who is your favorite band or musician at the moment? if you know me, we have probably talked about my favorite band of the now, tame impala. this morning and many mornings since it was first released, i awoke with “let it happen” playing on my brain radio. it’s something of an anthem for this time in my life, particularly the last year or so, when i finally started getting in touch with what i really what from the universe and what i want to contribute to it. the hardest part is staying true to that and not deviating from that path.
when this song first came out, i had it on my phone and listened to it on a walk in my neighborhood. the sun was shining, i walked fast, along with the beat. “all this running around, bearing down on my shoulders.” i’ve been so sick of the hustle, selling my marketable skills to the next bidder. i just want to share stories and ideas and things i make with the world, not just the things i do to pay rent. “something’s trying to get out, and it’s never been closer.”
this is a wild time to be alive. listening to music keeps me from getting too lost in the sadness of the world and reminds me of the beauty that exists.
A photo posted by miss lisa g. french (@misslisagfrench) on
november. it’s finally cold enough in los angeles to have a heater on at night. two pairs of socks if you’re feeling extra chilly. coincidentally, i am wearing socks i bought on a trip to london back in…well i know it was for my 28th birthday. so it must have been 2003. i hang on to the randomest things. you know, like ticket stubs. and memories.
ticket stub story is officially two weeks old today, and it’s been invigorating to write about these moments in my life and hearing about others in the process. while writing about the ticket stubs, music memories, and brain radio activity that i’ve shared so far (and some that i am writing now), there was always music on.
welcome to our first playlist! on it you will find all of the songs mentioned on the blog so far as well as a few that will be mentioned in stories to come. heck, i’ll probably add a lot more to it before the month is over.
i hope you are enjoying everything so far, i am having a blast with this. so much more is coming up: some travel, some live music action, and of course, more stories. let’s listen to some music!
the jacket i wore that night, along with the ticket stub and buttons from the show.
2005 was an interesting year. my 30th trip around the sun began in february and i lived in the wicker park neighborhood of chicago, right there on milwaukee avenue in the middle of the action. “the crotch” we lovingly called it, that intersection of damen, milwaukee, and north avenues. summers, winters, we were all over that crotch, soaked in whiskey and vodka and rock and roll.
i frequented reckless records as they were only a couple of doors down from my apartment, often picking up issues of NME to find out about the latest music from britain. even as a teenager i was obsessed with NME and melody maker and was turned on to a lot of music because of those magazines. bloc party was likely an NME discovery back then, we didn’t have apps like shazam and i wasn’t looking at blogs that much since it was still the myspace era for me and most of my friends (we were too old for facebook).
i went to this show alone if i remember correctly. i watched the drummer Matt Tong in total awe. if you’ve ever seen bloc party live when he was still with the band, you probably get what i am talking about. he straight up destroys the drums live. he was soaking wet with sweat from the slaughter of the performance, it was fantastic. i’ve always had a thing for the rhythm section. see a show with me, then wait and see how long it takes before i comment on the drummer or the bass line. seriously, try me.
about a month after the show i went to costa rica on a whim. i was working at the pontiac cafe at the time and i was making a fair amount of dough in a short amount of time so i bought a plane ticket and went to costa rica and i think i spent all of three days planning everything. on the flight, i had my headphones on listening to the stations that were provided by the airlines and then a song came on that stopped me right then and there. in the air, above the clouds, “so here we are” came on, a bloc party song that was one of my favorites from their album, silent alarm. (i need to get that on vinyl, now that i think about it.) it’s a killer song, and it was just what i needed to hear at that moment.
i was really unsure about my life, i had graduated from art school four years earlier, i was waiting tables, i wasn’t making art (of my own), i had an unrequited crush, i was drunk a lot because it was chicago and that was what you did in wicker park in 2005. i watched a lot of six feet under back then too, which explains why i was very introspective. (i still love that show deeply.)
