It’s hard to believe that nine years ago, I saw Emarosa open for Pierce the Veil at some dinky skate park venue in Buffalo, and now here I was with Chooch (a much better concert companion than the one I had in ’08), seeing them together again on a much larger scale.
Pierce the Veil is still the same band from way back when. Emarosa couldn’t be more different. Yet, the feelings (trying to stop saying FEELS all the time because Inannoy even myself) were still the same.
Henry dropped Chooch and me off at Stage AE right after work on Tuesday and I was READY. Chooch found joy in pointing out all the parents in line who were way older than me, so that was a fun game for me too, although it was also kind of bizarre because I don’t remember parents ever being at PTV shows back in the day – why are their fans getting consistently younger?!
Although in every case I’ve encountered, the parents were there because they actually like PTV too, so that’s something.
Standing in line was boring. Nothing exciting happened. No ice cream truck. I did happily shout, “TAMPON” when the security guard was patting me down and asked what was in my pocket.
And Henry mocks me for never being prepared. Pfft!
Chooch and I managed to get the same spot we had for Never Shout Never, a sweet spot against the railing, off to the right where absolutely no one crowds so we’re free to gesticulate wildly and Chooch can, god forbid, rest his weary 11-year-old bones between sets.
As soon as we claimed our spots, an older woman gave us a once-over and said, “Oh good, you’re here with a kid too!”
I get real defensive about this because I’m not just some chaperone. So I felt the need to explain that I have actually liked PTV for the last 10 years (I didn’t mention liking their first incarnation, Before Today, because I didn’t want to sound like an indigent hipster even though I do have the indignation part down pat).
“He likes them now too so he became my concert buddy,” I said, jutting an elbow back toward Chooch. Henry is still so thankful about this, btw.
Anyway, Yinzer Mom (that’s not nice – she was actually a lovely person who knew when it was fine to just stand together in silence without puffing out empty words all night) went on to tell me that her daughter got her into PTV last summer.
“I started listening to them while working out – I lost 50 pounds!” she exclaimed.
“It’s like you and Kpop!” Chooch butted in. Shut up, Chooch. The moms are talking.
It was cool to listen to an older person gush over a band that has been associated with teenage fans for as long as I’ve been into them. I don’t really understand why that is, because they’re so great, and for as many times as I’ve seen them (at least 20 times by now!), they have not put on one single bad show.
I asked her if she’d ever heard of Emarosa and she admitted that she hadn’t.
“You’re going to love them,” I promised. And then she told me that the last concert she attended was Kid Rock & Lynyrd Skynyrd 10 years ago.
Wow. Just wow.
Also, not surprising.
Then some other old broad rolled up with two young teen girls. They were standing on the floor below us, but the broad turned around to talk to us several times, my favorite of which was when she asked me if I liked Korn.
For a minute in 1997? And then a second in 1999?
She must have been bitchin’ back in the day. I could tell by her form-fitting black attire, severely bleached hair, and faded sleeve full of hearts and daggers.
Ugh, I’m trying to do this new No Judgment thing and it’s hard. So very hard.
She was a very nice lady.
With some pretty poor choices.
The first band to play was Chapel. I had never heard of them and didn’t do my due diligence because it’s a struggle for me to leave my Korean bubble. I gave them nary a Spotify spin. I expected them to be moderately heavy, but instead we were treated with an electro-pop duo from Georgia who completely and unexpectedly slayed. The drummer was a bad-ass girl who, at one point, was beating a drum with her head. Chooch was enthralled.
He’s been learning how to play drums now too, in addition to piano. His teacher Cheryl dedicates the last 15 minutes of his piano lessons for some drummin’, and he is really into it.
“That’s your basic rock beat,” he said, nodding toward the stage during the intro to one of the songs.
Yeah, Chooch and I were definitely fans of these guys.
I kept thinking of Whitechapel in my head, and I’m glad that they didn’t sound like them.
