Hard Working Homeless Teenager overcomes subpar Long Island education.

Samantha Garvey, a 17 year old senior in Long Island, became a semi-finalist in what is apparently the “highly prestigious Intel Science Competition”.  I’ve never heard of it before, and I’m sure a lot of us simpletons and ignorant libertarian buffoons haven’t, but apparently it’s a big deal in the science community.

The most important part of this story is that she is homeless, or to be more matter-of-fact, lives in a homeless shelter with her family.  That’s right, a homeless shelter. This story which broke on Friday feels like it is something out of Touched By An Angel. This tearjerker, and rightfully so, is a high-point and something to be fondly remembered, just like the Packers unexpected and welcome loss in the playoffs.

Samantha Garvey and her father at Brentwood High School –
Brentwood, NY – Jan 12, 2012 (credit: Sophia Hall / WCBS 880)

Let’s however give credit where credit is due, and I’m sure almost none of that credit really belongs to the school system in Long Island. Most schools across the country aren’t lucky/blessed/fortunate enough to  have the “Freedom Writers” experience happen.  In that movie, the kids actually decided to try to further their education, which as we know, is more often than not the case anymore. Why?

 Broken families across the country that haven’t managed to instill into their children the concept of just how important a good education is to their futures, and I’m not just talking about nearby Waukegan. Instead our parents are desperately trying to work with their promising youth of tomorrow who can barely read and spend their time cussing 12 year olds on Xbox live, developing early drug habits and slacker tendencies, and becoming media addicts who think tweeting about Glee is the most important part of their life as well as everyone elses.  I guess substituting An Inconvenient Truth for actual grammar lessons in English class just isn’t cutting it.

 This all being said, one very important point needs to be acknowledged; it is the students who ultimately determine their own success. Consider the rather lackluster amount of competent students being pumped out by their assembly lines a.k.a schools who aren’t ready or able to compete for a job against the 50 year old’s now working minimum wage positions, and count your blessings. Hard work with even just a bare amount of skill and talent may be enough to outshine the “socially conscious and aware” students that have been fed a steady dose of, “We’re all winners.”  I suppose losing horrendously at Modern Warfare 3 to their fellow trashtalking ADD ridden pupils should easily dissuade them from that nonsense. Kid’s can be cruel after all,  and the trash-talking in Modern Warfare 3 isn’t a far cry away from becoming a digital version of Lord Of the Flies.

Surprisingly, this story clearly demonstrates that hard work, being studiousperseverance, and devotion to one’s education, are useful and plausible tools to pull one up by their bootstraps. How improbable! Her 3.9 GPA proves her diligence which has now given her the opportunity to possibly win a prize of over 100,000$  Stories like this are what America used to be about, but more and more are becoming an unfortunate rarity in a society dominated by phrases like, “You have too much money!”, “Mine!”,  and “I deserve this, it’s my right!.”  Sowing the seeds of nasty notion of entitlement in our youngsters is bound to have ugly consequences, but proper education is apparently just that.

We don’t see enough Samantha Garveys these days. Why? Because the very notion of hard work has become a bad joke. In all fairness, a society which consistently rewards the lazy and punishes the hardworking, takes away most of the incentive to even bother to try, yet we wonder why entrepreneurship seems to be a thing of the past.

While this story is heartwarming, we shouldn’t forget the reality of the events that have produced this kind of situation; It seems twisted financial priorities are a common occurrence nowadays and “accountability” is a very dirty word. I know we’d all love to see many more Samantha Garveys, but I wonder just how realistic that hope may be. Consider the politicized minefield that public education and education reform has unfortunately become. Until we address the fact that our money seems to end up going into the pockets of teacher’s union bureaucrats and politicians, instead of to the schools, students, and teachers themselves, stories like this won’t continue to occur. What will continue is stories about bad teachers receiving six digit figure salaries, even after being convicted of sexual mischief with their students.

Millions upon millions of misspent foreign aid dollars may perhaps buy the goodwill of other countries who already hate us due to our imperialistic tendencies, while our homeless starve and the nations’s poorest schools become havens for drug trafficking, gangs, and corruption.  On the domino effect of thought that my reflection of this article has taken me on, one thing still remains clear; we must break the bureaucratic nature of the teacher’s union and remind them that their duty is to teach rather then to lobby.

While this inconvenient truth may wear down our desire to make something of ourselves, just remember, success is still there for the taking. All you have to do is give it your all and dress like you want the job, instead of talking in ghetto speak with your pants hanging down to your knees.

Occupy Wallstreet Chicago: My experience and analysis.

