2013 in Music

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I can’t remember the last year that there was SO MUCH good music that came out. I don’t know if it’s just that I kept up with more of it this year, or everyone just chose to release music in 2013, but my God this list took me about 3 minutes to put together. I wish I was kidding.

The worst part is it doesn’t even include all my favorite albums, and there is still a list of them that I’ve been meaning to download a copy of and just haven’t gotten around to yet. Yes, 2013 was definitely a good year in music. It wouldn’t feel right to go celebrate 2014 without properly honoring my top 10 of the year (and honorable mentions, of course), so here we go. Maybe you’ll find some good new music to end your year off, too?

10. Little Comets- Life Is Elsewhere
I discovered this band when reviewing their debut album for Confront Magazine, and it’s absolutely stunning. What a talent, and I can’t wait to see what they do next! The song below is an acoustic version of one of their tracks, and it is just gut-wrenchingly beautiful. I love when singers have voices that are completely out of the ordinary.

9. MS MR- Secondhand Rapture
Definitely a break-out band in 2013, this indie/pop duo completely won me over. I love the new indie/pop genre and I think their debut album really captures everything that’s fun and beautiful about it! I’m also a big fan of the male-female duo, which is a rarity in music today.

8. Twenty One Pilots- Vessel
This album should be much closer to #1 on this list, but there were just too many GREAT records this year. This one is by far the furthest from my usual style. T.O.P are a hybrid between pop and maybe a little bit of rap and something else, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you what. I can’t BELIEVE this is their debut. I think I just love every band signed with Fueled By Ramen. I can’t wait to see these guys live. I have literally had this record on repeat since it came out! The song below is a favorite for sure.

7. The 1975- Self-Titled
I’m sad I didn’t give this album a chance sooner, because it is AMAZING. I can’t believe I’m saying this for the fourth album in a row, but this is another stellar debut album in 2013. Their indie/rock feel is so spot on, and the lead singer’s voice gets me, without fail, on every song. The one below just happens to be a favorite at the moment, but the entire album is goosebump-worthy.

6. Paramore- Self-Titled
I’ve loved Paramore for so long, it was SO good to see them come back with some new music this year. Although they do sound a bit different on this album, while still being so distinctly themselves. I love hearing how much they have grown and improved as a band over the years. Seeing them live a month or so ago only solidified how freaking amazing they still are. Hayley Williams is so kick ass. :)

5. Jimmy Eat World- Damage
Another long time favorite band, I had to give this record a few listens before really falling in love with it. It seems to be that way for all of their new releases, but when it hits me how good their new music is, I just can’t get enough of it. Another solid Jimmy Eat World album to add to the collection!

4. Erland- On Our Side
I discovered these guys back in April when they played the opening set for Andrew McMahon, and it has been love ever since. I’m almost surprised that I put this album in my top 5, but it seemed like such a natural thing to do after listening to it pretty much nonstop since I first picked it up in April. So talented, and I do hope they make it out to Montreal some time soon. They put on a great live show!

3. Fall Out Boy- Save Rock & Roll
I have to admit, I did not love this album when it first came out. It didn’t make sense to me like their previous records, and I really REALLY wanted to love F.O.B now that they were back together. Finally, after interviewing them & hearing all the songs live, the album just STUCK and now I cannot get enough of it. So happy to have them back together! (I’m still coming to terms with their Pax-Am songs… Not sure what those are about yet)

2. Icona Pop- This Is… Icona Pop
I reviewed this album for Confront Magazine, and it still remains the only album to EVER get a 5 star rating from me, ever. It may not be particularly deep in terms of lyrics, but you won’t get another feel-good record like this one. Another stellar indie/pop/electro record in the books for 2013!

1. Lorde- Pure Heroine
This girl gets the #1 spot, hands down. I have never been so blown away by a debut. Or if I have, I certainly don’t remember it. I could literally listen to every single song on Pure Heroine on repeat, all day. I can’t believe she recorded the entire album at the age of 16, and now at 17 she is taking the musical world by storm. If you ever trusted me on music before and you haven’t listened to Lorde yet (I don’t see how this might be possible) then I highly suggest you checking her out right now!

