I’m new here

Hey guys, my name’s Gavin and I guess I’m going to be blogging here sometimes. So I’m going to tell you some stuff about myself to get started, and so you can understand where I’m coming from a little bit. I’m 20 years old, and I live in San Diego. I play bass and sing a tiny bit in a sort of (not really) well known pop punk band called Scarlett Avenue (scarlettavenueca.bandcamp.com). I still live with my parents and I have two brothers (18 and 12) and a sister (14). I’m very involved in the local pop punk scene and have made many friends through it.

Now to the good stuff (probably). I’m mostly going to be blogging about my experiences in the San Diego scene and touring and what I’ve learned from it. Punk music has been a huge influence in my life and I think it’s made me a better person and improved my life. I’m also going to be talking about what I’ve been listening to and bands I think more people should know about, and basically writing about things in my life that involve music.

Thanks for checking out the blog, and I’ll have my first official post up soon!

How Local Concerts Have Changed My Life

Growing up, my parents would take me to local shows all around the bay area. Sometimes it’d be a Friday night at the infamous 924 Gilman Street to see an Irish punk band. Other times it’d be to Sacramento to see a 90’s ska band’s first reunion show in ten years. I thought it was normal (and totally awesome) for parents to take their kids to shows to support the local scene regardless of age. But I was too caught up in the music to notice that I was always the youngest person there by about 12 years…

As my teenage years rolled around, I never stopped going to shows. I always encouraged my friends to come with me even if they had never heard any of the bands. I’d make them mix tapes of songs I thought they’d like. I’d try as hard as I could to open the door for them to all kinds of music as my parents had for me. I wanted to show the world, what I see. What may look like heartless punks to you are actually some of the most intelligent and kind people you may ever meet. Don’t let looks deceive you.

As many of you know, my supporting of local music hasn’t changed. It’s gotten stronger. If I hadn’t gone to some of these shows, I would not be the person I am today. Here is some of my favorite things about local shows and how they have changed my life.

1) MUSICIANS

I don’t even know how to begin explaining why meeting people is one of my favorite parts of going to shows.  These people are passionate, ambitious, inspiring and often really chill. Shows are a great place to meet people. I can’t tell you how many times through a show or music I’ve made a friend just by talking about music and the bands playing that night. It’s that simple and if you take the time to get to know the bands and their friends it makes the night so much memorable.  Musicians and fans who attend shows a lot understand what I mean; it’s almost as if there is an instant stronger connection between us just because of music. Music closes that awkward gap and makes it easy to make friends.

2) ENVIRONMENT

There are two main environments that I think are the best ways to see shows. House shows and shows at local venues. Why?

These environments are more intimate than let’s say a show at the Oracle Arena where you are lucky if you even get to see the band on stage over the swarm of people. Sure there are usually less people at these local shows but I feel it’s for the better. House shows and shows at local venues (such as Gilman or Red House) allow for a closer interaction between bands and fans. There’s less pressure for everyone and the vibes are often chill. At large concerts like shows at the Fox Theater in Oakland, there is what I call the “Invisible Barrier” between you and the artist. You can see them, but they can’t see you. You can call out to them but they won’t respond. You’re there to just listen to what they have to say. What kind of interaction is that?

At local shows, you have opportunities to talk to other people and have them see and hear you. So get to know the bands; the members in them are often the coolest people who you have a lot more in common with than you think.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS:

-Good Vibes

Shows almost always have good vibes about them. By good vibes, I mean a supportive, positive and comfortable environment. The venue could be the shittiest looking venue you’ve ever seen but if the right crowd and bands fill the space, that part doesn’t even matter once the music starts.

 

-Connection

My absolute favorite part about music is the way it brings people together. No matter your struggles, life experiences, your gender, race etc. music hits you the same way. It’s one of the few things in this world that has the power to bring together total strangers. For a couple songs we all sing and move together as one. Music is our emotion, lyrics are our thoughts. Songs allow us to make others feel our thoughts and for us to feel their pain, happiness, sorrow or anxiety. It still amazes me to this day, to see people come to a show as strangers and leave as friends.

 

-Passion & Ambition

Nearly every show I go to, I have a mini epiphany. I call it the “musician’s spell”. When a band starts to play, the crowd is moving just look around on stage at the band. I love it because you can always see that spark and fire in their eyes, the passion in their voice telling you ultimately that this is what they love. I see this the most when I go to local band shows and you know what? It’s fucking inspiring. It’s inspiring to see someone follow their dreams, giving it all they have because this is their life. This is what they do no matter the obstacles. They know that struggling and working hard is part of the path to achieving anything great. And some of these musicians are the happiest people I have ever met because they live their lives being who they are and doing what they want. Not being who others want them to be.

