Unique Venues in Detroit

As a music lover, Detroit Rock City was a great place to grow up. The city is filled with music history, local bands, and venues fit for any artist. Each musical venue that the city has to offer is unique. The artists that play there, the vibes, and the historical significance combine to create thrilling concert experiences that are exclusive to the motor city. Here are some of the most unique concert venues you should check out when you are in Detroit.

 Saint Andrew’s Hall

Built in 1907, Saint Andrew’s Hall was used as the meeting place for the Saint Andrew’s Scottish Society of Detroit. During World War II the membership dwindled and other groups began renting the building for concerts and events. In the 80s, Saint Andrew’s became highly regarded as a trendsetting music club. Breakthrough artists such as Iggy Pop, NirvanaPearl Jam, and Bob Dylan have graced the stage at Saint Andrew’s. More recently, the hall has become a launching pad for up and coming artists. Pierce the Veil, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and more have played here before moving to larger venues. With a 1,000-person capacity, Saint Andrew’s is a mid-size venue that allows for personal interaction between artists and fans. With a full-service bar, ADA seating, and Greektown right down the street, Saint Andrew’s Hall is a great venue for every concert goer.

The Shelter

Located beneath Saint Andrew’s Hall, The Shelter is one of the more intimate venues in Detroit. While it is connected to Saint Andrew’s, a show at The Shelter is unlike any other. It’s an intimate venue with capacity at 400 people. Visitors can get as close to the stage as humanly possible without being up there with the performers. Something interesting about The Shelter is its role in Eminem’s musical career. While the venue was featured in “8 Mile” Eminem actually rapped there in the early years of his career. More recently the rapper hosted a “Mom’s Spaghetti” pop-up event at The Shelter to promote his latest album “Revival” and he went back to his roots to film some freestyle rap in 2018. Eminem’s unique relationship with The Shelter makes it one of the most fascinating venues in Detroit. While you may not find Slim Shady at The Shelter on a random night, there’s no denying the energy that the venue holds in its bones.

The Masonic Temple

The Detroit Masonic Temple is one of the most beautiful and historic music venues in Southeastern Michigan. Architectural firm, George Mason and Company completed construction in 1926. The first performers at The Masonic were Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The building itself is full of interesting rooms. There are three theaters in the venue, but one is currently used by film production. Other rooms include a chapel, two ballrooms, office spaces, a cafeteria, a dining room, a barber shop, and sixteen bowling lanes. Today, the venue hosts countless concerts, building tours, private events, and weddings. Artists that frequent The Masonic are Lana Del Rey, Tyler, The Creator, and The Killers. With a diverse range of music that rolls through, the venue offers something for every concertgoer. The venue sits on the corner of Temple and Cass which is now a part of “The District Detroit” which offers countless trendy restaurants, breweries, and small businesses to check out before a show.

Little Caesars Arena

The opening of Little Caesars Arena is one of the most exciting things to happen in Detroit recently. During its inaugural year (2017/18) LCA easily became a staple of Detroit by hosting a myriad of exciting events. The arena is home to Red Wings hockey, and Pistons basketball, but it also hosts the hottest artists that come to town. Superstars from every genre and generation including Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake, Lorde, and Janet Jackson have brought their shows to town. The eight-story, bowl-shaped arena’s floor is 40 feet below street level. There are no bad seats in the house! Around 20,000 fans can fit into the stands and there is innovative “gondola” seating that is suspended above the stands. LCA also offers ADA accessible seating and parking as well as first aid stations. There are countless restaurants, bars, and VIP sections throughout the arena, making it a full-blown destination.

Historically, Detroit has been overlooked by the rest of America. People seem to think that its heyday was in the past and that the city is crime-ridden and somber. In recent years, Detroit has been anything but! Its interesting history combines with the influx of new residents and businesses to create an exciting downtown area.

One of the most special things about Detroit is its music scene. Growing up just fifteen miles from downtown, I got to experience all that the city has to offer. The music history, the bands, and the venues. My exposure to the rich music history of the city and love for live music inspired me to pursue a career in the music industry. I have been frequenting The Shelter since I was in High School and I was fortunate enough to work at Little Caesars Arena over the summer. While the venues I have detailed above are certainly not the only concert spaces the city has to offer, they are unique places to begin falling in love with the sounds of Detroit.

