Thank god I follow Craig Owens on Twitter, else I might not have known about the handful of pre-Warped dates they decided to schedule in several very lucky cities (and that he can still remember what his first girlfriend smells like, wtf Craig). I was prepared to be let down when I checked the dates, and I wasn’t surprised at all to see that Pittsburgh wasn’t getting any love. However, Columbus was on the list and it happened to fall on a Friday so tickets were snatched up on the ASAP. Originally, Alisha was going to accompany me, but due to a very sad family matter that had her flying back home to Arkansas last week, Henry became her fill-in.
And he was thrilled. THRILLED. And on a road trip with me clocking in at 6 hours round-trip, who wouldn’t be? (Don’t answer that.)
The drive started out rocky, last minute snafus had us leaving the house thirty minutes later than I would have liked. And then Henry bought shitty pretzels to snack on and everyone knows (or should) that pretzels rate a negative one on my road trip snackability chart. But at least I got to whine the entire time about how starved I was, which is at the top of Henry’s pet peeve list and always makes him snap, “You’re not STARVED! You might be HUNGRY, but you’re not STARVING. Let me put you in the desert for a week with no food and then you will know what it’s like to be starving.” To which I always remind him that, like every other spoiled teenage girl looking for a reason to suffer, I was anorexic for AT LEAST two weeks when I was 14 so I know plenty well what it feels like to starve.
Then Henry talked about stuff that I don’t care about, like his work and his days in the SERVICE, but I distracted myself with a highway mix consisting of Frank Turner, A Camp, Sights and Sounds, and This City Needs Guns. (And, not gonna lie, some old school Taking Back Sunday.)
We stopped in some rustic Ohio lake town a few miles outside of Columbus, in search of something more filling than pretzels. We settled on Subway, and I left Henry alone to describe to the sandwich artist what I wanted while I tried to make it in and out of the bathroom unscathed. I was almost successful, except that my ring got snagged on my underwear and somehow that resulted in me performing the most retarded, uncoordinated, grand scale version of a Cats Cradle and I broke a slight sweat across my brow and wondered how noticeable it would be if I exited the bathroom with a swath of pink-hearted cotton dangling from my thumb like a pennant someone might wave after date raping a cheerleader.
You can stop holding your breath now because after I realized it would be more sensible to remove my ring and not my underwear, my confidence returned and I thought to myself, “I am not going to be bested by a fucking steampunk beetle ring” and the next thing I knew, I had come out on the other side of the untangling process with little more than a bent leg on my beetle and somehow my lipstick was smeared. Unfortunately, the rush I experienced from winning that battle was negated when I realized that the sub Henry designed for me was little more than a mayo sandwich.
In Columbus, we were immediately met with traffic coming off the highway. I was OK with this because in our neighboring lane could be found a gang of aging bikers trying so hard to look tough when I just knew deep down they were aching to slip into a comfy pair of deck shoes. Each bike was radiating a different country song and it was just one of those things that provoked my inner giddiness and I completely lost control. I was laughing so hard that I was doubled over in my seat, tears streaming down my face, Henry ordering me to “knock it off.”
“They’re probably going to a country music concert, I bet that’s why there’s so much traffic,” Henry postulated because he knows everything. I asked him what he was using as evidence and he pointed up ahead. “There’s a woman holding a sign for tickets and she looks like a country music fan.”
It turned out to be a homeless woman, holding a sign for food. And besides, all the homeless people I’ve ever known have been into bluegrass and Appalachian murder ballads.
Meanwhile, we had made it onto another street and were still flanked by the bikers. “Oh please, can I say something to them?” I wheezed through peals of laughter. People in surrounding cars were starting to stare, and that only made me laugh harder and Henry grimace deeper.
“Say something like what?” Henry snapped. “They’re not even doing anything.” Here is where he began rubbing his temples.
“But they think they’re so hardcore, look at them! They’re so funny!” And here is where I began trying not to piss my pants. “How is this not funny to you?” At this point, I could barely speak, the hilarity was choking me, no lie. I wanted one of them so badly to crank the Seals and Croft.
“It’s apparently only funny to you younger generation assholes,” Henry muttered. Then he made a left hand turn from the center lane and pissed off a bunch of people, which only doubled my hysteria. And then when he went to pay the attendant of a parking lot, the attendant said he didn’t have change so Henry had to dig through his pockets for quarters and I’ll tell you, at this point I thought I was going to have to be hospitalized for laughter-induced rib-cracking. Ooooh boy, Henry was so pissed off at me, too.
We ended up walking toward the venue in the middle of a family. “Let’s pretend like we’re with these people,” I whispered loudly, “so it looks like we belong here.”
