Thursday, February 23, 2023

Music Review //
Universal Honey
"Time Blindness"


Time is such a funny thing because no matter what we do, it keeps pressing forward.  The idea of having "Time Blindness" can mean different things within the context of this song and music video.   On one hand, it can simply be about the sound of Universal Honey as they explore the synthwave of artists before them.   This reminds me a bit of The Go-Go's because of the energy as well.

This music video definitely also has that look of nostalgia, as many different colors are made present one by one but also there are items in here such as a Polaroid camera.  A stop motion sequence shows an older toy car, a toy robot, things such as that, which can also feel dated.  But I'm not sure that Universal Honey meant "Time Blindness" strictly to be about having that retro feeling.

Considering a relationship or just something when you are having fun, there is always that time that passes and you don't realize it.   Maybe you look at your clock one moment and it's 11am and then the next time you happen to glance over it's already 4pm when it feels like mere minutes have passed by.  

I feel like we all get caught up in moments of "Time Blindness" and perhaps even as much as we do, we should quite more.   One example of how I'd like to do this more is by no longer waking up to an alarm- just sleeping until I'm no longer tired.  But, as long as the opportunity presents itself, I'm listening to this upbeat song and not paying attention to the clocks around me.  

Music Review //
Tara Van
"Back In Love"

Tara Van has this big way of singing which feels uplifting as other voices bring in the "oooh's" and "aaahhh's" behind it all.  This feels like a song by Florence + The Machine, specifically the one about the dog days being over.  

"Back In Love" is about falling out of love with someone else and then falling back in love with yourself.  There is a lot that can be said for being on your own and I think a lot of people overlook it or take it for granted at times.  I remember going on dates when you spend twice as much money as you would if you just took yourself out.

But it isn't just about material things.  If you can't stand being around yourself- if you know you have these flaws you need to work on, perhaps you should work on them before jumping into a relationship and making them the problems of someone else as well.  I really feel like this is why a lot of relationships don't work.

So listen to these words of Tara Van.   Fall in love with yourself.  Then, if you should choose to, take the time to go out and find someone else to share your time with.  But, as this song demonstrates so well, we don't need to be with other people just for the sake of being with other people.   

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Music Review //
The Lad Classic
"Feelin' High"

What I appreciate about this song by The Lad Classic is that it addresses the topic of love- as a feeling- without comparing it to something physical but rather comparing it with being high.  And, in its own way, love certainly is like a drug and feeling it certainly can be a sort of high.  People will try to attach love to the physical, but it is simply not.

The Lad Classic rip through this song musically with rock n roll vibes that fall somewhere between The Darkness and Fall Out Boy.  Lines such as "You got your money baby / that ain't what drives me crazy" are important because it just shows what's going on in this song is based on feelings and not tangible things.

Often times, whether we realize it or not, we might just find ourselves in relationships out of convenience.  There is a line in the movie "Mallrats" about two people being together for so long because one of them had cable.  While these things do tend to happen in real life, that's simply not what this song is about.

It's also easy to feel this way- this high from love- when you first meet someone, but then in time it fades and so we move onto someone else who makes us feel that high again.  Isn't it funny how much love is like a drug in that way, in that you can almost build up a tolerance to it?  But try to take love more seriously and use this song as a guide to do just that.  

Music Review //


The music of Kalila can perhaps best be described as folk.  With the harmony of vocals come acoustic guitars and other strings to add to that overall sad and slow feeling of the song.   While the title of this song might be "Panacea", the message behind it seems to be quite the opposite.  

"Panacea" is a term that means a solution for all difficulties or diseases.  It's something which would be nice to have in life simply because at times I take numerous medications and wish that they could just all be combined into one simple pill.   But sometimes there are problems you have which cannot be solved with a pill such as the way ibuprofen can ease a headache.  

This song seems to come from the place of a person in a relationship where they were looking for it to being that thing which makes everything better but it was not.  This is evidenced in the line: "I was never the one to help in the way you wanted".  The relationship also seemed to go wrong because of lines such as: "If you found a therapist / you'd start to trust again".

People shouldn't really rely on others for their happiness- it's something you should obtain before bringing in outsiders.   But there really isn't one magic fix all for everything we face in life and perhaps thinking that there is becomes the first mistake.  Either way, if you've ever been in a relationship that you are no longer in for the wrong reasons then this delicate song could be for you.  

Music Review //
Technical Reserve
"Personal Watercraft"
(Party Perfect!!!)

This album has a lot of beeping and computer sounds like that, which sometimes can feel like knobs are being turned but at other times can feel like they're coming through with a full force of distortion.  It's somewhere between the Transformers and that movie "Pulse", the one with Veronica Mars where technology came to life and attempted to kill everyone.

At times this can feel like a glitching video game, but then I can begin to see the images in my head.   Though this music was created by human composers, it might be how many people imagine music will be made in the future if it is generated by robots.   TJ Borden winds the cello through the cracks and it sounds almost haunted.

On "Big Doctor" the cello really comes out.  The electronics sort of scatter now, during "aspirin".    Many of these songs are under a minute long or close to it, but then a song like "Father Party" comes on and is six minutes.   It's definitely interesting to hear this one little short burst as a song and then it's followed by a longer, more minimal drone sound.  Of course this all builds in an electronic orchestra sound.

One of my favorite parts of these songs- which can be heard in "power forward #91"- is how it can feel so calm and unassuming, just with these little beeps as if to ask an innocent question.  Then all of a sudden it can feel like all hands on deck, as the music just gets so loud and almost violent.  It's so calm and sweet, like asking a simple message "Can I have a cookie?" to just so loud and abrasive like "GIVE ME THE FUCKING COOKIE".

From calming to feeling like you're on the edge of your seat, from small beeps to loud blasts, Technical Reserve has created an album of electronic sounds that is both short and long, both in your face and peaceful.  They have those moments where you might feel like it's over so you turn up the volume a little only for it come out louder than before.  This is really just some of the best waves to ride.

Wrestling Preview //
Pro Wrestling GRIND
February 24th, 2023
Pulaski Club, Easthampton MA


Not only is Pro Wrestling GRIND back this Friday but they are back at the Pulaski Club!  Seven big matches are coming, following the events of "All We Are".   GRIND is bringing forth some familiar faces, some new faces and above all else just delivering matches that are bound to hit harder than just about anywhere else.

ZPB vs Rip Byson

ZPB made his GRIND debut back in October at "Celebration Day", taking on BEEF as a last minute replacement and while the GRIND fans might still be on the fence about ZPB, he definitely won me over in that match.  ZPB proved that he is a tough wrestler and can hang in GRIND.  But he will now have to hang with one of the toughest in the world: Rip Byson.

After Rip Byson was eliminated in the Emerald 12 Tournament, he earned a title shot against Jay Freddie at "Sinister Urge" back at the beginning of December.  Rip Byson came up short and seemingly had to regroup.   Byson also suffered a loss to Gary Jay at "All We Are", the last GRIND show, so if ever there was going to be a time for ZPB to capitolize on an opportunity and get a win, this might be it.

Andy Brown vs Danny Miles

While Andy Brown was last seen in GRIND at "Sinister Urge" in a loss to Perry Von Vicious, one would expect that Andy Brown would want to avenge that loss here.   Danny Miles makes his GRIND debut and though he is an often overlooked veteran of professional wrestling, the majority of the time that you see him now he is in a group.   

Andy Brown is one of the best overall wrestlers in the world today and without any members of The Unit or fake ass cowboys here to help him out, Danny Miles is going into this match with a lot to prove.  How that all plays out can only be determined when that bell rings.  

