Happy Thanksgiving, my lovelies! I have exited the 'hood and am home for the holidays in Big Sky Country. Thanksgiving has always been a chill day of eating, napping and movie watching at my family's house. This is the primary reason why I always enjoy coming to Montana for this holiday vs. Christmas. Well, that and Christmas was the BUSIEST time of year in banking and I've never been able to have the time off. As you recall I purposely made November the month of fashion features (MY FAV!) because I knew it would be c-razy busy and it was. But, it was also filed with a few adventures. One adventure in particular involved a local band called VanLadywhat? Van. Lady. Love. So, we're going to talk about it. Oh and you know the reason why I sported a pretty kick ass tee to Thanksgiving dinner (see above).
I haven't talked about this much, but I grew up in a very musical home. I also grew up in a very compettive and semi-OCD, perfectionist-laden home, but we won't get into that dirty laundry. The combination of those has produced humans who fiercely appreciate good music. I grew up loving The Beatles as much as Puccini and Mario Lanza and I still do. One of the MANY reasons I love living in Ogden is the amount of local musical talent that I've been exposed to through festivals and what not. One of those festivals was the Harvest Moon Festival on Historical 25th Street. It's the biggest event of the year, in terms of foot traffic, for 25th Street and I had heard all about it for months so my two friends and I went to see what the hoopty-doo was all about. We were pleasantly surprised and had such a great time..as exhibited here....
These pictures were taken as we were sitting on the street listening to the bands. **Disclaimer** In order for you to know why this is such a hilarious story I will sacrifice my anonymity and will give the entire story. As we were sitting in our seats and my friend was sipping a cosmo (or two) and Sarah and I were taking duck face selfies, this random, bearded man wearing red chucks walked past us. Now, you all know that I dig the beardy men as previously discussed in my book review for Becoming Beauty. I'm also a total sucker for shoes. And a total sucker for red shoes. Good hell, this dude had our attention because of it all. And it was so funny. We quickly realized that said distraction was one of the members of the headlining band! Gaaa! We must stay because of his shoes! I need to get a life. The only problem was we had tickets to a play and it was in a playhouse on 25th Street. I was looking forward to it so much, as were my friends, so we opted to go and we would catch the band in their 2nd set after the play concluded. If you've ever tried to concentrate on anything after being delightfully distracted you know that it's basically impossible. I loved the play, but I could hear this mystery band through the entire production and they kept playing GOOD SONGS! Damn them! As soon as the play was finished we tried to listen to a few songs from their 2nd set, but it was late and we had to get home....old lady syndrome + lots of drunken Ogdenites = over and out. I had walked by one poster and saw that their band name was VanLadyLove. A catchy little name for sure and it spurred my curiosity to look them up. Social media is a beautiful thing and I found them on Facebook and Instagram. And you bet I read their bios and figured out if that beardy, red-chucks-wearing distraction had a name. He does, but you'll have to look him up and figure out what it is.
One of the things I quickly realized about the guys of VLL is their sincere love for their fans. And I'm not talking their management company loves them....no these guys LOVE their fans. They are still accessible and relatively normal, unlike many of the other bands that have made a name for themselves after getting their gig started in a garage in the UT. Not too long after they performed in Ogden they released a new CD called Love Matter.
It is such a great, great, great album. It's so wonderful that I wish it was longer!!! At one point I had taken advantage of the free download that they had offered to promote the album, but my lack of technology skills meant that I didn't listen to it. Lame sauce, I know, but the reality. At the end of October I went to visit my friend in Idaho and I needed some new tunes for my trip home. So, I downloaded as many of the albums that I could find on iTunes. Um ya. It was embarrassing how I reacted to the songs when I started playing them. Those are the moments that I am mucho grateful for my fancy car with a less than desirable car payment and the fact that I was travelling solo...... I can have a concert whenever I want to and be a diva back-up singer. And that I did. A four hour drive was made so much more enjoyable with the tunage of VanLadyLove. Because there is always an introspection piece to my blog posts, I want to share one of my favorite lines from their song, "Neverland."
