Lorna Shore and Bodysnatcher: The Beg for Death Tour

I’m so sorry this review is so late, but here it is! I shot Lorna Shore and Bodysnatcher for the first time on June 2nd (a long time ago, I know, your favorite photographer has been dealing with a lot of personal stuff lately so I’ve been super slow on this). I will be the first to tell you that my first time will NOT be my last time seeing either of these bands live.

I arrived late to the show, so I was unable to see the first few acts, but I’m positive they were great because when I arrived, the whole crowd was buzzing and the energy in the air was amazing. That being said, Bodysnatcher took the stage and the amazing energy from before was brought to a whole new level of craziness. To be honest, I had never listened to their music before, so I went into the show not knowing what to expect. What I got did not disappoint Their breakdowns were, as I affectionately say, “sick,” and the level of talent and instrument mastery put forth by the whole band was nothing short of impressive, especially considering they were performing in the small room at Alamo City Music Hall.

I had listened to Lorna Shore in the past, but was never really a huge fan of theirs… this is no longer an issue. Their live performance was absolutely phenomenal and 10/10 would go to another one of their shows. They engaged with their fans wonderfully and had the whole crowd moving during their whole set. They played a fairly long set including new songs off their 2017 album “Flesh Coffin” and others such as their popular single “The Absolution of Hatred.” I was hooked after the first note, to be honest, and the whole crowd seemed to be as well.

As I said before, this was my first time seeing both bands live, but it will not be my last. If you haven’t seen either Lorna Shore or Bodysnatcher live or you have and want to see them again, keep up with both bands on their Facebook pages:

https://www.facebook.com/LornaShore/

https://www.facebook.com/bodysnatcherfl/

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-RCT

For more photos, please check out my Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1481173121925855.1073741843.1145605195482651&type=1&l=975bcc50c2

 

The Robot With Human Hair VS CHONzilla Tour

Dance Gavin Dance is a name I’ve heard since I first began listening to post-hardcore music about seven years ago.

I listened to them a number of times, but never really got into them. Upon the release of their “Mothership” album, I decided to give them one more chance, and, man, was I glad I did. After getting into this album I naturally wanted to see them live, and I was privileged enough to shoot them on their “The Robot With Human Hair vs. Chonzilla” tour with one of my favorite bands, Chon.

When I arrived at Alamo City Music Hall, about 45 minutes before doors were scheduled to open, I was amazed at the line built up for entry into the show. There were people as far as the eye could see, all donned in shirts bearing the names of either Dance Gavin Dance or Chon (there was also a small amount of Circa Survive shirts, but they were minimal in comparison to the sea of DGD and Chon). There were mothers and their children, from ages three to thirteen, groups of twenty-something year olds prepared to get down, teenagers clad in crazy lipstick, and even people over forty. This was a tour that broke age barriers in the music scene. DGD has impacted everyone who has listened to them, whether six or thirty-six, and it certainly showed in the crowd.

The show opened with performances by Vasudeva, an instrumental band influenced by Chon, and Eidola, a band much like Dance Gavin dance. I really enjoyed their sets and the energy they brought into the venue. I could tell the crowd was pumped for what was to come.

Immediately after Eidola cleared the stage, chants for Chon rang out from the crowd. The hype for their set was extremely high, and they did not disappoint in the slightest.

After they completed their final song, the excitement and tension in the room could have been cut with a knife. Everyone in the crowd was preparing themselves for the most anticipated set of the night– Dance Gavin Dance. After coming out in complete darkness, DGD played a short, but heartfelt set, ending about 20 minutes before their scheduled off time (probably much to the venue’s delight) and including new favorites, such as “Betrayed by the Game” and “Frozen One” off their new album, and older classics such as “Death of a Strawberry” and “Me and Zoloft Get Along Just Fine.” They closed out the show with another one of their new songs, “Inspire the Liars,” that happens to be my favorite, so I was one happy photographer!

All in all, this show was a night to remember, and I highly suggest heading out to see both Chon and Dance Gavin Dance on their next tours!

-RCT

To keep up with the bands, just go to the links below:

Dance Gavin Dance: https://www.facebook.com/DanceGavinDance/

CHON: https://www.facebook.com/musicofchon/

Eidola: https://www.facebook.com/eidolaUT/

Vasudeva: https://www.facebook.com/VasudevaMusic/?hc_ref=SEARCH

For more photos of the show, please visit my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1373525929357242.1073741842.1145605195482651&type=1&l=0de4e74db3

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Happy New Year 2017

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As we say goodbye to 2016, we’d like to wIsh everyone a very blessed and happy 2017. Thank you for your follows, likes, comments, and support  – Beth

TBT – Movie Review – “Bad Moms” – Now on DVD

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You may have missed it on the big screen, or know someone that did.  “Bad Moms” is now on DVD and a perfect gift for anyone who needs a good laugh; and who doesn’t?   Here’s my previously posted review.

