The Last Shadow Puppets 8/2/16

(a) setlist

    1. Ghost Rider (Suicide cover)
    2. The Age of the Understatement
    3. Only the Truth
    4. Aviation
    5. Used to be My Girl
    6. The Element of Surprise
    7. Dracula Teeth
    8. My Mistakes Were Made For You
    9. Bad Habits
    10. Totally Wired (The Fall cover)
    11. Miracle Aligner
    12. Pattern
    13. Standing Next to Me
    14. Sweet Dreams, TN
    15. In My Room


  1. The Dream Synopsis
  2. Meeting Place
  3. Moonage Daydream (David Bowie cover)

(b) highlights

  • this was probably the first time I’ve seen Alex Turner perform live in some capacity in which he was only 10% insufferable, good job Alex!
  • the performance overall felt adequately paced and enjoyable – much better than the band’s last performance at Webster Hall in NYC a few months ago
  • there was less hair gel, less stupid outfits, less general nonsense from Alex and Miles Kane than normal; their antics were turned down and a lot of it felt real
  • “The Age of the Understatement” and “My Mistakes are Made For You” are freaking classic tracks that can’t be touched
  • shockingly, the sound in the venue was pretty good (a unique case for Terminal 5) and the lighting and production really set the tone and scene for TLSP’s aesthetic
  • for the beginning of the encore, Alex sang like a lounge act singer from the second floor balcony and it was kinda so stupidly ridiculous that it ended up being great
  • I’ve seen mannnnny David Bowie covers this year and they’re not always good – this one by the Last Shadow Puppets was great

(c) lowlights

  • I freaking hate Terminal 5 – this show wasn’t even supposed to be at that event but we rescheduled and we all had to suffer, ugh
  • I don’t really like the Arctic Monkeys fanbase and they come out in droves when Alex Turner is around

(d) overall thoughts

As I’ve mentioned in the past, my history with Alex Turner and his bands goes back quite a bit. I’ve been finding him particularly insufferable and annoying these last few years and his showmanship and antics with Miles Kane only amplify that. When I saw The Last Shadow Puppets a few months ago at Webster Hall, I enjoyed the music, yes, but found myself distracted by their laughable stage personas and embodiment of performance in every sense of the word.

But this show felt a bit different. Sure, Alex and Miles were still Alex and Miles. Alex crooned like a lounge act singer from the second floor balcony and smooth-talked between songs like Richard Dawson on Family Feud, and Miles strutted around in what I believe was a $3,000 silk bathrobe that I guess was supposed to be sexy (?), but it was all very toned-down in comparison. The songs were a solid mix of emotional string ballads and gritty guitar ditties, and tracks from Everything You’ve Come To Expect flawlessly intermingled with those from The Age of the Understatement; although, I must admit that – in the moment – I found myself more excited to hear the latter.

The arrangement of songs was a bit strange, though. I remember thinking after “Bad Habits” was performed: wait, what else do they have left? What even are they going to play? Despite the hits-heavy first-half, you can’t not love a great David Bowie cover. “Moonage Daydream” is a personal favorite of mine for sentimental reasons and I didn’t even mind that they ended with it nor that it felt a bit over-indulgent at one point. Their Beatles cover at Webster Hall was exceptionally self-indulgent, so this – much like the rest of the show – felt notably understated. Which isn’t what I expected at all. Oh, the double, sweet irony.


Bottom line: The Last Shadow Puppets are capable of real musical artistry and performance once they remove their heads from their asses; they have two solid albums’ worth of pristine material and I hate when that’s shattered by a silk robe.

The Killers 7/22/16

(a) setlist

    1. Enterlude
    2. Change Your Mind
    3. Spaceman
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bones
    6. Losing Touch
    7. Bling (Confession of a King)
    8. Shadowplay (Joy Division cover)
    9. Human
    10. Somebody Told Me
    11. Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll
    12. For Reasons Unknown
    13. A Dustland Fairytale
    14. Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley cover)
    15. Read My Mind
    16. Runaways
    17. All These Things That I’ve Done
    18. Mr. Brightside


  1. Shot at the Night
  2. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  3. When You Were Young

(b) highlights

  • The Killers are perfection, thank you and goodnight.
  • as someone who sees this band a lot…I really appreciate when they change things up; opening with “Enterlude” and “Change Your Mind” was definitely different and I loved it a lot
  • even though they aren’t my favorite songs in any way and I could name probably 20 Killers songs I’d want to hear before them, it was nice to hear “Bones” and “Losing Touch” for the first time in legit 8 years
  • for some reason, Brandon seemed really emotionally into “A Dustland Fairytale” and “Runaways” at this show, and that’s always a cool thing to see
  • Ronnie Vannucci continually dominates existence and all other dudes should pretty much just quit trying
  • the Elvis cover is probably the only repeated Killers cover that I genuinely really like and feel excited when it starts
  • the very confused yet earnest speeches before both “Losing Touch” and “Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll” (“This is called Losing Touch. You can find it on the YouTube”; “I went to Dave’s apartment and we read on the computer…”)
  • “Shot at the Night” just might be in my top 10 favorite Killers songs; maybe even higher
  • being all the barricade with everyone I was with; sharing the experience with the people around you can really enhance the emotional setting and I won’t ever forget the feeling of being alongside my friends
  • Ronnie Vannucci threw me his drumstick just before the encore; air-drumming your heart out really pays off, people ❤
  • “Tell all your friends.” – Ronnie Vannucci Junior, savior, genius, poet

