Reasons to Get Lit on the Lit AF Tour

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The Lit AF Tour was without a doubt LIT AF!

Philly was not only the eighth show of the tour, but the eighth SOLD OUT show in a row. That’s pretty big seeing as how next week marks only a year since the release of Polyphia’s second studio album, Renaissance.

This wasn’t my first time seeing the prog metal band perform live, but it was the first time I got to see them headline and I’m so glad that I did. There’s just something about an all instrumental tour that leaves you in awe.

Polyphia has put on a great show every time in my experience with Clay Gober’s nonstop energy and Tim & Scott’s seamless guitar shredding. Though Polyphia is known for their sweet guitar licks, it was even more fun to watch Clay Aeschliman’s kill it on drums.

Very pleased with their decision to incorporate some throwbacks (Transcend, An Evaporation, and Impassion) in their setlist for this tour. Amazed watching Clay A. master them all.

After hyping up the crowd with their old chuggy ways in a mosh, we got to witness the song Aviator played with featured artist Jason Richardson.

The former Chelsea Grin guitarist did a bang up job with Luke Holland (solo drummer) right before Polyphia’s set. Fragment was a crowd fave and I am now a fan. He made the decision to use a vocal recording of Spencer Sotelo of Periphery during Retrograde, which kind of hindered the sound quality, but overall he was very entertaining to watch. Especially with his makeshift platform (a crate) allowing everyone to get a direct view of his singing guitar.

In the same realm of mythical singing guitars, up-and-coming math rock band, Covet is giving it their all this tour.

You could hear the crowd reacting with gasps to some of Yvette Young’s tapping skills during the performance of their newest song Ares [watch]. We also got the privilege of hearing an unreleased and quite catchy song that I’m sure we all can’t wait to see drop.

I was most thrilled to finally see these Cali natives on the east coast and I hope it’s not the last.

Overall it was a fantastic show with such an array of talented musicians. They are all extremely humble and super engaged with their fanbase. If you have yet to check out any of these bands, I would strongly advise catching them in your town. You won’t be disappointed. Check tour dates.

Lit AF Tour [More Videos]


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“I Hate Feminists”

I had a recent discussion with a fellow snapchatter about feminism. He’d brought it up in a negative light in which I proceeded to ask why he resented the word so much. He had explained that he is currently in the army and does not believe its right that feminists are all about women being in infantry (in the line of fire) but are asking for an easier physical training test.

A little background, I went to a university that was once an all girls higher ed school. In just about every course I took, one of my professors found a way to bring up feminism and a situation pertaining to the topic (whether there was any type of relation or not). I basically graduated as a feminist. The basic definition is one who believes that women should have equal rights, plain and simple. Not of the days where the word feminism was associated with the term radical.

Flash forward now to this conversation. I explained that I completely agree. A woman entering into said position should be able to uphold the status of that position. Regardless of tests which find women incapable of competing across the board with males physically, the rules should not change.

I mentioned that I believe feminism should be used to create opportunity, not to be used as an obligation. A woman should not be able to join just because she is a woman and it’d be sexist for her not to be allowed in. Yet, women in general should not be denied ever trying because of their failed predecessors.

I had kept the discussion on a comical note and sent a picture of a woman body builder and asked if he still felt the same about having weakness in the army. He replied with hysteria, but said no. My point exactly. Just because those that are there now are not able to successfully complete the test at it’s current standard, does not mean that there aren’t women who would work to be able to do so.

I believe that same rule applies to men. You wouldn’t let a male in such position just because he’s a male and scientifically should be able to withstand it, when he’s not physically fit and could not pass the standard.

It then becomes not a topic of feminism or sexism it’s just a conversation of capability. We tend to quickly categorize, and judge, and label things without really understanding the underlying issue. Why? It’s easier.

It’s easier to say “I hate feminism” than to take time out to understand it.

Perhaps the above scenario doesn’t resonate with an anti-feminist, but surely one would agree it’s only fair to pay two human beings the same amount for the same line of work, right?

