2016: The Year That Sucked?

By Rachel Foresta

Quick Bio: Rachel Foresta is a long-time Nashvillian who is rumored to be an alien due to her combination of killer good looks, knowledge of Star Wars trivia and mega-brain that allows her to build/sell computers. MCN has begged her for months to share her thoughts, and we're honored to end the year with her contribution. Enjoy. xx, HP

Rachel Foresta, Nashville Extraordinaire 

Rachel Foresta, Nashville Extraordinaire 

So it seems that once every three years or so, it is demanded of me to not break tradition of my “yearly” NYE post. This is a tradition that is near and dear to my bestest friend Holly’s heart, even though said tradition doesn’t exist. So as to maintain this friendship and not break my eccentric friend’s heart, I bring you my not-so-clever-but-mostly-true-thoughts on the soon to be departed 2016.

At this point everyone knows how sucktastic 2016 was - Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Muhammad Ali, a craptastic election - don’t think I need to rehash that. Personally, I know a lot of people have had really terrible things happen. I, for one, turned 30 and my body immediately fell apart. I wont go in to all the details, but let’s just say $3k and 3 months of physical therapy later, my body still hates me. Also I’ve developed carpal tunnel, had to replace the plumbing in my house (not a euphemism), fix the clutch on my car for the 2nd time in 3 years (NOT MY FAULT I SWEAR) and have had not, one, but two different stomach bugs within a few weeks of each other just to close the year out right - and somehow I've still gained 10lbs this year!! Talk about a curse.

BUT....in taking a closer look, 2016 was also the year I bought my very first home with the love of my life. It was the year I was fortunate to have enough funding to fly home and see my brand new baby niece every other month so I could see how much she grew in her first year of life. I was blessed to get to spend time and vacation with many of my very good friends including a trip to the beach where I ran and ran in the waves with the best puppy a girl could ask for. 2016 also brought me the chance for my BFSB (best friend since babies, in case you aren’t hip) to come see my new home states away AND for me to see hers as well! I traveled to NYC and had an amazing time watching Adam Duritz and Rob Thomas in a crowd of roughly 300 covering each others songs - it was magical, plus later Mr. Duritz then recommended to me a life changing milkshake which did in fact change my life. I formed not one, but two bands - shout out to Meathammer and The Silence. I got to witness what those from Chicagoland can deem as nothing short of a MIRACLE - the Cubs winning the world series after 108 years - and I got to do it alongside the biggest cubs fan I know. AND I was mistaken for Princess Leia by a child on a Southwest flight carrying a Luke Skywalker doll.

Me: *hair in braids wearing a tunic and boots* oh man! is that Luke Skywalker??

Kid’s Dad: oh my gosh! how does she know who that is??

Kid to dad: IS THAT PRINCESS LEIA?!? *gives me an R2 sticker out of his sticker book*.

Me: Thank you! I’ve got something for you too! *pulls out heartshaped pin of R2 and C3PO I kept in my pocket*. (end scene)

So all of that gets me to wondering.....I mean...is 2016 just that whiny friend on facebook? You know what I mean, we all have them. Those one or two people who like to update on everything thing that has gone wrong in their terrible cursed life. Now here’s the thing... I’m not saying those people’s lives don’t have some suck. I’m also not saying 2016 did not suck for many many people, there were deaths and terrible world tragedies that I by no means intend to make light of. However, what I am saying is that maybe the AMOUNT of suckage compared to any other year with deaths and tragedies has just been a bit over blown this year by the frequency in which we announce it. #ThanksSocialMedia (see what I did there? ps. if you are reading this....you are also on social media, so....)

Exhibit A - While some will argue that there were more notable celebrity deaths this year than in years past, both Snopes and CNN have confirmed that 2016 is not the largest year of celebrity deaths in recent history.

Exhibit B - Many great things have happened this year too. GIANT props to my college bud, Eric Feltes, for making it his mission to update everyone with #FeelGoodFriday facts each week. Here are just a few of the things he took the time to point out this year:

- New study shows a blood test may detect cancer 10 years in advance.

- CEO of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals Mark Baum, who is known for offering a $1 AIDS medication, is developing a customizable alternative to the EpiPen for under $100.

- A new drug in the early stages of study called aducanumab is known to slow down memory loss and could be a cure for Alzheimer's.

- The first ever quadriplegic is showing motor function just two months after stem cell treatment.

- Obama moves to permanently protect Planned Parenthood from being defunded by the states. (Fact: Only 3% of PP's medical services are abortions. PP is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and has helped millions, especially young women in need, with cancer screenings, STD testing, and contraception.)

- A 16 year old developed an app called "Sit With Us," which helps teens find lunch buddies.

- Daryl Davis is a black musician who has spent the past 30 years befriending KKK members; since he started, 200 members have dropped out of the organization after seeing the error in their ways.

- The Taronga Zoo in Australia opens its doors one hour early for children with Autism so they can enjoy the animals in a stress-free environment.

- Colorado is using over $66 million in surplus tax revenue from marijuana sales for school grants for bully prevention programs.

- A terminally ill 6 year old raises €400,000 to help children less fortunate than him because "It could be worse, some kids don't even live to be 6."

- A toy store devoted for children on the autism spectrum opened in Chicago.

- The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation in North Carolina hosted a fashion show where children dressed as their dream careers and walked down the runway alongside men and women in these careers.

- USA solar power energy grows 192% since last year.

- Costa Rica has been running on renewable energy alone for 2 months now.

- Las Vegas now draws 100% of its energy from renewable sources.

- Google will be powered completely by renewable energy in 2017.

- The president of France announced plans to close all coal power plants by 2023.

- A global non-profit, Planting Peace, launched an LGBT flag into outer space along with this message: "Declaring space as LGBT friendly reinforces our universal message to our LGBT family: You are loved, valued, and beautiful. There is nothing wrong with you. You are not alone, and we will stand with you."

- For the first time in history, half of NASA’s astronaut class consists of females.

- Luxembourg’s Prime Minister is the first EU leader to marry his same-sex partner.

- A Muslim businessman has erected the tallest Christmas tree in Baghdad as a way of honoring Iraqi Christians this season.

- A Muslim-owned restaurant in London is offering a free 3-course meal to the elderly and homeless on Christmas.

- South Korea market bans the slaughtering of dogs.

- Conclusions by a Harvard psychologist suggest that dogs dream about how much they love their human companions.

- Therapy dogs at an Australian hospital reduce kids’ recovery time by 30%.

- A retired couple in New Westminster is converting their 25 acre farm into Honor Ranch: a safe space for veterans who suffer from PTSD.

- Los Angeles is turning old motels and hospitals into 500 apartments for homeless veterans.

- Following the Standing Rock protesters’ victory Sunday where construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline was halted, a forgiveness ceremony was held with U.S. veterans and Native Americans.

- A 72 year old Louisiana flood victim wins $1M lottery.

So do what you do with 2016, but just remember there will be good and bad to any year - it’s all about what you choose to focus on. Don’t be like me with As Seen On TV infomercials and let what you see on TV affect your daily state of being. Be kind. Focus on the good. Be the good. And for those of you asking what we tell our children in these turbulent times (cause let’s face it, for those of you fretting the results of the recent election, we can’t thrown the Trump baby out with the 2016 bathwater, that effects 2017 too), I suggest you take the advice of Mister Rogers:

Fred Rogers often told this story about when he was a boy and would see scary things on the news: "My mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world."

Happy new year, y’all.

Win Tickets to See Counting Crows on the Last Night of the 2016 Tour!

Who wants to see the Counting Crows, Rob Thomas & K. Phillips on the last stop of their summer tour? If your answer was "MEEE!!!," you're in luck! Music City Notes is giving away 2 tickets to one lucky winner to see this incredible group of artists play on Sept. 30 in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Ascend Amphitheater. The winner will be announced Sept. 8, 2016. Good luck!! 

Moseley - Fate Happens

Three years ago, a forgotten cellphone, the eternal quest for a solid “2-for-1” bar special, and heaping spoonful of fate conspired to create one of the hardest hitting, unapologetic alt/blues-rock bands in Nashville. 

Photo credit: Kristi Potts

Photo credit: Kristi Potts

Following in the footsteps of acts like Band of Skulls, The White Stripes and The Dead Weather, while channeling influences from the Deftones, AC-DC and Rage Against the Machine, the trio of Suzie Chism, Christy Keech, and Abby Hairston seem to extend a strong middle-finger at Nashville’s traditional country rep. 

But while the guitars might be louder and far more distorted than Nashville is typically used to, the songwriting on their first self-titled EP Moseley does the city proud. 

Let’s face it, Nashville has a reputation for bringing only the best talent to the party. And with an EP (and upcoming album) produced by the industry-acclaimed Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Cage the Elephant, Little Big Town), not only has Moseley shown up at the door with a chest-kicking live set, but with a fifth of whiskey in one hand and pile of brutal honesty in the other. 

When asked about the theme of the EP, Moseley’s lead vocalist and guitarist Suzie explains, “I wrote it about actual events in my life. It wasn’t ever intentional. I was just writing it as sort-of an emotional splurge.” 

While in the studio, Christy was the first to notice this theme around relationships and “delusion” had begun to surface across the tunes. Suzie goes on to explain, "I was just so confused by some things that had happened. Where I’m like, man, did I even live through that? Was that even a relationship? Was that even a thing? …I think everyone’s just kinda been there, where you’re just frustrated, where you’re like, ‘I don’t understand why you’re holding back in this relationship when it’s so easy to just be awesome if you wanna be.' It’s frustrating to kinda feel like you’re being held in limbo- you know, without your consent. I think that’s what most of the album is about.”

Photo credit: Jordan Hampton

Photo credit: Jordan Hampton

Ever since that fateful day at 3 Crow Bar in Nashville when Moseley first sat together and decided to become a band it’s been a whirlwind. In one month they had their first show. In two more, they had their first short tour and had recorded their self-titled EP and have basically never looked back. Playing, touring, writing, practicing, rinse - repeat, and it’s not going to stop any time soon.

Heads up though if you’re lucky enough to catch Moseley live and you happen to be that condescending male who wants to tell any of these ladies how to set up, how to play, or offer any unsolicited “words of advice." 

My suggestion… Shut up, sit down, and take some notes, because you are about to experience one of the hardest hitting acts you’ve ever seen.

And New Yorkers, be sure to check out Moseley at Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) on Tuesday, August 16.  

Kennedy's Corner: 5 Seconds of Summer

Music City Notes welcomes its youngest contributing writer yet this week, Kennedy Williams. At only 14-years-old, this old soul experienced the thrill of her very first arena show on Saturday. After years of dealing with the reality of epilepsy, a condition that limited her ability to view flashing lights and deal with large crowds for fear of an unexpected seizure, she was finally cleared by doctors. 

Reading Kennedy's tale is a good reminder of why music saves. It lifts, it inspires and keeps the current moving. Check out her adventure below and let us know about your first show. Do you remember feeling that same rush? We do.

Hearts were beating out of everyone’s chests as the clock struck 8:30 p.m. on July 23, 2016. Screams erupted from everyone. Excitement kept us all on our toes. Then, there they were. Our idols were running on to the stage as we all were jumping up and down. 5 Seconds of Summer, the punk rock Aussies, were right in front of us.

A night we will never forget was just beginning.

I never thought I would make it to their show. I always assumed it would just be a dream of mine to be able to go to a concert and feel the adrenaline rush throughout my body. Suffering from epilepsy from age six until age thirteen had put my dreams on halt. Anxiety disorder did not help the situation at all. However, one day in early December, my whole word was changed as my dad presented me tickets to my favorite band in the whole world, 5 Seconds of Summer. Just a year prior, the neurologist had confirmed that I had indeed grown out of my epilepsy and allowed me to slowly come off of my medicines. The news had everyone in my family ecstatic. So, as a late present, my father James and his girlfriend Mary had agreed to take me to a concert. It was the soundcheck that I had bought with my own money, though, that had me on my toes for months.

About a week before the show was when the realization hit everyone that we would soon be seeing our inspirations on stage. All of my friends, including multiple people in a group chat on Twitter, were hyped. The night before the show, my father, his girlfriend, and I all hopped into our truck and began our three hour journey to Nashville, Tennessee. When we arrived at our hotel, I was shaking and had trouble falling asleep. So many thoughts were racing through my mind such as, “What if I get to talk to them,” and, “I wonder if they are here in Nashville breathing the same air and walking the same ground as me.”

The morning came much too quickly as we woke up at six. Trust me when I say that living off of five hours of sleep can make a person go a little bit insane. We were running behind because I had no idea what to wear or what to do with my emotions. I decided not to wear any makeup that day because, number one, I would be sweating it off while enduring the immense heat, and two, I knew I would be crying within minutes.

We arrived at the arena around eight in the morning, yet soundcheck was not until 4 p.m. In the end, it was completely worth it because I was 57th in line and ended up in the first row. By 9 a.m., there were already 70 people in line waiting.

My mother had worried about me and packed a bag for me to take to Bridgestone Arena. Inside the bag were bottles of water and handheld fans with Frozen’s Elsa on them. Not embarrassing at all. (Editor's Note: Teenage sarcasm should be recognized here.)

The temperature rose to 110 degrees and we were outside until 1 p.m. My friend Brittany and I made our way into the gigantic building just before it began pouring down rain. As the staff handed us our VIP passes, we both burst into tears. This was the moment that we realized what was happening. The line of people extended so far that security had to form a second lineup.

