Friday, April 25, 2014

lana del rey @ bill graham civic auditorium (4/18)

I know I said I'd do a write-up of the Lana del Rey concert I went to, so here it is! Unfortunately I've put it off for too long -- to call this past week exhausting would be an understatement -- so it'll be messy. (Think of it as a way to show off the, what, three nice photos I managed to snap?)

I already knew the crowd was going to be huge. I mean, it's Lana del Rey and people were lining up at the venue since 10am, and probably even earlier. I got there much later than I planned to, around 4:30pm or so, and I greatly underestimated the amount of people there. (I also underestimated the sheer amount of flower crowns in the audience. I don't think I've seen so many flower crowns in one place in my entire life.) The line eventually came to circle the entirety of the park by City Hall. I didn't think there was any possibility of my being at the front, and that was okay -- juts thinking about how brutal and rabid it would be at the pit was enough to let my late arrival slide.

Turns out I did end up pretty close. I don't know what it is about concerts and how I manage to luck out, no matter how late I arrive -- I'm not a crowd bully, I promise! -- but I ended up in the second row, towards the side. And if I thought I underestimated the size of the crowd as it snaked around the park, the sheer size of it only seemed bigger inside the venue. The concert hadn't even started yet and already people were pushing, and I had to steady myself so as to not fall over. I found myself envying those at the very front -- not because they were at the very front, but because they had a barrier to hold on to. By now it was more or less too late to head for a safer spot, seeing as the auditorium was full, and people were reluctant to move out of the way for anyone.

I'll say it now: that was the most brutal concert I've ever been to. Ever. Before this, it was the crowd at Arctic Monkeys back in September, but the crowd for Lana made that past experience look tame and family-friendly in comparison. And yes, I'm still saying that even though I got kicked in the head by a crowdsurfer at AM's show. The moment the lights dimmed the crowd made a wave towards the stage, and I knew it was only going to get more chaotic.

But enough of the crowd for now -- let's move on to Lana! Lana was fantastic. I never thought I'd be able to see her perform live, and I'm glad I didn't let this opportunity pass. She played her new song, West Coast, which was even better live. Here's her setlist from that evening.

Eventually some very tall and very rude people (and extremely hardcore Lana fans, judging from the fact that one of them tried to throw their underwear on stage and hit me in the head with it at one point...yuck) elbowed me and pushed me back, so I had to watch some of the concert through people's phones (or mine). As a result I got more videos than I did pictures. Pardon the bad quality, though. You can watch them on my Instagram: Born to DieBorn to Die (again), Gods and Monsters, Blue Jeans, West Coast, Young and Beautiful.

Anyway, after many a beautiful chorus, Lana sung the last words of National Anthem, signed autographs for those in the center front, and walked off stage. Once I made my way out of the crowd I walked over to the merchandise table, but the line was way too long so I figured I'd pass on a shirt. I met my friend Jasmine after the show as we couldn't find each other beforehand, and after a run-in (or drive-by, technically) with impatient strangers in the parking lot, I enjoyed the rest of the night as we made our way home.

All in all, Lana was glorious live, and I continue to admire her talent and how much she changes up her songs! One thing's for sure, though: next time she comes around town, I am definitely getting seats as opposed to standing. I love you, Lana, I really do, but I plan to keep my limbs intact -- all the better to dance along to your new tunes to!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

drowners @ great american music hall (3/14)

The thing about concerts is that after attending one, it's all you're going to want to do for a while. I have  Lana del Rey's show coming up on Friday, so before the experience and energy of that one consumes me, I'll write up this quick post about Monday's show at Great American Music Hall.

My friend Dainiz and I went to see Drowners (the opening band) and Temples the other night. There were several people, including us, who were really only there for Drowners from the looks of it -- the venue itself was more or less empty until Temples took the stage.

Unfortunately, given the lighting, continuous movement, and the fact that the camera on my phone isn't exactly the best, most of my photos didn't turn out so well despite being in the second row. It's nothing to mope about, though -- I had a great night, and there were plenty of nice photos from others in the #Drowners tag on Instagram.