Honorable mentions: 
Vance Joy- God Loves You When You’re Dancing
Andrew McMahon- The Pop Underground
Kings of Leon- Mechanical Bull
Panic! at the Disco- Too Weird To Live, Too Rare to Die

What were your favorites? 

Fall Out Boy

I’ve been talking about the interview I did with Fall Out Boy for CONFRONT for almost three weeks now, and it still feels completely surreal to me that it happened. My featured article on the band (and specifically on my interview with Patrick Stump and Joe Trohman) was posted this weekend, and I think it was one of the most difficult pieces I’ve ever written- but also one of my favorites. It’s not easy doing justice to one of the most influential bands in my life so far, but I did my best and I think it turned out pretty good!

If you’d like to see the result, below is a little teaser. You can find a link at the very bottom to read the full article on CONFRONT Magazine!

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I think it takes some time and maturity to understand that change is scary for everybody; it’s scary for you, but it’s also scary for your audience, and so I can’t hold that against the audience.” – Patrick Stump

When I first heard that Fall Out Boy was getting back together a few months ago, I was in complete shock. I know, I know, they said they were taking an “indefinite hiatus”- but I didn’t know bands actually came BACK from that kind of thing.

The truth is, I was pretty overwhelmed at the time; each Fall Out Boy record that has come out clearly defines a certain moment in my life. ‘Take This To Your Grave’ in 2004 and ‘From Under the Cork Tree’ in 2006 symbolize everything I loved about high school, ‘Infinity on High’ was that awkward time when I was in CEGEP and didn’t know what to do with my life (coincidentally, it’s a song on that very album that would prompt my writing career), and ‘Folie a Deux’- the most mature of the FOB records- was released just as I turned 18 and began to feel like a more mature adult myself.

When Fall Out boy took a three year break, there was a distinct gap in my music collection, but more importantly, I don’t think I ever really understood the reason that one of the most influential bands of the decade was taking a step back from all their achievements. I’ll admit it; when I heard they were coming back AND they had a full album that was coming out too? It was more than shock- I was excited of course, and I was also a tiny bit hesitant. What made them get back together following their pursuit of solo careers, experimenting different genres of music, spending time with family, all the while not whispering a single word about the record until it was completely done?

I had a lot of questions, especially after hearing the vastly different style that the four musicians took on the record ‘Save Rock & Roll’ (which, in case you haven’t given it a good listen yet, is AMAZING). When the band stopped in Montreal on May 25th to play to a sold-out crowd, I had the opportunity that few long-time fans get; I sat down with lead vocalist Patrick Stump and guitarist Joe Trohman to find out firsthand what happened when Fall Out Boy officially took a hiatus, and what it means to them now that they’re back together.

Both guys were sitting on the couch when I arrived and were immediately friendly, chatty, and ready for a good interview. Although they were both tired from their extensive touring schedule, they were very easy to talk to; Patrick sat curled up on the couch messing around with his signature fedora and cracking jokes, while Joe relaxed and played off Patrick’s comments next to him. After a couple minutes, we got into what I can only describe as a really honest, sometimes heartbreaking (for me, anyway) but extremely humbling conversation about the Fall Out Boy of 2009, versus the one that sat in front of me that day.

Read the rest of the article RIGHT HERE! 

When You Just “Know”

So, despite working every day this weekend, I still had a really great two days. I spent my entire weekend immersed in the world of music: I went to 2 back-to-back concerts, and did two interviews one day after the next. Sometimes, when all the work is piling on, it’s easy to feel stressed and lose your motivation- even when it comes to the things you care about most.

But this weekend? It was a reminder that I just really, really love working in the music industry. It was a reminder that, despite sometimes feeling like my inbox might *literally* explode, or that there are just too many things on my administrative to-do list/not enough time spent on my personal writing, running a magazine is still really, really freaking cool.

