Saturday, February 26, 2011

If I was from Paris....Grace Potter and more in Concert

Steve Martin once said, "Talking about music is like Dancing about Architecture." Music reviews are quite honestly useless now when it takes only seconds to pull up an artist online and listen for yourself. Yet articles that read simply, "LISTEN TO…….(fill in the blank)…TRUST ME" hardly sells records either. So reviews, discussions and blogs about music continue and I continue to dance about architecture.

I attended two concerts this week…6 if you count each band individually. =) On Monday at Exit/IN I saw, in order of performance, "The Kicks" and "The Old Ceremony," opening for "Eisley" and "Rooney". I didn't bring my camera to this show having forgot to ask in advance the camera policy of the venue. Not having that noose around my neck can be quite freeing sometimes, but some photographic evidence would have been nice too. A certain someone I've mentioned before also attended this concert which could have possibly been why I deemed it so unforgettable. My 4 star rating might be a tad tainted. And I tell you this part only to further exemplify just how cool and smooth I am, I literally fell on to him when I missed a step walking over to him. God must love a good awkward comedy, because I feel like I'm always in one.

"The Kicks" were a local Nashville band and fun enough to warrant my email being added to their mailing list for future concerts. Or perhaps it was the cutie guitarist asking me so sweetly...which I replied, "Okay, but its my junkmail one..." which got a few laughs. Their cd has been added to the listening station in my car…an awesome nod by the way. I noticed today it was recorded at Sputnik Sound which was that cool Christmas party I attended last year…such a small world this Nashville.

"Eisley" was having mic issues but still clearly ensured their new album would be added to my collection. If you love "Sixpence None the Richer," you will probably enjoy Eisley as well. "Rooney" brought the energy and made me sweat out any toxins that were left hiding in my body. I couldn't understand fans who just stood there…staring blankly as if listening to poetry night at the local cafe. I hope they weren't rating the music on its ability to move them. I got home around 1am from this concert and was so full of excitement I couldn't sleep. I ended up making dinner among a slew of other things and working the next day on 4 hours of sleep. It was like being an irresponsible 20 year old again. =P

On Thursday I saw at Cannery Ballroom "Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights" opening for "Grace Potter and the Nocturnals". And this concert is what I will go on and on about….with pictures anyway.

Jonathan Tyler I hadn't listened to previously so I went in completely and pleasantly surprised. It was a 1970s explosion. At first almost comically done by their threads but halfway through the first song you realized it was quite authentic. We'd gone back in time..and that pencil thin 'stach was stretched across a mouth that could wail.
If I still had photoshop I could remove the bald man who ruined a lot of my shots. lol

It's taken me a couple of days to talk about the Grace Potter concert. It rocked my world and my socks off simultaneously. It left me speechless and even now I am having a hard time saying more than it was the best concert I've ever been too. So just enjoy the pictures, play the cd and pretend you were there.

Every band needs at least two guitarists. Scott and Benny were so awesome.
The setlist included songs from the last 3 albums and a few covers.

Above: Grace covering a "My Morning Jacket" song.
During the show, a woman leans over to me and informs me that she is a 911 operator and that there are tornadoes touching down in Franklin. So I guess I will forgive her for texting during the show. And unbeknownst to those of us rocking out, there were also Tornado sirens waling outside in Nashville.

Grace's voice oozes so much sex appeal that even the non smokers were craving cigarettes, that the ladies in the audience had a collective thought, "Hmmm…do I really like guys?" and everyone was mentally preparing with whom they were going to get busy with as soon she hit the last note.

The music…oh my….the music…..every song seem to be the rock out closer…but then another would begin. A continuing cycle of musical awesomeness.
Every band should have two girls in it. It's just better that way.
Oh Benny....

Eventually "Paris" ended the show followed by two encores…a cover of "Crazy on you" and their song "Medicine"…..which ended with everyone playing the drums at the same time. lol

When the show was over, I waited for the cluster to break apart and thin out before heading for the doors. But at the second set of doors the same cluster seemed to be waiting, as there was quite the down pour happening outside. So in the waiting crowd I removed my fish nets and stilettos (Hot..I know), put my camera in a plastic bag I'd brought just in case (God, I'm smart) and ran through the parking lot barefoot and soaked to the bone by the time I reached my car. I know what you're thinking, "where's that picture?". Yea, I thought about it but the logistics were just too crazy.

Turning onto Franklin Road there was something odd about the drive home. It took me a second to realize just what it was…the absence of light. The traffic and street lights were out. It was pitch black nearly the whole drive home which quite frankly was scary as hell. But as I got closer to Franklin there was light at the end of the tunnel and besides a few neighbors trash cans blown into my driveway and a few tree branches all was serene. I'd been in Paris in the 1970s and missed the whole damn thing.