I also took two quick videos of A Button on Your Blouse and Luv, Hold Me Down.

One thing I immediately noticed was that Drowners had great energy on stage! I think I might prefer their sound live to that of the studio, actually. (Sure, actually being there probably has a lot to do with it.) Jack Ridley on the guitar, in particular, was quite interactive with the audience.

Seeing as they were only opening (and that the duration of their debut album is about 30 minutes), they left the stage after a short set. A crew began to prep the stage for Temples, and people in the front began to leave too. Dainiz and I were at the very front row now, and the venue is quite small, so the shows make for a very intimate experience. 

However, the venue was starting to fill up fast, and there were some antsy Temples fans making their way to the front. Since we were only there for Drowners, we didn't mind giving up our spots at the front. We saw Drowners leave backstage and walking towards the merch table, so we left the crowd in that direction in hopes of being able to have a chat with them. And we did!

They were super friendly and eager to talk to fans. Matt Hitt (lead singer) was very patient when it came to taking photos -- the lighting was especially dim, and flash is especially unflattering, so there were plenty of retakes. I can't even remember how many we had to take. (I have a few photos with their new drummer, but the lighting is so awful that no amount of editing or filters could save it. Oh well.)

Luckily Dainiz brought her Fujifilm Instax camera, which yielded nice photos:

They stuck around the merch table for a while to talk to everyone, and by now the venue was definitely full. Temples came on stage, and conversation had to resort to shouting in order to hear anything. Anyway, Drowners eventually left, so after some mingling, I got a shirt and a free poster, and took a quick shot of Temples before we exited the venue:

Needless to say, the rest of the night went well. We were out of the venue earlier than expected so we stuck around whatever places happened to be open at the time. (Things in San Francisco close unfortunately early). Drowners are still continuing their US tour so I'm not sure when they'll be back, but when they do return to the bay area, I'll be sure to see them play again!


In other news, I have another article coming up on College Fashion's Fashion Inspired by Art column today, so check back there in a few hours. I probably won't be making a separate post for it this time around.

Next time: Lana del Rey!

Friday, April 11, 2014

life post, what's ahead, and another band spotlight (Moto Boy)

Hi! I figured it was about time I wrote a comprehensive post on what's been going on lately. I didn't expect April to be the exciting month it looks like it'll turn out to be -- all the fun stuff usually happens in May, when the semester finally ends, and when my birthday comes up. (May 23rd, hint hint.)

I haven't been working on any particular (creative) projects, but I finally have Photoshop installed on my new laptop, and I feel the drawing bug coming back, so I'm hoping to start that up again. I'm still researching how to properly price commissions when I open them in the future (and yes, I know I've been slacking in the art department, but I definitely will). In related news, Society6 recently added rugs to their list of products!

Art stuff aside, I'm looking forward to the rest of this month. I've been doing pretty well in terms of time management -- I've had to to a lot of things in advance to make sure I have time to enjoy all the fun stuff -- so I've just got to keep it up a little bit longer. 

Here's what I'm especially eager for:

After just having seen The National in LA, I thought it'd be a while till my next concert. But upon seeing that Drowners added a date here in San Francisco (they're opening for Temples), I knew I would regret it if I didn't go. So I went for it. I've already bought my Lana tickets a few months ago -- funny how these shows turned out to be in the same week. It's a good thing I've always got an abundant supply of coffee in the kitchen, because I'm definitely going to need it. (Though it is a wonderful coincidence that some of my classes were cancelled this week, too.) I'm sure these two shows will fill the void that missing HAIM's gigs here in SF have left behind.

I suppose it's pretty obvious that I'm not attending Coachella. There is always Outside Lands, of course, where both HAIM and Arctic Monkeys are playing...but I'm not quite sure if I can justify that just yet. I'll see. I have yet to plan any events for these next few months.

A few more things I have ahead:

+ I'm (finally) going to see The Grand Budapest Hotel this weekend. 

+ I have a photoshoot with the lovely Victoria Lubach on the 25th! It's been a long time since I've seen her, and I'm excited to work with someone of such talent! Check out her photography here.

