Liner Notes (March 2nd, 2024)

Fall Out Boy - Live

In this week’s newsletter, I talk about my experience at the Fall Out Boy and Jimmy Eat World concert. That takes up most of it, but there’s also some commentary on books and movies I’ve seen recently. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • The Fall Out Boy, Jimmy Eat World, and The Maine tour started this week, and as fate would have it, Portland happened to be the very first date. Now, just looking at those bands, you have to ask yourself: could there be a tour more perfectly created specifically for me? Doubtful. Very doubtful. The show was on Wednesday night at the sold-out Moda Center. And that, by itself, was one of the coolest things of the entire night. I remember seeing this band open in Portland at venues that could maybe fit 200 people in them if the fire marshal looked the other way. To see them packing the fucking basketball arena? This put a smile on my face just reading the “Sold Out” sign out on the marquee. It was a rainy evening, so our trek began outside, getting cold and wet. The crowd was a mix of elder emos, many adorning the attire of their youth (eyeliner and studded belts aplenty), many bringing their kids, and a spattering of younger fans, similar in age to when I first discovered this band. Wide-eyed, huddled with friends, some looking like they were experiencing their very first concert. After spending too much money on beer, we made our way to our seats as Daisy Grenade made their way through their opening set. It was loud. Not just “I’m almost 41” loud but “my Apple Watch is screaming at me that I’m about to lose my fucking hearing if I don’t get out of there immediately” loud. Thankfully, we brought earplugs. (And here’s where I once again sing the praises of Earasers.) Daisy Grenade sounded good and had a solid stage presence. The crowd started trickling in and looked about 75% full by the time their set ended. While the stage crew ran around setting things up, I spent some time people-watching. I continue to be amazed at how many people attempt to sit in other people’s seats, only to be kicked out when they arrive or an usher asks to see their tickets. Next up was the band I was sort of secretly the most excited to see, The Maine. They were the only band on the bill I’d never seen before, and their run from American Candy through their latest self-titled album is out-of-this-world impressive. It’s a five-album run that I’d put up against almost any other five-album run in the music scene at this point. Lovely Little Lonely and the self-titled album are up there as some of my favorite albums, period, of the last fifteen years. And, I must say, they absolutely crushed it live. It was an eight song set full of crowd pleasers and, based on the reaction of people around me, I think they won over some new fans. (I saw multiple people queuing up the band on Spotify.) Energetic, fun, and lots of crowd participation (John jumped into the front seats for a while and brought a fan on stage to sing), and they sounded dynamic, tight, and lively. The vocals were mixed a little low, but that propulsive energy of the setlist more than made up for it. This band deserves all the success in the world, and I could not be happier for them to land this spot. I hope they continue to wow audiences on this leg of the tour, and if you’ve, for some reason, slept on them up to now, I highly recommend you grab their latest album and start working your way backward — it’ll be gratifying. Coming off the high of seeing one of my favorite bands of the last ten years, we move right into arguably my favorite band of all time. Jimmy Eat World. Icons. Legends. Titans. For my money, the greatest combination of melody, lyrical prowess, and alternative rock our scene’s ever produced. Their live show is a lot like their music, mostly no frills. They let the music do the talking, and they play their set with the confidence of a band that’s been doing this for years. The set list spanned nearly their entire catalog but leaned heavily on the hits. That makes sense; you’re opening for Fall Out Boy; this is a great time to not only remind the crowd who you are (Bleed American songs got the best reaction) but showcase that you’ve got a deep catalog of incredible songs to pull from. Seeing “Let it Happen” and “Always Be” were highlights for me, and I had a stupid smile on my face the entire time. I saw my favorite band play at a sold-out arena, and as I kept looking around, seeing everyone singing along, it made me think about how much the world’s been through these past few years and how much I missed moments like this. To sum up the set is to sum up the band: goddamn, they’re just really good. And then the main act. I had a pretty good idea what was coming because I’d been following what they did on the first leg of this tour, but I don’t think I was quite prepared for the scope of the entire thing. Fireworks! Props! Giant dogs and random rabbit characters! It was an absolute spectacle. Going through a set list like this is an embarrassment of riches; the opening five-song run ridiculous. The entire venue felt like it was about to come unglued and levitate. A boy, somewhere in his very early teenage years, was sitting in front of us with his parents. He had on all the merch. And when the show started, the look in his eyes almost made me tear up. He was standing and dancing, and the look of pure joy was something I wish I could bottle and give to the world. Patrick, man, I don’t even know what to say about this dude anymore. His voice, his command of the crowd, his stage presence? As good as I’ve ever seen. When the set shrinks, and they lower the lights to form a dive bar setting drenched in Take This To Your Grave blue, you might as well have buried me right there. A perfect callback and hit of nostalgia. I felt transported by the songs of our youth, Pete spinning around in circles. It was also nice to see some of the Folie songs get their time in concert and be appreciated by fans. And the new album tracks were received very well by our crowd. Almost everyone I could see around me was singing along with the same enthusiasm as the band’s monster hits. I, personally, could do without the covers in the set, but I get why one’s there to let Pete get from one side of the arena back to the other. And, honestly, seeing “Bang the Doldrums” and “G.I.N.A.S.F.S” live more than made up for it. I came away from the show extremely impressed. It was a stagecraft built around entertaining and celebrating the band’s long history. And celebrate we did. For over 21 years, I’ve been listening to this band for almost half my life, and they still capture a magic I’ve only seen a handful of times. People love this band. Pete talked on stage about how people still come up to him and tell him how the band’s songs saved their lives, and he wanted everyone to know that “no, you saved your life, we were the gasoline, but you are the engine,” and as that hung in the air, you could hear the crowd suck in oxygen. A realization and reflection on the truth in those words. Everyone, young and old, thinking about their history with the band and the music; the experiences, good and bad, soundtracked by these songs. And then the cheers became deafening. I stood there, watching the confetti fall, and tried to hold the moment in memory. I was thinking about how far we’ve all come from those early days, and as I looked out at the massive crowd, I started to think that, well, we made it this far; maybe, just maybe, the best is still in front of us.
  • Apple released a new sports app for sports scores. It’s very simple at the moment, but that’s actually why I love it. The ESPN app bombards me with bullshit and daily “hot take” notifications (I never, ever want to hear what Stephen A. Smith has to say about anything). Once this gets Live Activities, Widgets, and the ability to send me notifications based on when games start, end, etc., I’ll be so damn happy to disable all notifications from ESPN. (This has already replaced it on my second home screen.)
  • I’ve written before about mapping the Caps Lock key to a “hyperkey” and I saw a new app released this week called Superkey that makes this even easier. Using a hyperkey to launch common apps and move windows around has become so ingrained in my muscle memory that I think I’d have difficulty using a Mac without it.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • With the concert this week, I didn’t listen to much besides the bands on the bill. Deep dive catalog runs to prepare was the name of the game. So, seeing that I only listened to seven artists last week, absolutely tracks. I didn’t see much out this week that caught my eye, so I’ll need to spend the early part of next week checking out any singles I may have missed. Oh, but I did hear the new Cold Years album. However, I think I’ll save the first impressions for next week. I still need time to let it all sink in, and I’ve already written a small novella this week. (It’s very good.)