Movie Review – “Bad Moms,” So Good, It’s BAD!

https://wordpress.com/post/reviewsoftheartssa.wordpress.com/1823

 

If you want to buy it, right now Target has it for $16.99. You can also find it at Redbox and on Netflix.  A great movie to watch no matter what medium you choose. – BMT

The Unbreakable Tour: A Night That Will Never Be Forgotten

When the Unbreakable Tour was announced, I jumped on the opportunity to see Parkway Drive. Though I have a long history of shows behind me, I had not once had the pleasure and absolute honor to see them live. That being said, I had high hopes going into this show on October 16th. And, allow me to begin by saying the performances put on by Parkway Drive, We Came as Romans, Counterparts, and San Antonio’s own Covina exceeded my expectations.

Counterparts, coined the “really nice Canadians” by the drunk guy screaming behind me the majority of the time they played, blew me away. I had heard a few of their songs, but had never really gotten “into” them, but after this show, I went home and Googled them immediately. These guys know how to put on an amazing show, even in a short amount of time. When vocalist, Brendan “B” Murphy, guitarists, Adrian Lee and Blake Hardman, and bassist, Brian Kaczmarczyk walked offstage, I was left upset and wished they’d come on for one or two more songs when they completed their set.

However, my sadness didn’t last too long because after their set came the only band on the tour I had seen before: We Came as Romans. Now, if you haven’t seen WCAR perform, I pity you because these guys are nonstop energy and entertainment. There was not a second of their set in which they weren’t moving, jumping, or hyping up the crowd in some way. They played so many of the songs that I know and love, including “To Plant a Seed” and “Hope,” and I did not stop singing along until the lights went out and they walked offstage. Guitarist Joshua Moore, bassist Andy Glass, drummer Eric Choi, guitarist Lou Cotton, and vocalists David Stephens and Kyle Pavone know how to put on one hell of a show.

Now, the main event is what truly took my breath away. Parkway Drive, a metalcore band hailing from Australia, has a fan base like no other. The moment We Came as Romans’ gear was cleared off the stage, the whole room erupted in cheers and chants for the hallowed “PARKWAY DRIVE, PARKWAY DRIVE, PARKWAY DRIVE.” The band did not take long to satiate these cries, as they came out about twenty minutes later playing “Crushed,” and hyping the crowd up even more. As a fan of the band, it was hard for me to take photos and not sing along, and in the end, I was left screaming with the crowd as I shot my final pictures.   Vocalist, Winston McCall, guitarists, Jeff Ling and Luke Kilpatrick, bassist, Jia O’Connor, and drummer, Ben Gordon know how to put on a show nobody will ever forget. Much to the fans’ delight, “especially the dudes in the pit,” as McCall put it, PWD played “Boneyards” and got the whole room shaking. I know for a fact my heart was pounding the whole time I watched the band perform. With their smoke cannons and intricate lighting, Parkway Drive owned the stage and owned the minds and hearts of everyone in the GA crowd, from the people in the pit to the mothers and their daughters, to your little, pig-tailed photographer shooting photos near the stage and in the balcony.

This was truly an unforgettable show for me.

-Rini Christina

For more photos, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/rinicphotography/ 

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Movie Review – “Kevin Hart: What Now” #HittingTheatersThisFriday

Kevin Hart, Ride Along Red Carpet Premiere, Sydney Australia

Image from wikimedia.org

I laughed so hard, I thought I was going to have a stroke!  True story – “Kevin Hart: What Now” is hilarious.  I really did feel as if I was going to bust blood vessels from laughing!

I purposely left a set in between me and the first group of people in my row (I would have given the seat up if someone needed it, but it never came to that) because I was worried that the people sitting next to me were going to get mad at me. “Reason why is” I can’t watch Kevin Hart and not crack-up and when I crack-up, it’s LOUD! However, there were two seats on the other side of me.  Two nice young women asked if they were open, so of course I said, “yes.” I struck up a conversation with them about how much I loved Kevin Hart.  Luckily, one of them (the one sitting closest to me) saw him live and was a big fan.  As soon as the movie began, I was so happy she sat next to me because Kevin did what he does best – – make us laugh!

