The Oh Hellos at Thalia Hall

It’s not every day that you get to meet your favorite band, help them decorate their venue with Christmas snowflakes, listen to them as they do sound check, help with a coat drive, and go backstage for a song or two. So since this never happens, I had to document it on this here blog.

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I have been a fan of The Oh Hellos for years. Their song Hello My Old Heart popped up on my Rdio account at work one day and I was hooked. I haven’t been able to see them live – I somehow missed them every time they would play near Chicagoland. But then as luck would have it they were playing a Christmas Extravaganza show at Thalia Hall on December 10. I quickly purchased the tickets for my roommate and I as early Christmas presents, and then something even more wonderful happen, they asked on their Facebook page if anyone would like to help them on a project. Yes, said I! And so that’s how I found myself sticking up snowflakes listening to my favorite band during their sound check.

Some Joyful Moments

Meeting the Band

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetThe band was incredibly generous. They were all so kind and welcoming. From the concerts and interviews I’ve seen of them they seemed to be like that, but sometimes you never know; yet, this band was made up of genuinely kind and humble people. We were able to take a photo with Maggie and Tyler, but we also had the pleasure of talking with some of the other band members too.

They gave us a signed poster and anything from the merch table, which was seriously the sweetest gift. They were genuinely thankful that we helped, but I don’t think they realize that just being there was a gift (yup cheese sauce all over that applesauce!).


I have a servant’s heart and I sincerely love to help people. I love to bring a smile to someone’s face. I thank God that He gave me a smile that is contagious (I think all smiles are!), and so when I received the email from the band to help with a coat drive I was elated.

I loved grabbing the coats from people and entering them into a drawing. I made a big deal each time a person would bring over their coat. They were doing something kind and selfless and I wanted to celebrate them. The look of gratitude and joy on their faces were impossible not to celebrate, I mean really!

I absolutely loved sitting at the merch table and watching everyone’s faces as they entered the venue. Some people were confused as to why this random girl with a santa hat (me) was smiling at them, but then their frowns would quickly melt into a cheerful smile and all was well. I especially loved watching the faces of the people waiting to check their coats in when the band began to play – it was impossible for them not to have a look of glee on their face.

I ended up helping with the merch table and it was a blast handing people items that they actually wanted and were excited to have. I know that sounds rather simple but that’s unique as my day job doesn’t usually offer such quick satisfaction from the people I serve. Also, I am a fan too, so when someone was excited to buy an album I was excited for them and also for the band – make that paper, yo.

Being There

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I have waited years to see this band live and it was sheer joy. I loved their set – a mix of their original music along with Christmas songs. It was a joy to shout “come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord” as loud as possible in a setting that wasn’t a church. I loved sharing this intimate moment (you know, with 700+ of my most intimate acquaintances) with other fans as we swayed back and forth, danced, and even had fake snow (soap) fall on us. They are even better live and better than I imagined.

A Different Perspective

Face of happy: we just finished putting up snowflakes and were sitting listening to the band.

We got there around 4pm and left around 11pm, so we were able to get a perspective that a fan normally doesn’t see. From being there during sound check, from the bars setting up, the security coming in and preparing, the coat check people working, the merch table setting up, the quiet before the storm of fans who just seem to appear, to the actual show, and then afterwards to the tearing down and counting of inventory and cleaning up and packing up… It reminded me of my days in high school when I would help with local bands, but now as someone who is older, I see it differently. When I was younger it was something we loved but we didn’t depend on it. Now I am older I realize it’s a job, an ecosystem – not only is the band making income, but so is this venue, the security guards, the bartenders, the coat checkers, etc.

So friends who love music, see the bands you love live, buy their merch, buy a drink, and maybe check your coat (if applicable).

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Obviously, this post was not a play-by-play of the day. I just wanted to pick out moments. It’s mainly for future Tawny to look back on and think, “Wow God, you have blessed me in innumerable ways.”

Belly of the Deepest Love

You know how there are just some songs that get you? It’s as though they wrote it for you, and at the same time, you could have written it yourself. I found that song in Tow’rs Belly of the Deepest Love. It’s a beautiful re-telling of the crucifixion of Christ.