+ I'm going to schedule another haircut soon. Nothing too dramatic of a change, just chopping off a few inches. Spring has definitely reached San Francisco, and anything above 70 degrees is too hot for me, so I'm preparing for the hell that is this upcoming summer.

Band spotlight: Moto Boy

I've never heard of Moto Boy until my friend Miriam posted a track of theirs, "Blue Motorbike", on Tumblr a while ago. It was definitely love at first listen -- I immediately loaded up a playlist of Moto Boy songs the moment "Blue Motorbike" finished playing. While "Blue Motorbike" is a cheerful number, his music is not limited to that particular vibe -- I was pleasantly surprised at the poignant range of his songs. Moto Boy's tracks travel through various temperaments, from to the sunny character of "Blue Motorbike" to the melancholy, cinematic arrangement of "Someday". (Other favories of mine are "Too Young to Know" and "A Room Without You".)

Based in Sweden, Oskar Humlebo of Moto Boy has been involved with music since childhood, where he sang in a choir, and later came to play jazz and experimental music during his teenage years. He eventually created the stage name Moto Boy, and released his debut album in 2008 of the same name. You can view his discography here on his official website, and read more about him.

His music is described as the following on Moto Boy's Soundcloud page:
"Moto Boy makes lush, romantic pop songs. With emotive pop and impressive operatic vocals, the result is hair-raising music that evokes feelings parallel to that of a Jeff Buckley song or a David Lynch movie.  
"...The Malmo based artist influences go from Tchaikowskij, and Angelo Badalamenti to Scott Walker and Siouxsie Sioux, but most of all he is inspired by great movies."
I highly recommend his music (hence my featuring him here), and if there's an artist that definitely deserves more attention, it's Moto Boy. You can listen to his music on Spotify here. 

Follow Moto Boy:



By the way, it's been a while since I've done this bit at the end of a post, so why not:

What I've been wearing: Gone are the days of coats and leggings (not really, it's still cold here in the morning) and I'm finding myself having a harder time than usual figuring out to wear. Fashion for the warmer months has never been my forte. I haven't been really doing anything new in terms of clothes, but I am going through another ring phase right now. I've been wearing the heart ring I bought in LA, the eye ring, and this cute kitschy bug ring set.

What I've been inspired by: Bee jewelry -- that bug ring set came with a bee ring so I had to have it. (I suppose it's my way of showing my love for anything and anyone related to Euglassia Watsonia.) Eye patterns. The stunning Autumn Kim and her ensembles, especially "Another Autumn" and "Green Rainy Day". This gorgeous photoshoot of Suki Waterhouse for L'Officiel Singapore, and my favorite shot from her shoot with ELLE China:

Most of all, though, I've been especially inspired by everything about Annie Clark (of St. Vincent), from her sound to her style:

What I've been listening to: I like to have the albums of bands I'm about to see live on repeat, so basically it's been a cycle of Drowners, Temples, and a whole lot of Lana del Rey. (I love Lana. Have you heard her new single? I absolutely adore it.) Other than those three bands: Moto Boy, obviously. Miles Kane's new song "Why?", which he wrote for Saint Laurent. I've had The National's Boxer and High Violet albums on repeat since LA. On gloomier days I'll switch on some of Kate Bush, The Cure, and The Vaccines. I've also had a few middle/high school throwback moments with CocoRosie and Dear and the Headlights.

What I've been reading: Still nothing outside of what's required for my literature classes (I've just finished Eduardo Halfon's The Polish Boxer, which I enjoyed, and a reread of Kerouac's On the Road). But! After the season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones and a few months of everyone telling me I should, I thought I'd finally start reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I'm excited.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

lyubov popova @ CF

I'll write up a longer post soon -- I've got several great events coming up this month, each of which I'm very excited for, and will definitely write about!

For now, though, here's another article of mine from the Fashion Inspired by Art column over at College Fashion. This week features a geometric painting by Lyubov Popova, a Russian avant-garde artist

I had a lot of fun writing this post and creating outfits for it. I'd say it's probably my favorite out of the articles I've written for College Fashion so far!