(c) lowlights

  • Mark August Stoermer, every show is incomplete without you, I hope you realize that
  • do we really need “Shadowplay” still in this set after literally 9 years? no, we do not need “Shadowplay” still in this set after 9 years
  • why was only one song from “Battle Born” played? that album was good enough for me, BFlow. it was more than good enough for me.
  • one day, this band will resurrect “Believe Me Natalie” and I will be there to see it, I swear to all that is holy this will happen

(d) overall thoughts

Oh, Atlantic City. For some reason, almost on accident, I’ve seen The Killers in Atlantic City three times in the last four years. And strangely, every time has been particularly great. Even though casino shows are usually a drag – whether because of the crowd or something else – this show at the Borgata was fantastic. It could just be that the last time I saw The Killers was at the very very rainy and very very massive Governor’s Ball Festival, but this Borgata show felt exceptionally intimate. You could see Brandon’s pores, you could see Dave’s gray guitar picks tucked into his mic, you could hear Ronnie laugh.

The set was an unusual one in that it was so heavy on both Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town songs, but I sort of loved that. Battle Born felt a little neglected, but it also felt like the band was having fun. There was a freshness to it all, which is a great irony considering nearly every song performed was released between four and 12 years ago. No one can say that The Killers don’t treat every performance like it’s their first time playing all those tracks. There’s passion, energy, excitement, and it never feels like they’re going through the motions.

The wonder of all these shows, the reason we all keep coming back, and the reason why I’ll never stop going is all the same. Because it’s home. Brandon’s showmanship, silly speeches, and equally silly jackets. Dave’s understated presence and flawless talent (seriously, have you ever heard that dude miss a note?). Ronnie’s playful energy and awe-inspiring performance. The songs. The lights. The feeling. That shit is home.


Bottom line: The Killers are my children, my heart, my precious angels, and the ones that welcome me home with every single live performance. How could I not love them for that?

Coldplay 7/17/16

(a) setlist

    1. A Head Full of Dreams
    2. Yellow
    3. Every Teardrop is a Waterfall
    4. The Scientist
    5. Birds
    6. Paradise
    7. Always in My Head
    8. Princess of China
    9. Everglow
    10. Clocks
    11. Midnight
    12. Charlie Brown
    13. Hymn For the Weekend
    14. Fix You
    15. Heroes (David Bowie cover)
    16. Viva La Vida
    17. Adventure of a Lifetime
    18. Trouble (acoustic)
    19. God Put a Smile Upon Your Face (acoustic)


  1. Earth Angel (The Penguins cover) (performed with Michael J. Fox)
  2. Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry cover) (performed with Michael J. Fox)
  3. A Sky Full of Stars
  4. Up & Up

(b) highlights

  • seeing Coldplay for the first time was pretty cool, I guess!
  • ummmmm, Michael J. Fox came out and played two songs from one of the greatest movies of all time, Back to the Future, and apparently some people weren’t crying which is insane to me because I was sobbing
  • “Trouble”!!! “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face”!!! “Yellow”!!! “The Scientist”!!! Basically anything released before X&Y!!!!
  • seeing “Up & Up” was pretty cool, considering it’s my favorite track from Coldplay’s newest album, Adventure of a Lifetime (I swear that Noel Gallagher, who plays guitar on it, has something to do with it)
  • getting to experience a literal stadium of people singing along to a song like “Fix You” really is something you treasure forever, even if it’s a bit overly packaged up and wrapped in an over-produced bow; it’s still a beautiful song

(c) lowlights

  • ironically, a lowlight was literally all the light-up bracelets Coldplay is known for having at their shows; I get that they’re supposed to add something to the experience and that they “look cool” when all of them light up accordingly, but I personally found them really distracting; the best songs I found where ones where the bracelets weren’t implemented at all
  • why does Chris Martin have to be so annoying? it’s like – I know that he’s honestly probably not a bad dude, but there’s this strange self-righteousness about him that puts me over the edge. oh and he dresses like he shops at a store where Lisa Frank somehow sponsored clothing for grown men
  • getting to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey from NYC is literal. hell. on. earth.

(d) overall thoughts

I have a lot of conflicting thoughts about Coldplay that can basically be brought down to this: I think their first two albums, Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head, are mindblowingly incredible records, and 75% of everything else they’ve put out is garbage. Now, I know that’s not really fair and maybe it’s not even true, but it feels real to me. To me, X&Y was ultimately a very disappointing album that included a couple of good tracks – “Talk” and “Fix You.” I hated Viva La Vida when it came out, but grew to really like about half the record a few years later. I thought Mylo Xylophone (I know it’s not called that but I swear I can’t ever remember the real name so I just call it that and honestly, does anyone actually care? no.) was overwhelmingly pop trash, but I could allow myself to relent to it and even enjoy about half of it. I thought their “stripped back” and “underproduced” album Ghost Stories was absolutely dull and worked like a sleeping pill, and believe their newest Adventure of a Lifetime is a midlife crisis album with little soul or heart save one or two songs.

All of that may seem harsh and confusing considering I went all the way to New Jersey to see them in a stadium, but the truth is this: I want to like Coldplay. I want them to win me over and blow me away. But they just don’t, in terms of recent album releases. So, I decided to give them a chance and see them live. And did they blow me away? No. Were they totally terrible? No. Do I still feel just as confused about them as before? Yeah, pretty much.

