Calum Hood and Luke Hemmings from 5SOS / Photo by me

Since 2015, I have attended at least 10 live music shows a year. February of 2018 I had five concerts planned with two the final week. I may have only ended up going to three of them but that is besides the point. At the beginning of 2020, I was feeling that this year might be a repeat of 2018. I was obviously very wrong. Live music has been a part of my life since before I was born. My parents were so immersed in the scene that my mother went to a Black Sabbath concert while she was pregnant with me. So when I say before I was born, I mean it literally. After my first concert in 2013, I knew live music would be my home and I would never let it go. I never expected that I would have to go an entire year without it.

Caleb Shomo from Beartooth / Photo by me

I started this year with Set It Off and the Motionless In White and Beartooth co-headline tour, I was set to follow that up with Bad Omens and Thousand Below in early March, which we all know is when everything came to a halt. I was shocked and incredibly saddened by the news that I wouldn’t be seeing Thousand Below again this year. That soon became that I wouldn’t be seeing any artist again this year. So I started some side projects to try to keep my mind off the issue. Yet, I was always thinking about how terrible I felt not being able to go to a concert. However, I have been racking my brain to find something positive to take from this year, find something that we could use to grow from. After a lot of considering, I think I have found it.

Brian Van B photographing Thousand Below / photo by me

Live music is not only a place for us, but a place for the artists, crew, and venue staff. We love concerts and we love the environment it allows us to be a part of. I think a lot of us failed to realize that we wouldn’t have our home without the crew and staff involved. When their lives and careers were ripped out from under them, we had to step up too. We’ve probably bought more merch than we ever have before, we’ve tuned into live stream shows and twitch streams, we’ve purchased music after years of focusing on streaming, we have even made donations to venue funds to keep places afloat. This year has made me and hopefully some others understand what it really means when we hear “music is a give and take”. As fans, it was often overlooked that we were meant to give too. We would go to shows and buy merchandise before but it was something we also got enjoyment out of. This year we had to step up and help the artists and crew that help us so much during normal times.

So, my hopes for live music in 2021? Well, I hope we can get back to seeing live music. I also hope that we tip a little bit more at merch, we don’t complain too much about some technical difficulties, we always show up early for the opener, we make friends with everyone around us (even if they may be tossing us around the pit later), and we never again take this experience for granted. Live music truly is a give and take, this year has taught us that. I hope that after we get back to some sense of normal, we are giving more than we have been before and doing it because we realize we need to.

James DeBerg from Thousand Below / photo by me

I miss live music more than anything in the entire world, I know we all do. So when we get back to jamming together in a crowded and dark venue I am sure we will all be screaming a little louder and buying a little more merch. Until then, we’ll keep making amazing friends on twitter who all want the same thing, keep buying merch and livestream tickets, and keep holding on for the day we get together again.

Stay entertained!

While I may listen to mostly metal, Waterparks have a special place in my heart. I was able to take photos of them this time and while that was an experience in itself this was the biggest headline that I have seen them play and I absolutely loved everything about it. This post will be a bit heavier on the photos but if you want to see all the photos I took head to my Flickr which can be found on my home page menu!

First, the show opened with D’Wayne Jackson, who has toured with the band previously. I absolutely love the energy that D’Wayne gives the crowd and he truly puts his all into performing. He has a very bright future in performing. Plus, damn can this man DANCE!

Then Kitten took the stage and absolutely CRUSHED it. From the stage to the barricade, to securities shoulders and finally, to the rafters, Chloe Chaidez was an absolute firecracker. With energetic songs and even covers, they covered Sk8r Girl…come on…they win, Kitten knows how to party. I can easily say that Chloe is one of the best lead singers out there right now and I am so glad that I got introduced to them through their live show first.

Finally, we have Waterparks. They always put on a fun show and are some of the nicest guys around. They always know how to create a tour that is fun for everyone and interact with the crowd so much. This was also the first show that I saw them where they had a video wall and their production/packages for that were mesmerizing. For the band themselves, Awsten is definitely a character and I have never left a show without laughing at least 12 times. Plus the band’s chemistry is absolutely adorable and you can tell that they really are the best of friends, no matter what they say about each other in Q&A’s. They’re close with each other and with their fans, which makes for an experience and atmosphere that can only be found at their shows and should be experienced by everyone.