 

 

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Seasaw, Canceled Plans, Young Ritual Local Show at Mac’s Bar

If you’re having summer concert withdrawals and are looking for the perfect fall show, look no further! As soon as I heard the news that Seasaw, Canceled Plans (solo set), and Young Ritual would hit the stage at Mac’s Bar in Lansing on October 3rd I’ve been buzzing with excitement! I spoke with Michaela Stock of Canceled Plans and Dylan Grantham of Young Ritual to get the scoop on the upcoming show.

Both Stock and Grantham are excited about the gig and are eager to share the stage with some new faces. “I’ve never shared the stage with seasaw or Young Ritual, but I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been gigging since April of 2017, and I’ve never gotten to share the stage with another girl who runs the show. I’m a big fan of seasaw and their work, so it’s an honor to have this first and this show alongside two talented and beautiful women.” Stock writes. It’s remarkable to see such genuine support for other female artists in a male-driven industry. One of the things I love most about supporting my local music scene is seeing the interactions and friendships forming between artists that share the stage whether it’s for a single gig or for a tour.

IMG_3108Not only are Stock and Grantham ready to play with some new faces, but they are also thrilled to get back to Mac’s Bar. For Grantham, this is his first time in performing in Michigan’s capital. “This will actually be my first show in Lansing, so I can’t wait for that part. I definitely have some tricks up my sleeve to make a good first impression.” I’m eager to see what kind of tricks he has to make this show a memorable one. Grantham has been working on finishing up his first EP, and released the first single “Prime” last month! He’ll definitely be playing some new music at the upcoming show along with old favorites.

Stock, on the other hand, is a Lansing native and she’s pumped to get back to her hometown and play at one of her favorite venues. “The last time I played at Mac’s was in September of 2017. It was my first full-band show, and I was opening for Michigander, a band I had followed as a fan since high school. That was for sure a night I’ll never forget. Every time I walk through the doors at Mac’s I’m hit with gratitude and nostalgia for the space. I have so much more to say, but I’m going to leave some stories for the show!” I’ve never seen

IMG_7791While remembering Mac’s Bar and what the venue means to her, Michaela lights up and goes into every detail of the venue and how much she loves it. “I spent the latter half of my teenage years studying the scribbled walls in Mac’s Bar at shows. It was my first “dream venue” to play a show in because I had some of my first experiences with live music in that space. I even met my best friend at Mac’s at a concert. We screamed all the words to the headlining band’s set, and it’s been history ever since. Mac’s Bar did, in fact, end up being the first place I’d ever played a billed gig with tickets, a sound-check, and other artists back in April of 2017. I remember wearing a black dress, carrying my guitar case and pushing open the big wooden door thinking, “What the HECK has my life come to?” (For the record, I’m still figuring that question out.) It was so special.”

Do not sleep on this concert! Each of the acts has a different energy to bring to the stage and it’s sure to be a good night. Get tickets to the show here!

-Swaggie Maggie

The Story of My Summer (part 1)

 

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Hey! Welcome back to Swaggie Maggie’s View from the Pit. After a quick hiatus, I am back with more stories to tell than ever. For those who know, I spent the last four months interning with Live Nation in their Detroit office as a production assistant. It was the best, craziest, most life-changing experience I’ve ever had, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

If you don’t know, Live Nation Entertainment is the global leader for live entertainment. More often than not, if you’re going to buy tickets to a show it will be on Live Nation’s website. Back in 2010, when Live Nation only did event promotion, they merged with Ticketmaster to become this all-in-one company that resulted in a massive industry powerhouse that covers everything from ticketing to promotion, to production, to management. When I say that Live Nation (and the people who work for Live Nation) does it all, I mean it!

When I applied for my job with Live Nation’s Detroit office, I didn’t know what I would be getting myself into. I had heard about the opportunity from a few previous interns who were certain that I’d be a great candidate for the job. I applied, sent in my resume, and I was hired on the spot in my interview. I had to patiently wait from December until May to begin my adventure. This was my first shot at making it in the music industry. Everything I had was riding on this experience.

