Monday, May 4, 2015

The Nerdy Girlie Team's Music Monday #2: 3 Secrets with A Silent Film

If you are a regular reader of this blog...first off...THANK YOU! Second, you MIGHT have heard of The Nerdy Girlie team's love of a band, "our band," A Silent Film {a few of my favorite posts Lamplighter-palooza Portland, 5 Songs That Changed My Life}.

{Secret #1 - LA}

I want to say it but I don't know how…. - Message in the Sand, A Silent Film

That might sum up how I feel as I begin to write this post.

A Silent Film is Robert Stevenson and Spencer Walker, our Lads from Oxford, England. When they decided to set out on a tour to promote their new EP New Year, they wanted to put something special together to thank their fans, aka the Lamplighters. Enter the Secret Rooms tour: an experience for a very select few; intimate; and the most personal musical experience I've ever had.
The Secret Rooms ticket sale was a lottery and I was lucky enough to be picked to attend the LA show. No one knew how many people were going to be in attendance at each performance or what was even going to happen. Hence secret. So when I and a group of fellow Lamplighters showed up to the venue on April 28th, we were happy to see it truly was what  was promised to us. Less than fifty chairs sat circled around the instruments.

I had come with a group of Lamplighters, as I always do for all my ASF shows, and when we checked in, we were told to choose a card. The card corresponded with our seat, so none of us got to sit together. That proved to be a blessing in disguise.
I was lucky enough to get an aisle seat so I could get up and take photos without disturbing anyone, and boy did I take photos! Almost 300! Though I made plenty sure to be in the moment as much as possible. First The Lads came out and explained what was going to happen throughout the night. Up first, meet and greet, second, the performance and lastly a Q&A.

I love A Silent Film's music, but what I might love even more is how warm, welcoming and kind they are to their fans. This was my sixth show of theirs and ever since the second show I attended they have known me by name. They always make me feel special for the few minutes that I get to speak with them and each of those times, it's like no day has passed since the last time we spoke.
Of course this time was no different. When it was my turn to speak with the Lads, they didn't disappoint. Spencer took the time right away to thank me for our review of their new EP and I thanked him for sharing it on their social media accounts. There was one thing that I really wanted to say to them and it was this. I've met so many special people because of them and their music. One of them being Lindsay {she will tell you about the Seattle show below}. Lindsay lives in Utah and I'm in LA. We met on the Facebook fan page and have talked everyday for what is it, a year now?! We met for the first time in Portland last year. She's helped me with my writing and I've helped her with her photography. Besides that, she has been a huge support system and one of the best friends I have. If it wasn't for ASF and their music, we would have never met. I just had to tell them that their music touches lives in so many different ways.
I always feel like I can write better than I can communicate in person. I try to be outgoing but really I am a quite person who doesn't open up to just anyone. I have so many feelings and ASF's music touches my soul. Robert is the primary lyricist and composer of ASF. Ever since I heard the first notes of Harbour Lights, the second time we met and he knew me by name and each I see him play the piano I realize that there are just some people that come into your life for a reason. His music inspires me, his performances captivate me, and he as a person is so sincere and genuine, and quite like me. In the three years that I've been a fan of ASF, Robert and I have only spoken mere minutes, but in that time I've come to think of him as my musical British brother. Both he and Spencer are apart of my musical family wether they want to be or not!
When the  meet and greet finished, I took my seat and was directly in front of Robert and his piano. Perfect spot right? That's what I thought until Spencer announced after a few songs that we all had to get up and move around the circle to our same seat in the section to our right. NOW I was basically sitting right next to Robert as he played my favorite of their new songs "Strong Enough" {see video above}. I couldn't be any closer unless I was sitting right next to him. It was a gorgeous rendition of the song and I cannot stop listening to it on repeat. It was the most magical musical moment of my life.
On the third rotation, my second favorite moment of the night happened. Spencer got up and played the harmonica on "Danny, Dakota And The Wishing Well." This was my favorite song of the night. I wish I videoed it, but I am more happy to have the memory inside my head and was able to just live in the moment, smile bigger than I ever had and clapping and singing a long. I love living in moments like that, - it was pure joy. When I looked over at one of my friends after, we just both looked at each other and that was all that needed to be said. It was THE performance of the night.
The night closed out with our final rotation and one of the most personal performances I've ever witnessed. The Lads closed out the show with the lights turned down low and a haunting performance of "Rustle Of The Stars." Like I said before, I wasn't able to sit by my fellow fans, and in the end I was very happy about that. The entire experience felt like a personal concert just for me. I was isolated from the norm and in turn was totally focused on the experience and the music in front of me and just lived in the moment.
The Q&A portion highlighted The Lads' personalities perfectly and we were even given one more extra song! As the night concluded, we exited the venue we were given so much amazing swag -  the best thing being a key. Only attendees of the Secret Rooms tour will be given these keys. In the future at each show the merch table will have a lock box that only our keys will open. Inside…who knows? Something exclusive just for us! I cannot wait to find out what the first item will be. In two weeks, I travel to Phoenix for two more ASF shows so hopefully there I will find out.