When you have to run to the bathroom in desperation and see a toilet with plastic rim coverings surrounded by stains all around you that look like someone either died, or experienced massive bladder problems and misdirection, you know you are in Union Station.   For many reasons, including time and money never well spent, I hate Chicago. When I finally figured out that not only had I walked the wrong way, I had taken the wrong street, and I wasn’t on Jackson.  After about two hours of walking around and making it look like I had a purpose with my direct and forceful steps, I followed the drum beats and finally found the corner of Jackson and LaSalle.

I arrived in the eager expectation that I would see something controversial happen. I was hoping for yelling, screaming, shouting, lots of fist pumping and shaking, blood,  and shocked Kent State looks on people’s faces.  What can I say? I was hoping for a little bit of entertainment, because I wasn’t expecting 6 or 7 hours of protesting to not bore me.  (I’ll admit it, I love controversy. It is one of the most entertaining concepts out there.) Protests are supposed to be a place where you can feel the energy in the air.  It’s almost a kind of substitute for the concert atmosphere, except all the wannabe hippie hipsters there wouldn’t like the idea of a hardcore moshpit.  Someone there told me there that moshpits were the creation of capitalists and the corporate machine, no joke. There were some “hippies” there to the point that it was almost like a scene straight out of Southpark  with the college know-it-all hippies.

First off, I’m surprised there hasn’t been any cases of serious “nerd-rage” out, about, and around the corner of Jackson and LaSalle. I’m shocked that nearby residents haven’t mugged the protesters banging on drums throughout the night. Since I suck at breaking the ice and initiating conversation, it probably took me 15 minutes to talk to some of the scrunched up faces there.

People were angry. Even if they weren’t, they made sure to look at it. Some didn’t even know why they were angry, but it feels to good to smash on a drum, call attention to the protest and occasionally get reaffirming honks of support or middle fingers from nearby vehicles. Someone was going to pay.

When the Fox News folks showed up with their cameras, they were one of the first to pay. Some protesters near me made sure to drop plenty of F-bombs directed at them and two of them even jumped up and down with middle fingers extended in view of the camera.  I guess there’s nothing like making a direct impression to the rest of the country watching about what kind of maturity level we are all at.   Furthermore, it isn’t just Fox that deliberately misleads, its MSNBC, ABC, and CNN as well. It’s too bad that some people there had bought into the progressive nonsense that targets just the network they don’t like, rather then the networks who frame the news in a way favorable to the progressive agenda.

For all intensive purposes, the protesters were “trolled” hard the previous week.  Even I’ll admit, those fliers that flew down with the words,” We are the 1%” were a badass idea.  Well, when I got out my sign, I did get a bit of a “What are you doing here look?” from a few people, but that did go away shortly. What initially surprised me was the amount of media attention of all sorts to the protest which maybe had a 100 people there tops when I first arrived at the scene. I had the original perception that the protest was alot bigger.  Its a bit odd considering alot of people thought the movement was either being ignored by the mainstream media or being hyped up and exaggerated by it.

The occupy movement is what people have made it out to be; a smorgasbord of people from varying political and philosophical ideologies who had gathered to protest the power that Wallstreet and the Financial sector have over our government and economy.  Now this movement really is made up of alot of different viewpoints and ideology all across the spectrum. This is one overall picture of the movement that has been accurately portrayed. There were angry die-hard anarchists, socialists, libertarians, independents, people who protest everything, ect. essentially a lot of angry people who have have every right to be.

There were also signs like “Chicago Teachers Unions Supports Occupy” and “LGBT for the 99%”.  I can only hope they don’t hijack the movement and turn into attempted political action and talking points. (Jesse Jackson showed up one night himself. That media hogging racist…) After talking to a lot of people there, particularly interesting to me was the surprising variety of groups there – everything ranging from radical Marxists progressives to independents and Ron Paul libertarians like myself.

Now the protesting situation in general there reminded me of Pokemon. You initially didn’t know much about it, but everyone else thought it was cool as hell and either had the trading card game, Red or Blue version for the gameboy, or had really creepy plush toys of Pikachu in their room. Either way who didn’t want to catch them all? No one wanted to be left behind who has something to protest about.

This movement is somewhat similar, thought not everyone there falls into that generalization. There are some people who really know why they are there. What particular irks me about this is that these people seem to be largely ignored by the mainstream media, especially Fox which has potrayed the overall amount of protesters as dumb-asses, which is far from the truth.  There were however people who just showed up because “protesting is cool”,  people who wanted to be apart of something, and the people there to make some noise with an almost ADHD like fury because they ” can”.

