Friday, May 28, 2021

Music Review //
"Remnants" //

When the song "Remnants" first begins it sounds like it's going to be a dance number.  There is all that synth enthusiasm of an artist from the 1980's/1990's such as Human League, but also there is some modern sound within here as well such as one might hear in The Killers.   But something else exists within this song which makes it pop a bit more in the punk realm.  I think a comparison to an artist such as Panic At The Disco or Fall Out Boy would seem fitting because I feel like they could make a song similar to this but not exactly like this.  The best way I can think to describe this is like if My Chemical Romance made a dance number.

The chorus of this song touches upon the title: "And how it eats away my skin / And makes my mind so paper thin / The end never will begin / Your remnants sinking in"  From there it goes onto the line "I know the reason why you stay / But baby it doesn't wash away" and in this way I feel like this song is about moving on from your past to embrace your future.  Many times, when you're in a relationship (whether it be friendship or even a job) you have these emotional scars left when you move on to the next one and maybe you don't really, truly move on.  I've always felt this harder when leaving one job for another than I have with any personal type of relationships.

On some level though this song also feels like it's about someone trying to be with someone who is getting over someone else.   This is what they sometimes call the "rebound relationship", but I feel like the singer wants to be more than just a "rebound".   Still, I like to focus on the idea of this song not from the point of view of the singer but rather the person who he is singing to as the idea of moving on from our past traumas can be healing.  And even if we don't really feel like we suffered or went through anything bad, it can still be an ordeal which we need to heal from before we can go on at peace.

Under the dark guise of a dance song come some wise words I hope everyone takes to heart.  You could put this song on in any number of situations and Afterbliss will get the party started.  My only hope is that someone out there- even if it's only one out of ten people- takes the time to actually listen to these lyrics when they're done dancing and take them to heart.  I'm not sure what a lot of songs from the 1980's/1990's which sound like this are about lyrically but this one having a message means that it should be heard.  

Music Review //
Graham Davy
"Fear" //

To me, fear is such a funny thing because at times it's just your body's way of saying that you're doing something you shouldn't be doing.  Fears of heights, for example, is rational because it's your body's way of saying "Hey, why are we up this high? What if we fall?"  But other fears are not always as rational.  I have a lot of social anxiety and so I have what could be considered fear when it comes to something as simple as talking to another person.  I dread making phone calls.  But it's something that I do because it's part of life.

And I think that's the message of this song.  You can't live a life in fear.  You have to do what makes you happy and take those chances because it's better than not doing what you want and living a life of regret.  It's better to tell the story of "I tried to start my own business and it nearly bankrupted me" than "I wish I had tried something like that when I was younger" because you never know what might happen.  Maybe your business will succeed and you'll be able to quit your day job.

Musically "Fear" sounds like The Cranberries or some sort of dreamy rock n roll.  There are guitar strums and it just feels blissed out.  At the same time, the vocals come through with a bit of bass- which plays a contrast to the guitars- and it makes me think of artists like Urge Overkill and Iggy Pop.   Perhaps if Iggy Pop slowed down in his later years and created a shoegaze type of band this is what it might sound like.   I'm just happy more musicians are creating their own sounds, their own voice, and taking those risks.

While people can be afraid of spiders or the dark, having this as a song brings out the idea of how musicians can have stage fright or just that anxiety which comes from having people hear something which you've created.  I'd be terrified to sing in front of someone.  Musicians do it all the time without thought.  So really instead of focusing on all of the things which you might think you're afraid of, you should focus on what you do that overcomes other fears and you'll realize how brave you truly are.   This song helps to highlight that and if you ever need that reassurance I suggest you look to it. 

Music Review //
"Best Days"


Hook has a sound somewhere between the "One Headlight" era of The Wallflowers and Tom Petty.  Listening to "Best Days" make me think that the song is about their best days- that they are, in fact, living their best life.  After the pandemic shut most everything down, I feel like we were all trapped inside and now we want to come back outside and live our lives to their fullest.  This is actually not what this song is directly about, but it is also kind of about it if you think about it in reverse.

The first verse of this song is about going to a party where no one was there that you liked so you go back home.   The chorus has the lines: "These are the best days of my life / I can't imagine anything worse that"   To me, that makes me think about something like college and your youth- how they're supposed to be your best days but sometimes don't end up being that great.  So this song isn't really about the "Best Days" but rather days which were thought to be good but turned out to be bad.

Through images of the artists playing and singing from just driving around in the streets this music video is in black and white/greyscale but has this red/blue tint to it which makes it feel like you could watch it with 3-D glasses on.  It's kind of funny that the video seems to be about not doing a lot- driving around and hanging out inside- but I feel like I spent a lot of my youth that way and it was rather fun.   I wasn't going out getting into too much trouble, but to have that carefree mentality again where even if you have to wake up for work the next day you didn't care and just did it anyway.

With the power of this rock song you can hopefully determine which days you thought might be great but turned out to be lackluster.  If we don't have bad days though we don't fully know how to appreciate the good days.   So, even though this song might not be directly about having the "Best Days", the idea that you can also use this song to help you pinpoint the days which you thought would be good and were good just makes it feel like in some underlying manner it could really be about the "Best Days".  If that confuses you just enjoy the song for what it is and that's a rock hit.  

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Baseball Review //
GHTBL Opening Day 2021
Hartford Colts 2, Bristol Greeners 0
South Windsor Phillies 4, Bristol Greeners 5
@ Muzzy Field, Bristol, CT

Additional photos can be found here :::

Summer is upon us as the GHTBL is back.   Things kicked off at Muzzy Field for a double header with the Bristol Greeners hosting the Hartford Colts and then the South Windsor Phillies.  While the Bristol Greeners are themselves a new team to the GHTBL they have been around before (I saw them play last season in the Nutmeg State Baseball League) but the Hartford Colts are a new team so this was not only Opening Day for them but it was their first regular season game as a team.   

The first thing I noticed upon arriving to Muzzy Field is that both of these teams are wearing black.  The Hartford Colts could have black uniforms on the road and white at home- something like that- but isn't it weird for both teams to be the same color?  It's a little confusing too.   The only time I saw the Bristol Greeners before they played at home (though not at Muzzy) and they were green.  I assumed that having the Bristol Greeners play at home with the word GREEN being in their name meant that they would be green.  I was somewhat disappointed by that.  

This first game between the Colts and Greeners really felt like a pitching duel.  Now, being that this was the first game of the season and I don't know much about the Bristol Greeners, the way the game went made me wonder whether both of these teams were really good or if they were both just in that under .500 way that if they faced a different team they'd just be blown out of the water.  It's a reasonable question but I think the second game proved that the Bristol Greeners are an above .500 team and since they felt so evenly matched here with the Hartford Colts I will predict that the Colts will do great things this season as well.

When I think of the Hartford Colts, I realize that they have a mix of players from the Ulbrich Steel (because that roster got huge), players from other teams throughout the GHTBL and then just players who are new to the league.  One name that I saw on the roster which stood out to me though was Matt Fusco, who has played for the Record-Journal Expos as long as I've been watching the GHTBL.   The funny thing is, during the only inning when any runs were scored during this game it was because of Matt Fusco.  A walk, a bunt and then a deep shot to left field gave Matt Fusco a triple and the first run of the game.  

Jonathan Pyne hit a single next and Matt Fusco showed his speed, running home and beating the throw to make the game 2-0 and that's where it would stay.   The Colts relied on the pitching of Nick Hock, who was most impressive in his debut as a Colt here, while the Greeners pitching also seemed to hold the Colts at bay a little bit.  This was just truly a pitching game where one team had to slip up and let the other score or else it would still be going on.  To be a new franchise like the Hartford Colts and win your first game has got to be a great feeling and I'm really excited for the Colts.