On Friday, after a hectic afternoon, I headed down to interview the very talented Marina Diamandis (otherwise known as Marina and the Diamonds). She has some ridiculously catchy songs on her album ‘Electra Heart’, and to be honest I always love interviewing female musicians. We chatted for about 15 minutes, and I had a great time. She was so easy to talk to, and I began to remember just how much I love doing in-person interviews. They’ve gotten so much easier on me (and on my nerves!) over the years, and now I just have so much fun with it!

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After the interview, I headed out into the rain & cold to see Of Monsters and Men perform an absolutely amazing set. The clouds held out for most of their set, but for the last 5-6 songs it really started to come down. By the end, I was quite frozen and soaking wet, but it was completely worth it. Plus, I’m not sick yet, so that’s a plus!

photo (6)Pre-show picture taking with the outdoor stage behind us in the distance! 

On Saturday, I spent the entire day being nervous, because I had a confirmed interview with Fall Out Boy later that evening, before their show. I think a lot of people like to make fun of FOB because they’re one of those pop-punk bands from the 2003-2009 era, and, I don’t know, apparently there comes a time where it’s no longer cool to listen to certain bands? But anyway, that’s not the case for me whatsoever. I’ve been a fan of theirs since I was 14- they were one of the very first bands that introduced me to the world of music, and what it really meant to fall in LOVE with music.

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When they announced their hiatus (or what I deemed their ‘break-up’) in 2009, I was devastated. It seemed like this whole era of my musical life was over. But low and behold, a few months ago, they reunited and had a brand new album, and now they’re back on tour. I feel like I’m 15 and discovering music for the first time all over again (except not really, because now I listen to more than, like, 5 bands).

I was nervous for the interview most of the morning, but as it happens, I calmed down the moment I walked into the room. I had 15 minutes with the lead singer and the guitarist. It was just one of those moments where my whole life kind of came full circle, right there in that room. Not only was it one of the easiest interviews I’ve ever done, but it was definitely a really emotional one too. I left feeling, more than ever, that I really, REALLY want to work in the music industry. I don’t know how else to explain it, except that doing those interviews just felt so much like EXACTLY what I’m supposed to be doing, except one day I would just love to be paid to do it, so I can spend every waking hour truly focused on my writing.

The Fall Out Boy show that night was astounding. I hadn’t seen them live in 7 years, and they did not disappoint. They played 99% of my favorite songs, and I not only fell back in love with all their music, I have an entirely new appreciation for the new album ‘Save Rock & Roll’. I’ve been listening to them nonstop since the show, and I’ve found myself so re-motivated to do everything I can to continue pursuing this career I love so darn much.

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A Weekend of Music

Last weekend, a friend and I drove up to Boston for two nights, and two concerts. Although I didn’t get to see much of the city of Boston itself, I did get a good taste of the awesome music that goes through there every single day, and I loved it. I can’t wait to go back for a few more days someday (soon?!) and visit it a little bit more.

While I was there, we didn’t really get the chance to do much other than go to the shows we had driven up for. I was kind of sad to be in a new city and not get to see much of it, but it ended up being completely worth it, and it just meant visiting Boston in a different kind of way. There are literally ALWAYS awesome shows happening there. I had no idea what a big city it was for concerts and music in general, but now that I do? I have a completely new fascination with the place!

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On the Sunday that we arrived, we quickly unpacked at our hotel & headed to the House of Blues to check out Parachute and Andy Grammer. I know a few songs by each artist, and although I wouldn’t have gone if my friend wasn’t a big fan, it was still a fun experience… Plus, House of Blues?! That definitely made me feel like I was in Boston.

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Monday morning we ended up being very lazy, and only left the hotel around lunch time. It was an absolutely beautiful, warm, sunny day in Boston, so we wanted to walk around the city for a few hours before heading to the Paradise Rock Club to see Andrew McMahon perform that night. After almost two hours of driving around with NO parking to be found, we gave up and found some great parking right by the venue. The upside? We arrived early enough that we were very close to the front of the line for his sold out show!

