Apr 162018
 

At the rate I’m going, I’ll be back in Korea before I finish recapping this trip, so let’s break down Everland using my everfavorite everbullets. It’s everefficient.

  • We noticed that nearly none of the Everland characters were Korean…? This is good to know for when I move there and need to find a job. What?
  • There wasn’t as much “weirdness” to the park food-wise as I guess I thought there would be, but there was a stand slinging peanut-buttered roasted squid. I wanted so badly for Henry to get some but he hold on tightly to his hard no all day long.

  • This tree played a big part in an episode of Running Man, too. LE SIGH.
  • The ride attendants were amazingly energetic and in it to win it. I expected to go on rides and have kpop blasted at us (would not have complained) but on this one particular ride that was kiiiiiinda similar to the Music Express, at least in the same family tree, there were three people running it and they freaking SANG AND DANCED for us the entire time. It was so surreal and probably my favorite part of the entire day, you guys. I felt so pumped! CHAMPIONSHIP RODEO ALL FUCKING DAY LONG, OPPPPPA!!!!

  • Hands down the best ride at Everland is the T-Express. We got in line as soon as it opened and by we I mean Chooch and me because again, Henry was all, “I DON’T WANT TO RIDE WITH A STRANGER” because he’s so fucking weird but guess what, he wouldn’t have had to! There were tons of single riders! Henry is so dumb. Anyway, if you’re a coaster enthusiast, you can read up on T-Express here  and possibly develop a healthy crush like I did. I enjoy wooden coasters so much more than the fancy-pants high-tech steel ones, I just need to lay that out there. I just love the nostalgic feeling to it, and I think it’s a greater accomplishment when a coaster can be the most fucking thrilling without sending you upside down or having your feet dangling through the whole ride. This was just pure wooden adrenaline, man, and it was fast as fuuuuuck. Also, there’s no creaking slowly up that starter hill, either – this thing yanks you up with no dawdling and it was so exciting! Chooch and I rode this only three times throughout the day (and we got that one nighttime ride in there too!) and now I regret not riding it more. So I’m going to be super cheesy here for a second but it was a really cool feeling to be the only two foreigners on a roller coaster and realizing that there is only one language for AMUSEMENT PARK FUN TIME and we were all speaking that together in the form of throat-scraping screams! How bonding! Maybe all the world leaders should spend a day together at Universal Studios, giggling on spinny rides and shrieking on roller coasters and eating the fuck out of some fried food.
    • Here’s a video of two of my favorite Korean TV personalities, Ha-Ha and Yoo Jae-Suk, on the T-Express for their other show Infinite Challenge:

  • This was the biggest pirate ship ride I’ve ever seen and no, I didn’t go on it because even the puny one at Kennywood makes me vomit-prone these days.

    

  • Line Friends is everywhere in Korea so of course there would be one in Everland too. They also had legit clothing stores too, like boutique shit and not, I don’t know, Beer Tees or something equally as tacky as you’d probably find in America.

  • Henry only rode the carousel, one of the 4D rides, and the safari rides. He’s such a grandpa. In fact, toward the end of the day we were all three going to ride the T-Express but GUESS WHO LOST THEIR TICKET oh this dumb broad typing in a blog right now. I can’t even believe I lost my stupid ticket. So Henry saw this as his way out and happily said, “OH WELL. HERE, JUST USE MY TICKET” and then took that opportunity to sit on a bench and stare at all the chaebols (HEIRS). He was obsessed with this one group of young people who were wearing trench coats and acting like they were cooler than everyone else and I didn’t see them but I can already verify that they were cooler than us. Fact.
    • I feel like Henry and I probably argued a lot too but I likely blocked it out in order to preserve the Perfect Memory. I just asked him if there’s anything he wants to say about Everland and he said no. Hold on, Chooch is coming downstairs to take out the garbage so I’ll ask him.
      • “fun time dancing boys” – Chooch’s garage-bagged review.

  • I mentioned this in my k-observation post but I was in love with all of the couples at the park that day. Granted, Chooch and I felt like third and fourth wheels in line for most of the rides, but it was still super adorable. I don’t want to give off the impression that these people were like, making out and dry-humping in front of us—it was way more sweet and innocent than that! A lot of the couples were matching outfits, tons of selfies were taken and just really cute affectations were going on, like nose-taps and things like that. Then we would get off the ride and I’d run over to Henry and remember that we’re in one of those good old hateful American relationships. J/K we’re not always hateful but I actually hate PDA, if we’re being honest here.

  • Chooch and Henry had an argument at one point over military time. Chooch kept arguing that you would say “One thousand three hundred o’clock” for example, and kept pushing back every time Henry corrected him, until finally Henry yelled, “I THINK I WOULD KNOW, I WAS IN THE GODDAMN SERVICE.” Whoa, it’s always newsworthy when Henry plays the SERVICE card! I would have tweeted it at that exact moment but I didn’t have wifi.

  • So you know how the Chinese food we eat in America is like, not what actual food is like in China? Well, in Korea, there is this noodle dish that people love called jjajangmyeon (짜장면) a/k/a black bean noodles, which is considered a “Chinese dish” but is actually a Koreanized form of a similar Chinese noodle dish. I thought that was pretty interesting, but more importantly is that I think these noodles are freaking amazing so when we saw that one of the park restaurants offered that as a main dish, we were in. (Actually, I think Henry got something else but I couldn’t remember because I was too busy bathing in thick black bean sauce. Not sure what Chooch’s face means in that picture, but he fucking inhaled his noodles too. Also, unlimited daikon radish! Alsox2 – this was way cheaper than probably any amusement park meal we’ve ever had in our lives. Except Henry because he was born in the 60s and probably ate sardines out of a can for 15 cents at amusement parks back then. Right? Hardboiled eggs straight out of a hobos sock?

  • There are two different safari rides you can go on at Everland and both were incredibly entertaining even though we didn’t know what was being said by the guides, lol. But each guide we had was so incredibly enthusiastic that it didn’t really feel like we were missing out. Chooch said he liked the guide on the second safari ride better; no shit, because she was a cute girl! When the second safari ride (Lost Valley) came to an end, all the Lost Safari people gathered around and sang a farewell song to us and even low-key chased us as we exited. It was so exciting! In the gift shop right after, Chooch was told by yet another Korean guy that he was handsome, this time it was a young Lost Safari attendant. “Big eyes!” he said to Chooch, and I responded, “Yeah, big mouth too.”

  • I THINK THIS ELEPHANT WAS ON RUNNING MAN?!

  • Guys, I for sure can walk around with a caterpillar torso on my head all day.

  • The Spooky Fun House wasn’t too spooky but it was definitely fun, because hello IT WAS MY FIRST “DARK RIDE” IN KOREA! Ironically, after we came home, there was a letter from DAFE (Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts) asking us if we wanted to renew our membership ALMOST LIKE THEY KNEW WE WERE RECENTLY DOING DARKRIDE THINGS IN ANOTHER COUNTRY!
    • Not my first foreign country darkride rodeo though — my aunt Sharon and I went to some  super rickety and shady pop-up carnival thing one time in Paris. It was one of those rare times when we had some free time away from the tour group so Sharon was like, “THIS LOOKS FUN AND NOT LIKE A REALLY BAD IDEA AT ALL.” I can’t remember a single fucking thing about this place except for the fun house we went into that knocked us all around and then the hamster wheel at the exit was spinning SO FAST that I kept falling and Sharon was screaming, “TURN IT THE FUCK OFF!!!” and this fat French bitch manning the gate was laughing her mole-dotted face off at us and I just remember sobbing and feeling so violated, and then having bruises and brushburn on my my legs and arms the next day. Fun times in France!
      • Actually, I think we also went into a haunted house where we were borderline assaulted by the “monsters” inside.
      • Now I want to dig out my old vaca-journals but the Walking Challenge just started at work and I can’t be sitting for that long so maybe sometime in June we’ll revisit this topic.

  • The park wasn’t too crowded, being a weekday in March, but there was one area where you could be sure to find a crowd, and that was the garden section. There was a tulip festival thing happened and if there is one thing people LOVE to do in Korea, it is have their picture taken copious times. Nearly everyone came equipped with either selfie sticks or actual freaking tri-pods — FOR THEIR PHONES! It was nuts, and made it impossible to stroll through that area leisurely because we were constantly photobombing adorable couples or besties dressed in matching school uniforms. This was fine though because it just meant that the lines for the rides weren’t too terrible!

  • Oh shit in the forefront of this picture you can see the tracks for the Dragon Coaster, a kid coaster that came super close to rivaling THE WACKY WORM. Chooch and I were huge fans and Henry didn’t even pay attention to us when we were on it. :(

  • I still don’t understand how this ride works but it’s called Flash Pang Pang and it inspired a SPIRITED debate, Henry and Chooch vs. me, later on when they insisted that it was called Flash Pong Pong and I countered, in a very calm and collected way, that no, it’s Pang Pang and they both flew off the handle and started slinging slurs at me and accused me of drinking nail polish remover, all sorts of terrible things! I continued being the mature one though, and politely pointed out that I had read the sign in hangeul and it was, in fact, a longer “a.” They continued to diss me and I said, “That is OK. I still love you both very much even if you disagree with me.” But then I smugly pointed out later on the map that I WAS RIGHT, MOTHERFUCKERRRRRRRRS.
    • If you’re wondering about the whereabouts of our headbands, Trudy the Mannequin is wearing them both.

Oh man, I feel like I’m missing so much here, but those are most of the highlights off the top of my head. Around 9, we went out the parking lot and panicked for a good 5 minutes because the bus wasn’t there and there was definitely a moment when we thought we had been left behind and would have to find our way back to Seoul, but then ALVIN *HEARTEYES* appeared on a cloud dropped straight from Heaven and showed us to the bus. THANK YOU ALVINNNNN.