During some of the “educational” sit-downs that occurred throughout Saturday, I noticed that disagreement among protesters there was widespread.  There was however agreement on the problem: The current economic problem, and who has benefited from it.  What did however remain up in the air, was any kind of real agreement on how to fix the problem, the root causes that have led up to it, and how to turn the movement into a political force, something the neo-con elements of the Tea Party were able to do with the movement.   Do be assured though, almost everyone of the protesters there wanted to end the Fed. (That’s most certainly a good sign.)

My initial perception concerning the movement still remains -There will be some major problems on the horizon concerning the ability to turn into a political force. Doing that could however cost the movement supporters, as its overall lack of direct organization and leadership is what constitutes part of its strength. Because of this it really does feel like a movement involving everyone under the sun from the overall populace. The moment it does gain an overall face, the movement will probably split off into different directions.

I personally showed up with a lot of disagreements with the more Marxist and progressive elements in the crowd which keep emanating out the woodwork- they literally had a donation box there. I did however have one thing in mind when I did come down; to show my support for those who recognize the current situation and problem in the country right now. It was my effort to show some solidarity.  I am however very worried that this movement will be hijacked by the progressive elements who will most certainly turn into another supposed” grassroots” support group for the Democrat party.  I do plan on going down again to protest, and this time, I’m going to take tons of pictures.

Note the “Progressive Stack” wasn’t implemented, which surprised me considering this is Chicago.

Anyway, around maybe 2 PM or so in the afternoon, if I remember correctly, we engaged in a sitdown across the street where the supposed leaders of the movement there made announcements. Some supposed “leaders” made announcements of various sorts, and they proudly  introduced some sort of old African American speaker, an Civil Rights ex-icon of sorts who had been in some competition and situation involving the Olympics down in Mexico during the civil rights movement. No one including me, had heard of him, so they the introduction took a few minutes.  Seriously, where these people who we are supposed to have some sort of respect for come from?

This ex-icon fellow went on a rant that included a fair amount of hostility toward the “right wing” and encouraged us in our protests and told us just how awesome Obama was, to keep supporting him, and to hate the evil republicans and the evil “right wing” who were blocking the great leader at every turn. He made sure to mention that all the resistance toward the president was because he was black. I kind of turned off my attention after he got to this point, as I’m sick of people looking at his race, first and foremost, instead of his policies and positions.

I thought to myself, “Great, just what the movement needs. More political pandering, divisive speech, and plenty of hate.”   The word itself is losing the kind of connotation it used to hold because of the frequency of which people are misusing it. You can now just throw it around when you can’t actually point holes in someones position, so you just tell them they are a hater, and that their argument/position is now therefore invalid. It’s almost like the race card.

I just kept my mouth closed, stared on at him, and proudly stuck out my chest with my anti-Obama t-shirt on that I was wearing. That shirt turned a lot of heads. I made sure to wink at the heads that were girls that I thought were hot, even giving courtesy smiles and a wink here and there to the hippie like ones who hadn’t bathed in days.   I did receive some compliments from some of the protesters on the shirt though, including one who informed me that he regretted voting for Obama back in 08.  I even saw some signs demonizing Obama for not giving out enough handouts. The poor guy can’t win can he?

This speaker in  particular irritated me, now that I think more about it.  I love how some ideologues are so far in the progressive’s and democrat’s pocket that they can’t think for themselves and differentiate between the neo-cons and libertarians in the supposed right wing. I noticed he had absolutely nothing bad to say about the President who he portrayed as a messiah that we are all supposed to love, cherish, and respect.  Maybe he should look further at the president then the fact that he is black.  (Obama isn’t even black, just supposed civil rights advocates still have assumptions that are drenched in the racist principles of the “One drop of black blood rule.”)

Furthermore when did libertarians get thrown in with the right wing? Got to love how your political opponents can simply change the definition, demonize you, and throw you into some political wing.  There are a lot of similarities between Dennis Kuccinich and Ron Paul. Its called an advocacy and support of the principles of liberty. But since people still can only look at things through party lenses, they get thrown into the perspective jokes of the two party system we currently have.

Later on around 5PM, the crowd of protesters seemed to quadruple to the point where it was hard to move back and forth on the sidewalks. Almost out of no-where, I noticed a set of large loud speakers which had the consistent phrase of “Tax The RICH!” barking from them.  This seemed to be the agreed upon solution to the our current problem by the protesters who had control of the speakers.