Brooke Valentine vs Delmi Exo

Brooke Valentine made her Pro Wrestling GRIND debut back in May at "Come And Get It", with a win over Willow Nightingale.    Delmi Exo, however, has been undefeated in GRIND outside of the Emerald 12 Tournament and a loss at "All We Are" to Emi Sakura.   This is going to be an interesting match because should Delmi Exo lose again, she risks going into a losing streak but Brooke Valentine isn't coming to be another name on the list of wrestlers Delmi Exo has defeated.

When Brooke Valentine made her GRIND debut, Delmi Exo defeated Jody Threat on that same show.  So this is going to be an interesting match because to think about what both of these wrestlers were like ten months ago versus now- they are both improved as Brooke Valentine holds tag team gold with Jordan Blade and Delmi Exo has signed with MLW.   This will be one of the best and most even matched matches on this entire show.

The Mane Event vs Travis Huckabee/Mike Skyros

Keeping the tag team competition alive, The Mane Event- who recently suffered their second tag team loss in GRIND at "All We Are" against Violence Is Forever look to get back to their winning ways against the tag team of Mike Skyros and Travis Huckabee.   Huckabee and Skyros have attempted to team together before- against Angelo Carter and Logan Black- but they only picked up that win with the help from Manders.

While Manders doesn't appear to be in the area this Friday night, it remains to be seen if the team of Huckabee and Skyros will bring on some sort of other shenanigans or if this will be a fair two on two match up.   Based on experience alone, The Mane Event should win in a fair fight because they have been teaming together longer and are actually friends.  

Ichiban vs Ryan Mooney

GRIND has really helped showcase how tough Ryan Mooney is as a wrestler, never backing down and holding some big matches in his time here.   Ichiban has had a lot of fun matches throughout New England, against opponents of all varieties, but making his debut here, it just feels like Ichiban is stepping into somewhere he's never quite been before.  

Much like everyone in their debut, Ichiban might be in over his head but his quickness will certainly come into play here, hoping to out pace Ryan Mooney for the win.   While this is the debut of Ichiban in GRIND on paper, it really feels more like throwing him into the deep end of the pool because this will be the truest of tests.  

Perry Von Vicious vs Ryan Galeone

Perry Von Vicious has been on somewhat of a winning streak, with victories over Andy Brown and WARHORSE in the month of December in GRIND.   Prior to that though, PVV did lose a number one contender's match (won by Rip Byson), but one would have to assume that a win here could put PVV right back into title contention.

Then we enter Ryan Galeone, a wrestler who should have been on every GRIND show thus far but has only managed to be summoned when the title is "Overkill".  Oddly enough, Ryan Galeone lost his one and only GRIND match against Logan Black, the same wrestler who knocked Perry Von Vicious out of the Emerald 12.

Ever since last year in GRIND, it felt like Perry Von Vicious was building up to having one hell of a run.  His match with WARHORSE at "All We Are" just solidified that.  He's Big Match PVV now.  And facing someone with the size that can also get the height that Ryan Galeone can, there is perhaps no bigger match on this show.  

Jay Freddie (c) vs Bryan Keith (GRIND Grand Championship Match)

While everyone else seemingly works out their differences on the GRIND roster to try and find the next challenger for Jay Freddie and the GRIND Grand Championship, an outsider had to be brought in for this title defense.  What better wrestler to bring in to face Jay Freddie for this championship than "The Bounty Hunter" Bryan Keith?

Few wrestlers have been having the year that Bryan Keith is having (and, really, there are maybe two and one of them is Mike Bailey and they're wrestling each other again soon)   The current New Texas Pro Champion.   The current Timebomb Champion.  Gold is something that Bryan Keith is all too familiar with these days.  

When you're looking for wrestlers to make a debut in a big way, few can do what Bryan Keith is capable of doing.  Recent wins over Masha Slamovich, Kevin Ku, Manders, Joey Janela and MV Young show that Bryan Keith is out to make a statement in every match that he is in.  And that statement is to take names and make people know his name.

But Jay Freddie is no easy walk through opponent.   Jay Freddie became the GRIND Grand Champion by beating the best in the company.  Jay Freddie has also successfully held onto that title by beating the best put in front of him.   This is truly going to be a battle where two of the best in the world face each other and no matter who wins this one has Match of The Year written all over it.  

Pro Wrestling GRIND can be found on Twitter here

For more information about "Overkill" and tickets:

Friday, February 17, 2023

Live Music Review //
Space Camp / Kidnapped / Intercourse
Chop Chop Chop Chop Chop Chop Chop / Doom Beach

February 12th, 2023
@ The Space Ballroom, Hamden CT


If you ever needed more evidence that the Connecticut music scene was thriving, this weekend would be the best place to find it.  Though a show unlike the one the night before, it was another packed house and bands doing what they do best.   This was, in many ways, a hardcore show, but all of these artists brought their own rendition to what that means exactly.  And, as with the night before, it was a roster of artists who all had similar sounds at their core but none sounded exactly alike.

The show opened with Doom Beach, who I saw at Willimantic Records late last year.  It still amazes me how loud two musicians playing together can fill up a room.  If people ask about the local music scene in CT, Doom Beach is one of the first artists I like to go to as a "Have you heard them?"  I'm not sure there is a better two piece out there right now, creating this combination of hardcore music with just harsh noise.  It just has to be heard (and experienced live) to fully get.

Up next was Chopx7 and this was their album release show.  Chopx7 set up a table and played music that was somewhere between harsh noise and hip hop.  The vocals scream as sometimes the songs can be short enough to just feel like a jab to the throat.   The thing about Chopx7 that I really like is that this isn't the type of music you just put on in the background while you do something else.  This music remains at the forefront and as the center of attention.  I really do enjoy when music is so in your face that you can't deny it.

As proof of this music and physical media as well, the new album has already sold out on cassette and I think that speaks volumes as well.  Again, Chopx7 is another artist on this show that has those hardcore roots, but still utilizes the sound in a way which is unlike anyone else.   This whole show was loud and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

To have that old school hardcore vibe and mix it with metal is how Intercourse sounds.  Somewhere between Sick Of It All and Suicidal Tendencies, but also some of the early 2000's hardcore bands that don't get as much attention.   Intercourse just has this presence on stage while at the same time you feel like after they play they're just going to leave the place in ashes.  It really is remarkable that you can have these bands that have these hardcore bass lines that still have their own identity.

Kidnapped were up next and they were the band on this show that I knew the least about going into it.   They had more of this straight forward hardcore style, with short songs and being very much in your face, and when I think about hardcore and when I got into it listening to local bands like Forced Reality, this is what I think of most.    So I really did enjoy that this was more of an old school style of hardcore sound.

Space Camp is a tough one to describe because even having listened to their new album via streaming it just doesn't do the same thing live.   There were moments where you could really hear the orchestra side of this sound, but then there were also moments where it was just this giant wave of loud that wiped out everything and anything.  I'm not sure I've ever felt anything quite this loud before and it's how I would imagine it feels to get hit by a bus.

I'm going to try and explain this next part the best that I can, but it's worth it.  To the right side of the stage there is a hallway which leads to where "artists only" go.  It was roped off, but then instruments were being moved around.  In this hallway there exists a light on the wall with two lightbulbs.  One lightbulb was lit, the other was not.  During the Space Camp set, there was one point where the music became so loud and intense that the lightbulb on that wall which was not lit just completely shattered.  

