Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Penny & Sparrow

The band(s): Penny & SparrowLowland HumWatching for Foxes

The venue: Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids MI

Date: 4/25/2017

My best friend fell in love with Penny & Sparrow awhile back and tried to get me to listen to them. I kind of did, but my heart was elsewhere at the time and I put them on the back burner.

Then one day this past winter, I mentioned something about some song that was my "Lay on the floor, weeping" song. She sent me the link to Rattle, by Penny & Sparrow.

And it was at just the right time. My heart was ready for Penny & Sparrow.

She said, "If you love them, they're going to be in Grand Rapids in April and I'm going. You should come."

I said, "I'm not sure. Does everyone just sit around crying listening to their music?"

She assured me that while yes, their live music retains it's deeply emotional resonance, they are also delightful performers and it would be a great time.

So I bought tickets.

My husband and I arrived toward the end of Watching For Foxes' set, so I don't feel qualified to make a judgement call on their performance. It didn't grab me, but that's not really a meaningful assessment so go check them out and see what you think.

Lowland Hum is a charming husband-wife duo who harmonize brilliantly. From my vantage point, I couldn't actually watch them, and I was sandwiched between two tables of chatty girls, so I feel again like what I can pass on about them is pretty limited. I liked what I heard enough to investigate them further today, and I bet that if I knew their songs, I would have been able to connect more to the live show. I will say that pretty much every note that came out of Lauren's mouth was a real delight. Beautiful voice.

Penny & Sparrow came on stage eventually, opening with "Gold", one of my favorites, and segueing smoothly into "I Wanna Dance (With Somebody)". It really set the tone for the evening perfectly and I finally understood what my friend had meant about the atmosphere at their live shows.

Musically and lyrically, their songs touch deeply, inspiring "tasteful moans" and gentle swaying. But their personalities protect the audience from getting swamped or weighed down. They banter with each other between songs and make the audience feel like they're a part of an intimate circle where we all can be vulnerable but we don't take ourselves too seriously.

And in case you're interested in the opinions of the unborn, I'm six months pregnant and the only song that got the Bean moving all night was Serial Doubter. It's a good choice and overall, I feel pretty good about Penny & Sparrow being her first show. Well, technically Frank Turner in January was her first show, but her ears didn't work yet so I don't think it counts. (Do you like how I pretend this one counts even though she's not fully cooked yet?).

And here's just another one that I love. You'll have to go find more on your own. I'm not the YouTube.

One more note about the atmosphere - I've never been to a show before where the audience was so quiet and attentive. It was brilliant! Brilliant. Except the drunk girls at the table next to mine, who spilled three drinks (one made it all the way over to our table and all over our stuff!), knocked over a bar stool, kicked me, elbowed my bestie in the back, and chatted through nearly the whole thing. People. Just don't be like that. If you a come to a concert, respect the music, respect the other people in the audience. There are lots of other places you can be a drunk jackass. /end rant.

Anyway, to sum it all up, or TL;DR or whatever:

Penny & Sparrow is great. Incredibly talented and personable and very accessible. If they come through your area, you should absolutely go see them and until then, find every song you can on YouTube and buy all their albums. They even have a Christmas album, which, if you love Christmas like I do, will murder your heart in the very best way.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Frank Turner, Two Cow Garage, The Homeless Gospel Choir

The band(s):
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls
Two Cow Garage
Homeless Gospel Choir

The venue: 
The Intersection

May 26, 2016

I spent yesterday feeling agitated and anxious and feeling very strongly like I did NOT want to go to the Frank Turner concert. This is pretty normal for me and I'm sorry to say I have let it keep me from going to shows before, even shows that I KNEW I would love and even had tickets for (Airborne Toxic Event, Guster, for example).

But if you know me, you know that I feel a great sense of duty, or attachment, or something, to Frank Turner. I don't think it's exaggerating to say that his music has saved my life. At the very least, it has kept me going through some very dark times, or, in the case of his newest album, Positive Songs for Negative People, was waiting there for me when I was ready to climb out of the Pit of Despair.

More on that in a different blog.

Suffice it to say, I dragged myself to the show, husband in tow.

By the time we got under way I was ready and I told him, "I'm going to need to be up by the stage this time. In the thick of it." I guess I'm a weird kind of introvert, where I need to soak up the energy of other people without really having to interact with them. And if you want energy, go to a freaking Frank Turner concert.

