Weekend Coffee Share: Late Night Live Music & Early Mornings at the Library

If we were having coffee, we would most likely be in a car cruising down the interstate clutching cardboard Starbucks to-go cups.  I’d be tired and not super coherent–not that it matters due to the fact that the music would be blasting.  (Why I’m in this state will become clear later in the post.)

It’s been a busy week.  Well, the first of what will be many busy weeks.  When I’m not working my day job, I’m helping out at my family’s apple orchard.  We’re on the verge of peak apple season, which means that crowds are coming and no one in the house gets any rest.  I don’t have a single day off in the next month.  I’ve managed to squeeze in fun activities with friends here and there, which doesn’t do much for my overall energy levels, but completely worth it. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: Tired, Overwhelmed, and The Oh Hellos

If we were having coffee, you’d know right away that I am a mess.  My week was awful.

You see, I’m not a crier.  I’ll go for months and months without shedding a tear.  This doesn’t mean I’m not emotional–I definitely am.  My emotions just don’t manifest in tears very often.

That being said, I’ve had FOUR meltdowns this week.

Three happened in my car.  The first of these took place after the first training session for my new job.  The second was this morning on the way to church.  The third was an hour or so ago on my way home from church.  The other sob-fest happened over my bowl of Rice Krispies cereal on Tuesday morning.

As I said, I am a mess.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my new job is proving more stressful than anticipated.  I’ve finally got most of the day-to-day things under control, so my time in the office goes fairly smoothly.  But there is so much I don’t know or understand.  I have zero experience with finances, bills, invoices, payments, etc.  And, suddenly, I need to know how to do all of these things.  The people who are supposedly there to help me have proved only marginally useful.

I spent the entire week doing my best to stay positive and keep afloat.  Two of my nights were sleepless ones.  The while time, I thought that, if I could just get to the weekend, everything would be okay.  HA.  JOKE’S ON ME.

On Friday, I had to go in for my second training session while the rest of my family went to the movies.  Which TOTALLY sucked.  My little brother was home from college and I wanted to spend time with him.  I got to the office a bit before seven, as planned.  At 7:08, I got a text from the lady training me (who used to be in my position) saying she would be there by 7:30.  She didn’t end up getting there until almost eight o’clock.  Which meant I spent an HOUR of my Friday night sitting alone in a cold office playing games on my iPhone because I forgot to bring a book.  Because of her tardiness, we weren’t able to cover all the information and now have to meet again on Tuesday evening.

So that all sucks.

If we were having coffee, you’d know that my fourth and final meltdown of the week happened because I almost got into a car accident on my way home from church this morning.  But thinking about that just makes me more depressed, so we won’t go into details.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I saw the band The Oh Hellos live on Thursday.  It was, by far, the highlight of my whole week.  The show was INCREDIBLE.

The first opener was a band called Family & Friends and it was obvious that it was their first tour.  You could feel their enthusiasm oozing from the stage.  Their expressions were wild and excited and you couldn’t help feel it too.  It energized the whole crowd and set the tone for the entire night. When the headliner finally took the stage, we were all screaming before they played a single note.

If I could transport myself into the past, I’d go back to being in that crowd on Thursday.  It wasn’t very relaxing, but boy it was fun.  My friend and I let loose and went crazy.  We sang along to all the words we knew.  We cheered.  We raised our hands and clapped.  I completely let loose and danced, jumping and flailing awkwardly, losing myself in the music.  Gosh, it was a blast.

You see, The Oh Hellos are a phenomenal band.  They make music not for profit, but because they’re passionate.  Their passion is evident in every note.  Their music is clearly rooted in Christian faith, but they’re not a Christian band.  Their instrumentals are rich and flavorful and all the songs have deep, sophisticated lyrics.  I’d gush about how awesome they are more, but it might be better to write about them in other posts.  (So stay tuned for that.)

So, yeah.  Aside from going to the show, it’s been a pretty crappy week.  On the bright side, things can’t get much worse.  If you don’t mind, I’m going to go curl up under a blanket with a comfort book and go into hermit-mode during the remainder of my day off.  Later, though, I’ll come back on WordPress and would really love to hear how your week has been.  What would you share over coffee?

The Oh Hellos during the finale of their set.  SO GOOD.
The Oh Hellos during the finale of their set. SO GOOD.