Over the past few years, I had changed my mind about going to graduate school immediately after undergrad. I had changed my major from arts and humanities to professional writing. For the past two years, I have been telling people that my dream was to write for Rolling Stone Magazine, and I was always met with excited responses and congratulations for something I hadn’t even achieved yet.

Of course, my excitement was also plagued with uncertainty. What if I wasn’t good at it? I’d be crushed. What if I didn’t like it? I’d have to start over from square one, again. I’d have to change my hopes and dreams, and figure out new ones. I don’t know if everyone else has this kind of anxiety at the start of something new, but I was just as terrified as I was excited.

Everything I thought I knew changed last summer. Isn’t that dramatic? I always thought people who said crap like that were full of it and trying too hard, but I get it now. Sometimes you just experience something so magnificent it changes you completely. Over the course of 3 months I grew in ways I didn’t know possible. I watched myself change from a girl with a dream to a young woman with drive and the tools to make those dreams happen. I grew professionally and realized that I didn’t have to have just one career goal. I grew personally and learned that I am still so much stronger than I think.

I can’t wait to share more of my experiences and stories with you so come back next week for Part 2 in my new series!

-Swaggie Maggie

Hit Reset – The Julie Ruin

In 2016, American garage-rock band The Julie Ruin released their second album, Hit Reset. This hidden gem is reminiscent of lead singer, Kathleen Hanna’s days in Bikini Kill and the Riot-grrrl movement, while staying on point with the cultural, social, and political aspects of life in 2016 to 2018. After releasing a solo album under the alias of Julie Ruin in 1998, Hanna decided to make the band a full time project. In 2010, The Julie Ruin was formed in New York City by Hanna, Carmine Covelli, Sara Landeau, Kathi Wilcox, and Kenny Mellman.

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Hit Reset was received well by music sources and critics, and received an 8.2 out of 10 in a Pitchfork review, making it clear that the record is definitely worth listening to. Since the music falls into the punk-sphere, the album is not commercially known due to the popularity and demand for pop and rap music. I had never heard of Hit Reset or The Julie Ruin until just a few weeks ago, and I consider myself musically diverse, especially in the rock world. After listening to the album on repeat for a few weeks, I’m positive that everyone in The United States needs to hear it. They need to hear Hanna screaming, and feel her pain, and realize her triumphs with her.

I believe that music is powerful, in any capacity. That’s why it makes me upset when pop music on the radio is mindless and inappropriate. Musicians have a huge platform and they should use it to promote positive messages, and stories about their lives that people can relate to and learn from. Hanna uses Hit Reset to tell her story, and I think that people would gain a sense of empathy towards people by hearing this record. By traveling through Hanna’s journey, listeners are able to share her experiences with her, and feel for her. In a review from Pitchfork, the album is described as “The chance to tip her experiences onto a sterile surface and assess each memory’s impact before dropkicking it into oblivion; the kind of process that’s often only possible when you’ve looked death in the face. It’s Hanna’s most personal work” (Snapes). Hanna proves her power and “she triumphs at every decibel” (Powers).

Hanna has Lyme disease and has been battling it for years. It has forced her to take time off from making music, but she has never backed down from a fight. A review from NPR Music describes Hanna as “both the dissembled survivor and the furious avenger” (Powers). In 2013, a documentary titled “The Punk Singer” was released about her life, and that experience rings through Hit Reset. When I first listened to the album, I was a little conflicted. I was immediately reminded of sounds from the 90’s, and of my best friend. My best friend from home has a voice kind of similar to Hanna’s, being that it isn’t perfect or pristine. It’s not technically good, but it’s interesting and passionate. There were songs that I didn’t like at all, such as “Be Nice”, because I couldn’t understand the lyrics through Hanna’s frenzied screams. I’ll be honest, I got a little bit of anxiety as I listened to the album for the first time. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, but the music was definitely anxiety inducing.

I’d listen to this album when I’m pissed off. Maybe I’d be in my room or driving home from work, but this is the kind of music you listen to when you’re so angry but you may not know how to express the anger in a constructive way. This makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs, kick things and cry until I calm down. I think that it’s important to feel those emotions every once in a while. Emotions make people human.