Is it weird that I spent most of the day being hyper-aware that I was walking around a place that Running Man has filmed? I know that I’ve mentioned it a million times on here, but just in case someone is reading this and imaging a bunch of people doing the Running Man dance in an amusement park while being recorded, Running Man is a Korean variety show that Henry and I love so much. They have their permanent cast but there are also usually guests on each episode, from kpop idols to actors. I only started watching it because BIGBANG had appeared several times and even with subtitles, I had no idea what was going on at first, but the cast is so charismatic and hilarious, that I was hooked and found myself YouTubing more and more episodes until finally I said “fuck it” and started watching from the first episode on Drama Fever. I’m not allowed to watch it without Henry so that’s how he knows I must be mad at him, when he walks in the house and catches me in the act of cracking up while watching grown adults essentially playing tag.

That show has also helped me learn a lot about Korean culture too, like kai bai bo (the Korean version of rock paper scissors which is wildly popular for Koreans to play when in the need of breaking a tie, deciding who’s going to pay, etc), the honorific system/formal speak, and certain titles that people use on each other based on age. It’s fascinating and something that has changed my life, and now there I was, in a place where some of my favorite people have run around, tearing off each other’s name tags. #shook

So whenever I’m asked what my favorite thing was that I did in Korea, I can’t say one specific thing because the simple fact that I was there AT ALL was my favorite thing. How can I possibly choose one moment?!

First ones on the bus this time! I think that the next time we go to Korea (because I’m not through with Korea yet!!), we will probably use this tour company again for another day trip. It was reasonably-priced and definitely worth the price to have non-stop transportation provided. We ended up getting pretty comfortable with the subway system but I don’t think we could have handled making multiple transfers via subway and bus and shuttle with very much panache. I mean, I know Henry probably feels like he could conquered that but um…Chooch and I have seen him squint at maps enough to know that at some point, he’d have us going the wrong direction.

I miss Alvin.

*******************************

Post-Everland notes:

It was 10:30 by the time we arrived back at Dongdaemun and you would never know it was a Monday night because that place was poppin’ off. All the department stores were still open, the street food was still being churned out with a vengeance, and people of all ages were milling about like it was a Friday night. Seoul, you truly are the city that never sleeps.

OMG we of course feasted on street food on our walk back to the hotel and it was the perfect ending. I miss these nights so much.

The next post will be all about Hongdae shopping!

Apr 152018
 

I feel like my epitaph should include something about amusement parks, because I have been known to plan vacations around them. You will never catch me going to a beach that doesn’t have a boardwalk theme park. So do you really think we could go to Korea and NOT go to an amusement park? We are freaking theme park enthusiasts and Everland has been on my list ever since I saw an episode of Running Man that was filmed there. (It’s one of my favorite episodes, too!) Plus, they have this famous wooden coaster called the T-Express which has also been featured on numerous variety shows, so sign me the fuck up.

The thing with Everland, though, is that it’s about an hour outside of Seoul, which is fine if you either have rented a car (we didn’t apply for an international license) or are more savvy with public transportation than we are. You can GET there using pub-trans, but it involves transfers and buses, and god only knows the things that could go awry with us idiot foreigners. Plus, I read that it can take around 3 hours to get there this way.

Luckily, Henry noticed that our hotel has some partnership with a company that provides not only discounted rates, but transportation on a chartered tour bus as well! So he did his thing through the website on our first day in Seoul, and then decided to also go down to the front desk and ask some follow-up questions, at which point he was told that they knew nothing about what he was telling him, so we thought for awhile that we had been scammed.

Early Monday morning, Henry stopped by the front desk on the way back from what was soon to become his traditional “before sunrise” convenience store breakfast run, and had the nice guy call the tour agency for him, at which point we learned that the bus was picking us up at 9am at some subway exit in Dongdaemun, so Henry was like, “Wow, good thing I didn’t wait until 9 to go down and ask” which is what he was originally going to do!

Anyway, long story short, we walked around for what seemed like an hour because Henry “wasn’t sure” and I was like, “If they said Exit 10, shouldn’t we just, you know, wait by Exit 10?” which is what Chooch and I did while Henry used my phone to call the travel company, who was like, “Well, we don’t have you on the list because you did this over the weekend while we were closed” so then there was this long moment of uncertainty where we thought we couldn’t go, but then they found our order and it was still an issue because the tour guide who was going to be on the bus didn’t know we were supposed to be there, so they were like, “You have to show him your receipt on your phone” and  thank god there was another family of three waiting there with us because who even knows if the bus would have stopped it was only us!

So the bus got there, and that’s when we met ALVIN with whom I imprinted almost immediately because when he was wearing his medical mask, he looked kind of like Song Joonki, but there was more back and forth with Alvin because he had to examine the receipt on Henry’s phone and take a picture of it with his phone and then text it to the office and wait for them to confirm, and meanwhile, there was a legit busload of people waiting on us and I gulped so many times.

But then, yay, our reservation was confirmed and we were allowed to board the bus! We were the last stop too, and there were JUST ENOUGH seats. It reminded me of when the bus I sometimes took in high school would get to my street and my neighbor Lindsay and I were the last ones to get on and the bus was always packed to capacity and it was so uncomfortable having to squeeze into a seat that already held two people. Oh, anxiety! But Chooch and I got to sit together, so it wasn’t too bad. Henry had to sit with the dad of the family we were waiting with, lol.

So everyone on the bus was either English- or Chinese-speakers, which meant that Alvin had to go over everything in both languages and that made me love him even more because not only is he Korean, but he also speaks English and Chinese!? Yes, please. Chooch was like, “Get a life, you’re so embarrassing” because he saw me scribbling in my vacation journal about my wedding plans.

It turns out that Henry went through K-Tour Story, which I had come across numerous times while planning our trip because they offer other day tours, as well, like ones to Nami Island and the palaces. So I felt better knowing that this was a legit thing Henry purchased, it just got a little messed up since he went about this on the weekend.

When we arrived, Alvin gave us explicit instructions on when and where to meet later that night at 9, and then made us pose for a group photo, which was later posted on their Instagram along with other recent tours they led. THAT IS ALVIN ON THE FAR RIGHT, but in this picture his true Song Joonki-ness isn’t shining through.

Henry was just like, “What is happening, what have I done?”

And then Alvin handed everyone their tickets and said, “MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THESE WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES” in the  most foreshadowing tone possible, and we all ran to the entrance where we were greeted with glorious amusement park music.

“GIVE ME THOSE,” Henry barked, snatching our tickets from us so we wouldn’t lose them.

Henry disappeared immediately and we thought he was pooping somewhere because that’s always our first suspicion, but then it turns out he was exchanging money or something non-bathroom related. So he says.

Since the park had just opened, none of the rides were running yet so we used this opportunity to go see the pandas before it got insanely crowded.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen pandas in real life before,” I mused out loud.

“WELL UNLESS YOU’VE BEEN TO CHINA OR THE SAN DIEGO ZOO I’M GOING TO GUESS THAT YOU HAVEN’T,” Henry scoffed haughtily, because if there is one thing for you to learn about Henry from this blog post, it’s that he sometimes acts like he is a fucking zoologist who was first in his class.

For instance, one time we were driving past Columbus, Ohio and this is an actual conversation we had and I know it’s verbatim because I literally just copied and pasted this from the liveblog I was writing when it happened:

Henry: I’d like to go to the Columbus zoo someday.
Me: Why.
Henry: Because they have a nice zoo.
Me: How do you know?
Henry: Because they have a nice zoo, OK?
Me: Yeah but how do you know if you’ve never been there?
Henry: Because…THEY JUST HAVE A NICE ZOO.
Me: BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW?????
Henry: *mumbled something about Jack Hanna*

Henry and zoos, man.

Anyway, we got to enjoy some glorious time with pandas with only a handful of other people and it was really something special.

Especially when this guy was rubbing his butt on a rock.

Getting to see pandas in an Asian country was something that I never thought I’d do in this lifetime. It was beyond amazing.

I’m going to try and get Chooch to write a guest post about Everland because he took a shit-ton of videos, but he is L-Z when it comes to writing.

Right after this, we got in line for a small steel coaster called the Rolling X-Train. Henry was all clenched because he thought he’d have to ride with a stranger which is his least favorite thing to do especially after he had to ride with some 13-year-old girl on one of the Harry Potter coasters at Universal and Chooch and I spent the next two months talking about “that time Henry had a date with a teenager,” so he opted out.

The line wasn’t too terribly long, maybe about a 15 minute wait, but as we got closer to the top, I started noticing that everyone was flashing something at the ride attendants.

“Oh fuck, do we need our tickets?!” I whispered to Chooch, Alvin’s warning playing back in my head in slo-mo.

And sure enough, when we got to the front of the line, the ride attendant asked to see our tickets and I was so flustered. I told him that we left our tickets “with some guy” and it was so embarrassing because here we are, Korea! Dumb Americans who can’t follow instructions! Anyway, he was super nice and told us to go and get our tickets and then come back through the exit so we wouldn’t have to wait in line again.

HOW FUCKING NICE IS THAT?! That never would have happened here in Pittsburgh. (But then again, Kennywood doesn’t even issue tickets anymore, so…) So we angrily held out our hands for Henry to give us back our tickets because this was all his fault, and then we guiltily and shamefully re-entered through the exit ramp, where we waited on the other side of the concourse. The girl on that side was like, “Hello who are you?!” but our friend jumped over the tracks and explained to her what happened, so she was like, “OK OK you can go on the next one.” I love you, Korea.

Meanwhile, two girls joined us.

“Did you guys forget your tickets too?” I asked.

“Yes!” the one said dramatically, and we bonded over how embarrassed we felt. Turns out they were from the Philippines, which is only a 4 hour flight to Korea so if moving to Korea doesn’t pan out for me, perhaps I’ll consider the Philippines?

