Your love is a symphony.

Friday, I headed down to Charleston for what was sure to be an epic adventure. I met up with my favorite Georgetown girl, Jessie, to see my two favorite bands, Civil Twilight and Switchfoot, play on the same stage at The Music Farm, this really awesome venue in downtown Charleston.

The fun began as I was driving down King Street, and I spotted Andrew McKellar walking down the sidewalk. Andrew is the guitarist for Civil Twilight and, therefore, awesome.

Jessie and I met up, parked in the visitors’ center parking garage and wandered around briefly. We then went back to the visitors’ center, and decided to kill a few minutes after realizing that if we moved our cars to the parking garage, we would only have to pay a flat fee of $2 for parking the rest of the evening. Just after 5 p.m., as we each drove into the parking garage, we spotted a man holding a camera standing on the sidewalk just inside the garage. Kneeling on the ground nearby was a shaggy-haired, blonde man writing with a black marker on pieces of cardboard.

The man with the camera was Andy Barron. The kneeling man was Jon Foreman.

I’m shocked Jessie and I managed to pull into the garage and find parking. I was literally jumping up and down seconds after I climbed out of my car. We rushed down to the lower level, where I high-fived Jon Foreman and Jessie chatted with Andy (friend of and photographer for Switchfoot) about his camera.

It was a beautiful moment and the show hadn’t even started yet. What followed was a delightfully simple few hours: walking up and down King Street, coffee at Starbucks, and a wonderful dinner at this tiny Italian restaurant where Jessie’s friend Luke is a waiter.

The show was magnificent, of course. Few members of the crowd knew anything about Civil Twilight, but by the time they started playing their cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop,” the crowd was totally hooked. I loved watching the reactions of people around me–I could see people texting and updating Facebook statuses about Civil Twilight, and when people began to recognize “Teardrop,” the excitement was palpable. I love this band. πŸ™‚

And Switchfoot just keeps getting better. It was my 6th time seeing them live (and my 10th seeing Civil Twilight!). One of the best moments came when Jon introduced the song “Your Love is a Song,” which is my favorite song from their latest album Hello Hurricane. He said he’d never tried to explain the inspiration for the song onstage before that night. Sadly, the video isn’t the right file type to upload to WordPress, but if decide to upload it to YouTube, I’ll be sure to post it on here later.

This isn’t a great photo, but it’s the only one I got of the whole band. Also, while it’s great to be in the middle of a crowd, it’s less great when you’re only 5’2″ and can’t actually see more than the hairstyles in front of you.

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“This is the sound of a heartbeat.”

Friday night. The Orange Peel. Switchfoot. Incredible.

My fifth Switchfoot concert was the best I’ve been to. It would have been even better had I actually been able to see the stage. Sadly, being 5’2″ means that unless I arrive at the Orange Peel several hours pre-show, I won’t see most of the stage. However, when the musice is that intense, seeing the stage didn’t matter as much. I know what they look like by now. πŸ™‚

The show was broken up into two sections. First, the band played the album Hello Hurricane from start to finish. As amazing as that album is, it’s so much more epic in a crowd of people who are screaming the lyrics and pumping their fists.

[Note: it was so intense, and I was so into it, that when I went to scream after the seventh song, “Hello Hurricane,” my scream was a hoarse cry that moved to a high-pitched squeal. I definitely lost my voice a mere 30 minutes into the show. Fortunately,Β I recovered by the end.]

After they finished “Red Eyes,” the final track from the album, Jon announced that we as an audience would choose the next song. We were all supposed to start singing the song we wanted to hear next. Eventually, the crowd would be singing the same song, and that’s how we chose. Of course, the song ended up being “Meant to Live.” It’s always a great one to hear live.

The set list for the second half of the show:

“Meant to Live”

“Stars”

“The Shadow Proves the Sunshine”

“Oh! Gravity.”

“Learning to Breathe” (my all-time favorite Switchfoot song–this is the third time I’ve heard it live)

“Twenty-Four” (a girl in the audience was celebrating her 24th birthday…fitting)

“Company Car” (from their first album The Legend of Chin. This song is so much fun live. Jon instructed the whole audience to put our arms around the person next to us and sway.)