“Tax, tax, tax the rich!”  When a question was asked on the loudspeaker, this was always the response. World hunger? Tax the rich. Baby crying? Tax the rich. Girlfriend broke up with you after you only just “made out with that girl”? Tax the damn rich. It was as monotonous and bland as listening to Jet Li talk in Kiss Of The Dragon.  It unfortunately made everyone there look they were a bunch of highschool kids protesting their schools recent new policies on bumping and grinding during prom dances. The calls for “Less Cuts, and more taxes!” seemed foolish, considering it seems half-assed to only demand taxes on the rich, while ignoring the obvious implications of a bloated and abused welfare state.  It just goes to remind us of how easy it is to whip up people into a frenzy where they say things they really haven’t thought about, but just go along with whoever’s shouting at the time.

Yes, the banks have robbed us blind. Occupy Wallstreet Chicago

Something that comes to mind from this repetitive slogan/mind-numbing chant is the lack of common sense. The more you take from people, the less they have to invest in the products, services, hiring new/additional labor – the market. Politicians just don’t pass tax-cuts to look cool and stand out as a “man of the people”, they shockingly realize that usually cutting taxes spurs on consumer spending, thus benefiting everyone else in turn. It does however matter significantly of what kind of taxes they are cutting, whose taxes they are cutting, and who is eligible for said tax cuts.  The current system seems to endorse specific tax cuts for  corporations, banks, certain sectors and businesses in the industry that have made the right campaign contributions, ect.   It is of course crony capitalism at it’s finest.   The banks did rob us blind. They used the government to do it.

There were oh so many signs criticizing capitalism as if it was a concept from hell itself. I in particular couldn’t understand what was with all the signs hating on capitalism. This indicated that the majority of the protesters haven’t the slightest semblance of what true capitalism actually is.  Crony capitalism and actual capitalism are very different things.

Greed does suck, but what sucks more is embracing the polar opposite which would put the power into the hands of a very few select greedy people.  Human nature is very very greedy.  True capitalism understands this and uses peoples greedy natures to exploit each other and create competition that directly benefits everyone, specifically the lower class.

Many protesters however did realize that corporations have vast influence and power in the political process and legislative action.  They just fail to recognize true capitalism vs. the fake system of capitalism we have now.

Unfortunately the protesters are yet again succumbing to encouraging politicians to legislate insane economic policy for the sake of political pandering.  Remember, politicians will do anything to get your vote, and its going to end up spiraling to the point when Peter will be all of us, and Paul will be those who made the most donations to their campaign.

One conversation in particular, I remember well. It was with a public school teacher.  He was probably the only person there which I initially was turned off by. During this particular conversation, I remember, marching toward Grant Park and talking with a teacher in Chicago who kept trying to trap me in my words with a hidden amount of hostility behind his questions and answers, which I did resent.   He dropped those words like “them” so much that I realized he essentially bought into that bogus democrat ideology of “the other side are evil.”

I kept thinking to myself, “Really?” as he lashed out at the other side for everything you could imagine.  Once I told him that I was interested in dialogue with him, rather then debate of any sort, the conversation became much more cordial.  I wanted him to realize that I wasn’t talking to him to point out that he was wrong in anyway, just that I was asking questions, Cartman style, to see if had thoughts things out and followed them to their logical conclusion instead of subscribing to party talking points.

I did however have an awesome conversation with a dude in Guy Fawkes mask. (Anyonmous FTW) who understood just how important freedom of speech is. He also understood something most don’t; the difference between equality and liberty and just how important liberty is.

Now, to a certain extent, alot of people there seemed to be asking for a handout.  The most frequent request was for money of some sort, something I can Understand.  There was one fellow there who kept insisting we should fork over money for batteries for his megaphone.  “I need batteries. Someone should get me some.” It’s hard to really want to provide someone with batteries when they shout out unintelligible things with their megaphone in your general direction.

If anyone feels like going down to protest in Chicago and freezing their asses off, I’ve come up with a list of pro-tips:

– Make sure to bring a camera with you. A nice Iphone or Android phone with decent video quality that I only wished I owned will suffice.
– Cigars. Something to smoke. It feels good to be smoking around all those other people smoking. Solidarity eh? You’d be surprised by all the conversations that will be encountered by simply lighting up.
– Beverages.  Be careful about how much you drink, and I’m not just referring to beer.  There is almost no where in nearby locations where you can go to the bathroom without having to pay to use the bathroom.  Part of the blame lies with the homeless who consistently try to shower in the bathroom as you hop up and down outside holding yourself.
– Ipod or Mp3. At some points you will want to just chill and listen to music as you hold up your sign. I personally chose Legend and The Acacia Strain to make sure I kept up my angry state of mind against Wallstreet.
– Bring two coats. You’ll probably need them when it gets colder later at night.
– Go ahead and march on Grant park if that happens when you are there. Just get out before the Police start arresting people when they won’t leave the park.  Some of us couldn’t afford to get arrested and miss a day of work, but that doesn’t seem to matter to some protesters who don’t realize that some of their fellow protesters have bills and rent to pay.
– Point out the things you have in common with other protesters. There is strength to be attained in even the most vague displays of solidarity. Sure it’s hard to stomach some of the ideology that is spewed by some of the progressives there, but remember, they are there for several of the same reasons you or anyone else is.
– Ignore the temptation to be divisive because of political differences and biases and look at the overall big picture.  Engage in dialogue and conversation. Sure, people might have reasons for being there that you or I think are dumb, but they are reasons nonetheless, and we should try to understand where people are coming from, not just dismiss them.  There are people there with common sense, and they are your friends, neighbors, ect, even if they are demanding for insane governmental action that will just worsen the problem.  If you desire to point out the problem with that, just carry that line of thinking to its logical conclusion. Also, ask questions. Lots of them.
– Don’t bring too much stuff with you. It really sucks when you have to carry around two bags of stuff and have to watch it like a hawk when you set it down.