 

The First Step to Achieving Your Dream

It’s nearly impossible to surf the internet as of late without running into some type of motivational quote or meme about the simplest of things. Stop Wishing. Start Doing. or The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create It.

What is it in these obvious statements that we find so uplifting?

For myself, the greatest motivation lies in stories I hear from people who have taken that first step towards something they’re passionate about. I’m not talking about those cheesy infomercials you find on TV at 2am that try to get you to buy a fake step-by-step guide to riches. I mean true stories of people who have made it to those said riches and have chosen a life outside of that towards completing themselves.

Since I was a child I had always dreamt of visiting California, as most do, especially with it being sold as the place of dreams. I’d woken up after finding the perfect flight one day and finally decided I’d waited long enough, purchased my ticket and was on my way.

Now I’d be lying if I said the best part wasn’t the amazing weather that never changes or the gorgeous people who are everywhere you look, but the best thing I took away from this trip was inspiration.

Some may look at Airbnb or Uber as inferior ways to travel, but I  strongly prefer them to solitary options like hotels and car rentals. The main reason being is that it’s the perfect way to socialize and learn about locals.

During my stay I had two great hosts that shed their insight on each coast’s advantages and disadvantages and their outlook on working to make money versus working for happiness. Their views along with several other Uber drivers had been quite similar to my mine. They’d all been maintaining themselves financially while pushing to turn their pastimes into something far greater. You may be thinking okay, they’re managing, but they’re still driving Uber…

Interestingly enough 2 of the 7 drivers I met had established established themselves in the entertainment industry as an actor and a producer. The producer had worked on films and music videos for major artists in the late 90s and the other who was featured in 42 television shows. One explained that he’d been using Uber as a means of networking in high-end areas of the city to give himself that extra push he needs. Talk about the perfect opportunity for an elevator pitch.

Even though they’re both already in awesome positions, they are working to follow a different path that they’d always wanted to seek out. The producer desires to create music, while the actor wishes to write.

Both of these men described these new moves as challenges for themselves with obstacles to overcome for one reason or another. Whether being a terrible speller or never producing an album before, yet neither were reluctant to start.

“I didn’t know how to produce videos at one point, but not knowing has never stopped me before.” – Craig Anonymous

It’s amazing to listen to someone take such a headstrong approach towards the unknown. Better known as a “Leap of Faith”. This led me to realize that everyone I’d spoken to had only a positive perspective, including struggles they’d mentioned coming across while trying to make it. Such optimism in each one.

One person around my age went to university with a similar degree to my own. To avoid working that standard 9-5 and working to fuel someone else’s dreams, he decided it was far more gratifying to start on his own and began animating. He’s now completed several comedic animations and is auctioning them off. That easy.

NFinish Lineot all were looking to drive down the creative avenue, there were some that were working to branch out their own businesses. What they did all have in common was accepting the fear of risk and making the decision to start. Each story  began with the line “I always wanted to” and ended with “and now I’m here”.

There is no greater feeling than to accomplish a goal you’ve set for yourself. Hearing all of these stories is proof that anything is attainable no matter how far-fetched it may sound. The only thing that makes it out-of-bounds is not reaching for it.

 

More Rihanna Hype – “Immortalized Statue”

I’m not one for celebrity news or gossip, but it was brought to my attention that there was a ginormous statue created in Berlin of pop figure, Rihanna, which she has visited, selfied, and spread across social media.

Upon first glance at the image circulating the internet it was not my immediate assumption of what a statue of someone would be. Not only is the figure in a bikini, not only is it headless, but it also has a face imprinted on its chest.

For most the first question was, why is it headless?, mine on the other hand was, How do you know it’s Rihanna?

After debating with someone who is big into pop culture, there was no doubt that it is of her, at least that’s what was enforced upon me. I asked the simple question considering these pieces of information missing:

  1. If you didn’t read the headline
  2. If you didn’t see Rihanna posing with it
  3. Since it’s headless and the face depicted on its chest is altered, so the exact placement does not directly resemble the singer

Would you still know it was of her?

