Shows I Missed: January 2018

I almost never write these posts anymore because I always make a point of seeing the ABSOLUTELY-MUST-SEE shows and I just don’t have the energy to get so upset when I miss the other ones. But every so often I do get at least kind of bummed about having to skip a show.

In January I really wanted to see Too Many Zooz, a local NYC band that seems to play Brooklyn Bowl twice a year now (so…they’ll be back). I had plans that I couldn’t move and so I had to pass on this one even though there were, surprisingly, Jukely tickets aplenty for it.


2017 Goals Update, 2018 Goal-Setting

At the end of each year I check in with my music goals and set new ones for the coming year. I continue to do this process annually even though I forget my goals as soon as I hit “Publish” on my blog post and I never remember what they were until it’s time for the year-end update. So really, instead of working toward these goals all year and then telling you all how I did, I get to be surprised by them and it’s always a crap shoot whether I hit any of the milestones I wanted to or not.

It is a deeply flawed system. Yet I continue to use it. What can I say? I’m a flawed person. Let’s see what my 2017 goals were:

  • Meet 3 new artists
  • Treat myself to VIP at a show/festival
  • Experience at least 2 NYC music venues I haven’t been to yet
  • Write at least 2 “real” blog posts per month
  • Devote some time to an artist that I probably should have paid more attention to over the years but didn’t.

And how did I do?

Meet 3 new artists
Thanks to the joys of music blogging I met several! Most notably, TroyBoi and Big Wild, both of which were incredibly exciting (and nervewracking!) interviews for me. Crushed this goal.

With TroyBoi

With Big Wild

Treat myself to a VIP show/festival
This was a little bit of a cheat because I had already booked VIP 2017 Electric Forest tickets by the time I set my goals for the year. BUT, my friend and I did VIP for Gramatik New Year’s Eve so I got that in anyway. Check and check.

Hit up 2 new music venues
In addition to new festivals which I don’t really count as new venues, I finally visited the legendary Capitol Theatre this year, as well as the Cutting Room and the NYCB Theatre at Westbury. The Cap was a particularly exciting addition because I always hear how beautiful and fun it is and it was certainly both of those things when I saw GRiZ there. Definitely a venue for super special shows only because it requires a ride on the MetroNorth.

Write at least 2 “real” blog posts per month
Hahahah fail. Womp.

Devote some time to an artist that I probably should have paid more attention to over the years but didn’t
This is a fantasy goal that I’ve had in my head for years and never seem to act upon. What I really want to do is focus on a super well known and much-admired band that I just don’t listen to – like Radiohead or Tool or Dave Matthews Band – and spend a lot of time diving into their catalog and seeing what’s what. I never do this. But maybe one day. I did download some Radiohead this year, at least.

So, what are the goals I want to set (and then ignore) for 2018?

  • Meet 3 new artists – this is a constant. I don’t do music blogging anymore (outside of here) because I wanted to focus on other things, so this one will be tricky but I think I can do it!
  • Get my money’s worth from Jukely every month that I’m a member – I did really poorly at this in 2017, as I mentioned. I’m locked into Jukely for at least 2 more months, and thankfully I’ve already gotten my money’s worth for January. But if I continue to be a member, I need to use it.
  • Write at least one real blog post a month – this means something that requires some thought. Not a “On Repeat” post where I just link to a track I’ve been obsessing over, or a “Shows I Missed” post where I list all the concerts I wanted to go to but didn’t in that particular month. A real one. I didn’t make 2 per month but maybe I can swing one.
  • Get my record collection to 50 – I have a record player now! I can’t believe I’ve never written about it. My parents got it for me as a birthday gift, and my vinyl collection currently stands at about 25. Vinyl is expensive and I haven’t quite nailed down the good spots for getting records on the cheap, but considering I’ve amassed half that number in less than 3 months I think I can reach 50 by the end of the year.

And that, I think, is all I’m going to do for this year. I want to keep the goal around checking out new venues, but the reality is that I go where the artists I like are playing, and I’m almost always fortunate to go to new spaces because of that. But I don’t see myself ever going to a new venue just to hit a goal. I also want to keep my goal around treating myself to VIP at a show or festival, but that’s also very dependent on who would do it with me. As I get older I’m definitely starting to be more discerning about dealing with the BS parts of camping festivals, and I can see myself continuing to forego General Admission in favor of VIP, the way my crew and I did at Electric Forest.

And now I’m finally done wrapping up 2017. 2018 is already well underway and even though my music habits are changing these days I still think there’s lots of excitement coming my way.