to get to costa rica from chicago, you have to fly to miami first. in the airport, i went to the bar and had a mojito and nervously fidgeted because we didn’t have phones to stare at back then when the uncomfortableness of traveling solo seeps in. it had been awhile, i hadn’t been able to afford much travel since moving to chicago seven years prior, but i managed to get to the UK, amsterdam, and now costa rica.
that trip to costa rica re-invigorated my love for travel. on the flight, Kele Okereke sang to me, “i figured it out” and i wrote it down in a notebook. i still have it somewhere. i knew right then, on that airplane to costa rica, that i needed to make a big change soon.
through the process of writing about the next ticket stub from the collection, memories were sprouting out from everywhere. it took me back to dallas again, i’m guessing 1997. i was madly in love and in hindsight, i had no idea what to do with that emotion. the handsome fella said something back then that stuck with me over the years.
i forget where we were or what was going on at that time, but i thought it was sincere. he said, “If we ever broke up, I’d have to leave Dallas…it’s like that Naked Eyes song.” okay, maybe it was kinda cheesy. whatever, it’s a fond memory and i am keeping it that way.
i sang this song out loud in my apartment at 4:45 this morning and i loved every moment of it. i wish i could have found the original music video but all that is out there seems to be this one. it works!
this is the first of many music memories to come. we’ll be sharing stories about songs, albums, bands and all that jazz that takes us back to that feeling, that place, that time.
for as long as i can remember, music has played in my head constantly. sometimes first thing in the morning, the day begins with a tune. other days, a full track list can be created from the songs that pop into my thought stream. i eventually started calling it my “brain radio” and posted a few on twitter with #brainradio and even kept a running playlist.
today on the ol’ brain radio, we have “save a prayer” from the wonderful, dreamyliscious duran duran. i know exactly how this got in there too, i watched the eagles of death metal performing this with duran duran in a video just the other day. it’s been on my mind all evening so let’s time travel back to 1982 and get lost.
it was a warm night and i was moving fast from the el to the show, still adjusting to night walking alone in unfamiliar territory. fresh from dallas, texas less than a year before, i was living in the heart of the loop in one of the dorms of the school of the art institute of chicago, so i wasn’t that familiar with the northside. it wasn’t my first time at the metro either, but i am kinda hilarious with directions.
i was broke most of the time back then, being an art school student and all, but i knew you could save on crazy fees if you bought tickets directly from the metro’s box office. i ended up buying two, one for each of the two chicago dates. it was my first time seeing pavement so i was super stoked, so much so that i beelined right over to the front of the stage. i had a crush on stephen malkmus and his haircut that burned with a fury. up near the front, i giddily danced and sang along and occasionally hollered for “range life” but alas, they did not play it that night. they were playing again the following evening, so i still had hope.
this is what they DID play that night (according to setlist.fm):
Cream of Gold
You Are a Light
Father to a Sister of Thought
Speak, See, Remember
Ann Don’t Cry
Spit on a Stranger
a little over three years ago, i thought about starting a music blog but that quickly became far too much to do at that time, so it was put on the back burner. now that i have the time and i am writing a lot more, it’s time to start swapping stories.
my collection of concert ticket stubs is one of the few things that has traveled with me across the country for almost twenty years; from my hometown in dallas, to chicago, to los angeles where i have lived since 2006. the collection has grown a whole bunch over the years! from time to time i find more amongst my belongings and add them to the collection. occasionally, i stop and look at a few, each time completely transported right back in that moment.
there are a few which have stories that will take me a week to write and others that can be summed up in a paragraph. this one right here, from november 1, 1993, is one with an epic tale. i considered making it my first entry but really, this ticket stub defines what this whole project is about. music. sharing stories. connecting. i am dying to find out if anyone else out there was at this show and what they could contribute to the story!
ticket stub story is about our collective live music story. were you at that show? did you see another show on the same tour? share it! this is going to be a lot of fun, and i am so thrilled to share these stories with you. i hope you enjoy reading them!