Neighborhood Jams: New Found Glory

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you are all gearing up for Thanksgiving tomorrow and a nice lil’ break from exams, papers, and everything school related. This week’s neighborhood jams is really special – last Sunday Yellowcard and New Found Glory ended their 6-week tour HERE in San Diego to a sold out crowd at the House of Blues downtown… and let me tell you, it was more like a party than a concert.

Veteran pop-punk rockers Yellowcard and New Found Glory were both co-headliners for the tour and Tigers Jaw opened up for them. Tigers Jaw is an indie-rock band from Scranton, PA consisting of Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins.  Lead singer and guitarist Walsh resembled the same vocal and lyrical earnesty that the headliners are known for. Yellowcard closed out the night’s show after playing well over an hour. The band featured many songs from their 2003 album Ocean Avenue, and the crowd sang each lyric with so much passion. Lead singer Ryan Key and violinist Sean Mackin performed some acoustic, low-key versions of songs with just a keyboard and violin – it was truly beautiful. Now before Yellowcard took the stage, New Found Glory got the crowd pumped up.

While the stage got ready for New Found Glory I couldn’t help but notice the sold out crowd making their way closer and closer to the stage – everyone wanted to be as close as possible. The band opened with Resurrection, Understatement, and Hit or Miss. It was great to see them perform songs from older albums, like their 2002 album Sticks and Stones and also their newest album Resurrection: Ascension which was released October 9th of this year. The crowd went wild for every song; crowd surfers were lifted and sent soaring towards the stage; there was never a dull moment. Lead singer Jordan Pundik constantly kept the crowd entertained, jumping and running from one side of the stage to the other. Pundik seemed to always have his hands reaching out to the crowd. A great characteristics that I noticed about New Found Glory was their dedication and love towards the fans – you could really tell that they wanted to please the crowd with their tunes.

One of my favorite songs, which is also their single from their latest album Resurrection: Ascension, has a real special guest – Hayley Williams from Paramore. Together they have the hit song Vicious Love, and when New Found Glory’s lead guitarist Chad Gilbert and drummer Cyrus Bolooki broke out Vicious Love‘s melody the crowd lost it. There was so much energy on the stage and in the audience – you couldn’t help but feel like a true rock ‘n roller. When New Found Glory ended their set with one of their most famous songs My Friends Over You there was not a still body in the room. Everyone was jumping up, singing loudly, and then basking in confetti shooting off from the stage. This concert was one of the best concerts of my life – I don’t know if it was because it was their last show of the tour, or if because my high school self was full-fledged that night. But I didn’t want their set to end. Thank you, New Found Glory for sharing your rock ‘n roll talents, and if you guys are ever in need of a new confetti shooter person – let me know.

Neighborhood Jams: San Diego Music Thing

Happy Wednesday, readers! This week’s neighborhood jams is a real special edition. I will not be showcasing a particular band but instead the San Diego Music Thing! This is the 8th annual SDMT festival, and it took place last week over a span of three days at several different local venues showcasing over 80 bands – all for a good cause! The San Diego Music Thing is produced by the San Diego Music Foundation and proceeds will benefit the foundation’s music programs in 75 schools around San Diego County.

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Last Thursday, November 12th, kicked off the festivities at local venues such as: The Casbah downtown, The Hideout in El Cajon, The Irenic, The Merrow and The Observatory both in North Park. The next two days these venues celebrated SDMT along with Soda Bar, Bar Pink, Ray at Night, and Blue Moon Brewing Company. The best thing about having so many different venues participating in the same venue is the eclectic atmosphere from all around.  One night the Merrow showcased just hip-hop artists such as Opoetik, DJ E3, and local Ocean Beach guys The Concrete Project. Also, Paper Days performed at the Merrow on Sunday – you can read my review on them from a few weeks ago here.

Some of my favorite bands that performed over the 3-day festival were: The Joy Formidable, L7, In the Valley Below, Yo La Tengo, and Milo Greene. Now I wish I could highlight each of the 80 bands that participated at SDMT, but that blog would be way too long and probably end up crashing on me (because of too much great rock ‘n roll, obviously.) Along with the 80 bands there were also three featured guest speakers, and this years lineup did not disappoint.  The speakers included: Greg Graffin of Bad Religion, Martin Atkins from TOUR:SMART, and Matt Vasquez from Delta Spirit. Together these guys were a power trio discussing how to make it in the rock ‘n roll business, and the audience was filled to maximum capacity with local San Diegans and each of the 80 featured bands.

Even though the San Diego Music Thing has come to a close this year you don’t have to wait until next year to make a difference. You can donate to the San Diego Music Foundation here!

