April 24, 2013

[concert review] How To Destroy Angels

If you're a smart Chicagoan, that means you were at the How To Destroy Angels show on the night of Tuesday, April 23rd over at The Vic. The "epic-ness" of this show is something that cannot quite escape my brain yet. I feel there's so many feelings to delve into, but I'll try to lay them out slowly and clearly (or something like that) -

and down the spiral we go...

I can be really honest with you here and tell you that before I saw this show, yes, I enjoyed HTDA quite a bit, and I love Nine Inch Nails (of course I'll be seeing them this summer), but I hadn't given Welcome Oblivion it's fair share of listens before this show had taken place, even though I possess An Omen [EP] as well. I can't say I ever had them in heavy rotation, I'd say maybe three go-arounds since the time it had been dropped and that's not extensive. This very thing will sometimes will impact my excitement for seeing it happen live. See, I kind of consider myself REALLY lucky for having seen them at all because I was initially scheduled to work, until they fixed it after they realized I had requested that date off when pre-sale tickets were purchased. I was seriously worried that I wouldn't be able to make this happen. I can tell you now that after having gone, if I would have missed it and found out how astounding it was, I would have been...actually depressed about the whole circumstance. Fate fell into place REAL nicely. Want to get a vibe for the band? Listen in here;

Dan and I went with another couple we are good friends with and snagged seats in the balcony upon arrival. Although we had pre-sale tickets, we had by far missed the early entry. Rain plagued the city and slowed up everything that had wheels and although we got there late, we still got there earlier than most. We were debating how we wanted to play it out; whether we wanted to sit and watch it from above, or somehow try to weasel four people into an already tightly gathered G.A. crowd (which can be hellish if they're a crowd that's been in the queue for hours). We chose the former and snagged seats with some tables and room to hang. I can tell you right now, that if I were in that crowd and I couldn't see this show well, I would have gotten overly anxious/pissed because it was the kind of show that really required all of your visual attention and emotion. Being able to see it unfold from above was absolutely appropriate and pretty perfect. Dan had told me ahead of time that the stage setup was absolutely sick, and upon requesting to see it in advance, he told me that I really should wait. Well, while this annoyed me at the time, I'm pretty glad that I waited to see those beautiful beams of string lights right before my eyes, so I'm glad he advised it, and I'm glad I didn't sneak on the YouTube's. Rob Sheridan worked his genius so well, and I'm not even all that familiar with what else he's done except for what I've seen on concert footage. He deserves awards, so many awards. I went to Amon Tobin's show for his Isam tour in September of 2012, and it was amazing, another visual stunner. I'd saw that this was even on par with that...or maybe somehow better.

I'm so stoked we saw this together.
I'm actually just stoked we're together,
let's be honest.
This show was so magnificently captivating that it's almost hard for me to put into words, yet I want to use every single word possible in order to describe it. I want to tell you about every second that took place, about the way her sleeves flowed on her white dress as she moved, the way the lights streamed down and swayed around on the displays...but I won't. However, I will tell you right now, that it goes right in the top 5, folks. I've seen a lot of shows, but there's not many that make me feel like that did. Let's delve into pictures and work our way from there..YEAH, YOU HEARD ME, TOP 5.

This was right at the beginning. This is also where my jaw likely dropped and then continued to remain at
my ankles throughout the entire show. I couldn't pry my eyes away. Keep in mind, these video clips are
ultra short. I just wanted to try to capture something, but I can only capture so much at a live show, I just
sort of want to experience it after a certain point.

'Keep It Together'

As they weaved beautifully through the songs on the album and their other work, the visuals just kept getting better and more engaging. The sound was encompassing and it swallowed you whole, no matter where the sounds was coming from on the stage. When we got up to the balcony, our server for the section told us the guys had been working on their lights since 8:30 that morning, and it reflected that. All day work. It was just an epic show to the core, and the lights added these incredible aspects, and it made it that much more powerful and dynamic. The different ranges and visuals that they created with their set was just absolutely insane and I'm shocked they were able to fit it on the stage of The Vic. There was never a point where I was bored or wondered how many songs they had left in the set, I just knew I wanted it to keep happening, I wanted to keep watching. I can also tell you that I feel like a better person for having seen it...my emotions are still tangled up in those strings of light. Unfortunately, my pictures didn't come out extraordinarily well, but hopefully you have some idea of what happened in this show. It wasn't a late night by any means, which is sometimes a nice contrast to the show that starts at midnight. We got in, had one hell of a night, and were out by 10.

