2016, By the Numbers

It’s the most, wonderful tiiiiiime of the year! The time where I look at all my concert statistics from the previous year and geek out excitedly over trends, anomalies, and all that fun stuff. So without further ado, here are my year-over-year deets! (Hopefully this is legible)

stats

Here are some interesting things I noticed about this year’s numbers:

  • I went to fewer shows this year but totally kicked ass on getting free/super cheap tickets
  • Even though I paid greater than face for more shows this year, this is almost entirely due to Jukely. For example, let’s say I used my $35 monthly Jukely membership for 2 different shows in a given month. I would write the cost as $17.50 per show, but one of those shows could have had a face value of $10. That looks like a loss, even if the other show had a face value of $80 and so clearly I still came out on top for the month.
  • Insert praise hands emoji here for finally having Webster Hall not be my #1 venue (I love you, Brooklyn Bowl)

And as in previous years, here are some of my favorite post-show comments from my tracking spreadsheet:

“Robotaki was pretty solid deep house (did I just say that?)”

“TECHNICAL PROBLEMS JESUS.”

“The opening chick was a little weird with her body slapping and her tap dancing.”

“He’s so small and old. Good times though, fun and polite crowd.” (Paul Simon!)

“Bleep Bloop hahah”

“Robby Krieger looks so damn frail it’s crazy to watch him shred the guitar.”

“This was the Brooklyniest party pretty much ever.”

“Also, I think he’s Benjamin Button” (Billie Joe Armstrong)

“They had an inflatable dragon!? Like…what.” (Beats Antique)

“It was kind of funk-house, which is a new genre I made up.”

The Best and Worst of 2016

Well it’s that time again. The time where I look at all the shows I went to this year, make some top 10 lists, and amuse myself by writing silly superlatives. Let’s dive right into it. The only thing I need to mention first is that Pretty Lights in New Orleans hasn’t happened yet but I’m sticking it on this list because I’m confident it’s going to be amazing. It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want to because I’m drunk with power!

Top Shows of 2016 (in chronological order):
– Too Many Zooz, Brooklyn Bowl
The Floozies, Webster Hall
Big Gigantic, Terminal 5
– Wyclef Jean, Brooklyn Bowl
– Robert Delong, Terminal 5
– The Geek x VrV, The Knitting Factory
– Green Day, Webster Hall
– GRiZ, Terminal 5
– Break Science, Brooklyn Bowl
– Pretty Lights, Mardi Gras World

Top Festival Sets of 2016:
– Machinedrum, Mysteryland
– GRiZ, Mysteryland
– “Whoever dropped the saxy remix of Ginuwine’s ‘Pony,'” FARM Fest (I forgot to find out who this was so this is forever how I will remember this set)
– Modern Measure, FARM Fest
Gramatik, Elements
– Datsik, Electric Zoo
– Big Gigantic, Electric Zoo
– The Polish Ambassador, Electric Zoo
– Chromeo, Meadows
Pretty Lights, Meadows

In past years I’ve done a “worst of” list, but this seems so…negative (thanks, Captain Obvious). I’m still going to list my 10 least favorite shows of the year, with the caveat that I actually did enjoy a lot of these. Some were just a little too sleepy, or weren’t as great as I expected them to be. I included the comments I initially made in my concert spreadsheet after each show.

Worst Shows of 2016:
– Slow Magic, Studio E – “Slow Magic just does not get into a good vibe, ever. Too choppy.”
– Paula Cole, City Winery – “She is super talented but I was kind of bored and trapped in the corner.”
– Gramatik, Mysteryland – “Gramatik was weird and disappointing.” (This is probably the biggest disappointment of my music-fan career)
– Bassnectar, Mysteryland – “Bassnectar was a snoozer”
– Kidnap Kid, House of Yes – “I don’t know who or what I saw but it was the shittiest of all shitty house music so I left early.”
– Carnage, Electric Zoo – “Carnage was terrible.”
– Rihanna, Global Citizen Festival – “Rihanna SUCKED SO BAD. Her music translated live into no energy, boring garbage. We didn’t even stay for the whole thing.”
– Malaa, Webster Hall – “Malaa was awful. I hate deep house.”
– Boombox, Brooklyn Bowl – I don’t have comments for this. It was just bad. Apparently it was their last show ever because they hate each other.
– John Legend, Riverside Church – “This was a sleepy show in a beautiful venue.”

