Monday, 13 August 2018

Live | As It Is @ Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

In honour of As It Is releasing their new album, The Great Depression, I thought I'd share some photos from our trip to see them in Nottingham at the start of The end of Okay. tour.

I've got a lot of time for As It Is - not only do they write absolute bangers (and I mean literally almost every single song is gold), but they stand for something too, and their position in the music scene right now is undeniably important. The guys are very outspoken on issues like mental health, and work with organisations such as Hope for the Day to spread this message. The okay. album in itself is brutally honest and open about their struggles, which is refreshing and welcome in a music scene that is so male-dominated. 

The show itself - back in early March - was all round excellent. With killer supports like Grayscale, WSTR and Like Pacific, we were already in for a treat, but As It Is knocked it completely out of the park and then some. I'd seen them originally the October before, as the main support on Neck Deep's The Peace and the Panic tour, and got really into their music since then. The okay. album is solid gold - highlights including, but by no means limited to, Until I Return, Pretty Little Distance, The Coast is Where Home Is, and No Way Out. Not to mention their previous album Never Happy, Ever After, with the rock solid bops that are Dial Tones, Speak Soft and Concrete. Their set was excellent from start to finish - they exceeded all my expectations and just brought us a fucking good time, which is what you want, right?

I was lucky enough to catch them on Warped Tour a few weeks ago and hear new bops The Wounded World and The Stigma (Boys Don't Cry) live - TGD's third single, The Fire, The Dark really goes off too (see what I mean when I say they genuinely can't write a bad song?). I'm properly getting into the rest of the album at the minute (I also love the title-track and The Handwritten Letter a lot), and I can't wait to hear some of the new tracks live in the future (hopefully!).  

You can listen to their entire setlist from their Nottingham show on my Spotify below - as well as a few tracks from their supports on the night. Check out The Great Depression too, and finally: if you haven’t yet listened to Grayscale, do it. You won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

A First and Final Warped Tour

Growing up, Warped Tour was always one of those things I vaguely dreamed about going to, but never thought it would be a reality. It's always been the festival for pop punk and this 'scene', so to speak. Every year we'd watch the line-up roll out and the special magazine features pour in and think just how fucking cool it'd be to have a festival of that size for all the bands we listened to, here at home.

I've always wanted to go to the likes of Reading & Leeds, Download, etc. but they always seemed a possibility, given that they're a quick Ryanair flight away at best. But Warped Tour? Not a chance.

That is, until earlier this year, Warped founder Kevin Lyman announced that the 2018 tour would be the very last, classic cross-country tour. And that's when I knew I'd just have to make the trip. I mean, this is childhood bucket-list type stuff.

We chose two California dates (and made a two week trip around Los Angeles out of it, but more of that in another post): the tour kicked off in Pomona on June 20th, and our second date was to be along the coast in Ventura four days later.

The deal with Warped Tour is - if you're unfamiliar - the stage times (and unfortunate clashes) get announced literally the morning of the show, so the first hour is usually spend sweating in the lengthy queue in and then sweating over the stage times trying to figure out who you're seeing and when (plus thirty degree celsius heat on top of that, thanks Pomona). On day one, most of who we wanted to see were playing after 3pm, so we had a pretty chilled first morning. We watched and chatted with The Maine and As It Is, saw Grayscale, 3OH!3, Real Friends and Knuckle Puck, a few minutes of Tonight Alive, as well as Waterparks' all too brief acoustic set on the Left Foot stage, and ended our evening watching With Confidence at golden hour as the sun set on those hazy Californian hills.