Kevin was firing off one funny “true story” after another; each one funnier than the last and the two of us were screaming with laughter from the very first joke!  It was as if she was my “sista from another mista” because she laughed just as loud as I did, she held her stomach and moaned from the laughter pains, just like me!  She even sat up trying to get air, just like me!  The movie was so funny that so many times I laughed so hard that no sound came out, because I was losing oxygen (she did the same thing!) We weren’t just laughing, we were losing our minds and it was the best feeling ever!!  I can truthfully say, I never laughed so hard and so much at a movie, in my life and having a “laughing partner” felt so liberating!  Of course, the rest of the theater was laughing too, so there was no way they could get mad at me.  Honestly, you’d have to have been in a coma not to laugh.

“What Now” is somewhat of a documentary movie.  It is Kevin’s stand-up comedy routine, which he performed in front of a record-breaking, sold-out crowd of 50,000 at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 30, 2015. It was the first time in history that a comedian sold out a football stadium.  Kevin wants to make history again by breaking box-office records for this opening weekend by showing the film around the world.  If you follow @kevinhart4real, he’s asking everyone to help him make history this weekend. He’s using the hash tag – #ComedicRockStarShit for all posts related to “What Now.”

The movie can also fit into the action, drama, and comedy, movie genres.  It opens with a James Bond-like title sequence.  At first, you will think it’s an action comedy.  For the first ten minutes or so, it’s a comedic parody of a Bond movie, featuring Halle Berry as herself but as Kevin’s “Bond-girl.”  Kevin is agent 0054! This movie within the movie satirizes all of the cliché things that happen in spy movies.  For example, there’s a room labeled, something like “convenient changing room with clothes that fit Kevin Hart!”  There is even a bloody shootout scene, which is rather gross and actually made me and my “sista” cover our eyes.  Therefore, besides for the language, the bloody scene also makes this an adult only movie.

When the “mission” is accomplished, Halle and Kevin make it to the venue, where Kevin shoots up an elevator shaft onto the stage, and the concert begins.  It was so awesome  to see the aerial shots of the sold-out stadium!  Kevin teared-up when he took his final bows.  You can tell how grateful he is to have been able to go back to his hometown and sell out the stadium. It was as if that moment was when he realized he made it as a star!  It’s inspiring to see someone who has worked hard, realize his dream.  I also have a lot of respect for big stars who are not afraid to be humble.  My favorite part, which made me love Kevin even more, was just before he left the stage and thanked the crowd.  He told the audience to “look around,”  he said, “I see every race, ethnicity, and nationality possible.  I see some of everybody. We all came under the same roof and we laughed tonight.  If you can laugh together, you can live together; if you can live together, you can love together.  I live by those rules and I’ll be damned if I didn’t see that s**t here tonight. . . in my city I made history. . .and this has been the best night of my f**’n life. ..” You can actually find video of this moment posted by a fan on YouTube.  I didn’t post the link here because I try to keep my content PG-13.

When the Universal Pictures studio representative asked what I thought of the movie, I told him that I thought I was going to have a stroke and that I was so lucky the girl next to me laughed as loud as I did.  He replied, “everyone was laughing.”  They were; the room was roaring with laughter for the entire run of the film!  The stand-up routine is full of so many funny and animated stories about Kevin’s kids, his “lady,” his dad, and his friends, all prefaced with “true story.”  Kevin says he doesn’t lie, “unless the truth is not believable!” I don’t want to give away and jokes or punch lines, you have to see this movie for yourself.  Please remember it’s rated –R; it’s not for kids and if you get offended by foul language, then it’s not for you.  If you are a Kevin Hart fan, the answer to the question, “What Now?” is go buy your tickets!  “Kevin Hart: What Now” opens Friday! Don’t miss it! – BMT

P.S.  Don’t get up when the credits start rolling, there’s more movie! As always, please let me know what you think. – Beth

“The Girl on the Train” – Movie Review

the_girl_on_the_train_logoIntense! There is really no other word to perfectly describe “The Girl on the Train!” Walking out of the theater I heard a few other comments, such as, “you women are crazy” and “that was crazy,” but my immediate reaction when the studio representative asked, “what did you think?” was – “intense.”

“The Girl on the Train,” directed by Tate Taylor is the theatrical adaptation of the book by the same name written by Paula Hawkins. It is a psychological thriller with a lot of twists and turns. I’m not big on “thriller” movies but I am always intrigued by psychological thrillers that have a good story line. This is one of those movies that captivates you from the first scene.

