I wasn’t going to liveblog on the way home but let’s face it: what else is there to do when I’m in a car with Henry?
8:47: Henry is acting like a goddamn martyr because he has been doing all of the driving. We still have 7 hours left of the trip (we left Savannah late yesterday and drove to Charlotte, NC) and we’re all kind of DONE. Henry didn’t even feed us dinner last night! I HAD CHEX MIX. :( Also we have been looking for a post office since we left Savannah yesterday.
8:48: Chooch: Where are we doing for breakfast? Henry: the post office.
Seriously though we spent so much time driving in circles yesterday because I typed “post office” into google and it told me to go to Orngeburg, SC. So that is how we ended up driving all around an industrial park in Orangeburg, SC looking for a post office so I could mail my postcards only for Henry to realize that my inability to read maps, or properly Google things for that matter, had led us straight to the Industrial Packing Supplies building. “Here it is!” I announced triumphantly. “THIS ISNT ANYWHERE CLOSE TO BEING A POST OFFICE, ERIN” Henry spat.
But we got to see a rainbow!
9:20: we’re at the Tupelo Honey Cafe and Henry is currently not speaking to us. lol forever.
This is definitely the type of place you come with people you enjoy talking to over brunch and HENRY IS NOT THAT PERSON LOL. Oh well, at least I have my backup: Chooch.
We’re currently headed back north, though we won’t be back home in Pittsburgh until tomorrow. This is the first time I haven’t had a reason to feel homesick while on a trip; it’s a weird feeling knowing that we’re going home to a house void of cats.
I’m sure Janna is also a bit relieved because I always hounded her for photos and videos of my cats doing fuck all whenever I was out of town. Especially the time we went to Tennessee and Chooch had a full-blown emotional breakdown because he missed Speck so much. Poor Janna had to essentially film the most boring cat documentary of all time with her phone just to assure Chooch that all the cats had continued to exist without him.
That being said…
This is Lahana. I miss her and my other succulents very much. Is that weird? To be so attached to a colony of plants? Maybe I’m just so accustomed to feeling homesick that I needed to find something new to pull me back home.
Octavia gifted me a succulent for my birthday (I named her Savannah, obvi!).
And then yesterday, Chooch found something that we think might be a succulent growing on a sidewalk in downtown Savannah, so he “gently” plucked it from the earth and I have been trying to coddle the poor guy as much as possible. I think I’ll name him Leopold. <3
I’m not in any big rush to get home to boring Pittsburgh and go back to work, but I have to admit that I’m a bit concerned for the well-being of my succulents; I sure hope none of them have perished in my absence. I guess I should have asked Hot Naybor Chris to look in on them. :(
Send me a cabbage-y picture of yourself! Posing with cabbage head boobs, eating cole slaw, etc etc. Text it to me! 412-638-2379 I won’t think that’s creepy or anything, but Henry sure as hell does.
Speaking of cabbage….
We ate at some family restaurant yesterday in NC that had cabbage on the menu and I was dying. That’s what happens when you make yourself become obsessed with cabbage for the month of July.
I had a pimento cheese sandwich because when in Wilson, NC….amirite? It was pretty anticlimactic and the okra I ordered was fried and I was sad. I don’t know what I was expecting from a semi-fast food joint: steamed and on a kebab? My expectations are stupid. But still, okra.
Today we’re en route to Savannah from Williamsburg, and I am ridiculously bored. Henry has essentially quit talking to us altogether. Which is fine because it’s not like we listen to him anyway. Chooch is playing something dumb on his DS and I’m reading Absolute Punk. So unless you want a detailed account of Buddy Nielsen from Senses Fail speaking out against the current state of the scene, or the recently announced tenth anniversary Juturna tour, then I’ve got nothing.
So please enjoy looking at pictures of idiot Henry at Busch Gardens yesterday.
Here you can see Henry about to triumphantly walk through his favorite part of the park, where his patriotism and selfless SERVICE stint could be celebrated by all.
Standing in line for the second of the whopping FOUR rides he rode all day. This is actually more than usual, though. (This line was for Verbolten which is my new favorite ride in the whole world. Henry thought it was “fine.”)
Looking for a bench so he could push up his glasses and use his phone to look up Pretty Little Liars theories (“A” is really Xavier Roberts!) and home remedies for hemorrhoids. (Fresh cabbage leaves! I’ve learned A LOT about that leafy veg head this month.)
He walks far ahead so people won’t think he belongs to us. And also so he can pretend that he doesn’t hear our cries for food, presents, and STRANGER DANGER, and more food.
My favorite part about lunch at the Festhaus was the fact that Henry didn’t want to eat lunch at the Festhaus.
He got really mad when he sat down at a table far away and then realized Chooch and I hadn’t followed him, so he had to pick up his tray and stomp irritably to where we were sitting.
Henry wore one of his favorite salmon-colored tshirts yesterday and there were TWO OTHER MEN wearing salmon-colored shirts as well, and Chooch and I kept mistaking them for Henry. Also, a man in front of us in line for the Lochness Monster could have easily passed for Henry as well, if only his hair was more full-bodied and McNicol-ish like Henry’s. He even was wearing plain white New Balance shoes which is Henry’s preferred brand!
Ok I’m peacing out now because it’s nearly my feeding time and I’m about to punch through the roof of the car. LYLAS!
I was going to ask if anyone wanted to blog about their favorite cabbage-centric recipes while I’m away this week, like this Best of Deutschland plate I saw at the Festhaus in Busch Gardens today, complete with a hearty wad of kraut, but my track record at wrangling guest posters is pretty abysmal. However, a new blog friend wrote something even better than a dumb recipe, so please enjoy a guest post by fellow Pittsburgh blogger, Matt Pritt! We have just recently been acquainted and I’m really enjoying learning about him through his blog, and the fact that he worked in radio is sickeningly interesting to me!
At this point in time Art Bell might say “The end times are nigh”, what with you coming here expecting words from Erin, Chooch or Henry, though he seems to be of few words. I imagine your level of disappointment would be comparable to all of those guys who had information stored on the Ashley Madison website right about now.
Truth be told, you should be worried that I am here because I come with an Internet robe and sickle. Think I am kidding, I have had three different social Internet platforms die off in my 10 years of blogging. First there was Yahoo 360, yahoo’s venture into social media. A surprisingly user friendly platform, Yahoo decided to scrap it when they thought they could take on Facebook. How is everyone’s Yahoo mash page doing these days? Next on deck for my internet kiss of death was Multiply, another of the user friendly type blogging sites. They thought that they could make money by being the next eBay of Indonesia ( “Jarkarta, hello!” Bonus points if you got the Larry King reference.). Then there was my ever so brief foray into podcasting, which went hand in hand with my time in radio ( more on that in a moment) and a beautiful little site called Imeem, which was bought out by MySpace and we all see how successful MySpace has been. So the fact I am here could mean bad things, very bad things indeed.
As for who I am, well I’m Troy McClure, you may remember me from such past blogs as…….., sorry I couldn’t resist, sometimes, most times actually I do this to entertain myself. Actually my name is Matt Pritt, if you know me, allow me to apologize now for whatever I have done to offend you. If my name rings a bell, and it might for some, I used to be in radio, working as a producer of radio shows by Jerry Bowyer, Lynn Cullen and the late Doug Hoerth. If you have never been a fan of talk radio, don’t start now, there is no point in getting sucked into that cesspool. It is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. Go feed the poor or save a whale or something, you will feel much better about your time spent than by listening to talk radio. That is not to speak ill of the people I worked with, I am still friends with all of them, but the process is such that you spend three hours a day saying how right your side is regarding an issue and how the other guy is so wrong and it becomes an emotionally taxing experience.
As for outside of radio, I have been a blogger for over a decade now, though for the most part I have a level of disdain for calling blogging work. I admit that some people use the platform as an extension of their craft, and for them a blog might be work related, but for me it has always been the illusion of work, that by sitting down and banging out an entry or two I have accomplished something, when, truth be told, there are far more productive things I could be doing with my time. I do this because I like it, which I am sure is the same excuse my father used after marriage number 5.
