Maddie's Top of 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR CYBER-PALS!!!! I can't believe it it 2015. To be honest, odd numbers aren't my favorite, but I always find that odd-numbered years bring me good times, and good adventures, so i'm very curious to see what the next 365 days hold in store for me. Before we get too focused on the future though, I'd like to take a minute to look back on all the fun I had in 2014. SXSW, Graduation, Warped Tour, Red Rocks and Riot Fest. It's been an amazing 12 months that led to new discoveries, new challenges, and plenty of funny stories. I've been lucky to share those with you all here, but thought we should re-cap just for good measure. Below you'll find my top 5 shows, top 5 albums, and top 6 (cause I can't decide) photographs of 2014. 

TOP FIVE SHOWS

1) Jimmy Eat World's Futures 10yr Anniversary Tour, The Ogden Theatre, October 7, 2014.
This should be pretty obvious why it's my number one. My favorite band touring and playing my favorite album in it's entirety? I literally cried through the entire thing. Not kidding. It also was the first time i'd ever seen them live with one of my closest friends, who is also a super huge mega fan of theirs. It was such a special night for so many reasons. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it. This is a show that will never be topped for me. I waited a decade of my life for one night, and it was certainly worth it. (Check out my review of the show for Ultra5280 here.)

2) twenty|one|pilots at The Ogden Theatre, May 16th 2014.
This was the first time Laurel and I had been able to see our clique leaders live since our obsession began. We first saw the band at The Bluebird back in November of 2013, but had never even heard their music before that night. That show is what sparked our addiction, and so finally seeing them live, and being a part of the fan base that inspired my original curiousity? That was amazing. (here's my review for Ultra5280)

3) Riot Fest Denver, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, September 19-21st, 2014 
In one weekend, I saw The Cure, Weezer play their "Blue Album" in its entirety, In The Whale take their pants off on stage for the Broncos (in front of Mile High Stadium), and Wu Tang Clan. I don't think there need be more explanation. (Ultra5280's weekend recap)

4) Phantogram's rooftop set at SXSW, March 12, 2014
This one is a little different because it wasn't even a proper concert, but this set was definitely my highlight of SXSW 2014. We were on a rooftop in the middle of downtown Austin, watching a band who I'd never really given the proper time of day before, and I fell in love with their music then and there. It's one of those moments that's hard to believe is real.

5) Lorde, The FirstBank Center, September 28, 2014
This show was probably the one that surprised me the most the entire year. I like Lorde's music plenty, but I usually really hate big pop production shows. When I was approved to cover this show for Ultra5280, I went in not fully prepared for what I would see, and found myself impressed with the young performer's poise in ways I couldn't have imagined. (read my Ultra5280 review for it here).

TOP FIVE ALBUMS

1) Hozier, Hozier
I told you all in my New Music Tuesday post about this album that i'd picked it as my top record of the year, and I've come through as promised. Check out my post about how much I love this record, and then give it a listen. I doubt you'll find yourself able to disagree. 

2) Alt-J, This Is All Yours
My undying love for Alt-J has only been progressed by the release of their new album. Weird, quirkly, melodically unique, and musically daring, this quartet is the front of new music. I might not be able to understand 75% of their lyrics (and the other 25% don't make sense), but I don't care. I love it. 

3) Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues
This record speaks for itself. One of the most well-respected punk rock groups of the modern era releasing an album that their lead singer ends up using as her coming out letter as transgendered? How much more punk can you get? The album is catchy, endearing, and a real statement of the times. I love it.

4) Broods, Evergreen
I got to spend an afternoon interviewing Broods' lead vocalist Georgia Knott, and after speaking with her, I felt like I could connect to this album on an ever deeper level. This young band is making promising music for being brand spanking new. The songs are catchy, the lyrics are honest, and the radio play it got this year is ridiculous. No way i couldn't pick it.

5) Manchester Orhestra, COPE. 
Although I haven't been a Manchester Orchestra fan for very long, seeing them perform live this past April was like finally eating a food I had no idea i'd been craving for months. A wondrous mix of alternative rock, melodic chorus', and heartfelt lyrics, the album COPE really feels like the bands most progressive album yet. 

TOP SIX PHOTOS

I genuinely couldn't decide which one of these six to knock out for submission for Ultra5280's end of year recap, so I submitted them all, and I'm sticking to that for my own post here. I really didn't photograph as much in 2014 as i did in 2013, but I still really love this top six. I feel like they perfectly capture my year in music. Here they are in order of when they were taken throughout the year. 

Cee Lo Green at Rachel Ray's Backyard BBQ | SXSW | Austin, TX, March 2014

Tyler Joseph of twenty|one|pilots, The Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO,  May 2014

Dua Boakye of Bad Rabbits at the Vans Warped Tour, Montréal, QC, July 2014.