Interestingly enough, the only way to know it were her and not another female in a bikini with the same body measurements, the tattoos are associated with her. This resonated with me that the only reason you would know who a headless figure was would be to know its body.

I’m not sure about you, but if I were to ever be “immortalized” I know 100% that I would not want to just be known for my body. I would want to know I’d be going down for something of much more value.

Leading me to consider what that would mean, I would want to be known for what was in my brain. Interestingly enough the statue has no head. Really uneased at the thought of this, I decided to research the artist, a Juan Sebastian Pelaez, who was inspired by this interesting 16th century  concept of “Blemmyae” or headless natives with faces on their upper, naked bodies.[1]

Still quite unsettled by my findings, I delved a little deeper into the name and found the derivation of the word “Blemmyes from the Hebrew bly (בלי) “without” and moach (מוח) “brain””[2]

Couldn’t help but to laugh at my preconceived thought behind the statue was not to tribute or immortalize this person, but to make a statement. The idolization of brainless figures in media….

On that last note, I will define the word statue according to Merriam-Webster:

a three-dimensional representation usually of a person, animal, or mythical being that is produced by sculpturing, modeling, or casting

 

You’re more than welcome to agree or disagree, leave comments if you’d like…

“Don’t Do Math Rock Kids” – TTNG

Too bad theres no Olympic gold to be won for writing songs with crazy complex time signatures or TTNG (This Town Needs Guns) would probably be taking it home.

When You're Trying to Figure Out the Time Signatures in a Prog Song

Currently on tour to promote their new album Disappointment Island, I finally got to bear witness the mathematical genius at The Foundry in Philadelphia this past Sunday.

On said island of disappointment was the drop of Giraffes? Giraffes! from the line-up, as they played only select shows and had just played with them in NY the night before. On the bright side, we got to experience LITE, a 4 piece instrumental band with lots of stamina and great collaboration. It was definitely something watching Jun Izawa slapping away at that bass. Very groovy vibe and worth a listen.

Lots of laughs and crowd interaction during TTNGs set. Beginning with Henry, bass/guitarist, telling us that Bush had been unknowingly touring with them, since he’d heard them playing at the same venue for 2 consecutive nights, with gratitude that we chose them of course.

Great choice of setlist and much excitement with the performance of +3 Awesomeness Repels Water, which they were able to play with help from a fill in (Henry of Mylets) since TTNG lost a member. Another oh sh*t moment during I’ll Take the Minute Snake, when Henry doubled up with a guitar and bass at the same time all while singing.

Henry of TTNG

The infamous quote of the night sparked when Chris Collis (drummer) couldn’t get the timing right and their unanimous confusion on where to jump back in caused them to start from the top. Understandable seeing as how their signatures bounce around within songs, it was evident to blame it on the genre.

“Don’t do math rock kids, it’s dangerous” – Henry Tremain

The crowd completely unaltered by the mishap was fully engaged in the comeback, once they were all on the same page. They ended with the perfect song 26 is Dancier than 4 to show just how clever math rock can be, 26 really is Dancier than 4/4.

Overall great show with valuable lesson learned.

Railing Collapses at Snoop – Giraffes? Giraffes!

While some 40+ people were busy collapsing before two stoners in Camden last night because of a railing incident, real music was being played in the heart of Philadelphia at the Boot & Saddle, on Broad St.


Headliners Giraffes? Giraffes!, a two piece math rock instrumental band, killed it last night, leaving none injured and minds blown. Kudos to the line up as well, Flyermile & Cavewomen for great energy and vast entertainment.

Giraffes? Giraffes! has been putting in some serious work lately coming up with new material while on their summer tour with other insanely good headlining band TTNG (This Town Needs Guns).

Feeling the crowds love for this genre is a must witness experience. Not only did they play with devotion, smiles  during every song, each was played to the T, barely being able to decipher the live version from the album.

Seeing Kenneth Topham (drummer) play as hard and continuous as he did barely taking a breather was admirable beyond belief. Known for his unique set including symbols of varying sizes, two high hats, a set of interesting bells, pedals,
a tambourine…the works, it was amazing to see him put it all to use.