2017, By the Numbers

Oops, I did it again! By “it” of course I mean, “did a nerdy thing where I analyzed my concert-going attendance for the year.” It is truly one of my favorite things to do because I love finding surprising and even not-so-surprising statistics. Are you ready? I know I am. I’ve been waiting all year for this moment.


Clear downward trend in concert-going. My number of shows has dropped almost 50% in just 2 years which is insane. I’m okay with this, though. I think I’m getting more sleep now.


The number of venues I hit every year remains remarkably consistent when viewed as a percentage of total shows. Each year the number of venues I go to is just over 50% of my total show number. Hooray for diversity and living in a city with so many options.

Brooklyn Bowl has solidified itself as my #1 venue for the 2nd year in a row. Brooklyn Bowl, you deserve it. My lowered concert attendance this year meant less commitment to some mainstays and so the 3-way tie for 2nd place is by 3 venues that I wouldn’t have guessed would have made it onto this list. I somehow only went to Terminal 5 once this year, on December 31st no less, which seems impossible (but the spreadsheet never lies!).

I also like that I continue to track the number of venues that have closed over the year. In 2014 I went to FIVE venues that were closed by the end of the year, and even though that seems unlikely to happen again I still continue to keep tabs on those things.

Still doing pretty well on going to shows for free.

I spent proportionally more money on tickets this year, which is disappointing. A lot of this is due to my Jukely membership, which I don’t use as often as I used to. So there are months where I pay $35 for my subscription and only go to one show with a face value of $12. That happened more months in 2017 than it didn’t and I’m debating quitting Jukely for this reason. It’s interesting to note, though, that if I take Electric Forest out of the equation as an outlier, my percentage of total ticket value paid goes down by 8 whole percentage points. Because super VIP is expensive.

This is nuts. I love the 4 artists that were my most-seen last year but the fact that this is my list is just crazy because I don’t go THAT far out of my way to see any of them. It’s sort of a nice surprise though and demonstrates to me a few things:

  1. I don’t travel for music as much as I used to.
  2. The electro-funk/soul scene does not give New York any special treatment over other cities, which is fair but a kick in the pants for New Yorkers such as myself who are used to our city being seen as the greatest place in the universe.
  3. Sometimes it’s nice to pay attention to lesser known artists. Seeing Pretty Lights is an EVENT but seeing Escort at Brooklyn Bowl is just a delightful treat for a random weeknight.

The fact that I went to 63 shows this year but still had 29 straight days of no music is pretty mind-blowing. The fact that I went to 115 shows in 2015 with 28 no-music days is even more so.

I wonder if I will ever beat – or even match – my 2015 record of going to 3 different concerts in one night. It seems unlikely.

Okay, that’s the year-end analysis. Looking through my post-show notes, here are some comments that stand out:

“I pretended it was fun but it was not.” (OWSLA showcase at Slake)

“I saw one guy jokingly cover his girlfriend’s eyes when Leo was doing his body rolls.” (Too Many Zooz)

“She kind of moves like a sorceress, summoning things.” (About Samantha from Marian Hill. See for yourself.)

“Do I like trance now? Oh man.” (Above & Beyond)

“Everclear played most of their best songs up front which was fantastic because I was too old to stay the whole time.”

“Bassnectar was a little hangy outy at times which was actually perfect for my mood.”

“I didn’t go to Pigeons Playing Ping Pong but I heard them play Hava Negila from my tent and that was just magical.”

“This set started late so I only stayed for 15 minutes because #workinthemorning” (Pink Talking Fish)

FlyLo was just so fucking weird. Like walking around in an art museum where I don’t understand any of the art.”

“Their 3 ladies are fire emojis all the way.” (Escort)

“This was a circus in the best way possible.” (TroyBoi)

“I still don’t fully get jam bands.” (Aqueous)

That’s it for 2017. I still have to do a goals wrap-up but after seeing RJD2 last night, 2018 is already in full swing.

The Best of 2017

Another year has come and gone and it’s time to sum it all up. Here are the top 10 regular shows and top 10 festival sets of 2017.