I am a late comer to the Oh Honestly Erin party, so I am learning as I go. Our musical tastes differ slightly, my favorite radio station from back in the day ( us old folks are allowed to say “back in the day”, as well as “get off my lawn” ) was WXXP, you know Pittsburgh’s station that dares to be different, or at least different for the 2 years of its existence, but that too suffered a kiss of death ( my robe and sickle please ). Though they do still exist on a 365 live stream some place, and a reunion show is planned according to their Facebook page ( perhaps an Affordable Floors performance if I may make a suggestion ) but that was the good old days folks, when candy bars cost a quarter and places like the Electric Banana, the Upstage and the Decade were still in existence.
What else is there to say? I am 46 years old, my face’s resting position is a scowl ( thanks for the line Amy Schumer, check out her interview from Ellen, it is hilarious ) and I am the general manager of Smithfield News, which I jokingly say is downtown Pittsburgh’s largest purveyor of pig’s feet. It’s funny because it’s true. At current rate we may end up being the oldest store downtown, provided my robe and sickle doesn’t get in the way of that as well.
If blogging were professional wrestling, my intro music would be “Cause I Said So” by The Godfathers, but thankfully it isn’t, readers of this page have enough trouble keeping up with the musical comings and goings without my dropping obscure 80s references into the mix.
Anyway I hope I didn’t scare anyone away with my nonsensical drivel. Time to turn the page back over to its rightful owner. I am outtie, like a belly button.
Quick thoughts on my first full day in Williamsburg.
Cheese Shop for lunch, per Jeannie’s recommendation. Acquired a deed to property in Williamsburg. (Yes, after three hours of back-and-forth with the resort sales staff, we snagged a deal that fits our lifestyle and won’t bankrupt us.)
Bought a ton of postcards
Bantered with Nelson at the Activity Center when Chooch & I went to check-out tennis rackets. He was fucking nuts, in all of the good ways, and gave us both Popsicles.
Argued furiously with Chooch while trying to teach him how to play tennis when I myself haven’t played in 19 years. I eventually had to walk away before I disowned him*. I hope everyone enjoyed the show.
Gleaned another tiny morsel of Henry’s past when he slipped up and divulged more information than he intended when we asked him what kind of tree we were walking past. Remind me, Blog, to tell you about “smoking trees” at a later date.
Extreme Ghost Hunt later tonight!
*I’m sure it wouldn’t take long for Chooch to be taken in. Everyone at King’s Creek fucking looooooves him and he’s practically famous here after one day. It’s nauseating. WHAT ABOUT MEEEEEE??
You know the Liveblogging drill: keep checking back for updates, or abstain and read all at once tomorrow—oh what a treat. I liveblog because Henry ignores me.
7:36am: HI GUYS we’re about to embark on this year’s shoddily planned vacation! Chooch is a fucking hornet and keeps growling and NOW HE CANT GET HIS SHOE ON OH WOE IS HE. Henry just walked past with his hands full of suitcases and said, “I’ll get these; you guys just sit there.” Um, yeah. Duh.
7:42: Chooch’s shoe still isn’t on and we still haven’t left. The usual.
7:53: Chooch made me an Emarosa bracelet last night and left it for Henry to tie in the morning. I was watching him tie it and I yelled IS THAT A SERVICE KNOT? He calmly replied, “No. It’s a double knot.”
8:22: Just stopped at Sheetz where Henry yelled at us the entire time and made us feel confused about what we were “allowed” to get. I got coffee and some Fig Bar thing and then ran away because I hate road trip Henry. HE’S MEAN.
8:50: Henry just tried to make some dumb joke and I’m not talking to him so in my head I thought, “Go stick your dick in a cabbage-bun.” But he would probably like that so I hope it’s one that is straight outta the oven!!
9:30: just realized we were driving past a lake and I mimicked violent vomiting, to which Henry sighed and said, “REALLY?” Also, I wish Death Cab would do a Something About Airplanes tour. I haven’t really liked anything they’ve done last Transatlanticism but SAA has always been my favorite. It got me through a lot of traumatic times at the abusive Meat Place I worked at with Henry and that is not an euphemism for the time when I was Henry’s sex slave. I just call that time “paycheck from hell.” I didn’t get much sleep last night.
9:36: We’re in Maryland. I always forget that Maryland and Pennyslvania touch.
10:26: Chooch just woke up and is asking ludicrous questions now, like how many miles is New Zealand from Australia. And I’m like “unless you’re asking because you want to go to the Soundwave festival next year, shut up no one cares.”
10:40: I hate him.
11:30: We’re at the Old Town Diner in Myersville, MD and Chooch is dying because our waitress said “y’all.” Henry is this angry:
Chooch and I are being bad (see also: adorable & entertaining) and Henry said he just wants to go home LOLOLOLOLOL.
12:46: Explaining to Henry the article Terri sent me about musical frissons, or skin orgasms, and his eyes are now rolling somewhere behind our car on 270. He just doesn’t get it. “It’s sad that you’ll never experience it,” I said to him in exaggerated sympathy. “I feel really bad for you.” He just tried to roll his eyes again but forgot he already cartwheeled them out of his head the last time.
12:50: SAY HELLO TO THE BAD GUY.
1:36: Get ready to be annoyed, Virginia. We’re in you.
Henry just said we have three more hours though, wtf?? How big is Virginia?? Ugh.
2:46: Slept for awhile until Henry woke me up to see a large plaster roller skate we were driving past and it wasn’t even that cool so now I’m in a bad mood and Henry exacerbated it when he drove thru a Dunkin Donuts and got me coffeeless iced coffee because I think guy asked him if he wanted wanted extra cream and idiot Henry said yes without asking me. I hope he chokes on his Chips Ahoy donut. (Kidding! Because that would put my life in danger too, God forbid.)
3:16: I just randomly burst into tears because I miss Warped Tour & Henry, before I even finished my whine, barked, “Oh my god. Why don’t you just get a goddamn job with Warped Tour and travel with them all summer?” He was so mean when he said it, but then after considering this and calming down, he added, “You could be Kevin Lyman’s conflict analyst.” WHICH IS FUNNY IF YOU KNEW WHAT DEPT I WORK IN AT THE LAW FIRM. I would be so good at that! I could research all of the bands and make sure none of them were pedophiles or sex offenders or rapists, or have any major beef with each other.
4:41:Just checked in. Right as Henry was hitting “accept” for the resort’s agreement contract thing, Chooch almost put a rocking chair through the window.
Chooch: HOW DID WE AFFORD THIS?
Henry, grumbling: Oh, we’re gonna pay for it tomorrow morning at the time share presentation.
Chooch and his imaginary friend get their own room. AND BATHROOM, thank god.
6:46: Went to the pool for a bit and now we’re waiting for our table at Food For Thought which is right across from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Chooch is being OMG SUCH A FUCKING BRAT because of course he wants to go there and we are like “we went to the one in Gatlinburg & if you’ve been to one you’ve been to all” but he’s still going on and on and THERE IS NO ESCAPE. Even the sign in the parking lot of this restaurant says “additional parking at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.” Hey Ripley’s, believe it or not you can go fuck yourself.
7:19: we have the best waitress in this joint. She said she likes my tattoos and Chooch’s hair and said “you guys are just cool in general” and then she carded me. And the vegetarian options here have me feeling #soblessed
8:05: Henry is completely miserable. But Chooch and I are in a great mood. Chooch read this quote that was on the restaurant wall:
and said, “I don’t get it. Oh. George Bernard Shaw said it. No wonder.” ???
9:00: The speed limit here at Kings Creek Plantation is 17. We went to Shorty’s Diner after dinner for ice cream and Shorty’s proprietor called Chooch “boss” which totally inflated his head.