The second game between the Phillies and Greeners told a different story.  I was expecting that if the Phillies were a first place type of team then they should easily be able to rock the Greeners.   But the Greeners struck first and hard, though not without their own faults throughout this game.  I'd normally say that the Phillies lost because the Greeners were the better team, but I feel like even though they won there is a lot to be learned here by the Greeners going forward.  This game was a little bit of a mess.

I realize it's the first game of the season so there are more games ahead but these are the types of things which need to be worked out before the season starts.   The Greeners struck early with runners on second and third, two outs and a single up the middle scores them both.  It's the first game of the season and having two runs scored on you isn't the worst thing that can happen.  In the fourth inning there were lead off back to back doubles then the runner stole third and home on a passed ball to put the Greeners up 4-0.   With the lead, you would think that the Greeners were having their moment to shine.  This is when I started to see them fall apart.

With no outs in the fifth inning, the Phillies manage to get runners on first and third.  At this point, the starting pitcher for the Greeners issues a walk to load up the bases.   It's a 4-0 game but the tying run is now at the plate with no outs and the Greeners seem unaffected.  The Phillies hit a ball up the right side which pulls a Buckner and two score.   Greeners don't flinch.   A fly ball drops in right field and the Phillies score another run.  It's 4-3 now.  The Greeners managed to pick off the Phillies runner trying to go from second to third, but a hit up the left side drives in another run and it's a tie ball game.

Obviously you know that the Greeners would go on to win this game, but let's talk about instead how they blew a four run lead by not bringing in another pitcher.  When you have a pitcher issue a walk and that loads the bases, that could be when you want to put someone in the bullpen, get someone warming up.   Then, when two runs score and you can see your lead slowly slipping away, you should pull your starting pitcher.  But, instead, the Greeners let their starter wash away all the offense the team had put up until that point and let the game be tied when finally he came out in the fifth inning.  

What's weird for me is that this feels like it could have been prevented.  You could have held the Phillies to two runs, perhaps, if you had only changed pitchers.  As someone watching the game, the fact that they didn't was just frustrating.  But the Greeners would go on to score their fifth and final run on a sac fly which would get them the win.  The way that this happened though, that the final plays unfolded to give the Greeners the win, just feels so much like it could have just as easily happened to the Phillies and then this is a different result.  So, I hope that the Greeners take this as a victory in the record books but something to learn from overall.

Next week the action returns with three exciting games on June 2: The Phillies host the Steel, the Orioles visit the Jets and the Jewelers come to Muzzy to play the Greeners which is the game I might end up at just because I love Muzzy Field.  The league standings now also see the Hartford Colts in first place at 1-0, the Greeners in second at 1-1 and the Phillies in third at 0-1.   On June 3 the GHTBL tests my loyalty as the Expos have their first game of the season against the Steel (in Cheshire) while the Jets play the Colts in the first GHTBL game at Johnny Taylor Field.  I wish I could be in two places at once, but sadly I must make a choice.  Which game will I choose? Find out next week!

Music Review //
"Don't Go"


The first thing I think of when I hear this song and see the title for it is the Dashboard Confessional song which has the line "I never said don't go (don't go)".   It's something about wanting someone to stay who wants to leave.  Do you let them leave?  Do you feel like you're holding them back by not letting them go?  It's a situation I feel like we've all experienced in our lifetime.   In my youth when I was dating I remember thinking it better to let go instead of staying in those empty relationships so in that sense I was likely on the other side of this song, which, again, something we all have likely also felt.

There is a music video for this which just presents various images that look like they have filters and move like an old movie.  There is a silhouette of what appears to be a person but it does not come through fully.  I feel like this represents that idea of someone stuck between staying or going because even though this song is presumably asking someone not to go it is unclear as to what the decision of that person is.

With the soft voice of Vicky Sjohall you will find pianos and the occasional added vocals by Geoff Gibbson.  This song has an acoustic, relaxing feel to it like The Beatles "Hey Jude".  At the end it all comes tied together with strings but this just has that big feeling even before that- where even though the music itself can feel simple with only a piano it has that complex/orchestral type of way about it.   In its tone though, it is a sad song and so I'm not sure when you would best be listening to this song other than when you have feelings of sadness.

Though I will not say this with 100% certainty I feel like the radio has shifted away from songs like this.  You don't really hear the slow, sad songs as much any more.  I remember when Whitney Houston covered "I Will Always Love You" for "The Bodyguard" soundtrack and it seemed like it was always on the radio.  Now, unless you have a beat or guitar it feels like you won't be on the radio.  I can't think of the last time I heard a sad song like this on the radio but it would be a nice way to break up your day.  I imagine it coming on in a public place, everyone just stopping what they're doing and reflecting.  

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Baseball Review //
Silver City Banditos 7/2, Windsor HellCats 2/1
[5/23/21 @ Maloney High School, Meriden, CT]

Additional photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::

We've gone from fairly warm temperatures (in the 70s) to straight up hot here as this day was up near 90 degrees and sunny.  There were some clouds and a slight breeze though which helped keep me cool.  The first thing I noticed when I got to this game was that they put this black fence around the dugouts so when I'm on the third base side- where I usually am- the fence blocks my view of the batter.   Pretty soon all baseball will be played inside cages like UFC.   It is the only way.  

The Windsor HellCats came into this doubleheader without a win.  They wear blue and green uniforms which say "Hartford" on them, so I was confused as to whether or not this was the HellCats.  They kind of looked like the Yard Goats.   Perhaps that's one of my favorite parts of being introduced to new baseball teams: seeing how they dress.  If I was making a team called the "HellCats" you'd bet the uniforms would literally look like fire with little cat faces on them.  Something like the logo from Black Cat Fireworks with that shirt Guy Fieri is known for wearing.  If you know you know.

The biggest news going into this game was the absence of Ricky Marrero.  For most games past, Ricky Marrero has only played in one of the two for the doubleheader and that was also the game which the Banditos won.   The fact that the Banditos won both of these games without Ricky Marrero means that it is perhaps time to stop thinking he is the key to their winning and losing, but it would have been nice to see him hit some dingers.

Baseball is often thought of as being a game like chess and the object is to score runs for your team while preventing the other team from scoring runs.  In the first inning, Ray Thayer got a double in the first at bat.  J.D. Tyler was up next and he sacrificed Thayer over to third.  Then Francisco Asencio sacrificed Thayer to home to put the Banditos up 1-0.   Yes, it cost them two outs but it gave them a run and sometimes in baseball games one run can make all of the difference.  Scott Iwaniec would hit a two out double to score Justin Poirier and the Banditos would go up 2-0 early on.

The top of the third inning saw all three outs for the HellCats come by way of strike out.  The HellCats just couldn't seem to hit off of J.D. Tyler while the Banditos seemed to be having a better time hitting.  After scoring another run in the second inning, the Banditos put up four runs in the fifth inning rally to give them a 7-0 lead.   The sixth inning would see the HellCats with bases loaded but a strike out would end the inning without any runs scored.  It wasn't until the seventh inning when the HellCats managed to get two runs before the game came to an end.

After a half hour break between games, we came back to a somewhat different story in Game 2.  While the Banditos went up and stayed up for all of Game 1, they had the first run scored against them in the first inning of the second game.  The HellCats were up 1-0 through three innings with Scott Iwaniec pitching a complete game for the Banditos.  I had to get up and stretch so I walked into the outfield and then the Banditos hit a shot to center field which was dropped by the HellCats CFer.   This allowed two runs to score and the Banditos went up 2-1, which is where the score would stay.