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World. The Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO. October 2014.

David Boyd, lead singer of New Politics. The Gothic Theatre, Denver, CO. November 2014.

Dan Wayne Sermon of Imagine Dragons. The Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO. December 2014.

 

please note that ALL photos are copyrighted by Maddie Casey, and cannot be used without her permission.

Jimmy Eat World - FUTURES 10yr Anniversary Tour

You'll probably never ever catch me writing a blog like this again, but I needed to take a minute to share with you guys the amazingness that was a show I went to earlier this month. Some of you may have picked up on this by now if you follow all my social media channels (i'm @maddielion364 everywhere on the web), but Jimmy Eat World is my favorite band of favorite bands. I remember hearing the song "Work" on the radio in the car when I was twelve years old, and it made me feel something i'd never felt before. They were the first concert I ever chose to go to, and since then, it's been a decade of me thoroughly investigating their discography, driving thousands of miles to see them live in their hometown of Tempe, AZ, and waiting outside The Ogden Theatre here in Denver for hours just to be front row at one of their shows. This is probably the only band I've ever properly "fan-girled" over, so when they finally announced an anniversary tour for my favorite album of theirs, Futures, it felt like the best day of my life. October 7, 2014, that tour hit Denver, and I experienced something I will never experience again - a feeling of pure, unadulterated bliss. The feeling of a decade-long dream coming to fruition, and being able to share that with a band who I fully credit as the reason I have a career that I so truly love. 

I am literally so excited about this show that I just need to get it off my chest, so here's a little explanation, and photo review capturing the moments leading up to the show, and some of my favorite shots from that night (because yes, i got to photograph them for Ultra5280!). I'd reviewed some of their shows before for the blog, but nothing ever like this. This was the show of shows. The thing i'd been waiting for. I knew that my opinion was going to be biased, so I just let the night slide, caring less for my editorial, and more about just living in the moment. In the weeks before the show, I'd received three of the bands records on vinyl. As part of the 10yr celebration, the boys decided to re-release Clarity, and release Static Prevails and Futures on vinyl for the first time in beautiful colored 180-gram wax. I bought all three (obviously), but the highlight was getting my hands on Futures

 
 

Laurel and I actually pitched in together and bought Tyler (our dear friend who went to SXSW with us, and who is also a mage die-hard Jimmy fan) all three new vinyls as well for his birthday, and he got to open them just before he and I headed off to the show that night. (Look at how stoked we are about our vinyl haul!) We met up with some other friends for dinner before the show that night, and were mocked for our heavy debate on exactly how that night's set list would go. I was praying to the gods that they'd include some tracks off the band's Stay On My Side Tonight EP, which is more or less a collection of Futures B-sides the band wrote with producer Mark Trombino before he left the project, and none of them made the final album cut. We talked about what other rarities we might hear, but couldn't have cared less about what actually happened as long as they played the album front to back. 

Sure enough, as promised, when the lights when dark after a quick set from the tour opener, the room filled with a medley of melodies from the album. Jim Adkins approached his mic in pitch black, and as the opening chords to "Futures" filled the room, I completely lost my shit. I was in the pit photographing for the blog, but I had tears streaming down my face. I won't deny it - It felt surreal. Listening to this show finally happen was making me lose my mind. I couldn't believe that the moment had finally come. I left the pit quickly after my favorite song, "Work" ended, an stood without moving, singing every line for the rest of the set. I won't bore you with the rest of the details, and if you want a good synopsis of the rest of the night, you should check out my review for Ultr5280

To say it was a dream come true is the understatement of the century - that night filled me with more joy than anything else I've ever experienced. I had been having legit nightmares in the weeks leading up to the show that it wouldn't be all I'd dreamed, all I'd imagined. I couldn't have been more relieved to leave that night, knowing all my worries were in vain, and that my favorite band was just as amazing live as they always had been. Plenty of people in this world have favorite bands, but so many people really don't take the time (or get the chance) to really fully grasp that idea. Favorite bands, and fans like myself are the basic principles that the music and touring industry is built around. Having a deep connection to certain music and to a certain band is what keeps artists going, and what keeps music alive today. The fact that I have been lucky enough to experience the full spectrum of this relationship from both sides makes me appreciate it even more, and makes me really appreciate the boys of Jimmy Eat World for continuing to do what they do for fans like me. It seems absurd to have just wasted so much time recapping this for you all, I hope it reminds folks that even people working in music have favorite bands...hell, they are why we work in music. We all have reasons to do what we do, and knowing that I can help others feel the way I felt at a show like this is what drives my passion to keep the touring industry alive. If you ever get the chance to celebrate your favorite music like this, do whatever it takes to make it happen. There are few better medicines in this world than feeling the joy you get by having an experience like this.