Anyway, those girls were nice and Chooch and I were excited to have made “friends.” Especially friends who also failed to follow directions.

And then it was our turn to ride and all I could think was, “I AM ON A ROLLER COASTER IN KOREA! LIFE IS FUCKING AMAZING!” And as the coaster started to leave the platform, the ride attendants all yelled, “화이팅!” (hwaiting) and I was like, “HOW IS THIS REAL LIFE?!!?!?” because I have heard this so many times on all of the Korean shows I watch but NEVER IN REAL LIFE.

Gah, now I’m over here crying about it! I will be back with more Everland pictures and recaps once I compose myself. My state is fragile right now.

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 012017
 

While everyone was eating, some Kennywood band started setting up near us and Haley said, “Yep, time to leave.” Thank god! I get so antsy when we sit for too long at amusement parks!

It was about 785 degrees out on this day, so hot and humid that Chooch and I were drenched in sweat just from sitting. Beads of perspiration rolled down my back in 5 second intervals and I internally cried to the gods, “WHY DID YOU MAKE MY SWEAT GLANDS SUCH OVERACHIEVERS?!” It’s just mean.

Our caravan began it’s slow stutter-walk toward Lost Kennywood. There was chatter about which ride we should go on, the Pirate Ship or the Phantom, and I personally didn’t want to go on the Phantom right that second because we had already ridden it, but the Phantom won out and I just had a feeling.

That sickening belly-nag.

The sky was starting to look straight-up foreboding, my friends. I half-expected that Kennywood guy sitting at the entrance of the line to say something about it, something like, “Yinz guys should go ride the Music Express or something because this bitch is getting shut down here rill soon n’ at.”

But nope, he just gave us blank looks and allowed us to pass.

The line was a lot longer than it was when Chooch and I rode it earlier with Henry, but we trudged along until we couldn’t go any further. This put us behind a young couple from one of the high school bands and at first I was like, “Aw, look at these band nerds in love” (I can say that because I was in band, too). Literally, they looked like they were normal people who were dressed up band geeks for Halloween. The girl especially looked like she had a hidden prettiness, like she was dying to star in a real life version of one of those predictable teen makeover movies. She’s All That, or if I want to date myself, SHE’S OUT OF CONTROL which starred Mickey Dolenz’s daughter! I saw that movie in the theater with my friend Spring and I thought it was so great and it gave me hope that someday I would grow out of my ugly duckling phase.

(Spoiler: I never did. Have you seen me?)

So back to the Phantom. These fucking kids went from “aw” to “awful” really fast. Their PDA was so out of control that I was starting to dig my fingernails into my palms. The boy kissed the girl after EVERY SENTENCE. These disgusting little kisses on her nose, lips, cheek, shoulder, neck, head. And then she would do it back and it was like being a fucking farm watching chickens peck at each other.

“I like water rides,” she said. *KISS*

“I like water rides too!” he said. *KISS*

“OMG we should go on a water ride!” *KISS*

“I agree!” *KISSKISSKISSKISSUGHFUCKYOU*

I tried to get Haley to switch spots with me but she was like, “Girl, I will fucking kill them.”

It was so out of control! Their conversation was so banal (because this is real life high school and not Dawson’s Creek where they look at the stars and talk about paradigms) and did not warrant such flagrant, superfluous affection, like each precious peck was some uncomfortable form of punctuation that English teachers omit from their curriculum because it’s gross. 

We moved up enough in line to where it was almost time to pick which car we wanted to sit in and then get in the appropriate line. Blake asked where I wanted to go and I was like FAR AWAY FROM THESE OVERACTIVE LIPSMACKERS OVER HERE.

But as it turns out, we wouldn’t have a chance to go any further because an announcement was made saying that the Phantom was temporarily shutting down due to the approaching storm.

MOTHERFUCKER.

This was after about 30 minutes of already standing in line!

Some people opted to stay and wait it out, but we turned around and went to find Henry and Calvin, who had taken pre-shelter under a pavilion of Pedro’s Tacos, which was closed and now that I think about it, I don’t think I have ever seen that place open.

Henry the Meteorologist kept checking some storm tracker map thing and pointed out that it looked like it was going to be OK once this storm came through, that the rest of the day should be all clear. There were other storms behind the first one that was approaching us but Henry pointed out that it looked like they were going to pass around our location.

All of a sudden, the rain fell and people started screaming like it was acid dropping from buckets. We just laughed because come on, guys. It’s rain. This went on for several minutes, with more and more people squeezing into the pavilion with us. I turned my back for a second and got doused with what felt like a really rough wave, and everyone started SCREAMING and pushing each other further into the pavilion. I had no idea what was going on, but garbage cans had fallen over and were rolling violently along the wet ground, and the rain was coming down in what appeared to be curtains at this point.

We were right across from the Pittsburgh Plunge, which is a water ride, and I very naively thought that some sort of tidal wave had been created in the pool of water at the bottom of it and that’s what had hit us, but Henry was like, “No, stupid, the wind was so strong that it was making the rain fall sideways.”

It was intense! And of course this feels like a string of nonsense in light of Hurricane Harvey.

Some dumb bitch was standing near me, coddling her crying son who looked like he was at least 9, and loudly saying things like, “I KNOW, I KNOW. I HATE CROWDS! PEOPLE ARE SUCH IDIOTS” like excuse me, we’re all trying to stay safe here, and I personally didn’t witness any shoving or general jackassery.  Dumb bitch—your kid is basically an adult at this point, get a grip. Meanwhile, Haley was standing behind her, calmly holding Calvin and not panicking or shouting passive aggressive insults at everyone who wasn’t paying enough attention to her.

That lady was already under my skin before the rain even started falling because her face was a moving billboard of angry expressions.

After the storm, there was nothing to do but eat and play games. I remember back in the day, only certain rides would get shut down when it rained and then they would pretty much fire back up as soon as the storm passed.

“Yeah, but then that microburst blew the roof off the Whip and some lady sued,” Henry said.

“Someone sued for real?” I asked.

“Probably,” Henry shrugged. A logical assessment.

The greatest part though was that it cooled down so beautifully and felt like a brisk fall day. I wanted a maple latte badly though. 

I love/hate when they play games. On one hand, there is always something cute that I want them to win for me, but on the other hand, that’s S. Korea money going right down the shitter.

The fish pond is my favorite game! I love how it smells, and I love the sound the metal hook makes when it connects with one of the chunky plastic fish cruising on by with the “current.” It’s one of the things that hasn’t changed about Kennywood since I was a kid and I appreciate that so hard.

This girl was not amused by Chooch’s uncertainty and indecisiveness when it came to choosing fish to hook and I was waiting for her to reach in with her hand and pick for him. I feel like if you’re working one of those games, that one especially since it’s such a kid-centric game, you should have a more docile, friendly disposition?

I wanted Chooch to pick a plush popsicle, but he chose a cupcake instead. I was really disappointed but when he declared that he was giving it to Calvin, the disappointment was replaced with pride because no one made him do this, and it was basically the first time in three months that he acknowledged Calvin’s existence!

<3

Blake won a small pink poop for Calvin. 


An hour later, it started POURING again while we played the shooting game, which is also where I got angry at Henry because he will never properly teach me how to aim and I never hit any targets!

It was 3:00 by this point and we had basically done fuck-all, when a speaker crackled, followed by, “This is the voice of Kennywood….”

The park was officially closing at 4pm because an entire of fleet of storms was still en route to the area. 

SAD TUBA FOR REAL. 

But the upside is that we got rain tickets for next year! 

We still stayed put under an awning because it was torrentially downpouring and no one wanted to walk through that to the gate. This was how I learned courtesy of Haley that if you run through rain, you get more wet!

IS THAT TRUE?!

The rain slowed down long enough for Henry, Chooch and me to speedwalk to Goldent Nugget to grab ice cream cones for the crew but THEY WERE DONE SERVING ICE CREAM FOR THE DAY. 

WHYYYYY!?

I had to text Janna and tell her to JUST FORGET IT because she was going to meet us there after work. This could have been such a great day! We had the perfect group! But then HENRY made us go left instead of right AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED. 

I never noticed this fire hydrant before. 

All was not lost though because Chooch ended up winning this plush unicorn on the way out, and Haley (who had craved candy apples during her whole pregnancy) snagged the last candy apple in the candy store by the exit. 

Small victories!

In conclusion, shitty weather but excellent company. 

I bet those fucking band dorks spent the whole afternoon kissing raindrops off each other ugh I’m so glad I never saw them again. 

Aug 312017
 

Well, we managed to squeeze Kennywood in right before the end of the summer season, but it was pretty much a bust. We chose this day a month in advance to ensure that we could get the day off work and that Janna, Blake and Haley could make it too, but the bad thing about planning so far out is that none of us know what kind of stew to cook up in ye ol’ cauldron to foresee the weather.

Spoiler alert: it stormed hardcore halfway through the day.

But! We were able to enjoy a few hours before that happened and this post here will do its best to illustrate that.

This was the first time in two years that Henry was actually joining Chooch and me at Kennywood, since we don’t go on Father’s Day anymore. He wasn’t happy that Chooch and I have made our traditions in his absence, such as: getting there as soon as the park opens (Henry never took us there that early!) and going the supposed “long way” which is how I used to get to Kennywood as a kid.

“Yeah, because you lived in another part of town then and it made sense to go that way!” Henry tried to reason by YELLING IN HIS DAD-VOICE which always makes me turn up the music.

I got my way of course and we left about three hours earlier than Henry would have liked and went the “long way” through West Mifflin, god forbid.

We actually got there a little bit too early though because the gates hadn’t even opened yet and there were quite a few lines already formed. Henry was being SO ANNOYING, jumping from one line to the next, trying to find the shortest one and it was really embarrassing. Like who is ever that high-strung about getting inside Kennywood?