Between being up 1-0 and being down 2-1, this game was still exciting for both the HellCats and Banditos because it always felt like at a moments notice someone could score a run or two and change the entire game.   It was that close, edge of your seat type of suspense that I love about baseball.   And the game would perhaps come down to one play on the third base side before all was said and done.

There was a throw to third which went past Justin Poirier but Scott Iwaniec was there to field it.   Now, the HellCats player who hit the ball stayed at first.  So, from my vantage point- being right near the third base side- I should have had the best view of this.  However, when the ball was thrown to third and went past the base I assumed that the runner would simply be on his way home so my eyes shifted to the runner at first, watching for him to go to second.   I assumed that the ball would be recovered and thrown to second so that was where the play was going to be- so that's where my focus went.

Now the HellCats team claimed that the throw went over the line and out of play which should be an automatic double (I believe) which probably would have sent the runner on third home as well and that could have tied the game.  The funny thing is, if that ball did go past the line it either died in the grass or was possibly stopped by that new fence Maloney put in as well.  It is possible that Scott Iwaniec got to the ball before it went out of play but I'm not entirely certain either way because I was watching second base while all this was happening under my nose.  I believe the homeplate umpire who made the call was also watching second- he seemed to say that to the HellCats- but isn't that why there are two umpires?

Next week the Banditos hit the road as they make their way to Southington then there is a four week straight home stretch at Maloney.   Right now, the Banditos sit a half game behind the New Haven Cardinals and that puts them in third place overall.  The first place team, however, is the Marlborough A's, who still only have one loss which was to the Banditos.   So if this comes down to the Banditos vs the A's in the post season it's going to be a very good game to watch.   We're only five doubleheaders into the season but it's all shaping up nicely and is certainly exciting.  

Live Wrestling Review //
Global Syndicate Wrestling
@ Knights Of Columbus, Ridgefield Park, NJ

A short while before Global Syndicate Wrestling held their first show- Inception- I saw a poster for it on Instagram.  This made me order the PPV but then after watching it my thought was that if they come back to New Jersey at a time when I can see them I will do so.  I will say this any time anyone mentions this show but the women's tournament really sold me on this show.  Four matches and eight of the best wrestlers in the world today.   We were just at this Knights Of Columbus two weeks prior for Pro Wrestling Magic and so it felt nice to be back.

The way the directions send us we drive by the Knights Of Columbus before we can find street parking so we saw people still waiting outside.  This had us go to the nearby 7-Eleven to use their bathroom.  Quentin also got a hot dog and a plush Spongebob.  They have this Pop Vinyl Slushie I saw on Twitter but it wasn't at 7-Eleven.  As we're leaving 7-Eleven, a vehicle comes in and I see Hammerstone himself get out and walk across the parking lot.  I roll down my window and yell "HAMMERSTONE!" and he gives me the peace sign.   

Once we found parking and made it back to the venue we were able to go right in.  They gave us these cool lanyards that have a VIP pass looking deal on it and I think that's a nice touch that more wrestling promotions should consider doing.  Just from the perspective of a promotion, if you have a fan who is posting selfies on social media during the show or photos with the wrestlers then that lanyard is there like a little advertisement and reminder of what show it is.  I think it's neat as a collector and as memorabilia but from a business stand point it's also great marketing.

This show was pretty bonkers.  Traxx came out first and no one knew who he was.  Then Smiley came out and was playing the good guy so he got cheers.  I've seen Smiley in Pro Wrestling Magic and Invictus and both times he's played the heel, but I like him-- I like his character and all.   So I was glad that during this match I was able to not only see Smiley as a surprise but also cheer for him.   Jared Silberkleit getting spiked by Smiley was also the first huge pop of the night from the crowd.

What I liked about Catalyst- and this just made sense to do- was that they had a women's tournament match, then a non-tournament match and they just alternated them throughout the night.  We had no idea who was coming out other than the first match because that news broke on Twitter earlier.   When Allysin Kay got into the ring and the ref asked "Are you ready?" Allysin Kay responded with "No, I'm putting my jacket up" (something to that effect) and Quentin started laughing.   He said that was his favorite part of the show so far and that had him watching the match carefully, instantly becoming a fan of Allysin Kay.

After the match and win by Allysin Kay, The Hyan was attacked by Masha Slamovich.  There was this one guy in a GSW shirt and I swear he works for the promotion but he kept walking back and forth in front of me because I was cheering for Masha and clapping.   I get it.  Masha Slamovich is supposed to be a heel.  But at the same time, GSW didn't put her in their women's tournament, so she has every right to be upset.  Also, when she said she was going to show up and cause trouble rather than book a match GSW banned her from the building.   As a fan, I wanted to see her wrestle so wouldn't that make the GSW more of a heel authority?

But then you get into the grey area of professional wrestling.  This is what I love about professional wrestling right now and what GSW specifically is doing.  Fans can say that Masha Slamovich didn't go about this the right way, that she should have played by the rules and they can boo her.  Or they can see it like I do.  And, to me, things in life aren't always black and white, good and bad, face and heel, you know?  So why should wrestling have to be face and heel?  Why can't you be presented with a story such as Masha Slamovich vs. GSW and be allowed to pick your own side, since I feel like both sides are somewhat justified.   It's just nice to see something not feel so one dimensional though, don't get me wrong I also love when wrestling is one dimensional and it's easy to boo a heel. (More on that later)

In a four way match to crown the first ever GSW Dream Openweight Champion, Wrecking Ball Legursky defeated Donovan, Richard Holliday and Tyson Maddux.   There was a match to get into this match which Wrecking Ball won.  I thought that if Wrecking Ball didn't win that match then maybe he could challenge Jacob Fatu and earn an MLW Title shot, but him getting into this match and winning this title seems like a better plan now that it's played out.   You cannot deny how over Wrecking Ball is with the crowd and I hope this title just pushes him to that next level where everyone sees him the same way that these Northeast crowds see him.  

I'm never sure how things come across on television versus when you're there live but at the start of the Vicious Vicki-Holidead match a rowdy fan yelled something about how Vicki was going to kill Holidead to which Holidead replied and told that fan to stop drinking, which got a pop from the crowd.   These two had a great match and I just think and wish that Holidead won.  Apparently Vicki's finisher is a roll up because it's the only move I've seen her use to win when she doesn't cheat, but it's still kind of cheap.

I was counting matches in my head, realizing we were at about the halfway point of the show, and so my mind went to "Well, when intermission hits everyone is going to run to the bathroom so let's go now and beat the line!"   Quentin had to go too so it worked out.  We actually the entire tag team match right before intermission though.   When I got home some time on Sunday I saw this tweet going around about how you're not supposed to take photos of yourself (as a wrestler) with a rival or with fans at a restaurant or whatever.   Just basically someone out of touch with wrestling in the year 2021.

So, to somewhat upset this person who tweeted (doubt they'll see it) and just break kayfabe because why not I saw Masha Slamovich in the hallway near the exit.  I kind of waved to her and then asked "Am I allowed to talk to you?" because I knew she was banned so I didn't know what the rules were.  But, alas, I stood there in conversation with her until intermission.  And to break kayfabe one step further (oops) she mentioned something about if she should sell merch during intermission and I said "You have merch? You should sell me merch right now!" and so she did.  

It's kind of funny because if I found out that someone was able to buy Masha Slamovich merch and I missed out because she didn't set up at a table during intermission I would be upset.  But since I feel like she sold merch only to me on this night it makes me feel special because she is my favorite wrestler currently as I just enjoy seeing her everywhere she goes and brings her particular brand of violence and mayhem.