Day two in Ventura was a lot more hectic, but thankfully a lot cooler weather-wise too. We started our morning with Grayscale and chatted with Collin at merch, then John O'Callaghan of The Maine "took us to church" over at the Right Foot stage (it was noon on a Sunday after all). I've never been to one of The Maine's shows before this but I've completely fallen in love with them since Warped - the beauty of the festival, eh? Ventura was also pretty Waterparks heavy - we caught their full set on the Left Foot Stage (no technical difficulties this time around AND we got to hear Rare live for the first time!), then hit up their meet & greet with Can You Hear Me, as well as frontman Awsten Knight's "class" with TEI (I use the term "class" very loosely...). We caught a little bit of Simple Plan, We The Kings, Tonight Alive, and State Champs, chatted with the guys in With Confidence, and ended our Warped Tour experience with All Time Low. Whatever you might think about ATL, you can't argue that they're probably one of the most iconic pop punk bands to come from our generation, and ultimately the perfect band to end our final Warped with!

It will be weird not having Warped Tour around (says she who's been literally twice) - but I guess we grew up with this tour for years (I mean it's literally as old as I am), watching it from (quite) a distance, checking out all the bands on the line-up we didn't already know, and mourning all the sets we'd miss from the ones we did. Warped's been a huge part of this scene and its culture for decades, and has provided an invaluable platform for hundreds of bands in its time, as well as the opportunity for fans to see all their favourites sharing stages, and to even meet some of their heroes.

It sounds corny as hell but going to Warped was an actual childhood dream come true, and just a sick experience all round. So I guess you could say... thnks fr th mmrs? (... sorry)

Next, stop Reading festival!

Check out all my Warped Tour highlights on Spotify below:

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Eight Months

Hi there.

This feels very strange.

It's been an awful long time since we last spoke, hasn't it? Eight months?

This is just a little post to say hi. I'm here. I hope you're here too.

Those of you who have stuck around, or just happened to click here: hi there. I'm glad you're here too.

I've had something of an incredible year, I'm just disappointed I haven't had a means to document it, but here I am. Lots of things coming your way, don't worry.

It's nice to be back.

C x

Sunday, 17 December 2017

48 Hours in Amsterdam

Last October, Rachel and I flew to Amsterdam for Mayday Parade's tenth anniversary Lesson in Romantics tour. Neither of us had even been to the Netherlands before, so we spent our 48 hours there squeezing in as many sights as we could.

We stayed in the Leidsplein district of the city, in the Backstage Hotel - a rock 'n' roll inspired spot filled with cool guitars and piles upon piles of iconic vinyls. Our room even came stocked with a bunch of artsy books on music legends of every genre. The hotel was right around the corner from the Melkweg venue, and a minute's walk from the nearest shopping streets and tram stops.

On our first day we hit up the museum quarter, which houses the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum (among others) and those infamous iamsterdam signs (let's not talk about how long it took us to find the Rijksmuseum despite being a ten minute walk from our hotel...). Later, we took a tram to the other side of the city and wandered around the busy Dam Square, home to the Madame Tussaud's museum and the biggest Penneys I have ever seen (you can take the girls out of Ireland...).

Our night was occupied by the Mayday Parade show in the Melkweg - a former milk-factory-turned-music-venue, Melkweg meaning Milky Way- who played an intensely nostalgic set, preceeded by Australian pop punk outfit With Confidence and Texan trio Waterparks.

On day two we spent our morning searching for the bench from The Fault in Our Stars, only to find it already occupied by two old guys drinking cans... We also made a brief stop to the Vondelpark, and narrowly avoided being hit by cyclists a few dozen times. That afternoon, we hopped on a boat and took a trip round the city's canal routes - stopping only to check out the Anne Frank museum in Prinsengracht (if you ever want a hope of getting in there book your tickets weeks in advance - we didn't). Although Amsterdam's not a big city by any means, the canal tours are a handy way of seeing all the sights in a few hours - plus if you're as tired as we were, it saves a lot of walking.

It's a gorgeous little city, and we're already planning another two day trip back there next spring. If you've been before, I'd love to hear your recommendations of what to do or see, or where to eat or stay, for the next time!
Ciara Pollock © . Design by FCD.