Standing in line for the House of Blues doors to open might have been the most scared I’ve been in quite some time. Henry, Robbie and I wanted to kill some time first, and that was when we went to the cupcake place down the street from the House of Blues. On our way in, we passed an older man, dressed all in black and wearing a backpack and what appeared to be some sort of vest. He was shouting all kinds of religious things to everyone and no one; there was just something about him that terrified me. Like, we all kind of laughed about it, but I had this annoying spot of dread percolating in my gut as we dipped into the cupcake shop.
Ate cupcake. Forgot dread.
Immediately after leaving the cupcake shop, we passed him again, and this time he was shouting something about “Lord, please give me the strength not to kill every motherfucker” or something equally as terrifying.
“What if the Lord doesn’t give him strength??!” I cried to Henry and Robbie.
“Then I guess we’re dead,” Henry said matter-of-factly as we staked our spot in the Chiodos line.
“He’s just some crazy homeless guy,” Robbie reassured me. “He’s not going to do anything.”
HE DID NOT LOOK HOMELESS TO ME. He looked like some kind of revolutionary socialist who may have been piggybacking a bag full of Glocks and bombs on his pissed off back. Henry said he was also berating the government in his Tourette’s-like outbursts, so that made me feel even more scared.
He just kept walking back and forth, shouting these horrible “prayers” into the sky, never making eye contact with anyone. My heart was pounding. I DID NOT WANT TO DIE. Not before finally seeing Emarosa again, you guys, ugh.
(Spoiler alert: I survived.)
“Can we please call the police?” I pleaded.
“For what? He’s not doing anything,” Henry scoffed.
“He’s making people feel threatened!” I cried.
“Only you!” Henry countered, while Robbie just stood there and laughed because valuing your life isn’t cool anymore I guess. And then Henry started laughing too!
“That’s fine, but I’m using your stupid body as a shield if he starts firing at us,” I said bitterly.
I can’t remember the last time I felt so exposed but it might have been that time I was fully exposed in front of people.
Meanwhile, Robbie was more concerned about the fact that the scene boys in front of us weren’t actually inhaling their cigarettes. That kept me distracted for a minute, as well as when a security guard came over and told us to not stand in front of the doors of the Tourist Center. Yes, that’s what you should be concerned with, Security Tard. Not the scary, one-man-militia roaming around the streets of Cleveland. I’m sorry, but I’m pretty much afraid of every last motherfucker I see on the streets these days, OK?
The doors finally opened around 6:30 and I was about to start bum-rushing scene kids in order to slip inside the safe House of Blues womb.
The House of Blues is one of my favorite venues. It’s fancy and I want to steal all of the art work. Plus, I just have really great memories of seeing shows there. Henry loves it because there’s balcony seating, which I am usually OK with at House of Blues because it’s not just old people up there—and the view is killer.
We thought Robbie would be like, “SEEYA” right away. And he was….but only because he wanted to go to the bar and get a beer. But then he came back! He actually stayed with us the whole time! Unlike when me, Henry, Christina, Blake and Robbie all went to see Chiodos together in 2008 and Blake and Robbie did the whole “cartoon run” in an effort to get away from the Lame Adults as soon as we were inside the venue. Well, I think it was probably mostly Lame Henry they were trying to avoid.
God, that was an incredible night. Also, that was back when Henry hated Chiodos and it was his first time seeing them live; he hated his life so hard that night and stood next to the exit the whole time. That obviously made it even more fun for me. You should click on that link I posted up there if you want to see Henry in a bandanna looking like there is a pine cone up his asshole.
I like 23-year-old Robbie better than teenager Robbie, though, because he bought me a hard cider! Thanks, Robbie!
So the first band to play was The ’68 and I was stoked for them. I had managed to not hear any of their stuff beforehand, but I love the singer Josh’s old band, The Chariot, so I knew in my heart that I would love his new band. And they came out like two fucking hornet nests, you guys. Can you imagine how hard it must be as a two-person band to keep the crowd entertained? I know that the White Stripes are like OMG DARLINGS of music snobs worldwide, but man, when I saw them in…2002? 2003? I was bored to motherfucking tears. We only went because I had been reading about them in NME and obviously I had to like them because all of the indie rags were telling me to. Wrong. I still don’t like their music to this day.