We arrived a little late for the opening set, which was the Homeless Gospel Choir, which, surprisingly, was just one dude. And he was amazing. He reminded me of the Front Bottoms and Andrew Jackson Jihad. To be honest, I've been listening to him all morning and now I can't remember which songs I heard last night. I'm pretty sure Armageddon was one. But what I took away from the part of his set that I heard was, I guess, validation that as a 30-something, I'm not alone in feeling discontented with the way the world is, politics, etc, nor am I alone in my anxiety and depression.

I felt so strongly about it that I kicked the old social anxiety in the hoo ha and introduced myself and got a picture with him. It took me about two songs in the next set to stop shaking, but it's totally worth it. I don't even feel [too] bad about only coming up "I think you're my spirit animal" as a way of expressing my appreciation for his songs.

Next up - Two Cow Garage. Another band I'd never heard of. It took me a little longer to get into their set, because their vocals were hard to hear so I couldn't really make out the lyrics. I liked their sound for sure and I did get into it. Again, thanks to my crummy memory, I'm not actually sure which songs I heard, except I remember this one for sure.

But I heard the same theme that I heard in THGC. I told my husband "This tour should be called the "Hit Abbe Right Where She's At Tour". Mental health. Freedom to be who you are. Railing against injustice. At one point in their set, I'm going to guess Shane, based on a quick Google, said something about remembering how you feel tonight, with all these people on your side. And to hang onto that when you're out in the world feeling shitty, being bullied, or having a hard time. "Because without each other, we're nothing."


I was feeling downright emotional by the time Frank Turner came out. First let me say that the Sleeping Souls are great. When I saw Frank in Canada this past winter, it was a solo show and he was great but I found I missed the rest of the band. It was nice to have them back this time around. They have such great stage personality. Watching them is fun. And hearing all those songs live... frankly it takes me back to when I was a Baptist, and the praise music would move me in such a profound way that I would lift my hands, almost to try to reach out and physically grab it. It's a really hard feeling to reconcile when he plays Glory Hallelujah.

And I can get that feeling from listening to his albums, but nothing compares to being packed in, body to body, with all kinds of other people who are as focused and caught up in the music as you are. Everyone is singing, dancing. It's a weirdly spiritual experience all the way around. I'm not trying to deify Frank. I'm just trying to say that in there, in that moment, you can plug into something so much bigger than yourself, tap into this collective consciousness. It's truly profound.

Okay. I realize I'm starting to sound like I'm in a cult so I'll just wrap this up.

I'm just so grateful for that show last night. From start to finish, I felt like it was calling me out of the cave I've been hiding in and inviting me to live in the world. "Being afraid of living is just the same as dying." -- I guess I do remember one more Two Cow Garage song. That line is from Glass City

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Joshua Davis, Zak Bunce

The band(s): Joshua Davis, Zak Bunce

The venue: Gopherwood Concerts 

Date: April 23, 2016

When Joshua Davis was on The Voice, I didn't know who he was and I didn't really care. I didn't watch The Voice and all I knew was everyone on Facebook was blathering on and on about him. It wasn't until I heard him cover Bridge Over Troubled Water that I finally realized what I was missing out on.

That was the only performance of his on The Voice that I heard. The next time I heard Joshua Davis it was when he recorded a stunning rendition of MSU Shadows. I have not historically enjoyed the Alma Mater but Joshua Davis totally won me over to it. Still, I never really sought out any more of his music.

So when a few months ago, my mom asked me if I'd be interested in seeing Joshua Davis live in my hometown, I thought "what the heck!" I knew he had a nice voice and the concert was on my birthday weekend so it seemed like a good idea.

Boy was it!

After my dear and wonderful 90 year old grandmother hauled herself up three flights of stairs for the show, I thought "this had better be fricking spectacular." I wasn't disappointed.

Zak Bunce opened. Years ago I saw Zak when he was singing with Kung Fu Rodeo but his short solo set was more memorable, I think. He opened with a cover of "Down Under" by Men at Work and closed with a "Purple Rain". He was a hit. Clearly a very talented individual and I'd be interested in hearing more of him. I especially loved his cover of Cry Love by John Hiatt (available here).

Joshua Davis came out, just him and his guitar (well, a few guitars, you know how these musicians are). I have to say, having only heard him really twice before, I was skeptical that he would be quite AS good as he was in the recordings that I heard. But he was better. When I heard Bridge Over Troubled Water on YouTube or however I saw it, I was deeply moved by his performance. Tonight, when he played Fields of Gold live in front of me, I wanted to throw myself on the ground. It was phenomenal. It was significantly better even than the Voice performance linked here.