Comments are appreciated. I know everyone likes to send me personal messages but it makes it look like no one reads this thing but me. =P

Monday, February 21, 2011

Taking care of myself...My love/hate relationship with doctors.

For most of the last 20 years I have been at war with my body. If its not my skin, its the muscles, if its not the muscles its my organs, if its not the organs its the spine…and so on and so on. I'm captivated by Science and yet modern medicine pisses me off. Saddled with the worst pain of my life in my 20's and given drug after drug and procedure after procedure with no positive outcome does that to you. I came to loathe doctors. I've been diagnosed with Gastric Reflux, Migraine Headaches, Endometriosis, Eczema and a slew of others. It was one big guessing game and I was the guinea pig they poked and prodded.

The worst of the worst Doctor story was a day back in 2001.
I sat in a doctors office with severe abdominal pain. He was treating me for a bad car accident in which I was driving home around 11 or so at night, when a car slammed into the side of my car throwing it over the median and into upcoming traffic. It was a old car, no airbags. I was actually about a foot short of hitting a metal utility pole so it could have been worse. The driver had just left a Bar and pleaded with me that he'd had 2 DUI's and couldn't risk a third. Why on earth he thought I'd take pity on him was beyond me, he asked if he could just give me some money and have his friend fix my car. I had managed to climb out of my smashed up car, dazed and in shock and saw one of my wheels rolling down the street. I remember saying, "Your friend can't fix this! My car is twisted!" As he tried to leave the scene, the cops pulled up.
My lawyer had hired this doctor…this should have been the first tip off. This man was a real tool. Day after day, week after week, my pain levels never lowered. It wasn't just my back and neck but my abdominals. I was originally told my stomach was bruised by the seatbelt and the pain would go away soon. But it never went away, it got worse. Here I sat in a cold room gripping my stomach, on the verge of tears and waiting for Dr. IHaveNoTimeSeeYou see me. I waited for what seemed like hours shivering and longing for a heating pad and a baseball bat to knock myself out with. Then I heard the nurse say my name in the hallway. The Doctor started yelling at her that he didn't have time to see me…that I was fine..and that I was making up the pain for pain meds. At that point I don't know what was stronger, the pain in my gut or the rage building in my head.

The door flew open and he walked in immediately accusing me of not really being in pain. I was crying now and this only infuriated him. He insisted I needed to go to another doctor because this was probably a "family doctor" kind of thing and had nothing to do with my car accident which was the only treatment he was being paid to treat me for. I explained this all started from the car accident and he said the pain would go away. "Fine, I'll do a pelvic exam, I don't know who is going to pay for this!" he yelled. I should have walked out right then but being shy and 21 years old I didn't know that I could. So this monster proceeded with doing a pelvic exam. I don't know that you've ever had a pelvic by someone who is not only enraged but also holds a special loathe for you but I don't recommend it. Its just short of sexual assault. I got dressed after, left the building crying and never went back. I didn't even sign out.

1 year later I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis. I had been in and out of the hospital with the same pain I'd been enduring since the car accident. I had great insurance and as long as I had no answers I kept seeing new specialists. At this point, I couldn't even wear pants, it hurt for anything to touch my stomach, even the elastic band of my underwear was painful. I wore loose dresses and spent my evenings in a hot bathtub drugged to high heaven. The only reason someone caught this diagnosis was because I collapsed at work. I gripped my stomach and fell to the floor in the middle of the lunch rush at the Bank I worked at. It felt like burning hot liquid was rushing over my insides. I remember thinking my appendix was rupturing and I was about to die. I wasn't ready to die and not at this stupid Bank! At the hospital watching them rub the ultrasound on my belly, they said a cyst on my ovary had ruptured and there were 3 more about a quarter size, 2 on one ovary and 1 on the other. The scar tissue in my abdomen was everywhere and pulling and tearing then healing and wrapping around my insides. It was no wonder I was in so much pain. It was like a bomb went off in there. They scheduled a laparoscopic surgery to remove some scar tissue and as much as the disease that they could. I felt a relief to know what was finally wrong with me but the relief was only temporary. The doctor had very few answers for me. They didn't know much about it at all other than it might be a new autoimmune disease. They could only offer me two possible treatments…surgery, possibly every other year, or go on the Pill which might help by regulating my hormones. I explained the Pill wasn't a possibility because I'd had horrible side effects with it 3 years prior and I'd tried all the different kinds and doses and so that was a no go. He almost showed concern in his eyes now as he said then they could only treat me with pain medication. I then asked the question I really didn't want the answer too, "What about children, can I have children?" He looked at the floor. He took a long sigh then said, "You can always try, but…."and he trailed off.
It took months to heal from the surgery. No way I was having this every other year. I wasn't able to lift anything over 10 pounds so I always had to call my male co-workers to come over when we had boxes of change come in. Laughing was the worst! I had to roll out of bed in the morning…things you forget your abs do for you. When I was healed from that, the original pain had lessened. Sex was still horribly uncomfortable. I don't know how I endured it really. It was like jabbing a giant bruise.