But The ’68 fucking killed it. They were loud and grungey and grimy with short intervals of Josh Scogin being a fucking charmer in between songs and a drummer who paused to eat a taco. Fucking old school rock and I felt like I was back in 1995. Occasionally, I would glance over at Henry and found him SMILING. I know he liked it because the other night, we found a full set they played in Vero Beach, FL on this tour and he actually sat there and watched it and made comments. Henry is finally starting to like music, you guys! I’m going to buy him some ’68 merch for his birthday.
Hopefully they have booty shorts.
(Not from the Cleveland show, but whatev.)
Second band was Our Last Night. They didn’t do it for me, which is nuts because I loooooove post-hardcore so much that isn’t much in that genre that I don’t like (which is actually pretty embarrassing because there a ton of shitty bands in the post-hardcore parade). I didn’t hate OLN, but there’s always that one band at a show that makes me eyes glaze over, and they were it this time. However, they did a cover of that asshole Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” and actually made it listenable! Major points for that.
And they were energenic, so yay cardio!
Third band: Hands Like Houses, woo!
This was my third time seeing them and they started off strong, but Trenton lost his voice by the third song because he wasn’t feeling well. And I mean, he LOST his voice. He was so frustrated, that he turned around and punched a cymbal and then thought people in the crowd were saying shit so he called them cockbags and then apologized. It was really weird and I felt super embarrassed for him. The rest of the band just kept playing and smiling, especially the one who reminds me so much of Tim Curry and has an awkward ponytail. I’m obsessed with that one.
“Poor Trenton,” I said to Henry after their set was done. “I want to give him a hug!”
“Maybe Jason will,” Henry laughed, pointing to the side of the stage where our friend Jason was talking to Trenton. Somehow I feel like that isn’t in Jason’s job description.
“Oh well, at least we’re seeing them again next week in Allentown,” I hinted around, hoping that I could trick Henry into thinking he had agreed to take me four hours away to their show with Slaves the following Sunday.
“Yeah, or maybe he’ll still be so sick, the tour will be canceled,” Henry said hopefully.
Fuck you, Henry.
Next was Emarosa and I’m sorry guys, but that has to be its own entry because I am going to squeeze my hormonal emo tears all over those motherfucking words and you will ask yourself, “WHY do I keep reading this bitch’s shit?”
While I was crying after their set, Henry excused himself and went downstairs to buy me an Emarosa shirt because he is A Good Boyfriend. I pretty much spent the rest of the night hugging it.
And then, Chiodos. My beloved Chiodos.
What can I say about them that I haven’t already on this blog? They are my fucking jam. The bread and butter of the post-hardcore scene. Forever a part of me. (Literally: I have their lyrics tattooed on my arm.) I have seen them in my city, in other cities, in large arenas, in small venues, outside in 100 degree heat, with Craig Owens, without Craig Owens, in a room marginally larger than the first floor of my duplex, acoustically, at a record store signing, and several times with just Craig.
And it’s perfection every time.
(Well, except for the last Craig Owens’ solo show which was mediocre and my blog post about it started a Twitter feud with him. Fond memories!)
When it was announced in 2009 that Craig had been kicked out of Chiodos, I never thought they would reunite. There was lots of animosity, jealousy, competition. It seemed that Craig was doing well with his new band D.R.U.G.S. and while Chiodos seemed to have lost a good bit of their fan base, I thought their album with Brandon Bolmer was brilliant.
I honestly never thought that Craig would ever be back in Chiodos. But it happened, and when I first got to see the newly reunited band last summer at Warped Tour, I was in audio Heaven. Personal feelings aside, Craig is a fucking SHOWMAN. That guy gets on stage and, doing nothing more than a simple God-stance, he has an entire crowd lapping from his hand.
I really miss guitarist Jason Hale. but I love what Thomas Erak (ex-Fall of Troy) has brought to the table, on the new album and on stage. He’s been providing background vocals on some songs and it really breathes new life into them. Plus, he’s just overall fun to watch.
They played a good mix from three of their albums (not surpisingly, nothing was played from Illuminaudio, the album they did without Craig), with the addition of “Thermacare,” which is fucking mindblowing to hear them play together. (There was a lot of controversary over this song, which you can read about here if you give a shit about band drama. Which I do so that makes me assume everyone else does too when I know that they don’t.) It felt so wonderful, like a fucking massage, to hear Craig’s screams again. The screaming parts & heaviest songs are my favorites. Sometimes I wish there was more screaming.
Bottom line: Craig Owens belongs in Chiodos. And when, toward the end of the evening, he turned toward the audience and said simply, “Chiodos is back,” I started to cry. But…that’s nothing new.