{Secret #2 - Seattle}

By: Lindsay Clyde Flanagan
On July 3, 2011, I went to Park City, Utah, to see one of my favorite bands play. I thought I would sit back and relax while the opening bands played, but when this band from Oxford, England came on stage and began to play with such enormous talent and passion, I stood up and noticed. A Silent Film’s music just kept ringing through my mind after their set. As I was leaving the venue, I happened upon Robert Stevenson, so I talked with him for a moment. I bought their first album, The City that Sleeps, and fell in love with all of their songs. When Sand and Snow came out, I was blown away again – even more so. This album became my anthem for the summer of 2012, one that was difficult for many reasons and life-changing for others. I missed their show in May of 2012 because of one of those difficult reasons, but when they came to Salt Lake again in October 2012, I was there, right on the front row, singing my heart out. I had the chance to meet them again and I was floored when Robert told me he noticed me singing along on the front row. Since then, they have won me over. I write about them a lot on my own blog, and part of this post is adapted from one I wrote for it. Their music continues to inspire me and change my life, always for the better.
Photo: Lindsay Clyde Flanagan

It’s because of them that I am writing on The Nerdy Girlie. Megan and I met on ASF’s Facebook fan page, the Lamplighters. We connected because of our love of the band, but have found so many other things we have in common. Not a day has gone by that we haven’t spoken or messaged. It’s also because of another friend I met through the Lamplighters, Shawnte, that I was able to experience the Secret Rooms tour. Salt Lake City was not on the list of cities where they would be touring, so when they were announced, I was resolved to wait until the full tour was announced. However, Shawnte was selected in the lottery for the Seattle show - and she invited me as her guest. I didn't know what to expect from the Secret Rooms tour, but I knew it was going to be a once in a lifetime experience, something totally different and completely special. The Secret Room was at the Ballard Homestead, a very small, quaint space. The instruments had been set up in the middle of the floor and chairs and stools were situated all around them. No stage, minimal lighting, and a very small crowd of maybe forty fans. This was most definitely going to be an unforgettable evening.
Photo: Lindsay Clyde Flanagan

They didn't begin their show with music. They took a few moments to introduce the concept of this tour and why they were doing it. They then allowed each fan one-on-one time with them so they could meet the fans they were playing for. I was so excited for my husband to finally meet them. I was surprised--although I shouldn't have been, given how sweet they are to their fans--when they were excited to meet him! We were able to talk with them for a few minutes and get our picture before heading back into the Secret Room to await the show. They began their set with their new song "Message in the Sand" and then moved into their well-known "Harbour Lights." From the first note of their set to the last reverberation, I had a lump in my throat. The tears fell during "Strong Enough," for many, many personal reasons (and one because I related to the reason it was written). I was absolutely stunned by their cover of "Pictures of You" by The Cure, not only because it was a great cover, but because Spencer Walker, usually seen behind the drums and singing backing vocals, came out and played the bass. He surprised me even further by sitting down at Robert's piano and playing during "Lavender Fields." I knew these boys were talented, but to see how multitalented and hardworking they are was beyond anything I could have asked for in a show. They stepped away from their microphones and Spencer picked up a harmonica (add that to the ever-growing list of instruments Spencer Walker can play) to play an a cappella version of "Danny, Dakota, and the Wishing Well." The tears almost fell again when they played "Where the Snowbirds Have Flown," because, if I have to choose a favorite song, that one would be it. It's lyrically and musically gorgeous, and contains one of the most perfect lines of poetry: "When love rolls through your body like thunder and I am the storm cloud..." Robert Stevenson is, and will always be, one of my favorite poets. I hope to inspire someone in the way his words have inspired me: they never fail to set my pen on fire. 

As we left the show, we were each given a signed poster and an envelope that contained gifts from the band. So not only are these lads talented, kind, and gracious, they are exceptionally generous. As always, I'm counting down until I can see ASF again. But in the meantime, I'm going to continue to turn up the volume, sing even though I'll be off tune, dance with my daughters, and write...always write...when I listen to ASF.

{Secret #3 - Denver}

By: Tillie Elvrum aka The Music Maven

What more can I say that Megan and Lindsay haven’t already covered…Robert, Spencer, and the entire A Silent Film team thought of everything when it came to the Secret Rooms Tour.  Everything about this tour was special – from the way the New Year EP was released with a series of clues and mystery envelopes arriving on fans doorsteps, to the location of the shows being revealed one at a time, and down to the cool way fans were seated during the shows.  Every single thing about this tour was a personal and you could tell that the band was very hands-on throughout the planning stages.
Photo by: The Gamer Geek aka JD Elvrum

They took it a step further and kept things personal and intimate during the shows as well.  Before the music even started, Robert and Spencer spent time with each and every attendee – for some fans it was a new experience and for longtime fans it was a chance to say how much they’ve been missed.  If you’ve seen A Silent Film before you know that there isn’t a whole lot of banter during their full shows – they are all business when they’re up on stage, but this ‘in-the-round’ setting allowed for more dialogue.  It was a pleasure to learn more about the songs and what went into the new music.
Photo by: The Gamer Geek aka JD Elvrum

My favorite moments from the show…hearing a stripped back version of You Will Leave A Mark – it’s my all-time favorite ASF song. I had to smile at how animated Robert was playing a “real” piano – he was definitely in his happy place.  I loved seeing Spencer take a seat at the piano to accompany Robert on Lavender Fields – it was a beautiful rendition.  The cover of The Cure’s Pictures Of You was absolute perfection – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to the original version of this song since it came out in 1989, but Robert and Spencer nailed it.  

I have seen just about every type of concert you can imagine – festivals, stadiums, small clubs, and in-studio performances, but nothing compared to this Secret Rooms show.  The venue, Bazaar, is a hidden gem among the Denver music scene – residing in an old muffler shop, with a very sparse dΓ©cor, there is nothing to distract you from the music and the acoustics were amazing.  
Photo by: The Gamer Geek aka JD Elvrum

The band is recording various songs during the tour and I cannot wait to see the finished videos because this is a tour that I’m going to want to re-live over and over again.

Thank you to Robert and Spencer for the amazing experience and all of the special mementos they sent us home with.  I pity the next band I go to see because they will never be able to top this extraordinary show.


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