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More photos are up on my Flickr if you are interested in looking further!

 

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

I have been talking about nothing but Thousand Below for the past couple of weeks and guess what, I am not stopping yet. Here we go,

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The first time I saw Thousand Below was when they were a part of the “Nightlife in Revolt” tour with Youth in Revolt and Light Up The Sky. I went into the show knowing nothing about them and came out of the show a massive fan. So you all can only imagine how absolutely STOKED I was when they went on tour with Blessthefall last year. A band that I loved opening for one of my favorite bands of all time? I was hooked, obviously. Then watching them play to that crowd, definitely put Thousand Below on the same list as Blessthefall. Then they open for Of Mice & Men (They’re currently still on that tour, make sure you make it out to any date near you!) and hit Lawrence again, which made me incredibly happy.

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Music-wise, they don’t have a bad song. Not one. All the tracks on their first album The Love You Let Too Close are incredibly emotional and can totally be the tunes you scream at the top of your lungs on your way to work or class or on the way home from a long day. Their two new singles “Chemical” and “Disassociate” are absolute bangers and incredible to witness live. When it comes to their live show these guys absolutely NEVER disappoint. The chemistry and energy is through the roof and it radiates into the crowd. Also, they have really sick tour merch? I have no idea who designed it but I wish I could have bought all of it.

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If you’re not already listening to Thousand Below, you should probably start doing that pretty soon, because I firmly believe that they’re one of the best up and coming bands in the scene. You guys are totally missing out if you’re sleeping on them, but the good news is, you can change that! Their second album Gone In Your Wake drops October 11 and you can make sure to check it out on your favorite streaming platforms!

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Basically, Thousand Below is great and you should make sure to check them out.

Until next time…

Some of my favorite moments during shows are when we get massive drum solos from some of the most intense people around. Drummers have always happened to be some of the funniest and most sassy people out there, and I am not complaining. You also can’t really go without smiling when you’re around them and honestly, they bring most of the adrenaline to a show for me. I would also like to note that it is very difficult to get pictures of drummers performing so most of the pictures used here will be meet and greet pictures including the drummers, sorry for that.

5. Otto Wood of Waterparks: I have been seeing and meeting Waterparks since their very first tour in 2016. They opened for Never Shout Never at the Granada in Lawrence and were the smallest band on the bill. The very first thing I noticed about the band was Otto, his long curly hair constantly down around his face and constantly moving. I think the most memorable moment from this show was when he attempted to stab through the snare drum with a drum stick. I have since seen the band five times and will always stand by the fact that Otto is one of the most entertaining drummers to watch and he always keeps the energy up. He is also one of the sweetest dudes out there and we share a birthday so, that is pretty cool.

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Warped tour 2016, Otto is directly on my left

4. Ryan Seaman of I Don’t Know How But They Found Me formerly of Falling In Reverse: I had the opportunity to see Ryan with both bands and something that I find really awesome about him is that he fits into so many different attitudes and vibes during one set. When performing with Falling In Reverse, Ryan is intense and thrashing and crashing and bringing such an energetic and fast-paced feel to the show. Then seeing him in the IDK How habitat is completely different. He holds it down and still exudes the sassy and blingy energy that Dallon also brings. Not to mention he can play bass and drums at the same time? Mega bonus points.

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3. Barry Kerch of Shinedown: Shinedown is pretty much at the top of my list for live bands right now in general, but Barry is one of the best drummers around. His style and his hair and his attitude all lend to the bands overall persona in such a big way that it truly stands out. His energy is insane and no matter the song, you can always tell that he absolutely loves every minute of it. His intensity is so focused and he seems all around centered constantly during their set.