There was a fuckarow with the lines anyway, because a bunch of different high school bands were there and the one Kennywood ticket girl was trying to corral them all into one line and they were such dunces about it and of course out of every line there, the only one it affected was OURS, good job, Henry. Couldn’t have just stuck with the first line.

By the time we made it up to the front, she was still bitching about it.

“I don’t understand what was so hard about that,” she scoffed at me and also no one in particular. “All I asked them to do was stand together. They’re in a band! That’s literally their JOB, to STAND TOGETHER IN A LINE!” and I just cracked up so bad. It was a good start to the day!

Until we made it through the ticket gates and Henry made us go LEFT instead of RIGHT when we ALWAYS GO RIGHT. Never in my life have I gone LEFT—that’s the way we always LEAVE the park! Little did we know that he was setting the tone for the day, because everything had an air of unfamiliarity to it after that.

Blame Henry, all dingdong day long.

Once we made it through the tunnel into the park, Chooch and I screamed, “Exterminator!” and took off in that direction while Henry just dawdled behind us like a fucking farmer from the 50s. Half of the Peters Twp band seemed to have the same idea and I was trying to get Henry to speed it up so we wouldn’t stuck with them in line but nooooo, Henry was all, “Don’t run! Take your time! Slow down!”

OMG why did we bring him!?

Of course, we ended up smack in the middle of the band kids and it looked like it was going to be terrible because some of them were teetering on line-jumping, but then one of the kids in front of us asked me, “Do you guys want to go ahead of us so you’re not stuck in the middle of the band kids?” and I was like, “Bro? You reading my mind, bro?”

He did this grand flourish with his arm and we happily jumped ahead of them and it was WONDERFUL, THANK YOU KIND BAND NERD.

There were some others in front of but they weren’t a part of the clique I guess, and were mostly keeping to themselves. This is how I learned some new hand-slapping games that Chooch said he would play with me but I had stage-fright because it seemed difficult and I didn’t want to mess up in front of people! There was intense counting involved. Counting is not my strong-suit.

Neither is typing.

Or talking.

Or breathing.

Sigh.

(Or sighing.)

We had to wait in line for about 15 minutes for the ride to open since it was still early. But once it opened and we all moved inside (the Exterminator is an indoor coaster), the band kids got super rowdy and immediately started screaming at ear-fucking levels and Henry’s grimace was devouring his whole point. Then they started high-fiving their friends as they passed each other in the queue and I was giddy because one of them high-fived me too but then I realized later that maybe he was just preparing his hand for his bandmates behind us that he was about to pass.

But I was so eager to get a piece of that hot high-fiving action! I love high-fiving. High-fives over hugs.

I jokingly said that I was going to make Henry ride with those annoying kids and he said, “I already have annoying kids to ride with.”

Oh snap, pops.

Finally it was time for us to get on the ride and I was beyond stoked, doing a bunch of “me-me-me-me-me”s to warm up my throat for the radical levels of shrieking I was about to unleash as soon as the ride started. I LOVE SCREAMING MY FACE OFF ON RIDES. It’s kind of my THANG. I will scream to the point where I’m laughing too hard to scream and then I’m peeing too hard to laugh.

Fuck yeah, Exterminator!

I had to laugh though because during that whole ride, I was the only one vocalizing any sort of feeling: literally, it was just my dumb big mouth filling up that entire warehouse, and each car of band kids that passed us were somberly quiet. After all that commotion they caused in line!

After that ride, Chooch and I made Henry watch us ride the Swingshot, which I successfully scared/horrified/enraged everyone on it with us with my blood-curdling Kerrigan-cries of “WHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?!” and “OH MY GOD NO NO NO!!!! I FORGOT HOW AWFUL THIS IS!” before my finale of “rosary in tongues.”

“You’re so embarrassing,” Chooch muttered when the ride stopped and I happily announced to everyone that we survived.

Then we rode the Phantom’s Revenge, where Chooch viciously mocked me for initially calling it the Steel Phantom WHICH IS WHAT IT USED TO BE CALLED WHEN I WAS CHOOCH’S AGE, OK?! The line was still really short so we ran for the back because back is best, fuck the rest.

Henry had to ride alone and he said he was fine with that because we’re annoying.

(Chooch just barged into my blogging life and said, “How the hell can you write about Kennywood? We did nothing!!” I mean it’s almost true, but still—there’s always shit to say about Kennywood!)

On the Phantom, Chooch and I had the very last seat and Papa H sat in front of us. We fluffed his hair and made our presence known the whole way up the first hill, and I think Henry was seriously reevaluating some life decisions, especially as the coaster made it over the crest and my murder-moans kicked in.

I just can’t hold it in, OK?! There was one year that the Handas were with us and Chris was like,  “You are my new official soundtrack of the Phantom.” It’s just what I do, guys. I have the vocal chords of a fucking 1970s Scream Queen. 

Then we made Henry go into Noah’s Ark since he hasn’t seen it since it was renovated. Chooch and I ran like escaped zoo animals to the entrance and then had to stand there and wait for our slow-lumbering counterpart, so thanks for that, Henry.

You meandering asshole.

Henry wasn’t impressed with renovated Noah’s Ark. WELL GUESS WHAT I’M NOT IMPRESSED WITH HENRY.

OMG Chris gave me a heads up last month about the new waffle stand that Kennywood has. Normally I’m not a big amusement park eater (I prefer eating National Parks, instead) but I was like, “Hold up wait a minute, Henry give that boy all your money because mama wants some wafels with all the dinges whatever that means.”

Henry was annoyed because Blake had texted him and said that they were nearly there and Henry needed to meet them at the entrance because he had their tickets, and now I was throwing waffles in his path like perilous banana peels and he was mad because waffles weren’t even spelled right, OMG!

He paid for our waffles and then barked, “You assholes can wait for them by yourselves, I’m going to get Blake.”

OMG FAVORITISM. HENRY LOVES BLAKE MORE THAN US.

Anyway, it was worth it. My waffle had Speculoos on it (first dinge is free!) and Chooch had strawberries on his. We were in a fucking waffle ZONE by the time Henry emerged through the entrance tunnel with Blake, Haley and Calvin.

Calvin’s first trip to Kennywood! He was so stoked! You just can’t tell from this photo.

Immediately, we dragged Blake and Haley on the Skyrocket. I was getting impatient because I thought they were right behind us but they were still giving Henry instructions on how to babysit a sleeping baby in a stroller. While this was happening, some fucking family of hunters crawled out of a West Virginia holler and got in line in front of us, so we were stuck in their local yokel presence the whole time and I wanted to KILL the camo-clad patriarch, who dumped a bottle of water over his nasty son’s head, and then the kid proceeded to shake his head like a dog after a bath, spraying his sweat-juice all over me and I was in TEARS.

IT WAS SO SICKENING.

UGH PEOPLE.

And then the whole time, Chooch was under the impression that he was going to be sitting with Blake, until we got all the way to the front of the line and Haley was all, “Oh no, Blake’s riding with me.”

Oh man, these two have the best rivalry. I love spectating because I have nothing to lose in it!

Chooch was all dejected but I said, “YAY WE’RE BACK TOGETHER AGAIN!” and Chooch was like, “When are we ever NOT together?” as he begrudgingly climbed into the last car with me.

And this was when I realized that we had never gone to an amusement park with Haley before, because she seemed positively startled when the coaster shot up the first hill and I started screaming.

I heard her say to Blake, “Oh, I can’t with her!” LOLOLOLOL.

You can’t but you willlllll!!!!

Meanwhile, Henry was talking off Calvin’s ears about the Service and probably fishing in ponds and how to change a tire. Sterile Henry Tales.

After one whole ride, we took a time out so Haley could feed Calvin. We were all just standing in there in front of her, in an awkward semi-circle, and in my head I was like, “Can’t we like, walk and do this, I don’t understand.” I get really nervous when there’s too much standing over in an amusement park. I have shit to do!

I finally got them to walk toward the Jack Rabbit, where Blake handed over Calvin to Henry, who stood in the shade and fed him his bottle while we kids got to be kids.

I had to zoom in and crop, so this picture is shitty but there’s Henry pretending to be a single dad.

[Side bar: Chooch has been calling Blake “Blook” for the last year now I guess because he has this weird quirk where he enjoys replacing vowel sounds, and I found myself slipping and saying “Blook” the other day and I felt like such a loser.]

Haley called the first seat when the line was cut off right in front of us. That’s always the best feeling because you know when the next coaster rolls up, you get dibs on whichever seat you want! But Chooch was all, “No we’re getting the front seat!” and Haley cried, “Us moms get first choice!” and I was like “Us moms? Who is she talking about….oh, lol, me.”

But as you can see, Chooch has literally no soft spot for mothers and viciously blocked us from the front seat. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted the front seat until that moment!

This was when I realized that Haley’s hatred of Chooch had distracted her from buckling our seatbelt and even though I’m smiling in this picture, I remember that in my head I was like, “HURRY UP BEFORE WE DIEEEEEE.”

We spent the whole ride flicking and pulling Blake and Chooch’s hair. THAT’LL SHOW THEM.

Haley and Blake had a list as long as Santa’s with all the food they needed to eat that day, so instead of continuing to ride, we took a time out to get food. Chooch and I weren’t hungry and wanted to keep riding, but the adults were like, “Calm down, kids, let the grown-ups eat.”

Ughhhh.

Chooch tried to get Blake to ditch the food foragers and come ride something with us, but Haley was like,, “No. Blake needs to get in line for Potato Patch while I’m in line for a corn dog” and Chooch looked so sad. I put my arm around him and said, “It’s OK, little buddy. You still have me! I’ll ride with you!” and a halo of blue birds flew around his head chirping, “FML FML FML.”

