Where We Are Tour Concert Experience and Review

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One Direction has wrapped up their third tour, the  Where We Are Tour. The lengthy tour started in April 2014, in Colombia, and ended in early October, in Miami, FL. Unlike the prior tours, all the venues for this one were stadiums. Allowing there to be a lot more fans, and a lot more noise. Believe me, my ears will never be the same.

I attended the Aug. 4 concert at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. I was awaiting the concert for many months, so I was a mixture of happy, excited, and nervous on the day of. The concert not only included One Direction, but my other favorite band, 5 Seconds of Summer. They were the opening act, which was much anticipated (They’re having their own tour this summer, which I will be attending, too).

We left at 5 p.m. for the 8 p.m. concert to make sure we got there in time. There was traffic getting to and into the stadium, which was a given. While waiting in our car we talked to a police officer who told us that Ashton Irwin from 5 Seconds of Summer had walked by him a little earlier. Then we approached the opening to the stadium, and a group of hundreds of girls started screaming and running towards the SUV next to us. The truck made a quick turn into the side of MetLife, while security kept girls from jumping onto it. It seemed we were next to a member of One Direction the whole time, and didn’t even know it.

As if that wasn’t enough excitement, we went into the stadium and found our seats. We were in the nosebleeds, but it wasn’t that bad. You were able to see the big stage clearly. We waited in the hot sun for a while, and then they showed a 5sos promo. The crowd went crazy. Then, “Highway to Hell” came on, indicating it was time. The band was great, and it showed as thousands of fans sang along to their songs. They were the best opening act (which they don’t deserve to be called anymore) that I’ve ever saw.

After that, there was a pretty long wait for the big show. But it was cool to see the darkness of the night come upon us as the stadium filled. Helicopters flew ahead getting shots of the crowd. They played music and everyone sang together and danced. At one point, everyone did the Macarena.

Finally, the big show started. Parts of the band’s songs started playing, and then a video of them appeared on the jumbotron as music blared. The video showed them all over the world doing different activities. Then, they finally appeared.

Throughout the show they sang new songs, and some of their old songs. It was a great atmosphere and as a One Direction fan, it really was great to see how they, and their music, have developed over the years.

Track List:

Midnight Memories

Little Black Dress

Kiss You

Why Don’t We Go There?

Rock Me

Don’t Forget Where You Belong

Live While We’re Young

C’mon C’mon

Right Now

Through the Dark

Happily

Little Things

Moments

Strong

Better Than Words

Alive

One Thing

Diana

What Makes You Beautiful

You and I

Story of My Life

Little White Lies

Best Song Ever

It was a great experience, and after that, I definitely want to go to another. One Direction’s new album, FOUR, comes out in November. And hopefully that means a new tour. I, for one, will absolutely be going.

Underground Spotlight: CoolBoi Av by Elijah Powell

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These days, EP rap projects are as weak as the small amount of songs they consist of. What an EP is supposed to be is a short but sweet collection of good music that makes you excited for the artist’s upcoming full album. It’s like an appetizer for a meal, but the problem is that most rappers only provide a light snack. Fortunately, the same cannot be said about CoolBoi Av’s latest release: the Now Until Forever EP.

 

The 24-year-old Jersey City native created this EP with the intentions of putting forth his best work that would be timeless for telling his story. Truly a product of New Jersey, CoolBoi Av’s project emcompasses his many experiences in the Garden State that influenced his attitude towards life. Reaching success and omitting all excuses for not doing so is a mentality I could definitely relate to, myself being raised in Jersey, the state many outsiders write off as an easy place to grow up in. Av said, “Jersey made me tougher and molded me into the person and artist I am now.” It’s just like what he raps on the EP’s final song 90’s Dream: “I see there’s no better time/ than the present to present what my mind has molded/ keep in mind this was my king dream imagine my plan in motion when my eyes are open.”

 

The song that stands out the most on the EP is Mighty Dolla. The instrumental is a modern take on an old piano sample used by many hip hop producers during the nineteen-nineties, and the lyrics relay a dark but truthful message concerning the greed money can harbor in people, as well as money’s effect on society. This was refreshing to hear in this era where most rappers promote the worship money.