We then had a riveting conversation about wet walnuts and cherry Coke. God, can Henry facilitate deep discourse or what.
Food For Thought had conversation starter cards on the table and Chooch was excited about it. “Daddy’s not going to answer any of those, you know. He hates sharing storied about himself,” I said.
“No, I just don’t like talking to you people,” Henry sneered, right before ordering POT ROAST. God, what an “AARP supper.” And coleslaw! Coleslaw twice in one day. Henry must have been on slaw duty in the SERVICE mess hall back in the day, hence the affinity for that mayo bath of a side dish.
9:23: Current state:
I may or may not crash right now.
10:14: I just realized that Savannah is over 7 hours away from Williamsburg. This whole time I thought it was like 4?!
It seems that people associate Warped Tour with metalcore these days, and I get that it definitely caters to that part of the scene, but Warped’s pop-punk, indie, and alternative rock game is just as strong. Contrary to popular belief, Warped Tour isn’t just one giant breakdown. I was really stoked when Hands Like Houses were announced, because they’re definitely one of my favorites. Henry is pretty whatever about them though; he thinks Trenton looks like he’d be a dick, but I have never heard of him having a reputation nor have I ever tried to meet him, so I’m not sure where this judgment stems from. (He also feels the same way about Austin Carlile from Of Mice & Men and that man seems so genuine to me!)
I’m obsessed withi their guitarist, Alexander Pearson, because he reminds me of a young Tim Curry. So I just call him “The Tim Curry Guy” and Henry just shakes his head because he doesn’t get it. BUT YOU GUYS, LOOK! TIM CURRY GUY! I was so giddy watching him set up!
TIM CURRY GUY!!
I would like to see more bands from the Blue Swan scene on Warped Tour, though. Eidola, Stolas, Hail the Sun, Icarus the Owl, Adventurer, and also Artifex Pereo and A Lot Like Birds who aren’t on Blue Swan but should be. I love the sub-scene that those guys have been cultivating and wish there was more of that type of post-hardcore sound on Warped Tour.
I got to hear “Lion Skin” and then it was time to sadly say goodbye to HLH and run back to the Unicorn Stage for PVRIS! They started out on one of the smaller stages, and wound up getting bumped up to the main stage once Kevin Lyman saw the crowds they were drawing. I’m so proud of these guys! It’s always exciting to see such a young band bust their asses and be rewarded for it. It’s also nice when a female-fronted band comes onto the stage and doesn’t try to sound like Paramore. Sorry, but I had to say it!
This was my second time seeing them, and I was pissed that it had to be under that damn amphitheater. There was no way I was going to try to push my way into the pit, not with Chooch there. And even standing where the seats start on the floor is dangerous. I remember a few Warped Tours again, Pierce the Veil was playing on one of the stages under there and Henry and I were standing up in one of the first rows of seats, and I seriously thought we were going to get crushed because people still try to mosh and crowd surf even with the seats in the way and it’s just bad news all around for less-resilient adults. So Chooch and I had to find seats back where it was safer, and it was fine I guess. I don’t know where Henry was. We lost him again because we were running too fast.
I actually cried several times during PVRIS’s set. Lynn Gunn’s voice just kills me. Terri sent me an article yesterday about how music can give people “skin orgasms” and that’s definitely what was happening to me under the First Niagara pavilion. PVRIS is going to be huge.
And the best part is that when Chooch met Lynn later on that day, she was so sweet and had no rock star ego. It was refreshing. She also got excited when she saw that Chooch was wearing the Emarosa “For Fox Sake” shirt and told us that she designed it, which makes her infinitely more awesome in my eyes. Chooch almost didn’t get to meet her at all. I misheard the time she was going to be at her tent, so we casually walked over after Pierce the Veil’s set later that day and there were only about 10 people in line.
“Yeah, realllly long line,” Chooch said sarcastically, because I told him that there were probably going to be hoards of people trying to meet her. Well, it turns out the line was so short because it was cut off a long time ago, and the end of the line was like THE END of the line. But the guy in charge of it was like, “I’m not supposed to let anyone else in line, but….you’re a kid so go head.” Relish this time in your life, Chooch. You’re still a novelty to the scene but pretty soon, you’ll just be one of the masses.
UNLESS YOU’RE IN A BAND.
I think Chooch already posted this in his guest post, but oh well:
He was like STARSTRUCK after this. He kept murmuring, “I can’t believe I just met Lynn Gunn….”
I had no idea he liked PVRIS this much! Warped Tour is so much more fun now that this kid goes with me. I know this is like the 6976th time I’ve stated that, but I really mean it. I never thought it was possible, but it means even more to me now.
Some of my favorite Warped Tour moments over the last 7 years involve Pierce the Veil. They’re one of those quintessential scene bands and always put on a great show at Warped Tour. They’re so much bigger now than they were the first time I saw them there in 2008 though! So even though they were playing under the pavilion on the main stage and we had to stand back really far, it was still exciting for me. (And Henry, too. Admit it, Henry.)
We ended the day with Set It Off, and Chooch the hustler managed to get $10 from Henry in order to chase down the merch guy who was walking around selling the new SIO acoustic ep, which was only $5 and Chooch slyly pocketed the change.
So while Henry was all annoyed about getting ripped off, I was bloated with pride over the fact that my kid is doing his small part in supporting bands by caring enough to buy their CDs when he knows that he could just YouTube it or play it on Spotify.
Henry doesn’t like Set It Off, so this made it even better.
As usual, I was dragging my feet toward the exit. I hate saying goodbye to Warped Tour every year and with everything that’s been going on with it this summer, I worry about its future. How much longer will it go on? I hate thinking about that. And to be honest, I’ve been dragging out these posts because I don’t want it to end. :( I have to find a way to get a job in the music industry or suddenly develop enough talent to start a band or marry the owner of Rise Records, because this is fucking ridiculous.
On the way out, we saw a magical rainbow. Perfection.
Normal people might consider relaxing at a spa, or on a wine tour in Napa, or laying on the beach in Hilton Head, and I get it; but for me, Warped Tour is my place of Zen. It’s where I recharge and heal and feel whole again. I can’t imagine ever losing this feeling.
Warped Tour has been under some heavy scrutiny this summer, lots of controversy and drama with some of the bands exacerbated by social media. I’m not sure what state that’s going to leave the tour in by the end of the summer, but right now I want to focus on the most important aspect of Warped Tour: the music. This summer’s lineup was stacked. I don’t give a fuck what all those aging punks on music forums have to say about this topic: the mix of bands was diverse. The unfortunate downside is that there are going to be bands I have to miss in favor of other bands, and that is what heart-break feels like, my friends. As soon as the gates opened, Chooch and I sprinted to the Vans inflatable while Henry stood in line to buy a paper schedule. When we met back up, he handed me the schedule and said, “I don’t think you’re going to have a problem with scheduling conflicts this year!”
I bore holes through him with my furious eyes and spat, “Really? Then you don’t know me at all!” Because the inflatable had already broken my stupid heart. I knew I was going to have to forfeit ’68 (I have been dying to see them again ever since last year’s Chiodos tour) in favor of Never Shout Never for Chooch, and there could be no Beartooth, August Burns Red, or Moose Blood because I was 100% unwilling to miss even one second of Emarosa’s set. And don’t even get me started about how bummed I am that I missed Matchbook Romance. I really need to plan on going two Warped Tours next year. I always say that though. #musicfestivalproblems
Bands we managed to catch, whole sets and partial:
Koo Koo Kangaroo
Our Last Night
We Came As Romans
New Year’s Day
Never Shout Never
Hands Like Houses
Pierce the Veil
Set It Off
Bands I am not sad about missing out on at all:
Black Veil Brides
Attila <—fuck them, seriously
Even weeks later, as I’m looking at this schedule, my heart feels so heavy looking at all the amazing bands I couldn’t squeeze in without cloning myself. Bands like Citizen, Pup, The Wonder Years (I’ve seen them several times, but still), Lee Corey Oswald, Alvarez Kings…ugh. Heartbreak.
