We have a winner!

The winner of our contest for a pair of Gaslight Anthem tickets at the Double Door in Chicago is Andrew Schlaack! Here’s the winning entry:

Perhaps it’s cheating, but I’m having a hard time deciding between two, so I’m going to do my top two of this year.

The first of the year, is the Jimmy Eat World Clarity 2009 Tour at the Metro, February 28, 2009. Jimmy Eat World has always been, in my opinion, phenomenal live. This tour sold out almost instantly, and the MEtro date was no exception. I had to buy tickets from a scalper on StubHub, and though I paid far more than I ever planned on, it was well worth it. Waiting outside the venue, meeting Tom, and reminding him of the time he drew a phallic symbol on the back of my denim jacket. The show itself was fantastic with Clarity being played front to back, and “No Sensitivity” being one of the encore songs, it definitely stands out as one of my favorites of this year.

The other was the tied-for-first choice for different reasons. Same venue, almost two months later. My wife and I saw Alkaline Trio and Saves the Day, April 21st, 2009 at the Metro. It was the second of two nights, and the all-ages show of the two (we went to both, but I’ll explain why the AA show was better). When Alkaline Trio came on, I made my way toward the circle pit because I spent the previous night in the push-mosh up front. The entire night was spent with people who were just as passionate about the music as I was, and wasn’t just trying to scream that they wanted to get into Matt Skiba’s pants. These people understood what the pit was about. Bruised and knocked around, we all formed a wheel and spun around the perimeter of the pit, every last one of us singing “Radio” at the top of our lungs. Many bro-hugs were to be had by these people who we each felt connected to for that one night. These were people who understood. And to share that night with them made it one of the best concerts I’ve seen this year.

Close runners up include: Green Day at the United Center, The Music Tapes at The AV-Aerie, and Taking Back Sunday in Orland Park on the Journeys Touring BBQ thing that they do. I’m not quite sure what that all was, I just know I saw Taking Back Sunday play for free, and it was fantastic.

Thanks to those who entered, and we hope that Andrew and his guest have a great time. We’ll see you there!

Pitchforkin’ III

As I mentioned two days ago, I was privileged enough to win a 3-day pass to Pitchfork Music Festival. This will be my third straight year at the fest. I’m not guaranteeing I’ll see everything, obviously, but I’ll be reporting back on the acts that I particularly enjoyed over the weekend. Please feel free to leave comments and I’ll try to get back as soon as internet access allows.

Until then, enjoy this picture snapped of Sonic Youth during their “Don’t Look Back” peformance of Daydream Nation, on July 13, 2007.

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Blago-ing My Thoughts…

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The 2008 election kind of turned me into a news site junkie. I’d followed news pretty closely anyways, but it kind of activated my politics gland a bit more than I expected. I’ve been using Google Reader to aggregate all of these new sites for me. I probably have about a dozen or so news sources I like to pull from at any time. My philosophy is to pull from as many sources from as many leanings as you can, and then kind of make your own interpretation of what you’re getting from the news. Anything less than that, you’re probably not very well informed.

Going through my sites today, I found a rather alarming post on Huffington Post, or the site founded by columnist and author (also onetime California governor recall candidate) Arianna Huffington.

Here’s the headline to the post Blagojevich Compares Himself To Mandela, King, Gandhi.

Un. Fucking. Real.

I’m a born and bred Illinois resident. I’ve always been proud of my state, sort of that underdog little brother to the big coastal cities of New York and Los Angeles. I’ve always felt that any attention we’ve gotten as a state (or the city of Chicago) is because we’ve had to fight for scraps. That’s partially what made it so much more exciting when Barack Obama ran for president. He was our guy. Who lived in our state The big bright spot in the middle of all of this, well, shit.

Illinois politics, particularly the governorship is an embarrassment to this state, and makes us look like shitheads to the rest of this world. Four of the past eight governors in the state have either been indicted or convicted of felonies. Fucking preposterous. What’s worse? it’s happened to the last two. In a row.

As we’ve already had to suffer through the trial of George Ryan, we are thrown back into another scandal have to deal with this awful-coiffed egomaniac who’s comparing himself to the great leaders of the world. He tried to sell a Senate seat among whatever else he’s been scheming to do for the past six years.

Tomorrow, his senate trial begins. I hope he’s convicted and they throw him out of office. Give Lt. Governor Pat Quinn a shot at this state. He doesn’t even get along with the guy. Blago hasn’t spoken to him since the summer of 2007.

Rod Blagojevich says that this whole debacle makes him a victim “in a plot to raise taxes.” He’s making analogies to Western movies about himself being a cowboy and ‘being hanged’. He’s going on TV shows like “The View” and “Larry King Live” to ‘defend himself’.

Bad idea dude. That’s not helping your cause at all. You’re just providing little nuggets of pop culture to remember you by. If you were sane, and the least bit coherent, you’d quietly slip away and let the state of Illinois get on with our business, instead of putting everyone through this costly trial.

I’m hoping Illinois can rebuild it’s reputation. Even if Rod’s ousted, we have a long way to go.

Let’s just get the ball rolling.

P.S. Watch this classic clip. Douche.

Excessive Dictionary Usage

1. Still can’t believe we have a new president. I suppose the first real transition I was conscious for was Clinton to GWB. It’s kind of weird that we keep on progressing like this. This is the fifth president in my lifetime, already. Craziness. Okay. No more of that.

2. @John_Agnello suggested I write about my irrational fear of peanut butter. I don’t have an irrational fear of peanut butter.

3. Also – John_Agnello @obviate “WTF, where’s my peanut butter cups, Brendan!!!” Completely random.

4. Tomorrow night is Animal Collective at Metro. I’m really excited. Talk about seeing a band at the height of their powers. These guys are EVERYWHERE lately, and I feel incredibly privileged to be able to get to their gig. I have some serious anticipation for this gig. My camera’s broke and being repaired, but I’ll try to take what I can with ye olde iPhone.

5. Went to lunch with my good friend Jordan De Shon today. We remarked that 2009 is a painfully bad year for big movie releases. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince as well as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (atrocious movie title, btw) looks to be the only semi-decent big ticket flicks coming out for the summer. I sincerely hope Hopefully Pixar continues their streak with Up. If anything, the main character has the bestname since Mike Wazowski. Get this – Carl Fredricksen. Carl!

6. The new U2 single sounds like dogshit. I don’t even think I finished it, and I used to like U2. A lot.

7. The new Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band record, Working On A Dream is streaming over at NPR. Click the link to hear it. I’m sort of disappointed with it. There’s enough there to hold my attention – but it’s like, the songs feel really half baked. Disappointing, but not terrible.

8. No Doubt is touring this summer with Paramore. It’s good they’re getting back together. I saw them in 2002. Good show. Unfortunate that they’re playing with Paramore. Okay, okay, so I dug Misery Business! I’m sorry!

9. I could not believe my ears when I heard this. Wow.

10. Most fast food is an excellent idea in theory, but poor in execution. Just sayin’.

One Twenty Oh Nine

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I was inspired today watching the inaugural festivities, and decided to cobble together a mixtape featuring songs I felt were appropriate for the occasion. Enjoy!

Click here to download.

Tracklist:

Change Is Gonna Come – Otis Redding
The World Is An Open Door – Franz Nicolay
Sorrow – Bad Religion
Afrobama – Cody Chesnutt
Come Together – The Beatles
The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan
Black Man – Stevie Wonder
Constructive Summer – The Hold Steady
I Want To Take You Higher – Sly & The Family Stone
The Start of Something – Voxtrot