Someone said the movie was a “train wreck” and it was the worst movie they’d seen in a long time. I disagree; although I do like the use of the expression “train wreck” because in my opinion, the movie is about relationship train wrecks. The movie focuses on one main character Rachel Watson, who is the center of this relationship “Ven diagram.” As expected, Emily Blunt’s performance as Rachel is superb. As the story unfolds you see that every character is related by “six degrees of separation” to Rachel.  I recently read a review and the author said that it was difficult to follow along. I wouldn’t say it was difficult; you just have to pay attention. Isn’t that why we go to movies? – to engross ourselves into the story-line?  I thought the suspenseful plot twists made the movie interesting.

It is difficult to review movies without spoiling it for future viewers, and I can’t stand reviews that actually tell the entire story. So, I won’t do that to you.  I’ll just touch on what you already may have gleaned from the trailer. Rachel is an artist with a vivid imagination, which is fueled by alcohol. She rides the train into the city every day and fantasizes about Megan and Scott Hipwell, a couple that lives in a house she passes daily.  Luke Evans, plays Scott; he’s ruggedly sexy (on and off-screen).  We feel sorry for him and fear him at the same time. Luke was on Harry Connick, Jr.’s talk show – #Harry – this week. I didn’t know that he is also a singer! I mean he’s already a hot actor, but once you hear him sing, you’ll be, as Harry put it, “smitten.” Watch the clip here:

Haley Bennett plays Scott’s wife, Megan, another complex character. Edgar Ramirez, plays her psychiatrist, Dr. Kamal Abdic. Rebecca Ferguson is Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband, Tom’s (Justin Theroux) new wife. Rachel’s daily train ride represents her inability to move forward; she sits rear-facing – looking back. Rachel appears to be a typical “crazy-ex” who is fixated on the past and stalks her ex-husband.

Laura Prepon of “That 70s Show” fame, plays Rachel’s friend, Cathy, who took Rachel in when she had nowhere else to go. Allison Janney is the detective investigating the murder case. She is perfectly cast as she seems to always play the role of an arrogant woman of power, who always gets to the bottom of things and doesn’t care who she takes down in the process. Lisa Kudrow plays Martha, Scott’s ex-boss’s wife.  Though she is not a main character, her role in the movie is crucial to the plot line. Rachel runs into her on the train and suddenly learns unnerving information about her ex-husband.

It is all seems so far-fetched, yet, so real due to the awesome cinematography by Charlotte Bruss Christensen and the artistry of director, Tate Taylor. The story is basically told through the use of flashbacks. We feel Rachel’s confusion and fragile mental state through her eyes and the reflections in the train windows. In one scene her reflection is superimposed with the reflections of the trees as the train passes them. You feel the speed of the train and Rachel’s internal conflict. As in Alfred Hitchock’s classic movie, “Strangers on a Train,” the train ride is used as a means to create suspense and the place where the main character impulsively makes her next move.  Though “Strangers on a Train” is about a criss-cross murder plot; “The Girl on the Train” involves an unplanned murder alliance. That’s all I’m going to say.

I highly recommend you see this movie. Did you see it this weekend?  What did you think?  I’d like to know, so please post your comments below. – BMT

The Final World Tour Broke My Heart and Mended It All In One Night

ryannnnnnnYellowcard has held one of the most special places in my heart for the longest time. Though I was born in 1998, a year after their journey as a band began, I was reached by their music at a very young age. They had a way of making me feel less alone, and somehow made me smile in some of my worst moments. Even now, at 17, after many changes in my life,  they are still a constant reminder that “everything is gonna be alright.”

Often, when talking about the band, I mention that Ocean Avenue was the first CD I ever bought with my own money. This CD became the cornerstone for a collection that is now built by over 100 albums and is still growing. Yellowcard made me want to listen to music and become involved in it, whether I was crying and singing “One Year, Six Months” or smiling at the possibility of forever and belting out “Ocean Avenue,” they were an integral part of my growth in music.

The prospect of them not being a band is something I am still trying to wrap my head around. Though I know that they will all go on to do great things, it is hard to accept that one of the few constants in my life will no longer be constant. However, the Final World Tour brought me quite a bit of closure. For an hour and fifteen minutes or so, I was reminded of Yellowcard’s amazing past but also assured by Ryan Key, the voice behind the lyrics that have meant so much to fans throughout the years, that though this chapter of their lives is closing, there is more to come in the future.