I wanted to ride the Thunderbolt while everyone else was standing in various food lines, but Chooch is like obsessed with Blake and needed to keep him in sight I guess, so we rode the Turtles instead.

It may have been the saddest ride on the Turtles of all time. Also, it was a really long ride! I was really into it at first but it went around about 10 times too much and I started to feel green.

The grown-ups had a table ready for us by the time we were sufficiently Turtled, and this would end up being one of the last dry moments of the day.

Le sigh.

I’ll end here with this picture of Henry leering perversely at his corn-breaded wiener. Part 2 coming soon!

Jul 262017
 


The release of the Warped Tour lineup is one of the most anticipated days of the year for me (see also: Someone Needs Friends, a Life, and Hobbies). But I have to be honest, this year’s lineup left much to be desired for me. I was really stoked for Dance Gavin Dance of course, but there was nothing else that really grabbed me, and Warped Tour is not really something you go to just to see thy one band you love play a 30 minute set.

But then last month, I gave the lineup another once-over. I’m. It sure if more bands were added by then or what, but I suddenly saw a bunch of small bands that I somehow missed the first time I looked at it, and the excitement snapped back and hit me like a buckle-laden Ehrbarkeit*.

*(I was reading about German bricklayers, as one does. Sue me.)

It’s been almost two weeks now since our glorious full-day romp under the blazing sun to the surround-sound tune of competing screams and machine-gun drumming, but I would be remiss not to recap the bands we saw because one day when I’m Henry’s age, I’m going to have a muddled mind and need help remembering if we saw Boston Manor or Boston Manners.  Who knows?!

And maybe someone will walk away with a new jam or two after reading this, which is is always my greatest hope. I wish sharing music was my job!

Here’s a rundown of bands we saw (some just partial sets):

  • Eternal Boy
  • American Authors
  • Lakeshore
  • Boston Manor
  • Microwave
  • Silent Planet
  • New Year’s Day
  • Our Last Night
  • Jule Vera
  • Hands Like Houses
  • Movements
  • Courage My Love
  • Andy Black
  • Attila (NOT BY CHOICE)
  • Dance Gavin Dance

Eternal Boy:

Pittsburgh pop-punk veterans. They used to be known as SpacePimps but recently gave themselves a brand makeover. One of the guys, Rishi, is the man responsible for the Pittsburgh-based pop punk Four Chord Festival. I went to the last one and saw Eternal Boy for the first time and was surprised how much I liked them. So I made it a point to check them out again at Warped. They were the first band to play on the Full Sail stage so we got our pop-punk on right away.

They kept talking about their new album Awkward Face, and I was like, “WOW THAT’S SO ME AND YOU, CHOOCH. WE ALWAYS MAKE AWKWARD FACES. HERE, MAKE AN AWKWARD FACE AND I’LL TAKE A PICTURE” and Chooch finally snapped and said, “Oh my GOD, they’re saying Awkward PHASE, not FACE!” and his tone was a glimpse into the future, where I suddenly am phased out and not cool anymore. Ugh.

Anyway, they weren’t as exciting as I remembered them to be, so we moseyed on over to the Journeys Right Foot stage to check out….

American Authors

I mean, I’m not a giant fan, but I know that one song, you know, That Song that is played on the radio and was in a bunch of movies two years ago (probably?). I couldn’t remember the song though and kept telling Henry and Chooch, “No seriously, they have one really popular song and you’ll know it when you hear it, I swear” and they probably thought I meant popular in the Alternative Press sense and not Top 40 radio.

But then finally, for their last song, they invited some peeps on stage from Save Ferris and when the opening notes wafted off into the amphitheater, Chooch was all, “OMG THIS SONG? THIS IS THEIR SONG!?” and even Henry was like, “Oh wow, this song, OK.”

Anyway, it’s this song:

American Authors & Boston Manor, plus Henry cameos.

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Which segues perfectly into…

BOSTON MANOR

YEAH BOI. This is the shit I was looking for on this day. Boston Manor is a pop-punk (sort of? but not?) band from Blackpool, England and they’ve been on my “must-see” list for quite some time now. They did NOT disappoint. Energy? Check. Passionate screams? Check. Poignant lyrics? Triple check all the way to Vans tent for a bandanna to sop up your tears. I was so pumped! Even Chooch was like, “I like them! But I’m going to walk around now. Come on, Daddy” because Chooch is what you’d call…a kid? Possibly with ADHD? Who’s not easily impressed? Whatever, let them leave.

Side story: During Boston Manor’s set, there were two older women in front of me. One of them spotted one of the guys from Bad Omens off to the side of the stage. They were performing next, so the whole band was milling about, and these old broads were flipping their shit. They had legit point-and-shoot cameras which they pulled out of their fannypacks, and they were practically stepping on each other trying to take pictures of these guys. I thought this was a bit odd, not that these old ladies couldn’t be down with Separations, but this band is not big at all so it’s not like they were trying to sneak a pic of, I don’t know, Barry Manilow or something.

But then a younger girl wearing steampunk goggles strutted over, and it turns out she was with the old bitches. They were frantically trying to pantomime to her over top of Boston Manor that the guys from Bad Omens were behind the barrier, and she did that snotty girl thing where was like, “WHAT????” with a disgusted look on her face, like the “why are you talking to me in public?” kind of look.

(See also: the Bitch from Milky Way look.)

But then she understood what was going on and became downright FRANTIC. She started looking all around and then marched over to the side of the stage, where she was able to get the attention of one of the Bad Omens guys (I know nothing about this band, although I’m listening to them right now for research, and they kind of sound like Bring Me the Horizon — newer, not old). He came over and let her under the yellow caution tape, where she gave him a bundle of bananas from her backpack and he gave her an appreciate embrace.

So, that happened.

But Boston Manor!! So fucking good.

Lakeshore

We came across Lakeshore randomly as we passed by the Hard Rock stage, and they were pleasant enough to get me to stop. This was also around the time Henry discovered free Slurpees, so we were a bit distracted. But we did chill out for most of their set and at one point, I said something about how they sounded familiar, like something I would have listened to in 2008 or 2010, and Henry said he was thinking the same thing, actually wondering if we had seen them before around that time, and then we were all HAHAHAHA at our symbiotic relationship. How can I put this delicately without sounding like I’m hating on them, because I’m totally not….they had a bland yet pleasing sound that makes it perfect to have on in the background, and it’s interesting enough that you will eventually ask yourself, “I like this—who is it?” and then you realize, “Oh it’s Lakeshore, why can’t I ever remember that??”

Does that make sense?

I thought they were a good fit for Warped Tour, a good palate cleanser — not too pop punk, not too screamo.

Anyway, Chooch was determined to get the singer’s autograph afterward, even though he totally didn’t care about the music at all, because this was around the time he realized that there were areas in the official Warped Tour to get bands’ signatures. So like collecting the signatures of all the characters at Disney World, except in a more violent and dirty environment.

By the time the singer got to the merch booth, Chooch realized that Lakeshore didn’t have a page in the program (only some of the bands did), so he got the dude to just sign the front. He also got their set list. I was like, “Why didn’t the guy just sign the set list?” and Chooch had no answer for me. Henry and I were too busy chilling in the lawn when this was going down. Chooch does shit on his own now, you guys.

Microwave

I was devastated when we missed Microwave at Riot Fest last year (someone was playing at the same time, but I can’t remember who). I got to see the singer do an acoustic set, and that was cool, but I really had started to grow fond of Microwave around that time and was hyped to see them. Finally got my chance at Warped and I was…pretty disappointed. Maybe it was just a bad atmosphere and somewhere like the Smiling Moose would be better?

Microwave

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Henry was not impressed at all, and I was like, “But no really—-they’re a great band! I swear!” Ugh. They didn’t sound bad, per se, but they just didn’t have that spark that captivated me. I won’t give up on you, Microwave! Next time you’re in Pittsburgh, it’s on.

Silent Planet

They were playing on one of the big Monster stages in the parking lot and Chooch actually expressed interest in checking them out. However, when we got over to their stage, that’s when we saw that Gwar was doing a meet-n-greet, so we got in line for that and Silent Planet became background noise. Sorry, Silent Planet! You seemed good when I was paying attention! Good and screamy!

Jule Vera

Chooch has been clamoring to see this band again ever since he saw them open for Never Shout Never in 2016. Plus, they just put out a new album so we were both stoked to hear some of the new songs live. They unfortunately were playing on the Journeys stage,  but it was luckily still early enough in the day that it wasn’t too crowded in front of the stage — the pit is so small under that amphitheater and it makes it really hard to get up close for some of the bigger bands, which kills me.

I made Henry buy Chooch earplugs since we were so close to the speakers, which are all a billion times more loud on those stages. And also because I wanted to know what it feels like to be a parent who’s on top of things.

(It didn’t feel like anything special really.)

Jule Vera was fun to watch, as usual. Maybe Warped Tour isn’t the best venue for this but I was sad when they didn’t do their crazy collective drum solo, which is incredible to watch. It’s what sold me the night we saw them at Mr. Small’s, and when Henry and I saw them last year at Riot Fest, even he was impressed. And he is not usually moved in the slightest when it comes to bands of any sort. Still, they had a great set and Ainsley’s vocals were on point as usual.

I turned around before they were over, and spotted sleeping in one of the seats behind us, head back and mouth open. HOW?! It was so fucking loud down there!

After they were done, Chooch and Henry ran (OK, Chooch ran and Henry meandered) up the hill to Jule Vera’s merch booth so that he could get them to sign his Warped program. He had already talked to them at the beginning of the day when they were setting up their booth but he didn’t have his program yet, god forbid. While that was happening, I walked over to the other side of the amphitheater for….

