Instagram Link Party: Dropkick Murphys @ House of Blues

Hope you had a great weekend.  Mine was very busy, but I think the highlight was getting to see the Dropkick Murphys play House of Blues in Downtown Disney last night.

This is a band I have loved since my high school years back in the late 90s.  One of the things that I love about them is that their songs and style reflect their Boston/Irish heritage, which is a heritage that I share (at least partially, I am originally from the Boston area and I am a quarter Irish on my dad’s dad’s side).  I also love that they are so closely-tied with Boston sports teams.  During the show, they mentioned the approaching start of baseball season and gave a shout-out to the Red Sox.  And the Boston Bruins logo was on their bass drum head.  It was fun seeing all of the people in the audience with Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics, and Patriots gear.  I wore a Red Sox shirt and Tadd wore a Celtics shirt and a Patriots hat.  Lots people just wore generic Irish garb too…shamrocks, anything green, even saw some kilts.

My only request was that they play Tessie, which they did (yay!), along with many other favorites, including their big hit I’m Shipping Up To Boston, from the soundtrack of the movie The Departed.

During the encore, they invited a ton of people on stage, and then got them to mosh during their cover of AC/DC's song "Dirty Deeds". Crazy!

One thing I noticed that I have ALWAYS noticed at Dropkick Murphy shows in the past (this was probably my 5th or so time seeing them live), is that their fanbase and the people who attend their shows are amongst the most friendly of any punk rock concert audience I have been a part of.  Not to say that they aren’t also rowdy and crazy and loud; but three times during the show, strangers around me asked if I was able to see the stage well enough (I am under 5ft tall), and everyone was just so friendly with each other.  They are a happy-rowdy bunch, instead of mean-rowdy or intimidating-rowdy.

As always, I’m linking this post with a {little} dash of ash’s weekly Instagram Link Party.


WDW at Christmastime Grand Finale: Candlelight Processional

Happy Monday morning!  Hope everyone had a great weekend.   I spent most of it resting, trying to get rid of this cold.  I am feeling much better, but still coughing a bit here and there.

Mexico Pavilion @ Epcot

One thing that we DID do this weekend, is that Tadd and I wrapped up our grand tour of celebrating the holidays at Walt Disney World Saturday at Epcot.  If you recall, we have already attended Castle Dreamlights and the holiday version of Magic, Memories, and You at Magic Kingdom and were dazzled by Osborne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  The last stop on the list of Holiday to-dos at the parks was Candlelight Processional in World Showcase at Epcot.  And of all my years of living in Orlando and being a WDW passholder, this was actually my very first time attending a performance of this show.  It’s not often that I get to see or experience something new at Disney, so I was excited!

We, along with some friends, had booked a Candlelight Processional dining package back in September.  For $50 per person, we got dinner reservations at Cantina de San Angel in the Mexico pavilion (included appetizer, entree, dessert, and a soft drink…it’s a LOT of food per person, so if you do it make sure you arrive hungry!), guaranteed reserve seating at the Candlelight Processional show, and reserved viewing area for Illuminations at the close of the evening.  You can book the same package at several of the Disney restaurants for various prices depending on time of reservation and location.  Click here for some ideas of package prices for this year.  You pay for your package at the restaurant at the end of your meal, and they give you a sticker that will get you into the reserved seating line for the show.

Waiting in line for the show with my reserved seating admission sticker, and a warm mug of Gluhwein (a German spiced holiday wine).

If you are unfamiliar with what exactly the Candlelight Processional is; it’s a retelling of the Christmas story with a mass choir and orchestra, and each night is hosted by a celebrity narrator.  On our night, the celebrity narrator was Neil Patrick Harris!  And he did an amazing job too.  He was sweet, funny, gracious, and you could tell he was enjoying himself.