3) THE MUSIC

Over the years I’ve discovered some amazing local bands whose music motivates and inspires me to keep moving forward with my life through good times and bad times.  These songs are often catchy as hell with lyrics that either give me feels or are so damn well written I wish I thought of it myself. But for real if you’re in a local band and I’m aware of your music… It’s probably on my IPod and I DO listen to it.

IF I HADN’T GONE TO LOCAL SHOWS:

-I wouldn’t have found what I’m passionate about even though it was always right in front of me the whole time.

– The Calamity Jane Radio Show wouldn’t have started

-I wouldn’t have seen some great things

(falling into Corey Duffel’s lap, Poking Billie Joe Armstrong at Gilman, laughing so hard I’m pretty sure my ribs cracked,  Seeing a mariachi band playing in full outfit in a bouncy house, seeing a guy’s head shaved into a Mohawk on stage during a song… the list is endless really)

…I wouldn’t have seen some traumatizing things too.

A.k.a. the snickers incident… I don’t want to talk about it.

 

-I wouldn’t have the majority of friends I do now.

Without these friends, I don’t know who I would be and it scares me to think about it. I would probably still be stuck in some self destructive teenage girl high school phase which would suck haha. But seriously, the friends I have made doing my radio show are great.  They remind me that going to these local shows make all of the hard work for my show worth it without a doubt. You guys inspire me. I love hanging out with you, listening to your sets and getting to know you. It makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger. A part of a music community that is positive and friendly and that means the world to me. Without the continuing support of you guys and my family I doubt that I would have challenged myself to keep pursuing my dreams. Over the past year I finally feel like I’m on the right track to happiness and success.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MUSIC SCENE:

-Go To Shows

Nothing in the world means more to a band than having people come to their shows. Buy Presale tickets to their shows from the bands so the money made goes to the bands rather the venues! Trust me just by buying presale and showing up, you made their day. If you know their songs and are singing along during their set it’s even better!!

 

-Buy  Music/Merch

Transportation to shows, equipment and recording music costs a lot of money especially when a fair amount of the time bands play for next to nothing. If you really want to help, buy a shirt or a cd. Help them fund their next tour or have gas money to get home. Being a musician is no walk in the park. It costs time and money. Give something back.

 

-Follow them on Social Media

This means Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Etc.

If you like a band it’s important to know what they’re up to and where they are playing. It only takes a few seconds to follow them so why not?

 

-Listen To Calamity Jane Radio Show To Discover New Local Music

Shameless self promotion, I know.  But seriously, I take a lot of time to research local bands and play them on the radio waves. If you want to support local music but don’t have time to go to shows, Tune in Wednesday nights at 7PM and discover some rad local bands or check out my past shows on www.mixcloud.com/CalamityJane

You never know, you may find your next favorite band yo! So get out there and support your local music scene! It could just change your life.

 

~Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane’s Response to Alternative Press 100 Bands You Need To Know Issue

Every year, Alternative Press Magazine puts out a special issue featuring their pick of 100 BANDS YOU NEED TO KNOW. This whopping issue put together by a supreme team of 22 writers features bands from all over the board in terms of genre and location.

But let’s be real here, what sane person is going to take on the challenge to pick up that issue and go through each and every band listed with a fine tooth comb? You can call me crazy but that is exactly what I did for what seemed like countless hours this weekend.

Why?  I chose to partly because I had no actual plans and I just happen absolutely love discovering new music but honestly, I chose to do this for you; the music lover with a social life who doesn’t have time to  research bands on the internet and go through magazines all day.

I know you don’t want to read a 44 page spread in tiny ass font on a blank white page with some red splattered here and there. Heck, I know most of you don’t have the patience to even read these few paragraphs. I totally get it.  So, after hours of research, here’s the list of bands (out of that 100) that I feel are worth giving a shot.

*disclaimer:  these selections are my own personal opinion. I encourage you to make your own thoughts about each of these bands! If you feel I missed a band or if you find a band you want people to check out, let me know!*

1)      Citizen

Hometown: Southeast Michigan, Northwest Ohio

Genre: Pop Punk/Indie

Record Label: Run for the Cover Records

Check out & Download:  “Drown” & “Right Through”, full of emotional angst that we could all use in our lives. 