Someone, who I assume works there, went and got a broom and dust pan to clean it up after everyone who saw it kind of stood around in disbelief for a little bit.  I've literally never seen something like this happen before.   At a hardcore show, sure, maybe the band throws a drum stick and knocks out a light.  But just from the sound, just from that wave of harsh noise, the lightbulb just ups and explodes... It really says more about the music, how intense and loud it is, than I ever could.  

The Space has a website here:

Doom Beach can be found on Bandcamp here:

Chop Chop Chop Chop Chop Chop Chop can be found on Bandcamp:

Intercourse is also on Bandcamp:

Kidnapped on Bandcamp:

And Space Camp on Bandcamp:

Music Review //
Francisco Martin
"Passenger Princess"


As soon as I see the title "Passenger Princess" my own thoughts begin forming in my mind.  Everyone knows someone who just won't ever drive and you always feel like you're the one driving them around everywhere, right?   For a while, I didn't have a car and I was the "Passenger Princess", being driven everywhere by the same group of people and to places that maybe they didn't want to go.

Francisco Martin has created a song which is catchy as hell.  After listening to it only one time, you'll be singing the hook: "You don't have to leave just yet".   And though there are elements of pop within, this does feel more like a bedroom pop type of song, with those drum machine beats and how some of the music comes in and makes me think of video games.  There are definite pop qualities though.

From artists such as AJR to Glass Animals, this song would fit in really well on the radio.  I especially enjoy that it is called "Passenger Princess" and I listen to the radio primarily in my car so it works on that level as well.   But having been a passenger for so long myself, I guess one part of this song that isn't discussed but is there is how it's better in ways to be the driver because then you feel like you're in control.

However, to some greater extent (if you can read between the lines of the song) I feel like the idea of being a "Passenger Princess" is that you dictate where to go.  So even though you might not be in the drivers seat, you still have control.   Whichever character you are in this song or if you just want to drive around while listening to it, there is a lot of fun to be had here.  

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Music Review //
Parks N' Rec
"Peace of Mind"

The sound of Parks N' Rec could best be described as chillgaze.  It starts off just so melodic and smooth but then these drums kick in which make it feel almost new wave.   But even though the sound grows, it feels like it's still at this same pace.  The song just feels like riding a skateboard, but specifically a longboard on the beach boardwalk.

It is difficult to argue with the message behind this song, as the chorus has a line about "people living in competition" and it just feels like life goes by pretty fast and can get hectic.  Sometimes you not only want but also need that time to just relax, to take a moment to get your head on straight.

This music video starts off in the ocean and eventually travels to the land while riding around a motorcycle in the city.  It certainly sets the tone with the song itself because it just feels so free and without a care in the world.  These are the type of activities that you would do to relax, as this song is trying to convey.

We're often reminded about how short life is and thus we should live it up and make every day count.  But if you went non-stop, trying to live every day to its fullest, without taking a break, without slowing down, you're just going to end up crashing.  That's where "Peace of Mind" comes in, as a reminder that sometimes you can just slow things down and that's okay.

Music Review //
"Tiger Girl"

There are deep vocals that come through this song right away and the more I hear the bass in them the more I think about them being like Eddie Vedder.  The music itself has this great retro feeling to it, somewhere between a modern dreamwave and an older new wave sound.  This is the type of sound which could've been on cassette back in the day for sure.

Within this song is also a message- which everyone these days will think of as being a voicemail, but for whatever reason when I hear it I think about it as being left on an answering machine, something which makes this song feel even more retro.  Overall though, this sound feels like it's between A Flock of Seagulls and Com Truise.  It certainly can seem to combine those two genres.

What "Tiger Girl" is about feels like a love song.  But, beyond that, it also just feels like a song about having love and losing it.  It feels like "Tiger Girl" got away somehow and even just hearing the voice on the machine is a way of reflecting and longing for what once was.   There is just that overall vibe to this song where something happened and now it's a matter of getting past it.

Aside from whether or not you can relate with the lyrics, I think the music itself here is reason enough to be listening to this song.   The way that it feels like it's stuck between two different points in time, but also just the way all of these cool sounds come together with the vocals make it a bit hard to not listen.  It's that idea of hearing familiar sounds but not hearing them in this way before now.  

Music Review //
Rusty Reid
"Bayou Line (Songs from Houston)"


Rusty Reid has been making his claim as a force in this rock n roll based genre of Americana for quite some time and "Bayou Line (Songs from Houston)" just seems to solidify it even more.   This album specifically having Houston in the title is interesting because most people outside of Texas probably think of all of Texas as being cowboys but Houston is very much the melting pop where you can find a cowboy as easily as a hip hop show or a metal band.  

With guitar driven rock n roll, Rusty Reid creates a sound somewhere between country and the blues.   Big keys come out on "Look Out Louisiana" and while living in Houston I always did enjoy how close Louisiana was- just that you felt that connected to that particular region.  "The Sunrise of Our Love" comes through a bit more dreamy, while "Careless" is even more so like Buddy Holly before somehow dropping off into that Blue Oyster Cult sound.

Perhaps the strongest country tones on this album can be heard during "Rio Frio" and then by "A Matter of When" it can get dreamy in that Chris Isaak way.  "Through His Name" feels like a straight out hymn.  "Our Love's With You" has all the melody of a Beatles ballad.  The album closes on "Riding On", which feels like the musical version of just trailing off into the sunset, which is rather fitting.

At their core, these songs are love songs even if they don't always have the word love in the title.  One of the things I like most about the lyrics is that they are very straight forward: they seem to say what they mean.  This ties in with that Americana idea as these are somewhat energetic, sometimes calmer songs about every day people and every day issues.  In that sense this is both highly relatable while also being easy on the ears.  

Live Music Review //
Perennial / Minus Points / The Human Fund / wow, okay, cool
February 11th, 2023
@ The State House, New Haven CT

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

Saturday night was the night to be at The State House and all four of these local bands are simply amazing.   I would've likely been at this show to see Perennial regardless of who was opening, but the way this line up turned out seemed to be some of the best and most fitting acts to give this such a well rounded show of different sounds yet all somewhat linked.

This show opened with wow, okay, cool who I've been listening to through Bandcamp for a while now.  The songs are fast, heavy and just feel like what Nine Inch Nails might've become had Trent Reznor stayed more towards "Pretty Hate Machine".   On some levels, this was the loudest set and it also felt the most in-your-face because of the distortion.  Everyone seemed to be bringing the energy at this show and this was the best possible way to light that fuse.

The Human Fund, a two piece of guitar and drums, were up next.  One of the weird things about me is that whenever I hear a band for the first time I always think of them in that way even if it's not really how they sound.  As an example, the first album I ever heard by Against Me! was "As the Eternal Cowboy" and as such always think of them as that.  I'm reminded of The Human Fund in this way because the punk rock songs start off with a few slow lines, almost like that dreamy Buddy Holly rock n roll, and then just kick in.

Throughout time there have been punk bands that haven done this whole "start off slow and kick it into fast gear" thing, but for some reason I always bring it back to Against Me!, that specific album and maybe even that specific time in music.   Still, The Human Fund has this raw sound which just fit in so well here and is just something to be heard in general.   It's not quite Tenacious D and it's not quite The White Stripes, but it's something you'll like if you're into punk.  

Minus Points felt like one of the bands on this show with the least amount of music out there to listen to in a recorded sense, but I've been following them on Instagram and so they post clips of their shows and they always look like so much fun.  There exists two different genres of music that Minus Points is somewhere between but they aren't between them like anyone else ever has been before.