We started the day off with Palisades, which was actually Henry’s idea. We saw them once with Dance Gavin Dance and I guess he must have secretly liked them enough to want them to be his Warped Tour breakfast. I thought Chooch would like them because they’re pretty fun and energetic, but he just shrugged and said, “I don’t know. They’re too loud.” I really only like one of their songs, which they played so I felt fulfilled.
Next up we had to run to the Beatport stage to see Koo Koo Kanga Roo. This is not something I ever would have given a second thought, or even half of a first thought, but when we were waiting in line before gates opened, one of the singers was walking by carrying a stick with a huge picture of his head on it, trying to spread the word about the band. (I’m thankful for these distractions every year. It makes waiting in line way less excruciating.) He targeted Chooch right away and they had an adorable conversation.
“You must be in a band,” he said to Chooch, and in my head, I was screaming, “I WISH! HOPEFULLY SOMEDAY! I MEAN, I’M NOT GOING TO FORCE HIM OR ANYTHING BUT I PROBABLY WON’T TALK TO HIM MUCH IF HE’S NOT!” Then he asked Chooch what bands he was excited to see, and Chooch thoughtfully said, “All of them.”
“That’s a lot of bands!” said whichever one of the Koos this was.
And then out of nowhere, Chooch said he was most excited to see PVRIS, which kind of surprised me because while I knew he liked them, he hadn’t really mentioned that to me before and WE ARE SUPPOSED TO TELL EACH OTHER EVERYTHING ABOUT OUR FEELINGS FOR MUSIC.
The group of kids in front of us were listening to this and when he said “PVRIS,” they expressed their approval at his taste in music and I was like, “Well, he only likes them because I do, so….”
God I hate myself.
The Koo Koo Kanga Roo guy went on to totally sell on us on his set. “You gotta come by! It’s a dance party! We sing songs about fanny packs and cats….” Welp, someone said the magic word.
Their merch guy was dancing like a crazy person to Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” which entertained us while waiting for Koo Koo Kanga Roo, who eventually come out wearing gold fanny packs.
And a hilarious dance party ensued.
This is why I love Warped Tour! Where else could you sing songs about everybody pooping with two crazy guys who play shows at elementary schools and then have your face melted off by Beartooth? But no, there’s no diversity. You’re right, jaded music forum posters.
Their set was fun and hilarious. I’m so glad we went!
Afterward, we went to their merch tent so Chooch could get a CD. Henry Warbucks was like, “Buy them all.” Chooch and I exchanged a “wtf got into HIM look?!” because Henry hates spending money at Warped Tour so now I’m convinced he has a side job as a gigolo. (Oh come on! Everyone has a type. I bet there’s tons of octogenarians out there who want a surly-faced man in a striped shirt, naming Faygo flavors in a husky voice.)
He also got a Koo Koo Kanga Roo comic book and stickers that smell like gross things. Not a bad way to start the day.
“You made it!” the moustacioed-Koo exclaimed happily when he saw Chooch. “Do you know what time PVRIS plays?”
“3:50,” Chooch answered, and I had no idea that he had even checked the schedule for that. I guess he likes them more than I thought.
From here, we headed to the amphitheater, where the two main stages were held since there were storms in the forecast. I hate, hate, hate the stages under the amphitheater, and it was even worse this year since it was the main stages, but I understood that it was something that had to happen. It’s just so hard to enjoy any of the bands when they’re playing those stages, because it’s hard to get close. We ended up sitting and it always feels weird to me to be sitting at Warped Tour. I felt like a true Old Person. While we were under there, the first of many waves of heavy rain started, which drove so many people under the amphitheater, it made me wonder if anyone was left at the other stages. I felt bad for all of those bands who were playing at that time.
Oh, also, we purposely lost Henry during this time, and it made Chooch and I ridiculously giddy. We could see his idiot cabbage-head bobbing up and down in the crowd, searching desperately for us. Oh, how we laughed.
Our Last Night was still playing on the left side of the stage, so Chooch and I listened to them while waiting for We Came As Romans. I saw OLN last year with Chiodos in Cleveland and my impression was “meh.” But I really liked them this time around and I’m glad I was forced to give them a second chance. Then WCAR came on and I was just like, “………..” I don’t dislike them or anything, but they don’t really make me feel any type of way. Chooch likes them a lot though and that’s all that matters. He wrote about seeing them here.
We were going to walk around after their set ended, but then it started storming again, so we fetched Henry and found seats closer to the other side of the stage, where New Year’s Day was playing. I feel like they’re at Warped Tour every year.
“Wait, their singer is a girl!?” Chooch asked in disbelief. He kept making fun of them, and I was like, “Dude, they’re really not that bad!” and he gave me this horrified look and said, “I can’t believe you just said that!” I found out later that the whole time they were playing, he thought it was Black Veil Brides, and we have a huge mutual dislike for that band, so I guess he thought he was losing me as an ally or something.
We made Henry feed us around this time. Henry’s favorite thing! Spending money while praying that whatever food he’s ordering will satisfy us and quell the bipolar-demons within for a few hours more.
Henry trying to block out Transit playing behind him. He had to call work around this time, so he left us at the Journeys stage while we waited for Hands Like Houses, and walked around trying to find a halfway-quiet area to make his call. He was so excited when he came back because while he was on the phone, some guy moved him out of the way, and when Henry turned around, he realized it was a security guard escorting Vic and Jaime from Pierce the Veil through the crowd. Henry, the ultimate scene dad. You guys know he secretly enjoys this shit. He can name at least one person in most band that I like, even some of the ones I don’t like. I really think he likes going to Warped Tour!
Thursday, July 16 found Henry doing three things that he hates: going out of town on a work night, eating at a vegan restaurant, and going to a show. But he did all of these things because he’s a goddamn prince and also, I have broken him.
I mean, Cleveland (Lakewood, if you want to get technical) isn’t too far of a haul, but when a show ends around 10:30-11:00 and then you have to drive 2.5 hours home only to wake up in two hours and go to work, well….I guess I can see Henry’s (corned) beef (and cabbage) with these out-of-town work night shows. But this one was special, and you know this if you have already subjected yourself to the 1000s of words I finger-vomited on here last week.
I left work early that day and by 3:00ish, we were on our way to Ohio, after angering Chooch when he found out who we were going to see.
“And you’re not taking me!?” he cried. But he was fine with it once he learned that it was in Cleveland because he hates being in the car for more than 15 minutes.
The drive was pretty uneventful. I listened to a Spotify playlist that my friend Terri had recently made and it was perfect. Henry talked about
Normally when we go to Cleveland, we eat at Melt, but I was already feeling nauseous. Nerves, you know? So I found a vegan restaurant on dreaded Yelp (I honestly will never stop hating that site; it angers me so much) that was within a few miles of Mahall’s. Henry rolled his eyes as soon as I told him it was called Earth Bistro but at least my mortal enemy Yelp reviewer has never eaten there. Henry had taken a wrong turn, as usual, and deposited us smack in the middle of downtown Cleveland rush hour, so he was too busy screaming “Shut the fuck up” to the GPS, but definitely not to me because he knows better.
“They supposedly have really good cactus slaw,” I noted, trying to get Henry stoked on meals minus meat. Henry is very simple when it comes to restaurant pleasures, and a good cup of ‘slaw usually does the trick. (He especially loves it when I swipe forkfuls of his ‘slaw from across the table. “Order your own next time!” he growls and I just laugh because can you imagine Henry ever being intimidating?)
We were the only ones at Earth Bistro, which is never really a good sign, but I was relieved because my pre-show anxiety was going through the roof and I didn’t feel like sharing the air with a restaurant full of hipsters I’d be convinced were staring at me. This anxiety happens every time we’re about to see a band I REALLLLLY LOVE and I know that must seem like every band in the world sometimes, but really there are only three bands currently that get me sick (in good ways). Emarosa has always done that to me.
