Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks Album Review

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks Album Review

Hey guys, just throwing up my latest album review for Abort Magazine.

Let me know what you think!

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Suit & Tie Review

Before Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake, I had never seen a show at B.C. place. When I arrived to my first stadium show, I was told by the first security guard I was to be on the floor, I didn’t believe them as I walked down to the second floor to ask for directions, again, I was sent down to the floor. I didn’t believe it until I was sitting in the B section, looking at a very intricately designed stage. I was surrounded by thousands of seats, the blue sky visible through the new and improved, tax paid roof of the heart of B.C. entertainment. The stage was a very vivid blood red, square screens form an optical illusion in the center, instruments from bongo’s to a scarlet piano strategically litter the layers of the stage. For a moment, I was so interested in trying to figure out the stage and how it worked that I was forced back into reality by a tap on the shoulder by the woman next to me, looking up from my notebook where I was sketching the optical illusion the blood red walls created. “Are you doing homework?” she asked, her friends laughed.

“Dressed to the tee, they call me Cassidy” DJ Cassidy starts the party off with a mix of dance songs from the last few decades. The songs ranged from Drake to Guns n Roses, but for me, it was when Cassidy played some Notorious B.I.G. that I stood up to show my appreciation by grooving out a bit. DJ Cassidy did a good job setting up, he didn’t even have to ask for a lot of us to just start dancing to the music, at least half of the stadium was on their feet. The turn table set-up was actually behind me on the floor so I mostly just got a look from behind but the legs of the table are golden, Victorian style,. The theme of the night seems to be red, as DJ Cassidy was mixing under the red glow of the lights, and above a red carpet. He’s rocking an ivory suit with a white barbershop hat. He keeps the crowd engaged by replacing names of other cities in songs with Van city, but as he gets to hit last few songs he loses a lot of the massive audience when transitioning from dubstep to a very slow beat hip hop song. Everyone was on their feet moments later though, when two figures appeared on the stage on either side. The party has begun.

The blood red walls I had jotted down on my notebook are revealed to be LED screens, as JT and Jay-Z start their set off, they portraying the Magna Carta sculpture scene. Justin Timberlake rocks in a black fedora while Jay-Z lays it down with the New York Nets backwards snapback, proving once again that no matter where you go, “you are what you are playah”. As the show rolls on, both of our proclaimed Legends of the Summer gets their own chance to have the audience sing along to their best and favorite songs. The optical illusion LED screens are like their own performance, showing images that go with songs, from a snake slithering, getting bigger as it crawls from square to square, to water droplets on a puddle for the infamous Justin Timberlake song: “Cry Me A River”, to a blazing fire that was so bright it seemed real for the more recent hit, “99 Problems”.

I wouldn’t say either of our MC’s was more over with the audience, but Jay-Z got us to be louder, that’s for sure. However, watching Justin Timberlake dance around on stage, picking up whatever instrument he see fit from the keyboard to the electric guitar, he was having fun, and showing just how talented he is. JT does not show any more age today than when he was just starting out. If anything he’s just more confident and more talented. Jay-Z should not be sold short either as he strings words together better than a beat poet, dropping lyrics far beyond where my tongue got twisted, true rapid fire lyrics. We throw up an ocean of Rock-A-Fella Diamonds to show our respect for the hip hop god. The dynamic duo before us present us with tremendous range that still feels natural despite drastic changes in the transition from a Jay-Z song, to a Justin Timberlake song. JT, being the more energetic of the two, will run from one end of the stage to the other, making sure nobody is left out. At one point in fact, he danced from one end to the other. Justin Timberlake’s sets felt more like a cabaret feeling, while Jay-Z maintained the hip hop bobbing, and they swapped constantly so it always felt fresh, the set list is a well-planned flow of the new and old hits of the suit and tie rocking masters.

Jay-Z and JT come back together for “New York”, giving me an experience that alone is worth the cost of admission. Justin Timberlake starts singing “New York, New York” on stage right with a spotlight on him, his voice showing no weakness at all from the hour of entertainment beforehand, Justin hit amazing notes as he passionately sings the legendary Frank Sinatra hit. All of a sudden, Jay-Z’s “New York” kicks in, and anyone that had sat down from exhaustion is now on their feet. Rain begins to fall from the sky above the stadium through the open roof as the sun set in Vancouver, our heat wave and flawless month of sun is over, but it doesn’t get to us, this is the peak of the night. Everyone sings the chorus, so loud in fact that Jay-Z could let the audience sing a majority of the song. When Jay-Z finished his dedication to the city that raised him, Justin Timberlake is now on stage left, he finished his with a bang, dragging the last note out longer than any of us.