And now for the superlatives:

Best Performance With Something Blocking The Artist’s Face:
Rezz, Webster Hall
rezz

Best Throwback Show:
Culture Club, Ford Amphitheater Coney Island

Worst Throwback Show:
Tiffany, Gramercy Theater (“I Think We’re Alone Now” is her only good song, apparently)

Most Improved:
MOTHXR, Bowery Ballroom (the first time I saw them was…strange)

Best Smelling Venue:
Warsaw (pierogies, yum)

Best Between-Song Banter:
We Are Scientists, Irving Plaza (I don’t remember what they said but my notes say it was about DOGS)

Best Venue:
The Knitting Factory

Worst Venue:
The random tiny warehouse on Scott Ave. in Bushwick

Sweatiest Show:
Snails, Webster Hall

Worst Audience Member:
Everyone at Electric Zoo with some type of Harambe shirt on
Honorable Mention: the thousands of screaming tweens at Justin Bieber in Philadelphia

Show That Crushed My Dreams the Most:
Santigold, Hammerstein Ballroom. She always invites the crowd to dance on stage during “Creator” and I NEED TO DO THIS but I was too far back in the crowd to go up.

Most B-A-N-A-N-A-S Show:
Gwen Stefani, Jones Beach

2017…you’re up!

2016 Goals Update, 2017 Goals

At the end of each year I reflect upon my music-related goals for that year and set new ones for the coming year. In my 2015 goals update I set the following ones for 2016:

  • Meet 3 new artists
  • Attend 1 new festival this summer
  • Experience at least 2 NYC music venues I haven’t been to yet
  • Travel to Philadelphia for at least 2 shows (my friends and I call this the “mini-adventure”)
  • Turn one friend into a fan of an artist they haven’t heard of yet

How did I do?

Well, in 2016 I met Dom and Jeremy from Big Gigantic, which was so exciting even though it was super brief. I hugged them! I also met Dom and Dave from Goldfish after winning a meet & greet with them. It was a big year for me and Doms, I guess. I didn’t meet any other artists this year but 4 people counts as 3 artists, right? (Not really). But I did have phone interviews with Maddy O’Neal and Dirty South, so that’s gotta count for something.

I attended Farm Fest in July 2016, so checkity check on attending 1 new festival. Booyah.

I hit up a bunch of new venues this year. I went to a few raves at Studio E, which isn’t really a music venue so much as an empty warehouse that Jukely occasionally throws parties in. I also hit up Warsaw, an old Polish hall in Greenpoint with a cool vibe and probably delicious food. I had my first House of Yes experience, the kooky space in Bushwick that showcases music but also aerial performers, face painting, and a series of other fun things. I went to a free show at Samsung 837, which is the performance space in a Samsung store, as well as the Mixmag Lab, which is the performance space in a media office. I saw some excellent shows at the new Ford Amphitheater on Coney Island and got jammy at The Hall of MP. I saw some producers I love at American Beauty, which is actually just Slake except they call it something different for its early shows (WHYYYY). And then there were a few miscellaneous others, such as seeing John Legend in the gorgeous Riverside Church.

So yes, I did see show in at least 2 new NYC venues this year.

As for Philadelphia shows, I traveled there to see both Justin Bieber and Paul Simon. This is not at all the kind of Philadelphia mini adventure I had in mind when I began the year but both were fun and memorable.

If nothing else, the friend I brought with me to see (and meet) Goldfish said, “I didn’t expect it to be that fun. They’re my new house loves,” which definitely qualifies as turning a friend into a fan of a new artist.