Anyway, this joint’s decor was like walking into the 1980s, like you could easily imagine Robert Palmer and his Addicted To Love girls occupying a back booth, drinking Tab. I wished our waitress was wearing a gold lamé dress with shoulder pads, but she was clothed in a normal, modern outfit. Like, a long black skirt or something, I can’t remember. Who cares. It’s been A Week and I have no idea what sense I’m even making anymore.
The waitress, who reminded me of our friend Jessi from Michigan, twisted our arms into ordering an appetizer, and then continued to twist until we settled on her suggestion of their homemade guacamole. “It’s even been featured on TV a few times,” she bragged with a slight midwestern accent.
I was trying to pretend that this child-free evening was a Real Life date, but Henry was too busy wasting his life scrolling through his Facebook feed. When you only have like 70 Facebook friends, how often do you really need to check it?!
I guess I’m just too boring for him.
The guacamole actually was pretty good. It came with FRIED PLANTAIN CHIPS and I love FRIED PLANTAIN CHIPS! They also put fresh pineapple in with the guac, which tasted great but god forbid the avocado sex jam purists find out and start a new heated Internet debate. Unfortunately, it was super filling and I didn’t even consider the fact that both Henry and I ordered dinners that came with smaller portions of the guac, so what a goddamn waste.
I order vegetable tacos and they were no bueno. Totally bland and similar to something Henry would have made me at home. I was really bummed out about it, and Henry derived such joy from my order remorse.
“It’s weird that they don’t use seitan in anything,” Henry mused, because even though Henry loves to rip animal flesh right off the bone, he actually enjoys some seitan every now and then. I thought it was weird too. I also thought it was weird that it was a vegan/vegetarian restaurant but they had an entire meat-side of the menu.
AND THEY DON’T HAVE CACTUS SLAW ANYMORE!
“People either loved it or hated it,” the waitress said apologetically. “We were wasting so much of it, so the owner finally just took it off the menu.”
“GOOD ONE, ERIN,” Henry sneered after the waitress left the room. He loves it when my restaurant choices turn out poorly.
It doesn’t matter though, because we split a piece of raw cheesecake and it completely made up for the bland, boring cactus slaw-less dinner. I wish that I had just skipped dinner altogether so that I could have ordered two desserts, because that is apparently Earth Bistro’s secret weapon. GOOD LORD, THAT CHEESECAKE!
For a brief second I considered going on a raw diet, but then Henry said I would have to find someone else to make my food then, because he wasn’t trying to get involved in that shit. And then I panicked because does Cream of Wheat fall into a raw diet? THAT IS WHAT I EAT FOR LUNCH EVERY DAY! (Mostly because that’s all I can manage to make for myself without feeling exhausted or confused.)
After I was finished interrogating the waitress about how they made the raw cheesecake, we left for Mahall’s, which is on its way to becoming one of my favorite venues. The first time we went there was last July to see Artifex Pereo and it was just a really chill vibe. It’s also a bowling alley. This particular show was in the Locker Room, which turns out is in the basement of Mahall’s. Henry thought this was hilarious since I was just at a show in a literal, actual, real life basement less than a week before this.
As soon as we descended the dark steps and I saw just how small this room was, I knew it was going to be a magical night. Emarosa, unplugged, on the floor.
And then I felt sicker when it occurred to me how close I was going to be to them.
The first band was I Fight Fail, and I ended up really liking them a lot. Several people standing behind me were heckling them and basically shouting over the music to each other the whole time, and it was really pissing me off. Why is it so hard for people to shut their idiot faces when bands are playing? Anyway, the singer of I Fight Fail handed out CD-R copies of their album after their set.
The second band was The Whiskey Hollow, the side project of two members of Cleveland’s Envoi. They weren’t originally listed and I guess were added last minute, because from what I’m beginning to understand, they seem to worm their way onto the bill a lot, since they apparently have a pretty big local following. When we went to see Artifex Pereo last year, Envoi managed to usurp the headlining spot and it seemed like most of the people there were there for them, which was annoying because it had a super clique-ish vibe.
That being said, I thought Whiskey Hollow was decent, but the singer annoys me on a personal level and I just wanted to scream, “Please. Stop talking.” But a bunch of their groupie friends were there and I didn’t want to get beaten up. Also, she sang “Me and Bobby McGee” and I cannot stress how much I dislike that song and Janis Joplin—-YES, I WENT THERE. It was actually painful to my ears.
By this point, the tallest man in the room was standing in front of me, so I said fuck it and squeezed in between him and some broad who was there by herself. It was a good spot, but I kept trying to get Henry to stand in front of me so I could hide behind him when Emarosa came out, but he was like, “WHAT IF BRADLEY SHOVES THE MIC IN MY FACE AND I DON’T KNOW THE WORDS OMG SING-ALONG FOUL!”
We still had to get through Little Envy though. The singer made a big production of lighting incense and was just adorably awkward and shy. I’ll admit that my initial reaction was one of, “Whaaaaat am I watching right now?” but they grew on me. The singer reminded me of a young Christofer Drew trying to sing like Vic Fuentes.
This really spoke to 2005 Erin.
And then Emarosa. Heart-eyes for days. I know I already wrote about the Emarosa portion of the night, but someone posted a video from one of the shows after ours, and it’s too good not to share. I never thought I would be OK with someone else singing the old Jonny Craig songs, but Bradley totally owns this.
I’m going to go ahead and say that this one of the best nights I have had with Henry in quite awhile. Once he was done berating the GPS and yelling at me for taking pictures of him and being annoyed that this was a work night and sweating his balls off in the basement of a bowling alley and fantasizing about eating elk with Ted Nugent, he actually admitted that he had a decent time and that EMAROSA IS HIS FAVORITE BAND.
“Glenn,” I started earlier today after seeing Terry angrily storm past on the way to the restroom. “Do you and Terry ever, you know, like….go to lunch together?” I blurted out, a torpedo of giddiness following close behind.
“No,” Glenn casually answered, and then he stiffened a little and asked, “Why? What are you doing?”
“Nothing,” I cried in the Bobcat Goldthwait voice I adopt when I’m reaching the point of psych ward hysterics. I had to cover my face with my blanket, tried to suffocate the giddiness out of myself.
Later in the afternoon, after Glenn had left for the day, I was in the kitchen making coffee.
“What’s up, Erin?” Terry asked, walking by to fill up his water glass.
It’s a wonder I was able to utter my monosyllabic greeting without spraying his face with my alarming brand of laughter. I had become distracted with actual work things after my exchange with Glenn about lunching with Terry, but now the subject was back on my radar.
I speed-walked back to my desk and pulled out the ransom note kit that my old office-neighbor Patrick had bought me for .25 cents at a yard sale. (“I saw it and it had your name written all over it!” he said proudly.)
Each sticker made me giddier and giddier until I was flat out ugly-laughing alone at my desk. People have come to know this as my “I’m doing something” laugh.
Amber-I Don’t-Have-Time-For-This-Bullshit-Now-That-I’m-A-Mom2 turned around in her chair and asked, “What are you doing?” So I got up and showed her my finished product:
“You’re so weird,” she sighed, but I could tell she thought this was the greatest thing ever. Todd was 100% on board with this too and we spent the rest of the afternoon speculating how we were going to get the invitation to Terry, and what the outcome would be. I even considered making them a reservation at McDonald’s or 7-11, but best to make sure they’re both willing to take the next step in repairing their friendship first before wasting a perfectly good reservation, I guess.
“I’m just going to make Gayle to do it,” I decided, after attempting to walk it over to Terry’s mail slot on my own and only getting as far as Allison’s desk (like, four feet away from where I started) before I had to stop and do the pee squat because I was laughing so hard.
Allison was just like, “Ohmygod.” In that moment, she may have been a little relieved that her temp assignment is coming to an end soon.