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2. Patrick Galante of Ice Nine Kills: Can you wear a taxidermy style pig mask and black cloak while playing drums for intense metalcore songs? I know I can’t, but Patrick sure can and he absolutely kills it each time. Yes, that pun was intended. Patrick is insanely talented when it comes to putting on a show and adding to the personality the band has live. We all know that the boys in INK love the costumes and make-up but that never distracts from their amazing performance live, especially Patrick. He really brings the band together in my opinion, plus he’s a pretty funny guy in general.

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1. Maxx Danziger of Set It Off: I can easily stand by the fact that Maxx is the best drummer in this scene. The personality that he brings to the band and the live shows is off the charts. This most recent time that I saw Set It Off, he had this MASSIVE drum solo with tons of random songs and that was the most energetic part of the show. He never fails to bring sass and attitude to a show and yet still be one of the nicest dudes around. His talent is undeniable and I think that overall he brings such a unique feel to the band that without him, they just wouldn’t have the presence that they do. Maxx is truly one of a kind and he knocks it out of the park every time I see him. Also, we take meme pictures so, that makes him even better.

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Honorable Mentions

  • Matt Traynor formerly of Blessthefall
  • Connor Denis of Beartooth
  • Lou Vecchio of New Politics
  • Billy Nally of The Wrecks
  • Rian Dawson of All Time Low

So those are my favorite drummers, and I apologize for the crazy posting, I will eventually get it together enough to stick to a schedule!

 

Until next time…

Alright guys, this may come as a shock to some of you, but I saw Beartooth again this past weekend. I know, who would have guessed. Well, all sarcasm aside, it was definitely a tour that I reccomend pulling up to at some point because it was a thrill ride to say the least.

Dead American:

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These guys are something alright. They opened the show in a very energetic and gathering way, bringing people in and making sure that the crowd was up and moving. I think there were three different circle pits in the span of their 30 minute set! While I didn’t find myself loving them at first, they definitely grew on me through their set. Overall, I think that they have great energy and know how to play to a crowd. You may not find their sound something you enjoy but hopefully that doesn’t take away from their show for you. That is something you don’t want to miss. At the end of it all, I found myself really enjoying their music too, which is always nice to find. I went in not having heard them at all and now I have a new band on my playlist. You can never have too many new bands. Look them up!

Hands Like Houses:

Okay, these guys absolutely crushed it. Everything about their set was incredible. I had seen them from afar at Warped Tour in 2017 and their sound never got out of my head all while I could never…for the life of me…remember who they were. Much to my surprise when I looked them up prior to this tour, I was met with a voice I could attach to the name. Their set encompassed their many albums really well, and I had one of the best experiences in their crowd. Vocally, these guys knock it out of the park and down the next two blocks. Smooth vocals and some nice full guitar tracks make for a band that you really don’t want to sleep on. I will do an artist highlight on them in the near future but for now, all I can tell you is to look them up, that is truly all it will take for you to fall in love with them and that I can guarantee.

Beartooth:

I have discussed Beartooth many times on this blog, so saying that I find them to be one of my favorite bands is something we all know by now. This set in particular was probably one of the most enjoyable for me, out of all the sets I have seen and out of all of theirs that I had seen. There was a energy put off by the band that was equally reciprocated by the crowd, this particularly surged during the drum solo (Thank You Connor Dennis). With the set full of some of the best songs to play to a crowd, meaning Body Bag and Enemy, they had me banging my head from beginning to end. With the exception of Afterall which made me tear up a bit, not going to lie. Caleb Shomo is definitively in my top five when it comes to frontmen. He proves that getting up on stage and simply singing can be just as powerful as jumping around and getting on the barricade and stuff like that. Their Meet and Greet was also incredibly relaxed and organized, you had time to actually talk to the band members and didn’t feel rushed AT ALL which is always a lovely time. I also want to point out that each time I have met them, I have never initiated the conversation? You walk up to these guys and one of them is always greeting you or asking you how you’re doing before you can get a word out. I wear Kamron Bradbury’s pick in my necklace everyday, and have since 2017. I walk up to the band and the first thing that happens is Caleb points out my necklace, I haven’t even said hello yet. They genuinely love meeting their fans and take the time to listen and talk to them, which is massively appreciated.