During intermission the first wrestler we made our way toward was Allysin Kay.  Allysin Kay has a foam hand with Pinkies Up and as soon as Quentin saw it he said he had to have it so that solved the question of what merch to buy from her.  We took a picture and then every photo after that also had the foam Pinkies Up hand in it, which is kind of funny because if we went to Allysin Kay last that wouldn't have happened.

When we went to see Holidead there was the fan from earlier over there talking to her again, just seeming like he wanted to start shit.  Holidead said she was going to chop him and I said I'd pay $10 to see that.  The fan said he'd only do it for 20% and that just seemed like his way of admitting he was scared and no matter what the price was I don't think he was really going to let it happen, which was unfortunate because he was fairly annoying.  I bought a new Holidead shirt though and now I have two different shirts for her, something I can't really say about a lot of other wrestlers.

I need to say this now at this point.  If you're a wrestler and you don't sell merch or come out with the fans, it's cool.  I respect it.  You do you.  But the fact that Allysin Kay and Holidead were out there the whole time from intermission on, selling merch and taking pictures just feels like what it's all about.  I mean, you make x amount of money as a wrestler for your booking, right.  But you can bring in more than that by also selling the merch.  On top of that, you take a picture with a fan and someone on Twitter sees it and says "Hey, this fan met Holidead at that show, I'm going to go to the show near me that she's on so I can meet Holidead too!"  It just feels like win-win all around.  But with COVID-19 and fans being creepy I can understand why someone might not set up merch just the same.

I went over to talk with Wrecking Ball Legursky and then Smiley was near him so I was kind of talking with Smiley too.  Quentin had the Pinkies Up foam hand and Smiley stole it from him so they were kind of playing together while I was talking with Wrecking Ball, which I thought was funny.  One day, Quentin will take that photo with Smiley but they were coming back from intermission so they made us all move.  We bought a Wrecking Ball shirt though, as Quentin fits into an adult size small now apparently, and also took a photo with him because Quentin likes holding the championships and Wrecking Ball is for the kids.

Back from intermission and we started hot with Deonna Purrazzo vs Jordan Blade.  I love how much I've seen Jordan Blade in such a short period of time and she's one of those wrestlers that I think when people see her style and what she brings inside that ring they're just going to fall in love with her too.  Deonna Purrazzo got the win here but it was such a great submission-based wrestling match.  Even in defeat, Jordan Blade looked good.

Jacob Fatu came out next and he didn't have an opponent.  This made me remember that before intermission, Davey Richards also came out and basically set up an open challenge for the next show.  Prior to the show starting, Davey Richards walked right past me and I said "Welcome back, Davey!" and he fist bumped me and said "Thanks".    That's a moment no one can ever take away from me.

I had my ideas about who could answer the open challenge of sorts by Jacob Fatu but I didn't think Matt Cross was going to be the one.   This was that hard-hitting of Jacob Fatu and the dude is big but just moves like poetry.  It's crazy to see live because it just doesn't seem real.  For real, after the show I bought an 8x10 and took a photo with Jacob Fatu and told him of all the World Champions, all those champions, he is my favorite and he is the best.   I just don't see any of them being able to do what he does and for how long he has done it for.  Jacob Fatu is just something special and if you're not watching him yet now is the best time to tap in.

In the final match in the first round of the women's tournament Trish Adora defeated Kimber Lee.  This was a match where I felt like they were just beating the hell out of each other.  What I want to say about this match applies to really all of the matches in the tournament.  Sometimes, with tournaments, you feel like the first round matches are kind of lighter and they don't go as hard for whatever, they kind of build up to the finals.  But all eight of these women were fighting like it was the finals.  This is the way it should be because if you lose you're out but just the intensity of the four first round matches was on another level and it makes extremely hyped up for the next round.

The main event saw Hammerstone successfully defend the title against Chris Dickinson in a hard fought match up.   The crowd seemed to be on the side of Chris Dickinson and this was one of my favorite Hammerstone matches to date.  After the match, Hammerstone was attacked by Big Trouble Ben, Man Crush Monday and Steve Maclin.   So there was an autograph signing earlier in the day which had both Deonna Purrazzo and Steve Maclin on it.  I thought this could mean Steve Maclin coming out to face Jacob Fatu, but him going straight for the champ also seems like it could be interesting.

I know when someone is released from WWE the fans are either "Well, he sucked anyway" and they get upset when they seem them pop up in other promotions or they feel like "Such a waste of talent they're going to be huge in AEW", but there seems to be no in between.   I feel like Steve Maclin is someone who was wasted by WWE.  They could have put him in any number of roles that they didn't and tried to see if it was sink or swim.  What I liked about Steve Maclin the first time I heard about him in NXT is that he's a veteran.  WWE has their whole "Tribute To The Troops" deal, I mean, what better way to support the troops then give a veteran a shot.

I'm not really sure how the rest of the internet feels and I don't really care.  Not reading dirt sheets keeps me happy and avoiding negativity on Twitter also keeps me healthy.  But I'm actually really excited to see what Steve Maclin does not just in GSW but in wrestling in general now.   This is his time to put up or shut up and I think he's going to show a lot of people that he has what it takes and WWE made a mistake by releasing him.  I don't often say that about WWE releases because I tend not to care about WWE, but I think Steve Maclin is going to be one of those names you hear this summer in just such a huge way.

What I love about professional wrestling right now is that you can go see a promotion like Global Syndicate Wrestling and have a different experience than if you see Pro Wrestling Magic or WWR+/Beyond or Invictus or Blitzkrieg! Pro.   There are a lot of great wrestlers out there right now and I don't mind seeing them in different match ups (you'll notice the same names coming up in a lot of my live reviews and that's on purpose)  To me, GSW has that feeling of highlighting names people outside of the Northeast might not know but also bringing in the big names like Jacob Fatu.  That just makes it such a great time to be a wrestling fan.  

Friday, May 21, 2021

Music Review //
Fritz Michel
"Look Out (Botticelli Girl)"

The music style of Fritz Michel can be described as singer/songwriter in the sense that this song feels largely like a voice and an acoustic guitar.  There is a calm to it, a folk feeling, and it makes me think of when songs like "Cats In The Cradle" by Harry Chapin were the norm for how rock music would sound.   There are, of course, other artists from that time and even modern artists who could fit into similar criteria but I just feel like each artist- such as Fritz Michel- brings their own voice to it.

When this song begins, it describes Christmas time and so it has that weird aspect to it where it isn't quite a Christmas song but it kind of is.   I'm always so reserved when it comes to music for the holidays because I prefer music which you can play all year round versus music only played during certain months, but then that becomes a whole other debate.  The thing is, even though this song does mention the holidays in the first verse and has a little bit of that holiday spirit to it, I wouldn't classify it as such and it can be listened to and enjoyed all year round.

Lyrically this paints a picture of a chance encounter with someone who is only known as "Botticelli Girl".  The idea that Botticelli was known for depictions of classical myths and legends just makes this song that much more important.  In all of our daily lives, if we venture outside, we're likely to share some kind of moment with someone.  This song isn't really about a casual encounter though, but more of a meaningful one- perhaps even a once in a lifetime one- and if you've ever had one before you'll certainly know it and can relate it with this song.  

This is a song which I could hear on the radio and begin singing along with because the chorus does say the title.  Eventually, if enough people heard this, it could have that summer vibe to it and be a mainstream hit just because in some other universe this is a similar song to "Cool For The Summer" by Demi Lovato, but just in essence.  There also aren't really a lot of acoustic songs which sound this way out there right now and so I fully do believe that the world could use this good energy.  