I still have a lot of reflection to do on this whole movement. Don’t dismiss it off-hand like many conservatives have done. That pompous ass Gingrich needs to learn that people there at the Occupy were looking for jobs, and weren’t all lazy protesters who wanted handouts.  Unfortunately, the extreme progressive elements appear to be hijacking the movement as I saw with some of the SJW types that were there.

I do tire of those who dismiss the movement right off the bat.

There is a lot more then meets the eye to Occupy. The only way one will learn this is to talk to and engage with the people at the Occupy Protests.  Let’s for once not pull a Herman Cain and talk to people to see why they are upset and the reasons behind them, instead of “Get a job.”  Also, lets hope that political hypocrites and fake witches like Pelosi and Obama don’t try to hijack Occupy and turn into a supposed political force for them. These people, myself included want answers, not hypocrites like Obama who take the most money from Wallstreet lobbyists in the history of any presidential campaign history, proceeds to advance their agenda, but then yet pretend to support the Occupy movement.

Big house shows are the flavor of Lake County

So, I went for the second time last Saturday to the “house” off 83 near the Walmart for not just a party this time, but a show as well with four bands playing.  A house show eh? Its going to suck right? Nope, not at all. It ended up turning into one of the best ideas for local shows I’ve seen all year.  It was so awesome in fact, that I lost my phone and most likely my dignity, because I’m positive I probably said some stupid things brought on by a somewhat inebriated stupor.  All that night, I kept going back to my car to grab the beer I had locked in there, and I am shocked that I didn’t lock my keys in the car, nor do several faceplants in the rough gravel/grass parking lot that is really hard to see in the dark.

I walked with a beer in one hand, a cigarallo in the other, and plenty of excitement as I tried to figure out how I was going to get into the garage where the music was coming from. After me and Ricardo managed to open one of the garage sliding doors, I discovered a garage that was almost three times the size of a normal garage, filled with a ton of people all having a great time.  For a free show, the sound wasn’t bad at all.  Somehow I can actually remember all the names of the four bands that played: The Cheyenne Line, Vanitas, I Made You Myself,  and Waking Giants.  This is strange, considering my memory of the night is slightly fuzzy.

After the bands played, we were going to party inside the house, so I decided to make sure to start drinking early so that the alcohol induced state would make me more likely to mosh. Well, it worked, and I went nuts, or at least I think I did.  I was also suprised by Vanitas. I liked what I heard. There was also a cover that night of a Blink-182 song. I can’t remember who did it nor which song it was, but it was awesome.

Now I went to this show with a plan to mosh. Moshing for me is always easier when you just aren’t as aware of the flying kick that is aiming toward your face. It almost feels like slow motion.  You get hit, a drunken laugh comes out of you, and you get up and keep going.  I’d like to point out that this is an accomplishment for me. Especially me.  As a small 5 foot 7 guy, I usually get knocked across the room when someone rams into me. Sometimes I imagine what taking a Steve Mrozek tackle would feel like, specifically with his bear suit on.  Who knows, the fur might cushion the hit a bit.  He still scares me in the pit though.

This is the first show that I’ve actually gone all out and thrown down since Warped Tour back in the summer. The garage got pretty crowded for the first two bands, but it died away a bit for the last two bands that played unfortunately. Still however, the energy was there in a way I haven’t seen at a local show before in a while. It felt good to be surprised.  Since when does anyone expected a garage show to be awesome and filled with energy?

 Waking Giants kicked some ass that night. For some reason, I kept doing power-jumps to them before I would throw down.  Whenever I do power-jumps of any kind, it means that I’m really feeling the energy, and that I’m going to feel the bruises tomorrow. (I can’t even remember the last time I did power-jumps at a show.)  I would have loved to taken some pictures and video of the night, but I have a crappy flip-phone which I can’t find a cable for to connect to my laptop to get the pictures and video off of it. I know some people took some pictures of the show, perhaps they will put some of them up.