Photo Credit: SDMT

Neighborhood Jams: Motion City Soundtrack

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you took those sweaters, Uggs, and earmuffs out of storage because it officially feels like fall these days. On this week’s neighborhood jams I am featuring a band that recently performed in San Diego on their tour last Saturday. Motion City Soundtrack stopped by along with The Wonder Years, You Blew It!, and State Champs. They played at Soma in Point Loma – a venue that is famous for their intimate atmosphere yet always filled with punk rock youths.

Motion City Soundtrack consists of five members each bringing so much to the table. MCS was originally founded by Joshua Cain (guitar) and Justin Pierre (vocals and guitar) in 1997 in Minnesota.  Soon after Jesse Johnson (keyboardist and moog synthesist), and Matthew Taylor (backing vocals and bass) joined along with former drummer Tony Thaxton. In 2013 Thaxton left the band and Claudio Rivera joined the group.  Together the band has released six studio albums including their latest Panic Stations released in June, 2015. Now as a long-time, die-hard, fan I must say that I love this latest album. Pierre is known for sharing all of his feelings in his raw lyrics that soon become their hits – and this album does not disappoint. One of my favorite songs from Panic Stations is Lose Control. At the concert this song really got the people jumping and going, even surrounded by heartfelt melodies the audience was singing along every word. Check out the music video below:

Now being the big fan that I am (I have seen these guys every year at least once or twice a year for the past ten years…) I want to go on a tangent of one of my favorite MCS songs from the album Commit This To Memory, and it is called L.G. FUAD. If you know what that stands for then consider this a virtual high-five from me to you. Yeah! I love this song, and every time MCS plays a concert they play this song. I feel like it is a real go getter for the guys, and the audience always replies back beautifully by singing along perfectly and with complementary clapping. Hearing this song live is also a treat because Johnson will go crazy on his keyboards, dancing around, and cheering on the audience. I’ve even seen him do a handstand or two ON TOP of the keyboard. It’s pretty crazy stuff. Regarding Johnson, he was not at Saturday’s concert because his wife was in labor with their first child – how exciting! I hope everyone is happy and healthy! It amazes me that these five guys are getting married, having kids, yet still rocking out as hard as they were their first tour. You can really see the dedication each member has for MCS, and it is so admiring. With everything on their individual plates they are not just limiting themselves to music. A pretty cool thing they did with the release of their latest album was partner up with a local coffee shop called Five Watt Coffee. Here Pierre, Johnson, and Taylor tasted and comprised their own coffee blend to make Panic Stations: The Coffee. Very cool.

I wish Motion City Soundtrack much luck on the remainder of their tour. You can check out where they are going next here. Be sure to give their Facebook a like or two. And I strongly urge you to light a candle and listen to their acoustic versions of their own songs – it’s truly beautiful.

Neighborhood Jams: Paper Days

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you are all having a good week – I know I am and I think it’s mainly because I have been jamming out to this week’s neighborhood jams which I am featuring Paper Days! This California, dreamy-style, poppy rock band is from Carlsbad, and their tunes are hypnotic and can dance around in your head all day.

Paper Days consists of Niko Sitars, Jordan Graham, Nate Blake, and Xander Sitars. These guys know how to rock out by singing sweet melodies along with their happy-go-lucky guitar riffs complementing their style so well. I would describe them as a combination of Young the Giant and Best Coast because of their love of the California lifestyle. Now the moment I fell in love with their happy sounds was when I watched their official music video for the song Kind Guidance. The guitar melody in the beginning is like an invitation to a cheerful story, and the melody is infectious throughout the entire song – I couldn’t help but dance around! And let’s talk about Niko Sitars’ voice and ranging pitches – it’s mesmerizing to say the least. Lastly, about their Kind Guidance official music video, the locations are shot all around San Diego like the busy streets of the Gaslamp District. It’s great to see local bands promoting their own city! They have played at venues all over their hometown such as Soma, San Diego Music Thing, Carlsbad Music Festival, and at the legendary Ché Café Collective.

Creature and Golden are also in the running as my new favorite song. These two songs feel a little lower and slower, but the lyrics really bring it together – and the drums are a constant reminder that dancing is encouraged. On their Soundcloud you can listen to their EP titled Playground Dreams EP.

I could only imagine their concerts are full of love and happy respect for everyone around. The moment I heard those infectious heavy rhythms and sweet lyrics, I knew I was in. You guys should give them a like on their Facebook and let’s get them to a 1,000 likes – they’re so close! And check out their songs on Soundcloud below. Good luck, Paper Days, and I can’t wait to see you live!

Photo Credit: Katie Johnson