94.5 The Buzz Bud Light Weenie Roast 2017

Location: Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, TX.
Date: July 22, 2017

Houston’s very own 94.5 The Buzz hosted the 2017 Bud Light Weenie Roast last weekend. The lineup featured Chevelle, Blue October, 10 Years, Missio, and Dinosaur Pile-Up. Mother Nature tried to prevent Houstonians from enjoying the festival, but with no success. Concert goers filled the Waterway area as rain poured heavily in The Woodlands, just as the Weenie Roast was starting. 

I arrived to the venue about an hour or so into the lineup, having missed Dinosaur Pile-Up and the majority of Missio. However, I was warmly greeted by hundreds of gestures in the air as Missio concluded his set with the hit “Middle Fingers.” 

Thinking that this would be the perfect time to grab a drink before 10 Years, my group and I headed to the nearest bar at the venue serving beverages. But, due to the lightning in the area, the Pavilion prohibited food and beverage sales for nearly an hour.

“Life is beautiful if you can focus on the light.” – Jesse Hayek

10 Years: I was excited to see this band because “Wasteland” is one of those tracks that still sticks with me even after all these years. The first line, “Change my attempt, good intentions,” leads into that hard rock sound accompanied by lyrics that contain a haunting, yet relative message about “saving someone who can’t be saved” (Hayek). In addition, other tracks such as “Fix Me” and “Shoot it Out” energized the audience. Before concluding the set, frontman Jesse Hasek discussed how music can come from a very “dark” and “emotional place.” He continued by saying, “Some people give everything, like martyrs to the system… bleed out the soul.” He then requested audience members to raise their hands and applaud “people like Chris and Chester.” I think people still mourning these deaths were comforted by the realness and empathy Hayek was giving. He was certainly right when he reminded us, “Their legacies will never fucking die because music lives on forever.” That phrase alone deserves praise.

Blue October: I was honestly very surprised with this band. The frontman, Justin Furstenfeld, has an amazing voice and seems very genuine, according to his lyrics and how he presents himself on stage. He wore a black long sleeved shirt with the name “Chester” spray-painted in white, as a tribute to the late Chester Bennington. After playing their biggest hit “Hate Me,” he asked the entire Pavilion for a moment of silence, as many obliged. Aside from the tributes, Blue October was astounding in their performance. Furstenfeld’s voice, the guitar, the drums, the bass, the lyrics, the lighting… they all complemented each other so well that I became a new fan and would love to see them again. Hopefully I can hear the song “Calling You” next time. 🙂

Furstenfeld concluded Blue October’s set by leading the audience with the chorus from Linkin Park’s “Shadow of the Day.” There was a definite feeling of mourning from both the performers and audience. Yet, there was also comfort in knowing that none of us were alone in our feelings. 

And the shadow of the day
Will embrace the world in gray
And the sun will set for you…

In between sets, songs from Linkin Park, Chris Cornell, and even Nirvana filled the air, reminding us just how prominent depression mixed with drug addiction is. The tragedies we’ve experienced just this year with Cornell and Bennington are not the only ones. There are so many others we have lost and we must remember them, not only as artists, but as people who struggled and battled for years.

Chevelle: I was most excited to see this band, as they have been on my bucket list for 

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“seeing red again”

several years. My memories of Chevelle go all the way back to when I was 10 years old. I remember the single “The Red” playing for the first time and being like, “This is music.” The next day in art class, my teacher mentioned how the color red is associated with passionate feelings, such as love or anger. Then the song made sense to me and was stuck in my head the rest of the day.

Chevelle played nearly all of their singles, excluding “Panic Prone,” “Closure,” and “Well Enough Alone.” But, the band gave its audience exactly what they came for: a badass rock show. The lighting was the most interesting to me. I’m always perplexed at how the colors and shapes can appear so perfectly to the rhythm of a song. This is probably why I take a lot of pictures of how light affects subjects (silhouettes, shadows, sunsets, etc.) In addition to this, Chevelle of course played a perfect show. The vibrations from the bass and drums made your heart beat out of your chest. Lead singer Pete Loeffler’s vocals mixed with his guitar gave goosebumps all over your body. Is this sounding a bit erotic? Well, that’s what the excitement of a rock show should do: make you

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psychedelic

feel things, internally and externally. The band concluded their set, but came back with an encore set consisting of the tracks: “The Red,” “Comfortable Liar,” “Forfeit,” and “Send the Pain Below.”

This was my first experience at a festival associated with 94.5 The Buzz. I now know what I’ve been missing all these years and look forward to attending the next Buzzfest or Weenie Roast.

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In the End, Everything Should Matter

I tried so hard, and got so far…

Depression wins, again.

As I was sitting by myself, eating lunch, my boyfriend texted me a link titled “Linkin Park Singer Chester Bennington Dead, Commits Suicide by Hanging.” All I could think was, “Are you kidding me?” mixed with a bit of speechlessness. It seems as though many people are still dealing with the similar death of Chris Cornell from just a few months ago, but now… this? And what’s even eerier is that today is also Cornell’s birthday. He would’ve been 53.

Please understand I am not trying to be insensitive. I apologize if that is how I come across.

I wouldn’t consider myself the biggest Linkin Park fan or anything, but I definitely respect their art and the genre of music they sparked in the early 2000’s. Their music was certainly a part of my childhood and early teen years. I comprehended the message of “Somewhere I Belong” because I too wanted somewhere I thought I could just be myself, be happy.

I will never know myself until I do this on my ownAnd I will never feel anything else until my wounds are healedI will never be anything ’til I break away from meAnd I will break away, and find myself today.

