Sunday, June 22, 2014

Say Anything's Hebrews Tour 2014

Say Anything - Hebrews Tour Show Review
Warehouse Live Ballroom, Houston, Texas
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Words and Photos by Janelle Abad

Three days after the release of their 5th album "Hebrews", alternative rock band Say Anything hit the road for the "Hebrews Tour". The third stop of their headlining tour was in Houston, Texas, taking the stage inside the Warehouse Live Ballroom. Supporting them on their 37 day trek across North America are bands You Blew It!, The So So Glos, and an artist you've heard on KTSW's airwaves, The Front Bottoms.
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The six piece band kicked off their live set with their first single off of "Hebrews", "Six Six Six". Say Anything made sure to please old-time fans by packing their set list with fan favorites off of previous albums including "Baby Girl, I'm a Blur", "Do Better", and finishing with "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too". With the band closing in on 14 years since their formation, fans were overcome with the nostalgia that is associated with Bemis' bombastic lyrics. I found myself in a ballroom full of die-hard Say Anything fans screaming every syllable alongside Max, and crowd surfing as if there was no tomorrow

His stage presence was equally as dynamic and animated as the songs themselves, leaving his footprint on every inch of the Warehouse Live stage. Despite a few minor microphone issues throughout the show, Bemis refused to let technical errors stop him, kept the show going at full speed and humbly rolled with the punches. The live band included Taking Back Sunday’s Fred Mascherino, Moneen’s Kenny Bridges, Garron DuPree of Eisley, Reed Murray, and Greg Dunn from Moving Mountains.

Say Anything's frontman had no problem working the crowd. Towards the middle of the concert, fans started cheering "take it off! take it off!", asking Bemis to take off his shirt. Bemis slyly replied to their request by saying "Well you know what has to happen first, right? Who ever started this has to take his off first!". He brought the fan up on stage; the crowd watched as the initiator took off his shirt, twirled it above his head as if he were to lasso a cattle, and give his idol a heartwarming hug before returning to the sweaty pit of screaming Say Anything fans.

Despite the 16 guest vocalists on their newest album, Sherri DuPree-Bemis of Eisley providing her voice on four of those tracks, and traveling alongside husband Max Bemis, Brian Sella of the Front Bottoms was the only guest to perform on stage. The Front Bottoms lead singer appropriately joined Bemis to sing back-up vocals for the song 'Hebrews', as his vocals made its cameo on the album. Another precious little guest that wobbled her way on stage on Father’s Day was his daughter, Lucy Jean Bemis.

To satisfy the crowd's chanted request for "one more song!", Bemis made his way back onto the Warehouse Live Ballroom stage with an acoustic guitar and played "Spores". He continued the acoustic portion of the encore with his rendition of the classic late 90's rap song "Got Your Money". The full band joined Bemis on stage for the final two songs of the encore: "Boyd" a heavier, headbanging worthy track from "Hebrews" and "Belt" from "... is a Real Boy".

There was not a single person in that room that left without sweat dripping down the side of their face, and their voices hoarse. Say Anything nails the energy and hype department of live shows right on the head. They are a nostalgic reminder that a little rebellion can keep life on its toes. If you haven't seen Say Anything perform live, I highly recommend it - and if you already have, myself and many of the returning fans that packed Houston's Warehouse Live Ballroom would encourage you to join them the next time they come through a city near you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

REVIEW: "Overgrown" by James Blake

James Blake - Overgrown
 James Blake
Album: Overgrown
Released: April 8th, 2013
Label: Polydor, Atlas Records
As a recent nominee for Best New Artist at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, London based singer-songwriter and electronic music producer, James Blake is certainly rising as a dynamic and enthralling force in the music scene. With his sophomore album, Overgrown, Blake uses unconventional piano parts as the roots of his songs and embellishes them with celestial synthesizers. He enhances his classical roots with his eclectic beats and plunging bass lines that compliment his mellow tone. Blake’s soulful humming vocals add to his sound as an accessory rather than a statement piece, allowing other elements in his music to have their moment to shine. Overgrown is the mind of an introvert with cold and mysterious facade; as time goes on, the intricate layers are brought to light. Although his album seems to have a melancholic veneer, he sings of romance, togetherness, and understanding. This album makes for easy listening, that will bring tranquility and leave you at peace.
Moreover, all of the tracks have specific elements that make them their own being, but are cohesive in how they all carry the same mature, passionate tone that allows them to flow smoothly. Blake sets the mood of Overgrown with his title track and single that carries a consistent, gentle bass line that mimics rain droplets. His dub influences are most prominent in “Life Round Here”, his single “Retrograde” and “Digital Lion”. Hip-hop legend RZA also contributes his insightful rapping to “Take A Fall For Me”. Furthermore,”DLM”, an abbreviation for Don’t Let Me, is a piano ballad that highlights his classical background and is the only track on Overgrown that does not have electronic elements. “Voyeur” is a prime example of his specialty in building layers and looping to crescendo into a climax. Overall, there is a simple exterior to this album with an underlying complexity that should not be overlooked. He further perfects his distinct sound that is turning the tables in the electronic music world. James Blake clearly demolishes the sophomore album slump stigma in Overgrown and does not disappoint.
Originally posted on KTSW 89.9's blog