I really hope to see some more shows here.  Hopefully the owners of the house will have some more shows put on, as long as house and the outside doesn’t look like Woodstock the next day. We just have to hope the cops don’t show up and a bunch of people run toward the forest in the back because of the numerous drugs their on and/or are carrying on them.

Let me emphasize it one more time: an awesome show, with a beer in your hand, and a smoke in the other, moshing to what you love, and an after party to make you forget your bruises. This doesn’t happen often in this area. So next time, come out to a free show like this, and don’t bother wasting your money at Clearwater where you will probably be roughed up by angry security wannabe bouncers.   Mark my words though, at the next show like this, I’m going to pick up change in the pit. That’s right, I’m bringing it back.

Sworn In: A Welcome Suprise to the Lake County scene.

 Originally I kind of passed these guys because someone, you know who you are, described them as Kingmaker 2.0.  That was a poor and inaccurate description as Sworn In sounds nothing like Kingmaker.

Anyway skip the first song, Catharsis and listen to it last. I frankly don’t know why they chose it to be their first track off the EP uploaded on to Facebook, but the other four songs easily make up for it.  In terms of listening carefully to their stuff, I’ve been to their shows both as Sworn In and Buried By The Ocean.  They didn’t shock me live, but then who does at The Oasis?

Some of the jazzy feeling ambient riffs are actually quite well done and well placed, which I can appreciate. You eventually tire of the “Hey, let’s throw some cool sounding ambient riffs in here so people will think we are melodic and talented, as well as extremely hardcore.”   Throw in some promotional spinkicks, middle fingers, and thumping of the chest woven attire with catchy slangs such as “Snappin’ necks and cashin’ checks”, crossed out Juggalo long-sleeves, and Lebron James jersies. Bad-ass right?

That said, the sheer well composed nature of some of the ambient melodic riffs could have these guys hire themselves out to Restaurants to play groovy jazz music and excel at it. I’m convinced of that.  That said, this is probably some of the best ambient riffage I’ve heard in the scene. Misery Signals and FFTD might have nothing on these guys provided Sworn In keeps up this kind of writing.  Yea, I’m still quite surprised by that.

Don’t worry or be thrown off though, the heaviness is definitely there. Plenty of two-stepping bro-core riffs abound pleasing even the most picky scenester or bad-ass hardcore kid, your choice.  Breakdowns? Yea, they got those. Some fast ABR/TGIish feeling ones, some of the Oceano/TAS slow-paced breakdowns.  There is a chaotic feel to this as well, which isn’t actually thrown off by the synth, which really fits in well and give the EP a great catchy feel to it.  I’ll point out again, I’m really shocked by this.  The original stuff I heard by Buried By The Ocean never really stood out to me, but this EP is as if they somehow improved 100-fold.

 My personal favorite is “Welcome To The NHK” which bathes the listener with over six minutes of beat-down riffs, a catchy heavy screaming chorus consisting of the very legible, “Take, take It all from me, I’ve given so much, when you will you see?”   Now I’m not looking for anything remotely resembling lyrical substance in our scene considering 95% of the songs are all about someone’s relationship, how it’s broken, and how they hate them/love them, ect. This EP isn’t really an exception, but the music makes up for it. Besides who really thinks about the lyrics when they are throwing down and sending the 12 year olds nearby flying?

My second closest favorite was ex, a song completely devoted to you guessed it; how much said ex sucked, horrible, ect. All that good stuff. Overlooking that, this song has some of the best ambient melodic riffs I’ve heard from any local band around here, or for most bands around for that matter.  Specifically I was enraptured by some of the piano/snyth work in the song and was even further surprised by a well developed solo that resisted the urge to wreck itself with plenty of shredding so that the metal kids could headbang to it and twaddle their fingers in idolized awe. Remember, I hate solos.

If you haven’t download their five song EP. They’ve provided it free via mediafire, which makes me quite happy so I don’t have to hide my illegal piracy ninja skills from Josh Woods who will troll me to the end of eternity if he catches a breath of my devious and decrepit activities.

Anyway, check this out. I’ve been recently looking for a local band to stand out from the crowded and rather disappointing metal/hardcore Lake County scene and these guys just might be it.

An Acoustic Night at Swing State

 Most people might not know it, but Lake County does have more then just a hip hop scene. A grow number of acoustic acts are either coming through or forming in the area and Friday night is an example of this up and coming scene. (Possibly revise?)