On one hand, there is this sound like Coheed and Cambria or No Motiv, where you just feel like it's this rock or punk but closer to the pop side of things.  It's almost as if they leaned into it a little bit more one way they'd be like New Found Glory or a pop punk band with those clean breakdowns.   But then there is also this more hardcore side of the music, which leans towards metal, and it feels like Minus Points could be one of those punk bands that plays for melodies in the verses but screams in the chorus.  

While I realize a lot of bands have that screamo way about them, Minus Points just doesn't go full on with it like those bands do.  There are points when it sounds heavier and feels like screamo, but overall it's really more like that Boys Night Out album, "Make Yourself Sick", in that the screaming is there but not as much as back when every band was doing it.  It's also that ratio though of combining the screaming with metal, punk, rock and slight hints of pop, as it just really is a matter of mixing these ingredients to create a sound all their own.

Perennial was the headliner and it's tough to describe how they sound because they also utilize such a core group of sounds but present them in a different way than most bands.  One of the few bands which comes to mind right away is Kane Hodder but I don't know how many people know them as a band and not an actor.  With the keys, drums, guitar and two sets of vocals, Perennial seems to hit from all sides and sometimes all at once.  

Their music could be described as hardcore, but it's also got that art feel to it where you want to think of artists like Be Your Own  Pet.   But the overall energy is just so much fun because it makes you want to move.  It's that balance between listening to the songs and just wanting to dance in a happy but also in a hardcore way and whichever way you choose to go is probably based upon your mood at the time.  

The music of Perennial is just infectious and you can't listen to it without feeling something.  At one point towards the end of the set they encouraged us to all go home and do that one thing we always thought about doing but never actually went through and did.  For me, one thing I've always wanted to do but never did was made weird little sculptures (out of Sculpey and then paint them) and I've always felt like I'd be good at it but my Instagram followers might soon be looking at some just creatures that shouldn't be.  

Listening to music, especially live, always feels like such a treat to me.  When you can hear bands play and they all just feel like they could've headlined the show in the sense that they all bring something unique and meaningful to the show itself, it just makes the whole show better and I think we're fortunate now to be living in a time when that's possible.  I can't speak for every local music scene, but this makes me feel like Connecticut is doing well.  

The State House can be found on the interwebs here:

wow, okay, cool can be found on Bandcamp here:

The Human Fund can be found on Bandcamp here:

Minus Points can be found on Bandcamp here:

Perennial can be found on Bandcamp here:

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Live Music Review //
Andrea Pensado / Angela Sawyer / The City of Meriden
Burning Books / Ethan WL & Liam Grant

February 11th, 2023
@ Willimantic Records, Willimantic CT


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

This was the second live music show we attended in 2023 and it was also the second one held at Willimantic Records.   Willimantic Records also just happened to be celebrating their eleventh anniversary at this show which means they're as old as Quentin!   This was definitely a show of variety and as we got closer to the end we found out what that really meant.

Ethan WL & Liam Grant started the show with acoustic guitars.   They played this sound together which had those rambling notes and made it feel like at times they were playing the banjo even though I couldn't hear one.   It was just that nice sort of folk sound, but also with a little bit of swamp mixed into it.    It was somehow both peaceful and energetic at the same time.

Burning Books was up second and was a stand up bass performance.  This is the type of thing I particularly like for Quentin to pay attention to, as he learns the cello in school.   I know there was a song titled "Harbor", but so much of the way this set sounded just reminded me of being at the dock near the ocean.   It's that idea of the water, swaying back and forth, while the boats blow their horns in that sound almost like a whale.  

The City of Meriden is where I live but also a band.  They played an acoustic set third and were the biggest band there in terms of people as there were five of them.  The songs had this rock n roll / folk feeling to them, which might have to do with being acoustic, and they made me think of some combination of Neil Young and Blind Melon.   Anyone singing songs about getting high at work and Morrissey is all right with me.

While this show started with two more acoustic sounding acts that were a duo and solo set, I feel like The City of Meriden was this middle piece that divided those two acts from the last two.   Just the way that the music changed but also you could sort of feel the split in that change was something to be noted.   

Angela Sawyer would play forth and create electronics and vocals with loops.  This was, at its core, a noise set and it took non-traditional sounds and presented them in sometimes traditional ways.  It was undoubtedly different than what was heard before it, but it's also just out there and unlike anything else.  Such is the life of the noise artist though- using whatever tools needed to craft their own sound.

At one point during the set (toward the end of it) Angela Sawyer also utilized these machines which shot out ping pong balls.  The balls went everywhere but also created an added sound.  I thought this was kind of neat to see because when I listen to cassettes and hear certain sounds I think of them as sounding like specific things that they probably are not in reality.  So to see what I would have described if it was recorded as ping pong balls actually be that was fun.

The final act of the afternoon was Andrea Pensado who had a noise set that was more on the harsh side of things.  I say this with the utmost of respect (and almost as a brag) but as Andrea Pensado began playing there were people inside the room who just couldn't take it and left.  It was a very loud burst of distortion and it kept up that way.   There were vocals which were also coming through distorted and the whole thing just felt like destruction and chaos.

Andrea Pensado had bouncing balls that lit up which were thrown at the crowd.   At one point, the circus music came on (you know the one) and that turned very dark very fast (as if there wasn't enough reason to be afraid of clowns already)   I do enjoy that we started off the day rather peacefully and built up to this.  At almost any other point in the day, random passer-bys might stop and poke their head in to enjoy the music.  But I'm not sure what those same people would've thought hearing Andrea Pensado's sound coming from this room.

After what was Quentin's first harsh noise set he told me "That was fun.  That was probably the loudest thing I ever heard".   That really seems like one of the best ways to describe it.  When people ask me what type of music I listen to I can never explain it.  But this show was a good example because the artists all felt different yet were also so good at what they were doing.  I enjoy shows where all the bands are punk, but I also really enjoy when you get the variety such as this.  

Willimantic Records can be found on the web:

As well as on Facebook:

Ethan WL has a new album out which can be heard here:

The music of Liam Grant can be found here:

Burning Books can be found here:

The City of Meriden can be followed on Instagram:

Angela Sawyer has an album here:

Andrea Pensado has an official site here:

Friday, February 10, 2023

Wrestling Review //
Fight Life
February 8th, 2023
Line Sider Brewing Co. East Greenwich RI


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

I've been paying attention to Fight Life since it started and knew it was only a matter of time before I made it to one of their shows.   This show first caught my attention in that way of trying to go because of the Speedball Mike Bailey vs Jordan Oliver match.   My goal for 2023 is to see as much Speedball Mike Bailey as I can and I had bought tickets for this show before I even knew I'd see Speedball a few days prior at Garden State Pro.  

The one announcement though that confirmed my ticket purchase for this show was that of Yuval Goldshmit, who has been doing absolutely wonderful things in Germany and so when I saw the opportunity to see him wrestle here I knew I had to take it.    Somehow, after I had already bought my ticket, Lio Rush was also announced and that just made everything so much sweeter.  I really seem to be having the best luck with wrestling shows this year.

This was only my second time coming to Rhode Island for professional wrestling, but seeing some of the same faces on both shows was definitely fun.   Fight Life is interesting to me because it has JT Dunn leading the Unit and a lot of wrestlers from Chaotic Wrestling, but also there's this group of wrestlers who I associate with NCW and Lucky Pro Wrestling as well.  So you combine those two rosters- where you could have Ricky Smokes (Chaotic) and Steven Lust (NCW) on the same show.