Some of the lyrics that feel like my own:

From the belly of the deepest love, The hills trembling throats sing hallelujah

Like the flowers on the dogwood tree, blush with blame you took for me

Oh how you wished to be with me, Oh how you wished to be with me


All the clouds swung low over kings and thieves

and how your mother stayed by your side, watched the curtain tear in your eye

and all the heavy hearts could’ve cracked the ground


I tried to get to you, but you came to me instead

With the dawn the grave is gone, Oh how you wish to be with me


I need something to hold onto, stronger than the iron that held you

Louder than the roar of the crowd that day.

You can listen to the song on Spotify or watch them play it live below. I recommend both.

TOW’RS | Belly Of The Deepest Love [LIVE] from Mountain Wind Films on Vimeo.

Oh, you know just a post about depression and live music

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I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Joseph and Tyler Sjöström play live last night.

The entire day I was wrestling with actually going to the show. Don’t get me wrong, I love Joseph and was looking forward to seeing them, but I’ve been sick and also I have been wanting to just stay in bed all day, everyday. And that’s not due to sickness, it’s depression. Lethargic behaviors come with the territory.

Anyways, I am thankful I ended up going. They were awesome. Just listen to their music and multiply it by 11 and that’s how awesome it was or you can watch a collection of my snaps from the night (not the greatest quality).

Some of my takeaways from the night:

  • Joseph has a new song they shared with us and it’s about depression. It was incredibly powerful to hear. I am excited for a band to actually write about depression, and not in a sexy kind of way.
  • Tyler had a song that is new as well and it’s about his travels and doing it alone. He would sing about seeing these beautiful, wonderful things and then repeat, “I did it alone.” Oh, it pained me to hear that as I was sitting in this concert hall alone, doing things alone. And then he sang, “I will love you until the end of time… just give me time.” And I thought about how I am capable of giving and receiving a lot of love but I don’t have the chance at this present moment. Well, love as in romantic love.
  • If you watch my Snaps, there is one I took in between sets and it’s just everyone in the venue talking and I am sitting there. There is nothing lonelier than sitting in a room full of people who act as though you aren’t there. So, I was reminded of the blessings of roommates in this season of depression because I feel so alone and they are reminders that I am not alone.

Wow, this post was a downer.

Uhm…here’s some The Awkward Yeti…


The End of Rdio; Hello Monopoly!

800px-Rdio.svgI’ve used the streaming service Rdio since 2011. It came as quite a shock  when I opened my Rdio account the other day to see their “Important Information” banner in bright blue. Yup, they filed for bankruptcy and sold their intellectual property to Pandora.

Rdio was one of the streaming services that was different than the others. Most of my friends used services like Pandora or Spotify, which may have led to their demise, yet for a loyal customer like myself, it set them apart. They weren’t part of the big digital economy monopoly.

This experience also makes me question digital streaming in general. I’ve had it for nearly five years and I grew quite a collection of favorites and lists. Just the other day I scrolled to the beginning and listened to albums I haven’t heard in years. Maybe it’s best I return to owning my music instead of just renting it. I don’t have any control, yet I’ve invested time and money into it. It’s hard to reconcile.

I guess this is a question for another time.

Your thoughts?

A Night With Laura, Johnny, and Marika


Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, and Marika Hackman at Lincoln Hall in Chicago. This is one of my favorite venues in all of Chicago, and now it will be known as the place I witnessed a beautiful show put on by some of my favorite Brits.

Laura is as charming as ever. I think she is much more comfortable talking to us from stage now, and she honestly looks like she is enjoying playing her music more too.

Johnny Flynn was added to the bill after I purchased the tickets, which may have been the best surprise ever. I’ve been a fan of Johnny for awhile and I’ve never had a chance to see him live. It was worth the wait. He’s that good.

Marika Hackman was new to my ears and I definitely intend on listening to her for years. She is extremely talented and humble and I know she will have a lasting career.

The musicians had a great time playing with one another throughout the night, but they finished the night with a cover of Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work” which I recorded below. Enjoy!