While we have learned in class that the Riot-grrrl movement was not perfect, I think it was a great place to start in terms of getting everybody to notice women, see them as legitimate human beings, and understand that every woman is equal to every man. The Riot-grrrl movement only encompassed straight, white, middle class, women, and the documentary is pretty reflective of that. It seems as though most of the women interviewed and showed in the film are white and supposedly middle class (They all met in college, so they could afford a college education). Women of color, transgender women and men, and members of the LGBTQ+ community also needed a voice, as well as members of lower classes. It is unfortunate that so many people were not included in the Riot-grrrl movement, but it is understandable that the very first step in a movement is not perfect. There is no possible way for something to be perfect upon conception, but the important thing is that a first step was taken.

Hit Reset is reminiscent of 90’s punk, and combines techno-rock influences with classic punk attributes such as fuzzy guitar riffs, strained vocals, and manic rhythms. At first listen, tracks can be split up into two categories. The first kind of song you’ll hear on the album is wild, all over the place, and frenzy-inducing. These songs mimic classic punk and bring about a manic style. The second type of songs are almost monotone sound, following one rhythm, have repetitive lyrics, and could be classified as punk ballads. After listening to the album a few more times, it is obvious that each song follows a similar style that is unique to The Julie Ruin. The “New-wave romp didn’t lack energy, some of Hanna’s lyrics were unusually tentative” (Snapes). The album is cohesive, and follows Hanna’s experiences and thoughts as a female artist.

There are a few running themes that are apparent and maintained throughout the album, and tell a story. Love, being feminine, feminism, and identifying as a dreamer, can be found woven throughout the lyrics of each song. While Hit Reset cannot necessarily be considered a rock-opera like The Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers or The Who’s Tommy, it definitely follows a theme and tells stories. The lyrics all seem autobiographical and personal, even in the songs where many of the lyrics could not be understood. They still felt unique and distinctive, because  “Hanna faces down the abuse she’s suffered in her own life” (Powers). Half of the songs, such as  on the album sound manic, and anxiety inducing. The lyrics are screamed with a high-pitched-frenzy and the instruments are all over the place, creating a craziness. The other half of the songs, such as “I Decide” and “Time is Up” sound almost monotone and flat, but not boring by any means. They seem so much calmer than the other songs on the album. Both of these styles work together to create a unique record.

A song that immediately stood out to me on the album was “Rather Not. It sounded so familiar, and I could have sworn that I’d heard it before.I think that my subconscious knew it was a song I personally needed to hear. The low, catchy bass and guitar riffs that are continued throughout the song are reminiscent of Pixies’s “Here Comes Your Man, and they compliment Hanna’s unique vocals perfectly. Hanna’s voice is one-of-a-kind. She’s no opera singer, but in her context and situation, there is no other way these songs could sound and still have the incredible weight that they possess. With lyrics that are pointed and deliberate, “Rather Not follows a disastrous relationship that has ended. Although there is significant history, Hanna sings about throwing all of that history away for the sake of moving on and feeling comfortable and alive again. She sings “If you love me I’d rather not know” over and over throughout the song, which resonates with anyone who has fallen out of love and the relationship keeps coming back to haunt them.

Another interesting song is “Mr. So and So”. It starts with a catchy guitar riff and then Hanna comes in with a monologue. The lyrics up until the chorus are spoken as a speech, detailing an awkward and inappropriate encounter she had with a male fan. When the chorus starts, the lyrics echo “You can’t say goodbye until I get my hello. Mr. So and So. It’s all just for show.” It’s heartbreaking and makes me angry to hear about the uncomfortable things male fans have said to her.  “Mr. So and So” is “an anti-ode to an entitled male fan” (Powers) that allows listeners to feel the same disgust that Hanna does.

 

Works Cited

Powers, Ann. “Review: The Julie Ruin, ‘Hit Reset.'” NPR Music, NPR, http://www.npr.org/2016/06/30/480605934/first-listen-the-julie-ruin-hit-reset. Accessed 2 Mar. 2018.

Snapes, Laura. “The Julie Ruin Hit Reset.” Pitchfork, Conde Nast, 16 July 2016, pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/22073-hit-reset/. Accessed 2 Mar. 2018.

-Swaggie Maggie

Album Excitement 2018

We are less than a month into the new year and we already have new music to be excited about! 2017 was a great year for music, but I’m betting 2018 can top it. As of now, there are already a few albums that have piqued my interest and I can’t wait to hear them in full when they are released! Here are a few albums I’m most excited to listen to in 2018.