*Catch Citizen this summer on the 2013 Vans Warped Tour!*

Similar Artists: Title Fight, Basement, Balance & Composure, Mat Kerekes(Acoustic Work)

https://www.facebook.com/Citizentheband/

2)      Namesake

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Genre:  Pop Punk

Record Label: Imagen Records

Check out & Download: “Worlds Away”, with vocals that sound like Travis Clark’s and catchy pop punk riffs I will straight up tell you to take my money any day.

Similar Artists:  We the Kings, All Time Low, All-American Rejects

https://www.facebook.com/Namesakerock

3)      Pentimento

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Genre: Pop Punk

Record Label: Unsigned

Check out & Download: “Unless”, with raw vocals, pop punk emotion and some kick ass drums you’ll be introduced to what Pentimento is. (I’m a sucker for this kind of song)

Similar Artists: Transit, Real Friends, Heart to Heart, Citizen

https://www.facebook.com/PentimentoNY

4)      Hoist The Colors

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Celtic Punk/ Folk Punk

Record Label: Hardline Entertainment

Check out & Download: “Gordie Lachance”, a folk/Irish punk song that you will feel the need to listen to with a Guinness or two…

Similar Artists: The Pogues, Flogging Molly

https://www.facebook.com/Hoistthecolors.music

5)      New Politics

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop Rock/ Pop

Record Label: RCA Records

Check out & download: “Harlem”, an upbeat radio pop song that is good for a long road trip or just chilling.

Similar Artists: Neon Trees, Metro Station

https://www.facebook.com/newpolitics

6)      Modern Baseball

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Genre:  Pop Punk

Record Label: Run for the Cover Records/ Lame-O Records

Check out & download: “Tears over Beers”, a mixture of happy and sadness that shows you the bands outlook on life.

Similar Artists: Joyce Manor, the Front Bottoms

https://www.facebook.com/ModernBaseball

 

7)      Crown The Empire

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Genre: Post-Hardcore/Metalcore

Record Label: Rise Records

Check out& download “The Fallout” bringing a whole new meaning to the word the end of the world after a breakup. It’s pretty rad.

Similar Artists: Upon This Dawning, Woe Is Me,  Capture The Crown

https://www.facebook.com/Crowntheempire

8)      Forever Came Calling

Hometown: Twentynine Palms, CA

Genre: Pop Punk/Rock

Record Label: Pure Noise Records

Check out & download: “Ides” & “For The Wolves”, reminding you to stick it out even in the rough times.

Similar Artists: Stickup Kid, Story So Far, The Wonder Years, Man Overboard

https://www.facebook.com/forevercamecalling

9)      Light Years

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Genre: Pop Punk

Record Label: Unsigned

Check out & Download: “Scavengers”, you won’t stop moving head bobbing or foot tapping.

Similar Artists: New Found Glory, The Movie Life

https://www.facebook.com/LightYearsOH

 

10)   Driver Friendly

Hometown: Austin, TX

Genre: Indie/ Indie Rock

Record Label: Hopeless Records

Check out & download: “Ghosts”, an upbeat electric energy with a pop feel good for those days in the sun.

Similar Artists: Motion City Soundtrack, Brand New

https://www.facebook.com/driverfriendly

 

11)   On My Honor

Hometown: Knoxville, TN

Genre: Pop Punk

Record Label: Little Heart Records

Check out & download: “Indrid Cold”, an awesome pop punk song that will keep your head in the clouds. Amazing. HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS SONG.

Similar Artists: Till I Fall, Fireworks, With the Punches

https://www.facebook.com/onmyhonor

12)   Glamour of the Kill

Hometown: York, U.K.

Genre:  Definition of Pop/Metal (it’s complicated)

Record Label: eOne Entertainment Music

Check out & download: “Feeling Alive”, catchy as hell choruses with some great guitar riffs, great for working out.. running, doing some squats, whatever you do 😉

Similar Artists: Asking Alexandria, Attack Attack!

https://www.facebook.com/glamourofthekill

13)   The Relapse Symphony

Hometown: Washington D.C.