The moments I’ll remember most from the performance are Michael J. Fox joining the band to perform “Earth Angel” and “Johnny B. Goode,” and not just because Back to the Future is one of my favorite movies ever. I definitely won’t forget how everyone was singing along to “Yellow” and “Fix You,” and how it felt like everything in the entire stadium had stopped when the band played “Trouble” on a small side stage, only with acoustic guitars to accompany them. I’ll even remember everyone singing the refrain of “Up & Up” as the night came to a close. And I want to remember all those moments, because they were beautiful.

But you know what I wish I could forget about that night? I wish I could forget about the fact that fireworks – real fireworks, not just spark displays – went off four times during the performance. Four. I wish I could forget how those damn light-up bracelets made everyone scream with joy as if no one had ever seen shiny lights before in their lives. I wish I could forget about the gimmicks of the performance because, to be honest, they all felt a bit cheap despite the fact that they were clearly some display of overcompensation I’ll never understand. Truly, one of my favorite parts of the night was during “Yellow” – and that song isn’t even one of my favorite Coldplay tracks or anything. I mean, it is pretty great and definitely a classic, but it affected me so much because it was the first song without any damn fireworks or flashing lights or some big whole display. It was literally just the band playing their song on a stage. That’s all. That might not be what people want when they pay to see an internationally renowned band at a 60,000+ person stadium, but maybe that’s just me. Maybe I was never meant to really see Coldplay in that setting because the Coldplay I used to love doesn’t exist anymore. And that’s okay! Because, despite all those flashing lights (“all those lights and all that sound,” ughhhh), the beautiful moments were still wonderful in their own right and that’s something strong enough to want to remember.


Bottom line: Seeing Coldplay didn’t really solve my conflicted feelings about them, but more settled the fact that human beings seem to really, really like flashing lights. Despite that, Michael J. Fox and Back to the Future reenactments aren’t something I could turn down and neither are Coldplay songs written before 2005.

Note: These pictures are either taken with my Canon Rebel XS, a Galaxy s5, or through a monocular….because I was literally sitting in the rafters, don’t judge.

She Wants Revenge 7/16/16

(a) setlist

    1. Red Flags and Long Nights
    2. These Things
    3. I Don’t Want to Fall in Love
    4. Out of Control
    5. Monologue
    6. Broken Promises for Broken Hearts
    7. Sister
    8. Disconnect
    9. Us
    10. Someone Must Get Hurt
    11. Tear You Apart
    12. She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not


  1. Sleep
  2. True Romance
  3. Black Liner Run
  4. Take the World
  5. Replacement
  6. Written in Blood
  7. Rachael

*I’m not sure about the order of the encore because my memory is hazy and records online are incomplete.

(b) highlights

  • man, She Wants Revenge are freaking cool
  • it says a lot when your debut album has so many strong tracks – and 10 years later people want to come back and see it
  • the crowd was awesome – literally every person in Irving Plaza was dancing and totally into it
  • Justin and Adam seemed like the most genuine dudes I’ve seen on-stage in awhile; they were so humble and proud that the crowd came out and spoke so fondly of their time in New York over the years
  • “These Things,” “I Don’t Want to Fall in Love,” “Out of Control,” and “Tear You Apart” were total highlights – talk about moody, broody, and beautifully setting-the-scene lyrical treasures

(c) lowlights

  • can’t think of a single bad thing to say about it

(d) overall thoughts

I discovered She Wants Revenge right around the time their self-titled debut came out in 2006. They come from the same hometown as me, which is a cool coincidence even if their music doesn’t really depict that at all. She Wants Revenge has always sounded a bit like Interpol if they were dirtier, or Joy Division if they were sexier, so God knows I’m down for that. This show really highlighted their strengths in setting the scene with super sexy lyrical turns of phrase, overwhelming bass line and rhythms, and lighting displays that really dictate the mood.

As the band played their whole first album, I couldn’t help but remember when I first got into it during high school, the friends of mine at the time who also liked and appreciated my weird musical taste, and all the times She Wants Revenge were a pleasant relief on the modern rock radio between all the garbage that was streamed on there. The music took me back, but it also really resonated even more now as an adult living in New York City. Even though both She Wants Revenge and I are from Los Angeles, something about that music feels very much wrapped in the city. And Adam 12 and Justin Warfield, the band co-founders even took the time to mention this during the show. They talked about the significance New York city had on their career – not only musically, but audience-wise. It’s cool to hear and remember how, as a fan, you really affect the livelihood of these guys.

Bottom line: I danced all night, I heard some memorably sexy and dark tracks that I loved when I was young and love even a bit more now, and got to be a part of a crowd that genuinely showed up for excellent music – what more could I ask for when it comes to seeing a great band like She Wants Revenge? Absolutely nothing.

The Cure 6/18/16

(a) setlist

    1. Plainsong
    2. Pictures of You
    3. Closedown
    4. A Night Like This
    5. Push
    6. In Between Days
    7. Doing The Unstuck
    8. Friday I’m in Love
    9. Like Cockatoos
    10. The Caterpillar
    11. The Walk
    12. Lovesong
    13. Just Like Heaven
    14. Jupiter Crash
    15. Want
    16. The Hungry Ghost
    17. Prayers for Rain
    18. Disintegration


  1. It Can Never Be the Same
  2. Pornography

Encore 2:

  1. Step Into the Light
  2. Us or Them
  3. Burn

Encore 3:

  1. Last Dance
  2. Lullaby
  3. Never Enough
  4. Fascination Street

Encore 4:

