For a day that’s supposed to be steeped in calendar-dictated synthetic love and bacon-flavored sentiments on beds of rose petals (isn’t that what you young couples do these days? Wrap everything in bacon?), my house was popping off with explosive attitudes and screeching histrionics. I was still half-sick and miserable; Chooch was code orange whiny—and if we’re being frank, probably feeding off of my irritability; and Henry was just tired of taking the brunt of it.
So, no gluten-free, lavender-infused, edible-gold-sprinkled, heart-shaped Pinterest-approved pancakes for us. :(
It was starting to look like Chooch and I weren’t going to the Never Shout Never shout that night after all. My only saving grace was that he hated me slightly less than Henry.
(Henry committed some heinous slight against him that evening, didn’t make him a King’s banquet for dinner, and then when Chooch whined about wanting more, different food, Henry started yelling about how he’s not a restaurant and he’s tired of making separate meals for everyone and then I got involved by yelling, “Well fuck me for being ethically against eating meat!” and the night just went south from there because it’s all about Henry. Henry Henry Henry!)
The only thing we had in common with Valentines Day was the color red we were all seeing.
But we managed to compose ourselves and push in our devil horns long enough to get in the car and have our chauffeur drive us to Mr. Small’s, where we were magically transformed into MOTHERFUCKING SWEETHEARTS.
This could only mean one thing.
HENRY is the catalyst. Henry, you reactant! Henry, you motherfucker.
As soon as Chooch and I walked into Mr. Small’s, one of the guys from the opening band, Waterparks, interrupted his conversation with some young fan girl to say to Chooch, “Hey, I like your hair!” Chooch just casually shrugged, like, “Yeah, of course you do.”
I wish I was more like Chooch. Instead of cooly brisking past, I was choking on my tongue in an attempt to thank the kind boy on Chooch’s behalf.
We purposely arrived two hours after doors. I rarely miss the opening bands, and I think it’s so important to support them, especially the ones that are local. But I have to consider that my nine-year-old has a low threshold for standing in one room. So, we missed Waterparks and Get the Picture (sorry, guys) but arrived just in time for JuleVera, whom I was really looking forward to after missing them at Warped Tour due to conflicting set times.
Their singer Ansley is only 18 years old. So young! And as soon as she started singing, Chooch looked at me with ruddy cheeks and this big goofy grin that I recognized as his I’M IN LUFFFFFFF AND CANT FIGHT IT HELP I’M DYING face of anguish.
“We have to go to their merch table after they’re done!” he hissed.
Guys, I didn’t expect to like them as much as I did, but they sounded great, and any young band that can spend three minutes between songs doing a drum and guitar solo without coming off as douchey or losing the interest of the crowd has genuine talent.
Chooch declared that this is his new favorite band and I’ll co-sign that.
As soon as their last song ended, he grabbed my wrist and pulled me over to their merch table, quickly, before the line gets too long!
Sadly, most people there were more interested in the dregs of the music scene, namely Metro Station who were up next. So not many people rushed to the merch tables.
I was super proud when Chooch passed up the row of CDs and pointed to the vinyl, which I happily purchased for him. CHOOCH IS AMAZING. THE NIGHT IS AMAZING. EVERYTHING IS AMAZING WHEN HENRY ISNT THERE!
Lol sike. But seriously, Chooch and I generally get along much better when. Henry isn’t in the temperament equation.
Right after I paid the top-knotted merch girl for the record, Ansley walked over. Begin obligatory awkward transmission of the night.
She seemed shy, he was definitely shy, and I was shoe-horned into an uncomfortable position of being Son’s Mouthpiece. So I quickly said it was our first time seeing them.
“Oh cool! Did you like it?” she asked Chooch directly.
LOOK HOW RED HIS CHEEKS ARE!
We went back into the main area afterward and scored a decent spot in a sparsely populated area by the bar barrier, and I was thankful to sit down on the floor with my back against a wall, because I had the day-after-food-poisoning weakness. Chooch smiled deliriously at his record for awhile and then eventually, Metro Station came on.