 

P.S: Of Mice and Men were supposed to be on the lineup for this show as well, but had a medical emergency and had to delay their start on the tour. I hope to see them in the future and will hopefully get to chat with them as well!

About a month ago I had the opportunity to see Blessthefall for the fifth time on their Hard Feelings tour. Through this tour, I was exposed to a band that I can now easily claim as one of my favorite bands to date. The line-up consisted of A War Within, Thousand Below, Ded, The Word Alive, and Blessthefall. All of the bands on this bill were phenomenal live but The Word Alive completely blew my mind.

When the tour got announced I was eager to listen to The Word Alive having heard great things about them but never getting around to listen to them. I was late to the party, but at least I got there, and I am very happy that I did. These guys bring so many amazing aspects to the table when it comes to being in music. Their sound, their persona, their connection, their live show, all of it comes together at once and hits you in the face like a ton of bricks. Only this time the bricks don’t hurt!snapchat-1686048024

In regards to their sound, these guys cover all the bases. The mix of clean and unclean vocals and how they meld together is impossible to find flaws in. Telle’s clean vocals take people to a different world entirely and then his screams yank them right back. You can find slower yet still hardcore songs or songs that have you banging your head the whole time. Put these songs into a live setting and you’ve got a true energy on your hands. This energy is obvious in the music but to see how the band connects to each other on stage gives you 110% and it’s a truly refreshing thing to witness and gives you an amazing feeling of togetherness, which is not something to overlook in a bands live performance.

Seeing The Word Alive was an experience that I will hold dear forever and hopefully get to experience many more times. From the moment their set started, which started with an extended intro to Red Clouds, it was building and building in suspense and intensity. That intensity remained through the entire set, and there was crowd interaction and involvement in almost every song. The emotion put forth with this band is something I can’t begin to express with words. Emotion is one of my core requirements to become a favorite band of mine, and needless to say they checked that box super quick.

I highly recommend checking these guys out NOW. They are fantastic in every way and bring all that you could want in a band for this scene.

You all can bet I was incredibly surprised when I was sitting in forensics class one Thursday and suddenly a notification popped up on my screen telling me that the one and only Panic! At the Disco would be playing in Lawrence the next day. I instantly took a screenshot of the notification and when the bell rang, ran to my moms classroom to tell her what was going on and figure out a way to get myself there.

The next day my friend, my sister and I showed up outside the Bottleneck in Lawrence and waited to get our tickets. How the line process went, was all the people with hopes of getting tickets condensed into a single file line once a worker came out and told us that we would be numbered off once we entered the venue. We walked in, got our numbers, stamps, wristbands, and tickets. Then we were able to, actually encouraged to leave the venue and come back later in the evening. When we did return we were told to get in line in numerical order, which everyone did. Once in the venue the real party began.

I was in such awe at the fact that I was seeing a band used to playing arenas, in a small bar in the middle of Kansas that my smile was permanent the whole night. Not to mention the fact that Brendon Urie really knows how to put on a show. He never stopped moving, he was interacting with the crowd, he was reading signs and shaking hands, he was truly there to put his heart and soul into the show. I was also incredibly delighted to get the chance to see new bassist Nicole Row early on in her time with the group. I think she added a great presence to the show and the group. It is not common to see female bassists in a scene like this. It was quite a breath of fresh air. The energy from this show was a surprise for me because I have seen arena shows before and I know they are much different from club/bar shows. However, I felt the energy radiating off of the performance and it felt just like the club shows that I love so dearly. I couldn’t have imagined that I would ever get the chance to see Panic! let alone see them in a small venue such as the Bottleneck. I am forever thankful for the experience however and I am excited to experience one of their shows again.

Panic! At the Disco will be making a stop at the Sprint Center in February of 2019, and I highly recommend snagging some tickets to that early! I’m sure you will not regret it! Get yours at the link below!

https://panicatthedisco.com/tour/

Well as the summer draws closer, we were all patiently awaiting the lineup announcement of the final full run of the Vans Warped Tour. I was actually driving home when they dropped the lineup, and I actually had to pull off the road and see this one for myself. Here are a couple of the bands I feel everyone should pay attention to on this run!