Hands Like Houses


These guys are on my forever Can’t Miss list. They are just so beautifully Australian and I especially love the guy up there on the left, whom I have been adoringly referring to as The Tim Curry Guy for the last five or six years because he looks like if Tim Curry was in a band in the 70s ok?! So if you’ve been around for previous Warped Tour posts, chances are you’re already acquainted with these bros from Canberra (which is where I met The Cure in 2000, so these Aussies are dear to my heart).

This was probably my least favorite time seeing them though because I HATE THAT AMPHITHEATER. I know, you get it by now. And there was douchey fuck boy who came barreling through the crowd halfway through their set, pushing me and several other girls out of the way, and bro’d out with his sweaty pits exposed for all to smell. Eventually he bull-dozed his way further into the crowd and I was free to breathe again.

After HLH, this happened:


And Chooch even asked them for a picture all on his own! I guess when he was in line before, it was a signing only, so he snagged them later on when no one else was around.

Movements

Ughhhh! I have been dying to see these guys again ever since Chooch and I saw them a year in Cleveland with Pierce the Veil. I hate comparing them to La Dispute simply because they have that spoken word element, but there are so few bands like this in our scene right now so the comparison is inevitable. Post-hardcore, emo-revival — I don’t care what you call them, just go listen. They are like a breath of fresh air and make me feel like I’m young again, and that everything is worth fighting for, DON’T GIVE UP.

Ugh!!!!!!!!

Henry said they “weren’t bad” which is a solid B in Professor Henry’s Warped Tour Band Grade Book.

I think this is a good song of theirs to share, in light of Chester Bennington’s recent suicide and the topic of depression being on the table again, and it should never be taken off the table because while these things don’t go away, they can be managed and overcome—I struggle with it quietly but never silently, and sometimes the struggle gets loud. And it’s OK to get loud. (Sorry, Henry.)

Please support Movements. This band is going to be huge. They’re going to touch a lot of lives. I love them.

Courage My Love

I can’t tell you how long I have been trying to see this band, but we always pass each other like ships in the night. The singer, Mercedes, used to date Craig Owens (BadxChannels, ex-Chiodos), which is how I first heard of them. I miss them every time they’re at Warped Tour or in town though! This time I made sure they were on my list, and we even got to the Full Sail stage before they started.

Henry thought they were ‘just alright” but I really enjoyed it. Warped Tour is such a fucking sausage party, and it’s definitely been slammed for that in the past, so it’s always nice to see some solid females on these stages. Some of them are just not our speed at all (Chooch and I absolutely couldn’t stand this one British band on the Skullcandy stage with a girl singer, I can’t remember their name but they were ska and just super screechy and annoying). OK I just looked it up for the sake of my fake journalistic tendencies, and they’re called Sonic Boom Six.

MORE LIKE SONIC BOOM SUX, AMIRITE?! OH SNAP.

But no, Courage My Love was beautiful and had a pleasing aesthetic, and a girl drummer who also sings! Tyler from Sworn In came over and sang on one of their songs, and I was observing him afterward, standing in the back corner of the stage, watching Mercedes adoringly to the point where I wondered if they were dating, but after creeping on her Instagram, it appears she’s dating some Canadian guy?

:(

I wanted it to be a Warped Tour romance.

Courage My Love 🌺

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Afterward, Chooch ran to their merch booth because he had to get her to sign his damn program (I don’t think they were in it though so she signed the front). While he was waiting for Mercedes to come over, I noticed that the singer – Henry – from Boston Manor was just chilling in the middle of the lot, so I coaxed Chooch into getting him to sign his program, because Boston Manor had a page in it. Not-Our-Henry seemed totally stoked to sign this for Chooch. “Your set was awesome,” Chooch said, and Cooler-Than-Our-Henry said, “Aw, thanks buddy!” and he sounded SO HAPPY. Little does he know that I was the one who stood there during their whole set, giving them my undivided attention, while Chooch decided he needed to patrol the grounds for free shit.

But whatever.

What a nice guy! I wanted to buy something from their booth but I was trying to conserve money for our upcoming G-Dragon trip. Ugh, I just want to buy all the records though!!

Meanwhile, Chooch got to meet Mercedes and was all red-faced and nervous about it:

I told him we should start a scrapbook for all his concert memories and he glared at me. Then I glared at myself because what a mom thing to suggest.

Dance Gavin Dance

Finally, the band of the hour! Except that first we had to endure an entire Attila set. They were playing on the other stage and we got to the dumb amphitheater early because we wanted to get a good (enough) spot for DGD since Chooch has never seen them. Suffice to say, this was the furthest back I’ve ever been at a DGD show and I was so sad about it.

But first: an Attila rant. This band is just so shitty, like a next generation Limp Bizkit. All their songs are filled with “suck my fuck”s and the amount of little white girls throwing their fists in their air during these vapid, meaningless hardcore party songs made me feel sick to my stomach, because Fronzilla is the biggest sexist piece of shit motherfucker to walk the grounds of Warped Tour and he deserves zero fame and credibility. This music is what little suburban rich kids listen to in Daddy’s Hummer to feel like a bad ass. Even Chooch was like, “This shit is awful.” I wish Kevin Lyman would stop inviting this worthless band back to Warped Tour, but I guess at the end of the day, it’s all about that cash money.

Also, never forget the time Fronz was on MTV’s Made. 

The meanest thing about Warped Tour is that you only get to see your favorite bands perform for 30 minutes. IT’S CRUEL  And Chooch and I were sharing the role of Goldilocks, trying in vain to find the spot in the amphitheater that was “just right.” This resulted in us getting separated from Henry who was sitting in a seat way up front but in an area where Chooch couldn’t see at all. It was excruciating. I wanted this to be on one of the Monster stages so fucking badly, where we could snuggle into a spot on the side of the stage and feed off the energy of the crowd. Their was no energy to be fed in this scenario! The crowd was weak. People were milling about in front of us the whole time. I wanted to be standing.

But, at the end of the day, Chooch was able to see everything and since it was his first DGD experience, this was all that mattered. When you’re a kid, it’s important to be able to see! And good thing too, because he was dying over Tilian’s slick dance moves.

So far away! Boo, hiss!

Here is the video for their newest song, please enjoy it thoroughly. It’s got that 1980s yacht rock slow jam sax:

*********

And this concludes my 2017 Warped Tour experience! I’m sad that I missed Beartooth, Separations, Counterparts, Blessthefall, and Being As An Ocean. That’s the downside of Warped Tour: too many great bands playing simultaneously!

The only thing Warped Tour was missing was Emarosa. Sigh – it just didn’t feel like Warped Tour without them, after being spoiled with two consecutive years of them!

Hope someone out there found a band or two to explore. There were a lot of great ones this year!

 

Jul 222017
 

It wouldn’t be summer around here if I didn’t expound on Warped Tour in at LEAST three separate blog posts. It is quite literally my Christmas in July and I savor this day every single year. EVERY SINGLE YEAR!

We woke up early Friday morning and it was pouring. Not just pouring, but STORMING. And the forecast for the rest of the day looked dismal as well. All clouds and lightning. I sadly (but also excitedly since I still haven’t been able to wear this) tucked my rain poncho into my Bled Fest bag and we went on our way.

At breakfast, dumb Glenn trolled  me a with a text that said “great day for an outdoor concert” and I could imagine sitting at his dumb desk at desk work, looking at three different weather sites at once and laughing sinisterly. I IGNORED THE BAIT.

But then by the time we got to Warped Tour at 11, the skies had turned a bright, beautiful blue and the sun was a’blazing.

“We were promised overcast,” the metalhead guy in front of me sighed, clad in black all the way down to his platform skull-encrusted shit-kickers. So I figured it was safe to finally reply to Glenn’s text with a cheerful, “It really is! Blue skies and sunny!”

Amber told me later that Glenn was so giddy over the original forecast that he wanted our whole group to send me taunting texts!

SUCK IT GLENN!

OK, so this post will be primarily a collection of photos from our day. Chooch is supposedly going to help me with captions SO WE’LL SEE.

Chooch: “It me!”

American Satan is a movie that Andy Biersack from Black Veil Brides is in so Henry and I did a big matchy-matchy eye roll every time we walked past one of the posters. Not huge fans of BVB at all, but I will say that we caught a few minutes of Andy’s solo stage (he goes by Andy Black) and it wasn’t too bad.

Where’s Chooch-o?

Chooch: What are you doing to meeeeee?

I smooshed Chooch’s hair down so it looked more Caesar-esque because it made him look like the singer from Boston Manor but Chooch hates what I like so as soon as I took this picture, he gave his hair a hearty swipe with his sweaty meat paw and totally ruined the look. Chooch is like the Warped Tour Prince, Mr. Been There Done That, Master of Meet-n-Greets, Virtuoso of Racing to the Vans Tent to Get the Free Prize.

Someone from Jule Vera assumed this was his first Warped Tour, which made Chooch scoffingly say, “Um this is my fifth rodeo, partner.”

Or…you know, something like that.

Chooch: What’s Daddy grabbing? Someone’s boob!

Wow, that would be the boob of either a giantress or a circus girl on stilts, son. Or maybe Jeffree Star?!

(OMG I just realized that I don’t think Jeffree Star was at Warped Tour this year!)

While Chooch and I were spectating Lakeshore on the Hard Rock Stage, Henry slipped away into the wilds of Warped Tour. We just shrugged and kept on watching the band because we don’t need Henry.

(OK I TAKE IT BACK WE NEED YOU HENRY PLEASE DON’T LEAVE US.)

A few minutes later, Henry came causally ambling back to us, happily scooping a Slushie into his moustachioed maw.

Chooch and I sang various tunes of “HOW WHAT WHERE WHY? WE WANT! WE WANT!” while Henry just stood there smirking. Finally, he pointed to where the free Slushie truck was set up and Chooch and I were like VROOM VROOM MOTHERFUCKERS, running through the crowd with a mission.

