You know you realllly love a band when you road trip 4 hours to see them play at a show they’re not even headlining.
And that’s usually pretty annoying for Henry, but the difference this time is that my whole family loves Emarosa so very much. So when this tour was announced and I declared we had to go, especially since the Lancaster date was a Saturday, Henry didn’t have his laminated laundry list of reasons to say no.
A few weeks ago, I realized it was Easter weekend that we’d be there and because I’m such a logical thinker, I decided it was imperative to make the band an Easter basket. I thought Henry would frown, but he was all about it and dare I say ALMOST EXCITED to go to various local breweries to select some some good Pittsburgh craft beer to tuck in there among the Sarris candy and bags of Pittsburgh Popcorn.
Everyone was like, “HOW WILL YOU GET IT TO THEM?!” and I was mildly worried that there was a possibility we wouldn’t get a chance to, but because Chooch was involved, everything fell into place.
Sometimes, Chooch is key.
But that comes later!
Henry titled this “Two Idiots In a Mirror.”
After pissing around in our hotel room and making Henry hate us for about an hour, we departed for the Chameleon Club in downtown Lancaster. Three years and one day ago to the date, we took Chooch to his very first concert there: Pierce the Veil. Henry tweeted something about it and tagged Emarosa, which I didn’t even think he knew how to do.
(Also, I only know this because Henry showed me that Emarosa liked it; I had previously unfriended Henry from every social media platform a few days prior to this because I was throwing one of my fits.)
We got there about 30 minutes before doors opened and we weren’t too far back in the line, but then some guy came out and started screaming about a Will Call line forming to the left, and our tickets were Will Call, much to Henry’s chagrin.
“Why wouldn’t you just print them at home!?” he argued, and I explained in my patented calm manner that it was because I bought the tickets with not enough time to have them mailed to us, and I wanted real,tangible tickets so I chose Will Call. SO STFU AND DO IT YOURSELF NEXT TIME. Anyway, the Will Call line only had 8 people in it, as opposed to the 75+ people who we had previously been standing behind, and once the doors opened and we got our tickets, we got to walk right in instead of going to the very back of the other line. (I mean, after we got stuck behind some idiot getting thrown out for having a fake ID. The security guard kept apologizing to us for that holding up the line and I was like, “NO WAY THAT WAS EXCITING!” He just laughed but I MEANT IT.)
What this means is that since we were one of the first people inside, we got a prime spot in an elevated bar section behind the sound guy, so Chooch was able to not only see the stage perfectly, but we didn’t have to worry about him getting crushed down on the floor. And he got to sit on a stool. If you know Chooch and his OMG SUCH FATIGUED LEGS, then you know he was in heaven. Plus, Chameleon Club has a snack bar so he got to eat pizza. This venue was made with the Chooches of the world in mind. Clearly.
This was when we first walked in, but it filled up super quickly. People in Lancaster actually come out for all of the bands, unlike in Pittsburgh when the venue doesn’t become packed until the headliner comes on. (Unless the show is at the Smiling Moose.)
Sitting on his stool, all relaxed.
The first band was Rarity from Canada. Henry’s reaction was “No.” I didn’t mind them. It was basically just pop punk but then things got weird at the end and I wasn’t sure if it was on purpose or if the singer had legitimately snapped and was going to start shooting everyone. The music got all drone-y and he just kept screaming, “FUCKING SING” or something; my mind has blocked it out in order to protect me, I think. I don’t know if it was just me, but it felt super creepy and CHILLING.
Henry said it was probably just me.
I am pretty paranoid.
Young Music Critic.
After their set ended, Bradley walked in from the back of the stage area. Chooch was all, “BRADLEY! BRADLEY!” but he didn’t hear and kept walking, so Chooch was like scrambling down from his stool in order to chase him. Henry was like, “I guess I should be a father and follow him.” So the two of them set off for the merch area, which is where Bradley was headed, and I got stuck behind saving King Chooch’s Concert Throne. Henry said Chooch was all confident and rearin’ to go until he got near Bradley and then turned shy and star-struck. “Sort of like you,” Henry muttered.
I just asked Chooch to tell me exactly how the next part happened, and he’s telling me while playing some video game and also arguing with Henry, so this is going to be a very crudely pieced-together puzzle. Evidently, he and Henry walked over to the merch table and before Chooch could even say anything, Bradley saw him and gave him a hug. Henry used this opportunity to tell him that we had something for the band, so that took a lot of pressure off me. Because in the back of my mind, I was like, “WHAT IF WE DON’T GET TO SEE THEM AFTER AND THIS SAD EASTER BASKET WAS ALL FOR NAUGHT?!” I’m definitely at that point in my life where I am no longer mistaken for a groupie but a concerned band mom. I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE THEY’RE EATING! And maybe some of them don’t care, but it made me sad to think of them being away from their family on Easter. I don’t know. I’m soft now. The thirties are ruining me.
Bradley said he knew we were there because he saw Henry’s dumb tweet (probably only the third tweet he’s had since 2011) and then, because he loves to fuck with Chooch, told him he wasn’t going to be able to sing that night because he wasn’t feeling well. When they came back to me, Chooch’s face was all red and he was giggling deliriously. Any one who can make my kid speechless deserves a medal!