I'm looking forward to FINALLY looking up all of Joshua Davis' music and hopefully catching him this summer with his band Steppin' In It when they play in the LowellArts Summer Concert Series.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday: My 30/30 Playlist (Part 3 of 3)

Tomorrow is my birthday. I haven't been nearly as preoccupied with it as I usually am, but I am going to take the time to compile the 30 songs for 30 years playlist that I shared song-by-song on Facebook when I turned 30. It's a pretty good playlist. I'm just going to share it exactly as I posted it on FB.  

30/30 Playlist #22 Mr Brightside by the Killers

 The Killers - Mr Brightside - Album Version + Lyrics

I bought Hot Fuss and the disc didn't leave my CD player for months. It was just SO GOOD. I honestly had a hard time choosing a song from it to put on my playlist. I don't really have a story to go with my love of the Killers. They just make my ears happy.

"Coming out of my cage,
And I've been doing just fine,
Gotta gotta be down,
Because I want it all"

Runners up: Midnight Show, Smile Like You Mean It

30/30 Playlist #23 If You Don't, Don't by Jimmy Eat World
I didn't find this album until they re-released it as a self-titled album (rather than the original Bleed American). This was another disc that I lived and breathed for ages. What to say about Jimmy Eat World? The lyrics are awesome, the sound is perfect, they put on a great lives show. What more do you need? 

30/30 Playlist #24 The Sound Of Settling by Death Cab for Cutie

I hate to be the person who is all like, "Oh, I listened to Death Cab way back when..." but I am that person. I started listening to Death Cab about a million years ago back when half of their songs were so slow they felt like they were going backwards. And I loved them. And I love the subtle and not-so-subtle ways their sound changes over time while still managing to sound like them.

This is one of those songs that speaks to me in sound and lyric and it reminds me of the year before I moved to Chicago. I don't think this is my favorite DCFC song but it's one that's stuck with me over time.

"My brain's repeating: If you've got an impulse, let it out.
But they never make it past my mouth."

p.s. their song "What Sarah Said" is featured on my unpublished "songs that consistently make me cry" playlist.

30/30 Playlist #25 The Only Living Boy in New York by Simon & Garfunkel

This is sort of a dual meaning entry that takes me to very specific moments in my life. This is at once me flying across town on my bicycle, listening to the Garden State soundtrack as I tried to figure out my life in the summer of 2005 and also standing shin-deep in horse track mud in the New Orleans sun, seeing Simon & Garfunkel live in 2010. It's fond reminiscence and echos of distant and not-so-distant past heartache. And it's just beautiful.

"I've got nothing to do today but smile."

30/30 Playlist #26 I Spy by Guster

Sarah introduced me to Guster (via "Two Points for Honesty") in 2005(ish). I'd heard of Guster before, even was an usher at one of their concerts, but I didn't fall in love with them until I listened to the Lost and Gone Forever album. "I Spy" was my favorite song on the album from the first time I heard it. I can hear why in the way he sings "I've been so damn tired" -- it really resonates with how tired I've felt in my life. Which probably doesn't make any sense to anyone but me.

Other favorite Guster songs: Demons, This Could All Be Yours Someday, Careful, Come Downstairs and Say Hello. And most of the rest of their catalog.

"There is something I've been meaning to do
I am dying to tell you
I've been so damn sad."

30/30 Playlist #27 Slow Pony Home by the Weepies

I don't know what to say about this song. I love it (and many of the Weepies' songs) so much that it's hard to share it with other people because it feels like it's a part of me. It's hard to explain a strong emotional attachment to specific music so I'll just post the link. You'll like them or you won't.

I can remember when I first saw you
You said in my photograph I looked more far away
I laughed and smiled and didn't say
"I am a bit afraid to be here."

Runners up: Painting by Chagall, The World Spins Madly On, Nobody Knows Me At All

30/30 Playlist #28 Cat in Sunshine by The Lucksmiths

I fricking love the Lucksmiths. Straight up. I love their clever and sometimes funny lyrics. I love the lead singer's accent. And I love this song.

"And when you're near I feel like D-Day is here
All those songs about burning houses are giving me ideas
If I hear those words once more, I'll pour the petrol on the floor
And I'll watch the flames caress your door"

Also go listen to: English Murder Mystery, Untidy Towns, World Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Murder

30/30 Playlist #29 That's Some Dream by Good Old War

I've been to a lot of concerts, which means I've seen a lot of opening bands. It's rare for me to walk out of a show even remembering the name of the opening act, let alone hastily downloading all of their songs because they were so awesome. But that's Good Old War.