'And The Sky Began To Scream'

'Ice Age'

This show exuded an energy all it's own; an alluring carryout for sure and while some parts of me wished I had been right by the stage to see it right up close, like I said, seeing it from a further distance and allowing that sound to hit us was the right move. My god, if you have any hope to see this show (let's be honest, you have 6 more chances) THEN GO! I hope you dig the album and find yourself melting into the songs. It's beautiful and intense. Go experience it.


April 11, 2013

[lifestyle]: Turning 25, Alt-J, Good Eats.

There are two facts ahead of us:

One: I am now twenty five years old.
Two: It has been entirely too long since I've blogged about anything worth a tinge of meaning.

So after that sliver of honesty, I can also say that life has gotten tremendously busy. I'm working constantly, escape to the city any chance I get, and still get to see my local pals throughout the week. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I'm moving forward and striving for something. I'm doing what everyone has told me to do and what I finally feel ready for, and that is to "work my ass off and get out". It'll be fun, but for now, I'm constantly tired and trying my hardest to make the fun happen despite my schedule. Being busy is real, real good for me though. I thoroughly enjoy working and I seem to be learning a lot from both jobs. I would really like to establish myself somewhere though, work for something I truly believe in. I have the key in my hand, all I have to find is the lock.

I've managed to get out a good deal and live the good life and a lot has happened since I've last blogged about my lifestyle; Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, MY BIRTHDAY!, a new job, splendid encounters, different outings, and top notch restaurants. As usual, I'll splash around a few pictures of the past two months;

of course, there needs to be a focus on wardrobe here;
[here's what I've been sporting around in]

As usual, some wild patterns and fabulous colors found their way onto my body.
This was mostly hostess attire that I wore to work, luckily I have jobs where I can finally dress up
and wear normal clothes versus a uniform. Uniforms bog me down, man.

 Valentine's Day at Spiaggia Cafe!
Dan took me out for a fantastic Valentine's Day dinner. Of course,
it was absolutely amazing in every sense of the word. I love both
parts of that restaurant and am very lucky I've gotten to go to both
a handful of times.

V-day noms; Spiaggia cannoli's and cookies I made for Dan
featuring red chocolate chips!

Don't listen to these artists? START.

My nephew was born at the start of February. Lil' Charles!
That now makes for two nieces and two nephews.

It was great to meet twitter pal Dana (on the far left) in person at the concert!
A celebratory shot was in order!
I don't know why I was being so awkward about Muse being my first show of the year.
I like Muse a lot and all, but big venue shows, or the idea of big venue shows tends to rub
me the wrong way. However, I had an amazing time at this one, which was right over at The United Center.
They opened with one of my favourite songs off the latest album, 'The 2nd Law: Unsustainable', cranked
out the other great tunes you would anticipate, and of course, played the older jams that I was hoping for. I danced my face off the whole show (what else is new?). We didn't have the best seats, but they were almost ideal in the sense that the huge block of seats next to us was not for sale, so we had a ton
of open room around us. It was a very engaging show and I'm so glad I went and saw them on this tour.
Since this album is so much different than their previous albums, I wonder what it would have been like to have seen them on tour in the past. To be honest, I'm just glad I got to see this one.

I went to my salon to get it done and I absolutely love it. This is the first time in a long, long
while that I've gotten highlights. I wanted to brighten it up, but make it an easy and natural
looking transition. I actually want to go more blonde because there is still a large amount
of red in it and since it's my natural color, it looks best with my skin coloring, etc.
Anywho, it was the perfect time for a change up.

I talked my mom into building a snowman because we actually got a sizable snowfall.
He was definitely the snazziest in the neighborhood with his cucumber eyes,
construction paper mouth, and hood snapped off from an old coat.

Here's me with two of my favourite things; a Portillo's beef sandwich and one of my best
girlfriends, Erin on St. Patrick's Day at her family's "I'm Irish!" singing society party.
March was really a fantastic month, and this is only halfway in.

So let's delve into the festivities that took place surrounding my birthday last month. It was quite an occasion and celebrated in the best way. Some of my birthdays have been exceptionally lame in the past and for the past two years, I've tried to make something happen so that I'm not moping about the fact that I'm not doing something fabulous. Last year was awesome; I spent an awesome night on the town (in unseasonably 80º weather) and then had a party a few days later with a large group of my friends. I wanted this year to be just as awesome, if not better. Oh, in case you didn't realize, I'm kind of a birthday snob. I just want them the day to go exceptionally smoothly and have one day I do something more out of the ordinary, one day where I can call the shots and spread my birthday perk with everyone I encounter. Well that happened, 25 was absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, so many of my closest friends have moved out of state in the past year. I believe 5+ friends have moved out of state or three or more hours away and it's only going to keep happening as I get older. I knew that having a "party" probably wouldn't be much of a turnout, so I went with the whole fabulous/low key route instead shared with my nearest and dearest.

