Depeche Mode – Moda Center – Portland, Oregon

I first saw Depeche Mode WAY back in 1988 on the Music for the Masses tour. They were my favorite band at the time but if you asked me back then I would’ve given them a solid 7.5/10. Depeche Mode in 2023 is probably the best arena act in the world, at least in my opinion. Blown. The. Fuck. Away.

40+ years into their career they’re still the most underrated band I can think of.

$17.50?! I think I paid nearly 10x that to sit in the nosebleed section in 2023 but it would’ve been worth it at triple the price.

Smashing Pumpkins w/ Stone Temple Pilots – Hayden Homes Ampitheater – Bend, Oregon

Or, how I stopped being such a snob and learned to love a pair of bands I gave no thought to back in the day.

Stone Temple Pilots

Smashing Pumpkins

Truly an All-Time Top 10 Concert contender if ever there was one.


The Very Unexpectedly Musical Month of July

A funny thing happened on my way to a midlife crisis. Rather than buying a sportscar that I couldn’t drive anyway (between you and me, I haven’t had a valid license since 1999), instead, I bought a turntable – and it has completely changed my life for the better.

Some background: I got my first turntable when I was 9 years old and was hooked. My first albums were a bunch of those shitty K-Tel “Solid Gold” type compilations, and Bee Gees Greatest – I’ll make no apologies for the latter, the Brothers Gibb are gods. Anyway, from age 9 to around sometime in my thirties, I ate, slept, drank, and injected music of all forms. If I wasn’t listening to it or collecting it, I was playing it. Music was pretty much all I thought about and served as a soundtrack to what I look back on as a damn interesting life, up until about a decade ago when I became a dad.

This is my first turntable, made by Lloyd’s – it was crap, but it was mine. After it performed its music-playing duties it was converted into a gerbil exerciser for my little sister’s pet rodent.

Now, I’m not about to blame fatherhood on my separation from music; no, I blame that on conforming to the everyday needs of a soulless job that has always promised an outlet for my creativity and then wildly underdelivered – for about 11 or 12 years now. In other words, I blame myself because I played it safe and kept the job, knowing full well it was destroying me with tedium and boredom in equal measure. I became abrasive, mean, and any number of other undesirable adjectives. I’ll own that. I won’t bore you (or me) with the details but suffice it to say that once music (and most other art) left my life, so did my spirit. I turned to other vices and pastimes to fill the void, but none of them did the trick.

Fast forward (or is it rewind?) to early last month when I purchased a turntable on a whim. It started with a couple of records and then turned into an obsession, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier.

Music is back in its proper place, front and center in my life.

Music is an activity – listening to vinyl is a physical act that removes the screens, requires me to get up and walk across the room and make a commitment to listening to something for at least a 22-minute stretch.

Music is prompting discussion between myself, my family, and my friends (online and off) that I haven’t experienced in ages.

Music is exciting, and not just in an “I wonder what Amazon will deliver today” sort of way. It makes me downright giddy to revisit long-forgotten artists or discover new music that I didn’t even know existed.

Music is inspiring. I’ve been more interested in picking up the guitar or the bass or the synths in this past month than in the past half-decade combined.

And to think that the catalyst for all of this was a simple marketing email from Best Buy. Weird.

Anyway, I’m going to go listen to Dead Man’s Pop by The Replacements. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it. They revisited an old album and rereleased it in its intended form vs the overly polished version that was officially put out way back in 1989. The difference is night and day.

I take full responsibility for this.

I Bought a Turntable and Now It’s Like I’m a Teenager Again

After resisting temptation for a number of years, my resurgence of interest in music saw me pick up a turntable last weekend and I couldn’t be happier – though my wallet might disagree.

Secondary achievement unlocked: picking up the entire Love and Rockets catalog and every New Order vinyl box set on the market.


Love and Rockets – Moore Theater – Seattle, Washington

May 28, 2023, marks the third time I’ve seen Love and Rockets live. I bought tickets to Bauhaus last year but had to travel for business shortly before they aborted the whole tour anyway. It’s just as well. I was always 100x the Love and Rockets fan than I ever was a Bauhaus fan.

As expected, they were nothing short of amazing. Still one of my favorite bands, live or recorded, after all these years.

Based on some quick research, it would appear that the other two times I saw Love and Rockets were:

  • December 11, 1987, at the Paramount Theater w/Jane’s Addiction
  • June 12, 1989, at the Seattle Center Arena w/The Godfathers
No, this is not my actual ticket.

Pro-tip: If you can find it, get yourself a copy of “Lift,” their final album. It was released in 1998 and is still probably ahead of its time. It’s not available on Apple Music, Spotify, etc. for whatever reason, but Amazon usually has CDs of it for relatively cheap. It’s worth every penny.


Skinny Puppy – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, Oregon

2 things:

  1. Crossed “see a band on a ‘no more tours’ tour before I die, and make it a good one,” off of the bucket list.
  2. I believe in aliens now.

Mastodon – Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum – Portland, Oregon