Would be totally wrong in saying Ken stole the show with Joe Andreoli equally as engaged with his capo and bow use on an electric guitar, magically working that fret board.

This duo is absolutely phenomenal to watch live, I’m so glad I’ve finally got to see them, hopefully not the last time.

Kickass Comeback, Thrice @ The Fillmore in Philadelphia

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After 4 years of hibernating, Thrice was able to make a comeback picking up right where they left off. This time around perfecting their sound, growing their fanbase, and topping Billboard charts with To be Everywhere is to be Nowhere.

Though kicking off their first tour since 2012 to push out their newest album, long term fans can still reminisce with their chosen setlist. Some songs including In Years to Come (off their second album, The Illusion of Safety), The Artist in the Ambulance (song titled after their first major label album), and a handful of tracks from Vheissu (their 05′ release).

Already half way through their tour, yet their performance at The Fillmore in Philadelphia was still highly spirited and one to remember. Fall tour dates have already been set, so if you haven’t seen them live, they’re definitely something to experience.

Back at it Again with the Street Art

For the second time this month I’ve gravitated towards an old coal mine [read previous] that has manifested into creative works of art.

Graffiti Pier, also known as Pier 124 and once 13339481_10153780490372833_5410413389745575982_nused for a coal mining operation, now houses the work of Philly’s great graffiti artists. There’s also a sweet view of the Delaware River at the end of the pier. Though not ideal, you’ll also find people diving into the river and fishing.

Not a great place to bring kids or dogs for that matter, unfortunately, it’s loaded with broken glass and empty spray cans, but definitely something to admire if you’re into street art and hidden gems.

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The Town that Inspired Silent Hill

So a buddy of mine mentioned not so long ago that a movie favorite, Silent Hill, was inspired by a town that just so happens to be located in the state I live in, Pennsylvania. Apparently Centralia, PA, a town of what used to be over 1,000 before a coal mine fire in 62′ has dropped down to 10 as of 2013 and is pretty much off the maps. 13220633_10153764124417833_2898754081477075718_o

The spontaneous side decided to come out of me this past Saturday, which led to a call to the mentioned friend, and we headed west soon after. From Philadelphia, it’s about a 2 1/2 hour car ride. Thats not so bad, but add in a thunder storm and no clear direction and it gets a little iffy. Setting out with expectations of finding some foggy terrain, burned down buildings, and maybe a few sketchy characters, when we did make it there was no such findings (damn motion pictures). I’m not sure if the weather was the reason for not coming across the smoke that was supposedly seen by others emitting from the ground or the fact that we may not have been in the right section of the town.

Following vague directions online or directions pre-google.maps-era we found ourselves circling around hoping to find a clear sign that pointed “This Way”, no such luck. We finally found a local to help with directions and to our surprise lots more people had our crazy idea that day.

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Graffiti Highway, what was once apart of Route 61 (the main road), is now closed off and hidden behind some dirt hills right next to a cemetary. It’s a long stretch of assorted colored tourist tags on mangled uneven black top as far as the eye can see. A little upsetting I had completely forgot to bring some spray paint to add to the landmark, but it’s all in memory now.

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While there we even got a quick show between some guys on long boards, quads and two off road Jeeps. It was super unexpected, seeing as how the road is not only closed off, but surrounded by steep forest hills and the ground itself being so damaged. I would say it’s worth the trip, but if you’re interested in going, I’d suggest looking at the below diagram to help you out. I couldn’t believe out of everyone who visits, no one’s thought to help post up more concise walking directions.

Here ya go…
You can use google maps, by inputting “Centralia, PA”. It will leave you right at a four way stop sign intersection Locust St & Centre Street. On Locust Street you can either follow route 42 or route 61, stay route 61, but you do not want to follow it through where the road bends. Saint Ignatius Cemetery will be on your righthand side with two lots you can park in. Lot 2 (see below) is closest to access Graffiti Highway. You’ll find it directly behind the No Trespassing and yellow turn sign, you may have to do some climbing.

Hope this helps!

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