I was so excited when these printed out that morning!

Getting Alt-J tickets handed to me was absolutely amazing. I squealed and squirmed,
and social networked the hell out of these. I was in absolute glory knowing that I was
going to see Alt-J. Finally.

WOW. This whole experience was awesome. Let me tell you right now though,
that was not real ice. It was more like a plastic coated in a skate-able oil, which
made it damn near impossible to do anything. On a perfect day like March 22nd was,
there was nothing to complain about. I just glided around the best I could and enjoyed
the view from the top. It was absolutely glorious. The best part was, Dan and I were the
only ones on the "ice" which made it all that much more enjoyable. Lucky for us, my
birthday was on a Friday this year, so we had the day clear of a big crowds. I am so lucky
that we got to do something like this on such a marvelous day.

Onto the evening...

I threw on an outfit that I liked and had a classy feel, but also had a good amount of spunk thrown
into the mix. We went to The Bedford and we had both never been. I love when we can both
experience a new restaurant together and this was the perfect pick for the night. I felt so happy
and energized that night and just kind of wanted to spread that vibe. The thing about Dan and I
is that we have a lot of fun when we're out and I think the people we encounter like us together as well.
It's always a great experience no matter what we decide to do. We had a really great little spot and our drinks were outstanding, along with the service. It was just fun to look around and soak up the environment.
I ordered the mushroom gnocchi which was phenomenal, but should have had more gnocchi in there for sure. I felt like I basically had mushrooms with a few carbs thrown in, but it did have the 90 minute egg
shown beautifully there in the center, so I really can't bitch.


I LOVE CHARCUTERIE! I loved it here and I really dig it over at Rootstock!
Pate is one thing I crave on a monthly basis. It's just so delicious and when
it's paired well with amazing jams and cheeses...it sends me over the moon. 
Me and Dan at Bar Deville!
I finally had a Saturday off and wanted to enjoy an awesome night out. We
drank a fine amount, danced through the night, and encountered some rad
people. It was the perfect end to one hell of a day.
I am so revved that Erin was able to make it out for my birthday.
I really wanted to be in the city, and dance and have a great time
with people I loved and cared about, and I got to do just that.
She ended up running into a large group of pals that we sort of
merged with.
me mid-groove at Bar Deville. This was a really good place to go. When we had
arrived, the back lounge where the DJ was bumpin' was nearly empty. We grabbed
a seat right by the booth (in the best spot in the house) and waited for things to fill up.
There was another girl there who was having a birthday shindig, so we shared the upper floor
and enjoyed the celebration together. I would definitely go back here to groove out + drink.

um...obviously. Right guys?

Ahhhh. I love this point on the drive in. Yet so close, yet still time for a few
more tunes and a cigarette.


I was so excited for this show. I have fallen in love with Alt-J over the past year
and have recommended them to a lot of people. An Awesome Wave is a beautiful
album and I strongly suggest you give it a listen. 'Tessellate' is one of my favourite songs
on it, but they all seem to have been my favourite at one time or another.
'Fitzpleasure' was the song that initially hooked me into their music and the meaning
behind it is extremely dark, but dancing to it live with the crowd felt exceptionally right.
It was just as good live as it sounds recorded and I'm still so elated that I got to see them
in their first Chicago headlining show. I cannot wait to see them again at Lollapalooza. I hope
more people recognize them, because they seriously deserve it. They played through their
whole album and included a new song that made me excited for the next one they deliver.

I MET GUS! Outside the metro, it's kind of impossible not to run
into the artist afterward since the tour bus has to park out in front.
Gus took the role on of speaking to the crowd during the show and
he kind of did some crowd control/greeting after the show. He was
such a wonderful guy and they seemed so revved for what they have.
I love when band members are totally cool about meeting fans and
treat it like a casual encounter. It's just nice to be able to thank your
favourite musicians for what they do and for the difference they make
in your life. What a phenomenal night.

Ah. It was such a glorious week of weather. We went over to Star Lounge
to get our Dark Matter fix and the patio was finally open to enjoy. We got we got
to sit in short sleeves for some time to soak up the sunshine and it's
 always pretty righteous when you can do that in March in Chicago.

Dark Matter models, obviously.

nails/accessories from the past few weeks.

I am my hair.

Here are the two scarves I've made recently. My little Etsy shop is starting
to get bigger and I love coming up with new projects and ideas. You guys
should check it out! If you have any ideas, send 'em my way :)

I survived the coldest months and as the weather continues to warm up, I hope life just gets
even more pleasant and enjoyable than it already is. Here's to what's ahead in the warm months!