I try really hard not to flat out hate a band, but my feelings for Metro Station come very close to simulating bricks of ultra-negativity being hurled through glass walls. OK I hate them. They were pretty popular in what, 2007 or something? Because Miley Cyrus’s brother is in it? And they had one catchy song called “Shake” that made all the Radio Disney kids feel like rebels for listening to what they were told was “punk” music?
Then they went away and it was wonderful! Five Metro Stationless years!
And now they’re back. And disgusting. Honestly, they sound like mediocre karaoke at the corner bar. But they have BRIGHT STAGE LIGHTS and TRACE CYRUS!
That’s MILEY’S BROTHER Y’ALL.
He took his shirt off at one point and all the girls screamed their panties right off their bodies and onto the stage, and I was just left standing there in a stupor, like “Ew, why?”
And when they lovingly name-dropped their homeboys in Attila and Falling In Reverse, I was ready to go home and start my own Pittsburgh chapter of Girls Against Misogynistic Bands.
Get the fuck out of my face with your Ronnie Radke shout-outs.
Total lowpoint of the night. And they didn’t really match the vibe of Never Shout Never anyway, so why. Even Chooch was cringing.
Turnover playing over the sound system while Metro Station’s fecal residue was being scrubbed off the stage. I actually cried out, “Ooh, it’s Turnover!” and I doubt anyone cared. Chooch definitely didn’t.
The singer of dumb Metro Station walked past us and I was really angry to note that he had a CURE PATCH on the back of his dumb black denim shirt. Robert Smith’s face does not belong on such filth.
Never Shout Never took the stage at 10 and the night vastly improved. Chooch’s excitement was contagious. Every time Christofer would describe the next song, Chooch would quickly shout out what it was going to be and he was so happy the one time that I got it wrong, because he’s Mini Erin, and that’s something I too would gloat about.
At one point, Chris mentioned that he had been eating “marijuana-infused honey from Denver” all day, and what he really needed right then was a cup of red wine, half wine half gingerale, and someone should be awesome and get that for him. Chooch was like, “MOMMY! DO IT!!!” I mean, we were standing right on the other side of the bar so I could have easily turned around and snapped my fingers, but I figured 20 other broads were well on their way back to the stage with his wine…
Also, I’m such a great mom for exposing my 4th grader to this shit.
After another song, Chris said, “So…where’s that wine?” because no one had actually gone through with it so then I was like OMG SHOULD I BE THE ONE!? SHOULD I DO IT!? but by the time my mind worked out 87 different variations of how this scene could play out, some dude had climbed onto the stage and handed him a cup, courtesy of some chick who is probably still Snapchatting about her 10 seconds of recognition.
It would have been pretty hilarious to send Chooch up with it, though.
Ugh. Missed opportunity!
Anyway, they played one of my favorites, “On the Brightside” and I was so glad!
And Chooch kept screaming “Red Balloon!” and then when they finally played it, he smirked at me, like “See what I did?” Sure Chooch, whatever. He was stoked when a menagerie of balloons was released from a net in the balcony. Kids and balloons, amirite?
We moved closer toward the end of the show, once I was confident that I could stand without leaning back on something sturdy and we realized that there was an empty pocket near the left side of the stage.
Being there made me think of all the shows I’ve seen in that place, and how fucking fantastic it is that now Chooch is seeing shows at this exact same venue. This night was pure magic. (With the exception of Metro Station, ugh! That part was fucking voodoo.)
I left Chooch alone during the encore so I could buy him a shirt before the merch table was swarmed with people. The merch guy told me that Chris wasn’t going to be coming out after, and that he already had done a meet and greet before the show, so part of me was sad for Chooch, but super stoked for myself because all I could think about was RESTING MY WEARY BONES IN MY BED.
On the way home from the show, I was angrily retelling the horror story of Metro Station to Henry.
“One of their songs was literally just them yelling ‘she likes girls girls girls,'” I seethed.
“Oh, I thought they were saying ghosts. ‘She likes ghosts ghosts ghosts….'” Chooch piped up from the backseat.
You’re giving them way too much credit, buddy.