After Chapel, it was EMAROSA TIME! It occurred to me that it had been nearly a year since we last saw them, and maybe I’m just spoiled but that is way too long and I’m glad we were able to rectify that shit. Chooch and I were fine not being closer to the stage because we’re also going to see them in Cleveland on Saturday, where they’ll be a doing an off-date headlining show at Mahalls. Way more intimate!
Bradley has bleached hair now and that was disorienting at first (Henry would have had a field day because he’s obsessed with noticing changes in band members’ hair), but then they started playing and it was like, “MY HEART IS HOME AGAIN.” How are they not taking over the world yet!?
Bradley did all of the people-pleasing tricks: doing backflips on stage, literally immersing himself in the crowd, carrying their guitarist on his shoulders through the crowd. But most of all, he sang like a fucking anguished angel while the rest of Emarosa supported his vocals with intense instrumentals. There is no other way to explain an Emarosa show to someone other than it sounds like magic and you will be fucking engaged. Bradley will make sure of that. Every show I’ve been to, people go nuts, whether it’s their first time or fiftieth time experiencing the bombastic showmanship.
Afterward, I asked my new mom friend what she thought. I mean, she was fucking whistling (yes, she’s a whistler; sigh), fumbling to record with her phone, and screaming her crispy-haired head off.
“Holy shit! I was NOT expecting that,” she yelled. “When they first came on, I was like OK who is singing?! And then I was like, Oh! There he is, IN THE CROWD! They were AWESOME!”
I love experiencing someone’s first time with Emarosa! I’m starting to cry as I write this, someone give me a pill.
Immediately after their set, Bradley hopped off the stage and went straight back to Emarosa’s merch table, because he cares about his fans, you guys. The merch table was on the opposite side of the venue from where we were standing and I didn’t want to lose our spots. I could have asked Yinzer Mom to save them for us I guess, but I hate talking to people.
“I’ll just go by myself,” Chooch said with a shrug, and off went my independent 11-year-old kid who doesn’t need me to hold his hand like I need Henry to hold mine. WHO IS THIS BOY!?
Anyway, he stood in line all by himself and he said Bradley playfully punched his arm when he noticed him. <3
Of course, Chooch didn’t say much because Bradley is the only person in the world who can take Chatty Chooch’s tongue. It’s amazing, really, how shy and clammed-up he becomes. But he got a picture!
Chooch was angry because the guy who took the picture for them didn’t do a good job.
“It’s blurry!” he whined, and I was like, “Yeah but it’s still better than if Henry had taken it.”
Bradley asked where his parents were and Chooch was probably thinking in his head, “THEY ABANDONED ME WILL YOU ADOPT ME PLEASE BE MY NEW DAD” but instead, Chooch said he told Bradley that his mom was “over there somewhere.”
Yep that’s me, being a vigilant parent, on the other side of a venue full of drunk people and boobytraps and kidnappers.
The next band was Sum 41 and I was totally not looking forward to them. I kind of wished, selfishly, that they were the headliners so we could peace out after PTV, but no….they were right smack in the middle.
I’ve managed to go all these years without ever having to see them live, and I only know the songs “In Too Deep” and “Fat Lip.” So I was willing to give them a chance, because maybe they’d be fun. As the stage was being setup for them, the floor started to fill in with a lot of older persons; Yinzer bros who most definitely listen to nu-metal started pushing their way to the middle of the floor, sloshing their bro-beers around and just looking like genuine hooligans.
I was glad that we had a railing separating us from them because I could only imagine.
You guys. I’m probably going to offend people here, but Sum 41 now sits comfortably in my list of Top 20 Worst Bands I’ve Ever Had to Stand Through. Maybe they’re for you but THEY ARE NOT FOR ME. And apparently, not for my kid either, because he was ANGRY during their set.
He flipped them off several times, too.