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After spending a few hours enjoying the sunshine, we got ready to head into the venue. I’ve said this many times, but Andrew McMahon happens to be one of my all-time favorite musicians. I followed his career throughout his time with Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin. I was sad when both bands broke up, but following his career and seeing him perform the best of both in Boston? Such an amazing experience.

There were two opening artists: Kate Earl and a band called ERLAND. Both of them were amazing. I love discovering new music through the first act at a show, and it made the whole experience so much better because I didn’t mind waiting for Andrew to come on stage. I’ve been listening to ERLAND’s album (independently produced with Andrew McMahon’s help, in fact!) since getting back home. They’re such a talented bunch, and they were all super friendly too. I highly recommend checking them out. This is one of my current favorites by them:

Around 9:30pm, Andrew finally hit the stage, playing for almost two straight hours. He played a mixed set between his two past bands, and he also played a couple new songs that I absolute love… Obviously. It’s been a little while since I’ve had the chance to see him live, and I was not in the LEAST bit disappointed. Since 2008 I’ve had the chance to see him 6 times and every single time I’ve left more in love with his music than before.

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 Oh and also? I got to meet him for the FIRST TIME after the show!

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I always thought I’d be a complete mess when it came time to meet him- after 10 years of following his career, I’ve always been ridiculously star struck by him- but he was very down to earth, easy to talk to, and I mean really… I still can’t believe I met him. It’s weird how some people have this effect on us in the world, and he just happens to be one of them for me. I think his music just had such an impact on my life, it’s hard to translate this into seeing him as a normal person, up close, just like everyone else.

Music doesn’t have this kind of effect on everyone, but to me? My life just isn’t complete without these kinds of crazy, beautiful moments. I had a really tough post-concert depression the following day, but luckily getting back into school and general life has made it a bit better!

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 My new lyric-poster kept me company on the very long, cloudy drive back to Montreal the next day!

Andrew’s newest song:

If you happen to be a fan of these bands and want to read my in-depth review on Confront Magazine, you can read it by clicking here!

What musicians/bands have changed your life most? Have you ever had the opportunity to meet them? 

Augustana Sang it Best…

If you’ve read a few posts around here at any given time, you’ll know that there are two things I love more than anything else in the world. Music, and traveling. Putting them together? That’s just a bonus! I’m heading to Boston with a good friend of mine today for two days, to see two different concerts, and soak in a little bit of a brand new city.

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I’ve never been, but if Augustana’s song ‘Boston’ (a long-time favorite track of mine) tells me anything, it’s that I’m going to love being there.

It’s been a hectic couple weeks as the winter semester comes to an end and finals begin, and I fully plan on enjoying these couple days away, even if I may have some homework to do at the hotel at night. I get to see one of my all-time favorite musicians for the first time since 2011. I’m very lucky that I have had the chance to see him perform live five times since 2008, but it will be the first to see him doing his own thing, rather than with a band. Nonetheless, I’m ridiculously excited for a roadtrip to see Andrew McMahon!

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We’re also enjoying a spontaneous show by Andy Grammer and Parachute. I hadn’t heard much of either of these bands before planning my trip to Boston, but my friend is a big fan, so we’re making a special evening out of tonight to see them. Should be a good time! I rarely say no to a good show.

I’ll be home late Tuesday night, and hopefully some updates after that about my trip and other random life things. Until then, I’ve put together a playlist if you’re interested in hearing all the bands I’ve mentioned above. A little music for your Sunday.

Boston Playlist by melissapayette on Grooveshark

Have a great weekend!

March Moments

I’ve been feeling very busy and disconnected from my blog, and it’s not a feeling I’m used to in the least. It’s strange to look at my recent archives and feel like there is a gap between my life and my writing, and there is very little I can do about it because I’m so short on extra time in my life. But I do my best to keep my blog going when I can, and knowing that I’m still writing a little bit everywhere helps a lot too.

