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(Blog Credit: Ember)

Five Iron Frenzy Returns!

And, as that picture aptly states, what happened was definitely unforgettable!

A long and amusing run of hints, teases, and an interactive multiple-website scavenger hunt all lead up to much-beloved band Five Iron Frenzy announcing their return— to a truly amazing fan response.

Because, along with revealing a fantastic newly-recorded track, the band also set up a $30,000 Kickstarter project to fund a new record and tour… and the goal was reached in less than one hour of its posting! And, in fact, by just two days later the pledge amount had gone over $100,000, and only kept on climbing from there.

As a fan of FIF myself, this was a pretty moving event, because it vividly showed just how much love we all still had for the music, message, and hearts of this band, even 8 long years after their last show.

Congratulations, Five Iron— and welcome back!

 

Ember is the owner of several businesses and the main writer for ListenUpReviews.com. She lives in the American Midwest, and enjoys action sports, technology, science, reading, being a part of certain sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery fandoms (and just a geek in general! ), playing her violin, piano, and electric guitar, and most of all listening to great music (both recorded and live).

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(Blog Credit: Ember)

The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader

This week all of us here at ListenUpReviews attended a showing of The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader. Going in, we knew that there was going to be a big new plot thread invented by the movie’s creators, but we didn’t quite know its extent.

Well, we found out.

Before I continue, I do want to make a point to note that yes, there were some things that this movie did very well, both in visuals and (at times) adaptation. Indeed, the actual Dawn Treader ship herself was a work of art, and every shot of it— inside and out— was simply gorgeous. Likewise, the Sea Serpent was pretty awesome (as well as being a heck of a lot more frightening onscreen than what I had originally imagined ). On the adaptation front, Reepicheep was brilliant as always; Eustace was quite well-cast and well-acted in his own right; how the children entered Narnia was not done exactly like it was in the book, but (if possible) turned out even better; and (okay, minus Caspian being onshore at World’s End, but we’ll give them that one ) the last few minutes of the film were darn near perfection.

So, what was the problem then, you ask? …Well, unfortunately, most of what occurred in between!

You see, the filmmakers thought that there was no good, strong, connecting storyline running through the narrative (which actually just about anyone who has read the book can easily refute— but unfortunately that argument is irrelevant at this point, as they made their decision, no matter how silly it was). So, they came up with the inspired idea to invent an evil green mist (!) which is threatening to corrupt all that is good in Narnia… along with the directive to our heroes to find the seven ‘magical’ swords which— once laid at Aslan’s Table— will ‘break the spell’ of the mist and put everything right! (And that, of course, is actually what the seven lost Telmarine lords were sent off to do years ago!) And then, for a minor little side-story to support this, a guy (and eventually his daughter, too) gets onboard to try and find his wife, who was taken by the mist as a living sacrifice…!

whut-ian.jpg

…Um, yeah.

Now, as I said, we did actually know about most of this invented plotline before watching the movie. The problem was that it basically turned out to be the main plotline, so it was impossible to get away from— every few minutes either the mist or another ‘magic’ sword would pop up and dampen the enjoyment of some classic book scene.

Here’s what I really found interesting, though: When I had watched Prince Caspian in the theater for the first time, there were only about 2 or 3 changes that bugged me enough to take me out of ‘enjoyment’ mode and into ‘critic’ mode, and even then I ‘recovered’ quickly— making me rather enthusiastic about the movie overall, even though I knew very well that it ended up being quite different from the book. In contrast— with the exception of the well-done items outlined earlier— there was very little time during Voyage when I wasn’t in ‘critic’ mode, with only a few short lapses into ‘enjoyment’.

One part of the reason for this was definitely because the changes in Dawn Treader were really lame and cliché compared to the brilliance of C.S. Lewis’ original material; and I think another part of the reason was that they were all so unnecessary in the first place. I mean, let’s face it— while PC certainly had its fair share of bad and unnecessary changes, some changes at least served some function, and a few of them actually ended up being not only good, but an improvement. VODT’s changes, however— except for just one, that being the toned-down undragoning of Eustace, which quite frankly could have been somewhat horrifying had it been done onscreen exactly as it had been done in the book— were all either bad or unnecessary and didn’t provide any improvements whatsoever.

Thus it was that Prince Caspian, despite having probably even more changes, surprisingly ended up being a far more enjoyable viewing experience for me than Dawn Treader did. And while, as mentioned earlier, there’s no denying that some things in Voyage were very well done (particularly its great beginning and really excellent end), there was much more that it left to be desired.

Is it really a coincidence that the most faithful adaptation so far (The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe) was also the best-selling? Let us hope that if and when they decide to adapt the next one, that thought not only crosses the minds of the filmmakers… but stays there.

 

Ember is the owner of several businesses and the main writer for ListenUpReviews.com. She lives in the American Midwest, and enjoys action sports, technology, science, reading, being a part of certain sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery fandoms (and just a geek in general! ), playing her violin, piano, and electric guitar, and most of all listening to great music (both recorded and live).

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(Blog and Photo Credits: Ember)

Well, after a round trip of nearly 2,000 miles, we’re finally home— and, as promised, here’s our RevGen report!

Revelation Generation festival, commonly known as RevGen, is a music festival held on a farm near Frenchtown, New Jersey. We like road trips, so we drove, and I have to say that the scenery (particularly as we neared the festival area) was fairly amazing, very interesting, and at times even downright beautiful…

…but I’m guessing that you probably aren’t reading this for a description of the land, so I’ll move on to the music now.

Out of the festival’s two days, we were only able to attend the second, but it was certainly worth it with Showbread, Superchick, Relient K, the reunited O.C. Supertones, tobyMac, and more scheduled to play.

 

Showbread was up first, and (having missed their show at Cornerstone earlier this year) it was interesting to see them for the first time as only a 4-piece (and with frontman Josh now having to play guitar and stay mostly behind a stationary mic!). Compared with their 7- and 6-bandmember shows in the past, it was quite a lot less energetic onstage; and, while their show was of course still good, we did much rather prefer the glorious organized chaos of their shows in previous years.

Superchick was up next; and, while all of the sets were shorter than usual here (with no encores, etc.)— even from the headliners (!)— it was still easily the best show we’ve seen them do. (In other words, expect a Live Show Nomination! )

 

Next came Relient K, who (as usual ) also had an excellent show (which also happened to include the best cover we’ve yet heard them perform at a live show— Toto’s “Africa”!). And yes, they’ll be another Nominee.

 

Following that was The O.C. Supertones, and they were actually one of the most major reasons for our journey to this festival. Having only seen them twice before their former retirement (and the second show, actually on their farewell tour, having been cut very short due to an equipment malfunction— one of the venue’s amps had begun to spew smoke!), it was a must to see their Reunite Tour show (and that the one we could get to actually happened to be the very last stop of the tour was an unintended bonus).

Finally, tobyMac had an excellent show, as always— and this time it was made even more awesome by the festival actually handing out candles to the crowd (which we have never experienced at a rock show before! ).

So, in all, it was a great day (and a productive one for deciding on certain Live Show Nominations this year!).

 

(Bonus Photo: On our way back, we were also treated to the following brilliant road sign courtesy of someone in the Pennsylvania road department with a great sense of humor! Enjoy!)

 

Ember is the owner of several businesses and the main writer for ListenUpReviews.com. She lives in the American Midwest, and enjoys action sports, technology, science, reading, being a part of certain sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery fandoms (and just a geek in general! ), playing her violin, piano, and electric guitar, and most of all listening to great music (both recorded and live).

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