Music Review //
Porter Block
"I Don't Want To Wait"

Porter Block has created a catchy rock song which feels like something out of the 1990's but with a modern twist.   In a time when names like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty were taking over the radio and MTV, I could see this video and song fitting in perfectly.  But there is a slight modern twist to this song where it has that "Into The Ocean" by Blue October feel.   It really is just such a song that can be played within what are now considered to be classics but also within the current rotation of popular music.

This video goes back and forth between Porter Black sitting in a chair and playing with a band.  At one point, I see someone digging through records with a low price on them and I am reminded of the past, of a time when my dad used to talk about how inexpensive records were.   Time is a funny thing because you can remember it- there are little clues and memories out there so you know it happened- but you can't go back to it.   And even with the nostalgic feel of this song, that message still seems to be there: that you can't turn back the clock.

On some related-but-not-the-same level this song reminds me of S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M.'s "It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day", which might also just be due to the fact that they both repeat the title as the hook.   I think it is important to have that sort of mantra for this song- "I Don't Want To Wait"- because as life is passing you by, do you really want to feel like your time is being wasted? We only have one go around and so I feel like every moment should count.  Yes, there are things you sometimes have to do that maybe you don't want to, but if it's for the greater good than do it (like waiting in traffic to get somewhere you want to go)

Without getting into a whole thing about it, one of my personal philosophies has always been to help build things up rather than tear them down.  It takes as much effort for me to create  a negative review of something as it does for me to create a positive review for one.  So, if I don't like a certain album, I don't feel the need to post about it because it doesn't really help anyone.  And it's in that way that we are reminded that maybe things like posting counterpoints on Twitter just to be a troll is a waste of time and when you look back, years from now, you're just going to see so many wasted days.  But I'm not waiting any more.  I feel like in some ways I've waited for too long.  Let this song open your eyes so you can start living now.  

Music Review //
Will Jackson
"Songs From the Briarpatch"

Based upon the first name plus last name for the artist and the title I thought this one would be more like Jack Johnson in the way that it could feel softer and more intimate.   "Songs From the Briarpatch", however, has the sound of a full on band and it makes me feel like it hits on several key influences while yet still creating a sound all its own.  It's not quite grassroots or a jam band or genres along those lines, but this is the closest I will get to listening to that type of music.

Bands like The Rad Trads, Wallflowers and Counting Crows can be heard within these songs.  They have guitars, organ keys and as Will Jackson himself sings this is the "Beach Bum Blues", which I kind of like.   With acoustics and melodies this album makes me think of folk, Americana and a little bit of country.   It's just that type of music which really drives home the heart of America.

On "Drinking My Way Home", Will Jackson confesses that love isn't what will break your heart but rather "It's after love that's so much worse".  So many artists tend to sing about how they are upset or hurt by love, but really it isn't love but as Will Jackson says what comes after.  It's post-love.  It's having love, feeling it, and then not having it anymore.   More people need to talk about that.

"Polaroid Parade" is a song full of strings and acoustics, a sort of ballad for Bourbon Street.  There is a nice drive on "Gonna Get Me Killed" and a wild guitar break down to end it.  For whatever reason, the song "Won't See Me In Heaven" reminds me of something- lyrically- that Billy Joel might write.   During "Walking On Fire" there is that dreamy Chris Issak vibe and throughout this album Will Jackson just seems to touch on all the right bases.

By the end you're listening to "Caroline Calls" and there is just that Southern sort of fun way about it which makes it feel like a summer party- like that one song everyone knows by Uncle Kracker.   And really whether it's a roadtrip or a day at the beach, "Songs From the Briarpatch" is an album you should put on, play it a little loud and relax.   It's not so much a sound as it is a mood and that mood is good vibes.  

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Cassette Review //
Jaap Blonk
"Joyous Junctures"
(Eh? Records)

$10 // // //

This cassette begins right away with vocals.   This isn't your typical type of singing though as the sounds being made aren't always words but are rather sounds.  In a large way, I like to think of this how comic books can have various sounds present but they are always for actions rather than words.   Or, if you're older, it can be like the original Batman series with Adam West and how they always put up graphics with sounds on them as well.   There are minimal electronics behind this as well, at least to start.

The electronics begin expanding and really just taking over before the vocals come back as more of a whisper.    While the music begins to just sort of vibe, the vocals come through like that of a language I do not understand.  It's not just that the sound is created in a way which makes me think of actions but it's also sometimes like a word but just not a word I've heard before.  So there is this sort of alien language feeling to this cassette as well.  It could be a matter of creating your own language, but it also does still sound like a Batman fight.

A piano comes in with the trill now and this one feels a bit more classical.  I'm thinking about how some musicians incorporate the sound of their voice plus an acoustic guitar.  It reminds me of that but only because it is this voice- which might have just said "buckle" or might also be speaking backwards- with the electronics.  I would not want to be the one putting the words onto the screen if this was on television in a closed caption setting.   With the electronics fading, the voice becomes darker, evil, as if it is a warlock casting a spell upon us.   This also feels like a nod to Gollum, which makes me think of "Lord of the Rings" vibes all over.

We trill now, like the rolling of a glass bottle.   A different voice comes in now, possibly speaking a language I just do not understand and it also sounds like it could be a computer voice such as Siri but not quite Siri.  Now I'm wondering if anyone has ever made music and just used Siri as their vocalist.   Clangs come through and make me think of a guitar being plucked, somewhat like Primus but a little bit more violent.   The voices definitely are talking about "stew" and sometimes say just random letters (I heard a J)   That guitar sound is really just blasting away in here as well.

Singing comes through now more like a moan and it makes me think about how this could some sort of holy hymn type of song more than anything else.   A slow electronic rattle is behind this and if it was in a church setting it'd make sense.   The vocals come through more like speaking now and it sounds like words are being said, like "Follow unto me", but I just don't fully understand them.  I definitely heard "lover" and "never again" but I can't seem to piece together any lyrics otherwise.   I also feel like I just heard "I'll hurt some know this may be for" and then I'm not sure.  

Louder, sharper electronics now, hit like laser blasts but have a different feel to them.  This is a slow, step by step electronic song but it is so good.    Deeper bass synths come in as well and this one is just that alien feeling but also something which relaxes me even with the sharp edges.  A motor drive turns into a burst of sharp static and the vocals seem to be making strange sounds over this, like an explosion of the distorted electronics and mouth.   To some extent, these vocals also sound like Donald Duck.  

It sounds like the radio station is being changed and then I feel like drum sticks are hitting each other before it is the ringing like a phone.  It feels like there is a lot of beeping now, something monster screaming from the trash and then just this overall sense of destruction and trouble.   This takes us into an organ number which almost begins to feel like a sea shanty.   The sound is of broken guitars being strum now.   The vocals begin to sound as if someone is choking, as the electronics swirl around like droids.  The vocals also just sound terrified.  It's really just become this electronic swirl now.  The vocals have faded.  The electronics also eventually fade, as a rocket becomes quieter while it shoots into space.

On the flip side we open up with the pleasant ringing of glass tones.   The vocals- though they still don't quite make words- remind me of some artists I've heard but don't always remember by name.  Xiu Xiu comes to mind right away.  I think he just said "how I wish her clothes fall apart" but I can't be sure.   The frequencies whirr and change.   The vocals come through like a whisper but in an angry way as the electronics revert back to droids like R2D2 once again.   I hear car horns now as well.  