March has been a crazy, beautiful month. Normally, I hate this month. I have for the past decade, because it is just tainted with a lot of bad dates that have followed me through my life. But this year I have been fortunate enough to stop thinking about it, even for a little while.

Here are the moments that have made this year’s month of March so wonderful for me, also known as another way to update about all the things going on in my everyday life!

1. Feeling under the weather and having a good friend surprise you with freshly baked cookies and a little care package that included a candle and some bubble bath. Relaxation, yes please!

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2. Interviewing two amazing Canadian bands for CONFRONT Magazine, Inlet Sound & Lakes of Canada, and then attending their show that evening which was tons of fun.

I reviewed the show right here!

photo (3)Not to mention spending the evening with one of my favorite people <3

3. Somehow finding the time to write THREE guest posts. One about my favorite travel reads, another about my job at CONFRONT (going live later this week, link soon!), and one more about how much I love music.

4. Babysitting my nephew a few times, which is always the highlight of my weekends! 

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5. Dinner for a friend’s birthday turns into a girls’ night & reunion with some of my favorite people

meandlisaWith one of my favorite girls! 

6. Finding out that I will be taking over presidency next year for CASA Cares, the charity association that I am currently the VP Public Relations for this year. I have LOVED being a part of this year’s team. It has not only changed my University experience, but I’ve met tons of amazing people, worked with some great charities, and have learned so much about myself in the process. I’m terrified, but so excited, to see what next year brings to the team that I am currently putting together.

7. Seeing P!nk live in Montreal for the very first time. She has been a long-time favorite female artist of mine, and a role model throughout high school and CEGEP. She was, hands down, one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

pinkshowEnjoying the show with some crazy friends :)

IMG_5757One of the best female artists in music today, in my opinion

IMG_5784Definitely the best concert I’ve been to all year! 

8. NEW YORK CITY for four days, a much needed trip away from home & getaway with friends

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9. Spontaneously having a day off after a very long week coming home from NYC… I *really* needed to just sleep and do my own thing. It was wonderful!

10. Last, but certainly not least, everything this month related to the CASA Cares fashion show. The event took place this past Friday March 29th, and was beyond a success I could have imagined. Our team worked tirelessly for 3 months putting this event together, and seeing it sell out, seeing the models work the catwalk, the performers engage the crowd, and everyone having an amazing time? SO worth it. I’m still on a high after that 20+ hour day, and although it’s difficult to wrap my mind around doing it in another year, I’m already SO excited. What an insane, beautiful experience to be a part of!

I stole a bunch of people’s Instagram photos to share below. Everyone helped spread the word with our hashtag #Platinum10, and from there I grabbed  bunch of awesome pics. Here’s a little look at how the night went:

platinum10setupSetting up & people arriving at the beginning of the evening, after a long day of rehearsals & preparations at the club!

platinum10workitSome models walking the runway, wearing Montreal brands such as Rififi and Valerie Dumaine. Amazing sponsors!

platinum10confettiA confetti-filled ending to the 2 hour show, right before the after-party!

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Models on stage with their final outfits on for the finale

Official photos right here, with hundreds more to come. I’m sure I ended up in pictures somewhere during the night, which I’ll be sure to share as more pictures come my way!

& how was your month of March?! Any great stand-out moments?

2012 in Music

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2012 was an amazing year for music. Not only did some amazing albums come out, but I had the chance to attend and interview so many of my favorite musicians out there right now. My top 5 concerts below are not only some of my most memorable experiences, but 4 out of the 5 were the best interviews I did for CONFRONT Magazine this year.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again- I love that magazine. It started off as a neat side project to get me involved in music and writing more often, and it has now become something that I could see myself pursuing for a long time. Writing about music- combining two of my passions in one- is literally a dream come true. Interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry? That is just a really, really awesome job perk.

