Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Worth A Thousand Words

I've come to learn over the past few years that words aren't the only way to tell a story. Sometimes a simple photograph can express more than words ever could. And in this post, I'll be giving you a glance into the "scene," as well as the last four years of my life, through my own personal collection of photos. Some were attempts at being artsy, and some were just plain mistakes. Nevertheless, they're the favorites of my collection. Enjoy...

Webster Theatre Marquee - Hartford, CT
Summer '07

Bayside's setlist - November '08
Showcase Live - Foxborough, MA

Anthony Raneri of Bayside - November '08
Showcase Live - Foxborough, MA

Anthony Raneri & Chris Guglielmo of Bayside - November '08
Showcase Live - Foxborough, MA

Side-stage at blink-182 - Hartford, CT
August '09

Tom DeLonge of blink-182 - Hartford, CT
August '09

Mark Hoppus & Tom DeLonge of blink-182 - Hartford, CT
August '09

Mark Hoppus of blink-182 - Hartford, CT
August '09

Joseph Hamilton of So They Say - August '07
Vans Warped Tour - Mansfield, MA

Joseph Hamilton of So They Say - August '07
Vans Warped Tour - Mansfield, MA

Marko DeSantis of Sugarcult - October '07
Framingham Civic League - Framingham, MA

Marko DeSantis' pedalboard - October '07
Framingham Civic League - Framingham, MA

Christian McAlhaney of Anberlin - February '07
Axis - Boston, MA

Christian McAlhaney of Anberlin - February '07
Axis - Boston, MA

Stephen Christian of Anberlin - February '07
Axis - Boston, MA

Thank you to anyone who was there by my side at any one of these shows, or the countless others that I've seen in the past few years. They were the best days of my life.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Taking Back Sunday - Band Of The Year 2009

It's always been an uphill battle for Taking Back Sunday. Whether it be the constant rivalry with that other Long Island band, or the slew of line-up changes that leave you guessing who's playing guitar, TBS have seen it all. But this year they put that all behind them and dropped one of the best records we heard in '09. And for that, Backstage Press is pleased to reward them with Band of the Year for 2009.

It's been a few years since we've heard from TBS. After ex-guitarist Fred Mascherino left the band back in October of 2007, TBS went into hiding. It seemed like we would never hear from this punk-rock powerhouse again. But that all changed when guitarist Matt Fazzi joined up. Their next step - writing a new record.

New Again was released in June, and quickly propelled TBS back into the ranks of punk-rock stardom. To those of us in New England, their concerts became an almost monthly occurrence for the rest of the summer. Let's take a look back.

It all started this past May when the band set out on the road to give fans a preview of their yet-to-be-released album. Of the three or four cities that were graced with this opportunity, Boston was one of them. TBS spent the day in and around the Hub, letting fans hop on their tour bus for a quick listen, snag a free t-shirt and score some autographs. I was personally at the Danvers, MA stop, and I can say it was one of the coolest experiences of my life.

Cut to late June and the band were busy headlining a tour with Anberlin and Envy
On The Coast. After being a fan for nearly six years, I finally got to see TBS live. Two nights, two shows. New Hampshire and Boston. Different set lists each night let the local scene hear both old and new tracks. TBS were quickly slated to become the soundtrack to my summer.

By mid-July, Boston was just starting to regain their hearing. And that's when the Long Island natives strolled through town again, this time offering a free concert at City Hall Plaza as part of the Dew Tour.

Then in August, TBS opened for one of the biggest shows all summer - the
blink-182 reunion tour. You had to drive a bit to see them, Hartford to be exact, but it was well worth it. They owned the stage that night as almost 20,000 fans packed the amphitheater.

After four consecutive months of shows you'd think the band would take a break. Not these guys. They came back in November for their last hurrah. They brought out Anberlin and the All-American Rejects for an arena tour that blew the speakers. In fact, I'm still in awe over that show.

Besides the amazing musicianship that this party of five possess, it's their off-stage character that helped them clench Band of the Year. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with these guys a few times over the course of '09, and I've got to admit they are some of the most humble and accommodating dudes I've ever met.

So here's to you Taking Back Sunday. Thanks for the music, the showmanship and the constant entertainment. Congratulations, you've earned it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December Is For Cynics

Well folks, that evil time of year is upon us again. "The Holidays" as they're now called, are to blame for every crappy song you hear out in the world nowadays. Trust me, I hate it as much as the next guy, but I was able to find a happy medium with Christmas music a few years back, and I figure I'll let you all in on my secret.