  1. The Perfect Girl
  2. Hot Hot Hot!!!
  3. Close to Me
  4. Why Can’t I Be You?
  5. Boys Don’t Cry

(b) highlights

  • The Cure. Madison Square Garden. 4 encores. WHAT.
  • I can’t even really discuss this setlist, like how freaking incredible is this band
  • “Pictures of You” is one of my favorite songs of all time – I love it so much that I can’t even listen to it that often; seeing that shit live feels like an out-of-body experience
  • Disintegration is probably my favorite Cure album and I’m always so pleasantly surprised when “Disintegration” pops up in the setlist…I love that song so freaking much, wow
  • the crowd was so freaking great, like wow – even in the upper level seats, everyone was so into everything going on: old songs and new songs alike
  • this really doesn’t even need to be said but Robert Smith is so amazing and perfect and still sounds freaking great and looks like the coolest vampire of all time, I want to hug him; he looks like he gives great hugs

(c) lowlights

  • apparently my section – 224 – was freaking BUMPIN’ because two separate fights broke out that involved security and drunk people and it was all actually pretty funny, to be honest; the crowd was mostly middle-aged and it was so just amusing to see that combination of drunk-emotional people
  • I would’ve liked to hear “Let’s Go to Bed” or “The Love Cats” but I am SERIOUSLY reaching, this show was phenomenal

(d) overall thoughts

I feel like there’s no band like The Cure. They defined an era of music, created a subculture, and then redefined their own identity twice over all in about a decade and half’s time. The work they put into the 80’s and 90’s is still incredible to think about and it’s pretty clear to me that Robert Smith is an inarguable genius.

I have seen The Cure once before – at Lollapalooza 2013 – but this Madison Square Garden show felt very special. They played 4 sold-out nights – nearly 3 hours of non-stop music each night – and it was so obvious to me that their discography could easily allow the band to perform for another week. Playing a combination of classic singles, deep cuts, rarities previously unheard for years, and even new (!) songs, the band totally nailed it. Each song’s performance felt connected to the one before it while also a uniquely pleasant experience in itself. The number of times I thought, “Wow, I totally forgot about this great song” were innumerable, and the emotional moments in tow were endless.

The stage set-up, production, and atmosphere were so quintessentially The Cure in every way – dripping lights, dense fog, and black trestles offset by bright white lights brought forth the gothic vibe while Robert Smith’s in-between song banter reminded everyone that he’s an older man now, but no less interesting, talented, or funny than he was in the band’s heyday. The crowd’s vigor and excitement barely waned over the nearly-three-hour performance and everyone knew to the words to all the classics. Few things beat the feeling of singing along to “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Friday I’m in Love,” and “Close to Me” with 20,000 fans. You just couldn’t leave that night without feeling what it seemed everyone had felt: that The Cure are a freaking amazing band with an untouchable, transcendent discography that sounds just as good in 2016 as it did in 1986.

Bottom line: Robert Smith is an angelic vampire, the Cure’s discography is truly unrivaled in vastness, diversity, and quality, and every performance removes all doubts otherwise.

Arctic Monkeys 2/8/14

(a) setlist

    1. Do I Wanna Know?
    2. Brianstorm
    3. Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I Moved Your Chair
    4. Snap Out of It
    5. Crying Lightning
    6. Old Yellow Bricks
    7. Fireside
    8. Knee Socks
    9. Why Do You Only Call Me When You’re High?
    10. Arabella
    11. Dancing Shoes
    12. Pretty Visitors
    13. I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
    14. Cornerstone
    15. I Wanna Be Yours
    16. Fluorescent Adolescent
    17. 505 (w/ Miles Kane)


  1. All My Loving (w/ Miles Kane) (The Beatles cover)
  2. One For The Road
  3. R U Mine?

(b) highlights

  • dayyyummm that setlist! “Old Yellow Bricks!” “FIRESIDE!” “Cornerstone!” “505!” Miles Kane!! The Beatles cover!!
  • seeing this show from the seats to avoid the excruciating AM fans in the pit and consequently having the best mini concert in our seats ever
  • despite my previous point, I’ve been an AM fan since the band’s first album, so it was a proud moment for me to see the band sell-out Madison Square Garden – that was cool
  • for real though, this setlist was amazing and it was cool seeing Miles Kane join the guys

(c) lowlights

  • Alex Turner’s persona post-Humbug is so painful and contrived and man, some of that in-between song banter is next level bad; don’t do drugs, kids
  • did we really need “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I Moved Your Chair”? did we? can we even talk about that song title, or is that not even worth our time?
  • AM-era fans
  • why do AM take so long in-between songs? where is there always 20 seconds of dead silence? are they all checking the setlist and reapplying hair gel or something. I feel like I’m the only person who’s ever noticed that this band does this.

(d) overall thoughts

For the past few years, I’ve had to defend being an Arctic Monkeys fan and it was only during the band’s tour for their fifth album AM did I realize why. Through a combination of insufferable Tumblr fans, Alex Turner getting a stupid haircut, buckets of hair gel, and motorcycles, the band became associated with a bunch of garbage that had nothing to do with their music. Putting all that aside, I’ve loved pretty much every Arctic Monkeys album a ton (except for maybe Suck It and See…) and knew I wasn’t gonna miss this show at Madison Square Garden. And I’m so glad I went.