Yeah boiiii!!Free Slurpees all day long! I only had one though. Henry had approximately 15. Henry is really good at making the best of a bad situation. Does he WANT to go to Warped Tour? Hard no. But you better believe he’s going to milk it for all its worth.

Same with Chooch. That little shit was coming back from the Maltesers tent every time I turned around. And hey, speaking of those chocolate balls, they were delicious! I thought they were going to taste like Whoppers, which I strongly dislike, and they SORT OF did but they were coated with the thickest, creamiest chocolate ever and so fucking delicious. ARE THESE IN STORES YET?!

Chooch and Henry played some game in that tent while I was busy, you know, enjoying bands which is the whole point of Warped Tour the last time I checked. Something about moving Maltesers with a straw or something and I guess they lost which is amazing because they both suck so hard!

Chooch: These are better than Malts or whatever they’re called.

WHOPPERS, SON. WHOPPERS.

For the first time ever, there wasn’t a single band on the big stages that we wanted to see (well, there were a few but the schedules overlapped too much with the bands I REALLY wanted to see, so I had to skip Blessthefall, for example). Maybe this is why Warped Tour didn’t really feel as Warped this year. Don’t get it twisted – we still had a great time. But I feel like we spent most of the day under the ampitheater because most of the bands we wanted to see were playing on the two Journeys stages there and that’s my least favorite spot. It’s hard to get close to the stage and the atmosphere is just off. I want all my favorite bands to be playing on the two main stages in the parking lot! UGH.

#WarpedTourProblems

Chooch: You should go to Warped Tour because there’s a lot of stuff you can do! A lot of amazing merch, and amazing bands, there you go. It’s a summary.

Wow, Chooch should do commercials. And also read more books to broaden his weak vocab!

But seriously, the merch just gets better and better. Chooch and I both wanted a Pentagram shirt that said “Hail Seitan, Go Vegan” on it but then I would have felt like a poser because I’m not a full-time vegan, just a regular old vegetarian.

I wish I could encapsulate the sounds and smells of Warped Tour (maybe not the stinky armpits stench though) into a live action snowglobe so that I can enjoy it all year round. It’s my favorite environment. All the stages of stanky bass and gutteral bellows, all the (poor) fashion choices, all the vulgarity from the carny-esque merch slingers—it’s a fucking scene kid dreamscape.

Speaking of scene kids though — I REALLY miss the scene kids from the 2007-2010 era. Gone are the raccoon-haired scene queens and the fluorescent YOLO booty shorts and the crabcore stages and the swoop-y hair on the boys. I miss this! Now it’s mostly just a bunch of regular looking kids with tattoos and piercings but nothing extraordinarily flamboyant.

We noticed that there were a lot more families there this year, which is interesting. There were a lot of older bands on the tour this year, specifically to get the older fans to start coming out again, and I guess it worked. Usually Chooch is one of the few kids out and about but there seemed to be a TON this time. Don’t worry — none of them were as cool as Chooch though.

And here is a random accidental upside photo of body-painted legs.

Chooch failing at a game at the Truth tent, and Movements ❤️

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Chooch played a Name That Tune-type of game at the Truth tent and was getting super frustrated because he never knew BOTH the name of the song and the band, only just one or the other. I eventually left because Movements was starting on the nearby Full Sail stage, and that’s when Chooch finally got one right: some song by Migos?! I have no idea who this even is, but he won a super sweet t-shirt that has A DONUT ON THE POCKET. I love the Truth tent.

OK, my next Warped Tour post will be about the bands, and then we can close this chapter until next year!

Oct 102016
 

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Irony.

I’ve been stalling on the Day 3 recap and I think it’s because it was just a very underwhelming day for me for some reason. Maybe because it started out shittily when Henry was all, “LET US NOT FORGET WE ARE NOT RICH” and then took me to some shady Burger King/Dunkin Donuts/gas station compound in some industrial area near Douglas Park where we had cheap, greasy breakfast and I refused to use the bathroom because it required one to ask the person behind the Burger King counter to push a button to unlock it and that seemed like a HASSLE so I pouted about it and then Henry suggested that he would go and ask them to push the button on my behalf so I could just stand by the door and wait for it to open, but then I had more off-the-cuff excuses, like how filthy it probably was and I bet there was a Trump sticker in there on the mirror and why is Henry THE WORST UGH.

Then there was some scraggly white guy skulking around outside and I thought he was going to come in and start stabbing us but Henry was like, “WTF are you talking about?” and then the guy was GONE so did my pee-delirium conjure him up? WAS HE NOT REAL?

Anyway, we left and had a million minutes to just cruise around the perimeter of Douglas Park because gates weren’t open yet but luckily they have portapotties outside of the gates so I was able to at least pee before those things got disgusting.

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Once we got inside, Henry whined because he forgot the sunblock that he made a huge deal about buying earlier that morning. I saw a man with  AN ENTIRE SHEATH of it slathered across his neck and suggested that Henry just do a drive-by lotion-snatch by dragging his hand across the dude’s throat, but Henry didn’t think this was an excelsior idea.

I mean, the guy had more enough to go around, is all I’m saying.

We walked past some radio station’s booth and “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was playing.

“For years when I was a kid, I thought this was a Police song,” I said to Henry, basically pouring my heart to him. “And when I found out it was actually Yes, I refused to believe it.”

Henry just murmured a “wow” or a “you don’t say” — some sort of placating snort — which made me scream, “HELLO, I TELL YOU THIS SAME STORY EVERY TIME WE HEAR THIS SONG AND YOU NEVER REMEMBER!”

THAT’S BECAUSE HENRY DOESN’T ACTUALLY LISTEN TO ME! He doesn’t care about my musical past!

UGH.

OK, let’s not beat around the bush. Sunday’s lineup was very underwhelming for me. Friday and Saturday were so stacked, but then Sunday was mostly just two bands that I really wanted to see: Thursday and Deftones.

Here’s who we saw:

  • The Bronx: It’s been a few years since we last saw The Bronx (I think at Warped Tour) so I was pretty stoked to get the day started right. Henry even clapped once! I’ll never understand his criteria for not hating a scream-y band, but apparently The Bronx meets it.

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  • Frank Iero and the Patience: Last time I saw Frank was two years ago with a different band (or the same just with a different name? I don’t follow him closely enough to know these things) called the Cellabration. My favorite part of this set was before it even started, when one of the security broads came over and started talking to me about my Marcy tattoo and then we had a long ass talk about pets and Henry was just like, “I’m going to back up a bit so that I don’t get dragged into this conversation too” and it was really nice actually! Her name was Misha. I preferred her over the three idiots who squeezed in next to me and proceeded to talk about how they didn’t really even know who was Frank Iero is but they were happy that the stage was in the shade. And the one guy had his back toward the stage through most of the set and stood there directly facing me. It was so uncomfortable. I checked twitter at one point just to have somewhere else to put my eyes since dude was so close to my face, and I saw that Nick Martin from Sleeping with Sirens tweeted that Frank Iero was currently killing it at Riot Fest, so I was like, HENRY, NICK MARTIN IS HERE and within a minute, Henry found him because Henry begrudgingly knows who everyone is thanks to me shoving it into his face. “Doesn’t he wear those stupid hats*?” Henry asked. I saw yeah because I knew exactly what Henry meant, so Henry pointed into the middle of the crowd and said, “He’s right there, with that girl in a tye-died dress.” Henry: Scene Dad Extraordinare.
    • *a newsboy cap.
      • What the hell, I just opened up Instagram because I needed to take a break from purging all of this information and this is literally, no joke, you have my word, the second picture that popped up in my feed, from NICK MARTIN:

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  • All Dogs: We had time to kill after Frank Iero, so we went over and sat by the two small stages, where we caught a bit of All Dogs who weren’t bad for a girl singer. Henry had no comment.
  • Dee Snider: This was me throwing a bone to Henry, but also because I was mildly interested in seeing him too. “My only knowledge of Twisted Sister is from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Flight of the Navigator,” I admitted to Henry on our walk over to the Roots Stage and he was just like, “Oh for god’s sake.” Um, I don’t know what to say about Dee Snider. He got the crowd hyped? We made it through one song before Henry said, “OK, I’m satisfied. Let’s go.”

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  • Juliette Lewis and the Licks: I mean, come on — it’s Juliette fucking Lewis. I’m not exactly a fan of her band but I love her as an actress so I felt a certain obligation to at least witness one or two songs in person. She is definitely a performer! And she can sing! But I just don’t really like that style of rock so I would probably not buy her album or go out of my way to see another show. She was a great crowd-surfer though!

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I was getting cranky as fuck during her set, so Henry fed me. I had the good old standby: Connie’s pizza. Who cares what Henry had. A hotdog probably.

Honestly, I think Henry and I both chose poorly and we should have skipped both Dee and Juliet in favor or With Our Arms to the Sun. Sigh.

  • A Will Away: I have been dying to see these guys again since they opened for Pentimento last fall. The downside though is that I could only stick around for three of their songs because their set overlapped with Thursday. But I was happy to have the opportunity to stand at the barrier and support this small band for as long as I could because they’re so good! Love you, bebes. Come back to Pittsburgh soon so I can give you my full, undivided attention!

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A Will Away at Riot Fest last month.

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  • THURSDAY!!! Oh you guys I was waiting for this moment all weekend. When Thursday broke up, I was devastated. I didn’t get a chance to see them on their final tour and at that time, it didn’t seem like a reunion was ever in the cards because they were kind of open about the fact that they just weren’t able to work together. But they quietly and unexpectedly started hinting at something earlier in the year, and I told Henry, “I bet they’re going to play Riot Fest!” and I was right. God, I love being right. Anyway, Henry doesn’t like Thursday and didn’t even care when Geoff Rickly passed out on stage at Coachella 2004 because he was ill. Henry has no heart. Also, it occurs to me that there were a ton of bands I got to see at this year’s Riot Fest that I had also seen twelve years ago at Coachella. What a weird parallel. Geoff told us that they everyone in the band was able to work out their differences and now they were back to enjoying each other’s company and it seemed so genuine to me but Henry just rolled his eyes. Look, Geoff has terrible luck when it comes to the industry and I’m just always rooting for him so stuff your jeers back up into your asshole, Henry. Ugh.