This week on CONFRONT, I’m sharing my top 5 albums of 2012, so I thought it was fitting to share my favorite concerts over here on the same day. 2012 was definitely one of the best in terms of working and enjoying music, and 2013 is already gearing up to be really great too. Seriously, what is life without music but a quiet existence?

#5 Of Monsters and Men

I don’t even know where to start with this band- I first heard of them a couple years ago thanks to blogger friend Dana, and from the moment I put their album on, it hasn’t left my ‘repeat’ playlist on iTunes. I can’t get enough of their music, and their live shows are just stellar. I got to interview them for CONFRONT when they were in Montreal the first time (last April) and was completely smitten over them- since then, I’ve only fallen more in love. I can’t WAIT for a second record- I hope it’ll be in 2013!

#4 The Rocket Summer

It was the first time I could ever remember TRS headlining a show in Montreal and I left the venue SO SAD that it was over. Another artist I got to interview for CONFRONT before the set, he was just as down to earth in person as he seemed- and his live performance? Beyond amazing. It’s no wonder his album made it to my top 5 of 2012.

#3 Snow Patrol

One of my all-time favorite bands, SP came back to Montreal for the first time in YEARS, and they brought Ed Sheeran along. I got to interview one of the founding members of the group beforehand for CONFRONT, and then I enjoyed hours of an absolutely amazing live show. Snow Patrol have literally never disappointed me in all the times I have seen them in concert.

#2 Bon Iver

Not only did I get to road trip to New York City for a weekend with three people who love music as much as me, but I got to attend one of the final Bon Iver concerts for the next few years at Radio City Music Hall. I always enjoyed Justin Vernon’s music, but this show just set the whole thing in stone. Absolutely  mind blowing.

#1 Ed Sheeran 

If this is a surprise to anyone reading this, you don’t know me well enough yet. This 22 year old musician stole my heart nearly two years ago, and his headlining show in Montreal in September was just the cherry on top of it all… Not to mention that I got to interview him for CONFRONT Magazine. And I’m still listening to his music every single day. Definitely earned the number 1 spot!

Any great 2012 musical moments in your life?

On… The best part about music

When I was 16, I started going to concerts. I don’t know what it was about seeing live shows that attracted me even as a teenager, but I could never get enough of them. A favorite band was coming through my city? I needed to be there. Some of my favorite memories in high school are rocking out and meeting a favorite artist with my best friends. I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Now that I’m older, that hasn’t changed one bit. Wherever I am in the world, I’m always looking for the next show I can go to. When I’m traveling, I will always look up my favorite musicians to see if they’ll be nearby when I’m around. I have a lot of trouble passing up a good show in my home city. But the BEST part about music & live shows?

The road trips that get planned JUST FOR the love of music. 

The number of pictures we have like this is crazy. But I wouldn’t change it for the world! 

Especially in the last few years, I’ve had the most unforgettable  music memories by packing a car up with some food and some best friends, and driving to a city for a concert. I hope it’s something I’m always able to do, but as long as I’m young enough and still able to? I’ll keep road tripping for concerts.

Toronto in 2009 with two of my favorite girls. This is still one of my favorite days and road trips so far <3

Toronto in August 2010 for Something Corporate

Burlington in 2011 for Jimmy Eat World

New York City in 2012 for Bon Iver

I’m so lucky to have so many friends that are in love with music as much as I am. I’ve been able to grow up surrounded with something I love, and through all of it I’ve been able to get work in the music industry too. Not only do I get to manage a music magazine (staffed with the most amazing people) with one of my best friends, but this girl is always up for a road trip if it means music, long car rides & some good company.

When she suggested that we spend a long weekend in Toronto this coming June for Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, I don’t think I could have said “YES” any quicker. One of my favorite musicians, and the worlds’ cutest country singer… PLUS A WEEKEND in one of my absolute favorite Canadian cities? Next to traveling the world, road tripping for concerts is my favorite thing to do ever.