A few years later I saw a Naturopathic Physician. My dad had paid for the appointment thinking that maybe they could help me. I thought what the hell, I've tried everything else, and went. We talked for hours about everything I'd been through, what I'd been diagnosed with, what I was eating, my emotional state, my marriage, work, exercise…everything.
She did some realignments which was pretty much every part of my body…from a tilted pelvis to my hip being out…to my shoulders, and several ribs. I'd never been been to a Chiropractor either, with all the physical therapy I'd had from 2 car accidents in my life and this was the first time? This was all very new to me the fact that I was walking funny and everything was out of place for God knows how long. I felt about 6 inches taller when I left. =P Hmmm, perhaps this was why I couldn't sit in a chair for longer than say 15 minutes.

But the best suggestion that day was this…."ya know Sarah, Soy is a natural Estrogen and Estrogen fuels your endometriosis. Why don't you cut out the soy and lets see what happens."

I went home and studied Soy for days. It was a natural Estrogen. In fact if my Endometriosis was a Gremlin, then Soy was the giant swimming pool of water. I was drinking a Chocolate Soy milkshake everyday before my Tennis lesson…I was eating Edamame with every meal. But it wasn't just the obvious…Soy was in EVERYTHING. It was hiding in Chocolate bars, in cans of soup, in anything packaged and processed. This was going to be harder than I thought. During my research I also discovered a chartroom where a woman mentioned that anytime her husband ate something with soy in it he complained of a migraine soon after. WHAT?? Could this be the blame for my migraines as well? So I went cold turkey. I'd been getting debilitating Migraines at least 3 times and week. The first week I went without soy, they stopped. I think it was 6 months before I got another migraine. The abdominal pain also went away. I don't know that my endometriosis is cured as I haven't had another ultrasound and examination but I've only experienced that kind of pain a few times in the last 10 years! After Soy, I gave up Wheat, Red meat, fast food and refined sugar. With those went the Eczema, the gastric reflux and every other discomfort I'd been enduring my whole life.

<-----"Eggplant Sandwich"

I go in and out of my severities…I will occasionally have some bread at a restaurant and I let sugar back in after a little over a year of cold turkey. I now only buy organic raw sugar or honey. I've also made the decision to only buy from the health food store and the farmers market. Its not always organic but I try to the best of my ability with my budget. I know organic can be pricey but would you rather give your money to the massively wealthy chemical companies or the local farmer?

Because all that cheap food has a very steep price and its your health. I have never felt better in my life. When my whole Branch at work got the flu this year and I mean every last one of them and they had everything from fever, to infections, to vomiting and were out from 3 days to 12 days…I was sick for about 24 hours. My body fought it off with the help of a lot of Vitamin C and Echinacea and I was exhausted after but I healed very quickly.

On a side note….my dogs have the same diet. They used to suffer from skin conditions, arthritis, stomach issues, fleas and their hair falling out. They now eat natural wheat, soy and sugar free food that I top with Flax seed oil. I stopped all chemicals treatments they tell you to put on your dogs skin but tell YOU to wear gloves while doing it. My dogs problems have all stopped. They have full healthy coats and at 12 and 7 years old, they act like puppies again and are super soft!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fortress of Solitude

I recently finished reading, "He's just not that into you.", the day after Valentines day of all days. I was so inspired and delighted by this book that I read it all the way through in a space of 4 hours in between customers at work. I also read passages out loud to my co-workers if I found one that they needed to hear..which was a lot of them. Had I read this in my 20's, I probably would have made some smarter choices. So much time wasted on bullshit and listening to bad advice. I don't know about you but I'm sick of it. This perhaps is not what most people get from this book but for me, I thought, "Screw it, if I can't find someone sweet, honest and kind then I'll be alone". A guy that can only be these things from time to time isn't good enough. I'm worth more than having to endure the pain and strife of drug addicts, alcoholics, manipulators, liars and verbal abusers. I'm over it! Step it up or stand down. I'm not saying I'm the dream girl that always gets shit on, I have issues too but I'm working on that. At least I'm recognizing things now that could lead to potential weapons of mass destruction.