Saturday, February 22, 2014


I stumbled upon up and coming electronic musician, Robert Delong while opening for avant-garde Fueled By Ramen band, Twenty One Pilots during their fall headlining tour in Austin, Texas. This Washington native is the perfect blend of indie influence such as Death Cab for Cutie in his vocals driven by house/electronica beats and sounds. With seeing him perform live and not being fully knowledgeable of his array of equipment, I have found that it is definitely a different experience. To my surprise, Delong pulled out a Wii remote and other video game controllers to use as MIDI controllers. I had the opportunity to meet Delong very briefly after the show:

After some small talk, I asked him about how he had managed to incorporate the Wii remote into his set and he replied with "Basically I hooked it up via Bluetooth and it controls what I sing into the mic". Here's a clip of an in-studio performance of "Happy" in the Triple J studios. In this performance he utilizes the most of his unique equipment and does a quick demo using the Wii remote in the beginning: 

This Do-It-Yourself musician brings that homemade element to his live sets and fan base by decorating his equipment with neon orange duct-tape and paint as well as having his crew paint electric colored patterns on fan's faces to bring a sense of unity and to mimic his neon color scheme on his equipment. For electronic equipment junkies, seeing Robert Delong perform live will make you rethink what you thought you knew about making music.

Catch this indie-electronic on the tour this Spring:

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mid-Summer Updates

Hello again. I apologize for the lack of blog posts on here.

Some small updates:
1. I graduated High School earlier in June. Yay.
2. I haven't been doing much in the month of June (and therefore don't have a reasonable excuse as to why I haven't updated my blog)
3. I've gotten back into making YouTube videos on my fashion/beauty channel. You can watch those shenanigans here:

And my Summer Sales Haul here (not sure why the video won't let me embed it...)

4. I've spent most of my mornings this week in my uncle's home studio recording a few bits for you guys. I won't spill too much, but I'm doing some songs that I've never covered before and some [much better] versions of ones that I have done in the past. If you follow me on tumblr, then you've already seen my excitement for these tracks. It's so nice not to be restricted to my shite equipment here at home. I'm so stoked for you guys to here what we've been slaving over this past week. Hopefully, we get can working on a few originals before I head off to San Marcos this fall. To conclude, here's a little sneak preview of one of the songs we worked on today; Roscoe by Midlake (as done by Ellie Goulding):

P.S. Shout out for my uncle for recording this little bit and to my other uncle for letting me invade his studio!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

OOTD: A Night Among the Stars

Laced Skater Dress: Thrift - $10
Steve Madden Nude Pumps: Ross - $25

My blog posts are going some what out of order... Wednesday Night (June 5th) was my very last Formal Banquet as an orchestra member. The Officer team plans the entire night so, it was sort of stress filled. It was held at Bella Elegante in downtown Houston. (Don't EVER go there if you have an event. I'll spare you guys the details because there were just so many things that went wrong with them). Even though the venue screwed up quite a lot, I think everyone had a good time in the end. In the beginning there are awards such as the Most Valuable Person award. I won that award, which is based on character rather than on playing, and this was voted on by the students. We also announced the new Officers and I am so proud to say that my good friend Jerry Lee will now be leading our program to another year of success. 

After all of the awarding, our director "toasts" us; she talks about our achievements in school, extra-curriculars, and character. I admit, that I did tear up when she talked said, "Janelle recently admitted that she was considering quitting orchestra because she was unhappy about her placement in Camerata (the lowest orchestra), but look at where she is now". And right then I looked at MsO and we both exchanged grins and I tried to hold back the tears. After more Senior shenanigans, we opened the dance floor and photo booth that we had fundraised for. Despite all of the mishaps with the venue and their staff, I think everyone had a great time in the end. We offered more things to do, and more sweets to eat this year.

I will most definitely miss this group of excellent kids more than anything else in High School. In 10 years, I'll look back at all of the great memories from these past 4 years and I guarantee you that all that I'll think about are the wonderful people, stellar music, and crazy idiosyncrasies that are the Seven Lakes Orchestras. I've put my heart and soul into this program, and in turn, I've gained a loving family of 200+ kids being mothered by two phenomenal women that I can safely call my "otha mothas".

To conclude, here are some pictures with some of my favorite people:

My "little sister" and a new member of the Officer team!

My baby James-y + photobomber Annie

The stunning Nishchala


Saturday, June 8, 2013

OOTD: Grad Party

with Juliana who looked fabulous in her purple ombre almost-maxi skirt!

Lemon Blazer: Thrift - approx. $1.50
Ciao Lioness Shirt: Ross - aprrox. $10?
High-Waisted Denim Shorts: Thrift - $5
Black Opaque Stockings: just found lying around my closet lol

Had a Graduation party with a bunch of my friends and a few "family" members. We ate, and basically just talked about I don't even remember. Then we brought out the fire pit and s*** got real. But really, it's nights like these where I realize how blessed I am to be surrounded with such a wonderfully insane group of kids. I'm going to miss this bunch when I venture off to college. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Something Old

Once upon a time in the late fall of last year I had the opportunity to borrow a DLSR for a day. Naturally, I went camera-crazy; these are a few of my favorites from the impromptu sesh. 

Please note that all of the pictures below are not edited. The only picture that has been (obviously) edited is the one above. 
Fun fact: that was taken by my 7 year old sister. Gotta train them early!

Outtakes from the impromptu lookbook / outfit shoot, again taken by my 7 year old sister and un-edited lol...