More of this in 2013? Yes please :)

We’re getting ready to buy tickets in the next couple weeks, and I’m already counting down the months until we GO. I love knowing that I have fun plans to look forward to next year. I know there will be so many more good shows and road trips, but this one? I know this one is going to be especially awesome.

Are you a crazy concert go-er like I am? What’s your favorite part? 

A Weekend in New York City

A couple months ago, I planned a short weekend trip to New York City with three friends. We randomly decided it would be totally worth it to go see Bon Iver perform one of his 4 back-to-back shows at Radio City Music Hall. I was so 100% down for this idea immediately because I hadn’t been back to NYC since 2008 and it’s been on my to-do list since I came home. I’ve always loved that city, so it was like two awesome things in one. Not to mention the fact that I knew I’d be missing traveling around now & it would be a nice little getaway.

Friday was NEW YORK CITY DAY. We were supposed to get our stuff together and leave no later than lunch time and get to the place we were staying in Long Island just after dinner. Unfortunately, through a series of rather hilarious events, we were stuck in a car for somewhere close to 12 hours (instead of 8) and we only arrived in Long Island at almost 3 in the morning. Our driver realized about an hour in that he had mixed up his passport with his friends’, so we had to go all the way back home to get the right one. Then, we decided we’d ignore the GPS and try another route but we ended up driving straight through New York and into Connecticut… Basically it wasn’t so funny at the TIME, but once we found our way, we joked that we TOTALLY meant to take a short trip into an entirely different state. Good times.

 
Finally arriving at the border & driving at sunset

 After only about 5 hours’ sleep, we got up around 8:30am on Saturday. We only had ONE DAY in the city (and the concert was that night) so we wanted to make the best of it. We hopped a train to Manhattan and got in around 10:45am. Two of my friends are regulars in NYC, but I was immediately jumping up and down from excitement. I WAS BACK IN NEW YORK CITY. It was just as busy, hectic, bustling, dirty and awesome as I remembered it to be.

On the train early in the morning with my favorite (other) Mel! 

Hello again, NYC :) 

We made a stop at Macy’s & Crumbs Bake Shop for a delicious cupcake before walking straight for Times Square. I think this is still my favorite part of NYC that I’ve seen so far. I know it’s the most touristy place, but there’s something about being in that exact place that just makes me smile uncontrollably.

SO MANY CHOICES!

This cupcake was AMAZING.

Times Square was PACKED with people! The city was crazy busy. 

 
Soaking in my favorite part of the city before heading to SoHo! 

We had to have a photo all together in the M&M store… I also had to hold myself back from eating everything

Our glasses matched the M&M’s so we just had to do this. Ha :)

We wandered through a couple more stores in Times Square before getting on the subway to SoHo. It was too busy & hectic to take pictures there, but I enjoyed some delicious street vendor food (weirdly the yummiest gyro ever) and we shopped around for a couple hours. Since I’m still extremely broke from Europe, I avoided shopping as much as possible! It was still fun to look around and just enjoy the fact that I was in actually there. I mean really!

Once we were tired of shopping, it was like 4:30pm or so. My friend Mel had been talking about a famous chocolate place called Max Brenner, so we decided to check it out. They actually serve AMAZING food and it’s the coolest concept for a restaurant ever. I mean it’s based on chocolate so how could it not be?!

I just love the inside design of this place and it has SUCH a good vibe. I highly recommend it if you’re ever nearby! It took me forever to order food, too, because I was having so much fun reading the menu over & over again. I could have eaten EVERYTHING but I settled on fish tacos with a chocolate milkshake. Probably the best I’ve ever had (and will ever have!)

 

When none of us could eat another BITE of food, we headed out to walk off all that chocolaty goodness. It was almost time to head to Radio City Music Hall, but first we made a quick stop at the NBC Studios store where I stocked up on Community merchandise (FINALLY got my ‘Troy and Abed in the Morning’ mug and couldn’t be happier!)

FINALLY we walked over to the theater and headed inside.