  • IMG_6684Dashboard Confessional – Crooked Shadows February 9

    • I’ve been a casual fan of Dashboard Confessional for years, but once I saw them live this past summer I became obsessed! As soon asI got home I decided to listen to their entire discography and began wishing for new music. They have released two singles from the album, “We Fight” and “Heart Beat Here” and fans are more than ready for the album todrop tomorrow!
  • MGMT – Little Dark Age – February 9

    • Again, as a casual fan, I learned about MGMT’s new album in one of my classes this semester. I was a huge fan of their song “Kids” and when I heard about their upcoming album I got excited! Catch MGMT performing at a slew of festivals this summer.
  • Moose Blood – I Don’t Think I Can do This Anymore – March 9

    • I love Moose Blood and listen to them anytime I feel like I need a good cry. Their emotional expertise comes through in their lyrics, and their instrumental ability is amazing. I can’t wait for this album to come out!!
  • Jack White – Boarding House Ranch – March 23

    • Jack White is a Michigan Native, so I’ve been listening to his music since I was a kid. He recently announced his upcoming album and accompanying tour, which always brings excitement to residents of our state. I always feel a sort of pride for all Michigan Made musicians. There is some conversation surrounding his tour, seeing as he’s pushing for fans to check their phones at the door and go technology free.
  • The Vaccines – Combat Sports – March 30

    • The Vaccines have made their way into every single one of my playlists since I was a senior in high school, so I was obviously excited when they announced new music. So excited that I actually chose to study the release of Combat Sports for my music production course!
  • The 1975 – Music for Cars – 2018img_3403

    • While we don’t have a confirmed date for the album, The 1975 have been teasing Music for Cars on their social media accounts for the past year. The third, and final installment of The 1975 era is sure to be their greatest yet! While I’m definitely sad that this final album marks the end of one of my favorite bands of all time, I’m happy that I’ll at least have one more record to play on repeat.
  • Kanye West – Turbo Grafx16 – TBA

    • Okay, so nobody actually knows when Kanye’s newest album will drop, and it may not even come out in 2018, but I’m still excited about it!

So there are the albums I’m most excited for this year! Are there any that I should check out before these drop? Let me know in the comments!

-Swaggie Maggie

I Can Dig It: Co-Headlining Tours

Two great bands for the price of one? You can count me in! Over the past few years, I’ve been to quite a few co-headlining tours and I seriously dig them. The idea of two similar bands getting together and sharing their music in the same place is not only appealing to me, but to plenty of fans. Here are a few of my favorites!

The American Lines Tour: Mayday Parade and The Maine

In Spring 2016 Mayday Parade and The Maine set off on a 17 city tour to promote each of their new albums. The Maine had released “American Candy” in March 2015 as their fifthIMG_0017 studio album while Mayday Parade put “Black Lines” out in October 2015. The two bands do a great job of combining their unique sounds to create a concert environment that is unlike any other. The emotional ballads and rock anthems of Mayday Parade paired with the goofiness and realness of The Maine’s stage presence combine to make concertgoers feel comfortable and accepted while having a great time!

Summer Tour: The All American Rejects and Dashboard Confessional

This past summer The All American Rejects paired up with Dashboard Confessional to fulfill every former emo kid’s dream lineup. As soon as the tour was announced I knew it was a concert I absIMG_6685olutely had to attend. The Rejects took the stage with an insane energy  that made the crowd go absolutely wild while we screamed the lyrics to Dirty Little Secret like it was 2005. Dashboard closed out the show in my city, and the band was sharing some seriously great vibes with the audience. Lead singer, Chris Carrabba, shared memories of being accepted as an artist in Detroit when he was starting out, so it was obviously a special show for him. Carrabba closed the show with Dashboard’s hit Hands Down and it lives on in my memory as one of the most intimate concert moments I have ever experienced.

Co-headlining tours are great ways for fans to see two of their favorite bands on the same night, and lose themselves in a unique concert experience. Whenever I see a co-headliner announced I get excited! I’m always down to knock out two concerts in one night, especially when each band builds off of each other’s energy and makes the show a memorable one!

