Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Up until about a week ago, I'd never set a single foot in Colorado. I've driven through a few times while on tour, but we were never able to book a show and I didn't really have any other reason to head east.

I just got home from spending almost a week there (over the course of two trips) and it was pretty great. I had no idea what to expect, but I loved the city. If it didn't snow just as much, if not more, than Salt Lake City in the winter, it would be on the list of cities that I would actually consider moving to (but probably never actually will).

The first leg of the trip, I drove out in a rental car with my friends Casey and Oz. For the second half, I flew, but met up with Casey, who drove out again with Paddy and Justin.

I covered most of the trip here and here, but I've got a bunch of other pictures, too. Some of them showed up on Instagram, some showed up on Twitter (my own and The Fucking Reserves), but there were a lot more and I didn't want to clog everyone's feed.

If you're interested, head over to check them out at my Flickr account. There's a bunch of other stuff for you to root around in, too. You can lurk my life all the way back to 2004 if your little heart desires. I don't mind.


While I'm not the world's biggest soccer fan, it has grown on me a lot over the past couple of years. I had season tickets for Real Salt Lake for a season, still go to a few games each year and paid casual attention to British Premier League games (now that they're on NBC quite a bit).

Over the past year, I've started to get more and more into soccer and it's mostly due to that Manchester United podcast (we've been going strong for almost a full year, only missing one week) that I'm part of. I still don't know much about the intricacies of the game and I couldn't tell you why some players work where others don't, but I'm learning.

The other huge boost that I got was getting laid off just before the World Cup started. I was planning on catching as many games as I could, but figured I'd only be able to catch the Saturday games and daily recaps. That changed, and I took full advantage of my summer vacation and caught as many as I possibly could. Now I'm really starting to get the hang of things.

The Premier League starts up again in a couple of weeks (with the German and Spanish leagues starting soon after), and pretty much every club is in pre-season mode. A whole bunch of teams from Europe (including some of the big names like Manchester United, Man City and Real Madrid) came over the U.S. for a little preseason tournament called the International Champions Cup. It doesn't really mean a whole lot, and it's mostly for the teams to build their profile in the United States, but it's still pretty awesome.

Manchester United was scheduled to play in Denver against AS Roma a few days after the Nine Inch Nails/Soundgarden show, and there was no way that Casey was going to miss it. He bought a couple of tickets and my friend Paddy, who also does the podcast with us, bought a few as well. Casey was going to take his wife, and Paddy was going to take his wife and two kids, but as the game got closer, most of the family bailed. Oz had used up the last of his vacation time on the Soundgarden trip, and Byron couldn't get away, because he and his wife had just their second kid not long ago.

I was still unemployed (still am, more or less), so I took one of the tickets and headed back to the Mile High City for the second time in less than a week.

I flew out early Friday morning, and got into town about 10:30, while Casey, Paddy and our friend Justin drove out got to town about 4 PM. We met up at the hotel and headed to Sports Authority Field to watch an open training session. Roma backed out of theirs, so we waited around in the pouring rain and watched Manchester United run around cones and do ball drills for a couple of hours.

The next day, we headed to the Four Seasons and waited for the team to leave the hotel. Casey and Paddy had a bunch of stuff they were trying to get signed, but the crowd was too big and the only player that stopped to sign anything was Chicharito—and even he only got through a handful of things before he had to get on the bus.

Casey's seats were on the 11th row behind Roma's bench, while Paddy's seats were in the 3rd deck. We split up, and Justin went up with Paddy and his friend that just happened to be in town, while Casey and I went down to our seats. The  field-level corners of the stadium ended up being pretty empty, so eventually we all met up and moved over to some vacant seats and watched the game. For the first half, Casey and I stayed in his seats and we got a great look at a Wayne Rooney goal that was awesome, a Juan Mata goal off a beautiful assist from Rooney and another Rooney goal on a penalty.

Basically, the first half was all Rooney. Since these games don't really matter, the entire team was subbed off at halftime, and the second half was decidedly less exciting, with the exception of a killer Roma goal that was lobbed in from just over mid-field.

Casey and I both way over-prepared for the 20% chance of rain, but didn't prepare at all for the 80% chance of the 95-degree direct sunlight that ended up being the case for most of the first half. It was brutal, but luckily clouds moved in, gave us some shade and cooled things down for the second half. Manchester United ended up winning 3-2 and I've never seen Casey or Paddy in a better mood.

While I'm not really a huge fan of the team, I'm glad to say that I've seen a British Premier League team in action. The quality of play is way better than what I'm used to, and after seeing that in person and spending a month watching World Cup, it's going to be tough to watch an RSL match next time they're on.

But I'll still do it. The Jazz are going to be terrible again, baseball games are getting harder and harder to sit through (more on that later), and the NFL is a complete farce. So let's go soccer!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I had three bands on my "bucket list" and I checked the second one off last week.

Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden and Bruce Springsteen (I once made noise about wanting to see the rumored Slayer/Anthrax/Megadeth/Metallica tour, but I don't actually care about any of those bands anymore) were the three bands I'd never seen live but always wanted to. I kind of figured that it would never happen, since Springsteen never comes anywhere near Salt Lake and neither Soundgarden or Nine Inch Nails were actually bands anymore.

Never say never, I guess.

I got the chance to see Nine Inch Nails last fall for the first time, and I got to see them again last week. They put on an amazing show last time I saw them, so I was looking forward to what they'd do this time. What they did this time was bring Soundgarden as their opening act.