As someone who has struggled with depression for 15 years, I can say with certainty that I can empathize. Yes, I understand what it’s like to have repetitive dark thoughts that won’t go away. Yes, I have faced brooding suicidal tendencies. Yes, I have lost people close to me from depression and suicide. But… because of all of these experiences, I also know what is left behind when someone succumbs to darkness.

There is guilt, anger, confusion, sadness, and any other negative emotion you can think of that haunts for quite a long time. People, friends, and family are left to deal with those inner demons. I think why my initial reaction to Bennington’s death was more angry than anything is because, quite frankly, I am perplexed at the amount of successful, talented people with loving friends and family that just give it up. It’s not only musicians. Remember Robin Williams or Heath Ledger? But also consider these other artists: Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse, Layne Staley, Scott Weiland, Chris Cornell… I know many of these people not only dealt with depression and/or anxiety, but in several instances fought severe drug addiction.

I think that we, as human beings, should practice a little more kindness and empathy towards everyone. Show that the world isn’t completely full of shit. If you see someone suffering from a loss, be there for them. If you or someone you know mentions suicide or dark thoughts, don’t brush it off! Talk with them all night if that’s what they need. Give them a hug. Make them dinner. Write a thoughtful letter. If I could go back to age 16 and talk to my (now deceased) friend, I would’ve encouraged him to hold on. And to kick each day’s ass. Carpe freaking diem.

Life is not worthless. Every thought, every action, has a purpose.

In the end, everything should matter.

-K

“So glad to see you well” Concert Review of A Perfect Circle

Artist: A Perfect Circle
Date: April 27, 2017
Location: Smart Financial Center, Sugar Land, TX

It’s been a minute since A Perfect Circle has performed in the Houston area, the last time being more than a decade ago. For several months, the group has been touring across the US, and Sugar Land just happened to be one of the lucky locations.

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On the way in!

The Smart Financial Center opened this past fall and has already hosted big names such as Morrissey, Sting, and Don Henley. This was my first time to venture the venue. Most sold out concerts usually occur at places such as The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands or the Toyota Center located in downtown Houston. 

Overall, the venue was clean, easy to navigate, and had an intimate vibe despite its size. The lighting was beautiful and serene. The only minor gripe I have is that exiting the venue had some heavy traffic. But it’s Houston, what can ya do? I think this will improve as more shows are held.

“Clever got me this far, then tricky got me in…”

After a strange, yet intriguing opening from the band Prayers, a translucent curtain fell, indicating the time to refill drinks and relax. (Tip: the drinks are expensive. You’re better off pre-gaming at home or a bar, then getting an Uber). In between sets, security was sure to point out that all recording devices were prohibited, or else you would be escorted out of the venue. Unfortunately, this happened to a local radio show host. Womp.

At exactly 9 pm, the lights died. Shadows were illuminated from behind the secretive curtain. The simplistic and melancholic opening chord of “The Package” began strumming from James Iha’s fingertips. And just as Keenan grunts, “Give this to me,” with his hand reaching toward his right, the curtain falls, revealing the Perfect Circle of a musical group. 

I was ecstatic to see Iha play, as I am also a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan and never got to see him while he was in that group. He did not disappoint.

Although it had been previously announced that they would not perform “Judith” on this tour, APC still satisfied the audience with other well known tracks such as “The Noose” and a remix of “3 Libras.” Other recognizable songs came from their covers of “Imagine” and “People Are People.” I must admit I was anticipating the cover of Gaye’s “What’s Goin On,” but was completely astounded by the execution of the other two. You can’t go wrong with Lennon or Depeche Mode. 

If you’ve seen any performance frontman Maynard James Keenan has been a part of, you know he loathes people who perpetually use their phones and cameras throughout the show. Keenan is also known for his reclusiveness, frequently not showing his face or even talking. After seeing Tool in January 2016, I would say that Keenan was more social during this tour. He was even a bit comedic, as he held a Shakeweight and joked that he had to “get in [his] workout.” Adding to this bit, he treated the Shakeweight as if it were male genitalia and opened his mouth as he “shook” the device towards himself. Some may have been confused by this act, but it was not surprising to fellow MJK fans. To each, his own…

The entire set was artwork. Each song led perfectly to the next. I was able to appreciate both the music and lyrics being performed, as it conduced me toward a peaceful state. I’m sure this also had to do with the fact that I wasn’t watching the show through my phone screen (which I try not to do anyway). When you can actually engage yourself with the artists performing, you are able to connect to their art on an entirely different level. And perhaps, this is Keenan’s purpose.

I believe that when you go to a show, you should be able to leave with something other than the ability to say, “Oh, what a fun show.” Instead, it is much more fulfilling to leave saying, “Wow, I feel completely rejuvenated and inspired.” Although I’m no musician by any means, I still felt a spark of creativity ignited within me. I wanted to paint, take pictures, write, read, everything… all from one show. 

So glad to see you well, APC. 

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SFC at night.

Setlist: 
“The Package”
“The Hollow”
“The Noose”
“Weak and Powerless”
“Rose”
“Imagine” (John Lennon cover)
“By and Down”
“Thomas”
“People Are People” (Depeche Mode cover)
“Magdalena”
“Vanishing”
“Thinking of You”
“Hourglass”
“Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums”
“A Stranger”
“Orestes”
“3 Libras (All Main Courses Mix)
“Passive”
“Feathers”

Favorite performances: “The Noose,” “Magdalena,” “Rose,” and “Thinking of You.” 

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Travis and I after the show. SFC has a beautiful park area.