"There's a time in our lives
we start again on writing our part
as the story goes on, it's the rule that we remember our lines

I know everyone would want me to say
that I'm not afraid to be alone

I'm gonna live I'm alright,
I'm gonna die it's alright, I'm okay"

30/30 Playlist #30 All I Ever Wanted by the Airborne Toxic Event

 All I Ever Wanted

When I first heard this song last fall, it was just... love.

When I think of Airborne, I think of how I survived last fall. I think of how much of my life and my plans and my sense of who I was was demolished. And I heard this song (and some of their other ones) and felt deeply, viscerally, that I would not only be okay, but I could be great. They're like putting on warm clothes straight out of the dryer on a cold morning. Then as I learned their catalog I would be surprised by lyrics, sounds that fit precisely how I was feeling or how I hoped to feel some day.

For a writer, I'm pretty terrible at putting how I feel into words. Possibly because I'm trying to dance around the fact that these guys are the best thing since sliced bread. Since Culver's custard. Since the best thing you can think of ever.

I can't list a runner up or other suggestions because you should really try on all of their stuff. That being said, the Live at Walt Disney version of "Innocence" is absolutely gorgeous, while the studio album version is simply fantastic.

And so that's that! That's the end of my playlist. Of course I didn't cover every song or artist that was meaningful to me but I hope I hit the high points and gave you a little glimpse into who I am and who I've been in the last 30 years.

"All I can think is that it must be a kind of rebellion,
To arm your fears like soldiers and slay them..."

Throwback Thursday: My 30/30 Playlist (Part 2 of 3)

Tomorrow is my birthday. I haven't been nearly as preoccupied with it as I usually am, but I am going to take the time to compile the 30 songs for 30 years playlist that I shared song-by-song on Facebook when I turned 30. It's a pretty good playlist. I'm just going to share it exactly as I posted it on FB.  

30/30 Playlist #11 - Now and Then by Susanna Hoffs

This song reminds me of so many moments with Abby, Aimee and Amanda that I couldn't possibly recount them all. We were inseparable, just like the girls in Now and Then. Corny, yes. But true just the same.

"Lookin' in your eyes was like a mirror
Every single joy and fear
All for one and one for all
Yeah, we did it all."

30/30 Playlist #12 - Painters by Jewel

A song about beauty and tragedy. Pretty much right up my alley. Jewel was also a part of my singer/songwriter phase. This was one of my audition songs for the University of Miami music school.

"So they sat down and they made a drawing of their love
They made it an art to live by..."

30/30 Playlist #13 As Long as it Matters by the Gin Blossoms

Oh how I adored the Gin Blossoms. I even learned a little of this one on the guitar (which is a much bigger deal than it sounds, given my ineptitude at guitar playing). It sings to me in that way that only your favorite songs can. 
This song reminds me of a lot of times in my life but nothing quite more than riding in the back of the big blue station wagon, excited as all hell to have just purchased a used copy of the Gin Blossoms latest album on a trip up to Traverse City. 

"I'm like a broken record That you can play Repeating as if it matters Everything I want to say"

30/30 Playlist #14 Tearin' Up My Heart by *NSYNC

I'm a pretty cool person. Down to earth, quiet, sensible. I always have been. Except where *NSYNC was concerned. I lost my mind for these guys. I bought their European albums. I cut out their pictures, wrote them letters, and knew their whole life stories. I was a crazy person.

Truth be told, I still totally love listening to them and every October I pull out their Christmas album to kick off the holiday season. I picked this song out of their whole catalog because it was one that got me hooked.

"Baby I don't understand
just why we can't be lovers"

Me neither, JC. Me neither.

Runners up? How could I possible choose? 

30/30 Playlist #15 If Only by Hanson

It's funny, going through this list and listening to all this pop music I loved in high school and getting just as into it as I was before. How could I not jump around my apartment singing along to Hanson and *NSYNC?

I always felt bad for Hanson, for releasing Mmmbop as their first single because they cut themselves off from a bunch of people who would never take them seriously no matter what kind of music they put out after that. Personally, I liked Mmmbop, but it wasn't my favorite. This one though, is one of my favorites.