The next band was Cold Rain.
“Bradley said they’re from Japan,” Henry casually reported, as if he wasn’t just exploding with joy that he had intel on a band which was provided to him by the singer of another band. STFU Henry.
In a rare turn of events, all three of us liked them and Henry was happy to buy their CD (and Chooch was disappointed that they didn’t have vinyl; my budding record snob!).
AND THEN FINALLY EMAROSA. YOU GUYS OMG OMG OMG YOU GUYS. OK, breathe Erin. Quit with the CAPSLOCK, Erin. Act your age, Erin. (<—-LOL4EVER.) In all honesty, do I really need to pound out words about how great this band is? And what a major fucking upgrade Bradley Walden is not only just a vocalist, but a performer? This man puts certain ex-Emarosa singers to shame. And even if I didn’t have such ill feelings toward that person, I would still make the same declaration.
Here’s a little video collage, and in true Erin fashion, I can never stick to one orientation. Landscape! Portrait! Landscape! My future as a videographer is grim.
And here is the current touring guitarist being carried through the crowd on Bradley’s back. Because these are things that Bradley does. I love that he spends more time in the crowd, surrounded by fans and people who may have never heard of Emarosa before but are now definitely fans because how can you stand there and not get swept up in the frenetic energy and hysteric excitement!? Even Henry SMILES while watching them. And believe me, that never used to be the case when someone else was fronting the band. (No offense to the rest of Emarosa! Henry just couldn’t see past the disgust he felt for that guy.)
But the highlight of the night was when Bradley spotted Chooch from the stage. He pointed at him and waved in the middle of a song and Chooch’s face was going to split in half from grinning so hard. And when Bradley jumped off the stage right after, I didn’t think anything of it, figured he was just going to bring back the “house show” feel again, except that he kept pushing through the crowd until he was standing right next to the boxed in area where we were, and the next thing I knew, he was telling Henry to put Chooch on his shoulders, and then this happened:
WHAAAAAAT. Chooch was on a fucking high, man. Right after, some girl came over and was like, “Hey buddy! Is this your first show?” Chooch told her no, and she was like, “That’s awesome! You’ve got amazing parents!” and I was like YEAH HE DOES!! Don’t you forget that, sonny boy.
Fuck, I love you, Emarosa. They played a new song too and now I am even more stoked for the new record, hurry!!
Next was Being As An Ocean. I loved them but Chooch was like “Eh” because he saw who he came to see and nothing was going to top that. I’m sure his mind was still reeling; how do you focus after something that monumental happens to you at a show!?
Chooch did cheer though when the screamer got up on their soapbox and started ranting about not wanting a racist running the country. I love when bands use their voices to make a difference.
Right after their set, we went to the merch area to get some new Emarosa shirts. While I was trying to decide what to get, someone came up behind me and put their hands over my eyes. My STRANGER DANGER alarm went off immediately because I DON’T KNOW ANYONE IN LANCASTER. Except for the Dutch Haven people….
But it was Bradley! OMG I just love him. I told him we had something for him and he said that now would be a good time to do that thing because he had to give a vocal lesson during Silverstein’s set and honestly, Chooch wasn’t going to last any longer and had already expressed no desire to stay for their set (UGH CHOOCH). And honestly, we were only there for Emarosa anyway!
So Bradley followed us to our car and while he and Henry talked casually, I was like, in my head, going “OMGOMGOMG DON’T BE AN IDIOT, ERIN” and somehow I found the restraint to speak to him like an actual person. Henry told me later that I was “getting better” at it. I remembered that he liked Carly Rae Jepsen so I told him that Chooch and I had just seen her and then we gushed about how amazing and perfect she is and I yelled, “SHE MAKES ME WANT TO ROLLER SKATE!” and it was in my normal “I’m talking to an actual friend” voice so thank you, CRJ, for allowing my real personality to finally come out in front of someone in a band! THAT NEVER HAPPENS. BECAUSE I AM 16 AND FOREVER STARSTRUCK.
And you guys, he was genuinely stoked over the Easter basket.
“It’s for the whole band,” I said.
“No it’s not. This is just mine. I’m not sharing with them,” he joked as he held it close to his chest. He went to put it in their van, which Henry had conveniently parked two spaces away from, and then mimicked Chooch by spinning in circles on his way back over to us. We continued to chat with him on that empty sidewalk in Lancaster until he finally had to say goodbye and go give his vocal lesson (which I still want Chooch to do but he’s too shy!). Before we left, he told me to get in touch with him before the Pittsburgh Warped Tour date and he’d put us on the list and I was like, “OMFG RLY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?” because the fan girl can only be sedated for so long. I didn’t make him this basket because I expected anything in return, I made it because that band, especially now that he’s in it, means so much to me and Chooch. I just wanted to give them something to show them how much we appreciate their music.
It is just really gratifying to have stuck by a band’s side for all of these years and then be rewarded with such beauty. It’s not really a secret that I have been going through some majorly traumatic shit this week, and I have been listening to their Versus record almost exclusively because it is all I have to soothe the hurt right now. If you have the chance to go see them, or even just a moment to check them out on Spotify if you’ve never heard of them, please do it. Emarosa for fucking ever.