Bucket List Concerts: Dr. Dog

A week ago I finally got to see Dr. Dog after three years of loving their music. Over the past few years that I’ve been a fan of their music, all of my attempts to see them failed. I was either out of the state while they were in my city or I had no way of getting myself from college to the venue. When I first started listening to Dr. Dog, I quickly found that I preferred their live album to their studio recorded work. There was just something about the way they sounded during their performance that made me feel like I was experiencing something special. When Dr. Dog announced the release of their latest album Critical Equation, along with an accompanying tour I bought my tickets right away. Their Detroit date miraculously fell on my first day of summer break and I knew that I would definitely be in town for the show.


When my semester finally ended, the only thing on my mind was seeing Dr. Dog. I had been listening to all of their music in preparation and I was getting ready for a great concert. I didn’t want to get my hopes too high, but I definitely was excited. When I got to the venue I weaved my way through the crowd toward the stage and found a spot that was close to the action. One thing I noticed is that I was definitely one of the youngest people there. I’d say that most of the fans were between 25 and 35 years old and they were all having a great time. As I waited for Dr. Dog to take the stage, I wondered which songs they would perform. They have a huge catalog of music and it would take them all night to play every single fan favorite, but I knew that they would for sure play their most popular songs as well as songs from Critical Equation.

IMG_1039As far as the performance goes, it’s undeniable that Dr. Dog is incredibly talented. They knew exactly when to bring the energetic fire to songs, but they also knew when to pull back and take a more emotional route. The band and the fans worked together to create a dreamy concert experience. I danced, sang, and cried along to their songs, and felt the music in my bones. That doesn’t happen at every show, so when it does I get excited. Dr. Dog was so comfortable up on stage, and it was refreshing to see a band that commanded the energy of the room through music so effectively.


Dr. Dog’s song “Shadow People” is one of my favorite songs of all time, so when the opening line rang through the venue I was content. Honestly, I think that the band could have performed that song on a loop for an hour and I would have been completely happy about it. Although, I was happy about the variety of songs they chose to add to the setlist. They played all of my favorites and helped me appreciate their newer songs as well. Like I said, they do their best work live.

-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

Every Nite is Emo Nite

It’s not a band. It’s not a DJ. It’s a party to celebrate the music they love. Emo Nite LA was founded in December 2014 and they’ve been taking the scene by storm ever since.  By bringing fans both young and old together to revel in the nostalgia of emo classics, Emo Nite has become a nation-wide force, recognized by artists of all genres, music publications, and, of course, fans.

Emo Nite LogoThis fall, Emo Nite LA has been touring across the United States, bringing the party to fans who can’t make it out to Los Angeles to participate. With dates continuing through December, emo devotees across the country can come together and have a great time.

For those who aren’t quite sure what Emo actually is, it’s a genre of rock music that is created through melodic, and often intricate musicianship. The lyrics are meaningful, confessional, and obviously emotional. Emo artists include Brand New, Dashboard Confessional, Mayday Parade and Taking Back Sunday.

October 20th, The Loft in Lansing will be hosting Emo Nite, and you definitely don’t want to miss out on the vibes! Emo Nite promotes an inclusive community where the only requirement is a love for music and good times. Tickets can be purchased for $10.00 here, and you can keep up with Emo Nite by following them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify!

See you there!

-Swaggie Maggie


Photo and Video courtesy of Emo Nite LA

So You’re Trying to Meet Your Favorite Band

They’re just like you…only they’re famous. They’re your favorite band and you’ve been dying to meet them. They finally announce a tour and you’re ecstatic when you see your city listed amongst the stops. You save your money to buy a ticket, but then what? You’ll only meet them if you’re willing to put in the effort. We all have favorite bands, and you’re not telling the truth if you say you’ve never wanted the chance to have a personal conversation about specific lyrics with their lead singer or talk skills with their drummer. Here are some tips on meeting your favorite band!


Avoid “Annoying Rock Star Behavior”

The first thing you need to do is make sure that they’re cool with meeting fans. As unfortunate as it is, some bands are notorious for not wanting to talk to fans after their show. This may come off as annoying rock star behavior, but it’s definitely understandable; they’re tired, they’re trying to pack up, and they’re off to the next city. Just make sure they’re comfortable hanging out with fans before starting a line outside their tour bus. I’ll try to say this in the least-creepy way possible, but you need to stalk their Instagram. Seriously, just check their tagged photos. If they’re tagged in a bunch of photos with fans, then it’s a safe bet that they like meeting people after shows!


Time to Make a Choice

Next, decide if you are willing to pay for a meet and greet. This becomes a factor with more popular bands or artists because they are in high demand. Personally, I prefer waiting outside a venue for free. I’ve met bands through paid meet and greets, and while they usually come with some extra perks including merch or a private acoustic set, it all feels a little synthetic. You end up waiting in line for a little too long, and once you finally are able to have face-to-face interactions with the band, they’re often brief or cut short due to the fact that paid meet and greets occur before the show.