This post is part of a link-up at Part Time Monster

Sonshine 2015

When one of your favorite bands plays at a music festival a mere twenty miles from your house, you can’t not go.  Right?

Yesterday, I attended the annual Sonshine Music Festival with my old roommate, Alli and one of her childhood friends.  I’ve wanted to go for a long time, but this was the first summer I’ve managed to be in the crowd.  Usually, the festival takes place in Wilmar, MN–near where I went to college.  This year, the event moved not only towns, but states!  It’s now in Somerset, Wisconsin–just across the river from home.

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Alli and I after Rend Collective’s set

Although the festival goes for many days, I only went for one.  Because of the location shift and a brutal thunderstorm in the middle of the night, attendance was low.  Alli, has been to Sonshine many, many times and was shocked at how small the crowds were.

It was a perfect July afternoon–hot and sunny.  I dressed for the weather in breezy shorts and a tank top, but still managed to sweat gallons.  I can’t count how many bottles of water I consumed just to keep hydrated.

Heat complaints aside, it was really fun to see all the different bands.  I got to see Remedy Drive, a group that played at several youth conferences I attended in high school.  We watched Children 18:3, who hail from Morris (my alma mater).  I’ve seen the band’s members lead worship several times, but never perform.  They went CRAZY.  We hid in the back of the crowd to prevent getting trampled by overly enthusiastic fans.

The best part of the day, though, was Rend Collective.  Hailing from Northern Ireland, their music is folksy and hard not to dance to.  Although they’ve become pretty famous in the Christian music sphere over the past few years, it hasn’t affected their heart for worship.  Their concerts aren’t performances.  They’re all about celebration, authenticity, and family.

During Rend Collective’s time on stage, all my troubles melted away.  We were lucky to be in the front of the crowd, as close to the stage as possible.  As they played song after song, I couldn’t stop smiling.  Despite being relatively reserved most of the day, I jumped and shouted and danced without a care in the world.  The set wasn’t about putting on a good show–it was about celebrating the honor of serving a wonderful God.

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Rend Collective

We didn’t stick around for the big closing act–the Newsboys.  I know they’re one of the biggest bands on the Christian music scene, but honestly… I’m not really a fan.  We watched a few of their songs, but they completely lacked the heart and soul of Rend Collective.  So while the other Sonshine attendees screamed and shouted excitedly, we packed our chairs and headed to the car.

All in all, it was a day well spent.  I love attending concerts and they’re even better when they’re bands close to my heart. I ended up with my worst sunburn of the summer, but wouldn’t change a thing.

Want a taste of Rend Collective’s style and philosophy on music?  Check out the following video.  It’s got the same spirit as their live shows.

Jenny & Tyler @ Art House North

If you remember back to my second “Influential Albums” post, one of my favorite bands of all time is Jenny & Tyler.  Well.  This past weekend, I had the opportunity to see them play live!  On Saturday, I drove to the Twin Cities from Morris, kidnapped my friend Ruth and, after a delicious Chipotle dinner, headed to the show.

The show took place at a venue called Art House North, a renovated church owned by Troy and Sara Groves.  The Groves’ vision is to create a place for artists of all kinds (painters, writers, musicians, photographers, actors, designers, etc.) to “express themselves and wrestle with questions of faith, culture and beauty”.  It’s a place for collaboration and community, for people to “foster creativity inspired by the pain of the world and the beauty of the gospel”.  It’s a place to “demonstrate the way of Jesus by seeking justice through art and living as creative advocates”.  (Information taken from their Facebook Page).

It was my first time at Art House North, and Ruth and I were both impressed by the environment the Groves have created.  The space itself, with the church pews, Christmas lights, and fall decorations, has all the nostalgia of old-time-religion.  All the while, the atmosphere is filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Even though Ruth and I entered the doors as strangers, we left feeling like we had forged new friendships.  There were so many kind souls at the event, and it was a pleasure getting to know people who had been strangers.

Now on to Jenny & Tyler.  I discovered them by accident several years ago.  In fact, I found them via an ad on Facebook.  Upon clicking said ad, I found myself on NoiseTrade where one of their albums was available for free.  I downloaded said album and immediately fell in love.  Their music soon became a staple in my life, carrying me through and over many spiritual hills and valleys over the past several years.  I listened to them in times of grieving, in times of loneliness, and in times of bold adventure.  Their music filled me with the courage to fly to London for a semester abroad.

