It started out that I didn’t want to be around people on Thursday. I even took the day off work in advance, because I know myself all too well. I reminded myself to stay away from Timehop and then attempted to fill my day with healthy things to keep my mind from reliving the bad memories from the last March 30th.
I went for a walk in the rain.
I practiced my Korean.
I went to lunch with Henry.
I watched a Running Man episode.
All good, healthy things to keep my mind spinning in positive directions, and not unnecessary downspirals. Anniversaries are so weird. I could have stayed in bed all day cried but fuck that noise.
I had a ticket for the Stolas / Icarus the Owl show that night, but I wasn’t particularly in the mood to be around strangers. The idea of staying home was very tempting, but I really like Icarus the Owl and I hadn’t seen them since September 2015. I had to go. I let myself be selfish for most of the day, but now it was time to get over myself and go support a band I love.
And I am so glad that I did because it turned out to be not only an amazing show, but just an overwhelmingly healing night for me in so many ways.
I got to Smiling Moose about twenty minutes before the opening band, Atlas Decay, went on. The room was still relatively uncrowded and the tiny bar area was empty. I grabbed a stool, had a brief conversation with the bartender about wheat beer before settling on Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (I’ve been making an effort to try new things rather than fall back on my old standby—cider). A few minutes later, I was looking down at my phone when a girl sat down next to me and said, “Hi, how are you?”
Alarms went off.
No one ever acknowledges me when I’m alone at a show. I’m invisible, remember?
I blurted out that I was fine and then tossed some side-eye to my left and saw that it was a younger girl in a Contortionist hoodie. I realized within seconds that I recognized her from other shows at the Smiling Moose, and that she too tends to always be there alone.
After the awkward salutations wafted off into the ether and were now just a faint memory, that familiar, uncomfortable silence set it. But when the bartender set down her Boddington’s, I used that as my chance to start a real conversation.
So I told her that I’m just learning to drink beer.
Because I’ve found that people who drink beer always want to talk about drinking beer.
And that worked! We started talking fluidly, without any awkward pretenses. This is how normal people do it! This is how I used to do it, too, back when I still had a personality and self-esteem! And then she asked what band I was there to see and when I said Icarus the Owl, she said, “Me too!” We animatedly discussed bands we liked until Atlas Decay started, and once they were over, we immediately resumed our conversation.
We talked a bit about Emarosa and she asked me how many times I’ve seen them. When I told her about the first time, at a skate park in 2008, opening for Pierce the Veil, she exclaimed, “Wow! That’s one for the books!”
HOLY SHIT, SOMEONE WAS INTERESTED IN MY GRANNY TALES!
Anyway, her name is Cat and she is only 22, but she’s an old soul. I could sense it.
We hung out for the duration of the show, and I really hope I see her again. It was so cool to have someone to stand with, as simple as that sounds. At one point she said, “Erin, you’re awesome” and I almost cried because usually I hear, “You’re weird” “you’re annoying” or “you’re dumb” and that’s just when I’m not being interrupted, talked over, or just ignored completely.
And holy shit, Icarus the Owl. I am even more in love with them. Their music filled the holes in my heart that night and I knew I made the right choice. Not just for myself, but for the bands. Our scene here is not the best and these shows at Smiling Moose never really fill the room, so it’s my duty as a fan to boost the attendance by at least one. These guys sacrifice a lot to go on tour. I live 10 minutes away from Smiling Moose and had no other obligations that night. No excuses.
Joey Rubenstein makes me smile. <3
When they played “Skysweeper” I had an out-of-body experience. It was beautiful.
Next was Mylets, who I had never heard of but Cat was like, “OMG you’re going to love him!” and she was right of course because she’s awesome and has impeccable taste! So Mylets is Henry, a one-man band. It’s almost like he’s playing DDR up there with his pedals, and it was mesmerizing to watch.
I almost left before Stolas because I’ve seen them numerous times and while I don’t dislike them, they’re not a band I generally tend to listen to on my own. But something told me to stay, and I’m so glad that I did because they blew me away. I don’t remember them being that good!
After Cat and I said our goodbyes, I was about to leave as well, but I noticed Joey from Icarus the Owl standing nearby. We made eye contact, and I thought to myself, “You had two beers. YOU CAN DO THIS, ERIN R. KELLY.” And so I walked over and told him that I think he’s amazing, and he was all, “Me?!” in the most adorable, humble way, and then he said, “We’ve met before. About two years ago….here, I think, right? And….you’re on The Twitter.”
“Yes! I’m the girl who’s always wishing for you guys to tour with Artifex Pereo and Emarosa!”
He remembered! People don’t remember me! I’m too average!
I couldn’t believe it.
And we had such a good, effortless conversation about the scene and their tour, and he said that actually, they were supposed to do a tour with Emarosa but plans fell through. Ugh!
I bought their newest album on vinyl and he legit wouldn’t let me leave until he had every last band member sign it for me, which required him to text, call, and flat out leave the merch table to seek out the last guy. Some of the people waiting in line looked annoyed, but I was like I’M SORRY OK.
Anyway, he hugged me two times and said it was nice to re-meet me and by the time I got to the car (Henry and Chooch were annoyed that I came out later than I originally said, lol), I was super giddy.
“That’s great,” Henry sighed, and Chooch just mumbled, “Cool story.”
I mean, probably that’s what happened. I still had so much buzzing in my head.
Oh! And the bartender said, “You look so clean cut but then you have hand tattoos. I love it.” That made me laugh so hard, because I make no sense.
Fuck, I needed this night. Pity party officially canceled.