At a dimly lit and buzzing Swing State on Friday night, Everything Between. They are an the aspiring acoustic band whose members consist of duo Cat the singer, and Elliot the guitarist, who hail from Mundelein highschool. Their opening acoustic act kicked off the start of the night’s live music with their first ever show.

Initial impressions are that Everything Between are a band best enjoyed after a breakup. One can listen to them and imagine watching a TV episode where a couple have just had a breakup and one of them is walking alone on a street. Their songs feel somewhat depressing, but nevertheless are reasonably well composed.

I recommend the ultimate listening situation for them to be sometime during the winter, next to a fireplace, and sitting in a comfy chair staring at the wall wondering why your life sucks. (too harsh?)

Don’t get me wrong though, they have talent for their age, as well as potential. Cat is by no means Taylor Swift, but she does have a wonderful voice though that has a “sweet” kind of “aww” feel to it  Her voice has potential to be one of a successful American Idol contestant, although I would recommend singing lessons as they would help her improve her lack of ability to hit high notes.  I am very impressed with her voice considering she hasn’t had any voice lessons.

Their best song was, and not surprisingly fan favorite, is “Yesterday’s Impression.”  Don’t pay attention to their song titles as they usually have nothing to do with the song. All of their songs are about relationships, something that shouldn’t surprise anyone considering the writers are in high school.

This is definitely a band which is worth hearing though, and I stress their live performance which sounds much better then any of their recordings which dont do Cat’s voice justice.   (3/5)


Raine Richards & Mark Mandeville

They are both independent folk artists who have each released their own solo records and are touring together. For the show they shared the stage and did sing together for certain songs. (Some songs were sung by only one of them.)

My initial impression is that these two are a hidden gem. I’ve never heard of either of them before, but I’m glad I did now. They are signed to a record label, but probably one most of us haven’t heard of called nobodysfavoriterecords,  Both their voices have a folk and country feel to it, but in harmony they have a sound which would put most folk acts to shame, and I completely mean that.  Mark’s voice in particular astounding. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was.

 Both of these folks are older musicians, and their songs lyrics cover a wide variety of all things in life. Their live sound was incredible. They sounded like something off a perfected, mixed, and edited soundtrack.

I’ve never been this impressed with an act in the indie/folk/country genre that has performed at Swing State. This is hand’s down the best non metal act that I have ever seen at Swing State, as well as the best Folk act I’ve ever seen anywhere. You could have taken their live sound tonight and stuck it on a soundtrack without any editing whatsoever. They were that incredible. 

Their act which was well time out included a banjo, flute, harmonica, and acoustic guitars. There were no messups of anytime, and Rainne’s voice had an impressive range that at no time sounded off key, and most of all, her voice was something you could easily just stick in any genre. It had a unique, yet excellent sound of its own that was pleasurable to listen to.

Simply put, this may be one of the best acts that Swing State has seen all year. Check out each of their albums and listen to ’em while relaxing next to a fire. They will put you at ease and will improve the mood and atmosphere of your day.

(If your dying for dual vocal songs, these guys will not disappoint.)  (5/5)

A summer worth of Insane Concerts

This summer I saw the Cool Tour, Thrash And Burn, Warped Tour, plus several local tours and shows throughout the Chicago-land and Milwaukee areas.

I saw 3 shows at the Rave, one at Mad Maggies, a whole day at Warped Tour in Milwaukee, and several local shows at Swing State and The Oasis.

I’ll tell you all about the bands I saw and what I thought of them.

Bands that I saw include:

The Cool Tour:

-Headliners

* As I Lay Dying
* Underoath

– Bless The Fall
– Between The Buried And Me
– The Acacia Strain
– Architects
– War Of Ages

Thrash and Burn Tour:

-Headliners

* Asking Alexandria
* Born of Osiris

Support Acts

* Kittie
* Stick To Your Guns
* Impending Doom
* Through The Eyes of the Dead (first half)
* Greeley Estates
* Periphery
* Motionless in White
* Chelsea Grin

Vans Warped Tour 2010

– Confide
– In Fear and Faith
– Parkway Drive
– The Word Alive
– Emmure
– Attack Attack
– Pierce The Veil
– Hey Monday (first 3 songs of the set)
– Bring Me The Horizon (last couple songs of the set)
– Reel Big Fish
– Sum 41 (first 3 songs of the set)

Mad Maggies:

– August Burns Red
– Mychildren Mybride
– Elysion Fields
– Lookout! Giants

Will update later with all the information and performance of the bands…

Miss May I, August Burns Red, The Devil Wears Prada – July 2, 1010

It was somewhat of a hot day at Summerfest in Milwaukee on Friday July second. The bands however helped make up for the hot weather of the day. The CoolTV Rock stage where the bands played was right next to the entrance gate of Summerfest allowing the group I was with to get to the stage right away and hear the music. This would be the best show that I have ever been to in terms of atmosphere, the crowd, stage performance, and the quality of the music that the bands would produce.