A few summers ago my best friend and I were able to meet Taylor Swift on her 1989 World Tour during a meet and greet before the show! While meeting Swift was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, we weren’t able to speak with her about everything we’d wanted to! We actually changed the lyrics to her song “Welcome To New York”, and we were going to play the ukulele and sing it for her. Unfortunately, I had to leave my ukulele outside the meet and greet, and she was never able to hear our song. My advice is if you’re willing to wait after a show, it’s definitely worth it!


Stay Observant

The next step has to be done at the venue, so make sure to be watchful! You need to figure out where the band is going to be after the show. Sometimes they meet fans inside the venue after washing up. Sometimes they meet fans outside on the sidewalk. Other times, they want fans to wait near their tour bus. m3To figure out where they’re going to be, stick around after their last song and look to see where a small crowd might be forming. If the venue’s staff tells you that you need to leave, listen to them, because the band will be somewhere else. A few years ago, I went to see Mayday Parade with The Maine co-headline the American Lines tour. After the show ended, my friends and I stuck around inside the venue to see if any band members from either group would come out and meet with their fans. It didn’t take long for Derek Sanders, lead singer of Mayday Parade, to come out and begin speaking with fans.


Say “Cheese”


My final tip a little superficial, but sometimes a cool picture with your favorite artist can turn into a funny TBT photo if you’re not on you’re a-game. Founder of Style In The Way, a fashion and lifestyle blog, Sierra Mayhew, recalls the time she had the opportunity to meet Jay Z at a football game. “I found out that Jay Z was sitting a few boxes away from mine! I was offered the opportunity to meet him, and though I only knew a handful of his songs at the time, I jumped at the chance to go say hi!” Their conversation was going great and he was down to earth and friendly. When it came time to take a photo Mayhew remembers that her Mom “was nervous and in a rush so it came out terrible. I was half-blinking and looked possessed!” So remember, don’t blink when your photographer takes the photo because it may be your only shot!


Sometimes though, you can’t do anything to prevent a photo mishap. This past MayI stood outside The Maine’s tour bus with my college roommate in hopes of meeting the band. When it was our turn to meet John O’Callaghan, the lead singer, we werewelcomed with a hug and a smile. I was able to speak with O’Callaghan for a little while before his tour manager told us that we had to take a photo and move on so other fans would get the chance to meet him. Just as my roommate took the photo on my phone, the tour manager bumped into her, resulting in a blurry (but still cute) photo!



These suggestions should help you feel confident that you can meet your favorite band! While it’s possible and not necessarily hard to meet your favorite artists, it is essential to make sure to follow these steps and remain respectful to both the venue’s staff and the performers. If you keep these tips in mind the next time you go to a show, meeting the headlining act should be a breeze!

-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

I Can Dig It: 10 Year Anniversary Tours

I’m a complete sucker for nostalgia, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when I tell you that I’m obsessed with anniversary tours specifically 10-year anniversary tours. In the past couple of months, I have been able to attend both of Mayday Parade’s throwback tours and I had the time of my life!

In November the band set off on a tour to commemorate their very first EP, Tales Told By Dead Friends. The venues were tiny, (I’m talking venues I used to watch local bands play) and the crowds were intense. Only the most diehard fans snagged tickets. Since the original EP only has 6 songs on it, the band played other fan favorites and did not disappoint.


Then, a few weeks ago, I went to see Mayday Parade on their 10 year anniversary tour of their first full-length album, A Lesson In Romantics! This album is actually one of my favorites of all time, so I was buzzing with excitement. Mayday played the album from cover to cover, and it was amazing. The crowd was energized and the band gained momentum through each song from that.

I wrote a post a couple of years ago stating that Mayday Parade has the most passion while performing than any other band I’d seen, and to this day I think they rank within the top 5. Their performance of A Lesson In Romantics was so emotionally charged and beautiful. I found myself in tears from the intensity of their songs a few times (very typical of me). To be honest, every time I buy tickets to their show I think to myself “Why did I do this? I’m a broke college student and I’ve already seen them 5 times.” but as soon as they hit the stage I remember why I love seeing them live so much, and I know that I’ll continue to buy tickets to their shows until there are no more shows to go to.

I think one of the reasons I like anniversary tours so much, is that I am able to experience a band’s history, exactly the way they want it to be portrayed. It’s kind of like how I’m bummed I’ll never have the chance to see The Beatles perform live, but seeing Paul McCartney would be just as amazing. You didn’t get to see it when it was happening in real time, but you get to see it 10 years later, and you get to see how far the group has come. Let me know if you’ve been to any anniversary tours, and what you thought of them!

-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