So I did pretty well on my 2016 goals even though I legitimately did not remember what any of them were. I’m going to keep some of these in tact for 2017:

  • Meet 3 new artists (always)
  • Treat myself to VIP at a show/festival (Electric Forest, done and done)
  • Experience at least 2 NYC music venues I haven’t been to yet (gotta catch ’em all!)
  • Write at least 2 “real” blog posts per month (lists, such as my monthly Mix247EDM roundup, do not count)
  • Devote some time to an artist that I probably should have paid more attention to over the years but didn’t. I have a list of these that includes Radiohead, Dave Matthews Band, and others.

I’m super pumped to end 2016 with a trip to New Orleans for Pretty Lights. And then 2017…let’s do this!

10 Songs I Did Not Fully Appreciate Until They Were Performed on “Glee”

Remember Glee? Sure you do. Like you, I was obsessed with Glee when it first came out (don’t deny it). Unlike you, I kept watching even when it got terrible. Because I’m not a quitter, okay? I downloaded far too many of the Glee albums back in the day because while that show had a knack for taking great songs and sucking the life and soul and depth out of them, occasionally they knocked it out of the park. Here are 10 songs that I loved even more after they were performed on Glee (in many cases I even love the Glee version better, which is mildly embarrassing, but whatever).

1. Tina Turner, “River Deep Mountain High” 

2. Florence and the Machine, “Dog Days Are Over” 

3. Heart, “Alone” (how could you not love Kristin Chenoweth, really?) 

4. Ike & Tina Turner, “Proud Mary” (Tina again!) 

5. Fleetwood Mac, “Songbird” 

6. Amy Winehouse, “Valerie” 

7. Aerosmith, “Dream On” (Neil Patrick Harris!) 

8. Madonna & Justin Timberlake, “4 Minutes”

9. Michael Jackson, “Man in the Mirror” (this is legitimately now my favorite MJ song probably – the real song, not the Glee version) (also, RIP Cory Monteith, aw) 

10. Men Without Hats, “The Safety Dance” 

My 10 Favorite Songs OF ALL TIME

Trying to determine your favorite songs of all time is stressful, because trying to determine your favorite anything of all time is stressful. How do you know what you’re going to love forever and ever? The answer: you don’t. So I’ve carefully compiled this list of what I believe to be my 10 favorite songs of all time, acknowledging that if you ask me again in a few years this may not be the same (though I imagine there’d be some overlap). This means that no matter how much I may love a song right now, if I only heard it for the first time in the last few years, it was more or less ineligible for this list because I needed to include songs that stood the test of time. I did make a few exceptions though, because,  you know, my blog my rules.

What’s cool about this list is that I love all of these songs (obviously), but this list is so unrepresentative of what I listen to right now (i.e. minimal electronic presence). The fact that I still love these songs so much makes me happy because it means that I haven’t gone 100% over to the dark/electronic side. Here goes!

1. Weezer, “The Good Life” 

A classic.

2. Missy Elliott feat. Ciara, “Lose Control” 

I don’t know why I love this song so much. I just do.

3. Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Under the Bridge” 

Fun fact: even though this is a slow song it makes an excellent choice for karaoke because everyone loves it and it has great belting potential.

4. Santigold, “GO!” 

I love Santi. WHERE IS SHE THESE DAYS?

5. Big Gigantic, “Fantastic” 

Big G is one of the few artists that I have been straight up obsessed with since the first note of the first song I ever heard. This was that song.

6. Foo Fighters, “Everlong” 

As a huge FF fan it seems almost unfair to choose arguably their most popular song as my favorite, but…it’s a damn good song. Second place: Bridge Burning. 

7. Darude, “Sandstorm”

I think I’m supposed to feel guilty about this one but I refuse to. I have listened to this song consistently since it came out in 2000. My friend and I waited through 90 minutes of Darude’s other crap music at 1am on a weeknight just to hear this song (it actually wasn’t worth it, but it was still amazing to hear this song live).

8. Weezer, “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived”

 Yup, another Weezer song. I love this one because it’s long and takes you on a journey. A friend told me that she once listened to an NPR interview with lead singer Rivers Cuomo and he said this was his favorite song that he’s ever written.