But then Fight Life adds this extra element to it all as well, using those more local wrestlers as the building blocks to bring in names like Lio Rush, Speedball Mike Bailey, Jordan Oliver, Marcus Mathers and so on.   I'm not saying Chaotic, NCW or LPW wouldn't bring in those names but I feel like they'd only bring them in one at a time.   And that's fine- it's nothing against them because they're still doing good work as well- but the way the Fight Life cards shape up is just unreal.  

My measure for going to a show is "What happens if someone drops off?"  If you were going to this show just to see Speedball Mike Bailey and then he couldn't make it for some reason, would you be upset and not go to the show?  I would hope not because then you would still miss Lio Rush, Jordan Oliver, Yuval GoldShmit, etc.   This really just speaks volumes though about how great Fight Life is doing with their shows because you should want to see everyone.

Fight Life 8 opened with Ricky Smokes (who has yet to win a match in Fight Life) against Dustin Waller.   While I enjoy Miracle Generation as a tag team, I think they also have a lot to offer as singles wrestlers still and they don't get booked that way as much.  So to see Dustin Waller in singles competition was fun and Ricky Smokes is very much hated everywhere he goes, which is also fun.    It was a good match to open the show because it was fun and just set the tone for the rest of the night.

Sean Leiter and Steven Lust have an angle going on Fight Life that you have to be paying attention to for it to make sense, but as they took on The Haven, Leiter started the match, tagged out and then wouldn't let Steven Lust tag out.   This is going to lead to a match between Sean Leiter and Steven Lust and it's going to be fantastic.  This also gave The Haven a win in Fight Life and so that's just another way in which this all worked out for the best. 

Out third was Danny Miles vs Yuval Goldshmit.   Danny Miles was originally scheduled to face Manders which makes me wonder if that happened who Yuval Goldshmit would've faced.   I must say that a few years back, when The Unit formed, I felt like Danny Miles was the weakest link.  But looking at Danny Miles in this match, he might just be the best member of The Unit right now.  So to see him go toe to toe with Yuval Goldshmit was a really great match and I'm happy this was how I first saw Yuval Goldshmit in person.

My favorite part about the next match was that for some reason Paris Van Dale blamed me for her having to face Mike Graca.   This felt like certain death for PVD and I was personally invested.  Paris spent a lot of the match running scared, then when Mike Graca was about to get in some offense, Paris pulled the ref in front of her and this whole match ended up being ruled a no contest.   Mike Graca neither cared nor was done though as he brought a door into the ring with intentions to put PVD through it.

The returning Gal Barkay made the save and Mike Graca ended up going through the door after some fighting.   Gal Barkay looks like he was carved from stone and just has this wrestling look about him, which makes me very much want to see him face the unpredictable murder style of Mike Graca.    This might not have technically been a match but the way it shall lead us to an even bigger match makes it all worthwhile.

Up next we had JT Dunn doing his best Enzo Amore cosplay as he took on B3CCA.  I saw this match once before and I still don't think JT Dunn has fully recovered from getting kicked in the head by B3CCA.   It's weird to me how the crowd was behind JT Dunn (and The Unit) but there were still some people saying The Unit sucks and that should be the appropriate response.  And then sometimes B3CCA was cheered but sometimes she was booed so it wasn't really clear what the fans thought of her.

True to being B3CCA though and her superstar power, she played it up both ways.  B3CCA is just one of those natural wrestlers but also can talk.   When you can talk and back it up, that's something special.  So I really don't ever want to boo B3CCA.  But sometimes, the crowd does.  So the way that B3CCA can react to the crowd when even the crowd doesn't seem to know what it wants is just so rare and how B3CCA is not on weekly television is beyond me. 

I spent intermission talking with Yuval Goldshmit and then buying a baseball cap from B3CCA.  I liked the way that this B3CCA hat looked so that was why I bought it (and for support, you know) but I never really know how hats are going to fit me and feel until I put them on and wear them a bit.   Let me tell you, this B3CCA hat is one of the most comfortable and form fitting hats that I own (and I have quite a few) and for the foreseeable future, you will likely see me wearing it everywhere.

After intermission, we came back with Aaron Rourke vs Lio Rush.   Aaron Rourke is another one of these wrestlers who just has such a great look and presence but also can really go inside of that ring.   This match was a lot of fun, different from when I previously saw Lio Rush vs Alec Price, but still a really solid match.   Every time I see Lio Rush live it feels special (and I buy a t-shirt) but this match with Aaron Rourke was just even bigger than I could've imagined.

Shot Through The Heart (which is Love, Doug and TJ Crawford now) took on Young Dumb and Broke (Ellis Taylor and Charlie Tiger) in what was a pretty fun match.   I'm kind of surprised that YDB won, but since they did get that victory and The Haven had a victory earlier in the show, perhaps it is time for them to face each other.

The scramble was next and it started off as chaos.   Allie Katch and Shannon Levangie were on the bar and everyone was in the crowd back there.   Once it finally got into the ring, Alec Price came out as a mystery sixth opponent.   I briefly saw Alec Price come out to sell merch during intermission and then disappear, so I knew he was there but I didn't know what he was going to be doing exactly.  

So the scramble was won by Kylon King.  Marcus Mathers, Allie Katch and Alec Price were in it and they all have their own bragging rights for sure.  But Shannon Levangie is definitely a future star.   And one member of YDB I don't see enough (this was my first time seeing him live) is Griffin McCoy and he is just so good inside of that ring I'd like to see him in more one on one competition everywhere.

The main event was Speedball Mike Bailey vs Jordan Oliver.   While it's only February, that was my Match Of The Year so far.   Every other match for the rest of the year is going to have to try and top that.   Because these two wrestlers beat the hell out of each other for a long time.  There were several moments where I thought either wrestler would win because I just didn't know how the other could continue, but somehow they kicked out.  

I truly believe that Speedball Mike Bailey is one of the best wrestlers in the world today.  And the evidence of that is simply in the matches.   But I also believe that is every bit true of Jordan Oliver as well.   I have a short list of who the best wrestlers are right now and these are two names that are definitely on it.    When you have two wrestlers who have just been having their best years meet in that ring together it's just magical.   There are no words for it.

After the match, Kellan Thomas came out and said that there was going to be a tournament to crown a champion and the first round matchup he would be in would be against Mike Bailey.   It has already been announced that this show will be back at Line Sider and so unless something unexpected comes up I'm planning on being there once again because now I am hooked.  

Music Review //
Ava Della Pietra
"happy for you"


Ava Della Pietra continues to find her own voice inside of upbeat pop music.  The song "happy for you" is about seeing someone you used to date with someone else and how you should be happy for that person but it's not easy.  The chorus sings about how "it's hard to be happy" because you see someone you might still want to be with.

This is something which we struggle with a lot in our youth but maybe grow out of when we're older.   There was always this concern of why can that person work out in a relationship with a person who isn't me.  Often times, it can even make you feel like there's something wrong with you, like you're broken.

But one thing that I've learned throughout my life is that people are like puzzle pieces.  Sometimes two don't fit together, but two others might.  So it's not that we're broken or flawed for not being able to make it work, but rather we just haven't found that other person who fits with us yet.  And in a lot of ways, yes, that still pertains to this song because it can be difficult to celebrate the success of others when we cannot find it for ourselves.

While I have very specific tastes when it comes to music, I do enjoy that this song is perhaps one of the most upbeat and just overall happy songs that I can listen to but also has words that are coming out about not being happy.   Lyrically, in many ways, this feels like a grunge song but the music is not the same.  And though you might not yet ready to be happy, this song hopefully will guide your mood to one day get you there.  