A few minutes later, Gayle started to walk past on her way back from her break and I stopped her with an urgent, “GAYLE.” Then I thrust the invitation at her said, “GO PUT THIS IN TERRY’S MAIL SLOT BUT DON’T LET ANYONE SEE YOU FOR CHRIST’S SAKE.”
Or something like that. There was a lot of ringing in my ears. It was hard to hear myself.
But then before I left for the day, I panicked that Terry wouldn’t check his mail slot tomorrow because none of us ever do, really, so I jogged over to his side of the department like a thief in the night and snatched it. I took it to Gayle’s desk with explicit instructions to wait until everyone left for the day (Gayle works late shift every day)before leaving it on his desk.
She texted me later and said that he was on late shift today so she wasn’t able to deliver it! UGH. Don’t panic, I texted back. I have a plan. I’m going to make sure it finds its way onto his desk tomorrow after I get there, that way, I won’t miss all the excitement when he rushes over to tell Glenn that he’s missed him, too.
Maybe they’ll go to Szmidt’s, with Gayle as a chaperone, and get some gross meat sandwich loaded with sauerkraut. It’s going to be so great. I love bringing people back together, especially people who had no idea that they were ever together, or not together, in the first place.
I was feeling overwhelmed on Saturday and decided that I needed to cancel all plans and just decompress at home. Henry and Chooch had a friend-of-the-family picnic thing to attend (where Chooch spent the whole time being “harassed” by an older girl in a bikini), so I had the house to myself. And look, it was nice to spend time alone, getting some painting and writing done, listening to music super loud, and exercising; but by the end of the day, I felt like I hadn’t done anything and then quickly morphed into cabin fever and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Before we went to bed, I told Henry that I wanted to spend Sunday outside.
“Doing what?” he asked, the words floating out of his mouth on a sheet of exhaustion.
“I don’t know, like hiking in the wilderness or something,” my 16-year-old scene bitch alter ego Skye Vanity sighed with mild disgust and sullen ambivalence.
And then Henry exploded into a million tiny pieces of FML confetti, because he knows that Erin + Wilderness = more gray hairs for Henry.
Still, Henry looked up “wilderness trails” or “places to bury a body” who knows what he searched in order to decide that we were going to spend Sunday afternoon in Keystone State Park. We mostly all got along on the way there, although Chooch and I fought over music here and there, because that’s what we do when we’re in the car. BICKER, FIGHT, QUARREL, ARGUE, CAST ASPERSIONS, PUNT INSULT-STUFFED CABBAGES AT EACH OTHER, CARVE YEARS OFF OF HENRY’S FLEETING LIFE.
But we eventually made it to Keystone State Park, which I never knew existed, but we apparently drive past it every time we venture out to Lakemont Park and Delgrosso’s. It took us about an hour to get there, I guess; who cares.
First, we stopped at the visitor’s center so that Henry could inquire about the various trails and then accept a map from one of the….park rangers? Adult cub scout? I don’t know what they are….only to then put it in the trunk of the car before we embarked on our “hike.”
Henry wants us to get lost in the woods and die.
I had to pee real quick and was happy that the visitor’s center had a real, working, modern bathroom and I didn’t have to hover over a chamber pot. When I came back out, Henry and Chooch were waiting for me outside, but the younger of the two khaki-coated trail experts intercepted me on my way out and eagerly started reiterating all of the information that Henry had already obtained.
“I recommend this one,” he panted, after describing every single trail in all of the Keystone Kingdom. He was pointing at the trail that started right outside of the visitor’s center, probably because he wanted me to fall into his slyly-crafted Instant Girlfriend pit.
I thanked him and then finally rejoined Henry, who was smirking when I approached him. (And Chooch was trying to hide from me but I knew where he was because you can’t hide from the hiding master.) “That kid couldn’t wait to tell you about the trails,” Henry laughed and gave my boobs a nod. Henry’s lucky that he’s the only one who can get away with objectifying me. (Sometimes.)
TOMS are great to hike in.
Henry regaled Chooch with some completely fictional story about how, in the early, formative stage of our “relationship,” he took me to some place allegedly named Moraine State Park, where I “threw a fit” after “five minutes” and we “had to leave” and now Henry has an “aversion” to “being outside” with me.
I do not recall this. Henry says this was back when I had lots of rage black-outs, though.
I wound up walking way ahead of these two schmucks because they are as slow as your great-grandma driving home from Church. Plus, Chooch has to stop every few feet to scream and cry about bugs and how hot it is, which is usually what I would be doing too, but I was in the mood to WALK IT OUT that day. It’s surprising that I had any energy considering I was up half of the night waiting to hear if Jonny Craig’s band of idiots got voted off Warped Tour or not. (THEY DID! I might post about that on a later date.)
The heat and humidity felt good to me so I took off and wound up so far ahead that I lost sight of Henry and Chooch.
But I wasn’t far enough away to lose audio of Chooch’s non-stop running mouth. I’m not sure I’m ever far enough away. Even at work, like right now, I have an endless loop of his voice swirling around in my head. “Mommy. Cats. Mommy. Mommy. Minecraft. Cats. Skylanders. Cats. Mommy. YouTube. Mommy. Buy me this. I want this. I’m bored. Mommy. Mommy. Cats. I want a cat. I want 28 cats. Cats. Cats. Cats.”
So intermingled with nature’s soundtrack, I could hear Chooch’s constant oration, that beautifully annoying, high-pitched lilt of prepubescent boys. God love it.
There were various intersections in the path we were on, so I would have to stop and scream, “I’M GOING LEFT! HELLO?! I SAID I’M GOING LEFT!!” and once the blue birds delivered to them my screeching message on a ribbon, Henry would jack up the volume on his mumble just enough for me to hear his flat, “Ok.”
It wasn’t until I walked through a giant spider web that I decided this was bullshit and one of those assholes should be leading the way to prevent this from happening again, so I waited for them to catch up.
Chooch had dirt smeared all over his neck and face, and the front of his tank top was sopping wet with sweat. There was a moment where I considered sending him home on a bus so that he wouldn’t stench up my car.
Apparently, there was some competition that I was not made aware of until the end of the walk. Chooch was competing to see who could find the most wildlife, and of course he WON because he didn’t include me in it until the very end! Luckily at the last minute I saw a bird, and then I walked through another web and wound up with its homeowner scrambling around on my shoulder, so there, CHOOCH. I ended up tied with Henry, but I’m pretty sure Chooch was cheating. It’s a terrible character flaw of his.
Father Nature was wielding some strange object and I demanded to know what it was.
“It’s an acorn weapon,” he explained. “So that if someone jumps out and attacks you, I can give this to them to help.”
What an asshole, you know?
Before we left, Chooch treated us to an impromptu performance, and then told us to get our asses up and leave. He has a bright future in the entertainment industry.
On the way home, Henry had a coughing fit.
I mocked him.
Chooch cracked up and yelled, “Are you going to die?!”
“Probably,” Henry wheezed. “Because you two aren’t going to help.”
You’d think Henry would be immune to our insensitivity, but I guess it still stings a little.
This past week, I collected some Henry Bombs in Cleveland and on some trail thing in Keystone State Park, wherever that is. I’ve been channeling all of my energy into convincing Henry of all the upcoming out-of-city/state concerts he needs to take me to, so this set of bombs kind of, well, bombs.
The “Henry Pays The Toll On the Way to Cleveland” shot.
The “Oh No Henry Forgot His Hat” shot. Just kidding. He’s calculating all of the money I cost him while massaging his stress headache.
The “Henry Dejectedly Walks To The Vegan Restaurant While Leaving a Trail Of Dignity Like Neutered Breadcrumbs In His Wake” shot.
The “Henry Is In The Basement of Mahall’s, Pissed That the Singer of the First Band Made Everyone Stand Up, And Trying To Look Like a Bouncer” shot.