After the show, we ended up forgoing the special fireworks viewing area (too crowded!) and watched Illuminations: Reflections of Earth (Epcot’s nightly fireworks show) from between Morocco and France.  I had almost forgotten that this time of year, Disney inserts a special “holiday tag” at the end of the regular Illuminations dislpay.  It’s like a bonus finale, set to the song “Let There Be Peace On Earth”…but I must admit, it didn’t sound very peaceful.  The number of fireworks they set off for this extra song are just mindblowingly incredible.  If you are at Epcot during the holidays, PLEASE do yourself a favor and make sure you stay until the very end of the night and watch this special holiday tag.  Especially if you love fireworks.

By the way, admission to the Candlelight Processional show is free with park admission, but the reason why we went with the package is because it is very difficult to get into the show without one.  Those in the regular “standby” line waited for hours (I heard as long as 3-4 hours for some), and were not guaranteed a seat at all, nevermind a good one.  This is an EXTREMELY popular event, so we found it worth the money to buy the dinner package and avoid the hassle.  If you think of what you would normally spend on an evening out for dinner and a show, $50/person isn’t too terrible.  Of course, we are all annual or seasonal passholders, so our admission was already covered.  I think my tune would change if I had to pay for a one-day park admission in addition to the $50/person.  But if you are already going to be there, especially if you are a local passholder, it is definitely worth it to spring for the package.  We still had to wait in line, but our wait was more like 30-45 minutes, as opposed to hours.  And we got first dibs on the best seats.

Instagram Link Party: New Man

It’s Instagram Link Party Time over at a {little} dash of ash!

Wow, what an incredibly busy weekend I had!  I am still recovering.  We stayed completely busy from close of business Friday afternoon until a couple hours before bedtime last night!  But we had a great time.

Saturday night, we attended a show in St. Cloud, FL for my brother’s band, New Man.  They have a very unique sound…It’s experimental rock with a bit of a psychadelic streak.  I usually describe it as Smashing Pumpkins meets Pink Floyd, but honestly, they have their own very unique sound that is hard to describe unless you have heard it.

The band is actually comprised of several very good friends of ours.  My brother Ryan is lead guitar/vocals, Tadd’s best friend Rick is on rhythm guitar, and Manny, another longtime good friend of ours, is on drums.  Ryan’s buddy Justin plays bass.  Tadd and I often joke that they should rename themselves The Groomsmen, because 3 out of the 4 of them were in our wedding.  Actually, aside from Justin, they all met through me and Tadd!  We have attended almost every single show they have played, and we often tout ourselves as their biggest fans.

Saturday’s show was bittersweet, because it was Manny’s last show with the band before he moves to New York next month.  Now they have to start the process of finding a new drummer (Speaking of which…anyone know any drummers in the Orlando area looking for a band???).

New Man: (l to r) Ryan, Manny (in back), Justin, and Rick

To find out more about New Man, feel free to check out the following links:






They also have their songs available for download on iTunes and Amazon.

Top 5 On Friday

Top 5 “Sunny” songs:

Yay!  I am happy that the question today is about songs instead of albums.  And what better to match my sunny Friday mood than a post about “sunny” songs!

    • El Sol by Zwan (This is the song that I “stole” the title of this blog from.)
    • Island in the Sun by Weezer
    • Southbound by MxPx
    • Do You Know What I Love the Most? by Saves The Day
    • Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys

Top 5 On Friday

Top 5 albums you’ll listen to over the holiday weekend:

Ok, so I don’t necessarily listen to whole albums at a time anymore (I pretty much listen to Pandora or put my entire library on random), but if I did, these are the ones that would get me into relaxed, fun, long weekend-mode:

  • In Reverie by Saves The Day
  • Pinkerton by Weezer
  • This Will Be Laughing Week by Ultimate Fakebook
  • Marie Antoinette soundtrack
  • Galore by The Cure

Top 5 On Friday

Tiffany (self titled) - Originally released in 1987

Top 5 albums you wish you’d never have bought:

These are pretty much just albums that I bought as a child that I would not choose to listen to today.  I haven’t actually bought an entire album in quite awhile, and certainly not one that I regretted buying!

  • Smash by Offspring
  • Alice In Chains Unplugged
  • The Brady Bunch Movie soundtrack
  • Step By Step by New Kids On The Block
  • Tiffany (self-titled)