Sitting in the seats was a great decision for many reasons, but it pretty much forced the visuals and audience to fall to the wayside and for the music alone to stand out. There are so many strong AM singles and deep cuts that endless combination of setlists could be compiled, and while I would’ve never thought to put together so many of these songs together, the result was extraordinary. Four out of the first five songs are from four different Arctic Monkeys albums – it’s such a subtle move, but so few bands would actually do something like that. “Do I Wanna Know?” sets an incredible mood, “Brianstorm” always gets everyone going, “Snap Out Of It” is perfect for snap-dance coordinated moves, and “Crying Lightning” is a slick, guitar-heavy banger – what more could you ask for in the first 12 minutes of a show?

I was most excited to hear “Fireside” – my absolute favorite track from AM, and it didn’t disappoint. Old classics like “Old Yellow Bricks” and “Dancing Shoes” reminded me of my favorite days of the band and my high school days. “Cornerstone” is probably one of my favorite Arctic Monkeys songs of all time and it felt so special to hear it that night. Speaking of special, having the band’s old pal and Last Shadow Puppets’ member Miles Kane show up for another one of my favorites “505” was amazingFavourite Worst Nightmare is my favorite AM album and I loved how many songs the band played from it that night.

The Beatles cover was freaking awesome and a great way to celebrate the Beatles’ 50th anniversary of coming to America and unleashing the perfection that led to Beatlesmania. It felt meaningful alongside the band’s selling out of the arena, having come so far as a band and as performers. I tease Alex and complain about fans, but I love them and this night was big for them. I won’t ever forget that.

Bottom line: Arctic Monkeys have gotten particularly silly as a band in the last several years, and while it’s easy as all hell to call them out on their nonsense, their music is still totally killing it; they have huge songs and put on a great show, and this was one of their best.


Note: I filmed a video of “All My Loving,” but it’s mostly me being a spazz and I think my computer ate it, so here’s someone else’s:

The Killers, HAIM 6/4/16

(i) lineup

1a. HAIM
2b. The Killers

(1a) (HAIM’s) setlist

    1. If I Could Change Your Time
    2. Don’t Save Me
    3. I Would Die 4 U (Prince cover)
    4. Forever
    5. Honey & I
    6. Give Me Just a Little of Your Love
    7. My Song 5
    8. Nothing’s Wrong
    9. The Wire
    10. Falling

(1b) highlights

  • pretty cool seeing HAIM for the first time
  • I’d only heard a couple of HAIM songs before this and didn’t know what to expect – they were definitely more high energy and enjoyable than I thought!
  • it’s stupid that I even have to say this, but it’s really awesome to see a modern rock band entirely composed of women who actually know how to play their instruments
  • there’s nothing I love more than watching a musician get lost in their own music and Este Haim’s bass face epitomizes that so hard

(1c) lowlights

  • it started raining maybe 4 or 5 songs in – just a little rain at first and then the sky.opened.up; the rain was so bad that I had to open my umbrella and duck down so the hardcore HAIM fan behind me could see…which means I watched the rest of the show from underneath the umbrella and staring at the barricade – it sounded good, I guess
  • no, seriously, that rain was freaking awful, you don’t understand

(1d) overall thoughts

As I mentioned, I had very little knowledge of HAIM’s discography before this show, but I had heard good things about their live show. I always thought their band story was pretty cool – three sisters who grew up in my hometown and ended up getting huge with cool tunes. Into it. I had heard about their live show and schtick through osmosis, so I was intrigued to actually see them.

Their Fleetwood-Mac-with-an-edge vibe was cool, made sense, and definitely enjoyable. HAIM’s live performance definitely elevated their otherwise merely adequate songs. The girls’ energy, audience interaction, and occasionally coordinated dance moves made for a good show, but couldn’t hold up in the rain for me. A large part of me wishes it had never rained so I could give my full attention to them, but….yeah, that rain was bad and I was there for The Killers, guys.


Bottom line: It’s no surprise that HAIM is as big as they are; it’s awesome that they’re cool chicks doing their hippie-chic thing, if only it hadn’t started rain so intensely, they might’ve won me over completely.

(2a) (The Killers’) setlist

    1. Mr. Brightside
    2. Spaceman
    3. The Way It Was
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bling (Confession of a King)
    6. Shot at the Night
    7. Human
    8. Somebody Told Me
    9. Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll
    10. Obstacle 1 (Interpol cover)
    11. For Reasons Unknown
    12. A Dustland Fairytale
    13. Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley cover)
    14. Read My Mind
    15. Runaways
    16. All These Things That I’ve Done


  1. This Is Your Life
  2. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  3. When You Were Young

(2b) highlights

  • it rained for two god awful hours and then stopped exactly 5 minutes before the band went onstage; g o d  b l e s s
  • Obstacle 1!!!! Interpol!!! Killing it!!!
  • Damn, “Shot at the Night” and “Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll,” sounded so good; sometimes songs you’ve heard a million times hit you just right
  • Ronnie Vannucci’s face, Dave Keuning singing “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier” into Brandon’s mic, and pink blazers are best; Ted Sablay’s guitar work on “Obstacle 1” was top-notch, as well
  • that Elvis cover is so beautiful, it’s almost obnoxious; like when something is so sweet and wonderful that it destroys you
  • fun fact: the “This Is Your Life” hand wave can cure almost any illness
  • the crowd didn’t suck, no one crowd-surfed, and 25,000 people stayed through the rain – I was shocked and so, so proud of the crowd for sticking around

(2c) lowlights

  • two. hours. of. constant. rain.
  • everyone was soaked, multiple friends lost their phones to rain damage, and people were seriously crying out there in the rain – a lot of my stuff was ruined and everyone was so miserable before the set started, but we stayed; it would’ve been nice of the band to say something along the lines of “thanks for staying” or “sorry you’re all wet,” but it’s okay
  • I miss Mark Stoermer, I need Mark Stoermer, I want Mark Stoermer, please someone anyone bring back Mark Stoermer, you are the light of my life and your absence is the size of Nevada in my heart </3 I respect his wishes to take a break, but I miss him so, so much </3

(2d) overall thoughts

Picture it: it’s around 7 pm, the sun has disappeared behind gray clouds, and the sky opens up like a monsoon. It wasn’t even supposed to rain that day. In less than 10 minutes, everything you own is soaking wet and there’s nowhere to go, nothing to put on, nowhere to hide. And there’s still over two hours until The Killers come on-stage. More. than. two. hours. Then, around 9:10, the rain stops. And at 9:15, The Killers come out with Mr. Brightside – it felt like a goddamn baptism, I swear to God.