I've had revelations left and right since I hit my 30's. At least I know why I'm crazy now. =) I even have a title for it, "traumatic dissociation". Basically, my brain was protecting my heart with a fortress. I used to get so depressed not being able to connect and not knowing why. I could feel so close to my friends but with lovers it was like there was a brick wall between us at all times. And that's not very sexy. I guess I thought that maybe I just had to get used to it when really it was never going to be what I wanted and I needed to change myself first.
So there's hope! This isn't just the way I am, I can heal and feel love. =) oh Happy day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Smile Singleton...It's Valentines Day

Most mornings as of late I've woken up happy. Even more so when the sun is creeping through my blinds and the alarm hasn't gone off yet. The puppies wait eagerly on the floor below for me to make the slightest move. My bed is very high off the floor…3.5 feet actually, so you want to make sure all the cylinders are running before you get out of bed. There's a large mirror against the wall so I see my skinny pale legs every morning as I climb down.

I have a little crush. And this tiny wild seed grows a European garden of happiness. Something that makes me grin when no one is around is a new one for me. I find myself skipping the sad songs and putting the happy ones on repeat. With the slightest glance, this man can light me like a firecracker. Not to be overly dramatic but I think of him to be the most beautiful man I've ever seen in real life. I'm sure I read like a freakin' idiot but since I feel like I'm from another planet most of the time anyway, I don't embarrass too easily anymore. I've become more comfortable with myself enough to say, "that's how I feel, take it or leave it".

It's Valentine's Day and I'm single. I haven't been single on Valentine's day since 2000. I called my single girlfriends who seem to just want to get past this dreadful day. But none of that even accrued to me this morning because I have a semi-permanent smile across my face. I bought lavender roses for my female co-workers…I bought a flowerless chocolate cake and decorated it with purple sugar and strawberries. I painted my toenails pink and my fingernails purple with little pink hearts. I put on my red sparkly heels and a short skirt and smiled all day long at work wishing everyone a Happy Valentine's Day. And I meant it…

Disclaimer: I did get a little snarky with a few guys…asking them if today was everything they dreamed it would be. Or asking an older woman if her husband had planned anything exciting like a hot air balloon ride. =P (Which really isn't so uncommon in Franklin, I see hot air balloons all the time.)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Joshua Radin concert in Nashville: To Swoon or not to Swoon

I've been in love with live music since the first concerts attended in my youth when flannel reigned. Coffee shops, amphitheaters, churches… doesn't matter. Living in Hawaii seemed to squash this long standing affair. So excited was I to move to music city where any night of the week there's a concert somewhere. Where on a regular basis I talk, see, listen too or walk by known, semi-known or longing to be known musical talent. It's planet melody, land of the free concert, and brave baring of the souls.

But living in well tuned Nirvana, one can sometimes forget to take advantage. I've compared it to living in Hawaii. Someone asks you if you go to the beach every day and you suddenly can't remember the last time you jumped in the salt water.
I've only lived here 2 years. Is the honeymoon already over? Someone asked me in December what the next concert I was going to was…I had no answer. Shamed, I went online that day and within minutes I had bought tickets to Joshua Radin on the Feb. 4th and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals on Feb. 24th.

Last night was Joshua Radin. My familiarity composed of only Zach Braff recommendations from a few years ago, and a couple of purchased movie soundtracks containing his name. "Star Mile" always made my heart quicken in an almost need for purpose and a longing for completion. I can't hear it and not think of why I'm not more proactive in my life…why most days are just to get to the next. This of course is just me and has nothing really to do with the lyrics which are mostly about love lost.

What I was not aware of was the lust and swooning that is a Joshua Radin concert. While standing in line waiting for the doors to open I surveyed the line…the nearly all female line. It was comprised of mostly college girls and 30 and 40 somethings. They were also in groups. The only men I spotted where quite obviously also wanting to be alone with Joshua Radin or keeping their girlfriends warm in hopes going through this experience with them would get them laid.
Even the merch tables seemed to be comprised of Tiny girly Tees. I felt very out of my element…like I was attending a Justin Bieber show filled with tweens.

The Cannery Ballroom is a cool venue, brick walls…long bar, mood lighting, standing room only.
The opening band, a 3 piece from Canada, Andrew Allan brought me right back to Hawaii with a reggae beat that unfortunately is nails on a chalkboard for me. The rest of his set got better though, very sweet and happy go lucky. More Jason Mraz with a hint of Jack Johnson. He also sang a Sublime cover if that helps with a musician style description. Beyond that I would say three words, Bongos and Beanies.

