Saturday, December 5, 2009

30 Seconds to Mars & Cage the Elephant

ITZ has had the great opportunity to receive review tickets to a couple of concerts thanks to LiveNation, and this past week we got to see 30 Seconds to Mars at Verizon Wireless with Cage the Elephant. Being my first experience at Verizon, I must say I hope we get to go back. Having seen acts like Metallica, Ozzy, and some others at bigger venues, this venue brings you close to the action and the sound is pretty good to boot.
I am a music junkie. I like all types of music as my iTunes library is packed with everything from Mozart to Creed, Metallica to Pat Green. I enjoy the sounds of the songs. Lyrics to me come into play, especially if the sound that accompanies them are really complimentary. I have never really been one for the mosh pits. I will sing with the song as they play it and clap to the beat. My legs generally get a good workout from the tapping. You know you do it too. Especially in the car driving.
It's great going to concerts and hearing new bands for the first time. Cage the Elephant is a band that I thought I had never heard of until they played their hit "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked." Very Beckish in sound, but definitely a catchy tune. The group put on a helluva show keeping the crowd involved. The singer spent a good time in the crowd either body surfing (with a wired mic BTW), or walking around the front singing with the crowd. I have always liked bands that interact with fans. Being a novice to the group, as were some of the other fans, it was pretty cool hearing 'No Rest for the Wicked' and knowing the song. The crowd got really loud when they heard the song and realized it was them. Every get that feeling of I know this song but don't know who it is and you happen to be at the concert when you hear it again? Yeah, that kind of moment.
Towards the end of Cage's set, the singer had to of given himself one HUGE headache. After spending half the song on the floor with the fans, he got tossed back on stage by security, he began to go into a flopping fish routine. Looked like he was having a nice little seizure. You know the bottle of ibuprofen was waiting for him backstage. It was hilarious because he kept on singing and didn't miss a beat.
All in all, Cage the Elephant is group you need to look up and check out. I know we are.
Once Cage was gone and the house lights came on, the crowd was beginning to fill in. I laughed because of the fascination with Jered Leto. I had heard plenty about his acting and wanting to be an artist. 30STM is not new to me, but like with every band, you don't always know every song. 'The Kill' and 'From Yesterday' have been radio regulars, and hearing some of their new stuff made this trip nice because there were no preconceived feelings on the band. The show started out with the expected screams from the females when Jered came onto stage. I will give it to him though, he sounds pretty damn good in person. There wasn't a whole lot of change between the CD and live. Definite bonus. Live music is so much better than studio b/c it is real. No multiple takes and layering of music.
Like Cage the Elephant, Leto worked the crowd and tried to get them pumped up. He even hopped down and got into the crowd and had them sing part of a chorus with him before he made his way to the back of the house and stood up where the sound board was at and talk about insane…
As much as been talked about Leto's ego, attitude, however you want to put it, yeah, you could see it, but to be honest, the man can sing. Plain and simple. 30 Seconds pulled out a rare trick out Thursday night that you wouldn't see a lot of bigger bands do. Their new album "This is War" was due to drop five days after the show, but they were selling it at the show, and as an added bonus, the band was set up at a table to sign autographs at the end of the show. NUTS!! As the show winded down, I got in line with my step-son, cd in hand, to get it autographed for my wife, huge Leto fan, as a perfect Christmas gift. Already knowing I had the CD before it hit the shelves was good enough for her, I tried for the autograph. Yeah, so didn't happen. As great of an idea as it may have sounded, the layout for it was not ideal. They didn't set up any kind of perimeter for fans staying and leaving, so there was a major jam of people trying to get to the table. We were probably a hundred or so deep, easy, and after moving maybe eight feet in thirty minutes, we decided to roll and beat traffic. The wife wasn't too disappointed. She would have stayed and understood why we didn't. I would have just gone to the truck and chilled while she stood in line.
All in all, 30STM and Cage the Elephant put on a terrific show. We have pictures up on our Facebook page (search of ITZ Magazine). Hopefully we will be able to get readers and fans of ITZ to some of these concerts so they can enjoy the experience as well. Be on the lookout.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fall Semester and the holidays

