May 152011

After checking into the hotel, I had enough time to eat the other half of my massive grilled cheese and call home to talk to my son who clearly didn’t give a shit that I was 2.5 hours away before it was time to meet Jason and managing editor Annie at the House of Blues. I was immediately carded, which pleased me greatly and became another sparkling facet to the best day ever. While we waited for Jason to get our tickets and passes to the opera box, I got my first glimpse of Craig Owens, who was doing a signing with D.R.U.G.S. Jeffree Star was there too and I wondered why anyone would want his autograph, but I guess that’s just me being old.

Or rational.

Annie pointed out a scene mom and I hope that if I ever age into that brand of trashy crispy duo-toned hair and too-small-for-my-fat-frame Hot Topic clothing, Henry will asphyxiate me with a burlap sack. Also, it was clear that she and her scene kids were there to see Black Veil Brides, who I was not looking forward to, if we’re being honest here.

I’ve been to the House of Blues before, but never got to sit in the opera box. It was fantastic! Just us and a bunch of people from AP; no drunk assholes behind me tying to instigate a fight, no douchey couples in front of me talking loudly through the whole show. There was no Tallest Man In the World standing in front of me, obstructing my view with his sweat-soaked back. And there was a dutiful waitress who re-appeared every time I needed another drink.

It was the coolest way to enjoy a show.

(Not that I don’t also enjoy experiencing it from the floor. I don’t mind getting jostled around here and there, as long as there’s no Lurch optically-blocking me.)

But for Old Man Henry, it was awesome because he got to drink beer and stuff his face with food, while not worrying about possibly having to defend my honor (like when some guy pushed me at a Thrice show and Henry turned his face and pretended it didn’t happen). For him, it was the next best thing to not having to go at all.

It was definitely interesting to scope the crowd and try to guess what bands they were there to represent. With such a diverse lineup, it was kind of like a scene safari—so many varying breeds and hybrids to scope. BVB fans were easiest to pick out because they were mostly girls and femme-boys, these neo-Goths in all black with stupid shit painted on their faces. Really, it wasn’t a far cry from the kids who were into nu-metal back in the early-00’s. They probably had those stupid metal rings on their pants, too.

The girls who were there for Craig Owens—I mean, D.R.U.G.S.—were also easy to spot because they were the quintessential scene girls with so many layers of makeup, they’d be unidentifiable on a slab at the morgue without it. They also wear giant bows on their heads. The more Minnie Mouse in girth, the greater the devotion to the scene.

And then you have regular people, like Henry and me, who look like we’re there against our will because of our kids. This is only true in Henry’s case. I still get the psychotic butterflies in my gut while waiting for the show to start, just like all the kids do. I hope that never goes away. I suspect it won’t.

Conditions was the first band to go on, and while their sound is pleasant and they’re energetic enough, the highlight was definitely when members of the other bands stormed the stage and started playing along. The same happened during VersaEmerge’s set, when Jeffree Star was carried across the stage on a couch. Jason said the last night of the AP Tour is always like that, so now I’ll obviously only be going to the Cleveland shows from now on. I don’t think Henry knows that yet.

I was happy I See Stars was on the tour because I needed to hear some screaming. It was absolute pandemonium near the end of their set. We saw them last year at Warped Tour and it was pretty unmemorable, but they left a lasting impression this time. However, it would have been 4567815689x more awesome if Bizzie Bone had made an appearance since he guested on their first album and he’s from Cleveland. They really should have tried harder to:

  1. make that happen
  2. provide a private room in which Bizzie could make numerous attempts to sire my child.

Bone Thugs n Harmony will always be deeply rooted in my heart, no matter where my musical tastes currently lie. No shame.

I admitted to Jason that I might cry when D.R.U.G.S. came on. I haven’t seen Craig perform since the last time he was at Warped Tour with Chiodos in 2009. When they kicked him out that fall, I never worried about not getting to see him again, because someone with the talent of Craig doesn’t just stop making music. I don’t think he could if he wanted to. What I did worry about was what kind of band he’d find himself in, if they’d be even close to comparable to the juggernaut Chiodos had become with Craig at the helm. I worried that it wouldn’t have that same emotional impact on me as Chiodos had.

But Craig didn’t let any of us down. D.R.U.G.S. is a goddamn powerhouse, practically a scene supergroup comprised of ex-members of From First To Last, Story of the Year, Matchbook Romance and Underminded (Nick Martin is totally my favorite). I think this is going to be the band that propels Craig out of the scene and into the mainstream. That and the fact that he’s been linked to Ashlee Simpson, never mind the fact that her husband Pete Wentz was the guy who picked Craig up off the ground after Chiodos dumped him, signed him to his record label, and helped build the band around him. Pretty skeezy, Craig.

