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    You might know Andrew McMahon from when he was with his band Jack’s Mannequin, or even his older band Something Corporate. Now he is out on the road on his own, and I was able to attend his show at the Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI on April 7th. As someone who has seen Something Corporate three times and Jack’s Mannequin fourteen times, I was not in any way disappointed. He started out the show with a slow Something Corporate song, “Walking By,” but then quickly got the crowd’s energy up with the classic Jack’s Mannequin hit, “The Mixed Tape.” The setlist was a great mix of both Jack’s Mannequin songs (“Holiday From Real,” “Amy, I,” “La La Lie,” “What Gets You Off?”) and Something Corporate songs (“I Woke Up in a Car,” “Punk Rock Princess,” “Ruthless,” “Watch the Sky”). In addition to those, the crowd also got a taste of McMahon’s new solo work with two new songs “Learn to Dance” and “Synesthesia” both of which will be on his first solo EP The Pop Underground, set to release April 30th (you can pre-order the EP here). For the encore of the show, the fans were screaming for “Konstantine” and they were not disappointed. He came out and delivered the over nine minute Something Corporate tune while the crowd went crazy. In addition to seeing the show in Milwaukee, I also saw this same tour in Chicago and Detroit…if you have not seen Andrew McMahon live before, I highly suggest that you go and do so! After his Spring solo tour, he will be opening for O.A.R. on their summer tour….you can see all the dates and buy tickets here.

Click here to see the rest of the photos from the set in Milwaukee!

Expect brutal honesty from Blue October’s frontman

…Last night we had 500 in Denver and it seemed like people really understood it was coming from the heart.

It’s not about entertaining in the same way (as with the band), it’s about being brutually honest and real about everything you’re saying.

In Denver, I was talking about how I was an a**hole. I cheated. I was not a good person. People yelled out, “You son of a b*tch!” They were mad at me and I loved it. They were giving real, honest reactions. Not, “Aw, it’s OK. We love you.”

I realized I messed up. And I love a real reaction. That’s the beauty of making art: you’re powerless over peoples’ reactions…

Continue reading “Expect brutal honesty from Blue October’s frontman” on OnMilwaukee.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The Urban Garage Sale is coming up once again!

Get your buns to Turner Hall Ballroom on Saturday, December 10th, and take advantage of all the great deals TONS of Milwaukee’s best vendors, artists, etc. are offering up! Get all of your Christmas shopping done in one stop! This is a win-win situation for everyone!

Check out the Urban Garage Sale website for more information, and go to the Facebook event page to RSVP “YES!”

SEE YOU THERE!!!

Lindsey Stirling Charms Turner Hall Ballroom

I remember my first encounter with a violin. I was in elementary school and our teacher was going over the intricacies of the instrument, the mechanics, how to hold it and so on. The information was jarring and I found the instrument to be quite intimidating. It’s a very human instrument and can take several years to master. It’s a shame that I can’t recall the first time I heard dub-step though. Which isn’t all too surprising considering a great majority of dub-step is interchangeable and disposable. Never the less it has a place in our culture.

Lindsey Stirling combines both of these elements fluently. If you didn’t know, she’s one of the largest musical voices on the internet. With two dedicated channels on Youtube (Lindseystomp and Lindsey Time) she’s taken charge of her musical career since she first broke out on Americas Got Talent.

Knowing nothing about the music Stirling creates, when I was offered the job to photograph her I promptly typed her name in to Youtube and was overwhelmed with videos. Clicking the first one, entitled “Shadows”, I sat in my chair astonished. If you haven’t seen the video, it’s basically her out-dancing her own shadow, while playing her violin. Yes. She was dancing and playing a violin. Apart from that, I could not get in to the dub-step element she infused with her playing. I watched a few more videos, hoping to “get it” but found myself not totally invested in the music but rather just how talented she was.

But part of me was still curious as to how she performed live, so I was excited when I walked in to the Turner Hall Ballroom on Monday night. Going about my business, I accidentally stumbled upon a fan VIP Q&A with Stirling and about 20 other people. I was taken back at how vivacious yet modest Stirling was as she answered questions ranging from how she liked Milwaukee, to her favorite cereal to going in to detail about how a fan wanted to scream at her butt. After the Q&A session, drummer Drew and keyboardist Gavi took the stage as the band performed a song that would not appear on the set list later that night. It was then when I realized it just wasn’t all MacBook’s and violins.

Before Stirling took the stage for her set, local DJ Chris V opened the show to a very restless crowd. I noticed a few people around me who were asking why he was opening and even questioned his credibility as a musician. Despite the lack of regard from the majority of the crowd, there were a few girls near the stage dancing and when Chris V pulled out his trump card, Baauer’s “Harlem Shake”, the crowd couldn’t help but go crazy.

After Chris V’s set, it was only minutes before the lights fell once again as Drew and Gavi took their places followed by an effervescent Lindsey Stirling. Adorned in a custom made conductor’s suit, Stirling took center stage before the giant LED screen and began playing her own classical piece before transitioning in to the electric “Stars Align” off of her self-titled debut.

Stirling was all smiles as she ferociously played a dizzying array of notes while prancing back and forth on stage like a butterfly caught in a jar. At one moment she could be seen stage right nearly kissing the ground and the next be stage left kicking a leg high in the air, all the while not missing one damn note. As she bounced around on stage Gavi provided a thick atmosphere on keys that complimented Stirling’s majestic playing, while Drew precisely pounded out every beat and rhythm. The band as an entirety was as tight and up beat as the music they play demands.

The majority of the night was focused on showcasing a lot of the songs off of her 2012 debut. (Actually all but two songs were played) That doesn’t mean that Stirling didn’t sprinkle in a little fun here and there. Occasionally the band would break in to their own renditions of famous songs such as Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”. One of the more accepted covers played that night was the solo interpretation of the Legend of Zelda theme that catered to gaming nerds in the crowd.

Lindsey herself was one of the most talkative artists I’ve seen perform in a while. She would often tell the crowd how much she appreciates their support, how her life has changed over the past couple of months as well as stories about her trip to Kenya and how much she loves to record and edit videos. One of which was being recorded that night, where the whole crowd participated in a dance conducted by Stirling herself. (I’ll post said video when it becomes available.)

Stirling finished the set with a two song encore that included a breathtaking rendition of Evanescence’s “My Immortal” before finishing the night where her career began with the colossal hit “Crystalize”.

As the night drew to a close, I came to appreciate the music and as I’m writing this I’m still listening and enjoying it. Watching the band perform live is much different than just simply listening to it. Stirling’s dancing shows just as much emotion as her virtuosity while the drums and keys are lightly layered over the violin creating a dense, expansive atmosphere. You don’t even really notice the dub-step elements after a while as they’re only a minor element in the overall composition.

Lindsey Stirling may have been discouraged earlier in her career, but she can certainly lay those doubts to rest as the sold out crowd at Turner Hall, and Milwaukee as a whole, will embrace her return when she tours again.

-Setlist-

Intro

Stars Align

Spontaneous Me

Electric Daisy Violin

Shadows

Beat It – MJ Cover

Song of The Caged Bird

We Found Love – Rihanaa cover

Elements

Zelda Theme

Pop Medley – Dance-off

Good Feeling

Zi-Zi’s Journey

Moon Trance

Transcendence

Phantom of The Opera

-Encore-

My Immortal – Evanescence cover

Crystalize