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 7 different artists, 31 different albums, and 275 different tracks (379 scrobbles). Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Upgraded was a fine b-tier romantic comedy.
  • Poor Things was very much not for me.
  • Criminal Record ended up being a couple of episodes too long, in my opinion, but a perfectly serviceable version of this kind of show.
  • I’m continuing to keep up with my “read more” goal for the year, and recently finished The Measure. I guess it was fine. I wanted more from the plot, and it sort of felt Crash-like by the end. Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency was excellent. It’s a true story that pulled me in like a novel. And then I just finished, after having started it years ago, Superintellegence. It’s incredibly dense and can get a little verbose at times, but it’s probably the best book about A.I. and the actual implications of a super-intelligent version I’ve read. It should, and will, terrify you. And my realization that I don’t actually trust any of the actors currently involved in the space to get this right doesn’t make me feel great! However, the concepts and arguments presented are highly compelling. There’s an excellent chance we only get one shot at this, and if we don’t do it right, well, we’re beyond fucked.

Random and Personal Stuff

Ten Songs

Here are ten songs that I listened to and loved this week. Some may be new, some may be old, but they all found their way into my life during the past seven days.

  1. Jimmy Eat World – Disintegration
  2. Fall Out Boy – A Little Less Sixteen…
  3. The Maine – Black Butterflies and Deja Vu
  4. Fall Out Boy – Fake Out
  5. Jimmy Eat World – Cautioners
  6. Fall Out Boy – Chicago is So Two Years Ago
  7. The Maine – Dirty, Pretty, Beautiful
  8. Jimmy Eat World – Nothing Wrong
  9. The Maine – Thoughts I Have While Lying in Bed
  10. The Wonder Years – Year of the Vulture

This playlist is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Community Watch

The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:

The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by Coonsatron in the “General Politics Discussion (XI)” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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