Deep bass expands like footsteps now.  Words feel like they are being spoken by a computer but they also feel like they are typed up as not words.   It does sound like they are talking about June.   It's that deep creaking now, like a haunted basement, and I like how it feels like random not-really-words are just being typed up by the artist and read by the computers.  This takes us into a song which has more pleasant melodies and feels like it could almost be a dreamy island number.   A quiet rattle and hum as this sounds like nature, being in the woods with bugs and such at night time.  

It feels almost as if the vocals are glitching as the jungle noises make me think we are on some kind of wild ride.  Notes come in one by one now and it has a spaced out rock way about it.   The vocals feel haunted like a ghost and I know they said "gaga" as the pianos play all the keys.   "I'll hatch you a lovely" and then I'm not sure what the next words are.   There is that feeling once again of radio stations being tuned and at that same time I feel like the vocals are scrambled.  I also feel like at times I hear "Go, Chaka, go!" which makes me think of the "Land of the Lost" movie.  

A strum now, like an old acoustic western song.  A very robotic computer voice comes on to say something.  This turns into footsteps and an engine warming up.   Quieter now, but the frequency changes like Pole Position.  A sharpness and then it feels like metal rattling.  And then I feel like everything just accelerates and blasts off into space.   There is a little bit of a melody to the vocals, though I still cannot make out a word, as this one seems to just fade into the galaxy, electronics and vocals all the way.  

Music Review //
Mara Gibson
"Galatea's Dream & Escher Keys"


While I'm not completely certain I'm willing to make the claim that one of the first artists I ever saw the art of was M.C. Escher.   I feel like we all- in our youth at some point- see a piece by M.C. Escher and just kind of feel like it's magic; it changes our lives.  I know other art exists out there, especially when you're younger, but Escher is that first one that really makes you think of it as art and wonder how it's done.   So, to experience this performance while having it based around M.C. Escher is just one of my favorite things.

The way in which you would describe what you are about to experience is complicated.  It's a video on YouTube, yes, but it's not quite a "music video" in the sense that you wouldn't find it on MTV.  It's just over an hour long and so it does feel more like a concert performance in that sense, but then it also isn't quite under the concert vibe either.  The only way I can easily describe this- which seems like an easy way out- is to call it performance art.   It's not quite a play and it's not quite a concert but it's on a stage and it's something I would be into going to see in person one day.

With the way everything has shut down since the pandemic I definitely feel like this video is important because it reminds us of what great art exists out there that we're missing.  Every year, like clockwork, my dad, Quentin, my uncle and I go to a park in New Haven to see Shakespeare.  We didn't get to do that last year.  It's just those little things you might forget about but they're important still and need to be celebrated.  This video does a great job of reminding us all, "Hey, I want to get back to experiencing that in person again one day" and I feel like we are slowly getting there.

The way in which I have the artist listed for this review as Mara Gibson feels like an understatement.  Mara Gibson is the composer, but you'll hear the voice of the super-talented Megan Ihnen.   You'll hear poetry being read which was written by Hannah Ensor and Rebecca Morgan Frank.   You'll hear Kimberly Sparr play the viola and add her voice in at times, Darrel Hale plays the bassoon and Alan Theisen plays the saxophone.   This is all, also, directed by Rachel M. Harris.  

Megan Ihnen moves across the stage for three different parts of these songs.   In the middle, Megan Ihnen is accompanied by Kimberly Sparr who plays the viola and adds in a word or two, maybe just a breath.   As she moves to our right she is accompanied by Darrel Hale on the bassoon and on our left Alan Theisen on saxophone.  It's interesting that each of these instruments accompany her one at a time rather than together.   It is also worth noticing how Megan Ihnen moves not just across the stage but during this performance in general, as it has a lot to do with what is being said and played.

While Megan Ihnen has the voice of an angel which can just be heard in such a huge way, with such operatic feels, there are also times when the words come out spoken.  But they aren't always spoken in the way which you would speak to someone else in conversation.  The pronunciation and delivery of them can be non-traditional and that really enhances everything else going on around the words.  "I probably peaked at twenty two" is one of my favorite lines from the first part of this.  

This is a performance in two parts- "Galatea's Dream" and "Escher Keys"- and as such there is an intermission which features a beautiful piano piece.   This makes the whole experience feel even more like a show you would go out and see after dinner.  

After intermission we come into "Escher Keys" and this is played by a full orchestra- The Three Words Chamber Orchestra.   It is certainly interesting to see them all masked up and yet still playing their instruments- especially the flute.    There is an urgency to this sound, a suspense like a Hitchcock film.  In contrast to the first part of this video, this just does feel like watching a concert of classical music.   This is the type of piece which you can watch being played live and feel like you are at a concert but also just put on the audio in your car while driving.  

At the end of the video, after the performances, there are brief interviews with orchestra members and they feel like a cool behind the scenes DVD bonus feature.  Ultimately, it would be nice to get back out into the world and be able to experience music such as this again.  To see it live, where it's what one of those "You had to be there" vibes is the best.  But with the pandemic, and just because of how special this all is, I do enjoy that this is all included in a video on YouTube for anyone, anywhere with access to enjoy. 

Music Review //

When first listening to the K4LT album "Endgame" you might get the impression that it is rock and you might get the impression that it is electronic but the beauty within it lies in the fact that it is both.   Back in the 1990's when bands like Stabbing Westward and Gravity Kills existed more on the radio there was always this "Resident Evil" vibe where it felt like the electronic beats of one artist wanted to merge with the distorted guitars of a rock band.   K4LT has found a way to bring both of these ideas together.

Right away, I hear the darkness in these songs.  Through distorted electronics come beats which remind me of Tony Njoku and WHY?.   "Loading Screen..." starts off a bit like Pink Floyd but then these nice vocals come in with guitar strums and beats.  It's a definite combination of sounds but what two elements you hear to create this is up to you.  Before the end of the second song, it kicks in heavily distorted like Velvet Revolver or perhaps Deftones.   Electro-bliss comes out on "Ahead // back" while there are notes in a pattern with distortion and perhaps the sound of guns or a car starting on "Fugae".

"Fugae" is also one of the more interesting songs on here because it is instrumental but it creates such a mood.  It speaks perhaps more than any of the other songs and that is without words.   As it grows darker, with distortion, it reminds me of Bush but specifically how they sounded on "Razorblade Suitcase".  And that just brings me back to that idea of a band like Bush- back in 1997 or so- creating an album with more beats and synths in it to create an electronic rock sound.   That is what it feels like, to some extent, K4LT is doing here.

This all ends with a song called "Extinction Aphelion" which has singing, somewhat like Panic! At The Disco and then also beats and synths.  It's one of the best ways for this album to end because it's just such a great way to bring all of the previous elements together.   The singing has soul and reminds me a bit of the Sonic Youth song "Superstar".   It just has that way about it- where it creates a mood- and the way that this whole album can just make rock and electronic music fuse together so perfectly is something everyone should hear.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Baseball Review // Silver City Banditos 12, Meriden FIghting Irish 1 [5/16/21 @ Ceppa Field, Meriden, CT]

Additional photos can be found here :::

One of the things that I don't love about living in Connecticut is how fickle the weather is.  I have this weather app on my phone and from Monday until Sunday what the weather could hold for Sunday will change seemingly a hundred times.  (Is it like this everywhere?)  There were threats of thunderstorms at one point and then a day later Sunday would just look sunny and warm.  So it really is a lot of waiting until that day to see what actually happens outside.  But I'll save the drama and skip right now to say that the second game was suspended as first lightning was seen then the thunder came.  When I left it had begun raining but I never really saw a heavy rain- it was mostly just the threat of lightning which got the game paused.  