Music Review //
Rebel Kicks


The energy comes right out of Rebel Kicks at the start of this song and it does not let up.  There is an element in this music which makes me think of something older, like The Replacements or even Huey Lewis and the News.   This has that feeling of a song from back when the rock n roll bands on the radio at the time would occasionally have a horn section.

At the same time though, Rebel Kicks can channel some modern rock sounds with hints of Kings of Leon.   I really do enjoy the way that this song is somewhat like the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind".   It is about the desire to rid your memory of someone you once knew closely.   This brings about the great line: "I wish I could know you less".  It's funny how we can get to know more about each other but not the opposite.

The title "Silhouette" because to not know someone in that sense is to see them as a shadow, an outline.   While there isn't really this magic machine that can erase memories, I think in time that just happens naturally.   Eventually, as we grow apart and time takes its toll, we truly do come to know less about people we no longer have in our lives.   Sometimes, we even begin to forget them completely.

Still, "Silhouette" remains a rather upbeat song for being one of heartbreak.  I particularly enjoy this music video because it has cassettes in it.   I also see that as a tip of the cap to the sound of Rebel Kicks, embracing that feeling of being from the 1980's or 1990's while also remaining modern.    It is definitely a sound that more people should be getting behind and should also be played on the radio.  

Music Review //
Butterfly Black

Right away, one of the reasons why I enjoy this song is because it has that 1990's R&B vibe that you just don't hear as much any more.   Growing up, listening to Boyz II Men, TLC, Arrested Development and PM Dawn on cassettes makes me realize that "Lifetime" by Butterfly Black would just fit in with that as a playlist right now.

More than just appealing to my nostalgia though, this song just feels upbeat.  It's not overly so but it has that energy which can get you moving and when you consider the lyrics it just seems to all fit in place as well.   Somewhere between R&B and soul, Butterfly Black have found this sound I've not heard in a while and I appreciate that.

The song itself is about finding someone to spend a lifetime with.   There are lyrics about going to therapy but also lines such as: "You add to me".  While there are seemingly endless amount of love songs out there, I don't think any of them quite capture what it is like in this way.  Most of the other songs are about how much you like someone else's smile while this has a more deep rooted connection.

Listening to this song just fills me with such joy.   It has a very specific place in my heart because of the style of music not just taking me back to the 1990's and cassettes but it can even be heard as something before that, when soul was taking over.  And along with this joyous music comes a message which we all should pay close attention to because it's a love song in the most meaningful way.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Music Review //
Kristina Dervaitis
"Everything & Nothing"

Kristina Dervaitis has created an energetic rock song which sounds somewhere between 4 Non Blondes and Fleetwood Mac.   There are moments when the vocals can almost feel like speaking, but then they stretch out into really big singing and that just seems to take over the entire song.  

There is also this fuzzy-distorted guitar riff towards the end that shows how this song can take a unique turn from grunge to new wave and into a genre feeling all its own.  I also really like that this song can compare and contrast how something can be everything but it also can be nothing.   Technically, nothing is something in the way that zero is a number but to think about these opposites in your own way seems to be what this song is driving at.

In a lot of ways I like to think of this song as being about the present and the future.  Something might mean everything to you right now- and it could be a relationship or a job- but eventually it might mean nothing to you.   As an example, you might like your job and it means everything to you, so you'd be crushed to lose it.

However, a few months after you lose that job, you get a new job that's better.  So that job which once meant everything to you now means nothing.   You don't even think about it anymore.   It's not easy, but I know we could all worry less if we think about things in that way.  Yes, the pain is hard now, but in the future it might not be so much.  Just try to remember that with this song.  

Music Review //

If you told me that there existed a three minute song dedicated to horse penis I might at first not believe you but then later on just not be concerned with it.  On paper, yes, this does not seem like the type of song that anyone needs to hear because... ew.  This man is literally singing to a horse in a sexual way.

With acoustic strums and a deep voice like Johnny Cash, this song could be better if it wasn't so descriptive.  "Though I'm thrilled to see it / I imagine it hurts" could be a line that would get you banned from any number of farms and zoos.  There might be some reading between the lines here, but with a title such as this, it is difficult not to do so.

As if to see how far the boundaries can be pushed before ending up on some sort of PETA watchlist, there is actually a line in this song that says "I can't imagine what gets you off".   I had to go back and listen to it more than once to confirm that is what I did in fact hear but as I've said before in this review... ew.  Just ew.

I really do enjoy the pacing of this song.  The video has this old VHS style while the music is being played.  If this song was about anything other than animal genitalia it might be good, but the fact that this is literally some guy singing about the reproductive organ of a horse just means this shouldn't be played or heard anywhere.

Music Review //
Chris Duarte
"Nobody But You"

As this music video begins it shows someone going into a bar and on the wall there are signs for Lone Star which I assume is the beer so I assume this is in Texas.   Having this song start inside of a bar and turn into, more or less, a live performance inside of there really tells you all you need to know about Chris Duarte.   Not many songs have this type of attitude, but "Nobody But You" does.

Back in the 1980's and 1990's there was a time when the main characters of a movie would find themselves in a bar.   A band or one musician would be on stage playing and it would give off this certain vibe that Chris Duarte has here as well.   A little bit like the movie "Roadhouse", I would not be surprised in the least if this song was playing in a bar somewhere and then a bar fight broke out.

To simply describe this sound it is guitar driven rock n roll.   It reminds me a little bit of "My Sharona", but there are also elements of the greats in here such as ZZ Top.   The lyrics are about someone in a relationship, as the title relates to: "I ain't got nobody / I ain't got nobody but you".  It's an interesting place to be in, should you find yourself there, but it could also lead to a bar fight if in the right setting.

One of the things which I feel like I really like the most about this song is that when you peel back the layers of rock n roll and how much it rocks, at its very core it just feels like a love song.  And I enjoy that you can put this on for its energetic qualities and the way it can make you just feel a certain way but yet it all comes back to love.   Whether you're fighting in a bar or just taking the time to appreciate someone else, I think that's what it all comes back to in the end.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Wrestling Review //
Garden State Pro Wrestling
February 3rd, 2023
@ Knights Of Columbus Ridgefield Park NJ


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

The only concern I had going into this show prior to buying tickets was whether or not we could make it out of Connecticut in time, but I kept checking and it kept saying it would only take us two hours, so I felt confident enough to buy the tickets and go.   We ended up getting to the venue a little bit before 6pm (we made good time!) and had a new concern.   This winter has been fairly mild, but on this particular Friday and Saturday, temperatures were dropping below zero.  It was the coldest day of the year.

When we drove by, no one was waiting outside so I took that as a good sign that people were being let in.   We parked, walked to the building and opened the door to go in.   As it turns out, we were the first fans there but also were told we could wait inside until doors were open.  I'm really thankful for the staff of Garden State Pro because I know others wouldn't have even unlocked the door and just left fans out there to freeze.   

We didn't hit traffic, Quentin got free Dunkin along the way and we didn't have to stand outside in subzero temperatures so everything about this show was looking up even before we got through the doors.  I will say, when the match between AVD-Bird Law was announced was when I bought tickets.   But the match between Sumie Sakai and Janai Kai was announced on my birthday and I was really excited for that as well.  GSPW just seems to know how to deliver.

There were two pre-show matches this time, as opposed to the one last time.   A tag team match had Pat Fitzpatrick on one team and he was on the last pre-show so I guess someone likes him.   He is also in a tag team with Dr. Cool, who was not there, so maybe they can try that tag team next time.  The pre-show also featured a singles match with Kamen MK, who was somehow playing the heel I think, but I was excited to see him.  The wrestler he faced came out to the UB40 song "Red Red Wine" but was most certainly not drinking red wine.