30/30 Playlist #17 Sunrays and Saturdays by Vertical Horizon

At the same time that I was rocking out to metal, I was (re)discovering the joys of sappy acoustic music. I don't think Vertical Horizon would like to be thought of as sappy but that's how I will always view them because of this song (also, Angel Without Wings).

This song reminds me of Megan's dorm room, Leigh and Liz, listening to Leigh read Rapture of Canaan to us. We were young and hopeful. It's weird to think that this kind of romantic side of me coexisted with the angrier, Static-X-ier, side of me but that's the way it was.

It also reminds me of this fall and describes a sort of zen post-breakup place that I think everyone would like to experience but is actually very difficult to maintain.

"I'll take my records
You can have your books
I'm sorry I never read them
But it says so much about us"

30/30 Playlist #18 Yellow by Coldplay

 Coldplay - Yellow

This song reminds me of walking across campus and the way the sunlight would illuminate the leaves as they fluttered down from the trees. It reminds me of the way I always felt just slightly separate from the world around me. 

30/30 Playlist #19 I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine by Beth Orton

Another one that I don't have a lot of commentary for. It just takes me back to ye olde college days. A pretty but depressing song from a time in my life where everything felt dramatic and tragic and beautiful.

"Every day is just like the day before
All alone, a million miles from shore
All of my dreams I dreamed with you
Now they will die and never come true"

30/30 Playlist #20 Another Lonely Day by Ben Harper

Another song that I learned to sort of play on the guitar!

I love Ben Harper. This song is so quiet and simple and honest that I can hear it and feel it in my heart. I like songs like that.

"I'd rather walk alone
than chase you around
I'd rather fall myself
than let you drag me down"

Throwback Thursday: My 30/30 Playlist (Part 1 of 3)

Tomorrow is my birthday. I haven't been nearly as preoccupied with it as I usually am, but I am going to take the time to compile the 30 songs for 30 years playlist that I shared song-by-song on Facebook when I turned 30. It's a pretty good playlist. I'm just going to share it exactly as I posted it on FB.  

30/30 Playlist #1 - Glory of Love by Bette Midler

Bette Midler - Glory of Love - From "Beaches" - Full Version

In honor of my looming 30th birthday, I've decided to compile a list of 30 songs that I've loved, related to or that just remind me of certain times in my life. I'll post one every day.

I don't know when my mom picked up a copy of the Beaches soundtrack but I was pretty young. When I got my little hands on it, I adored every single song on it. Here's one that gets to me every time I hear it.

"You've got to laugh a little, cry a little
Until the clouds roll by a little
That's the story of,
That's the glory of love"

30/30 Playlist #2 - Palisades Park by Freddie Cannon

It was hard to pick a song from "Fun Rock", the 4 album set that I rocked out to as a child. When I looked up the track list, there were a lot of contenders but this one made the cut. Why? I'm not sure. I guess because I remember it made me feel hopeful that there would be fun and adventure and love when I grew up.

I also remember Mom recording the records onto cassettes and how careful I had to be to not jump around and make the records skip. I seem to also remember that I was trying to memorize my times tables while that was happening.

(Here's a link to the album, if you're interested:

30/30 Playlist #3 - Sullivan Street by Counting Crows

I distinctly remember buying a copy of August and Everything After on cassette at the mall. I don't remember why I did (I guess I just loved Mr. Jones) but it was the first album to really burrow its way into my heart and stay there.

I thought this album was tragic and beautiful and perfect. It spoke to my soul. What can I say? I was an angsty 11 year old (back then I just thought I was "deep").

"I'm almost drowning in her sea
She's nearly crawling on her knees
It's almost everything I need."

Runners up: Anna Begins, Rain King

30/30 Playlist #4 - If I Wanted To by Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Etheridge was the first person that I knew was gay, understood what that meant, and thought "Who the F cares?" In the shadow of her lyrics and rich voice it seemed unimportant. Of course, Yes I Am dropped when I was 11, so I didn't really get the politics of all that. I was just drawn to the honest emotion on this album and wished that I could rock out like she did. I still do.

Runner up: Silent Legacy, which I liked when I bought the album but didn't appreciate until much later.

30/30 Playlist #5 All I Really Want by Alanis Morissette

Jagged Little Pill came out in 1995. I was 13 and I was angry and Alanis Morissette got it. She captured the loneliness, the feeling of not being good enough and I felt like if I could be like her, I could demand the attention that I needed and maybe not be happy but at least less isolated. But I couldn't be like her, so instead I just sang along to her CD at the top of my voice and drove my parents crazy, I'm sure.

