Periphery/The Contortionist/Intervals Concert-The Best Show of my Life

Last night I went to Ziggy’s to see Periphery, The Contortionist, and Intervals. It was the greatest concert that I have ever been to. Intervals was really good. I was surprised that they did not have a bass player. They had Pro Tools running on a computer which leads me to believe that they had a recording of a bass player. They played a Jackson Chris Broderick model, a couple of Paul Reed Smiths, and an Ernie Ball Music Man. They were great and really fun to watch.

The Contortionist was amazing. They are one of those bands that have the perfect balance of dynamics and aggression. They played Ibanez 7 string guitars and their tone was amazing. Their singer was fantastic and one of a kind. He had this way of moving slowly during the clean parts and letting loose during the brutal guitar riffs. They played a mix from their entire catalogue. It was probably five or six songs. They played Language from their newest album and I didn’t realize how awesome it was hearing it in its entirety until hearing it live. Their drummer and keyboardist sounded great. They finished on Flourish from their first album.

Periphery was absolutely perfect. They played a lot of songs from their first album. They also played much of Periphery II, but not any songs from Clear. By the time that they played I was at the very front. I was standing behind one girl but that was still close enough to shake Mark’s hand and play his guitar during a couple of breakdowns. I was so close to Mark every time that he would stand on his riser. The whole band had so much energy. Spencer was the perfect front man. They had so many cool guitars. Jake had his cool Ibanez signature models. Misha played a mix of Jacksons, Strandbergs, and Aristedes guitars. Nolly had his amazing DIngwall basses. Mark had the coolest guitars. He played a Mayones 8 string, a Mayones 7 string, a PRS Se 7 string, and a custom PRS six string. They were all beautiful. It really inspired me to know that my PRS is good enough of a guitar that Mark would use one himself even in a live setting.I swear that the bass was perfect the entire show. Matt had his Mapex drum kit with the Periphery II cover on the bass drum. He was set up in a Showbread format with only a kick drum, snare, floor tom, and cymbals. Matt played a drum solo as the crowd chanted for an encore. Apparently the band played a new song from their album and gave a lesson to people who signed up for a workshop on Bandhappy.com. I would have gone to that had I known about it, but I have no regrets. I even bought a t-shirt and a couple of guitar picks. During the song in the encore, Mark used my hand to do a harmonic slide on his PRS 7 string and it was amazing. He played a three way game of Rock Paper Scissors with me and another fan and we both drew scissors. I understand why they use the Axe Fx II’s for their live shows because their tone was perfect. They a great sound guy because I could hear every note that each member played. I took a lot of videos and pictures from last night. I will probably sit down and watch them sometime today. I even got to say hi to Blake Richardson from Between the Buried and Me after the show. Overall it was a great night and I am so excited that I got to go.

The Contortionist-Language Review

Language is a fantastic marriage of ethereal cleans, brutal riffs, and brand new sounds that make up their latest effort to create a really strong album from start to finish. The Contortionist have really gone in a newer direction, but it pays off if you are willing to give it a change. After hearing the two singles: “Language I” and “Primordial Sound” I was expecting for a really abstract album with nearly all guitars playing on the clean channel. While there is more clean guitar with long delay than Exoplanet or Intrinsic, Language comes with heavy riffs that we have come to expect from The Contortionist. Language I champions the ethereal and ambient clean passages that are used by nearly all progressive metal bands. While most of their peers use these passages as breaks from brutal onslaughts of guitar riffs, Language I sees The Contortionist writing the songs based on the emotions and mood of the songs themselves.

If you were a big fan of Intrinsic, then chances are that you will really like Language. With Intrinsic, The Contortionist moved in a more progressive direction with even more ambience and dynamics than their first album, Exoplanet. Personally I thought that Exoplanet was among the strongest albums that I have heard in the past few years, but I guess that all artists need to evolve. The riffs that come up towards the middle of Language are just as brutal as you could imagine coming from the Contortionist. In fact, the songs in the middle are my favorite because they serve as something of a climax for the entire experience. Because of this the album feels like the listener goes on a sort of journey instead of just ten or so songs being placed together. By the time you get around to “Ebb and Flow” and “Parable,” you are put in a great finale to this piece of art that the Djent masters have created. I think that the end is probably the strongest part of the album. Honestly I love it all.

I would highly recommend this album to anyone who considers themselves a real Contortionist fan. That is, if you liked both Exoplanet and Intrinsic, you will probably love this album. However, if you thought that The Contortionist didn’t live up to your expectations with their second album Language is probably not for you.

Starting a Band

I started a band. I managed to meet someone on Craigslist who I didn’t regret jamming with. I met with another guitarist who is in to the same music as me and sees eye to eye on many of the same goals. He also wants to play Prog Rock/Metal. He has been playing for twelve years and I thought that we would be a little more unmatched in the skill department. I am glad that I was wrong. He can play faster and has a much better ear than me. However, he doesn’t seem to mind in the least. In fact he is supportive and encouraging. Also great is his optimism about writing songs and playing in the future. We have really good chemistry which is probably the most important factor in finding a writing partner. At this point we are learning a lot of Opeth and Porcupine Tree songs, but we will manage to expand our repertoire before long. He is really into Korn and Disturbed both of which I would be more than stoked to cover. I hope that we can jam with some other members before too long.

We are both interested in making Progressive Music that draws from a wide range of influences and captures a vast array of themes, emotions, and experiences. We haven’t entirely looked at getting new members quite yet, but it is only a matter of time before we get this train rolling. My friend is in the right headspace. He doesn’t have some lofty ambition of “making it” or signing a record deal before we have even played a show. We are also entering the third week of our endeavor. We are sounding better and better with each practice.