Top 10 Shows (in chronological order)
1. Escort, Brooklyn Bowl
2. Marian Hill, Music Hall of Williamsburg
3. Deadmau5, Hammerstein Ballroom
4. Too Many Zooz, Brooklyn Bowl
5. Maddy O’Neal, American Beauty
6. Robert Delong, South Street Seaport
7. Lady Gaga, Citi Field
8. Kesha, Hammerstein Ballroom
9. Odesza, Barclays Center
10 Gramatik, Terminal 5

Top 10 Festival Sets
1. Lorde, Governors Ball
2. Flume, Governors Ball
3. Turkuaz, Disc Jam
4. TroyBoi, Electric Forest
5. Odesza, Electric Forest
6. Opiuo, Electric Forest
7. Gramatik, Camp Bisco
8. Pretty Lights, Camp Bisco
9. Barclay Crenshaw, Elements
10. Weezer, The Meadows

Worst 10 Shows
In an effort to be a more positive person, I’m not doing this list anymore. But I am 100% happy to discuss the shows I didn’t like with anyone who wants to know. There were many disappointments, unfortunately.

As always, here are some super important awards to bestow:

Biggest Festival
Or should I say, “Big”gest festival. That goes to Meadows, for hosting Big Wild, Big Boi, and Big Gigantic.

Nicest Crowd
Phish, Madison Square Garden. So polite and friendly!

Most Awkward Moment
Stevie Wonder bringing Pharrell on stage at Global Citizen Festival and then embarrassing him by forcing him to sing a song where he didn’t know the lyrics and then embarrassing him even further by making him sing “Happy” 3 times in a row.

Best Venue
Brooklyn Bowl

Worst Venue
None! I didn’t hate any venues this year, possibly due to the fact that I did not go to a single warehouse party. Truly amazing.

Best Throwback Show
Backstreet Boys, Jones Beach.
Runner up:  Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Webster Hall

Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Most Joyful Set
Turkuaz, Disc Jam. I have never experienced as much collective positive energy as I did during this set. This was not a quiet, peaceful joy. This was a raucous outpouring of happiness. People were dancing as if they were possessed by exuberant spirits.

Best Street Team/Fan Base
Robert Delong, whose street team paints faces during his performances. I traveled all the home on the train like this and I cared not one iota.

Biggest Heartbreak
When Elements Festival moved from Brooklyn (within walking distance of my house!) to the Bronx. It was still an A+ festival but man that stung.

Most Pleasant Surprise
Vourteque, whom I stumbled upon randomly during Electric Forest. It was a delightful electro-swing set that even the security guards couldn’t help but boogie down to.

Most Evolved Band
Bob Moses. The first time I saw them they played deep house. 2 years later they have morphed into an indie rock band? I don’t get it, but I’m okay with it.
Runner up – Break Science. After a number of performances with Mark Brownstein and Aron Magner of The Disco Biscuits (as Breaking Biscuits), Break Science has definitely incorporated a jammier sound into their sets.

In Memoriam
I saw Charles Bradley perform at Governors Ball this year and he has since left this world because cancer is a bitch. He was a talented, soulful musician.
Also – I haven’t seen Linkin Park perform in awhile but Chester Bennington’s death still hurts.

Next up will be everyone’s favorite (and by that I mean my favorite) post, the concert stats! Followed by a goals check-in and maybe goal-setting for 2018 (or maybe I will abandon music-related goals – TBD!).

Music Genres Are Getting Out of Control

When I was looking at my Spotify Year in Review I noticed one particularly hilarious segment: the list of the most popular genres of 2017.

I probably don’t even need to say much more on this because you can see my comments above. But…guys. I think we’re getting a little out of hand with our genre labeling. I totally get that it isn’t enough to have pop, rock, rap, and maybe a handful of others. It’s not just “house” it’s “deep house” or “tropical house” or “electro-house” or a bajillionty other types of house. But is there no end to the madness?!? WHAT DOES “SERIALISM” EVEN MEAN? “Vintage Swoon”???????????? Come on. Come ON.

I’ve written about the insanity of genre labels before, specifically when it comes to the dance music world. You can check out my handy-dandy very official “Which EDM Sub-Genre Are You?” infographic that tells you in absolutely definitive terms which genre you are as a person!

If anyone would like to recommend to me their favorite jumpstyle artists, I’m all ears.

My Year in Spotify

I love data. This is why I keep a spreadsheet that tracks my concert statistics (2017 year in review, coming soon!). So I super love that Spotify gives you an annual look into your listening history.

689 different artists! Amazing.

Some surprising stuff here. I question my top 5 songs a little as I have definitely never listened to “Diamond Heart” or “Lips” on purpose. But I’ll go with it. The stats do not lie.

Do I listen to a lot of brostep? Do you even brostep, bro? I don’t even really know what brostep is. I think that’s what people call Skrillex’ genre. I have never listened to Skrillex on Spotify or really anywhere except a live show.

My top 10! Why is the top 5 different than my other top 5? I have no idea. But yeah this seems mostly accurate. “U Are In My System” has recently made its way back into my frequent rotation after falling off for a few months.

Let’s look at some of the wider Spotify trends this year, shall we?

Most Streamed Artists
1. Ed Sheeran
2. Drake
3. The Weeknd
4. Kendrick Lamar
5. The Chainsmokers

Most Streamed Female Artists
1. Rihanna
2. Taylor Swift
3. Selena Gomez
4. Ariana Grande
5. Sia

Most Streamed Male Artists
1. Ed Sheeran
2. Drake
3. The Weeknd
4. Kendrick Lamar
5. Daddy Yankee (who has come a long way since “Gasolina,” I guess – no disrespect because I will always love that song)

The thing that bothers me about this list is that pretty much all of the top male artists come before the top female artists and while this doesn’t surprise me, we should be past this by now. WOMEN ARE TALENTED, YOU GUYS. Even Taylor Swift, who I don’t like. Sia, I would like to SEE YA higher on this list.

And with that delicious pun, I believe it is my bed time.

Anyone have any interesting Spotify insights to share with the class?


Nobody Listen to Techno (At Least Not Me)

A few days ago I was watching the incredible FKJ, or French Kiwi Juice, at work. FKJ is an electronic music producer who creates beautiful, mostly mellow tunes and who sings and plays a ton of different instruments during his live performances. He is an undeniably creative and skilled musician and even if you don’t like his style of downtempo music you absolutely cannot deny his talent.

As I stood there watching this show in awe I had the same thought that I often do, which is, “Why do people think I listen to bad music?”

Except I already know the answer. And that answer is “techno.”

“Techno,” I’ve come to realize, is the blanket term that people who don’t listen to electronic music use to describe electronic music. And I don’t mean that they use it to describe ALL of electronic music; just the type of electronic music that goes untz untz untz untz. Which, unfortunately, is what a lot of people think all of electronic music is.

What people don’t realize is that music produced electronically can, and does, sound like anything. Certainly there is untz untz as far as the eye can see but there is also electro-pop and electro-hip-hop and electro-rock which for whatever reason seems to always be called its full name, “electronic rock.” Electronic music is the chicken of the music world; you can flavor it however you like.

Which brings me back to techno. Though I do listen to a little bit of untz untz music I actually don’t listen to techno at all. Because you see, all techno is untz untz music but not all untz untz music is techno (we’re getting into some very official music theory terminology now so I hope I don’t lose anyone). So it is very true that techno, however broadly or not-broadly you want to define it, is not the crux of my taste in music. Yet this is what some people think of in reference to music that was created largely on computers. Occasionally someone might reference that I listen to techno, and, cool as the cucumber I am most definitely not I just let it slide even though what I would really love to do is guide people down the path of electro-soul or livetronica.

So people think I listen to techno but really they probably mean house music and even that is not even totally accurate because now I’m going to make it all official with a fancy Venn diagram that I made using very elite design software.

Here is the in-depth analysis of the diagram:

  • Not all electronic music is dance/untz untz music.
  • Not all dance music is techno.
  • Within the realm of electronica, not all of what I listen to is untz untz.
  • None of what I listen to is actual techno.

Acknowledging all of this, I’m still going to continue using “techno” the way the masses do, which is, to describe dancey electronica. Moving on.

I wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with people thinking I listen to techno except for the fact that no one likes or respects techno except the people who listen to it. Whenever I read internet comments about electronic music events from non-attendees it’s never with a tone of excitement, curiosity, or anything remotely positive. No one ever says, “Man it was so great having that event right in my back yard, I got to listen to such cool music for free!” People who don’t listen to techno think it’s just beats or noise with no musicality and is listened to solely by shitty people, to boot (they are at least occasionally right with regard to any of the above points).

On the one hand, I totally get it – dance music in general is something of an acquired taste. Even after several years of listening to it I haven’t fully acquired it, which is why most of the electronic music I listen to actually just sounds like regular music and not like thumping bass and random screeching sounds. If I were able to indoctrinate more people into the land of the music I actually listen to instead of the music that they think I listen to, they wouldn’t call it techno anymore. They would say, “Wow, this is a pop song that happens to have been created on a computer and it is sooo great. You have excellent taste in music, Arielle!” (This is verbatim what they would say.)

So really what it all boils down to is that Eminem was kind of right in that NOBODY ACTUALLY LISTEN TO TECHNO because techno is not what you think. I’m kidding. Some people actually listen to techno. Just not me.