-Swaggie Maggie

 

Bucket List Concerts: Paul McCartney

 

I’ve given myself a few days to calm down and I’m still riding my concert high. On Monday I got to see Paul McCartney, my idol, in concert. McCIMG_7967artney had permanent residency on the “number one person to see live” as number one for as long as I can remember. For a Beatles superfan and music lover in general, Paul McCartney is as good as it gets.

My dad and I have a tradition of seeing classic artists together. We’ve seen The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and more. For my birthday this summer he bought tickets for McCartney’s second Detroit date in the brand new Little Caesars Arena. We had been holding onto the tickets since June, and in the months between my birthday and the show, my excitement had built immensely. Every time I even thought about seeing my idol, I got teary-eyed.

The day had finally arrived and I was freaking out. I couldn’t sleep at all the night before thanks to the butterflies in my stomach. I was actually nervous to see him. Even though I knew he’d be beyond fantastic, there are always nerves that come with checking something off your bucket list. My dad and I drove downtown, parked, and approached the new stadium. The place was packed with fans both young and old, all ready for the show to begin. Once we found our seats, it was only a matter of minutes before Paul and his band took the stage.

Our tickets weren’t anywhere near the stage, but I didn’t mind. I just wanted to be in the same room as him. As soon as the lights went down my heart felt like it stopped-the show was starting. When I say I cried through the whole show, believe me. I cried through the whole concert. I still can’t actually believe that I got to see my idol, the number one person on my list, live in concert! I got to see an original Beatle singing and performing the songs that he’d written so many years ago. Songs that transcend time and touch people’s souls to this day.

Paul McCartney was an amazing performer. He ran around that huge stage playing guitar, bass, ukulele, piano, and singing. He sang close to 40 songs and kept his energy high throughout the night. Between songs, he’d stop to tell a story about how he’d written the next song or something funny or sentimental about it. I’d love to sit with him and hear all of the stories he has about his days with The Beatles.

It’s hard to pick one favorite moment from the night, so I’ll mention two. The first was when he played “Here Today”. The song was written for John Lennon after he’d passed away, and McCartney explained that the song was in the form of a conversation they never got to have. His performance was truly a beautiful tribute to Lennon. I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the crowd of 20,000 people.

 

 

My other favorite moment of the concert was when McCartney sat down at his piano to play “Hey Jude”. As my favorite Beatles songs, and one of the most powerful and beautiful songs of all time it was something I’d been waiting to see live for a long time. I sobbed, sang along, and will never forget how it felt to witness my idol sing my favorite song in person.

 

If I ever have the chance to see Paul McCartney again, I will 100% take it! He’s an amazing performer who has reached across generations of music lovers to spread his message of love and acceptance.

-Swaggie Maggie

Bucket List Concerts: Queen

When I think of historically iconic bands, Queen always comes to mind. Their music, their look, their talent and their demeanor worked together in harmony to create a legendary group. My younger brother and I have bonded over our love for Queen’s music over the past couple of years, so when I heard they were going on tour with Adam Lambert I knew I had to take him!Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

At first, I was skeptical. I remember saying to my brother “you know it’s not going to be the same, right?”. On one hand, my fear was that Adam Lambert would try to become or impersonate Freddie Mercury, which is an impossible task. On the other hand, I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough tribute to Mercury.

We arrived at the venue and were surrounded by both young and old fans who were just as excited for the show as we were! As we settled into our seats and the lights went down, I could feel my anticipation grow. As soon as Queen and Adam Lambert hit the stage, I knew it was going to be an amazing performance.

IMG_6560The Vocals, instrumental abilities, lights, and overall vibes of the show were unbelievable. Every aspect of the performance was spectacular, and there is nothing I wished they’d do differently. Lambert put his own flair on the vocal arrangements while still paying tribute to their original glory, and he even mentioned to the crowd that “there will only ever be one rock god in eternity called Freddie Mercury”. With today’s technology, the group was able to remember Mercury by playing video of him performing back in the day, while the band played along in real time. It really was a special show.

If Queen and Adam Lambert stop by a city near you, I highly recommend going to see them! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

-Swaggie Maggie

Rock and Roll Saved My Soul

During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s the sound of America was evolving. The swing and Jazz music of the 1930’s had become rhythm and blues, otherwise known as “race music” in the 1940’s and the groundwork was being laid for a new genre called Rock ‘n’ Roll.