As the fall semester comes to an end, and the newest class of graduates prepares to walk across the stage and enter the ‘Real World’, there are many who are looking forward to finals being done and awaiting a nice Holiday Break before enduring in another semester of quizzes, mid-terms, and finals.
As we enter the holiday season, it’s been difficult to get excited because of how certain places have jumped the gun on holidays. It seems to be getting worse and worse. I went to the store one weekend and low-and-behold, there was a whole section of Christmas out already. The fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving had been sectioned off to a little area. “Can we enjoy the first holiday before we jump to the end of the year?” Now I understand that there are some that aren’t big on Halloween, but some people enjoy dressing up, going out and having a good time. There are also those who enjoy being that person who gives out the cool candy. Thanksgiving is even getting by-passed. Isn’t that the time when family is to get together and laugh at that relative who stumbles from the table and knocks stuff off it? Or the annoying relative who just won’t shut up!? The fun stuff you laugh about when you get older.
Can we please stop getting in a hurry to make time go faster than it already is? This year has blown by. It doesn’t seem possible that as I write this, November is at the end of the week. It doesn’t seem possible that five months ago I was actually experiencing a vacation.
Stores are slowly but surely going to start bring out holiday stuff six months early. We will start seeing Valentine’s Day stuff out weeks before Christmas. Incredible.
In this world where information and instant gratification are rampant, stores and businesses are playing mental games and doing what they can to suck us in and we do it. Why would you want to buy something that early when you will probably put it up and forget where you put it by the time the holiday comes around or just give it to the person before the holiday? Holidays are slowly becoming just another day, and not a day for people to enjoy the moment with whomever they may be spending it with.
Last month Sam Houston played rival Stephen F. Austin in ‘The Battle of Piney Woods’ for the last time on the campus of either school. The two schools agreed to move the game next year to Houston and play the game at Reliant Stadium. Could turn out to be a very good thing is steps are taken to try and involve as many students as possible. Student fans provide such an atmosphere to games (when they come… this will be brought up in a minute), it can make for a lasting impression. Hopefully we can turn Reliant into a great tailgate environment. There are so many opportunities, now we just need to SHOW UP!
Going to the Sam-SFA, I was expecting to see a nice little sea of orange, and when I got there, not a whole lot of orange. Hell, there wasn’t even a band. Seriously!? They go to Tulsa because it is at a bigger school, but you don’t go to a rival game. They were back in Huntsville at a competition that someone scheduled for the day of the rival game. Intentional? Can’t answer that one. But you would think you would want to be in Nacogdoches being loud, but that is just me.
Where were the students? We have that group of students that sit behind the opposing teams bench and get loud, but they weren’t even there. They could have helped keep those Lumber… in check, even if we got woodshedded. It is depressing that the students will come and act like fans at home games, but when they are needed the most, they are MIA. The drive isn’t that bad and the school even had a bus.
Hopefully with the winds changing into basketball season this will change. The women start on Saturday, Nov. 7 against TAMU International at 3 p.m., while the guys tip-off Saturday, Nov. 14 against LeTourneau at 7 p.m.. Now if we can fill the student section up for the games, Johnson Coliseum will be the place to be on game night. Just remember these four letters, FREE! Take a break from studying for a couple of hours and vent your studying frustrations at the opposing team.
As this issue comes out and many of you are planning your holiday trips for Thanksgiving and preparing for finals and the holiday break, please remember to think ahead and be smart on the streets. There are plenty of parties left in the spring when the weather is better, and friends to head to the bar/club with.
Don’t forget to check out the website and see what events are coming up before finals and look for your picture.
Friend us on Facebook as we are hoping to send some readers to some concerts in the Houston area, so check for updates.
Have a safe holiday season.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day Thoughts