After singing the recent hit, “Mirrors”, JT stands on center stage, beginning to descend as if part of a magic trick, next to where JT once was is now Jay-Z for his solo time. Using elevated pads for these last transitions was awesome, especially when Jay-Z switched back with Justin saying “Go get ‘em JT” for the song I first thought was performed by a female when I heard it on the radio in high school Spanish, “Bringing Sexy Back”. Now JT got his chance to let the audience sing a majority of one of his songs. People stood on their folding chairs as they belted out how they too were bringing sexy back. For the finale, JT goes down via the elevator pad, while the band continues to jam out to the sexy back beat.

The house is dark, black as the night outside. The band is silent, but the crowd is loud, screaming for more. Lights hit center stage where Jay-Z and JT come down the staircase in the middle in their suits for the song that inspired this spectacular night, “Suit & Tie”. Both are also holding glasses of champagne, however, only JT drinks from his. JT has a dishevelled bowtie with his suit, while Jay-Z continues to rock the bling he is synonymous for. We have reached our last song when Jay-Z dedicated it to Trayvon Martin, the young man who’s tragic story of a hate crime ending his life, proving that racism is still alive in today’s day and age, the song is “Forever Young”. The sea of fans respond with waving cell phones and lighters, lighting the tremendous stadium as if it were daytime, or as most people refer to, the place lit up like a Christmas tree. It’s an amazing experience to be on the floor and look around at the mass of people united in a mutual respect for a worthy cause, great music, and a spectacular night.

The sea of humanity floods out into the streets of downtown Vancouver to join another from the Festival of Lights like a weather system. Despite the fact that I have been on my feet since DJ Cassidy decided to play my favorite song to smoke to, “Juicy”, I am able to weave through people consistently and make it home quite swiftly. The show may be over, but I’m still feeling the effects, running through it all in my head, all the elements that came together so well to create the stadium experience. Everything from the light show and stage design to the summer legends on the stage culminated together for the best show I’ve seen thus far, and my very first stadium show. Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake need to be seen to be fully believed, and they put it all on the floor tonight.

Anxiety Blog 1

Intro:

I’ve been away for a while because things have gone from bad to worse lately. Only in the last couple days have things gotten better.

 

I’ve been thinking about doing this blog for a very long time, as I believe it can help people, however, I’ve always been somewhat insecure about talking about it. It’s a sensitive issue for most people, and I’m afraid people will see it as my way of complaining about my issues, however, it couldn’t be further from the truth. With a little help, and guidance from my friends, they told me to go ahead and talk openly about my issues with anxiety.

 

Before I go on any more, these are certainly MY issues. I’m not interested in blaming people for them, despite the fact that I sometimes do as a defense mechanism. I acknowledge the fact that in most situations, I am the problem because most people do not understand anxiety. If people cannot see something, usually they don’t believe it. In my experience, this is a fact. Even when something is explained, most people still have issues understanding or believing. As I’ve said, this post is about trying to help people in the future on the sensitive  issue of anxiety.

 

Anxiety, what it is in my experience: 

For me, anxiety is an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion induced by stress usually. In my life, most of my anxiety came from things not going as planned. If I put a lot of effort into planning something and it ended up exploding in my face for whatever reason, I would have a tremendous panic attack. Things have always been, and continue to be this way for me. Anxiety stifles my breathing, makes me lightheaded, gives me tunnel vision, often it nullifies my ability to think rationally, and almost always it makes me very sleepy after a big panic attack.  Overly negative people have also always been a trigger to my panic attacks, as well as people over reacting to something I say (like taking a joke seriously). This is a part of being unable to control my surroundings, which is something people with anxiety have issues dealing with. They think they need to be able to control everything, even things well beyond their control. I’ve been in relationships, and friendships with people who don’t understand, this is my attempt at helping people understand not just for me, but other people who suffer from the same thing.

 

Being in a relationship with someone with anxiety:

I guess the first thing to mention is you should be honest no matter what. When people with anxiety catch you in a lie, they will forever think you’re lying to them, besides, there’s no point lying in a relationship to begin with. It’s unhealthy. Communication is definitely necessary for both parties, particularly the one suffering with anxiety. It’s best to talk about potential triggers of panic attacks and ways you can both avoid these triggers together, this requires a fair level of understanding from the less anxious party, as you have to think how things can affect your significant other. It’s hard to imagine what they’re going through, but think of it like this: The more anxiety we experience, the more damage it does to us, potentially taking years off our lives. Not to say that you’re killing anyone by triggering a panic attack, but you’re doing more damage than it seems, and most people with anxiety are too afraid to tell you, especially if you’re their significant other. To be fair, most people have an inability to see what’s wrong, so talk about it.