Waterparks (Journeys Left Foot stage): I have been lucky enough (no pun intended) to see these guys four times up to this point. I actually saw them when they were on Warped Tour in 2016. These guys are one of the best live acts I have seen in my five years of going to shows. They bring an innocence to the stage that translates well with the primarily teenage environment of Warped Tour. They are incredibly genuine in their performances and I feel that anyone who likes a good pop-punk show would have a blast at Waterparks’s Warped Tour set.

As It Is (owly.fm stage) : I saw As It Is when I saw Waterparks this past November. I had met Patty and Ben at Warped Tour in 2015 but had a TEI class during their set, so I missed it. Seeing them at the Granada in Lawrence I feel gave me a great grasp on how energetic and unpredictable this band can be. Their fans are die-hard and give every ounce of love they can to these guys, making for one great crowd experience. I am so excited to see what their Warped Tour set is like.

Motionless In White (Mutant White Lightning stage): I will never again pass up a chance to see Motionless In White. These dudes are absolutely INSANE on stage and I have so much respect for what they are capable of. I again am super excited to see their Warped Tour set. I think that the band will be able to be much more raw and stripped down for this tour, and I would really like to see that side of them, even though I know they are a very theatrical band. I think they have the ability to be incredibly diverse in their performance and I am excited to witness that first hand, and I think everyone really is.

Ice Nine Kills (Mutant Red Dawn stage): I have yet to actually see these guys live, and it kills me…again…no pun intended. I am so anxious to see them. I have listened to them for about two years now and have had about three chances to see them and they never worked out, which is incredibly sad. I am a huge fan of how these guys work their songs and Spencer’s vocals. I think that these dudes will be absolutely fantastic on Warped Tour and I can’t wait to see their set.

This list could go on and on, but I will let you guys have your favorites and I hope you all get the chance to check out these four bands and many more on this final full run of Vans Warped Tour!

 

I cannot actually believe that I get to make this post. I created this blog as my graduation project yes, but the idea for it came from Set It Off. I wanted them to get more recognition because I absolutely loved them and trust me, I still do. They are one of my favorite live bands, and some of the greatest guys I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. So without further ado, here is my interview with Maxx and Zach of Set It Off!

On Feb. 24 I had the pleasure of witnessing New Politics Lost in Translation tour with Dreamers and The Wrecks. This was my fourth time seeing New Politics, my third seeing The Wrecks, and my first seeing Dreamers.

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The Wrecks opened the show with the signature fire and energy they always have. These guys are one of the greatest bands I have ever experienced in my life. They perform with such passion and energy, their songs are so catchy and well written, and they blend so well on stage. They are surely a driving force in the music scene and I know the sky is the limit for them. Every chance I get to see them, I am more thrilled than I was the last time. I never know what exactly to expect, other than a damn good performance.

The Wrecks were followed by a band called Dreamers. They had a similar vibe to The Wrecks but they weren’t as energetic on stage. They gained some momentum however when the lead singer came out into the crowd. Overall the sound was good and many of their songs had well developed lyrics, they just weren’t really my type. I definitely respect them as artists however.

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Finally, New Politics took the stage. I was excited to see them headline for the first time and I was definitely not disappointed. They put together the perfect set list to keep the energy going at all times, the vocals were exceptionally good, and they encompassed songs from each of their albums. I always enjoy a show that brings new and old songs together. It was also a great feeling to see so many people there to support these guys. I saw them for the first time in 2014 when they played Kansas City’s Red White and Boom festival with Fall Out Boy. They completely captivated me, however many of the people there were not paying much attention to them. Then to see them now, with a pretty big crowd and so many people singing along, it was such a heartwarming feeling. I will always recommend people to see New Politics any chance that they get.

Overall, I really enjoyed this show. I felt that it was a great show for The Wrecks, who are a band that is gaining momentum each day in this scene and deservedly so. I also felt that it was a great show put on by New Politics and that they are also gaining fans by the day, and I truly hope that all the bands on this tour continue in their artistic ventures, because they are truly great musicians.