This hybrid genre was being created in the urban cities of The United States, pulling cultural influences from different races and societies. St. Louis, Memphis, New York, Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland all had distinct sounds that would soon combine to create not only a variety of music but a way of life.

Fueled by social issues, politics, and a sense of rebellion, Rock ‘n’ Roll appealed not only to those who populated the music scene but to youths across the country, all with different social backgrounds and ethnicities. From the 1940’s through present day, rock music and rock culture have evolved into a diverse field of acceptance.

The rhetoric or Rock and Roll is a genre of music that originated in The United States in the 1940s and has evolved since then. Many people (including myself) believe that rock and roll is the basis for all of today’s music and that all modern music originates from rock. Rock is composed of many different sounds including jazz, rhythm and blues, country, gospel, and Motown. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the term “rock and roll” was coined. Since then, the genre of rock has been split and transformed into hundreds of subgenres, and “rock n’ roll” has become not only a type of music but a way of life.

Rock and Roll is one genre of music that is incredibly diverse in many different aspects. The sound it startedIMG_0117 with is very different than the sound we hear now, and it has evolved into countless subgenres that all fall under the category. These subgenres include indie, metal, psychedelic, alternative, grunge, punk, and much more. It also attracts a diverse group of people who are united under a single genre of music. People who are attracted to these subgenres of rock are not limited to those who reside in the music scene, and include anyone from children, to students, to producers, to executives.

The definition of the word diversity is changing. Traditionally diversity is defined as “the condition of having or being composed of differing elements:  variety; especially:  the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). While the old definition of diversity concerns the difference of race and culture, the new definition of diversity encompasses not only race and culture, but also ethnicity, social background, religious beliefs, political views, thought process, character content and more. The new definition of diversity is much more inclusive than the old definition and is definitely a step in the right direction of creating a more accepting community. While those who enjoy rock music may all have similar if not the same taste in tunes, they all come from different backgrounds and walks of life.

The earliest form of rock and roll can be traced back to 1942s when Capitol Records was founded in Hollywood and became the first major recording label that was not located in NYC. Capitol went on to back rock legends such as Brian Wilson, The Eagles, and Paul McCartney. Savoy was also founded in 1942 in Newark, New Jersey by Herman Lubinsky to promote “black music”. This music included jazz, rhythm and blues and gospel music. Another significant step towards the creation of rock and roll can be found in 1943 when Les Paul invented “multi-tracking”, a modern recording technique where each layer of a song is recorded on a different track, and then run together on a single record. This led to musicians being able to record more complex songs. The next big year for rock music was 1948. During this year, saxophone player Wild Bill Moore from Detroit released a song titled “We’re Gonna Rock We’re Gonna Roll”, and Leo Fender released the first ever electric guitar which would later be famously named the Telecaster.

The 1950s were also a big year for the creation of rock. In 1951 Cleveland DJ Alan Freed started a radio program called “Moondog Rock’n’Roll Party”, and Ike Turner’s album Rocket 88 became the first ever rock record to be recorded and released. Later, in 1952, Bill Haley formed the first rock band, The Comets. From there the scene was truly born and rock was becoming a revolution. Films such as Rebel Without a Cause and Blackboard Jungle created a new role for teens, and both radio stations and record labels were promoting rock (music derived from “race music”) to all teenagers. Chuck Berry, a rock pioneer, and a black artist was the first musician to cut a rock record with guitar as the main instrument in 1955. 1958 became the golden age of instrumental rock, and the popularity of rock allowed independent labels to flourish, acknowledging smaller labels and artists. From there, Barry Gordy founded Motown in Detroit and it was apparent that rock and roll were in it for the long haul. The end of the decade marked 600 million records being sold in the USA, as well as the untimely death of rock musician Buddy Holly.