Genre: Rock/ Pop-Rock

Record Label:  Standby Records

Check out& download: “The other side of town”, is full of pop punk roots, fast drum beats and whoaaaaaaa’s you will sing to! (Don’t be fooled by their dark emo-like appearance they are awesome)

Similar Artists:  The Used, All Time Low

https://www.facebook.com/TheRelapseSymphony

 

14)   The Off Season

Hometown: Boston, MA

Genre: Pop Punk

Record Label: Negative Progression Records

Check out&download: “These Things Happen” 1 minute and 45 seconds of pure pop punk.

Similar Artists: New Found Glory,  Saves The Day, Story So Far

https://www.facebook.com/theoffseason

15)   Drug Church

Hometown: Albany, NY

Genre: Alternative/Post –Punk

Record Label:  No Sleep Records

Check out& download:  “Mohawk”, full of 90’s raw angsty hardcore, Mohawk is a great song to skate too and on those days where you just hate the world.

Similar Artists: Cruel Hand, Touche Amore

https://www.facebook.com/drugchurch

These next two AMAZING bands are LOCAL (As in from theBAY AREA). If you haven’t already at LEAST heard of them, I am shaking my head in disappointment.  The only way to be forgiven is to familiarize yourself & at least give them a chance.

16)   The Story So Far

Hometown: Walnut Creek, CA

Genre: Pop Punk

Record Label: Pure Noise Records

Check out& download: “Right Here”, “quicksand”& “the glass”. If you love pop punk, SSF songs are full of emotion and just rock.  With Parker Cannon’s raw vocals and rad guitar riffs you just can’t go wrong.

Similar Artists: Stickup Kid, Man Overboard, Transit, the Wonder Years

https://www.facebook.com/thestorysofarca

Check out the Story So Far on the 2013 Vans Warped Tour!

17)   Stickup Kid

Hometown: San Jose, CA

Genre: Pop Punk

Record Label: Adeline Records

Check out and download: “Born In The Vault, Die In The Vault”, “Lighthouse”& “The Oceanwalker” Stickup Kid has awesome pop punk vocals with speedy guitar drums and bass in nearly all their songs. They will get you moving and singing along with them at the top of your lungs. 

Similar Artists: the Story So Far, Such Gold, With the Punches, State Champs, Heart To Heart

*They just opened up for Green Day last week at SXSW festival. Talk about accomplishment. So proud of you guys*

https://www.facebook.com/stickupkidca

18)   Her Bright Skies

Hometown: Jonkoping, Sweden

Genre: Alternative Rock

Record Label:  Unsigned

Check out & download: “Bonnie & Clyde (The Revolution)” a quiet powerful love song, perfect background music for pondering life or just slowly waving a lighter in the air. Your choice.  

Similar Artists: Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, I See Stars

https://www.facebook.com/HerBrightSkiesFanPage

19)   Upon This Dawning

Hometown: Tempe AZ (Via Verona, Italy)

Genre: Alternative Metal/ Metalcore

Record Label:  Fearless Records

Check out & download: “A New Beginning” gets you in a hardcore fighting mood from the very first second, has some Bring Me The Horizon influenced sounds.  (I’m leaving, I’m leaving why did I waste my time on you.)

Similar Artists: Motionless In White, Bring Me the Horizon. The Word Alive

*they did a hardcore version of call me maybe on Punk Goes Pop Vol 5. Check that out.

https://www.facebook.com/uponthisdawning

20)   Awaken The Empire

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative Rock

Record Label: Century Media Records

Check out & download: “Rise & Fall” a little taste of the new bands upcoming debut album

Similar Artists: 30 Seconds to Mars, Tool, Nine Inch Nails

https://www.facebook.com/awakentheempire

21)   Young Guns

Hometown: London, England

Genre: Rock

Record Label: Wind up Records

Check out& download: “I Was Born, I have lived, surely I will die” the rocking opener to their album Bones.

Similar Artists: We Are the Ocean, Deaf Havana

https://www.facebook.com/younggunsuk

22)   Echosmith

Hometown: Toluca Lake, CA

Genre: Alternative Rock

Record Label: Unsigned

Check out & download: “Come Together” a new kind of alternative/dance rock with vocals like Haley Williams.

Similar Artists: Paramore, Hey Monday, Owl City

https://www.facebook.com/Echosmith

23)   Single Mothers

Hometown: London & Ontario, Canada

Genre: Punk/ Hardcore- Punk

Record Label: Hot Charity

Check Out & Download: “Hell is my backup plan” full of 90s raw hardcore vocals with their view on college party scenes.

Similar Artists: Hot Snakes, Touché Amore, The Hold Steady

https://www.facebook.com/singlemothersparty