A lot of relationships are one sided. Most unsuccessful relationships, I can say from experience, are unsuccessful because one person has to do most of the work. Factoring in anxiety, if you’re the one with anxiety AND you’re also the one doing all the work, you’re going to have a really hard time.

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In my experience I was in a relationship with a girl that lived about 2 hours away, and I bused out all the time to see her, but she never bused out to see me, past a certain point she didn’t even drive out to see me even when she could. This alone caused a lot of unneeded anxiety having to bus around so much Occasionally  I’d have to bus to work early in the morning, and sometimes she’d request me to come out at very late hours of the night, sometimes impossible hours, in that the buses literally had already stopped running. To any average person, they’d just say no and be done with it, but to someone with anxiety they freak out because presenting them with an idea that they would consider, but can’t because of extenuating circumstances, they overreact. Like I said, we want to control things. SO thinking about what I said from my experience, you should consider both working together. Putting too much pressure on one person is enough to exhaust them, let alone someone with anxiety.

Working Together: 

As I’ve said, communication is key, however, I should elaborate that FAIR communication is key. This means no pointing fingers. I’m guilty of doing this, as I’m sure many people with anxiety are. We tend to point fingers when experiencing overwhelming anxiety, or when we’re in a panic attack. Though the worst thing you can do when someone is having a panic attack is ignore them. Just change the subject and give them a bit more time to think before responding, make sure they’re okay, but don’t treat them much differently either. Just maintain a calm setting and avoid arguments even when the person experiencing the attack seems hostile. It will pass. Often times we say things in panic attacks we almost instantly regret. I can’t explain the science behind it, but I’ve personally said some hurtful things to some people when having a panic attack, I suspect it’s a defense mechanism. People with anxiety tend to push people away, especially when people get too close. Work together by talking about it. If something is compromised, work it out as a team. When things get rough, wait it out. The bad episodes pass and it’s best to weather the storm together. Encourage seeking help in the mental health sector, be there for them through the long mental health process, it’s a life lesson for both of you. All storms pass, and I like to say: There’s always bomb shelters in shit storms. And there’s nothing someone with anxiety needs more than having someone there for them through the good and bad. Too many times have we been abandoned by people, or we’ve pushed then away when things got rough. Finding someone that is willing to stick by you through the hard times is something I KNOW we all cherish.

Weather the storm
Weather the storm

 

Slow down:

If you’re early in a relationship with someone with anxiety, don’t rush things. Give yourselves enough space to go at a comfortable pace. Don’t be too emotional or overreact (or pretend to be offended,upset,etc.) with someone with anxiety early on, they may push you away before they want to just because they’re afraid you won’t be able to handle them at their worst. Give yourselves air to breathe. Think of anxiety in this case like the Sims. In the Sims you can give your characters a list of tasks to do, this list can get rather long, however, usually something goes wrong with the Sim and they decide they want food instead, or they break the toilet again. This can be related to rushing into a relationship because you are giving yourselves so many tasks so early on, and preparing for a long future when you don’t know what’s going to happen between now and getting married, particularly the thought that you might not even get that far.

Couldn't have predicted that.
Couldn’t have predicted that

 

Sure, it’s nice to think about and talk about but it’s overwhelming to people with anxiety to think years ahead, often times it’s hard for us to think days ahead, and as I’ve said, in my experience I try not to make plans because my panic attacks are most frequently induced when things don’t go as planned. Most relationships don’t go as planned, that’s part of the fun. Carpe diem as they say, seize the day, seize the moment. Living in the moment is usually better than dreaming of the future anyways. Relationships are not about the destination, they’re about the journey.

 

Seems hard? It’s not: 

Most of the things I’ve talked about are actually basics of most successful relationships, just in more depth. Communication, working together, taking things slow, these are all things most people should consider anyways, but if you’re in a relationship with someone that suffers from anxiety, these are a few great pointers to consider when having to go through the rough times, but you’ll find that it’s worth it. We seem complex because most people don’t understand, but anything that stresses most people out just stresses us out significantly more. Nothing is particularly unrealistic, in fact, pampering should not be a way to deal with someone during a panic attack, as psychologically it could have the reverse effect.

pavlov-rings-a-bell

 

What’s next?:

I’ll be working on more blogs about anxiety as it is an issue I have to deal with every day, and I’d like to help people that have to deal with it as well. I’ll be talking to others with similar issues to site them in future anxiety blogs, also I’ll be writing one about break up’s from the perspective of the person with anxiety, as well as a blog about being friends with someone with anxiety. I hope some of these pointers help, please share this with anyone you know that has to live with anxiety in hopes that it may help them.