"You should take a chance with something greater, greater than you have ever known"
Some might say this is a no-brainer or a tiny bit cliché, but we all have that dream that we are holding back to try, but give it a chance!!! I love the fairy tale theme of this song, even after having my view of Peter Pan slaughtered on ABC's tv series, "Once Upon a Time." We all want to fly away to Neverland and stop time when life is perfect and beautiful. The time when we our snuggling the ones we love, there is food in the fridge, money in the bank account and a full tank of gas in the vehicle. If you would like to see a great music video for this song, check out this one from their YouTube channel --HERE--
So, what's the point of all of this? What's the adventure I referenced? VLL took a trip to NYC and upon their return they had a come back concert in Provo at the beginning of this month. I was determined to go. Ogden and Provo aren't next door to each other so it meant a bit of a sacrifice for me to get there. I also wasn't going to go alone because I needed company to venture to Happy Valley. And who do I call on when I need a crazy wing lady? The one and only...Sarah. And why the hell not? We got each other into this silly fan girl mess so why not make it legit by being groupies??? I hoped to win tickets and when I didn't I was like, "meh, oh well, I guess it's not meant to be...." Plus I was getting sick and I knew by the end of an insanely busy week I would be dead to the world and so would Sarah. And then it happened. Remember the personal interaction with fans because their semi-normal still? Well, imagine my surprise when I received a message that said they were really sorry I didn't win the tickets and that I should still buy some and come to see them. How freaking nice is that? Oh, and they also sent a free audio download of this song. Brownie points racking up left and right! So I bought the tickets. And just as I suspected I was sick as hell by Friday and so was Sarah but we were committed to this concert and we were GOING! Due to some work commitments I had that day, it took some pretty sweet logistics planning to get us down there, but they were the last band to perform so we arrived a little early to make sure we had time to park. It was quite the experience. When we walked in to The Velour, it was clearly evident that we were amongst the population of college kids from BYU. Young, chipper and super sober and "high on life" kids. Sarah and I quickly took up residence against the wall....prettiest wall flowers in the building...and observed these crazy kids who were much more entertaining than the band that was playing. We definitely threw off the average-age demographic that night.
During all of this I was posting my sassy feedback on Instagram and the VLL boys were liking and replying and Sarah and I were laughing a lot. Again, social media, you amuse me on so many levels. It was finally their turn to take the stage and it was awesome. Remember I was drowning and felt like shit, but this was one of the coolest shows I've seen. My reasoning for telling you I have a borderline snobbish opinion of musicians is this....a true, talented musician is one that does NOT need a mixer or an editing wizard to make them sound good. A true musician performs better in person and even better unplugged. This is the case for VanLadyLove. 100%. Their show at The Velour was absolutely unbelievable. I stood there and couldn't even believe it. I had been listening to their CD for a couple of weeks and trolling their social media enough to know that they were good, but it wasn't until I heard them live, in a small space with the coolest vibe that I became a true fan. Even Sarah was mucho impressed with their vibe and talent. She generally doesn't go to live local concerts because, in her words, 'they're too screamy.' But, VLL is chill and not 'screamy' at all. The concert was so much fun and we laughed and laughed, especially when beardy red-chucks boy (you thought I would reveal his name, didn't you?) decided that he was going to progressively lose pieces of clothing because it was so hot. Here are some phone photos that I took from the concert.
The encore included a shirtless bass player! Lucky us! .... ha ha ha!
After the concert ended they were available for fan photos outside the venue, but it was freezing, late and we were both expiring at a rapid rate and had a long drive home. In the midst of all the chaos of waiting fans, I noticed that they had t-shirts, but I was too tired to buy one and the colors weren't my favorite (because that matters). I tucked that away until I was rested and we drove home. Later that weekend I jumped online and ordered a shirt. It took a few days before I started to notice that I hadn't heard anything about shipping. I sent an email to the band on Facebook to check-in and later that night here came an email from the lead singer. The t-shirt colors had changed and he was just checking to see if I liked the other color. Seriously? How cool is that? I actually liked it better and gave him the go-ahead to send it to me. A few more days passed and I checked in to see when they were going to send it. A hilarious banter conversation commenced about them being slow and me saying maybe that was because they were from Provo and dot dot dot.....
Last week I came home to a package in the mail that I thought was going to be just a t-shirt, but what it turned out to be was a t-shirt, some red sunnies and a CD and they were all autographed. EVEN the shirt. I took to social media to thank these four for making a very shitty day turn sunny and snapped a ridiculous late night, cat lady crazy hair photo showing it off.
I appreciated the extra touch so much. I'm often the one behind the extra touch for others through #happymailfromthehood and some days I need it too! There are a lot of other fabulous stories that go along with getting to know the guys of VanLadyLove, but I won't share them all because I've incriminated myself enough for one post. And I might add that my favorite band member is not the same person as my sister and if I blew HER cover I would be dead meat. But, I converted her pretty quick just by sending her to their website to listen to their music and watch the YouTube videos. If there was any kind of grand scheming going on in my head it would include a comeback concert to Ogden in 2015 and a jam session to a re-mix of "Let It Be." Yesterday my sister and I practiced my part in the parking lot of our favorite restaurant and I'd say I'm off to a good start with my practicing!The moral of the story: As with every good recipe, the extra ingredient is always LooooooooooooVE, and there is no exception with VanLadyLove. Rock on, Provo boys. Rock on.
Until next time, my lovelies!