The line to get into the Chameleon Club was pretty massive, wrapping down and around the block, this undulating horde of scene kids staring at the old people who had the poor sense to bring their six-year-0ld to a Pierce the Veil show.
Chooch got a few shout outs for wearing a Chiodos shirt though.
“All these other people are wearing Pierce the Veil shirts and I’m wearing Chiodos!” he whined when we claimed our spot at the caboose of the scene kid train. I considered giving him the “Don’t wear the band’s shirt to their show” seminar, but figured I already control enough of his life.
So instead, I explained, “Well, that’s just because you don’t have a Pierce the Veil shirt yet” and then quickly used this as incentive to get him to stop being a dickhead in line.
And I guess when I say “dickhead,” what I actually mean is six-year-old. Of COURSE a six-year-old is going to go nuts standing in line for an hour! Especially when there are masses of teenaged girls paying attention to him.
Henry seemed relatively amiable and tempered, I’m assuming because there were other parents in line so he didn’t feel quite as pedophilic as usual.
After barely moving for 30 minutes, some of the Chameleon Club staff came out and tried create some sort of order to the situation, so they separated us into will call and TicketFly lines. This meant that every time our line moved forward, we would pass new people who hadn’t yet giggled and said “Aww!” when they saw Chooch. Thanks guys, for rewinding his asshole key.
The only way I could get him to calm down and stop moving was to ask him questions about that dumb Minecraft game that he plays. Six-year-old Chooch was shelved and suddenly I was talking to this new person, this little grown-up in my kid’s body. He is INTENSE about Minecraft and speaks extremely matter-of-factly about it. He paid no attention to any of the girls around him.
The show was supposed to start at 7, but I’m pretty sure we were still standing outside by then. I don’t know if they were having problems or what, but it gave me way too much idle time to have a million doubts and second thoughts about bringing Chooch to a post-hardcore show.
Perhaps the person who called Child Services on us last year was on to something.
I kept scanning the crowd, looking for some other retarded, negligent mom who brought her innocent youth to the show, but Chooch was BY FAR the youngest kid there.
Of course he was. No one else is that stupid!
“Do you think this was a mistake?” I asked Henry as the lines finally started moving with purpose. Henry just frowned at me and then there we were, inside the Chameleon Club, throbbing bass drowning out Chooch’s Minecraft monologue. The transition from Quiet Outside to Loud Pandemonium didn’t even faze him. He just kept right on talking, mindlessly handing over his ticket to be scanned while explaining all of the Minecraft weapons to me.
At the top of the first flight of steps, a club staff member encouraged us to keep climbing the steps to the two balconies, because Chooch would supposedly be able to see no matter where he stood up there. Which would be true if Chooch was a six-foot-tall man. But as it turned out, every space in front of the balcony was already claimed and those teenagers don’t give a fuck about no six-year-old kid, that’s for sure. Not a single asshole would budge.
We decided that the main floor would be best, and to be honest — being on a balcony with Chooch is not really the best idea for a hyper-protective mom like me. Besides, we found a prime spot near the back, next to a wall that had a small ledge on it that was perfect for Chooch’s butt. The club was pretty small, so even though we were in the back, we weren’t very far from the stage. Even I could see perfectly, and I’m pretty short.
NOTE TO THE AUTHORITIES: WE PROVIDED EAR PLUGS FOR CHOOCH AND MADE SURE HE KEPT THEM IN DURING EVERY BAND. WE ARE NOT IDIOTS.
When the house music faded out and the first band — Issues — came out, Chooch became hyper-alert. It was a true make-or-break moment — this kid was either going to fucking FEEL it or he was going to be struck with aural fear. Henry hoisted him up on the little ledge thing and, without being prompted, Chooch started throwing his arms up in the air and he was SO INTO IT, you guys, I wanted to fucking DIE. I felt like I had waited my whole life for that moment.
Chooch placed a hand on his chest and laughed.
“Do you feel the bass?” I yelled over the music.
“Yes!” he shouted and laughed again.
This was Chooch’s face after Tyler Carter from Issues called everyone motherfuckers.
[Interestingly, Jonny Craig and Tyler Carter were having a feud awhile back. Jonny’s twitter handle ends in “4L” and then Tyler made his twitter handle end in that too, so Jonny was all, “TAKE THE 4L OUT OF YOUR NAME, WAHHHH!” And then Tyler had all of these cryptic-but-not-cryptic tweets about losing all respect for his idol, which was actually pretty awesome. But I guess they’re friends again because Jonny recently posted a picture with him on Instagram. Maybe I should host my own Scene Kid News Hour since it’s the only real news I know.]
At one point, Chooch booted me in the back.
“CLAP, MOMMY!” he screamed, after one of the songs ended and he noticed I wasn’t clapping. I started to tell him I wasn’t clapping because I didn’t care too much about this band, but instead I just sighed and joined in the applause. Chooch seemed satisifed about that.