The “Henry Clenches His Hand Into a Fist Of Fury As He Remembers How Gas Was Cheap Like Cabbage When He Was In THE SERVICE” shot.
The “Henry Eats Trail Mix On The Trail, Obviously” shot.
The “Henry Drove Us 90 Minutes Away To Walk In The Woods And We Bitched About Bugs The Whole Time And Now He’s Mad(der Than Usual)” shot.
The “Professional Driver Henry Shuttles Erin To Work In His Trusty Juice Carriage” shot.
Hope you’re having a good week and not like, getting kicked off of Warped Tour for being a disgusting piece of shit, or whatever.
If you’ve ever hoped to celebrate the existence of pickles on a bridge, then Pittsburgh is your Wishmaster. The city closed down one of the bridges for two days in order to fulfill the desires of local gherkin jerks. I do really love pickles, but I probably wouldn’t have braved the crowds if not for the fact that Balloon Ride Fantasy was playing on a stage at the end of a bridge on Friday.
I worked late shift that day, but Gayle dismissed me a little early since it was a slow night. Henry dropped Chooch off downtown and the two of us walked over to the Rachel Carson Bridge, which was gridlocked with pickle junkies. It’s not that I always hate crowds. I’m (mostly) fine with crowds at concerts but if I’m trying to get from Point A to Point B and there are hordes of lollygaggers slowing my normal fast pace down to a sluggish shuffle, I get very upset. And of course it was humid as fuck and I was wearing the goddamn blouse I wore to work because I’m always so ill-prepared.
Did I mention I’m terrified of bridges? And I live in the City of Bridges. (Literally. Pittsburgh has more bridges than any city in the world. DON’T LET ANYONE FROM HAMBURG, GERMANY OR VENICE TELL YOU OTHERWISE, because God forbid should my blog ever not be factual.) Sometimes on my lunch break at work, I’ll force myself to walk across one of the bridges. I’m getting better, but these bridge parties put me on the precipice of pants-crapping.
It was 8pm by the time we started to elbow our way onto the bridge and everyone was so happy and stoked on pickles. It was absolute insanity, all of these Smilers happily sipping their beers from pickle-green plastic cups while shoving large rounds of the guest of honor into their mouths. I wanted to shove large rounds of pickles into my dumb mouth too, but there were so many people that I couldn’t even find where they were being sold!
Ideally, we should have just walked along the actual pedestrian part of the bridge in order to get to the stage faster, but what’s the point of going to a pickle festival if you’re missing out on all of the pickle propaganda?
And then we saw my work friend Allison! So I got to introduce her to Chooch, but it was impossible to stand there and chat any longer because we were being jostled along by the wall of people behind us.
And then Chooch inexplicably fell, but it wouldn’t have been a normal outing otherwise.
There were so many people that it was hard to separate the slow-moving crowd from people standing in actual lines for vendors. And not to be Judgey Judy, but there were A LOT of dicks out there on that bridge Friday night. Foodie events seem to bring out some of the worst people, and I can’t tell you how many times someone pushed me out of the way and then gave ME a shitty look, like sorry I’m in your way of taking a perfect photo of a plastic cup full of kimchi to post on your Yelp review, but go stand off to the side and do that shit. My favorite was the yuppie bitch who almost knocked me over because she was in “such a big hurry, hurry up!” only to stop dead in her tracks right in front of us to take a selfie with her friends and the giant inflatable pickle.
Find your chill, bitch. Can’t we all just share the pickle love gently and politely?
Sometimes I think I confuse my social anxiety with just a general and overwhelming disdain for the human population.
When I saw that we were approaching the Pittsburgh Ice Cream Company’s booth, I went into Fighter Mode, grabbed Chooch’s hand, and elbowed my way through the undulating mass of hipsters and yuppies and probably ended up cutting in line, and I hate line-jumpers, but…eyes of the prize, right?
They were out of the two pickle flavors that were on the sign, so I settled for Bread & Butter Jalapeno, because #yolo, and Chooch got the Honey Nutter even though he didn’t seem so sure of his choice. Of course, he ended up loving it and kept making these uncomfortable moans while eating it, pausing long enough in between tastes to cry, “THIS IS REALLY GOOD” while it dripped all over his shirt. Goddammit.
Mine was really good too, but he was just like, “It’s….alright,” with a shrug.
We stopped for some samples of pickled vegetables. I apparently don’t like pickled things as much as I thought I did previous to attending a festival based on the art of pickling.
But we each got a free Heinz pickle pin, and coupons for vinegar, so that was cool!
It took us nearly 30 minutes to get to the other side of the bridge, and I was a hot, pickled mess by then. Summer, I love you, but your friend Humidity can choke on a fucking pickled dick.
Luckily, we made it to the stage in time to catch Balloon Ride Fantasy! I met one of the singers, Bethany, back in October when she and I were both part of my friend Kristy’s “Golden Ghouls” costume at Zombiefest.
Bethany and I became Facebook friends after that, and that’s how I found out about Balloon Ride Fantasy. Ever since, I’ve been wanting to see them perform, and braving the bridge madness was definitely worth it. They’re a perfect blend of indie pop and 80s synthpop that serves as the perfect cleanse after a post-hardcore overload. (I know, I know, there can never bee too much post-hardcore! But sometimes it’s good to mix it up.) Also, I love bands that have alternating guy and girl singers.
Those lyrics, though! So smart, so good.
“He sounds like the guy from Smashing Pumpkins,” Chooch yelled into my ear. I love that he knows enough music to be able to make comparisons! I only slightly agreed with that though, and felt that if we were going to play that game, then his voice was more along the lines of Brian Aubert from Silversun Pickups. And that is to say: fantastic. And so is Bethany! She sounded so beautiful and it was wonderful seeing her not only in her element, but without a pound of zombie makeup on. If I wasn’t friends with her on Facebook, I wouldn’t have recognized her!
Chooch and I were both super into it, until that sonofabitch had to PEE because his irresponsible father didn’t make sure he went before they left the house. Henry, you are the literal worst.
We left halfway through their set (ugh) and walked back to my work, where I called Henry to see what his ETA was. Just as the phone started calling him, a woman approached us and my BAD NEWS BEARS radar started going off. I knew right away she was going to ask for money and possibly try to shank me/kidnap Chooch/inject us with heroin and sell us to a vendor in the Casbah.
Immediately, she starts crying. Good lead-in.
“I know you’ll understand because you have a kid,” she began, hugging herself and being generally shifty. “I need to get home to my kids in New Castle and I only have $2 and bus fare is $22, please can you help me?”
I was still holding my phone and I promised her that I had no cash on me. She was persistent and I finally just had to grab Chooch’s hand and start walking away.
Then I remembered I was calling Henry, who had answered just in time to witness the whole exchange.
“It’s always great when I answer my phone and hear someone crying,” he said. He thought it was me crying at first and panicked, because MAYBE DON’T LEAVE ME AND YOUR SON ALONE ON A FRIDAY NIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BIG, SCARY CITY, HENRY. I’m glad he felt panicked!
He picked us up moments later and Chooch excitedly relayed the panhandling story to him.
“What did she look like?” Henry asked.
“White, in her thirties…” I began, while Chooch said over top of me, “Face wet with tears.”
Then we bragged about our ice cream and Henry was sad.
And that’s the story of how I went to a pickle fest and ate not a single pickle.
When I was younger, my friend Shawn and I used to go to shows all the time and we loved meeting the bands afterward. It never seemed like a big deal either, just hanging out after the show, waiting for a chance to take a picture and tell them what a great performance it was. One of my favorite memories is sitting around in a small circle in the parking lot of a venue of Hershey, with Scooter Ward from Cold. Totally casual, and he even passed around Starbursts (I still have mine; it’s orange and deformed and lives in my freezer). Sure, I was freaking out internally because Cold was my JAM back then, but it was always such a positive experience seeing and speaking with him. He was (and still is) a stand-up guy. And we met Tegan and Sara before they became famous and they were adorable and sweet and it was just such a chill moment.