The show was great – it always is. The crowd was overwhelming in a good way, the band had their usual raw, festival-level energy, and the sound was great. Brandon came into a few lines late and Ronnie missed a few beats, but almost no one noticed. Dave looked happy to be there and it felt like such a treat to hear “Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll” live at a festival for the first time in like 8 years. I’ve been an Interpol fan for as long as I’ve loved The Killers, so it was awesome to hear “Obstacle 1” in that setting – the cover itself felt so developed and clearly not thrown together at the last minute (a couple of TK covers have felt this way…). The lights were cool and I appreciated that TK paid tribute to Interpol and the NYC music scene while still definitely making the song their own.

I won’t lie and pretend like it wasn’t completely devastating to see The Killers perform without bassist Mark Stoermer. I was in the front and closer to Mark’s usual side of the stage, so his absence was even more obvious to me. I absolutely still had an incredible time and will always love this band so much, but I never forgot that Mark wasn’t there. I hope he comes back soon and knows how much people care about him. I hope he’s happy.


Bottom line: Rain can crush souls, but The Killers are particularly good at reviving them. We miss you, Mark Stoermer.


The Strokes, Bloc Party, Father John Misty 6/3/16

(i) lineup

1a. Father John Misty
2b. Bloc Party
3c. The Strokes

(1a) (Father John Misty’s) setlist

    1. Hollywood Forever Cemetary Sings
    2. When You’re Smiling and Astride Me
    3. Only Son of the Ladiesman
    4. Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)
    5. Bored in the USA
    6. Holy Shit
    7. True Affection
    8. I Love You, Honeybear
    9. The Ideal Husband

(1b) highlights

  • ommgggggggg, Father John Mistyyyyyyyyyy
  • I had been looking forward to this show for months and was so not disappointed; I finally listened to I Love You, Honeybear towards the end of last year and WOW, what a phenomenal album
  • I seriously lost my shit when “Chateau Lobby #4” started; that song is flawless from beginning to end, done
  • not only was this setlist such a surprise and presented in such a fresh order, but Josh Tillman’s self-awareness and meta-modern approach to each song’s presentation in itself was so stupidly entertaining
  • to quote my friend who knows very little about FJM: “I didn’t know a man could move his hips that way” – what a show
  • “I Love You, Honeybear” and “The Ideal Husband” coupled together were like the two most energetic and beautiful pairings of live performance, god, I can’t underscore how good this was
  • (side note: Danny Masterson from That 70’s Show was on the side of the stage? what a bizarre world we live in)

(1c) lowlights

  • basically nothing whatsoever, except maybe the one douchebag in the crowd would was unnecessarily mean to everyone around him

(1d) overall thoughts

I was always a fan of Fleet Foxes and was hesitant in approaching Father John Misty at first. I tend to be turned-off by general folk music and even more turned off when people seriously cite Bob Dylan as an influence, but Father John Misty is so much more than that. It’s complex but FJM aka Josh Tillman is so highly aware of what it means to be a musician, and specifically a folk musician who’s white and male and has a long beard, and subverts all of that with his performance and mocking lyrics. I freaking love it so much.

Tillman plays up his strengths and his incredibly underrated backing band knows exactly when to drive it home and when to let Tillman shine. His super fresh setlist and uninhibited performance let the audience “in” on the self-aware joke that the band is apparently telling. That’s really the important thing that separates FJM from other groups that try to be as self-aware (Joywave comes to mind) – as a member of the audience, you never feel like FJM is mocking you; he’s mocking the whole subgenre, the whole performance, and the whole idea of it, but you’re in on the joke yourself. It’s great. And oh, the songs themselves are incredible – you can’t ever forget that.

Bottom line: Father John Misty was so freaking incredible, that I wish I could follow that dude around for the rest of his tour. Amazing songs that shouldn’t work in a festival setting become so elevated through a self-aware performance that it’s no wonder how massive the crowd was that day at Governor’s Ball.

(2a) (Bloc Party’s) setlist

    1. Hunting For Witches
    2. Positive Tension
    3. Virtue
    4. Exes
    5. Song For Clay (Disappear Here)
    6. Banquet
    7. The Love Within
    8. Mercury
    9. Flux (w/ Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” intro)
    10. This Modern Love
    11. Like Eating Glass
    12. Octopus
    13. Helicopter
    14. Ratchet

(2b) highlights

  • t h a t  s e t l i s t  wtfffffff
  • “Like Eating Glass”!!! I lost it!!!! “This Modern Love”!!! what!! “Mercury”!!! dead!
  • for real, though – what an incredible array of songs, I was so shocked at the inclusion of so much of Silent Alarm
  • the band had so much energy – Kele mentioned it was the last stop of their American tour – and it seriously made all the difference in the world
  • the Prince cover was kinda great – last time I saw Bloc Party they covered Bowie, which was better, but “I Would Die 4 U” was super cool too
  • not one but TWO different girls threw their bras toward the stage, I have never laughed so hard in my entire life, did they not know that Kele is gay, I literally could not breathe, god that was freaking amazing

(2c) lowlights

  • this set was seriously so good; there was nothing bad about it

(2d) overall thoughts

I saw Bloc Party for the first time only a few months ago after loving them for over 10 years, and that show didn’t quite live up to my expectations. But I knew this performance was on the horizon and I wanted to give Bloc Party a second chance. And this Governor’s Ball performance was so much better in every way. Kele Okereke was in good spirits, the whole band had great energy, and the setlist was much less uneven.