Casey, Oz and I drove out to Denver last weekend to catch the show at Red Rocks Ampitheater, which is about half an hour outside of town. It's built into the side of the mountain and one of the coolest venues I've ever been to. The views are amazing and the sound is incredible (though it's a little bit of a hike to get to, and getting out afterwards takes far longer than I would have liked).

Before the show started, I had no idea what to expect from it. I'd never gotten confirmation on just whose tour it was: was NIN opening for Soundgarden? Was it the other way around? Were they co-headlining and trading off each night? I was a little stressed, because while I love Soundgarden, I wanted NIN to play for as long as possible. Turned out to be a Nine Inch Nails tour, with Soundgarden as support.

Casey, Oz and I hit up the cafe to eat French fries during the ambient DJ that was opening the show and we got back to our seats just as Soundgarden dropped the curtain in front of the stage and launched into "Searching with My Good Eye Closed" and didn't let up for over an hour. They didn't have as much time as they would have liked, so they stuck mostly to the hits, but threw in a few of the less popular tracks, which was awesome. They played "Like Suicide" and "The Day I Tried to Live" and closed their set with "Slaves & Bulldozers" which just left a huge smile on my face.

Soundgarden sounded perfect, but they're kind of boring to watch. It didn't lessen my enjoyment, but it was a little bit of a letdown. Kind of looked like they were just going through the motions at times, but at least I got to see them.

The beginning of NIN's set caught me by surprise because there was literally nothing on the stage until Trent Reznor walked out, stood next to a single light and hit a few buttons on a sequencer. "Copy of A" started, and one by one, the rest of his band joined him across the front of the stage. Huge, LED screens moved behind each of them and the show got underway.

The setlist was very similar to what they played last year when I saw them (with a few exceptions, like taking out "Reptile" which was a bummer, but adding in "Closer" and "1,000,000" so it was okay), but the stage show this time was much more involved and intricate. There was also a smaller band this time, which made it easier for the seven (!) screens to be moved around while everyone was playing their instruments.

Totally worth the trip out there (and I'd never been to Denver before, which is an awesome city that we'll talk about a little bit more), I've hit two out of three and now I'm just waiting on The Boss. Let's get to it, Bruce.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Summertime means a lot of things. It means swimming, hiking, bbq, patio eating, iced coffee, road trips, World Cup games (this one has been great) and tons of other fun stuff. Most of that takes place outside, which is exactly where you're supposed to be during the summer months.

But sometimes it's just too hot for any of that. There are few things that are more enjoyable and give you a nice break from the sweltering heat than sitting inside a nice, air-conditioned theater and catching a movie. Plenty of great movies get released over the summer, but there are two playing right now that you should see immediately.

SNOWPIERCER - Seriously, if you like weird, character-driven, brilliantly made sci-fi movies like BLADE RUNNER, BRAZIL, or ALIENS, you'll want to see this immediately. Sometime in the future, an attempt at stopping global warming fails miserably and immediately freezes the entire planet. The only survivors were the people that were rich enough to afford a ticket on the Snowpiercer—a train with a perpetual-motion engine that travels around the world non-stop. At the last minute, others that couldn't afford the price rushed the platform and boarded the train before the doors started. For 17 years, the rich lived a life of luxury at the front of the train, while the poor languished at the back. Chris Evans is one of those stuck at the back and fed up with being fed only protein bars and decides to lead a revolution.

I don't want to say much else for fear of ruining it. I saw it last Saturday and loved every second of it. Evans is fantastic (as he is in everything he does lately), John Hurt plays a wounded veteran of past uprisings, Tilda Swinton is the spokesperson for those at the front of the train, including Wilford—the creator and operator of Snowpiercer. It's full of amazing, claustrophobic action, great character moments and stunning visuals. I haven't seen anything like it in a long, long time. It's out in theaters now and will be released for On Demand this weekend. Look for it.

EDGE OF TOMORROW - Look, I know what you're thinking because I had the same thought: I fucking hate Tom Cruise. He's not a bad actor, and he plays essentially the same character in every single movie he headlines. It's just that his personal life was so encompassing for a while that it made me sick of him. But he is FANTASTIC in this movie and Emily Blunt, who is always great, goes toe to toe with him every step of the way. I really thought it was going to be a dour, boring movie like so many futuristic war movies, but I was 100% wrong. It was directed by Doug Liman, a guy that I've always loved, and I always forget that he likes to make his movies fun.

Aliens have taken over most of the world and humanity is losing badly. Tom Cruise is a military PR guy that gets thrown into battle dying almost immediately because the aliens have anticipated the attack. As soon as he dies, he wakes up the previous morning, unsure of what's happened but remembering everything. He tries to convince his squadron that their demise is inevitable, but they won't listen. Each time he dies, he wakes up again in the same place. In one of his encounters, he tries to save another soldier (Blunt) who believes him and tells him to find her when he wakes up. She tries to teach him how to defend himself from the aliens long enough to stop them.

If you're thinking "that kind of sounds like a war version of GROUNDHOG DAY" you're right. But the similarities end there. It's a much, much better movie than I gave it credit for going in and I promise that you'll love it.

So there you go. Go see both of those movies. The only two other movies I'm looking forward to this summer are DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. If those are half as good as these two (and I think they'll both be great), we're in for a good summer at the movies.