Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Something To Believe In (My Parachute Concert Experience)

Rock and roll music has been a major part of my life for many years now and nothing creates that sense of euphoria, to me at least, quite like dancing and singing along as your favorite band plays live. It’s an even better experience when you are surrounded by other people that care about and love that quality music at the same level that you do. There is something wonderful and magical about experiencing a great rock concert and Sunday night’s Parachute concert at the House of Blues in Dallas was exactly that!

My set list autographed by the band

Hailing from Austin, Texas, I moved to Seattle two-and-a-half years ago. My first time to see Parachute in concert was at The Crocodile in Seattle. Once I experienced one of their rockin’ shows, I knew I had to go to another. I joined their street team and promoted them heavily to everyone and anyone that would listen. I realized that as they announced tours, Seattle was not one of their frequented cities. I would follow them on Twitter and hunt down videos on YouTube in hopes of sharing a second-hand experience of this band whose music meant so much to me. After waiting for what seemed like forever, they finally announced that not only were they going to be recording a new album, they were going to be touring in the fall again! Sadly, Seattle wasn’t on the list, so I did what I had to—I hopped a flight to Dallas, Texas to spend my birthday weekend with my best friend, and to go to that concert at The House of Blues.

Will Anderson & Nate McFarland

I had already bought my tickets to the show when they announced they were doing a fan contest where you could win tickets to the show and access to an exclusive meet and greet to hear the studio versions of songs on their unreleased album. My Seattle friends helped me enter the contest, and after waiting anxiously for the results, I found out that I had won! Not only was I going to go to an amazing show, and be able to hear the new songs, but I got to bring two friends along for free! My best friend’s roommate, who is also a fan, joined us and we were all extremely excited as we set out for the show and the Hear It First Listening Party!

Alex Hargrave & Johnny Stubblefield

As Parachute’s tour manager, Chris Jones, led us into the Cambridge Room, Johnny, Kit, Nate, Alex, and Will were there waiting for us and they welcomed us to the party! To say I was excited might be the biggest understatement of the year. After getting to say hello and hug the guys, they quickly led us all over to some couches along the wall (set up had run late and cut short our time by a little bit) and let us listen to a couple of the tracks off of the new album. The songs were amazing! First, we got to hear “Something To Believe In” (a track noted as Jeremiah on the set list). The gospel tracks laced into the song were astounding and added a strong layer of fullness to the crisp recording. Then we got to listen to “White Dress” (a song they referred to as Bumpin’ Jam on the set list). I suggested to Will that they should definitely add “bumpin’ jam” into parenthesis after the song title because it was so true to the nature of the song. It was one of those songs that make you want to drum on the steering wheel as you cruise down the highway and bob your head to the beat causing passersby to stare, wishing they were having as much fun as you are. Having heard the live recording of it on YouTube, I had already regarded it as a song made of gold, but after listening to the studio recording, I’m more apt to consider it a Scrooge McDuck-sized vault of musical gold! The lyrical depth and overall arrangement of both songs made it clear that these guys were pushing their music and style to a new level of excellence. The fact that Kit and Johnny were dancing around in the background made it an extra special experience.

Kit French

After the listening party, we waited anxiously for the show to start. The moment Parachute took the stage, the night of fun had come full circle. We all cheered loudly as Nate, Alex, Johnny, and Kit stepped on the stage to lay down the intro to White Dress. Already brimming with excitement, the energy in the crowd was intensified as Will joined the band front and center to lead us all in the truly “bumpin’ jam.”

The performance was packed with fun and excitement thanks to a solid set of both old and new songs. We clapped and sang along to songs featured on their first album, Losing Sleep, and danced as we listened intently to the newer ones like the deceptively catchy upbeat chorus, She’s in love with someone elsein the song What I Know. As Will took a moment to introduce the song Square One with the insight that it was written as a result to being “played” in a relationship, a united groan of understanding was echoed by the majority of guys in the crowd. It was clear that everyone in the crowd could relate on some level to the songs blasting from the speakers. From the sweetly refreshing acoustic version of All That I Am, to the punchy vocals on the funk-infused Halfway, to the fist-pumping powerhouse of a song, Under Control, the band’s stellar stage presence and showmanship propelled the show to an amped-up out-of-this-world level. From talking to fellow fans (both old and new) in the crowd afterward, I think it’s safe to say that the entire experience left a positive, indelible impression of what a quality rock show is all about.

Our Listening Party group:
Johnny, Chad, Will, Katie, Me, Diane, Kit, Kelley, Nate, Alex

Here are more photos from the show taken by my friend Chad, who graciously relieved me of camera duty so that I could enjoy the show with no distractions!

It truly was a night I'll never forget!
I can't wait until they release dates
for more touring in the beginning of 2011
and I for SURE cannot wait for the new album to drop!

No comments: