100 Concerts And Counting: The Shows & Songs That Shaped Me

Music, Personal, Uncategorized

I’ve been working hard to beat the winter blues with loads of indie, rock, and EDM shows. My calendar is a true testament to the many late nights and pulled muscles I’ve endured these past few weeks. I haven’t gotten much sleep, but all of this got me thinking, how many shows have I actually seen and heard in this lifetime? (And dang, how much money have I spent?) Music is special to just about everyone, but I never quite realized how much it meant to me until I sat down and reflected on the past 11 years.

As the artist CSS once so repetitively stated, music is my dead end, music is my imaginary friend. The great thing about music is it can hold you when you need to cry, it can be your punching bag, and it can set your soul on fire. It knows you better than you know yourself and can reveal more “ah-ha” moments than your therapist ever could. Music is everything.

In 2008, I saw Avril Lavigne perform at the Mohegan Sun Arena. I was the ripe age of 14 and this was the first time I stepped foot inside a venue. I was instantly hooked. There was something deeply intimate and special about being at a live show. From the bass reverberating up through my spine to the hot, sweaty mess of a pit I shared with several hundred strangers, every set served as a baptism. I had found my religion, my faith.

In an effort to fully appreciate all that music has done for me, I’ve compiled a list of every concert I can remember attending (mostly in order). Each one providing me with a special, vivid memory that I continue to cherish. With each line item, I’ve also listed my favorite song, in case you feel like listening.

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DO THE D.A.N.C.E! (Shows From 2008 – 2019) 

  1. Avril Lavigne — Everything Back But You
  2. Jonas Brothers — A Little Bit Longer
  3. Demi Lovato — Don’t Forget/ Tell Me You Love Me
  4. Hannah Montana (lol) — We Got The Party
  5. Justice — D.A.N.C.E/ We Are Your Friends
  6. Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! — We R Who We R
  7. Our Last Night — Humble
  8. Woe Is Me — N/A
  9. William Control — N/A
  10. Capture The Crown — N/A
  11. Blood On The Dance Floor — Mosh & Roll !
  12. Jeffree Star — Legs Up
  13. Orgy — Blue Monday
  14. 3OH!3 — PUNKB*TCH
  15. Big Chocolate — Blue Milk
  16. Crizzly — FRL
  17. Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2x) — Countdown
  18. Keys N Krates — Dum Dee Dum
  19. Mac Miller (4x) — Frick Park Market
  20. Flume — Holdin’ On
  21. ODESZA (2x) — Say My Name/ Sun Models
  22. Panic! At The Disco (2x) — Build God, Then We’ll Talk
  23. twenty one pilots (4x) — Ruby/ Migraine
  24. Best Ex — Lonely Life
  25. Bonsai Trees (4x) — Lift Off
  26. Baggage — Flint
  27. Lorde — Green Light
  28. Run The Jewels — Jeopardy
  29. The 1975 — Chocolate
  30. Flo Rida — Right Round
  31. TLC — Creep
  32. Matt & Kim (2x) — I’ll Take Us Home
  33. Janelle Monae — Django Jane
  34. Kesha — Backstabber
  35. Fetty Wap — My Way
  36. X Ambassadors (2x) — Unsteady
  37. Outkast — Hey Ya!
  38. Imagine Dragons — Gold
  39. Pretty Lights — One Day They’ll Know
  40. Arctic Monkeys — Do I Wanna Know?
  41. Weezer — Beverly Hills
  42. A-Trak — Heads Will Roll Remix
  43. Girl Talk (2x) — Once Again
  44. Bad Things — Anybody
  45. Grouplove — Tongue Tied
  46. Vance Joy — Riptide
  47. Local Natives — Wide Eyes
  48. Jake Bugg — Two Fingers
  49. Iron & Wine — Boy With A Coin
  50. Magic Man — Paris
  51. MisterWives — Our Own House
  52. Cage The Elephant (2x) — Come A Little Closer
  53. Hozier — Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene
  54. Elle King (2x) — Shame
  55. James Bay — Hold Back The River
  56. Allies — Laid Back
  57. Kanye West — That Part
  58. Chance The Rapper — Juice/ Blessings
  59. Chromeo — Sexy Socialite
  60. Zhu — Faded
  61. Grimes — Kill V. Maim
  62. Metric — Monster Hospital Remix
  63. Robert Delong (5x) — Happy/ Jealousy
  64. World’s Fair — 96 Knicks
  65. J. Cole — She Knows
  66. Lolawolf — Bitch
  67. Action Bronson — Actin Crazy
  68. Purity Ring — Ungirthed
  69. Thundercat — Them Changes
  70. M83 — Midnight City
  71. MGMT — The Handshake
  72. Tyler, The Creator — Tina/ Sandwiches
  73. (2x) — Nights With You
  74. The XX — Crystalised
  75. Fleet Foxes –– Mykonos
  76. The Killers — When You Were Young
  77. Beck — Loser
  78. Miike Snow — Paddling Out
  79. Years & Years — King
  80. Death Grips — No Love
  81. Justin Timberlake — My Love
  82. Dave Matthews Band — Ants Marching
  83. John Mayer — My Stupid Mouth
  84. AWOLNATION — Sail
  85. Max Frost — Adderall
  86. Same Setton — Wine
  87. Betty Who — Human Touch
  88. Two Feet — I Feel Like I’m Drowning
  89. Phony Ppl — Before You Get A Boyfriend

(Spotify playlist HERE!)

Festivals include: Warped Tour 2013, Firefly 2014, Meadows 2016, Governor’s Ball 2016, Panorama 2017, Panorama 2018.

With 89 first-time shows and 22 repeat shows, I’ve had about 111 opportunities to damage my eardrums, and let’s be honest, I probably have. But it was all worth it. I’m so grateful for the artists who bring me to another realm, where nothing gets between me and my bass. This music will live on forever, no matter what, which reminds me…

Happy Belated Birthday, Mac Miller. We love and miss you dearly. You surely made this world a better place.

Cracking the Quarter-Life Crisis


I had never quite understood the term “turbulent twenties” until I was painstakingly trudging through them. I thought college would be the tough part and that it would be nothing but smooth sailing from there on out, reaping the benefits of all of my efforts. Well, after surviving a year in the “real” world, I’m here to tell you how embarrassingly wrong I was.

After months of loathsomely tossing back many gallons of dairy-free ice cream on the couch and crying into any and all surrounding pillows, I accepted that I was having a quarter-life crisis. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing with my life or where I wanted to go next. I felt like I had worked so hard to get to where I was, and for what? I was going through the motions of life, but was somehow still en route to absolutely nowhere.

Career Contessa

As my six-month pity party finally came to an end, I picked myself up and got to work. I joined a few groups and organizations, attended various networking events, and read dozens and dozens of self help books, which focused on topics like career development, fulfillment and passion, and of course, mental health. Among these books, I read one that was particularly beneficial to me, which I am here to share with you today: The Quarter-Life Breakthrough by Adam Smiley Poswolsky.

This book was a game changer for me and I urge all of you struggling twentysomethings to pick it up straight away. Each page contains words of wisdom, inspiration, and hope along with dozens of helpful activities. Below you will find a curated assortment of my favorite quotes from the book, just to give you a tiny taste of what to expect. (All quotes come from Adam, unless otherwise noted.)

  • How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. — Annie Dillard
  • Refuse to settle for mediocrity.
  • Always ignore people who tell you not to pursue your dreams. Almost everything has already been done, but it hasn’t been done by you, and that’s all that matters.
  • You can’t go backward if you’re learning.
  • The long career is dead; any quest for solid rules is pointless, since we will all be constantly rethinking them. You can’t rely on an established business model or a corporate ladder to point your way; silos between industries are breaking down; anything settled is vulnerable. — Robert Safian
  • The journey is the journey — There is no finish line, no top of the ladder. Your career is simply a series of journeys.
  • The first part of any quarter life breakthrough is when a light goes on, alerting you that something in your life isn’t working.
  • You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. You cannot have both. — Brene Brown
  • When you hustle toward meaningful work, the universe conspires to support your efforts.
  • Every experience offers the opportunity to learn what matters to you, and what doesn’t.
  • You just need to be able to inspire one person.
  • Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too can become great. — Mark Twain
  • There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. — Nelson Mandela
  • Having a breakthrough is about leaving behind something for others. It’s about creating a legacy. Your legacy is how people will remember you beyond your twenties, and after your life.

I’ve come a long way in just 365 days and I owe much of my newfound zest for life to this book. If you’ve ever felt the way I have, know that you’re not alone, and that with some deep digging and hustle, you’ll get exactly where you’re meant to go. I’ll conclude with just one more quote, in case the others weren’t enough (it’s my all-time favorite):