The last time I was at the salon, I flipped open an issue of InTouch right to a page showing Craig and Ashlee walking side-by-side. Never would have imagined seeing his mug in a magazine fixated on who wore it best, Angelina Jolie, and American Idol updates.

Craig has always had this demi-god presence on stage, but it seemed amplified that night. He would stand on the edge of the stage, making the crowd scream louder, and his eyes just looked so crazed as he drank in all this maniacal worship. He’s always struck me as an extreme narcissist, but it definitely seems to have gotten worse. Still, it felt so good to hear Craig scream again. And yes, I cried.

I was 100% convinced that this was one of the Roloffs from Little People Big World, since you know, obviously all midgets look the same, but I think it was just random little person. I REALLY wanted it to be Zach Roloff though.

D.R.U.G.S. was definitely the best performance of the night. They should have headlined.

But instead, Black Veil Brides did and I couldn’t have been more underwhelmed.

Long black hair? Check.

Tight leather pants? Check.

Black face paint in varying designs? Check.

Whoa-oa’s in every last motherfucking song? CHECK ME OUT OF HERE.

But the kids loved it, and I guess that was the whole point of having them headline.

What really pissed me off, was the completely unnecessary DRUM SOLO that went on for fucking ten minutes. I watched all this was bored eyes and mouth slightly agape. They were the only band that didn’t participate in any last show shenanigans. No one from other bands came out on the stage. In fact, no one was really even standing on the side of the stage. During all the other bands, there were pretty large crowds watching from the side of the stage.

I also thought a lot of their interactions with each other seemed staged at best, like a beefy manager was standing on the side, yelling, “OK, now play your guitars back-to-back!” The one kid was a spitting image of Jami Gertz circa The Lost Boys. I couldn’t stop looking.


After BVB were finished emulating KISS, we followed Jason through a door and down some steps, where a House of Blues girl checked our names off a list (I’ve never been on a list before!) and an elevator took us to the Foundation Room. When the doors opened, I had one of those YOU GO FIRST!! moments and pushed Henry ahead of me. Everything was dark and plush—the walls were covered with some kind of tapestry, I don’t even know, but the whole ambiance screamed EXCLUSIVE! and VIP ONLY! and YOU MIGHT NOT MAKE IT OUT OF HERE ALIVE! There were a lot of candles everywhere. I hoped there wouldn’t be a fire.

There weren’t many people in there yet, thank God, and none of the bands were there yet either, so my anxiety level was pretty much at a steady “medium.” Jason went to the bar to get our drinks and told me to go in this private room watched over by a huge cobra monument. I walked in, looked around, and came back out. Meanwhile, some other people had gone inside in my wake.

When Jason saw this, he said, “I told you to go in there!”

“Oh, you wanted me to STAY in there?” I don’t take direction well. Luckily, those people ended up walking right back out, so we were able to re-claim it, no thanks to me. I think at that moment, Jason got a small sampling of what Henry goes through daily.

I had lost my voice during the show, thanks to this nagging sickness I’ve had for the last week, so I spent the whole time croaking inaudibly across the table to Annie and her boyfriend Matt, wishing I had a white board to communicate with instead. Jason received word that Craig had split right after the show to go home to Michigan, and I was kind of relieved. I don’t think I could have handled seeing him. He freaks me out and makes me cry. Especially now that he seems to be completely engulfed by his own ego.

I blurted out that I thought BVB were boring, and was told, “Well, that’s because you’ve seen that all before.” I was glad I wasn’t the only one who didn’t see their appeal.

Jason had to leave us several times to make the rounds, and I was glad we were able to stay behind in that room. I wouldn’t have been able to socialize without coming off as some starstruck reject from Kansas. Besides, it was more fun staying with Annie and Matt and getting laughed at for liking Cold.

At one point, I mentioned that I was barely able to sleep the night before. “It felt like Christmas Eve!” I exclaimed as much as someone with 5% of a voice can actually exclaim.

“Isn’t she fucking adorable?” Jason said. “How can you not love her.” And at that moment, Henry’s head exploded as he mentally wrote a dissertation on all the millions of ways he could argue Jason’s point.

Best fucking day ever.

  5 Responses to “The Best Day Ever, Part 3: The AP Tour”

  1. Don’t worry–all of the teasing about Cold is in good fun. I have a decade-plus worth of embarrassing writing/band praise that forever lives on, thanks to the Internet! :)

    It was way fun hanging out with you guys–I’m so glad you guys had a good time and everything lived up to your expectations. Cleveland totally rules, and I’m glad you saw that first-hand.

    • I was so excited to get to meet you! I’ve been reading AP for so long, yours is definitely a name I knew. Thank you for being so awesome to us, we both had the best time!

  2. Omg. Hanging out in the VIP room?! Waitresses just bringing you drinks?! Sounds beyond awesome.

  3. Sometimes I come over here just to live vicariously through you. This is another one of those times.

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