"And all I really want is some patience
A way to calm the angry voice
And all I really want is deliverance"

Runners up: Perfect, Not the Doctor"

30/30 Playlist #6 When All the Stars Were Falling by Lisa Loeb

Oh how I wanted to sing like Lisa Loeb. And how adorable was she in the video for Stay? Those glasses!

I was attached to Tails (1995) as much as any other album but there's not much of a story behind it. I aspired to the kind of balance and I found in her songs, the pretty, peaceful sound of them, and love (see Sandalwood).

Runner up: Snow Day

"i could be restful, i could be someone's home,
if i fell down"

30/30 Playlist #7 - Love Song for a Savior by Jars of Clay

I got into Jars of Clay before I became fully immersed in the Baptist church and I still enjoy them to this day. They have a couple of good songs on their self-titled album (1995) that I thought about posting but I think this one embodies the early Christian era of my life the best.

Runners up: Art in Me, Boy on a String

30/30 Playlist #8 - Lumina by Joan Osborne

Not a lot to comment on with this song. I just love(d) it.

"Here is the place, now is the time
Let's invent the kiss"

Runners up: Spiderwebs, St Theresa

30/30 Playlist #9 - Lost in the Supermarket by the Clash

I've been listening to the Clash off and on for my entire life and I can pick different songs of that remind me of different stages of my life. Since my playlist timeline is still roughly in high school, Lost in the Supermarket it is. The other option was Bankrobber.

"I came in here for a special offer - guaranteed personality."

30/30 Playlist #10 - It's Too Late by Carole King

This song reminds me of a few times in my life. High school, when I just loved Carole King and before I realized I didn't have the ambition or talent to be a successful singer-songwriter. It reminds me of karaoke. It reminds me of breakups. It's perhaps not my favorite song from Tapestry but it is the song that has stuck by me most through the years.

Runners up: So Far Away, Tapestry

Monday, March 31, 2014

Nick Flora

It feels like it's been a hundred years since I reviewed a concert. I started to lose sight of why I was doing this, and I started to get enough attention that it made me uncomfortable and so I headed for the hills. I'm quite ready to come back now, with my priorities in order.

The band(s): Nick Flora
The venue: New Life Lincoln Park
Date: March 29, 2014

I've been following Nick Flora on Twitter for a year and a half or maybe a little more. I was always impressed by the how well his songs tell stories, how honest they feel and how cleverly they're written. The first song of his that I ever loved was from his first album, Hello Stranger, and it was called "Different World". It was quickly followed by pretty much every other song on the album. Then there were his covers -- I doubt I'll ever get over the magic of "Let My Love Open the Door" -- and finally his second album, The Reintroduction of Nick Flora, which was, somehow, even more magical than his first.

When he announced a mini-tour in Chicagoland (thanks Under the Radar!), of course I knew I had to go. Chad and I took a long weekend and planned a mini vacation around the Saturday night show. Pre-show, I was nervous. I hate going new places. I don't particularly like talking to people. But this was Important and Chad nudged me along. The opening act ended up cancelling so we got Nick for the whole night. I'm sure the other band was delightful but I think it couldn't have worked out better (unless they'd cancelled for a less-painful reason than lead-singer-back-problems...).

Nick asked for requests, and Chad nudged me but I could only whisper to him, "all of them!?" And when I finally got brave enough to request "Good Enough", he admitted it was already on his list to play. I was happy to hear anything, and everything he played was super.

Anyway, whatever good things I thought about Nick Flora before this weekend, I feel doubly so now. Hearing the stories behind the songs was such a treat. Listening to his introduction of "Make It Out Alive" resonated with me so much that I may have actually shed a tear or two during the song as I recognized that I should probably not sit around only wishing I was doing the things that I love.

I wish I'd jotted down the set list so I could walk you through all of the awesomeness. It was simply fabulous.

After the show, we went to the merch table and hung around to meet Nick, who was -- no surprise -- very nice, friendly and funny. It was really a treat to get to chat with him for a minute. Chad took our picture and I posted it to Facebook. My mom said that when she saw it she said, "Abbe is with Nick Flora. Wait, ABBE is with NICK FLORA?!" I was happy that someone else recognized how cool the moment actually was.

If Nick Flora manages to make it to your neck of the woods, GO SEE HIM. Look him up on YouTube, buy his stuff on iTunes, Amazon or Bandcamp. Honestly, you won't regret it.