The husband and wife duo simply emanate the Holy Spirit.  Their harmonies are saturated in the love and peace of God.  Their website describes them in this way:

In a crowded industry glutted by banality, Jenny & Tyler stand out as true psalmists. Their music holds a mirror up to nature, culture and all the reckless passions of the human heart and points ultimately toward a Creator. Their songs mark them as modern-day contemplatives and troubadours, rooted in age-old wisdom set to new melodies.

IMG_2942Because their music means so much to me, the concert was a perfect one.  They were a bit awkward on stage between songs, but that added to their charm.  Jenny is the image of sweetness and Tyler is deeply passionate.  Even though they perform the same songs week after week, it felt like they were singing for the first time.  When they sing, their love for God is so evident.  They performed a song about their 15 month old daughter and their love for her shined.  And when they told the story of how they met and performed their love song “One Eyed Cat”, they kept giving each other these adorable sideways glances that showed how much they continue to adore each other.

Ruth said to me after the show, “I kept looking over at you and you were absolutely beaming!”

It was true.  The evening filled me with so much joy that it was hard to stop smiling.

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Ruth and I on the stage area after the show.

Seeing the following song live was one of the highlights of the show.  It had never been one of their standout numbers for me until now.  Tyler described it as a “divine love song”–words stood out to me, and have helped me fall completely in love with “Song for You”.

Festival Palomino

I love music.  I love good music.  I love good music live.

When I heard about this great new music festival in the Twin Cities, it only seemed natural to go.

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This year marks the first year of Festival Palomino, a day of music put on by Minnesota band Trampled by Turtles.  It took place at Canterbury Park in Shakopee and had tons of fun indie rock/folk bands.

Although the heavy crowds didn’t show up until later in the day, my friend Eva and I arrived around two, just in time for the first band.  Most of the afternoon was spent sitting in the grass soaking in the summer sun, talking and enjoying music.  We wandered around, looking at the merch tables and food vendors.

It was a great day for people watching, as events like this draw in all the hipsters.  I got a bit envious of all the lovely flannels (even though I have a healthy stock of my own in my apartment) and wondered at the meaning behind all the interesting tattoos.

At around four o’clock, a big thunderstorm hit that forced everyone indoors.  Eva and I parked on a bench for two hours where we chatted and did more people watching.  I ran into a guy I knew from high school, and she bumped into a former roommate.

At one point during the storm, a lady approached our bench.  Impatiently, she looked down at us and said, “We’re leaving.  Do you want our food tickets?”  Naturally, we said yes, and she handed over seventeen little squares of paper.  Later, we splurged on two pieces of pizza each and a shared Ben & Jerry’s cone.  Free food, for the win!

Now, if you remember my list of influential albums from a few weeks ago, you’ll know that I love The Head and the Heart.  You can probably imagine my excitement at finally getting to see them live!  Eva and I were right up close, about twenty feet from the stage.  They were PHENOMENAL.  Oh my goodness.  They sound just as good, if not better, live than on their albums.  One of my favorite things about them is that the main singer (the one in the middle on my photos) is a natural performer.  The way he gestured and sang certain words reminded me of the storytellers in old folk stories.  The sun was setting as they played, and I was sucked in by the words and the music.

 

 

The headliner and sponsor of the concert was, of course, Trampled by Turtles.  I will admit, I only dabble in their music.  There’s just so much out there that I’m never sure what to listen to.  During their set (which was over an hour) I only knew a couple of songs.  We were not as close to the stage this time around (having given up our spots in favor of food).  But I still enjoyed them immensely.  You can’t be a Minnesota indie folk music fan and not see Trampled live.  It’s something you just have to do, and I’m so glad I did!

Trampled by Turtles
Trampled by Turtles

Because it was so hot during the afternoon, Eva and I both forgot to bring our sweaters into the festival.  In the evening, after the sun set, we rather regretted this decision.  Standing in the crowd, pressed uncomfortably close to strangers, certainly helped.  But at one point, while shivering away, I said to Eva, “I know how to get warm.  We just have to knock out a hipster and steal their flannel.  Goodness knows there’s plenty of them to choose from.”

No hipsters were harmed, don’t worry.  But the temptation was real.