Saturday, 31 May 2014

Goodbye Beach!

It's the end of the month, and the end of one of the most incredible experiences of my life. This will be my last study abroad blog as I'm back in England, but I can assure you this won't be my last goodbye!

In my first post I set myself the goal to treasure every moment, embrace every opportunity, and remember each and every incredible feeling.

Looking back over the last nine months, I'm proud to say I've achieved that goal. I've taken opportunities that I could never have imagined, discovered countless new experiences, and loved every moment. I've left California with a heavy heart and priceless memories.

I've been struggling to write this post, as there is so much I could say, and many more things I won't be able to. Looking through my time abroad I see miles travelled, places visited, smiling faces and moments I'll never forget.

Studying abroad is an incredibly valuable experience. Whether you're discovering a new culture or your true self, it's a chance of a lifetime. There's no way to prepare yourself for the things you can find - from those you expect, to the ones you weren't even looking for.

My biggest thanks for my time goes to the people I've met. I'd like to give a special mention to my fellow travellers, the best room mate and the Hillside A-Team, the CSULB Underground Music Society, and the amazing musicians I met along the way. Alongside many others, you made my experience something truly special, and it could never have been the same without you.

Short of being dragged on the plane, I was reluctant to leave California behind. I found my place and the people I want to fill my life, so leaving was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

Now I've set my sights on a new goal. This isn't the end and I'll find a way to return. When you think about it, it's pretty simple, wherever you are in the world... the dream.


Sunday, 11 May 2014

Final Farewell to The Two Tone Boners

So I've been dragging this one out for a while now, but here goes.

Since coming to California I have been open to new opportunities and experiences, and one of the most unexpected is my new found love for ska. Back in September at my first CSULB Underground Music Society show I first discovered The Two Tone Boners. 

"For the final act of the night The Two Tone Boners filled The Nugget with their smooth grooves and rhythmic ska sounds, enticing everything from toe-tapping to full on skanking. Keys, trombone, sax, guitar, drums, and an exciting trio of vocals created an intense and powerful penetration that leaves a funky echo ringing for hours." 

This short review found me an invitation to their next show at The Airliner in Los Angeles. I met with the band and travelled with them to the show. From all our escapades of the night, ending in drunken interviews in the Boner Cave, this was certainly a memorable one, and marked the start of a big part of my time in California. 

"The collaboration of different genres and influences shines throughout their set, The Two Tone Boners is an eclectic mix, filled with energy and enthusiasm. While the ska feel strikes through, there are also elements of punk and other influences contrasting with more chilled vibes."

Since then, I have joined The Two Tone Boners and their fans at countless shows and had many an enjoyable night with them. They introduced me to a world of music through those they've shared the stage with, including one of my new favourite bands Papafish. 

The Two Tone Boners performance is packed full of tastes of punk, ska, jazz and more. There's something for everyone and it definitely gets you craving a dance and joining the pit for some skanking. Each show offers something different as they draw on the various aspects of the band. 

They're no strangers to a challenge and the hardships of musicianship, yet somehow they always pull through and seem to come out stronger on the other side. This is an extremely close-knit group, who all share an incredible passion for their music. 

Recently, they've been working on a new EP which will be released soon. I've heard a few sneak previews and it's already full of promise. I can't wait to hear the final product and hope that it takes the band even further. 

My last two shows with the band found me sitting on the stage with them at The Slidebar and another night at the Old Towne Pub in Pasadena. I was so happy I was able to see you all again and say my (temporary) goodbyes. On so many occasions you've made me feel incredibly welcome and I'm glad to have met you all.

So for some great music and fun shows check out this El Monte ska group! 

I'm really going to miss joining you guys at shows, but as I keep reassuring myself, I will be back...
This won't be the last you hear from The English Bonerette! 

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Last Chance Shows in California

 Enjoying a drink with Craic Haus
My last days in California are creeping up on me at an alarming rate.

I've had an amazing weekend catching two incredible bands for one last time before heading back to England at the end of the month, and wanted to take a quick moment to show my appreciation.

Friday night saw another appearance of shamrockabilly stars Craic Haus at The Auld Dubliner in Downtown Long Beach. We came across this band by chance and have been listening to them ever since. Guaranteed to provide a fun night and get you dancing - Although unfortunately not for me as I'm still stuck in a wheelchair!

Danny, Dylan and Julian are lovely guys and each incredibly talented. Thanks for the nights of happy memories and sing-a-long songs. As promised, come to England and if all else fails I'll let you play at my house!

Not content to stop there, the following day (after the delicious discovery of a full Irish breakfast back at the Dubliner), we headed into LA to catch one of my favourite bands, Papafish, at The Satellite.

I discovered this eclectic mix of ska-rock-reggae at the Slidebar in Fullerton with The Two Tone Boners in December, and featured them on The Music Xchange to share the love and spread the word of their outstanding music. Since then, I spent my days singing along with the incredible voice of Nancy Rae until I'd learnt almost all the words to every song in a matter of weeks. Needless to say, I love you guys and can't wait for the next release. I'm sure it will find its way to me in England!

My final thanks goes to Roberto, for helping me discover these bands and taking me to every show. Tuesday will mark my last show with you and to say I will be sad to miss the rest over the coming year is a huge understatement.

But fear not all - I will be back! 

At The Satellite in LA for Papafish