helps.
Do you think that having a social media presence and blogging can help you get noticed?
I think that’s probably one of the reasons that I have my job. I have internship experience but I’ve never done formal music journalism. I really think my personal blog had a lot to do with it, and my voice in terms of what I had to say about music, and my twitter is on overload. I think that personal brand is really important, and on twitter talking to people about music is what I do all day everyday. And hopefully not to an obnoxious degree, but definitely becoming a funny or engaging person on twitter, blogs, tumblr. I come across people everyday that I’ve seen on the internet. I think that it’s absolutely crucial, especially if you want to work online.
Since being in j-school, I’ve heard multiple times that being a good journalist means giving up your life for your work. How do you deal with a work-life balance?
I am of the mindset and always have been that if you don’t love what you’re doing and you couldn’t do it all day, then why are you doing it? I definitely have a social life, but I’m working at a music magazine there is always something to do—go to shows, get drinks with people—all my friends work in the media. My work in my social life are kind of one in the same, I know other people that it’s not the same for.
I think there is a pressure to be working all the time, especially in news. Like if someone dies, when Whitney Houston died I had to stop what I was doing and get on the computer. It just depends on the publication you are working for, and liking the people that you work with kind of helps too.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve reported on or worked on since you’ve been at SPIN?
I can’t really pick a favorite. One of my first weeks on the job, Andre 3000 gave an interview to Bon Appetit and they have a section where they have a celebrity write down a recipe. He loves kale, so that’s the recipe that he wrote down. So I went out and bought all of the ingredients, and I made it at home and brought it in to all of the editors and we made Andre 3000 jokes about it. Because I do write so much everyday, it’s nice to be creative about things.