Let me introduce you to A Santa Cause: It's a Punk Rock Christmas - a 25 track album packed with some of the best holiday music you'll ever hear. The lineup includes everyone from Something Corporate to From First To Last, MxPx to Matchbook 
Romance, and many more. 

I originally bought this compilation back in the winter of '04 so that I could snag blink-182's contribution, a 3-minute track entitled, "I Won't Be Home For Christmas". But every year around this time, I throw this CD back in my car and somehow manage to find a song/band that I had no clue were on there. This year's find, Saosin's "Mookie's Last Christmas".

A Santa Cause has got a little something for everyone, though. If you're into slower acoustic-type punk, be sure to check out Something Corporate's "Forget December" or Acceptance's rendition of "So This Is Christmas". They're
perfect to mellow out to over a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

Want something that's going to make you jump up and down? No worries. New Found Glory's "Ex-Miss" is as pop-punk infused as Christmas can get. Unless of course you should happen upon the album's seventh track, "Christmas Night of Zombies" by MxPx. With lyrics like: Christmas night of the living dead/their faces green and the snow is red, you're bound to be wanting to kick some ass. Besides, zombies are all the rage this year. Score!

And don't think Santa has forgotten about all you good little emo kids. Oh yes, Fall Out Boy even grace this compilation. "Yule Shoot Your Eye Out" will forever be the break-up anthem of Christmas. It's as catchy as any FOB song, and just as lyrically astounding. It's been one of my favorites since I got the CD. Oh, and as far as street cred goes, I was listening to this in '04 - before FOB blew up. (Writer sticks tongue out at reader and emos alike)

Other than that, the album packs in some pretty awesome tunes from The Matches, Punchline, The Mighty Mighty BosstonesGatsby's American Dream and more. It's a must have for any collector, punk-rocker or anyone who is sick of the same old crap every year. Plus, some proceeds go to a children's charity. So there ya go, you get new music and help some people out. What can be better?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Most Anticipated Records For 2010

Though the future of our scene might be as uncertain as social security, there are a few bands to look for in 2010. So here's a look at the fresh records you can expect, and get excited for, in the coming year.

The Long Island natives are currently in the process of writing and recording what lead singer 
Anthony Raneri is calling their "best record ever." Free from the pressures of any label, Bayside are taking their time with this one. Raneri and his band mates are harkening back to a sound that escaped them on their 2008 release, Shudder. "With this one," Raneri told Alternative Press, "we want to go back to what we did with Walking Wounded, but even bigger, with some hard left turns." Expect this little slice of heaven out sometime in the spring.

Fresh off the Dino Trail, MCS are gearing up for a nationwide tour in support of their upcoming January release My Dinosaur Life with Set Your Goals, This Providence and The Swellers. This, their first record since 2007's Even If It Kills Me, takes a deeper approach to the lyrical writing process, while still infusing just enough synth and playful guitar tricks to make this record worthy of being called pop-punk. Check out "Disappear" and "Her Words Destroyed My Planet" for your proof.

Possibly the most eclectic band today in terms of influences, EOTC bring it all to the table with Low Country. Backstage Press caught up with Envy's lead singer Ryan Hunter this past summer and learned that the quartet found a certain comfort in writing the new record. "There was no clock, no pressure or anything like that," said Hunter. "[Writing and playing] was all second nature, and it was a lot of fun." This will undoubtedly produce a solid record as evidenced by their vicious first single, "The Devil's Tongue."

With the era of The Black Parade as dead as most of their followers feel inside, MCR are taking a step in a new direction. They've written, rewritten and then altered some 20 plus songs for their yet-to-be-named spring 2010 release. If it's anything like their last three records, fans can expect something completely new and different. Get amped, kids.

As if reconciling old friendships, running a clothing company and touring with blink-182 all summer
weren't enough, AVA frontman Tom Delonge managed to squeeze in recording a new record with his experimental rock band. The album entitled Love will fittingly drop on Valentine's Day this year along with the ever so anticipated AVA motion picture. As Delonge notes, it's been a work of progress spanning almost the last five years. Love will definitely be something any avid Delonge fan won't want to miss.

Also, be on the lookout for new albums from As I Lay Dying, Crime In Stereo, Sense Fail, Anberlin, Gaslight Anthem and Four Year Strong to hit stores in 2010. Sweet!
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