I really didn’t know what to expect from Bon Iver in concert. I mean, I love his music but it’s so mellow & I was so tired… I was scared I might fall asleep! That was not the case in the LEAST. They performed for an hour and a half, and the time just FLEW by. I didn’t check the time for the entire first hour because I was just SO mesmerized and he sounded so freaking amazing live. I’d go to another one of his shows in the blink of an eye.

Their song ‘Skinny Love’ is, if possible, 10 times better live than it is recorded. And I absolutely adore that song. I’m still beyond words for this show, but suffice to say it was fantastic. I also bought a really cute t-shirt which I wore on the way home because I was so sad it was over.

On Sunday morning we went out for breakfast at a real, legit New York diner. It reminded me of the opening (and closing) scenes of Pulp Fiction and I totally wish I had something like that closer to home. Afterwards it was a full day of driving straight back to Montreal. We listened to lots of good tunes, talked, and just usual roadtrip-ness all around!

It was a gorgeous drive home!

Hysterical photos at the gas station after WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR at Friendly’s :D

My traveling for 2012 is officially ALL DONE. I’m so sad, but I must admit my bank account heaved a huge sigh of relief when I stepped through my front door. Now it’s time to focus on school and my three jobs that patiently let me take a nice long-weekend off!

Music and Travel

Lately, it feels like if I blink for a second too long, I might wake up from the dream that is my life. I barely have time to process everything that’s happening to me before something else equally amazing gets added onto the pile of THINGS that are HAPPENING to me.

On Thursday, 3 friends and decided we were going to New York City in September to see Bon Iver. Today? We bought our tickets and that was that. Now we just have the rest of our trip to plan! I’ve been wanting to go back to New York City ever since my first visit in 2008. It’s actually one of the goals on my 101 in 1,001 that I was beginning to believe I’d never complete. One of my good friends has a family house  where we’ll be staying for 2-3 days in September, one of those nights specifically to see Justin Vernon (otherwise known as Bon Iver).

If you’ve never heard of Justin Vernon, you are MISSING OUT. He is an amazing artist that I first discovered because of his amazing song ‘Skinny Love’. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t adore this song right away. I don’t know the rest of his music as well as I’d like to, but I fully plan on changing that by the time I see him at Radio City Hall in NYC. I do know it’s going to be an amazing and unforgettable concert, and I’m so excited to be able to say that I’m officially (and spontaneously!) taking another trip in 2012. That will bring the total count of actual vacations to FOUR for 2012. I don’t think I’ll be able to beat this year in my life ever again. I’m still hoping I will though. Either way, this will be an absolutely unforgettable year in my life.

I’ve had this picture stuck to my mirror for YEARS as a reminder that I want to go back. See you soon, NYC! 

In other music news, I attended one of my most anticipated concerts of the year last night. The Rocket Summer (one-man-band & musical genius Bryce Avary) played for almost 2 hours in Montreal and it was more than I could have ever imagined. I’ve only seen him play a short 30 minute set at Warped Tour a few years ago, and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of full live show he put on. I was NOT disappointed in the least.

It started off with Jenia & I interviewing Bryce for CONFRONT Magazine. We’re both long-time fans of his work and he was one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve met in a long time. He had inspiring things to say about his music and he made it into more than just an interview. There is nothing I love more than meeting my favorite artists and finding out that they are down to earth and SO deserving of all their success. If possible, the combination of meeting him & listening to him play has made me fall more in love with his music than ever before. I sincerely hope he comes back very soon!

I also absolutely loved one of the opening bands called ‘States‘ and ended up buying all their records. Female vocalist Mindy White blew me away almost immediately. I love her style of voice, which reminds me a lot of Hayley Williams from Paramore. I’m currently listening to their album ‘Born to Run’ and it’s just fantastic. So happy I bought it.

That’s basically all I’ve got for now! This weekend is for blaring music, preparing for Brazil, shopping for last minute things, seeing friends, writing, and celebrating CANADA DAY on Sunday!

How have you been? What are your weekend plans? What music are you listening to today?