After the Issues set ended, the concert version of the “Are we there yet” game commenced (“When’s Pierce the Veil coming out!?”), so Henry stuffed a slice of pizza into Chooch’s mouth. I’ve never seen that kid devour any sort of non-ice cream food so fast before. All that raging during Issues made him hungry, I guess.
I kept his mind focused in between sets by allowing him to continue the Minecraft conversation. He was talking about some of the Minecraft videos he watches and mentioned something about someone’s roommate.
“Do you have a roommate?” I asked. (He only plays the Pocket Edition on his Kindle so he’s not actually playing online with other strangers.)
“Oh yes!” he answered excitedly. “It’s a pig. His name is Gilbert.”
Some guy in his early 20s stopped next to us and looked at Chooch thoughtfully. Finally, he spoke. “You’re awesome,” he said, offering his knuckles to Chooch, who bumped them back with his own fist. Chooch looked at me after the guy walked away and kind of laughed, as if to say, “What a fucking weener, of COURSE I’m awesome.”
Chooch disliked the next two bands (letlive.* apparently made his stomach hurt and Memphis May Fire wasn’t Pierce the Veil so he hated them) so I let him play on my phone. By the time MMF was over, he was starting to unravel. It was past 10PM and he had a long day being in the car with his asshole parents, so I couldn’t really blame him.
“Just try to make it a little bit longer and I’ll play air hockey with you when we get back to the hotel,” I promised, figuring he would be too tired by then anyway.
But when the lights went out and everyone started screaming, “PIERCE THE VEIL!”, Chooch was suddenly very alert. Henry put him back on the ledge and he sat there, clutching his Vic Fuentes doll, looking so expectant and excited.
I wish I had a picture of his face when PTV came out onto the stage, but I was so very much in the moment that fucking around with my phone was the last thing I was thinking of. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have a picture because I know I’ll never forget that look on his face — his smile was so big and he started laughing and waving his Vic doll in the air.
Chooch, in total awe. And speechless! When does THAT ever happen?
“I really like the drummer!” he shouted, so now of course he wants to take drum lessons and I am more than happy to oblige.
A few songs in, some kid pushed through the crowd, his 1998 candy raver girlfriend unconscious and draped over his arms. “Move!” he yelled, parting the people next to us.
Chooch took all of this in, then turned to me and said dryly,” She’s dead. She saw Vic and she died.” And then he focused his attention back on the stage. I wish I had that kid’s comedic timing.
Henry ended up taking him out to the car during the fourth song. It was almost 11 by then and he could barely keep his eyes open. They stopped by the merch table for a shirt and the merch guy gave Chooch a free poster for being his youngest customer.
I wasn’t there for that though because hello — I wasn’t leaving the Pierce the Veil show! I stayed there ’til the end. And then cried.
This will be my favorite picture of him for a long time, I can already tell.
We decided not to stick around and try to meet the band. It was almost midnight, cold and who knows what kind of area that place is at night — Amish juveniles might rage in the street with their pitchforks and torches, holes pre-cut in rape-ready bed sheets. Chooch had had enough excitement anyway, so maybe next time he can scratch “groupie” off his Underage Bucket List.
Chooch’s second wind kicked in when we got back to the hotel and I honored my promise of air hockey. However, when I was trying to get change out of the change machine, some older man and his grandson (?) hijacked the table, so Chooch ended up playing air hockey with some little foreign child and it was utterly awkward for me because the old guy and some broad who was presumably that kid’s mom just up and walked away, leaving me to supervise while they went off to play pool. So fucking weird!
But then Chooch and I got to play while that kid stood to the side, trying to capture the puck. I had visions of me screaming, “HE WASN’T MY RESPONSIBILITY!” as the paramedics wrapped his broken fingers. Stupid idiot kid.
This entire situation left Chooch and I somewhere near an 87 on the Giddy Meter, so after our game, we tore off through the halls of the hotel, laughing and carrying on like children (which I guess is understandable in Chooch’s case). But then Henry happened to pass us in the hallway, on his way back from complaining about a clogged toilet to the front desk (maybe Of Monsters & Men can write a shitty song about THAT little talk), and totally put his foot into the asshole of our late night hotel antics.
“Get back to the room! SHUT UP!” he hissed, guiding us down to the room the Ramada had relocated us to. Apparently, we had to swap a working heater for a working toilet. But after the night I had, I could have been relegated to a hobo tent and would have still fallen asleep happy.
OK, that’s probably a total lie. But still — a chilly room was a small price to pay for the memories I got to make with Chooch at the Chameleon Club. My heart could not have felt any more swollen that night, I swear to god. Finally, both of my loves had converged inside of this little club in Lancaster. It was hard to justify complaining about a chilly room after that.