"V" officially opened with Myron Reed taking on Nikeem Avent, which was a teacher-student situation.   Myron Reed is literally one of the best wrestlers in the world today and I just don't feel like we talk about him enough.  From his stay in MLW to his appearances this year in Wrestling Revolver, Myron Reed is just someone I feel like we should be hearing more about than we do.   And with that being said, Nikeem Avent held his own and did really well in this match, so there's another name to put on your list of wrestlers to look out for if you haven't heard of him yet.

The second match was a dream match for many people, myself included, and Sumie Sakai played the heel against Janai Kai.   This match was a lot of fun and the crowd was behind both wrestlers.  One of the things that I really like about GSPW that I don't think about a lot is how the style of the matches can change from match to match and this was an example of that.   Janai Kai got a huge win here and I couldn't be happier seeing Sumie Sakai wrestle live for only the second time in my life.

Austin Luke took on Davey Richards in the third match and the style of matches just continued to change.  This was a hard-hitting match with a lot of kicks thrown and I don't think anyone expected anything less.   Austin Luke held his own for quite some time, but Davey Richards has been doing this for a while and is considered by many to be among the best in the world as well.  Just knowing he could hang like that with Davey Richards feels like a win for Austin Luke, who I feel has a bright future ahead of him.

AVD vs Bird Law was a really fun match because I love all four people involved in it.  This was the type of tag team match I like too because seeing Speedball vs Masha or Speedball vs AKIRA or Veda vs Masha or Veda vs AKIRA are all really good and I think breaking this tag team match down into future singles matches would be good, but the tag team match itself seemed to really help with that.

Speedball Mike Bailey is somehow who had one of his best years last year and I only saw him wrestle live once.  (That changes this year!)  AKIRA is always having a great year and it seems as if the future Impact KO Champion Masha Slamovich is as well.   Veda Scott is amazing on commentary but often seems to be overlooked in a wrestling sense (I'd like to see them do both at shows) but if Bird Law can remind people of that, then for sure bring on more Bird Law matches!  You can tell the quality of this match because of the wrestlers involved.

We went to intermission after this match and I'm going to take this chance to say that the ring announcer kind of annoyed me.   Before the AVD-Bird Law match, there was something said to the effect of "We're going to take a brief intermission, just for a little bit... but, we're going to also do that after one more match!"   The way I see this as a fan is that your concern shouldn't be what's yet to come but rather what's right in front of you.  Announcing and taking back intermission feels like it's taking away from the match that still has yet to happen.

Normally, I'd thnk this was just a mistake and let it slide but then as the second half of the show came it happened again.   Robert Martyr said he was going to challenge Alan Angels for the title, the ring announcer got all excited about that match, hyped it up as being next and then quickly changed the tune to "Oh, but we do have one more match before that main event"  And that just lets the air out of the sails.  

It also, in some ways, is like saying "We just have to get through this one match, then you can have that great match I just hyped up"  It's almost insulting to the match that is being glanced over.  I've been to a lot of shows, seen a lot of ring announcers and am not sure if that was just this one's particular style or just two errors but either way being more direct is how I prefer my ring announcers to be.

Intermission was really fun because while I was trying to figure out who had their merch set up and all, I saw Sumie Sakai come out and went up to her wondering where she'd set up.  She wondered too, so I suggested the ring since the tables were full and we headed over there.  The only other time we saw Sumie Sakai wrestle live she didn't come out to sell merch or anything, so this was one of those moments I'm going to really remember forever.

A line had formed behind us to meet Sumie Sakai- which was great- and we headed over to see Bird Law.  It had been almost a year since I'd seen Mike Bailey last, so I wanted to know what kind of new merch he might have.  I also asked both members of Bird Law what the name meant because Jess wanted to know and I was left with more questions than answers.  I'm still not sure I 100% understand and that's okay.

A funny side note to all of this is that I was wearing my blue Mike Bailey shirt with the monkey on it.  Sumie Sakai right away recognized it as Speedball.  She then looked at Quentin's Mario Kart shirt and said that was her favorite and was talking with Quentin about Mario Kart.  I also bought a Mike Bailey shirt that's the same Brass Monkey logo just on a tye dyed shirt instead of just blue.   So I would say intermission was a success.

After intermission we came back with a Billie Starkz Open Challenge.  Billie Starkz was one of the first names announced for this show, but she was never given an opponent.   The music hit and Ruthless La La answered the challenge.  La La has been absolutely dominant so this was an interesting matchup because Billie Starkz has also been on a roll.   This match was hard hitting with both wrestlers just giving it their all.

In the end, Billie Starkz won via count out, but it wasn't really a tainted loss.  Billie Starkz flew out of the ring onto Ruthless La La, which then prevented La La from being able to get back into the ring.  Had a similar situation happened inside of the ring, it would've likely been a three count since this was a ten count, so I'm not even mad about the count out victory.

One of the fun things about being a wrestling fan is never knowing what other wrestling fans think of certain wrestlers.   Sure, I know how the GRIND crowd will react to Anthony Henry, but since I've never seen him wrestle in NJ before I wasn't sure how they would feel about him.  Maybe he's a heel here, who knows.  But he got a nice reception and the fans did seem to be behind both him and Kzy, as this was just a dream match on many levels.

I used to watch a lot of Dragon Gate back in the early 2000's- back when Apollo Crews was there and I remember wrestlers like BxB Hulk.   I should try and get back into it, to see if there's a way to watch it now because Kzy is really good and also one half of their tag team champions.   This match also made me want to see Natural Vibes vs Work Horsemen and if it already exists out there I will find it and watch it.

There is just something about watching Anthony Henry wrestle that I can't put my finger on.   He's so methodical- everything he does has such a great purpose and there is no wasted movement from him.   And it is difficult for me, seeing him live for the first time this year, to imagine anyone else as being the best in the world right now.

The other half of Natural Vibes, BIG BOSS Shimizu, was up next against Robert Martyr, who has just been crushing it in GSPW and pretty much everywhere he goes.   I really enjoyed this match and afterwards Martyr cut a promo about how GSPW was the first place to really take a chance on him like this and I'll agree.  You may seen Robert Martyr before, but I truly do feel like GSPW is bringing out the best in him.   

Yoya is over in a big way in NJ and this felt like Ryan Mooney's GSPW debut but I'm not sure.  This is like the Anthony Henry thing where I don't know how other fans feel about wrestlers outside of where I usually see them.  The fans of GSPW may not have seen that Mooney match in GRIND and so it feels like we're in the multiverse.   

But Ryan Mooney did what he does best and wrestled the hell out of Yoya.   This was a really fun match because both wrestlers have that speed but also those strikes.  Whenever I go back in time and try and think of who is such a speedy striker my mind usually takes me to Tajiri and this match almost did feel like a classic ECW matchup with Tajiri vs Super Crazy.

The main event saw Alan Angels defend the GSPW Openweight Championship against Marcus Mathers.   There was this one moment in the match where it looked as if Marcus Mathers had won and was the new Champion.  The place just erupted.   Even though it got overturned, the fans are ready for Marcus Mathers to be Champion.  I don't think it's as much as the fact that the majority of that crowd hates Alan Angels, but also because the crowd loves Marcus Mathers that much.   My prediction is before the end of 2023 Marcus Mathers will be wearing gold.