 

“The message I’m trying to give to my listeners is just always be yourself. I was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. We’re a part of the top five most dangerous cities in the state, so it could be easy for me to talk about clapping guns, selling drugs or whatever but that’s not who I am. I came from that environment and that’s not the route I choose to go. Even though if I did the city might love it. I feel the people that do support my music do so because they know this is really who I am,” says Av of his project’s directive. Nothing short of exceptional.

All in all, this was an EP superior to most and I applaud CoolBoi Av for taking an unorthodox  approach. I give the EP an 7.9 out of 10.

 

You can stream Now Until Forever here:

 

https://soundcloud.com/coolboi_av/sets/now-until-forever-epphoto

Underground Spotlight: Venomous 2000 The Ultra Emcee by Elijah Powell

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Underground Spotlight: Venomous 2000 The Ultra Emcee

 

Let me just start by saying that his new album is a classic, and not just because I’m featured on it. To be honest, at the time of recording my verse for Venomous 2000’s seventh track off of this album, I was not aware of the fact that I was going to be contributing to a collection of art of such a high caliber.

 

A Moment to Reflect 3 is a twenty six track album consisting of the music of Venomous 2000, The Ultra Emcee, and many other emcees from all over the world, including myself, recorded together over the span of three years. This is truly a worldly album, produced by different producers from many places including, but not limited to, New Jersey, London, France and Germany. All of the songs were mixed in Serbia by Trillian. This is just another testament to the reach Venomous’ music has, aside from the fact that the music itself is relatable to all walks of life.

An acapella quote sets the thought provoking mood of the album: “Take time to reflect. Take time…to reflect, and I’ve had to learn that because just taking time to reflect has taught me how to appreciate the hard work that I’ve already put in, to where I’m trying to be in my life, to where I’m already headed…”

 

I felt like my mind was forcibly opened to accept the art that was about to enter, and accept I did. While the album maintains the hard knocking sound that makes true hip hop music distinct from other genres (the loud kicks and snares that keep one’s head nodding, the cuts and vinyl scratches, done by DJ Priority, the down to earth soulful samples, etc.), the album still does take an experimental approach. This is apparent on songs like “Style In Here” (Produced by Repeat Pattern), where you can hear the sample in the background drifting in and out of of the auditory realm of the music, rolling in when Venomous and Mr. Fickle drop their punchlines, as well as “Certified Raw” (Produced by Phalo Pantoja) where the beat sounds like random piano keys and synths rummaged together.

 

As the songs continue to blast, one can understand the aggression from which this style of production stems from. While “Certified Raw” was my least favorite cut off the album, I appreciate Venomous for taking a leap with unorthodox production, especially now when most rap beats lack originality.

 

While each song’s amassed sounds pour into my ears I felt like the beats told the story with Venomous, aiding him in telling each story each track was intended to express. These stories spanned from informal (“You Don’t Know” produced by Handbook), to inspirational (“You” produced by Boogie Brown), and ominous and intriguing (“The 4th Kind” produced by MecStreem).

 

“The 4th Kind” is definitely a favorite, on which Venomous raps about being abducted by aliens looking for humans who are mentally strong, describing symptoms of markings on his body that can only mean aliens were observing him, visually dissecting him without Venomous being conscious of it. I won’t reveal the end of the story but I’ve never heard a story like it put into song form. This type of daring creativity defines this album as a classic. For real hip hop heads, I’m sure it takes us all back to a time when all of this originality was standard within hip hop, but for such a collection to be released at least that standard has the chance to resurface, forcing all mediocre rappers who listen to it to reevaluate their mastery on the art of emceeing.

 

The album’s recurring theme is one of positivity, promoting unity and elevation amongst humanity through informal and emotionally enriching lyricism. The album’s many features assisted Venomous in getting these points across, including myself when I rapped “The world got many problems, and I ain’t no superman/ But you ain’t gotta be Einstein just to understand/ That united is the only way our people stand a chance/ So I take a stand, making me the biggest threat to their plan” on “Wake Up” (Produced by Pejota).