And there was this one night when Shawn and I hung out backstage with Finger Eleven after their show at Nick’s Fat City in 2000 (don’t judge! I used to love them in another life, haha). Even Dave Navarro was super chill, and then obviously there was the time I met The Cure fifteen years that was so beautiful I still have not been able to bring myself to put it into words.
But then I met Jonny Craig in 2008 and it was awful and humiliating and I haven’t even looked at the photo that was taken of us, not once. It was definitely a “I drove 4 hours for this?!” moment.
It kind of just killed it for me. I never really bothered trying to meet any bands again after that (except for Jonny one more time in 2009 which was stupid on my part because it was even worse; sorry I’m not a skanky tattooed scene waif offering you blowjobs and heroin, asshole; God forbid I just want to tell you that I love your music). But now Chooch is getting into music and he has that joy and excitement of meeting bands that I once had, so I’m reliving it vicariously through him. Seeing the stars in his eyes after he met Lynn Gunn of PVRIS was just utterly adorable.
And Chooch’s experience meeting Bradley Walden of Emarosa was a positive one and we were both really excited about it. I know that it seems like it goes without saying that bands would just automatically be nice to kids, but you’d be surprised. Or not.
Even though their set at Warped Tour was already on its way to being the highlight of the day for me, Chooch meeting Bradley afterward really drove it home.
Last Wednesday, I finally made myself sit down and write about seeing Emarosa that day at Warped Tour. I had been craving them ever since they play Riot Fest last year, and was stoked that it was finally happening again. I wrote that blog post on my break at work that day; on the way home, I checked my stats as I do occasionally and noticed that they had skyrocketed. Panic set in because usually it’s no bueno when this happens, like when all of the field trip posts were viewed multiple times and it turned out it was because some mom from Chooch’s old school found it and passed them around to all of the other moms and then I was in a real life “Lucy, you have some ‘splainin’ to do!” moment.
Turns out, Bradley found my blog post via twitter, which I never intended. He retweeted it and also said this:
I mean, it’s hard not to excited about things like this, even though social media makes it really easy for bands and other celebrities to throw their fans a bone in the form of Instagram likes and Twitter retweets, so I was trying to be cool about it but then I was like AW FUCK IT and posted it on Facebook, because it was a really big deal to me! And I made some new friends on Twitter because of it too, smart people who agree that Emarosa is better than ever.
This was kind of weird timing, because Henry and I had tickets to see Emarosa perform a small, intimate, acoustic set at Mahall’s in Cleveland. I was a little bit embarrassed, because you know how gushy I get in my writing, and Christ, I wrote that thing on my lunch break at work, without proof-reading of course, because I’m so “professional,” so I felt a little foolish. Does that make sense? There’s such a fine line between sincere fan and psycho stalker who thinks she has a future being a band wife.
I promise you I’m not the latter even at times it may seem that way!
When Emarosa announced this quick, impromptu tour two weeks ago, I bought two tickets for the Mahall’s show immediately, and then woke Henry to tell him. Then he found out it was on a work night and I got grief from him about it every day up until the moment we were standing in the basement of Mahall’s, with Emarosa setting up less than a foot away from us.
(Literally, less than a foot. The girl next to me kept asking them if we were in the way and they said we were fine, but I definitely felt in the way, which is a normal feeling for me so it was basically just like any other day. Also, I wanted to scream I FUCKING LOOOOOOVE YOU!!!!! but instead I just buried my head in Henry’s chest.)
I felt sick, literally sick-to-my-stomach, like a chud of over-pickled cabbage was sloshing around in it, all day about seeing them because they just slay me right through the heart.
But then they started playing, and my nerves started to stop snapping and sizzling; it was just such a relaxed, campfire vibe, and everyone was so into it.
The whole band seemed to be in such good spirits, and there was a lot of joking and camaraderie. EVEN HENRY WAS SMILING.
Especially when Bradley had everyone sit down. That was Henry’s favorite part. Until he apparently lost feeling in his legs. (Such an attention whore.)
The only light in that small basement room came from one red bulb, which made taking pictures and videos futile, even with no one standing in front of me. I didn’t want to be That Person who used a flash, so I eventually just hit record and aimed my phone at the floor, because who needs visual when the music is so beautiful on its own.
“You’re better than Jonny Craig!” some guy yelled from the middle of the crowd. Bradley smiled and said, “I know” and everyone cheered. I know it seems petty, but if you knew what it’s been like for the last 8 years, being let down by that piece of shit when you’re such a fan of his music, you would take sides too. Emarosa won all of the smart, grown-up fans in their divorce with Jonny.
They played some older songs too, “We Are Life” and “Heads or Tails…” and I swear to you, Bradley sings them better than Jonny ever did, without even trying.
After the show, I kind of just wanted to run out of there. Henry kept saying, “Whatever you want to do,” which wasn’t helping because I really wanted him to just, “You are going to go over there and say hello to Bradley or I will never go to another show with you. Ever. Again.”
The girl who was standing to me during the show was getting her CD signed by him, and no one else really seemed to be crowding him at the moment, so I sucked it up and edged a little closer. I didn’t see this happen, but according to Henry, after Bradley signed the girl’s CD, he began to walk toward me, but then she started saying something to him, so he stopped. Once she walked away, I can’t even believe this happened and it still feels like a dream, but he walked over and hugged me.
HUGGED ME. (Henry said that the girl who was talking to him before me had a WTF look on her face, lol.)
“It’s good to see you,” he said.
I was stunned.
“……do you know who I am?” I questioned, and then immediately hoped it didn’t come out sounding arrogant.
Bradley gave me a weird look and said yes.
HE KNEW WHO I WAS.
He told me that he read my whole blog post and it meant so much, he loved it.
I said, “I really wanted to talk to you last week at Warped Tour, but I get so nervous. I use my kid as my mouthpiece,” I laughed, and Bradley said I shouldn’t be nervous, and that he thought Chooch was so cool and he made his day.
I told him that he really wanted to come with us, and Bradley said he wished we would have brought him and now Chooch basically wants to kill me, haha. Then he asked me how long of a drive we had from Pittsburgh, so that was Henry’s chance to contribute to the conversation.
But I finally got to thank him to his face for breathing life back into Emarosa and I’m crying now as I’m typing this, but I told him how much that band means to me, and it’s just so wonderful getting to have positive experiences seeing them now and not wondering if their singer is going to be fucked up, slurring his words or flat out forgetting the lyrics, and trying to fight people from the stage.
And then he hugged me again.
To have someone I admire so much actually read something that I wrote, like a REAL something, a not just a tweet….it’s validating. I’ve been blogging since 2001, and writing in general since second grade (I used to write stories on the backs of my dittos, remember when we had dittos?!). It’s also overwhelming and mind-blowing. This whole experience has helped heal me from past traumas of being treated poorly by band members that I once admired. It’s restored my faith in the scene and has only made me want to try even harder to get everyone I know to PLEASE FUCKING LISTEN TO THIS BAND. I love them so much that I bought an extra Versus album just so I could give it away on my blog last winter in hopes of gaining them another fan. And it worked! And not only did they gain a fan, but I gained a friend. Emarosa is awesome like that.
“You still haven’t met the rest of the band,” Henry said as we walked out of Mahall’s.
“I’m not ready for that yet!” I laughed.
Seriously, I wasn’t trying to cry that night. The way it ended was perfect, and I didn’t want to push my luck.
Then I gave Henry reprieve from my need to dissect every single second of the night by texting and Facebook messaging my friends a CAPSLOCK summation of the evening, and they all responded to me with the proper amount of excitement and exclamation marks, GOD LOVE THEM.
“Wasn’t it worth it?” I asked Henry, shaking his arm as he tried to navigate his way out of Lakewood, Ohio. “Aren’t you so glad we came?!”