When the Banditos first moved to the CNMSBL the first thing I did was check the site to see who the other teams were and if there was anyone on them that I knew.  At the time, the Meriden Fighting Irish were simply known as "Meriden" and they didn't have a roster up but I thought "Oh, two Meriden teams, cool".    My uncle doesn't always like to travel so I figured too if the Banditos were on the road he could catch the game at Ceppa and be happy.  After a few weeks, the Meriden Fighting Irish were updated with their name and then the roster came in.  The one name which obviously stood out to me on this team is Charlie Hesseltine, who can also be seen on the Record-Journal Expos.   

As someone who somehow got into local baseball recently, I have followed two teams because they are both from Meriden: The Record-Journal Expos and the Silver City Banditos.  The Expos have been known for the pitching of Charlie Hesseltine while the Banditos have been known for the pitching of J.D. Tyler.  I didn't know what circumstances could bring these two pitchers together but the CNMSBL answered that for me and my uncle and I got to see somewhat of a Meriden pitching dream match up during this Battle of Meriden game.

The story of this game was J.D. Tyler being fairly unhittable for the Fighting Irish while Charlie Hesseltine was either putting up the K's or allowing runs.  The Banditos put up two runs right away in the first inning but then in the second inning, there were two strike outs before a ground out.  It seemed as if Charlie Hesseltine was finding his groove, as the third inning ended with a strike out as well.  In the fourth inning the Banditos managed to score from second on a passed ball that the Fighting Irish catcher just couldn't seem to find and that would account for a five run inning.  

It was tough because it felt like when Charlie was on, he was on but when he was off it was costly.   The only Fighting Irish run of the game came from an RBI up the first base side by Charlie Hesseltine as well.   The Fighting Irish, for all of Charlie's efforts, just couldn't seem to get a hit off of J.D. Tyler who had multiple innings of multiple strike outs, including the bottom of the fifth which all three outs were Ks.  

In the fifth inning the Banditos put up two more runs with a double by Ricky Marrero.  The seventh would see three more runs and seal the fate of the Fighting Irish.  We made it into the bottom of the third inning before the first lightning was seen.  The Fighting Irish were up 4-0 at the time as well, so this could potentially be the first win for the team.   I'm not sure when/how it gets picked back up but I do hope it is finished eventually since it is two Meriden teams they can obviously do it in Meriden.

What was interesting about this game was the weather, as well.  It was hot at one point where I put sunscreen on.  Then the clouds moved in with a breeze and it got cooler.   If it wasn't for the storm the second game could have been played in such perfect weather.   Also, right away in the first inning- as the second batter- J.D. Tyler hit a shot right near me that I was unprepared for but luckily didn't come that close to getting me.   That was the closest a ball has ever come to me over there I think and it was hit hard.  

The Banditos go through a home stretch which will take them through June, aside from an away game in Southington (which is really not that far) and so it will be interesting to see the few teams we haven't seen them play yet plus the other teams such as the A's are going to be coming to Maloney.    It's going to be a great summer for baseball and especially for Sundays in Meriden.  

Cassette Review //
Bad Trips
"From Beyond"
(Solid Melts)

$7 //

Edition of 20 // //

This cassette from Bad Trips begins with these ominous sounds which fade in and out like an organ with lasers just blasting through them.   I hear what sounds like footsteps and it feels as if we are running.   I imagine a video game version of a 1970's sci-fi film with an added measure of horror and this is something I'd be interested in seeing as an accompanying visual.  This is intense.  It's suspense.  It's the type of music you listen to while sitting on the edge of your seat.  Tones cut through now like a helicopter and I just think about how much this feels like one of those suspenseful scary films like "The Fog".   

You might be trying to escape, but it might not happen.  Beeps and bloops, frequency changes, this has all the makings of someone not trying to fight back and win but rather just survive.  It can be somewhat like "The Purge" in that sense where it's not always kill or be killed but sometimes you just gotta make it through the night.   A beeping now comes in like an alarm and I feel like our location has been given away and whatever terror lurks within this music is about to find us.   Synths just become electric like a force field is around us and I think, at least for now, we are safe.  

All of the synths, all of the lasers and frequencies- everything about this song just becomes dumped into a sea of distortion.  It floats through for a bit.  Shots fired into space.   The calm now, after the storm, and I hear a bird which I can never tell if it is at the end of this first side or just always following me by my side.

On the flip side we open up with this slow drive like "Pole Position" or "Knight Rider" and it's just that perfect driving vibe.  Static bursts come in now.  A door is open.   There are back and forth synth-like tones, that constant drive fading to the background and then this banging feeling like we're in a boiler room being held captive while distorted blasts come in and make me feel like the situation is getting worse- like the color scheme goes from black and white to red.   Beeps take on frequencies like droids now and the distortion is getting heavier.  It still feels like we're in that opening scene of "Saw" though.

A bass line comes through now, like a dreamy song of the 1960's rock n roll era.   Guitar chords strum along while the distortion hits the same as on the song before this.   It feels like we could have that Buddy Holly or Elvis Presley "Blue Hawaii" vibe going on, but the way the static cuts through just makes it sound different as well.  There was a time- and I know people might find this hard to believe- when radios used antennae which would basically cause static when it got windy or other weather happened.   This static though isn't distorting the music of the bass and guitar- it does need to be noted that it is standing on its own with them.

We twist and turn through this twee-pop type of bass line and it still feels like we're on another planet during one of those 1970's sci-fi films but this time maybe we have Elvis Presley there instead.  It's kind of funny that (as far as I know) for all of his singing and acting we never really got an Elvis Presley sci-fi film, like "Elvis Conquers The Martians" or whatever.  That would have been a huge hit I think.  I wonder why they never did that.  I wonder why they just waited until he was older to sneak him into "Home Alone".   Why not sneak him into "Independence Day" or something?

The bass line just sort of fades out at the end of this cassette and it's crazy how much it can make me think of a band like Porno For Pyros rather than what the rest of the song might suggest it should be filed under.  But there is a calm to this, by the end, and I hope that even if the first side left you feeling terrified, the second helped to calm your nerves a bit.  "From Beyond" is just such a great representation though of how you can't have one without the other- how can you know how to relax if you've never been scared?

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Live Wrestling Review //
Beyond Wrestling / WWR+
Let's Talk About Wrestling
@ White Eagle, Worcester, MA


As soon as I found out about this show I purchased a ticket to go.   A short while later, it was announced that Riley Shepard would be wrestling.  Riley Shepard is Quentin's favorite wrestler so I went ahead and got a ticket for him as well.  This was such a strange day because I went to a baseball game at 10 am- supposed to be a doubleheader but the second game got rained out around 1 pm.  There was some thunder and lightning but never really a lot of rain- at least not from what I saw as we went up to MA.

If you book a show within driving distance of me that's all women (This show is WWR+ because it also features an Eel O'Neal and a Lucha Baseball) I'm going to find a way to go to it.  That's just everything I love about wrestling is women's wrestling.  When we got to the show we eventually got to seats and then it wasn't that long before it started.  I feel like by the time we got in and got ready (Quentin ordered pizza from the bar) it was almost 5 so we were making good time.  I didn't realize Beyond wouldn't take an intermission so my only complaint about this show is that by the end my butt hurt from sitting for so long (Which is also partly my fault because I could have gotten up and walked around)

Since Quentin and I started going to wrestling again during the pandemic, this is the fourth show we've attended.  At the previous shows, I spent some time with my phone trying to make photos as wrestlers entered and such but it doesn't always work well.  So even though there was this whole thing about tweeting during the show and using the hashtag to get it trending I decided before the show that I wasn't going to touch my phone during the show and just live in the moment there.   I think I did that pretty well and it gave me a few different moments with the wrestlers when they were inside the ring which I might not have otherwise had if I was on my phone.