Anya Marina was the second act, petite and blonde with a electric guitar a third her size. She starts to tell a story that every girl shares…Remember back in high school when you were in love with that guy, that really cute guy. But he was a vampire and….which preludes to "Satellite Heart" which was featured in one of the Twilight movies. Anya is just cool. She's rock with one eye winking. Her lyrics are quirky, fun and sexy.

When the main act came on close to 10pm, he seemed to be bursting with sincerity, trying desperately to get the crowd to participate in songs. He even brought out 3 local gradeschool kids to play "Brand New Day" with him on their acoustic guitars. Joshua is partnered with "Little Kids Rock" which he works along with teachers to incorporate his songs into music lessons, and in each city a new group of school kids gets to play a song with him on stage. Upping the ante of females who now wanted to bare his children and a collective eye roll from their boyfriends.

I feel this venue will be better suited for the Grace Potter show than Joshua Radin who was often very soft spoken and monotone in his long story telling between songs. He was barely autible over the chatter of the hen house. At one point he stood away from the microphone and sang to the crowd which actually quieted some to hear him. The only song that seemed to turn everyone's volume down was "I'd Rather Be with you" showing just how many people were there just for the hits.

His guitar player was the splitting image of Zach Galifianakis and his Bass/Keyboard player looked like a young Paul McCartney. Joshua was almost too old school hollywood to be holding a guitar. His looks almost distracting from his beautiful and soulful voice. I have to admit though, he was very genuine. But watching the 3 of them play together was just bizarre. A strange threesome of look a likes.

The room was packed, as in most people were shoulder to shoulder. The body heat stifling. If you should sway or lean you would be against the someone next to you in a very personal way. A tipsy blonde and her boyfriend getting handsy and consistently wanting to change standing positions and talk through every song…had me agitated and at one point up against the person next to me while they continued to push so I had to squeeze through the crowd for better real estate. Having gotten there early though I was pretty close to the stage and the crowd was packed to the back. I found myself over by the bar by the time the opening acts were over and somewhat of a good stage viewing spot. That was until this unusually tall girl in a big red coat seemed to always move her head just so. I wanted to give her the $3 for the coat check just so she's leave her position for a minute and I could establish mine. Another tipsy blonde taps me on the shoulder, "umm I have to ask you….what is your favorite Joshua Radin song…because I'm here with my boyfriend and he doesn't care". I look over at her boyfriend who is busy texting as if following her around at the mall. On the other side of me a group of girls discussed how they would get back stage and what strategies worked at other concerts they'd attended. Such a meeting of the minds.
By mid concert red coat girl had moved and there was now only 2 couples standing between me and a pillar to stand next too. I could soon enjoy the rest of the show next to a non-texting, non-speaking, not drunk giant piece of building. I waited with anticipation.

The couple in front of me turn to leave. They are facing me now and suddenly the girls head falls back. She faints right then and there (either picturing Joshua naked, too much to drink or heat exhaustion…it was never established) and somehow very skillfully slings her drink AND her boyfriends onto me then falls to the floor. The crowd moved like a wave and a circle of floor space opened up around the girl and her boyfriend. People and water where called over and they carried her out through the crowd in a very dramatic way. The ice and some unknown alcohol hurled at me was almost a blessing on my lower half as it was 1000 degrees in the room. I kept thinking if I was in my underwear, I might be comfortable but even my tissue T felt like a wool coat. A few minutes later the other couple left and I was able to watch the rest of the show from a great spot. And Me and the Pillar swooned a little, but just a little.

For the last song of the night he jumped down into the crowd and sang and played unplugged. The crowd formed a circle and camera phones eliminated the room. Had the chatter ceased maybe I could have heard what song it was but alas people had things they needed to talk about during this performance. When he walked back stage he passed within a few feet of me. I managed to stay conscious. =P

The opening acts waited at their merch tables to sign autographs and take pictures after the show. They were giving out wrist bands to meet Joshua Radin but I declined the lust fest. I bought a Anya Marina cd "Slow and Steady Seduction: Phase II" instead (I need to learn a few Waiting for autographs I knew would mean less time in the parking lot waiting to get out. Standing at the Anya end of the tables the girl in front of me was none other than the red coat girl…geez, really?!!?! I waited and I waited. "Thank you, you have been so patient!" Anya says as I hand her the CD. I listened to it on my 20 minute drive home and its one of my new favorites.

Great show Joshua Radin but I wish I'd seen you in a quiet coffee shop.