Look, I’m glad Derrick Whibley didn’t like, die, or whatever, and that he got away from Avril Lavigne, but good goddamn, he is not very original with his crowd engagement and banter (getting the crowd to yell Fuck Yeah – so progressive).
Also, their set was like a billion decibels louder than the other three, and was definitely one of the loudest shows I’ve ever been to, and not in a good way. I was actually in pain, that’s how needlessly loud it was. Like, I actually wished I had earplugs.
I felt like a subwoofer was having me for dinner.
And when did Sum 41 become metal? It was basically 45 minutes of generic-sounding metal riffs, a quick Black Sabbath cover, a cover of We Will Rock You that they dragged out for 10 minutes because Derrick had to stop in the middle of it to fling more banal banter at the crowd while sauntering around the stage aimlessly.
Sum 41 guitar solos.
Sum 41 minutes I’ll never get back.
Sum 41 days of hearing loss.
Yeah, I hated them. It was the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus all over again.
It was years of enduring Dope because they wouldn’t stop touring with my beloved Cold.
It was just a waste of time. Go back to 2002, Sum 41.
But none of that mattered once Pierce the Veil came on!
There’s not much I can say on this here blog other than they were utterly fantastic. From their stage design to the performance, it was flawless and entertaining and kept us all engaged – even my fickle kid who has been known to want to leave after three songs are played.
But he was really feeling it, and we kept elbowing each other each time our faves were played, or when Jaime would come to our side of the stage, or when legit smoke circles came bursting out into the crowd during “Circles.”
Mike’s drum set was on top of a giant stick of dynamite, even!
Pierce the Veil shows have it all!
Vic mentioned that 2017 marks TEN YEARS of them being a band and I can’t even believe it. Obviously, it makes me wistful for certain people, and a certain time in my life, but I’m glad that I can still go to these shows and not be completely sucker-punched with sadness anymore. Maybe it’s a new era. Maybe it’s because now I can share it with Chooch.
But it’s good now. Even when they threw it back to A Flair for the Dramatic – sure, I held my hands to my chest like a little old lady clutching her purse on the way to church….but no tears! I was TEAR FREE!
I AM SAVED, LORD JESUS!
I do miss the fluorescent clothes-wearing scene kids with side parts that used to make up the majority of the crowd, though. Those were the days. #StayPosi
No one even wears bows in their hair anymore!
OMG, after they played “Stay Away From My Friends,” my new mom friend and I literally squealed and she elbowed me SO HARD (I’m delicate!) that it hurt but I’ll let it go this time since it was in the name of PTV.
Chooch was a happy boy because the last song of the encore was King For a Day. I wish that Besitos was still part of their set list, but their last album is so great that I don’t really miss it that much, I guess. (But it IS one of my favorites! God, Vic — aren’t you reading all of my letters!? Is it because they’re written in blood?!)
As we were leaving, we saw Chooch’s One True Love, Courtney, leaning against the bar with her boyfriend. Chooch has loved her since he was in 1st grade and she was the 8th grade mentor. Now she’s like, I don’t know, in some grade in high school, but we run into her a lot. We saw her earlier when she was crowd-surfing during PTV, so now I figure it’s only a matter of time before Chooch needs to step up his concert game and I AM NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT SO MANY KIDS WERE WALKING PAST US WITH BLOODY NOSES AND I DON’T WANT MY SWEET LITTLE BOY TO BLEED WAAAAAH!
Sometimes I’m a mom.
Anyway! So we saw Courtney and Chooch was all, “Oh no. Oh god no” and he tried to go the opposite way, but I grabbed him by the shoulders and steered him over to her while he was literally dragging his heels. Eventually, he was right in front of her. She looked up from her phone, smiled real big, and said, “Hi Riley!” with just the right amount of taunting-ness to her voice.
His face turned so red that I feared if I pricked it with a pin, a gush of blood would come spurting out a la The Shining.
Then we went outside and ran around looking for our parents like all of the other kids leaving the show. Don’t worry, Papa H was waiting.