The crowd was overwhelmingly into every song – not only the hits – and every song felt so special. I’ve heard “Like Eating Glass” come up on my shuffle a dozen times over the last few months and I never thought Bloc Party would ever play it, especially at a festival, so it was that much more of a shock when that drum beat started. Is it still a bit sad that drummer Matt Tong and bassist Gordon Moakes are gone? Yeah, but those songs are elevated above that band drama. Bloc Party are incredible and this performance is definitely one I’ll never forget.

Bottom line: This Gov Ball show totally killed and the band definitely vindicated themselves for me personally; the crowd was awesome and, come on, two girls actually threw their bras onstage – what a time to be alive!

(3a) (The Strokes’) setlist

    1. The Modern Age
    2. Soma
    3. The Threat of Joy
    4. What Ever Happened?
    5. Under Cover of Darkness
    6. Alone, Together
    7. Electricityscape
    8. Ask Me Anything
    9. Take It Or Leave It
    10. Drag Queen
    11. Someday
    12. Red Light
    13. Clampdown (The Clash cover)
    14. Heart in a Cage
    15. Last Nite
    16. Trying Your Luck
    17. Reptilia
    18. Hard to Explain
    19. Juicebox


  1. You Only Live Once

(3b) highlights

  • the last third of the setlist when The Strokes remembered that they’re the goddamn Strokes and no one but Strokes apologists care about Angles or Comedown Machine
  • actually taking it easy during this show and laying in the grass at Randall’s Island with my best friends, eyes closed, hearing the literal songs of my youth echo across miles of a New York City island
  • having our own dance party during the last 5 or so songs – air drumming and playing on-point air guitar and singing along with 4 other friends – putting on our own version of The Strokes (I alternated between being Albert and Fab <3) – so, so much fun hearing those classic songs again
  • everyone loves fireworks

(3c) lowlights

  • Julian Casablancas: “so, uh, we never play encores – we didn’t for our first three albums…and we didn’t the other night. and all these assholes booed us. so whatever, here’s our encore. are there even other bands playing here? whatever, I guess have fun. goodnight.” (I’m paraphrasing but BARELY. “Are there even other bands playing here?” I love you, Julian, but damn you’re a douche. Albert was literally performing his solo material the next day. And it was Friday. Did you really think this was a one-day festival with you as the star?? Calling your own fans assholes for not playing an encore? Literally bye.)
  • when bands sell t-shirts with a specific song on it at a festival, but then don’t play that song (*cough* “New York City Cops” *cough*)

(3d) overall thoughts

Like any respectable alternative rock ‘n’ roll fan alive in the 2000’s, I love The Strokes. I actually saw them for the first time at the 2014 Governor’s Ball where they played a midday set, which now feels strangely odd to think about. I had a good time then, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by them. They had great songs and the crowd was super into it, but the band’s we-don’t-give-a-shit attitude was so put-on and I was over it. That affectation was very much present at this Gov Ball performance, but I expected it this time, so it didn’t rub me the wrong way.

I personally haven’t really liked much of The Strokes’ material since 2005’s First Impressions of Earth, which is sort of crazy because I remember a lot of people disliking that album when it came out. I don’t inherently think their earlier work is better because it’s their earlier work, I just wasn’t drawn to anything on Angles or Comedown Machine in a real way. Their newest EP Future Present Past does have hints of greatness, but I’ve overwhelmingly been partial to Albert Hammond Jr.’s work over the last decade.

Either way – regardless of Casablanca’s comments and the band generally looking like they don’t like performing or care about the audience – I had a good time. Those songs mean something to people and it was a pretty cool environment to watch all that happen. I enjoyed this performance more than the first time I saw them and I really think that proves that having friends around means something.

Bottom line: The Strokes are always gonna be The Strokes and that means something to different people. I hope the band keeps putting out new music and stops acting too cool for school, but we can all dream, right?

Joywave 10/20/15

(a) setlist

  1. Destruction
  2. Carry Me
  3. In Clover
  4. Feels Like a Lie
  5. True Grit
  6. Now
  7. Don’t Let It Bring You Down (Neil Young cover)
  8. Nice House
  9. Golden State
  10. Ridge
  11. Parade
  12. Traveling at the Speed of Light
  13. Bad Dreams (w/ Mikaela Davis on harp lead-in instrumental)
  14. Somebody New
  15. Life in a Bubble I Blew
  16. Tongues
  17. Destruction

(b) highlights

  • this felt like perhaps the first Joywave headlining show where they really got to dictate the show; they weren’t opening for anyone, they were fully independent and self-sufficiently awesome
  • they played “Golden State”!! it’s my favorite deep cut from their first EP Koda Vista and I was beyond psyched to see that live
  • the crowd was surprisingly into it the entire time, regardless of being overwhelmingly male – a fact true only for this particular Joywave show, I’ve found
  • loved that the band mentioned having extra money in their budget from the label, which led to them purchasing like a 10-foot tall blow-up replica of their keyboardist Ben Bailey – classiccccc
  • the band did the classic Joywave move of playing only half of “Tongues” before jumping into a second performance of “Destruction” – alright, alright you got me

(c) lowlights

  • could we have at least finished “Tongues” before going into “Destruction” twice? yes, yes we could have

(d) overall thoughts

Undeniably, this show was fun from beginning to end. It truly felt like Joywave was throwing a party and invited all their best friends to hang out. Their CultCo labelmates Kopps opened and they, like Joywave, are fun but in a strangely unique way. My friends and I were in the front row and the night was very much an intimate celebration of Joywave’s success.