After the birth of rock and roll, the 1960s began an important era of creation. Artists were experimenting with sound and taking chances. In the early 1960s, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix arrived on the scene, and Motown was booming. The Beach Boys created surf music, and Beatlemania began! In 1964, the real experimentation commenced. Holy Modal Rounders shaped acid-folk, while James Brown transformed soul into funk. The Kinks’ riff in their song You Really Got Me was the invention of hard-rock. From there, Bob Dylan created psychedelic rock, blues-rock was born from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton, and The Byrds invented folk-rock. It was also in the 60s that rock became a sign of rebellion. Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones was banned throughout the USA and the UK, and garageIMG_0017 bands were becoming popular. Joni Mitchell created an image of an intellectual female singer-songwriter, and rock could be found everywhere. In 1967, Ralph Gleason founded “Rolling Stone” and artists were playing with and fusing different sub-genres of rock. The Doors mixed rock, blues psych, Indian raga, and free form poetry while Pink Floyd invented space-rock. It was towards the end of the decade that The Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild coined the term heavy metal, “Hair” opened on Broadway as the first musical with rock music, and The Who’s “Tommy” became the most famous Rock Opera. The 1960s was also the birth of the biggest rock and roll concert in history, Woodstock.

The 1970s brought 10 more years of experimentation and the birth of not only hard-rock but of punk-rock. Black Sabbath stormed the scene and became the prototype for black metal, and Alice Cooper created shock-rock, while David Bowie transformed himself into Ziggy Stardust and invented glam-rock. The Joy of Cooking became the debut as the first band of all feminists and extended rock to include all men and women. In 1973 The Ramones played their first show at CBGB’s and became the first punk band, launching the punk-rock movement. The rock scene became even more diverse with the introduction of Queen, who was led by Freddie Mercury, a gay musician with an incredible vision.

Hair-metal, psychedelic rock, and pop formulated the sound of the 1980s. The decade was dedicated to innovation and expansion. In 1981 MTV made its debut on cable TV and the next year Sony + Phillips introduced the Compact Disc.  Metal was all the rage in the 80s, and different subgenres were created. Venom introduced black metal, and Metallica initiated speed-metal, while Red Hot Chili Peppers crafted funk-metal. In 1985, the magazine “Alternative Press” was founded to cover the independent rock scene.

The 1990s was an interesting time for rock music. Pop was becoming more widespread, while rock was on it’s way to the back burner. It wasn’t quite underground though. The grunge scene in Seattle blew up when Nirvana was formed, and Lollapalooza was founded to display artists in the alternative rock genre. Green Day hit the scene and released the best-sold punk-rock album of all time, Dookie. In 1992 the music world was digitalized when the MP3 was created as an electronic way to store music, and in 1998 the portable MP3 player was invented. When the Rock and Roll hall of fame was opened in 1995, Cleveland became a mecca of rock memorabilia and history.

Today’s rock music is a more underground scene than it was in the past. Rock has evolved into pop, hip-hop, and rap and those are mainly played on radio stations. There are rock scenes that are booming though! Small rock bands who were inspired by the music leaders of the past are breaking into the popular music scene, and alternative charts are rising. There is also a nostalgic side of rock that has taken over. All of the legends of the past are back on the road or making new music, trying to revive the magic of rock and roll.

Personally, rock is my favorite genre of music. I’ve found bands that make me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself, and I am constantly inspired by music. I wasn’t always interested in rock music. I’ve always loved muIMG_9164sic in general, but I grew up with Disney princess movies, Hillary Duff, and Aly and AJ. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I discovered Sleeping With Sirens, a post-hardcore band that was bad-ass and talented. The way they manipulated their instruments and melodies appealed to me, and I began my search for more bands like them. I sing, and I write songs, so lyrics have always been important to me. I’ve found that rock bands write lyrics that are meaningful and thought provoking and I really respect that. Through my love of rock music I was inspired to create this blog, and I realized my dream of writing for “Rolling Stone” after I graduate.

I find myself drawn to all subgenres of rock, from metal to psychedelic, to folk and I think that is an important aspect of rock and roll. All of its subgenres are inclusive to any and every fan, and when you find a band or a sound that you love, it becomes a home to you, no matter your race, gender, sexuality, social status, or religion. Every person on this earth has the ability to come together through music, and that’s a really beautiful thing. Through rock I have met so many different people, and learned about their lives and stories, and this has been happening to fans of the genre since the 1940s. Since rock was derived from “race music”, the group of people it appealed to was broad, and all that mattered to them was the music. From there, with the creation of so many unique subgenres, rock attracted even more fans with diverse backgrounds who were able to connect through music.

-Swaggie Maggie