“Dare You to Move” (a staple at any Switchfoot show)

They left the stage then, but they always do an encore. This time, it was “This is Your Life” and “Awakening,” two of my favorite songs to hear live. When Jon sings “This is Your Life,” he sings directly to the crowd. I always feel like I can conquer the world.

After the show, we headed outside in the bitter cold to hover around the tour bus. As we walked out, a group of people was singing Christmas carols to Jon Foreman. It was such a beautiful thing. Eventually, every guy from the band came out, so I met them all for the first time, took pictures with them, and they all autographed by deluxe edition of the album. I’m pretty sure it’s now my most prized possession.

Here’s me (and Candace and Jess) with the guys from Switchfoot:

Jon Foreman, of course, with me and Candace.

Tim Foreman, the bass player and Jon’s younger brother, was actually the first one we met that night.

Candace, me and Jess with Drew Shirley, the guitarist.

Us with Jerome Fontamillas, who rocks the keyboards. After Sam mentioned that I’m the biggest Switchfoot fan he knows, Jerome gave me an extra hug. It was pretty great. πŸ™‚

Chad Butler, the drummer, was the last one to come off the tour bus, but we waited around in the freezing cold long enough to meet him.

I love Switchfoot. πŸ™‚

On Being a Groupie.

Civil Twilight played a show at the Handlebar last night, which was incredible, as always.

But during the show, I realized something interesting. Civil Twilight does an excellent cover version of the Massive Attack song “Teardrop.” I’ve heard them play it three times now. I can now tell within the firstΒ  few notes from Andrew Mckellar’s guitar that they’re starting to play “Teardrop.”

I’ve seen them enough times to recognize almost immediately when they’re playing a song that isn’t even their own. Yes, I’m that awesome fangirl. πŸ™‚

#32: Actually speak to Jon Foreman.

fiction familyI love every bit of music that Jon Foreman has anything to do with. Seriously. So when I discovered that Fiction Family would be playing the Grey Eagle in Asheville–the day after my birthday, no less–I was super excited (which pretty much goes without saying, right?).

The show was wonderful. Sara Watkins (sister to Fiction Family co-founder Sean and fellow member of Nickel Creek) opened, and she did a fantastic job. And as her set neared its end, the rest of the band slowly joined her on stage–the drummer and bass player, then Sean Watkins, and finally Jon Foreman for the last song.

Side note: we sat on the far left side of the audience, about three rows back from the stage–I had a perfect view of the profiles of all the band members, and the stage was only a few feet away. Also only a few feet away? The door backstage. The door through which Jon Foreman came. The door next to which he stood (mere feet from my chair) when he wasn’t playing. πŸ™‚

Okay…back to the show…

I really love the Fiction Family album, and they’re even better live. The venue is small, which lent itself to a more informal mood and allowed Jon Foreman to talk to individual people in the crowd–not me, but some people were lucky. The music was INCREDIBLE, of course. And Fiction Family covered Jon Foreman’s “Resurrect Me,” which they have recorded, but Jon also sang two other of his solo songs–“Behind Your Eyes” and “Your Love is Strong,” which is my favorite song from the seasonal EPs. Admittedly, there were tears in my eyes. So wonderful.

After the show, we chatted with Tim and Betsy Hendrix (Tim is a huge Nickel Creek fan, so he brought Betsy mostly to hear Sara open for Fiction Family). Then I bought a FF t-shirt, of course. Then I stood with Jess, Harvin, and Chris and admittedly lost it a little bit when Jon Foreman walked into the room.

Then Jess stood in line with me as we waited to get pictures, and I actually spoke to Jon Foreman this time. Not a long conversation, and I certainly said nothing brilliant, but he shook my hand and asked my name, and I told him the show was amazing and asked for a picture. MUCH BETTER than the last time I met Jon Foreman outside the Bi-Lo Center in November 2007, when I couldn’t even open my mouth to say “Hello” or “Thank you.” Improvement was all I was really looking for. πŸ™‚

I know I’m ridiculous and fanatical. I know he’s just a musician, and I shouldn’t get so excited. But it’s Jon Foreman–the man who wrote the lyrics to most of my favorite songs, the frontman to the only band I don’t think I could live without anymore. He’s amazing, the music is incredible, and he’s a really swell guy. I’m glad I have a decent photo now, and I’m glad that I’ve improved enough not to be rendered completely speechless in his presence anymore.

And, of course, I’m glad to have marked something else off my List.

