Jun 052016
 

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During the first band of the day at Bled Fest, some guy ran up to me, slipped a note into my hand, and whispered, “Don’t tell the principal.” I practically ripped it open, hoping it was going to be an invitation to a party under the bleachers, but instead it was the set time for the band Forever Losing Sleep.

Joke’s on you, Guy! I already had them on my schedule after hearing one of their songs on the Bled Fest Spotify playlist. But now I was even more intrigued, so never mind. I guess it was effective.

Stage D was a narrow classroom with a wall of mirrors on one side. The sound in this room was so tight that I now I want to see all of my favorite bands perform inside of it.

From the second FLS started playing, I was INVESTED. They had my attention, my vote, the promise of my first born son
(see ya, Chooch; we had a good run).

Henry thought they were “too loud.” Because this is what happens when you’re an old person. You either “don’t get it,” “it’s too loud,” or “I voted for him on American Idol!”

But you guys. I have a fond memory of standing in that classroom, closing my eyes, and thinking, “Yes, this is where I belong. I’m so happy to be here.” And of course, because I’m Erin Rachelle Kelly, I began to cry. I can’t remember the last show I went to where I didn’t cry.

It’s kind of just what I do.

I already can’t wait to see Forever Losing Sleep again. #donttelltheprincipal

*****

Back when I was trying to get Chooch hyped to attend Bled Fest, I got really hopeful when I came across The Beautiful Gorgeous because they’re female-fronted and Chooch is about that life, you know? Show him a girl singer and you’ll have his attention on lock.

I’m notoriously picky when it comes to girl singers, but then I watched the only YouTube video I could find on them and I was like, “Aw.” It just felt like there was something special there. And then I found out that they’re like, only 17!

So I added them to my list of must-sees and kept them there even after I saw that they were playing at the same time as Knuckle Puck. My reasoning was that I would most likely be able to see Knuckle Puck again sooner than I would get to see the Beautiful Gorgeous because they’re a much smaller band and being from Detroit, this was essentially a local show for them.

This ended up being the right choice, because right after they finished the first song, the singer—Brooklyn—announced that this was going to be their very last, final show.

They were performing in the smallest of all the rooms, and there were only about 25 people there, so I felt like we had a certain duty to be there to support them.

Even though I could hear Knuckle Puck popping off across the hall…

“We usually end the show with that song, so playing it first….well, it kind of feels like this set is already over,” Brooklyn dead-panned. The vibe just continued to get more tense and weird from there. She said something to the bassist about taking his shirt off and he told her to shut the fuck up, and it didn’t feel like there was any playfulness to it whatsoever. There was even reference of this being a funeral for the Beautiful Gorgeous.

I guess you could say this was a low point of Bled Fest, witnessing the dissolution of a band, the last few notes that they will ever perform together, the awkwardness and unease having nowhere to go in such a small room. It felt almost dirty to witness, but I didn’t want to leave because I didn’t want them to think that they sounded bad, because in spite of the unraveling drama, they still sounded pretty fucking incredible. It makes me sad because it seemed like they maybe could have something there, that lightning in a bottle that rarely happens for female-fronted bands. The scene is so lopsided that I always want to root for the bands that have at least one girl in them, out of principle alone, but it’s a bonus when that band is actually good.

Anyway, even with palpable tension, they still sounded beautiful and gorgeous (oh snap) but Chooch’s attention span was the size of gnat’s wing by this point of the night, so he kept leaving the room.

“I’m going to the bathroom.”

“I’m going to the water fountain.”

“I’m going to look for new parents.”

So when one of the guys in the band declared that we should all do celebratory dabs in honor of their last show, it was me who had the last laugh because Chooch, my child of the YouTube/Vibe/Snapchat generation, fucking loves doing dabs (which I always thought was drug-related, but apparently it’s just some really lame dance move that basically pantomimes the sniffing of your own armpit? So when he came back into the room, Henry and I derived great pleasure telling him what he missed.

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“Was it just me, or was that really awkward?” I asked Henry later that night.

“You mean like when the one kid hit the singer in the mouth with his bass during soundcheck and didn’t even apologize? Yeah, a little,” Henry laughed.

I’m really glad that I got to see them once, but man, I really hope that they still make music in their respective futures.

****

One last thought: I’m really sorry that I missed CityCop. Otherwise, everything else about Bled Fest was something to get stoked about. I want to say that I’ll be back next year, but I’m not sure I can convince Henry now that he knows fully what it’s like. But there’s always Broken World Fest here in Pittsburgh…..

Choose Your Words Carefully