Dryjacket and Like Torches were amazing support. The former opened the show with melodic tunes that left the room craving more music, and the latter, a Swedish band on their first U.S. tour, were so entertaining, I was sad to see them leave the stage. Both openers shared stories of growing up listening to Yellowcard, and I believe this definitely caused an immediate connection between them and the masses of fans in the crowd. People standing around me commented on how impressed they were with both acts, and how great they fit with the tour. I was equally impressed, and hope to hear more from both bands in the near future.

Though I could write lines and lines about how absolutely perfect the Yellowcard set was, I believe the only way you can truly understand it is to attend one of their last shows. As always, they left me speechless, both from their spectacular performance and also from the fact that I sang along with every song.  They are a band that will never be forgotten by anyone who has been touched by their music, and who are unrivaled in love and support from fans. I hope everyone gets a chance to see them on this tour and is able to receive the closure I received from seeing them perform live one last time. There is something so touching about watching a band that has meant so much to you for such a long time say their final goodbye.

If you want to purchase tickets to a date near you, please visit: http://yellowcardrock.com/

You will not regret it, I promise.

All I can say with certainty is, long live Yellowcard. They are legends in my eyes, and legends never truly die.

-Rini Christina

For more photos of this show and others, please visit: http://www.facebook.com/rinicphotography

 

“Deepwater Horizon” – Movie Review

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Photo of movie screen taken by me before the movie.

“Deepwater Horizon” #deepwaterhorizonmovie dramatically tells the story of the Deepwater Horizon (#deepwaterhorizon) oil spill and explosion that occurred on April 20, 2010 about 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Unfortunately, the technical cause of the oil well explosion is way over my head, so rather than bore you with the details and technicalities of the actual event, if you want a full background, I would direct you to the Wikipedia page – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill.

I am embarrassed to say that I barely remember hearing about this event. That may just be my ignorance or the fact that 2010 marked the beginning of some serious health issues for me. Perhaps I just wasn’t “tuned-in” to current events or maybe it didn’t get the news coverage it deserved due to the political nature of all things oil related??  I don’t know, but this story of the worst oil spill in U.S. History needs to be told and director, Peter Berg, and screenplay writers Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand do a great job telling it.

The cinematography is incredible. I thought it was especially effective that the movie began with the audio of a hearing asking Transocean employee, Mike Williams, to recount the events. As he gets to the point of the explosion, it goes quiet, we can feel Mike’s hesitation as he goes back to the dark place in his memory where he really doesn’t want to go, and the opening credits begin. Of course there are many scenes with injuries, blood, fire, and explosions that add the necessary “shock value,” but this movie is more than that. This movie takes a very personal approach. The camera focuses on their individual faces. We see that the workers are ordinary people, we learn a little about their personal lives and the loved ones that they leave behind every time they go out to sea.  We see that most of them have a good rapport with each other. They kid around and seem to work well together.  The movie gives more focus to the fact that the crew of 126 that was on board the Deepwater Horizon was just performing their daily routine when suddenly they became faced with an extraordinarily catastrophic chain of events. In a matter of hours, these average oil workers became superheroes, risking their lives to save the lives of their co-workers.

The acting is phenomenal.  Mark Wahlberg plays Mike Williams, one of the heroes, who seemed to have a premonition that something would go wrong as he kissed his wife goodbye at the heliport just before he took-off to work, offshore, on the Deepwater Horizon for what was supposed to be 21 days.  Kurt Russell plays “Mr. Jimmy” Harrell, essentially the captain of the rig. Mike and Mr. Jimmy work for Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon. John Makovich plays Donald Vidrine, one of the BP Oil Company representatives that smugly made some fatally disastrous decisions. You hate him (and BP) right away and you can sense that the crew doesn’t like him either. The Transocean crew seems resentful of the way BP, who (they make a point of stressing) is just “leasing” the rig, was exerting its control over the rig operations about which they knew very little. Those decisions were cost-driven and gave no priority to safety and the “human factor.”  Bottom line, it is evident that monetary greed is what caused this disaster.

I was especially moved by a particular scene – when the injured survivors are on board the rescue ship, after role is called, they all kneel down and recite the Lord’s Prayer.  It is rare, (especially in movies) but awesome when it happens, to see victims immediately giving thanks and praise to God, instead of asking “why?”. It was also very somber at the end of the movie to see the photos of the eleven crew members that died.

I think this movie is excellent. Another “must see”.  I highly recommend you buy your tickets early.  I saw this on the day of its third or fourth screening and people were turned-away because the theater was full.  Please go see Deepwater Horizon and let me know what you think. – BMT

P.S. Country Music Fans, there’s a cameo but well-done performance by Trace Adkins, who plays the father of one of the deceased crew members.