May 212017

My decision to attend the recent A Lot Like Birds show at Smiling Moose was pretty last minute. Kurt Travis was the clean vocalist of this band, and half the reason why I loved them so much, but he was basically kicked out last year due to “creative differences.”

That’s always the reason!

I was so broken up over this! How could they go on without him?! No one could replace him! First Dance Gavin Dance, and now…et tu, ALLB?

Turns out, they didn’t totally replace him. Cory, the screamer, took over clean vocals, along with bassist Matt Coate. I only had the courage to listen to one song and I ended up really liking it a lot, inspite of its Kurt Travis-less vibes. :(

So I sucked it up and bought a ticket, and ended up having a fantastic time. 

I’ll try to make this short and sweet because oh god no, not another concert recap. 

So here are some things I want to remember:

  • Atlas Decay was the local opener. This was my fifth or sixth time seeing them and they are fine. 
  • No natter how “at home” I feel at Smiling Moose, the fact that the room is as narrow as a Trump-supporter’s mind and cluttered with the gear of EVERY BAND PLAYING will forever have me constantly being in everyone’s way no matter where I stand. Sigh. 
  • I saw the local band photographer that I briefly met outside Diesel at last year’s Hotel Books show and we pretended like we didn’t know each other, just like the last three times we saw each other at shows. #mutualsocialawkwardness

  • When the second band – OWEL- started setting up, I knew in my heart I would like them because they had a girl member and she HAD A VIOLIN. I later learned that she also plays the viola and keyboard and she sings as well. Once they started playing, the deal was sealed. I loved them. If you need me, I’ll just be following them around on tour. (I mean, vicariously on Instagram. Sigh.)


  • Next up was Hearts Like Lions. I saw them last year, also at that same Hotel Books show with the awkward photographer, so I was geeked to see them again, except that they weren’t as good as I remembered. Not that they sucker! Maybe the sound was a bit off or something but I wasn’t as drawn in as I was the first time. 
  • Their set ended around 8 so I went back to the bar to get a drink (a Hoegaarten, ugh) and decided to forego the fourth band and watch at least the first period of the Pens game since I never get to anymore because we’re a No Cable Household (which was coincidentally the name of of the band I was skipping – just Household, not No Cable Household, to be clear) – and I’m still mostly OK with this decision! But….hockey. Anyway, they were down 0-4 before the period was even over so I chugged my gross beer and peaced out. 
  • Finding a sort-of decent spot out of the way of the bands in the middle of moving their gear around, I occupied myself by staring intently into my phone (much like I’m doing now at the Balance & Composure show, waiting alone for it start), when suddenly I head someone say, “Did you see Emarosa when they were here last week?” I looked up and a guy in a Dance Gavin Dance shirt was looking at my expectantly. OH NO A CONVERSATION. WHAT TO DO? HOW TO TALK? I said I had, and realized not only was I wearing an Emarosa shirt, but it was one that just had the face of a fox on it and nothing about Emarosa. So he was a true Emarosa fan then! Fuck I forget his name already. Ryan? Mike? I don’t know, but his wife’s name was Ashley and they were both just wonderful. We talked about all the best bands and I showed them the video of Chooch crowdsurfing and of course they were disappointed to learn he wasn’t there that night. EVERYBODY LOVES CHOOCH. (OH MY LORD the laugh on this bitch standing in the bar at this Balance & Composure show is manufactured straight from the flames of hell. PLEASE LET THE FIRST BAND START SOON.) Anyway, that was awesome. Once I start talking to a stranger about music, it’s like ok me again. 
  • ALLB came on and played their new album Divisi in its entirety and you know what? They killed it. It was still ALLB, just without Kurt. I pretended that Kurt was taking a sick day. Yeah, that’s it. Cory did a bang-up job with those clean vocals, and Matt looked positively joyful singing along with him. And in between songs, when we were all clapping and showing our approval, Matt said thank you and just beamed as he looked out at all of our dumb faces. It was humbling. It’s easy to turn your back on a band when your favorite member is ousted, but these guys are just way too talented to give up on. Even though my heart turned into a pulpy, aortic mosaic when Matt sang the “you’re already undressed” line from Properties of Friction. OH KURT :(

And that concludes my succinct summary of the A Lot Like Birds show at Smiling Moose. I’m glad I got to see them many times already with Kurt and I’m gonna stick with them on this new journey. 

This post is brought to you by the letters ㅈ, ㅎ, and me standing alone miserably in between bands at the Balance & Composure show. 

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