“Uh, I’m actually pretending like I’m not with YOU,” Henry answered, right before he tried to trick me into going the opposite direction. And in our adopted family was a group of little boys who were talking excitedly, and at one point I heard the words “Stanley Cup” and “Penguins.” Waiting to cross the street, I blatantly eavesdropped, which made Henry uncomfortable. When there was a pause in their conversation, I blurted out, “The Penguins are going to win.” It came out real snotty, too, I have no idea why. And in unison, they all started praising the Penguins too and Henry grabbed me by the elbow and scolded me for talking to small children. “That’s creepy!” he whispered.
“I’m talking to them about hockey, not trying to flash a tit,” I argued. Fucking hockey, man. Even when I’m about to see one of my favorite bands it’s on the forefront of my dumb mind.
The show was at the Basement, which is probably one of the smallest venues I’ve ever been to. This is what Chiodos had promised too — they wanted it as intimate as possible and that’s exactly what they got. It was a sold out show, so I was glad I bought tickets the day it was announced.
We sat at the bar and I immediately hated every person there. This was enhanced the more I drank until I was eventually shaking and Henry had to babysit me only because he’s too much of a pussy to throw a blow after I provoke dudes. (I almost always target jock-y bro-types when I drink.) On this particular occasion, there were two assholes who had feet upon free of empty floor but chose to stand flush against the back of my bar stool. Just what I wanted, generic frat boy ornaments on my back. But it only got worse once they opened their mouths and never shut up. The smaller of the two had this horrible high-pitched voice that could have given him a great future at Hanna-Barbera and he was relentlessly trash-talking Pittsburgh and I was doing that thing that sometimes you see crazy people do in sanitariums where they laugh hysterically and maniacally but their eyes are screaming, “Look at me now you motherfucker, oh ho ho ho I’m so fucking pissed that I can’t stop laughing at how rewarding it’s going to be when I impale you with a fistful of broken glass and rip your voice box out through the shredded flesh wound” and several times I swiveled in my chair and we made eye contact and Henry was murmuring, “Fucking stop, let it go” because he was only in the Air Force so his fighting skills consist of the shove-and-run method.
And then the other bro was a veritable fount of music knowledge and I laughed disgustedly as he stood behind me, raping facts up the ass with a Nickleback poster. He said that Isles and Glaciers were made up of members of MxPx and some other guys too and I looked at Henry with my mouth agape and loudly asked, “Is he fucking retarded?” and I know that 99% of the people reading this are like, “OK who cares” BUT I DO. I was raging so hard, my heart thumping so angrily, that it’s times like that when I begin to wonder if someone’s been slipping me unbeknownst steroid shakes.
This is why I try to abstain from drinking at shows.
The opening band, Miss May I, started around that time and those assholes found somewhere else to stand which is probably a good thing because they didn’t look like they were opposed to punching a girl in the face. (Which is surprising that this hasn’t happened yet.)
So Miss May I were boisterous and guttural, which is just what I needed right then. I liked them a lot a lot a lot and that’s only partially related to the fact that Henry hated them.
After them was my new favorite band, Your Best Friend. I knew their music beforehand and was very excited to see them live. They didn’t disappoint one bit. Even with a slightly slurred and sluggish attention span, I was captivated through the entire set. The next day, I immediately ordered their CD. Midwestern emo will always get Valentines from my heart.
I was also excited to see the Silent Years, who played next, because I have liked what I’ve heard from them in the past (this song, specifically). Unfortunately, like a lot of indie music in general lately, they sounded good but just didn’t hold my attention. (I go through phases.) That could also have something to do with the fact that Craig was sitting five seats away from me at the bar.
My favorite member of Chiodos, drummer Derrick Frost, recently left the band, so it was somewhat sad not seeing him that night. Every other member walked past me at some point throughout the night and I would softly say, “Aw, yay.”
Eschewing the large stage and fancy lights did little to reduce the fullness of their sound; they were giants up there on that tiny stage and when they played “The Words ‘Best Friend’ Become Redefined” my tattoo didn’t ignite with blue flames and regenerate the dead parts of my heart like I had hoped, but it sure felt good to trace it and have a very important decision reaffirmed.
They were amazing as usual, and while I had mega sad-face when it was over, I was not sad to leave the Basement and the stench of 200 sweaty scene kids behind me. I feel lucky that I got to see them, and that I have a (somewhat) nice boyfriend who went with me. I was sad to not have Alisha there, but it was still nice to get to spend some quality time with the old man. Especially on the three hour drive home, when he was fighting to stay awake and I was too drunk to relieve him at the wheel, so I blasted some Dillinger Escape Plan. Smarties!