I was thinking at one point before this show what the opening match would be.  I only really knew what the last match would be and so I wondered do you start off and kind of try to have each match progress to outdo the one before it or do you open with a bang and have that hot opener.  One idea I did think of was Davienne and Delmi Exo opening the show as the hot opener and it did and it was.  This match told such a great story because a lot of Delmi Exo says about Davienne being a gatekeeper but getting stagnant might be true, but Davienne is also in this position where she is booked everywhere for a reason.  Delmi Exo had something to prove though as a singles wrestler as she typically teams with Ashley Vox as Sea Stars.

I like the idea that one day Davienne and Delmi Exo will meet again and at that point, maybe then, Delmi Exo can get the win.   There was also a point during this match where Davienne asked Delmi Exo where Ashley was and someone said she was in the back getting ready for her match.  This is one of those moments where I'm not sure what the viewers on IWTV knew versus what we knew live, but more on that as we get to it.

The second match saw Riley Shepard mount the comeback to defeat Tina San Antonio.  Tina San Antonio played the role of the heel really well and I'd go see her wrestle again just to boo her.  Riley Shepard is someone who I feel like I might show bias to because she's Quentin's favorite wrestler, but she has that look in the sense that if you took a group photo of everyone on this show and looked at it twenty years from now you could easily pick her out.   And in the ring she can just go, which I think she proved here for everyone on IWTV who may not have seen her before.   I think the biggest thing holding Riley Shepard back is exposure and this hopefully gets her name out there to where everyone is wearing her shirt.

I don't say this often enough about wrestling matches but I think it's because it might not be true but Erica Leigh vs. Becca has this feeling of what during the old territory days of wrestling guys like Harley Race and Ric Flair used to do.  You know, you'd see them wrestle each other a hundred times but it was okay because you always knew it was going to be a hell of a match.  And I feel like that's something Erica Leigh and Becca could have- where they could fight each other all over the country and every match could be on television and I'd watch them all.  

This was a tough match for me because I like both these women but then Becca started doing some heel things so it made it easier to boo her.  I'm not trying to think about how many matches I've seen from either of these women before but this really was one of the best Erica Leigh matches I've ever seen (which if you know Erica Leigh says a lot) and Becca just showed out in this match.  Becca pulled out moves that-- it wasn't just me going "Oh, I didn't know Becca could do that" it was "Oh, I didn't know any wrestler could do that".    I hope both of these women get booked everywhere forever, even if not against each other.

In a funny live note, when Erica Leigh first came out Quentin actually started "Poo poo pee pee" so I joined in and then so did the fans sitting next to us.  Drew walked by us at one point and kind of gave us this glare- even with the mask on- like "C'mon, guys, don't chant that" but Erica Leigh kept gesturing with her hands for us to do it.  And then fans on the opposite side of us started chanting "poo poo pee pee" and it was out of our hands.  So we all did it.  And it was wonderful.  

Little Mean Kathleen came out next as just this ball of energy.  This was a match where I thought "Oh yeah, I knew you were on this show" but I didn't know they'd be wrestling each other.  Kaia McKenna came out next and I was once again conflicted as to who to cheer for because I love both these ladies.   Kaia McKenna is a character who gets it done in the ring and I truly feel she could have a great match with anyone.   This is the third (third!) show in a row where we saw Little Mean Kathleen and I tried early on to start an "LMK" chant but I was the only one doing it so I stopped.   By the end of the match though, others were also chanting "LMK" so how cool is that?  Both ladies got that "Please come back" chant and I want to see them both everywhere as well.

This whole show really- with a few exceptions- was "I love everyone in this match" and the tag team match was further proof of that.  I absolutely love Jordan Blade.  In a few years, she's going to have taken so many ankles that everyone is going to know her name.  Eel O'Neal is part of the Goon Squad but I told him that he's the one I actually like.  When he came out and went by me I screamed "EEL!!" and I think I scared him.   Now, at the same time, I love The Outfielders.  Boomer Hatfield and Molly McCoy are two of the best wrestlers out there right now and as a tag team they're even better.   During the beginning of the pandemic I was buying merch online from wrestlers and I got the pins and stickers from The Outfielders and so it's crazy because they're on my laptop and my refrigerator as a magnet.

You really couldn't have asked for a better tag team match during this show.  This was a tag team match that would have been the finals of a tournament to crown tag team champions in other promotions.   This wasn't just a good match this was a good tag team match and I think that's because of how well both of these teams work together (Again, Molly and Boomer are two of the best) and then how the four of them come together as well.  Watching Boomer Hatfield and Jordan Blade chain wrestle was just something I want to see in every match.

I didn't know that Kennedi Copeland was on this show.  I found when she came out through that curtain and I was like "KENNEDI!!!!"   Then, I remembered that Jody Threat was on this show as well- and didn't have an announced opponent- only when she came out.  My heart went from "OMG KENNEDI" to "OMG JODY" to "OMG KENNEDI VS JODY" in such a quick time I needed a moment but this card did not let up even for a second.  This match was wild.  I didn't know who to cheer- again- so I just wanted them both to win. 

They came over near us because Kennedi Copeland threw Jody Threat into her own merch table (Let that sink in for a moment)  As Kennedi Copeland had the arm of Jody Threat wrapped through a chair I saw Quentin stretch out his leg like he was trying to kick Jody Threat but he told me he was just stretching.  I have to watch him though because as much as I tell him not to touch the wrestlers he always seems to want to get involved in the matches.   

At this point- for me- came the breather before the main event (which I didn't know about until after the fact)   So I know that Megan Bayne and Ashley D'Amboise have both been on the AEW YouTube shows and I've seen them on there as well but I haven't really seen them otherwise so I didn't know what to make of them at first.  By the end of the match though the crowd seemed solidly behind Megan Bayne and I applaud the effort of Ashley D'Amboise as well.  I think the thing which worked against these two women- for me- was that they were vs each other.  But you put one of them against a wrestler I've seen before and it becomes a different match.   Still, this was a solid match and Megan Bayne is way over.

Prior to the main event we were told that this would be our main event.  I was under the impression- up until this point- that we still had an Ashley Vox match and we were never really told anything about what happened there.   I'm going to watch the replay of this on IWTV (cheap pop) just because it was that good of a show so I'll also see if commentary addresses this.   

The theme of this show for me was being torn between which wrestler to cheer for because I honestly love everyone on this show so much.  The main event- Trish Adora vs. Willow Nightingale, first time ever, was the pinnacle of that "I don't know who to cheer" for me.  But when they were in the ring I yelled "WILLOW!!" and she told me she liked my mask so I was on the "Let's Go Willow!" side of the dueling chants.   What can I say about this match?  It lived up to everything I thought it would be and more.  Two of the best wrestlers- women or not- in the world today.    Simple as that.

With WWR+ returning on Father's Day, I'd say the future looks bright.  You could do an entire show with these same wrestlers and just change their opponents and it would still be amazing.   But you could also bring in other women and mix it up.   There were eighteen competitors on this show and the cool thing is you could easily find eighteen different wrestlers (bring in Bussy and have Effy be the plus) and have a solid show as well because women's wrestling is just that damn good right now.

But we have some matches which didn't happen on this show that could next time around.  Trish Adora vs. Edith Surreal or maybe Trish Adora will be vs. Davienne because of how the show ended.  Erica Leigh vs. Solo Darling still needs to happen.  And I'd like to see just about any of these other women fight each other but also if someone is booked elsewhere and substitutions need to be made the show will still be great.   This was, undoubtedly, the best professional wrestling show I have ever been a part of live.