The Winter Sounds

church of the haunted southIt’s no secret my deep obsession love for my favorite bands, specifically Civil Twilight and Switchfoot. πŸ™‚ Well, my friend Michele happens to appreciate my obsession, as she is a total fangirl herself. Her band of choice? The Winter Sounds. After realizing her obsession for this band, I had a listen and liked what I heard.

But it wasn’t until I bought their new album Church of the Haunted South that I became a real fan. (Check out this excellent album review here.) First, I was thrilled by the title–at the end of the spring semester, I wrote a paper on William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor and the concept of the Christ-haunted landscape. Ironically, this album came out just before the paper was due, so The Winter Sounds serenaded me through the arduous paper-writing process.

The band played a show in Greenville about two weeks ago (to which I gladly accompanied Michele) and when she introduced me to Patrick, the lead singer, I eagerly asked him about the title of the album. The idea of a religion-haunted South is a theme of the album, and all the band members have religious backgrounds, but he’s not necessarily referencing O’Connor. Perhaps just proof of how pervasive this idea is?

Anyway, the album isn’t going to be officially released until July 7 (the same day Civil Twilight is supposed to release theirs!), but it’s available for download already. Note: the band funded this project on their own, so by paying the $10 it cost to download the album, you’re supported struggling, independent, amazing musicians. πŸ™‚

The album starts off strong with my favorite songs, “Swallowed by a Lonely Sea.” Sing a song about the ocean, and I’m hooked, and this song does not disappoint. Patrick’s vocals are astonishing–ethereal and lonely, they lend a perfectly stark tone to the beginning of the album.

The second track, “Trophy Wife,” has the potential to be one of the album’s biggest hits, I think. It’s energetic and addictive–a good summer song.

The third track, “O’Fear” had me convinced Patrick has lepruchan blood in his veins, although he’s actually just from Easley, SC. It has some of my favorite lyrics from the entire album: “Fear, o’fear, I love it when you come a-haunting me with terrible nightmares. Fear, o’fear, you ‘ve been in every shadow, counting down the hours of my long life.” The imagery! Such a great song!

Track four, “Candlelight,” is another catchy, addictive song. It gets stuck in my head, but I never mind at all. The song continues the theme from “O’Fear”: what happens when we die? We grow older, and it could happen naturally, or we could be “struck by a car on the streets of Atlanta” (much like Margaret Mitchell, if you know anything about her). No one knows for sure when or how death will come.

Speaking of Margaret Mitchell, the band pays ode to her famous character in “The Heart of Scarlett.” This song uses the most famous personification of the antebellum South to continue that haunted theme. Plus, this song might have been my favorite to hear live.

These are just some of my favorite tracks, but the entire album is just as solid–only great songs the whole way through. Totally worth the money to download it. And if you happen to hear of them playing a show near you, you should definitely be there! I don’t know why they’re not HUGE yet. How has the world not discovered how amazing this band is?

And, of course, check out their MySpace for tour dates and to hear some of their music. I’ll bet you’ll be just as eager to buy the album as I was!

Hysteria

Can I just tell you how EPIC this week has been musically? Oh. My. Gosh.

First, new music:

1. Civil Twilight announced the release date for both their new single and their new album. If you follow my blog, you’ll notice that my last post is about this very subject.

2. While they haven’t announced an exact date, Switchfoot has mentioned (On Twitter, I think. Or maybe an email. Somewhere.) that their new album will be released in August/September. Only a few months away, as well!

Second, live music:

1. Harvin and I will celebrate our birthdays by going to Charlotte the weekend between them to see The Fray live! We shall be occupying the very same venue space as Isaac Slade and his piano! It’ll be sweet.

2. The MOST EPIC: Harvin bought our tickets to see U2’s 360 Tour in October in Charlotte…which MUSE is opening for! Oh, geez… Earlier, I spent six blissful minutes spaced out in the writing center, listening to “Knights of Cydonia” and imagining what it will be like to see Muse singing it live. Oh. My. Freakin’. Gosh.

It will look something like this:

Perhaps this is why I’ve been sick this week. I’m so pumped right now. Imagine if I’d been feeling well. I’d have spontaneously combusted at this point from sheer exhilaration.

Is there a word for “beyond epic”? Because that’s totally what the next six months of my life are gonna be. πŸ™‚