This past week was one that I am definitely glad to see come to an end. The party is over, had a great response at the tailgate, even with some nasty weather rolling in. Hopefully the next game this Saturday will give us better tailgating weather. I sure hope so.
There was great response to our shirts. Many people looked at them and thought about the meaning behind the shirts. Truth of the matter is, there is no meaning. Working in an industry that relies on information fast, it got me to thinking about how society as a whole is constantly in a rush. Everyone in a hurry. We have used technology to help this by the invention and refining of cell phones. Gone are the days of letters and in with emails, texting, and IM'ing. Everything has to be NOW NOW NOW. If more people were to slow down, many things would probably fall in great order. It seems that so many people rely on the instant gratification, that they lose sense of greater scheme of things. If you just read the shirt and not try to read too much into it, you will get it, "Why Not." It is a simple phrase that can mean so many things. Why not make the left and not the right to see where it takes you? Why not branch out and take a class that may be challenging and actually stimulate your brain? Simplicity has so many benefits in it, it is something that needs to be really be considered and enjoyed. Life is too short to always be in a rush and forget to 'Smell the Roses.' Enjoy what you have in front of you and take it one day at a time.
From time to time, I hope to have some more simple phrase items for everyone. Keep a look out for them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Random Thoughts

So the first week of school is about done and things seem to be heading in the right direction. There has been plenty of activities for students to be a part of, and more to come, and even a little bit of rain. Sort of forgot what that was like.
As the summer weather begins to taper off and the cool of fall begins to set in, things in Huntsville should start picking up. I know that I am excited about our Back2School Party Wednesday night. Then time to see the Bearkats hit the field against Western Illinois. This game is going to be on TV, so seeing you all there will make for a great environment. For those of you who want to see your face on TV, come out and have a good time. ITZ will have a place at the tailgating area with some give-aways.
Hopefully everyone is enjoying the start of the new semester and ready to enjoy what awaits this semester.

Til later…

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Random Thoughts

So, it is Tuesday afternoon and there are many things going on in the ITZ office today. While the September issue is on the mind, we are beginning to put together a list of ideas for our 5th Anniversary party. We want to do this huge. We have plenty of ideas, and now we just have to get them written down and begin knocking each one off one by one.
As I ponder how I want to approach the September issue, ideas run through my head about how I can incorporate some new things. We did get a shot in the arm over the weekend as we are looking at getting some students to help provide more local content into the magazine. Something that was music to my ears. Over the past 3+ years of the magazine, having writers has probably been the most difficult thing to keep constant. Hopefully with our new relationship, that will change.
One thing I am glad that will be changing is going to be the On The Scene page. In the next two weeks, I know of five different events that we will be at. There is the 14th Annual Murski's All Girls Bash, The SHSU Rec Sports Block Party on Saturday followed by their Pool Party the next night. There is a back to school bash at The Jolly Fox and Jonathan Cooper the next night. September and October should have a ton of pictures in it, as well as the website,
Don't hesitate to let me know about your events. I am looking into getting another photographer to help share the load, which will make us that much more accessible to handle multiple parties.
Hopefully everyone is getting ready for the first day of school and everything happening.
ITZ has also been working on picking up our give-a-ways for our Back2School Party in about 2 weeks, followed by the first home football game the next day. Tailgating will be happening and it is going to be a fun Fall Semester.
Hope your day is going good and talk to you later.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I am DJ Shafer, editor of ITZ Magazine. We are a monthly entertainment magazine with Sam Houston State and young professionals as our primary readership (18-35). While this is our main readership, we branch out to many people. We recently launched out website and it is growing all the time. It is constantly going through revisions to include great things for our readers and followers.
As the magazine continues to grow, we are looking into many different ways to bring you ITZ Magazine. This blog is just one way we intend on bringing you ideas from different sides. Many people are afraid to say things and speak their mind, but here, we will be open and frank.
I hope you enjoy reading the blogs as much as I will writing them…

Now, school is just a week away. Actually, school pretty much starts this week with move-in. There are a handful of events in place for students to enjoy themselves and meet some really cool people. College is a time to enjoy themselves while receiving an education. Some great people you come across may some day become a best friend. Students at Sam Houston for as long as I have been around Sam have left town and headed south. Students need to realize that Huntsville is a college town. As Sam continues to grow, students can help shape the culture of college life in Huntsville. The town itself is also growing and will continue to grow, making for even more possibilities.

I hope you see the potential for creating a fun college environment and have a great college experience. Don't forget to go to one of the many events planned in the coming weeks.