We learned afterwards that there were over 1,500 people. Within an hour of standing in line, we could hear the boys practicing loud and clear. I just so happened to be standing right beside one of the doors that lead to the stage and could hear them clear as day. At one point, we were singing so loud that the 5SOS boys were laughing. The positive vibes from the line was enough to make anyone’s day better. After a while of singing at the top of our lungs, we were finally allowed to enter the main part of the arena where the stage was.

One woman was going around with a microphone and picking out people to ask questions for the Question & Answer session after soundcheck. I was the last one she spoke to before the boys ran out on stage. Sadly, I never got to ask a question.

The first song the boys played was one they wrote from five years ago, “Out of My Limit.” Calum Hood, the bassist, then proceeded to tell us about a time when someone in a taxi said that the name of his band was too long. He was laughing so hard, but all of us just kind of giggled at his goofiness. One of the questions someone asked the boys was, “If you were a rap band, what would your band name be?” Of course, Michael Clifford, the main guitarist, had the funniest answer: “I would name it WBWA.” We all looked at him baffled but he went on to explain. “White Boys With Attitude.” The whole crowd broke out into laughter.

More questions were asked and they provided silly or somewhat inappropriate answers. Michael, however, did tell us that his favorite song growing up was “I Miss You” by Blink 182. After the Q&A session, they played “Catch Fire,” from their latest album, and “If You Don’t Know,” a song that sadly did not make it on either album. Luke Hemmings happened to make eye contact with me as he sang the last few verses and I almost melted. Ashton Irwin was too busy drumming to really interact with the fans. Hearing the boys live sounded like perfection. They were just as good, if not way better, live. I had never been that happy.

When we were let out, everyone ran straight for the merchandise. I, on the other hand, bought my merch and then headed straight for the food. (Side note: I highly recommend the chicken quesadillas from the restaurant across the street from the arena. They are amazing.)

The line for the concert wrapped around the entire building. I was extremely relieved to find out that since I was a VIP, I could go past the line and straight to my seats. We walked to our section and I was upset about our seats. We could not see the screens at all, but we were pretty close to the stage. We could hear them perfectly, but we were very far to the left side.

Hey Violet was the first opening act and they were simply amazing. Rena Lovelis killed it were her stunning vocals, and Casey Moreta slayed his guitar solos. They even did a cover of Daya’s recently released song Don’t Let Me Down.

The second opening act was a band straight out of Japan, ONE OK ROCK. The rock band had everyone partying and feeling free. Taka, the main singer, was so hyper and excited about performing. They did an outstanding job and definitely got us even more thrilled, if that was even possible.

Then, it happened. Our hearts fluttered. Our breathing hitched. The screams went wild.

5SOS ran out on stage looking and sounding absolutely perfect. Our screams made them grin from ear to ear as the performed songs off their latest album, Sounds Good Feels Good. Michael would let us sing back to him as he killed guitar solos. Everyone in the crowd knew each word to every song. Right before Michael went on to sing a heart wrenching single, “Jet Black Heart,” the crowd screamed for over five minutes straight and he smiled and started crying out of happiness. He thanked us for letting them perform in the music capital of the world and proceeded to sing the song. Afterwards, he gave a short speech about love. He told us about how the world is on fire with violence and we should each spread a little bit more love. The entire audience hugged the person next to them as we cried and cheered him on. It was beautiful. After a few more songs, Calum brought out his new bass he bought in Nashville and asked us a very important question.

“Should I name it Nashville?”

Everyone screamed so loud that he almost dropped it. Needless to say, he went through with the name. Next up, they played their newest single from the new Ghostbusters movie, “Girls Talk Boys.” That was when the crowd was at its most hyped up point. Every single person was dancing and singing along, even parents.

The show ended all too soon. After the encore, Ashton came out on a random scooter and we all laughed as he joyfully raced back and forth on a tiny electric scooter. He stopped and handed a girl his drumstick as the rest of the boys came out. They threw t-shirts into the crowd and made a final bow. A picture was taken of them on the catwalk and was later posted on the band’s Instagram account.

We were all sad to see them go, but were grateful that they had put on such an outstanding show. As we walked out of the venue, a smile was plastered to my face. The day of my dreams had finally come true. Many girls were crying, most laughing with huge smiles, and some in shock. The positive vibes from everyone was great.

In the end, everything was worth it. Waiting in the heat all day, crying my eyes out, and having a raw throat from screaming so much was completely worth being as close as I was to the 5SOS boys. I could not have asked for a better day. Thank you 5 Seconds of Summer for making our dreams come true and helping me realize that nothing can hold you back, including a neurological disorder.