It was definitely a night to remember at the A Day To Remember concert. I was so thrilled to get the chance to see these guys in concert, as the last six times I had the opportunity to see them complications made that impossible.

The show opened with a band called The Devil Wears Prada, I had never heard them before. I wasn’t a huge fan of their sound, it might have been the acoustics being slightly off, but they did have a great energy on stage.

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They were followed by Falling In Reverse. This was my second time seeing them and I enjoyed this set much more than the first time I saw them live. The first time, the set was at warped tour in 2016, so therefor was short and felt incredibly rushed. This set allowed them to take more time with their songs and they had much more of a presence at this show. I really enjoyed seeing the band own the stage. Their sound was also incredibly raw and well rounded. I will definitely see these guys any chance that I get.

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Falling in reverse were followed by the icons Papa Roach. I listened to Papa Roach when I was younger, and knew two of the songs on their set only because I hadn’t listened to them for years. Man do I regret that, I was entranced by their set. Jacoby Shadix is one of the BEST performers I have ever seen in my life. The energy he brought to the set was astounding and I really liked many of the new songs they performed. It was also really cool to see a band that my mother had seen years ago, still have such a devoted fanbase now.

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Finally, A Day To Remember took the stage. Seeing them perform finally was definitely worth the wait. I felt the energy soar to a new height with the first song the band performed. They threw beach balls on the crowd, had people on top of crowd surfers, and there was not a stationary body in the room at any point during their set. I sang, I screamed, and when they played “I remember” I broke down into tears. The set did a great job of encompassing all that the band had accomplished in their 15 years and I am sure that anyone who experienced this tour feels the same way.

Overall, I HIGHLY recommend that any fan of A Day To Remember, new or old, see this tour. It is definitely worth the time and money spent for the show. I am confident that a tour like this will never occur again and I truly feel terrible for any who don’t get to experience this tour.

So throughout this project, I have had the opportunity to see many new and different venues. I am going to dedicate this post to giving a little insight into my favorite ones. So, in no particular order,

The Truman (Kansas City, MO) – I first went to this venue in October for the Motionless in White show. The venue was super cool, it looked like they had renovated an old auto-mechanic shop. The staff was super nice, it was really hot the day of that show and the staff brought out bottles of water for those waiting in line. I also saw a pick on the floor that night and at almost any other venue I have been to the guards would have ignored me if I had asked for it. Here I simply pointed to the pick hoping the guard would know what I meant and he used his flashlight to get it for me. This was one of my favorite venues yet.

The Granada (Lawrence, KS) – This is the venue I visit the most when it comes to shows. This place feels like home to me. I have seen a total of nine shows at this venue and I can’t wait to see more. The staff here are nice as well, even though sometimes the way they are with the VIP experiences is a little unorganized. The venue gives off a family vibe which I appreciate greatly. It also gives off a grungy feel which I think adds to the scene vibe all together. Overall, this is also one of my favorite venues due to how comfortable I am with it.

The Cotillion  (Wichita, KS) – This venue reminds me of the Granada, only slightly larger and a bigger stage. The venue is also rounded out, so the back of the stage is sort of a circle. I really can’t describe it any other way. The show I saw here was In This Moment and Motionless in White. I enjoyed all the tables they had at the back to go sit on and rest. I also enjoyed how simple it was, therefore there was little confusion.

The Bottleneck (Lawrence, KS) – I absolutely love the layout of this venue/bar. There are bleachers off to the side and booths at the top, there are a couple steps that lead down to the floor and a small stage. I enjoyed the openness of the venue with having the pool tables and such in the front. I saw The Wrecks here and enjoyed taking photographs here due to the fact that I could get great shots from anywhere!

 

I highly recommend these venues to any Kansas concert goers. I enjoy the staff, layouts, and sound quality of all of these venues. If any readers have any concert stories they would like to share, tweet me! @Natlindz !

 

Thank you for reading!