Miss May I

– Around 5PM, Miss May I played. Mixed among the crowd were over a thousand high school and college age students, along with many onlookers curious as to what the buzz was about.

– The stage was surrounded by multiple storied bleachers on both sides as well as bleachers in the middle. This of course made moshing quite hard because of the room there was to work with, but those in attendance still found a way. They turned the whole entrance passage way into a 100 ft long moshpit, as well as the small section on the right side of the stage into one as well.

– Their vocalist didnt have his mike turned up loud enough, but he put on a good stage performance and his screams were still right on the mark.

– Miss May I put on a good show, but they were quite sloppy it seemed as they messed up on a quite a few songs. (The drummer missed several times and their singer didnt have his mike up loud enough.) Miss May I however is well worth seeing live. You will be well satisfified when you hear them.

August Burns Red

– Around 7:30 PM, the CoolTV Rock Stage started to pack in anticipation for August Burns Red who was playing at 8PM. A few minutes before August Burns Red started, there were over 3 thousand people in the bleachers and in the sections between them. August Burns Red opened up with “Backburner” off their album, Messengers.

– Quite a few curious onlookers wandered between the bleachers wondering what the excitement was about. Unfortunately for some of them, especially some of the older folks, they were standing right where the 15 ft wide by 200 ft long moshpit would open up. As soon as the first breakdown from Backburner hit, the crowd in the passageway between the bleachers went nuts and the moshpit opened up.

The bleachers I was in started to shake as people started jumping and moving. A few security guards tried to get into the moshpit and break it up, but immediately withdrew after one of them took a few hits to the face from two-steppers who went into them. The pit was total chaos. In fact one African American Gentlemen tried to stand in the middle trying to prevent the pit as well, but was crashed into and subsequently ran for his life out of the area. A voice in the background could be heard saying, “This is isn’t a Ludacris concert.

– August Burns Red was flawless. Every instrument could be heard well, and even my personal pet peeve, a loud, noise deafening double base, was satisfied. They sounded so good that I felt like I was listening to the album, except there were three thousand people around me going nuts.

– They were probably the best band of the night. Definitely worth seeing. Anywhere. If you can see them, go. Even a 6 hour trip to see them would be worth it. They are that good live!

-(I actually had the privileged of meeting their guitarist, Brent, while me and a few friends were in a line for food. He was incredibly nice.)

The Devil Wears Prada

Around 10 PM, The Devil Wears Prada started. Around the time they went on, the temperature in the air was quite hot, even though it was around 10 PM at night.

– They played over an hour long set and they kicked off the set with “Danger: Wildman” As soon as Mike, the lead singer of TDWP, screamed out the lyrics “I know a ghost… ” , the crowd went nuts and the moshpit kicked off again.

– The moshpit for TDWP was a bit more brutal then for August Burns Red. I saw a very hot girl go into the pit and get hit in the face by a hardcore dancer. She fell back and almost look like she had fainted. A few of us picked her up and after about 10 seconds, she went right back in. Another fellow had to be carried out of the pit as he seemed unresponsive. Security put one guy in a headlock, but they had to back off as they were being surrounded by angry hardcore dancers who looked as if the were about to attack the security guards there.

– After TDWP’s set, I saw a guy come out with blood streaming down his face, a guy being shouldered up by his two friends with some sort of broken foot, and another guy with a bleeding back. The sight of ambulances outside wasnt exactly a comforting thought after the thrill that I had just gotten from TDWP set.

– If you go to a larger venue where either August Burns Red or TDWP plays, make sure you dont wear glasses or have fragile items with you if your anywhere near where the moshpit takes place. At some venues the whole crowd ends up moshing and the area around the stage turns into one large pit.

-TDWP played their new song, Outnumbered, which is probably one of their heavier songs. Their set was flawless. (They had the kick drum mike jacked.) Simply put their set was incredible. The feeling it gave you as well as the atmosphere of the crowd around made their set one you won’t forget.

– The atmosphere in the crowd really made a difference compared to other concerts Ive been to. The flashing lights, large screen TV on the stage which showed the band, and the music echoing out from all around the stage gave the concert an “epic” feel. Most of the crowd sang along with Jeremy’s vocals, especially when TWDP played “Louder than Thunder”

– If you ever get a chance to see TDWP live, take it. If you have to call in sick to work, do it. One of the best live bands I’ve ever seen.