9. Gramatik, “Illusion of Choice” 

This song has a harp. A HARP.  Badass. What’s great about this song is that I love every remix I’ve heard of it, which I can’t say for most of the songs I love (I’m a purist, what can I say?).

10. Linkin Park, “Bleed It Out” 

What happened to Linkin Park? I think it’s uncool to like them these days but you know what? I never professed to be cool. I will always have a soft spot for Linkin Park and the time I saw them at Madison Square Garden will remain one of my favorite concerts of all time.

Which EDM Sub-Genre Are You?

What I’ve learned over my time as a fan of electronic music is that the music is not just classified by those few simple terms we may hear thrown around – “house,” “techno,” “dubstep,” etc.

As I listened to more music and read more about what I was hearing, I learned to use some of the more nuanced genre labels that you don’t hear as often in mainstream music land: deep house, progressive house, hardstyle, drum & bass, glitch, and so on and so forth.

But as I go further and further down the rabbit hole, I come across names of sub-genres that are just getting wildly out of control.

Cloud House. Trap Hop. Chiptune. Witch House.

What ARE these? Someone out there probably knows. I am not that person.

The fun thing about EDM sub-genres is that you can basically make up whatever you want and since music is a subjective experience, you can be right! Like the most pretentious of wine drinkers, just take a little sip of some music and then spout off whatever words come to mind and you’ll sound worldly and intelligent. Example: at a Slow Magic show a few months ago, a friend and I were trying to classify what his sound was.

“I call it…tribal house,” I said.

“I like it,” my friend replied.

While that term does appear on this insane wikipedia list of EDM genres, I totally made it up at the time and I still have no idea what Slow Magic would “officially” be classified as.

Sounds tribal-y to me! Especially around the 40 second mark once the drums come in.

In any case, just for a little funsies I made a Buzzfeed-style naming game so now everyone can determine what EDM sub-genre they would be! Let me know what yours is! Is it a “real” one? I’m Dark Hop, which sounds deep and mysterious. I like it.

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2015, By the Numbers

Well, I gave you my favorites and least favorites of 2015, but how many shows did I end up going to? Here are all the stats with last year’s info added in for comparison:

Excel is fun!

Excel is fun!

If you want the TL;DR version: I went to 115 shows at 58 different venues in 2015. I went to Webster Hall the most and saw Pretty Lights the most (but never PL at Webster, no no no). That’s really all you need to know.

As with last year, I thought I would share some of the more interesting comments from the Notes section of my concert-tracking spreadsheet:

“The opening rap group kept spraying bottles of water all over people and it’s like, hey it’s literally 7 degrees outside can you not do that? Thanks.” (Rustie at Music Hall of Williamsburg)

“George Maple is a hot Aussie chick! Who knew?”

“The lead singer is a poor man’s Lorde, but it’s all good. They’re both Kiwis! I hope they know each other.” (About Broods)

“7 or so disco balls is a lot.” (About Space Ibiza as a venue)

“Such a weird show. Love the heavy bass but TOO MUCH FOG. Couldn’t see shit. HudMo kind of looks like Gavin from House of Cards. People crowdsurfed? Okay.” (Hudson Mohawke at Irving Plaza)

“I stayed for 10 minutes tops which includes when I was in the bathroom.” (Hot Chip at Output)

“Shpongle DJ set was very un-Shpongley.”

“I mean, I don’t even know how to really talk about this. Everything was wonderful.” (Pretty Lights at Red Rocks, obviously)

“The crowd was made of a bunch of people who clearly did not go out much.” (Fleetmac Wood at Lot 45)

“Also he looks like Kevin Smith.” (Revelations about Michal Menert.)

“I hope he blows up but I also hope he doesn’t because I love feeling like part of a weird freak family.” (Dreamer’s Delight always brings out the weirdos)

2016 seems to be off to a slow start as I don’t have much planned yet for this year. But I have a feeling it’ll pick up soon.