When the show was over, Natural Vibes came out so Quentin got a picture with them.  I really appreciate how GSPW has certain wrestlers come out during intermission and others after the show.  If everyone was just out all at the end, it might not be as easy to see everyone you want to see, but this system just seems to work so well.   And so far every GSPW show that we've gone to hoping to meet a wrestler there we have yet to not meet someone we wanted.

This was the fifth overall show of GSPW.  It took us about two hours to get there, but it's closer to an hour and a half drive home.   The first three GSPW shows were further away into NJ. but as long as they keep coming back to the MECCA, I will continue to drive and see them because they just have these matches where every match feels like a main event.  It's so hard to choose what my favorite match was because I just enjoyed them all so much.

Not many promotions will present you with a card that makes you want to drive this far to see it and they only have a handful of matches announced.   And then, on top of that, they go and announce a Sumie Sakai match three days before the show when I already have tickets.   My advice for fans wanting to buy GSPW tickets is to get them as soon as they go on sale because the closer it gets to the show date the bigger names and matches start coming out as well.

Music Review //
Oliver Ghoul

With those distorted sounding vocals, the music of Oliver Ghoul has this indie rock vibe to it which can feel trippy/psychedelic and like we are in space at the same time.   There aren't really a lot of artists to compare this with because while there are pieces of a band such as Cage The Elephant in here, there is also something else which just takes to this other place-- there is this other layer to it.

At one point the song breaks down into soft tones, getting quieter, and then it comes back with big keys that sound like sirens but still those funky guitars remain.   This reminds me in some ways of someone such as Gnarls Barkley, but it's really just such a combination of different aspects of different sounds that it forms its own sound.

While the sound of Oliver Ghoul can be guitar-driven, it doesn't sound like a guitar and can almost feel like it's a pop rock song but also that trippy quality remains.   During this music video, there is also a ghost present and with that these whirrs come through and can make this song feel haunted at the same time.   Regardless of being able to say "This sounds like Artist A + Artist B", I think there's just some other element I cannot put my finger on.

Back in the early '00's I think the genre known as "college indie rock" really kind of went full bloom.   Bands like Snow Patrol were taking over the radio and bands like What Made Milwaukee Famous were also out there, less discovered perhaps.   Oliver Ghoul would've fit perfectly within this scene, with this unique sound that is a reflection of bands such as Silversun Pickups but also just such a force all its own.  

Music Review //
Angela Saini
"It's Ok

The music of Angela Saini is distinct because there is a catchy-pop way about this song, but underneath it also feels like country.   There is that radio country or pop country aspect of it all, which of course makes me think about an artist such as Shania Twain, as I have little experience with the radio country but also feel as if that's a well enough known name to just leave that one there.

"It's Ok" moves at a steady pace and feels upbeat but the lyrics are also more encouraging in that way of needing to be lifted up.    The idea of the song starts with stating that if you don't feel like going outside then you shouldn't go outside.   This is something I've been struggling with a lot lately (and I think we all do) because it feels like we want to live our fullest lives and go out and do all that we can.

But sometimes constantly going and never taking a break can take its toll on our health- both mental and physical.   We need to be able to recognize that if we're going to take a weekend off to relax once in a while it's not a bad thing and it will just make the weekends when we're out there doing things feel more meaningful.   But then Angela Saini goes on to sing the classic line: "It's ok not to be ok", which is something I didn't hear a lot growing up.

Though it still happens now, in the past whenever someone was sad we'd always try and encourage them to stop crying and "put on a happy face".   There was never really a lot of positivity around being sad and I think it's ok (as the song says) to be sad and we need to be more accepting of that because bottling up or ignoring our emotions isn't the way to go through life.  Hopefully this song can help us celebrate that fact a little bit more as we certainly seem to need to be reminded of it.  

Friday, February 3, 2023

Music Review //
Robert Jon & The Wreck
"Come At Me"

One of the first things we should always notice about Robert Jon & The Wreck is how much their sound just has that classic rock sound but remains feeling modern.    All too often it feels like bands who try to emulate that classic rock sound feel like they're just stuck in the past, but Robert Jon & The Wreck have found a way to do it that would make "Come At Me" a song which would fit in on both the classic rock and modern rock radio stations.

The song has this energy which is delivered with a punch in the chorus.  I enjoy this aspect of the song because it can feel as if there is a specific adversary that we are saying "Come At Me" too- something which is specifically standing in our way.  But at the same time, as the song goes on about being sick of being tired, it just feels like it's this anthem to just embracing life and taking whatever comes your way.

The music video switches from various clips to a basketball court, which gives you this general idea of how this song could be specific.   If you're in a basketball game, then you would tell the other team "Come At Me".   And in that context it works, so seeing it within the video just makes sense.    But not everyone plays basketball, so you have to find whatever that opposing basketball team in your life is.

As the video comes to an end, we see a team of children challenge the band to basketball and pay off the ref.  One of the kids kicks one of the adults in the shins, causing them to make the play easier and score points.  I think this is that gentle reminder that life isn't always fair- sometimes it's going to kick you in the shins- but also that when we're kids we tend to have it easier than we do as adults.   The older you get, the more often you have to remember to say "Come At Me" to the opposition.  

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Music Review //
Tara MacLean

The sound of the song "Sparrow" is softer, as it tends to focus primarily on the vocals and guitar.  It reminds me a bit of Fleetwood Mac, but if you have your own sense of singer/songwriter performers you'll likely form your own opinions.  Somewhere between folk and rock with a little bit of country, Tara MacLean crafts a unique sound because her voice is so present.

I didn't really know what to expect from a song called "Sparrow" but I am at the point in my life where I enjoy birdwatching.  Throughout the lyrics, the key to this song seems to be about moving on.  There is a line: "Somehow I'm finally myself" and I think for a lot of our lives we try to be who we think we should be but then eventually just turn into who we are.

There is also a line about how "Nothing's unforgivable" and I think as it relates to the sparrow you have to agree.  When you hold onto something it can eat at you inside more and do more damage to you than it ever does to anyone else.  Holding onto these things is like holding onto a sparrow that is meant to fly.

At the same time, this whole song and just thinking about the sparrow should be a reminder of how big the world is in comparison to us.  Have you ever seen the same bird twice? In a city, you could see pigeons every day, but how do you know they're the same pigeons?  So maybe you only see this pigeon for five seconds of its life.  Everything feels like such a short fragment of time when you listen to this song and begin to see it all on such a larger scale.

Music Review //
The Hello Darlins
"Better Days"

As long as I've been listening to music, I've always felt like it could change your mood but sometimes you had to put on sad music to feel happy again.   The idea of "Better Days" being ahead could be presented as an upbeat pop song, but The Hello Darlins have this slower, blues type of way about making this song which just seems to work.

You can hear the organs come out and The Hello Darlins feel like The Wallflowers or borderline country even.   "Better Days" is slow, winding and it has soul.   It doesn't feel like the type of song that you would classify as happy, if you were thinking from a pop point of view, but it does have a positive message with line such as "There'll be sunshine after the rain".

One of the most powerful things about music is that it can make you feel things that the song does not actually portray.   This isn't a happy song, but it is one of coping and so much like the blues themselves, if you listen to this and you are feeling down, you'll likely relate with the way that it sounds and when the words sink in, you'll realize that things will get better.

I'm not sure about anyone else, but if I want to put on music to make me happy, if I'm feeling down, I'm not going to put on an overly pop song such as "Mmbop".  That would just annoy me.  The way that this song isn't about being happy right now but knowing that happiness will come in the near future makes it match up with the sound even more and for that, people should be listening to The Hello Darlins.