The high-energy set kept the room consistently alive as the band relentlessly drove through both the newer hits and the older deep cuts. The band’s self-aware banter and aggressive dancing felt refreshing and exciting, like we were all apart of the band’s growing history. They’re very much a band that understands the notion of performance; every show feels like you’re watching them at a very timely and important moment in their career. It feels like they’re honestly on the verge of blowing up in the music world in a real way. I hope that happens – not only to feel like I was part of a band’s rise but really because they deserve it. Joywave works hard to win audience’s over and I’ll always appreciate that.

As previously mentioned, in classic Joywave manner, the band stopped probably their biggest hit to date, “Tongues” and ended the set with a second performance of “Destruction.” It was funny, I appreciated the sentiment, and it was additionally super cool that that performance ended being heavily featured in their tour music video for “Destruction” (which my friends and I are in!), but…I really wanted to hear all of “Tongues,” guys! Ah, well.

Bottom line: Joywave are fun and talented, and damn, do they know it. They screw around with the crowd at the crowd’s expense quite a bit, but I appreciate that they take risks and never, never bore me.

The Killers 9/19/15

(a) setlist

    1. Viva Las Vegas (Elvis Presley cover)
    2. Under The Gun
    3. Spaceman
    4. The Way It Was
    5. Smile Like You Mean It
    6. Bling (Confession of a King)
    7. Human
    8. Somebody Told Me
    9. For Reasons Unknown
    10. From Here On Out
    11. A Dustland Fairytale
    12. Be Still
    13. Read My Mind
    14. Runaways
    15. All These Things That I’ve Done


  1. Finding Out True Love Is Blind (Louis XIV cover) (w/ Brian Karscig)
  2. Uncle Jonny
  3. When You Were Young
  4. Mr. Brightside

(b) highlights

  • “Under The Gun,” holllyyyyy shiiiiitttttttt, we lost it
  • “Be Still” – much like the Atlantic City show earlier this year, Brandon dedicated this one to the fans who follow the band around and had really nice things to say; he waved his hands and pointed out the sections of people, which included me and my friends…the gesture meant a lot, to say the least
  • I first discovered Louis XIV in 2005, maybe 2006, because of The Killers and haven’t seen them in years (they broke up circa 2009, if I recall), so it was amazing getting to see Brandon sing “Finding Out True Love Is Blind” with Louis XIV’s guitarist and friend Brian Karscig (he also has a pretty awesome band named The Nervous Records, who opened for Big Talk a few months before this show); my friends and I had the time of our lives, total blast from the past moment seeing this live
  • but seriously, have you ever heard the lyrics to “Finding Out True Love Is Blind”?? those lines are diiiiirtttty, freaking loved hearing Schoolboy Flowers sing those
  • Ronnie Vannucci’s existence
  • “Uncle Jonny” is one of the best Killers songs, it’s criminally underrated, and they completely transform it live – it’s freaking next level
  • the entire show, to be honest – it felt so special, so wonderful, just…everything

(c) lowlights

  • just as the band started “From Here On Out,” Brandon said, “Hey!!! Do you guys still like ‘From Here On Out’????” and I flat out yelled, “BARELY!” Because I am on my last rope with that song, let’s retire this with our dancing shoes, Mr. Flowers. Let it go.

(d) overall thoughts

Every once in a while, you go to a show expecting to have fun, but something so much bigger happens. Somehow, unexpectedly, this show ended up being one of my favorite Killers shows ever. I wasn’t even supposed to go to this show; my friends and I super last-minute caught a cross-country flight using a zillion flight points and ended up at this small venue in San Diego to see our favorite band. It was super hot and we lied on the sidewalk for most of the day waiting in line and weren’t even in the front row (we were third row center!), but, man…that show was amazing.

The band had so much energy, the crowd had so much energy, and I genuinely never knew what song was coming next. Hearing “Under The Gun” live for the first time in – what, 7, 8, 9(?) years, was so emotional and wonderful. It was such a treat, such a gift, that I couldn’t help but smile the whole time. This show in particular was just full of so much joy and happiness and celebration. The band wasn’t touring for anything (this counted as a warm-up show for their Kaaboo Festival performance!), so the crowd was super hungry for them. Considering how, at this point, The Killers hadn’t put out a new album in three years, it felt natural that everyone’s hunger made the venue environment next level. The band seemed so happy and everyone was smiling and in their element. As if I needed reminding, this show really drove home how much I love The Killers and how happy they make me. You can’t forget some experiences like that. This one was one for the books.


Bottom line: I love that The Killers can still surprise me after a decade of waiting in line all damn day to see their asses play the same songs I’ve heard a hundred times; 11/10 would do this whole show 50 times over again because it was almost perfect.