I am really excited to see where this will go and I believe that this could be something truly special.

My Potion of Choice- The Trey Special

 

Certain characters in fiction have a drink that is something of a signature for them. Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek drinks Earl Grey Tea and James Bond has his vodka martini “shaken, not stirred.”

Most people don’t know that I have a signature drink in real life.

It’s called “The Trey Special.” It is the drink that I continually ordered in the Fall of 2010 at a little coffee shop in High Point.

The drink is an iced coffee with two shots of expresso, vanilla flavoring, and cream. This drink was named after me on a day where the person in line behind me wanted the same drink. The barista behind the counter on that day said, “It’s called the Trey Special” and ever since I’ve only had to say that I want the special when I go into the coffee shop.

The drink being named after me partly came into being because I was in something of a slump at that point in my life and the guy behind the counter thought that I could use a boost in confidence. It did turn out to be effective. As you can imagine, it feels really cool to go into a coffee shop and use your name as your order of choice.

I have been in love with that same sweet taste of espresso and vanilla from that very moment. It should also come as no surprise that I frequently order the Trey Special whenever I can make a trip. My friend who is also that same barista works at a new coffee shop called Jumoka Cafe and I have since made it the new home of the Trey Special. It is also my spot of choice to catch up on my reading and writing.

Check out Jumoka Cafe if you are ever in High Point, North Carolina. Their baked goods, cookies, and cinnamon rolls are exquisite.

 

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Six String Bass: No Longer Alien

Like any other Wednesday I was up at my favorite music store in High Point where I came across a used six string Bass guitar. I was actually up there to have Paul look at my amp to see what was wrong with it. Still, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to pick up the bass and see how it felt.

The last time that I picked up a six string bass it was at the same music store. It was in a nearly identical situation except that it was before I ever spent any serious time with my Schecter Bass. My first impression was one of confusion, “How could anyone get their hands around this neck and manage to play any notes let alone make music?” I goofed around for several minutes but to no avail. It seemed that six string bass guitars were just the product of some alien culture or at the very least made by people with hands the size of tennis rackets. I felt that my average sized hands would never get along well with a neck that size.

This time was different. However, I felt about bass changed in that moment because this time my hands conformed to the neck instantly. I started seeing notes light up and scale patterns arrange themselves in front of my very eyes. I was able to play it just as well as my Schecter bass with little to no stretching of the muscles in my hand. I would even go so far as to say that I could have probably gone out and played a gig with that bass that very night. Yes, six string is hardly a stretch for someone who plays a five string bass regularly, but I don’t exactly give my bass playing as much attention as I do my guitar. I say all of this because it adds credibility to my eighteen months or so of practicing bass several times a week at the very least.

I know that this is due in large part to the year and a half that I have spent playing 5 string bass. However, I cannot help but use this as an opportunity to give myself a little credit. Where once I only saw a large plank of wood, I now saw music. As silly as that sounds, it proved to me that there is actually hope and proof of my progress with not only bass guitar, but as a musician. If I had to attribute any trait to what I consider a great musician, I would say that the ability to find new ways to create new or old sounds where there was previously only the mundane. The talent to make music with new sources is probably the most telling of all musical skills because unlike many of the techniques that you could learn and or fake on an instrument, there is always something to be said for making pleasing sounds given only experience and no room to fake what you have branded onto your brain via rote memorization.

It will be a very long time before I buy a bass let alone a six string. However, I take solace in knowing that the transition would not be a difficult one once the time comes.

Taking the Plunge

After much thought, I have come to the decision that I am going to minor in Music. I figured that I would go with a minor because I want to become a history teacher and I don’t want my entire future to be riding on my ability to play an instrument. There is also the fact that I will be able to enjoy my musical study more knowing that I have other irons in the fire.

Why music? Well… I have a burning desire to study music. Not just study, I also want to play it and get to know many other people who are like minded. For people who play sports, there are any numbers of options for them to get involved with other students in college with similar interests. Whether they are involved in NCAA sports teams or just intramural activities, they have plenty of ways to enjoy their passion in a university setting. They will meet plenty of friends because of the variety of options they are given. So why can’t I find the same thing through a music program? Well I can. There is no reason that I would have any problem finding a group of like minded people much like the people who play sports, act in drama programs, or pray in small devotion groups.

To achieve my goal I am committing to studying music in all the ways that I know possible. I am splitting my time up between practicing piano, sight reading music, chord theory, neck theory, metronome practice, classical guitar, jazz standards, ear training, various techniques, and listening to as many albums as I can get my hands on. Yes it will be a lot of work. However, it will be more than worth it to get one step closer to realizing my dream within a college setting.

I wouldn’t have to work on music in school to be the musician that I want to be. Still, I want to do it. I must admit that I “commit” to many projects which never quite get finished. In spite of this, I will be spending time every day working closer to a dream that has been said to be far-fetched; hopeless even. I welcome the challenge and am looking forward to the great effort that will be necessary to manifest this dream.

Preface to a Dream

My name is Trey and I wanted to chronicle my progress in all things music and writing as I walk down this excited street of passion. I have some definite goals along this path, but for right now we’ll just stick with my desire to get into a music program at a university. I felt that a blog would be the best way to share my endeavors with like-minded people.


“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
― John Lennon

I’m sure that the constant rants and raving criticism of my personal life may not be worth reading. However, I will let literary Darwinism determine whether this blog succeeds or fails.

The rest of the time I will be filling you in on life at the community college, my opinions on what goes on in the music world, things that I find interesting, anything that I may feel like writing including short stories, poetry, or non-fiction. As well as progress that I make recording music, and even songs that I get completed. I will also teach any discoveries that I may make filming, editing, and otherwise producing videos for my YouTube channel.