 

On the tenth track, “You”, Thaione Davis sheds light on the misconceptions of black history when rapping, “It takes a nation just hold us back/Thats why they reshape facts, and write us out of the tales/ Like we never contributed or excelled before we pickin’ in fields”, and on the last song, “Rock After Them” (Produced by DJ Irs), Rhymageddon raps for the sheer sport of emceeing with lines like “Grow some cashews. / I cause a bloody snafu/ Couple jabs to land you and grant you with stab wounds in ya dome like shampoo/ For them damn Andrews and Benjamins-/ Don’t send em’ in!/” That’s just how I like my lyricism: Vivid and brilliant.

 

I asked Venomous about how he came to make such connections and his answer was, “I had the privilege to work with some amazing folks in France and Belgium during my first tour in 2012. That entire experience kind of opened me up to dealing with people from outside of the states on a much more consistent basis.  I sought to do work with everyone I like, anywhere they resided…I had a vision to work with certain emcees over certain beats and I sort of hand picked those people I thought would sound nice over certain production.  I was blessed to be surrounded by so many talented individuals.”

 

This album is a must for those who desire to enter or re-enter the world of underground hip hop in its truest form.
In my interview with him I asked him what message he ultimately wanted this album as a whole to tell the world. He answered by saying “The message is quite simple, I have a voice, thoughts, and something to contribute to the culture of Hip Hop.  I want this album to be another timeless project that people will appreciate more and more after listening to the album several times.  I want this album to tell people that I truly do live this musical experience and A Moment To Reflect 3 is a testament to that truth!”

 

From listening to all twenty-six tracks, I feel he was successful in this goal. Even though this album is the end to a trilogy, one does not necessarily need to listen to the two previous albums to fully understand this one. However, after listening to the album I am eager to check out Venomous’ past projects and I am excited for whatever the Ultra Emcee has in store. I am attracted to his passion as an artist, which he told me stems from “The Creator, The Creators, The Ancestors, my immediate family, and the Voice that is deep within me that says I can not stop doing this because there’s a message that needs to be heard!  I don’t claim anything, I’m just a vessel doing the work of forces that are much greater than me!”

 

I give this album a 9.3 out of 10, and I definitely recommend this album to anyone interested in real Hip Hop music, but don’t just take my word for it.

 

Go stream it here: https://soundcloud.com/venomous2000emcee/sets/a-moment-to-reflect-3-by-venomous2000

or purchase it here:

http://venomous2000.bandcamp.com/album/a-moment-to-reflect-3

Dear Mom…Love Nick

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Dear Mom,

I am so incredibly fortunate and thankful to have been brought into this world by such a wonderful mother like yourself. You are one of the strongest and one of the smartest people that I know. I admire how hardworking you are; no matter what obstacles come your way, you always make an effort to keep moving forward. You taught me to never give up and you gave me the strength and wisdom that I have today. No matter what, you always make it an appoint to put your children first and I can not thank you enough for that. I appreciate all of the things you have done for our family and all of the things you continue to do on a daily basis. Even if i don’t get a chance to say thank you, I truly am grateful and appreciative of everything that you do. The list goes on and on. I want you to know that you deserve nothing but the best, and that you deserve to be happy and healthy. I truly hope you enjoy this Mother’s Day because you deserve it. Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom that I could ever ask for. I love you with all my heart!

 

Love,

Nicholas

Dear Mom:

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Dear Mommy,

When I heard that the Lance staff would be writing Mother’s Day blogs this week, I was pretty nervous. For one thing, I’ve never been good at writing anything sentimental or personal. If you haven’t noticed, I write the same thing on every card I give you for every single holiday. I’m sure you’re tired of my annual “Happy Mother’s Day! I love you!” card. Well, I’m pretty sick of it too, so I’m going to try my best to make this post a little better.

Some mothers would probably argue that your ways of parenting weren’t always conventional, but I’m so happy that you raised me the way you did. For example, I know a lot of people criticized you for never sending me to preschool, but because I spent so much time at home with you, I now have memories that a lot of other kids my age will never have. And when your friends told you that allowing me to listen to Britney Spears when I was 2 years old was a bad idea, you never listened. Instead, by allowing me to listen to that controversial pop star, you unknowingly began my love of music, something that I don’t know what I would do without today. (I’m sure Daddy would say it was him playing Ozzy Osbourne that led me to like heavy rock music, but I’ll let you have this one.)

I know that I don’t say it enough, but I truly appreciate everything you do for our family. I don’t know how you deal with everything that’s been going on lately, but somehow you do. How you deal with two teenage daughters, a husband, four crazy cats, work, etc, is beyond me. I could never remember to do half the things you do on a daily basis. I can’t even put my clean clothes away without you reminding me fifty times. 

That’s not even to mention all of the things you do for Alyssa and I that most parents wouldn’t even consider doing for their children. You’ve gotten stuck in five hour blizzards, various thunderstorms, 100+ degree heat waves, and more just to take us to the concerts we love to go to. While I’m on the subject, thanks for sitting through all of those heavy “screamo” concerts and multiple Warped Tours where I’m sure you’d rather be anywhere else. I know most kids would cringe at the thought of their mom going to concerts with them, but I’m always happy to have you there.

Anyways, I could probably fill a book with all of the things you’ve done for our family and how much we all appreciate it, but I’ll keep it short. A simple blog post or a Mother’s Day card will never be enough to say thank you for everything you continuously do for our family. Our family may be small and have our issues, but you keep us together. I love you so much, and I’m so happy to be your daughter. Happy Mother’s Day!! (PS: I hope this blog is equivalent to Alyssa’s extravagant card that I’m sure she’s going to give you, and makes up for my lack of one…) 

Love, Amanda

Dear Mom..

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Dear Mom,

It’s hard to express in words exactly how grateful for everything you’ve done for me, but I’ll try my best. You’re the reason I’m here today and it may be cheesy but you’ve made me who I am today. You’re the most caring person I know because not only do you care of me and Shannon, you take care of my friends too and treat them as they were part of our family. You’re the strongest woman I’ll ever know, and I’ll never understand how you can put up with me and Shannon. You’ve been through so much between the two of us the drama of a young teenage girl’s life in middle school or having to worry every time I go out to drive the car. You’ve done so much for all of us in the family that you deserve nothing but the best on this day for mothers. I’m sorry I’m working on Mother’s Day, but I just want you to know that I love you with all my heart and you’re the best mother anyone could have, and I’m so lucky it’s me. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done and everything you will do for me. I can’t think of anything else to say to express my gratitude besides saying “thank you” over and over again. I wish this letter could be longer but I just don’t think words can express how thankful I am to have such a strong, caring, loving mother in my life, so I’ll end this with the simply powerful words, I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day. 

Love,
Taylor

Dear Mom

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Dear Mom,

This blog to commemorate our mothers has to be one of the most challenging pieces I’ve written. To acknowledge everything you’ve done for me and our family is impossible because there is no way that I can remember all of the sacrifices you’ve made, all the annoyances (from me mostly) that you so calmly deal with.

Back when you were signing me up for T-ball, soccer, and whatever else I wanted to play, I didn’t realize that you were adding more to your endless to-do list. I know these sports I did as a kid may not seem like a big deal, but it just meant that you had to buy me all my equipment, drive me to all my practices, to all my games, which you sat and watched me, no matter what more important matters were going on. There was no question that you would be at my games, but it meant the world to me. In my early soccer days I would want to be the star of the game just because I knew you were watching. As much as I enjoyed hearing Dad yelling, or talking strategy with me if there was a pause in a game, all it took was for a simple smile or wave from you that let me know you were cheering me on. These are the little things that kept me going as a kid, the little things that relaxed me on the field. As I got older, as the games got more competitive, I knew that I could still count on you to be there. My mentality changed, I wanted to play as best I could so you could proudly say “That’s my son”.

Ever since those days, that has been what I lived for. I want to make you proud to say that you’re my mother. No matter what I did, No matter what I will do, will be to make you proud. It doesn’t matter how difficult, because that is the least I can do for the last 18 years of your sacrifice, 18 years of love, and 18 years of you making me the person I am today. I know it may have been tough, being your third child, but if I learned anything from my life on this Earth is that you are strong. You are the only woman I know who can be as tough as nails but still have a sweet, loving side to her.

I just hope I can become a man, who in your eyes, is an honorable and caring man. I attribute any success in my life to you, and will continue to do that for the rest of my life.

I love you Mom,

Anthony