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Real tears. 👌🏼😭

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  • Bad Religion: I mean, kind of required, right? You can’t go to a festival like this and not stick around for at least a few Bad Religion songs. Henry was like, “I do not care for these people either way” but I was glad to rest for awhile during their set because I was just feeling so tired and weak probably from all the crying and swooning I had been doing all weekend.
  • Underoath: Another recently reunited band. Henry was like “I do not know any of their songs” but he knew that this is the band with Aaron Gillespie and even knew what he looked like, so it was yet another small victory for me—Henry hears some of what I say! SOME.

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  • Deftones: Gahhhhh, how have I only seen this damn band one time!? It was all the way back in 2001 when I went to Rolling Rock Town Fair with my ex-friend’s ex-husband (NOT a date but I think he might have thought it was and it was extremely awkward and really hot and might have been the worst music festival I’ve ever gone to in my whole entire life and just thinking about it makes me feel uncomfortable). So even though I don’t really keep up with their current music, I was still stoked to see them, especially since they played right around dusk and it was kind of romantic — well, it could have been but Henry and I were both on each others nerves by then I think.
    • This band brings back really warm and vibrant memories of driving like a maniac in my Eagle Talon all hours of night during the summer of 1998, blasting Deftone’s “Adrenaline” CASSETTE TAPE and just having the best fucking summer of my life. “Bored” was my motherfucking jam. They didn’t play it at Riot Fest, but they treated us with enough old shit that I was satiated.
  • Rob Zombie: I am by no means a Rob Zombie fan (though I do I appreciate some of his contributions to the horror  movie industry) so we actually didn’t intend to watch any of his set (he was performing White Zombie’s Astro-Creep 2000 in its entirety), yet we caught some of it anyway just by being in the general proximity. Henry wanted to just leave after Deftones, and to be honest, I would have been fine with that but I felt like, as a music lover at heart, I felt that I needed to experience at least a few minutes of the Misfits (more on that in a bit). Anyway, Rob was OK! I didn’t hate it. I knew more songs than I thought I would.
    • HOWEVER, the little “mall” area was right near the two main stages, so we went over to finally get Henry a Stheart beanie since every year I’m like, “Get a Stheart beanie” and he never does. We ended up getting into a fight at this time because that’s what spending money does—pits us against each other.  So picture it: it’s super dark, Riot Fest is at its peak as far as attendance, and I decide I’ll show Henry who’s boss BY STORMING OFF AND TRYING TO LOSE HIM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CRAZY FUCKING ROB ZOMBIE/PRE-MISFITS CROWD. I mean, what is that even going to prove?! I thought that I had efficiently lost his tail, and so I plopped down in the middle of the park, not giving a fuck about getting trampled, and just sat there in full pout-mode. A few minutes later, I happened to look over my shoulder and that motherfucker was standing back there laughing at me, because of course he wouldn’t let me out of his sight, he’s like a Professional Dad. So them I reluctantly went over to stand with him because let’s be real: I didn’t know where he parked the car and even if I did, my set of car keys were back home in Pittsburgh with my wallet because I’m still an irresponsible child. When I got to Henry’s side, he started cracking up and then I did too even though I was trying to be angry.
      • Apparently, in the five minutes we were estranged, some kid was standing next to Henry and then must have recognized him as a NARC because Henry said he got all flustered and hurriedly put away his drugs and then left. Nice job, Cap’n DEA!
  • Sleater Kinney: They played at the same time as Rob Zombie, but we got to see some of their set when we cut across the park for dinner (I had a veggie dog with veggie chili and Henry bought a full Connie’s pizza which they were selling for $10 at the end of the night in an effort to get rid of everything.  I’m not a huge riot grrl by any means, but I was glad that we got a small dose of Sleater Kinney, especially when they commended Riot Fest’s no tolerance/anti-harassment policy. Every time someone uses the stage and their microphone to speak out about this issue, a rapist loses a dick. (NOT REALLY BUT I WISH.)

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  • The Misfits: A few months ago, Riot Fest announced that the ORIGINAL LINE UP of the Misfits were reuniting after 33 years, and Riot Fest snagged them as the main headliner of the weekend. It was a huge deal, all music websites were writing about it, it was trending on Twitter, even people I work with had heard about it and recognized it as a huge deal. But….I was just like “meh” paired with an uncommitted shrug. Yes, I understood the gravity of this announcement, that it was like the Haley’s Comet of the music industry. I understood how much of an impact they’ve had on the scene, how they’ve inspired current bands that I love, how many of my friends were excited yet also jealous that I was going to be there for this. But let me tell you what the Misfits represent for me. They represent a shitty, abusive, psychologically-damaging relationship I was in when I was 17-19. I dated a guy who loved them. We would listen to them in his car, even though I loved rap music back then. I never complained and was open to learning about them, and Anal Cunt, and Gwar. Mike loved the Misfits so much, and for our first Valentine’s Day, I used my mom’s AmEx to buy him some fancy boxed set that came in a coffin and set me (lol, my mom) back $70. In return, he took me to Donut Connection that night, where I had to watch him eat a donut and drink coffee because I didn’t bring any money with me and he only had a coupon for himself. It’s not that I expected some lavish gift, for him to spend as much on me as I had on him, but it was the fact that he completely disregarded my gift, overlooked the sentiment, and then just took an insulting dump all over the night. So when I think of the Misfits, I think of that fucking asshole and all the shitty things he did to me and how nothing I did for him was ever enough and Henry, I’m sorry I’m a shitty girlfriend but THAT GUY TOOK ALL I HAD TO GIVE. I mean….breathe Erin. Breathe.  So yeah, the Misifts. Cool show. We left after four songs.

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Well, if you made it this far, congratulations! Here is a YouTube of my Snapchat stories for all three days, because why not.

 

Oct 012016
 

 

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I think, if I had to choose, that Saturday was my favorite day of Riot Fest. Henry was being a cunt on Friday (he claims he was “tired” and “didn’t feel well;” see also: IS OLD AS FUCK) but after a really great leisurely morning of exploring Little Village and having some legit Mexican breakfast, we were both like, IN SYNC. Like MENSTRUAL CYCLES. But without the mood swings.

And blood.

Wait – did I bleed at all that day?

No.

:(

Originally, I said we didn’t have to get there early because the first band I had my heart set on seeing didn’t even start until 2 or some other late as fuck time of the day. However, we still ended up getting there by 11:30, without even rushing, and there was barely a line by that point so we just strode right on in.

Well, Henry did.

I had to be frisked and have my purse pillaged and I forgot that I had a plastic container of Mentos gum in there and the security broad threw it out, nooooo.

We had some time to check out the vendors, one of which was our favorite–Choonimals! We bought Chooch an obligatory pizza shirt because god forbid we come home empty-handed. I wanted to get him a Trump shirt that said Fuck Boi on it but Henry frowned heavily even though he approved of the shirt in general.

BANDS OF THE DAY

  • Brick + Mortar: The first band we saw was Brick + Mortar on the Roots Stage. I didn’t know anything about them other than what I read on the Riot Fest website a few weeks ago. It was just two guys playing honest indie rock, and I’m going to be real here: I’m not sure if I genuinely liked the music, or if I was just captivated by the hilarious guy they had on stage with them, dancing around like an idiot, coming back out dressed like a fairy-thing, and just being overall entertaining. Henry liked them too, so you know that the music wasn’t very offensive. It was a great start to the day though! Especially when the singer thanked everyone for taking a chance on them and that they had recently won a battle against their record label for the rights to their music, and that’s always something to clap about.

Brick + Mortar

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  • Plague Vendor: Right after Brick + Mortar ended, Plague Vendor started their set on the neighboring Riot Stage. I told Henry that I didn’t think he was going to like them, but Henry surprised me by saying, “They’re not bad. He’s like…Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop had a baby.” WHOA. He likes a band, kind of, enough to make comparisons?! This day was really off to a great start. (Plague Vendor is fucking amazing, by the way—frenetic, rowdy California punk rock fronted by a singer with moves slick enough to make MJ grab his crotch in appreciation.

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  • Microwave, acoustic set: Thank god for these StubHub acoustic sets, because I was unable to see Microwave perform later that day as a full band, due to scheduling conflicts. (They had the unfortunate scheduling luck of going up against Motion City Soundtrack, who were playing their penultimate show, but now I’m seriously regretting my choice.) I always miss this band when they come to town! Henry immediately peaced out, getting lost in the depths of his phone (what does he actually read on his phone!? I can’t even imagine. He only has like 79 Facebook friends so scrolling through this feed can’t take very much time and what else do old people use Smartphones for?!), and ignored the whole acoustic set, which admittedly wasn’t the best acoustic set I’ve ever seen (Nathan, the singer, seemed kind of nervous) but it was still good to hear some Microwave, even in that soft, scaled back capacity. He even covered that fucking “I’ve got a brand new pair of rollerskates” song which I thought for sure would appeal to Henry, since he’s old and probably danced with some big-haired hussy to that song at a school dance at some point in his life.

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Henry ignoring Microwave.

Microwave, acoustic set.

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  • Jessica Hernandez: NOPE. She was playing on the main stage and we had time to kill so we were sitting down in the grass and I was just like, “I CAN’T TAKE THIS BROAD’S VOICE, UGH BUT I’M TOO COMFORTABLE TO MOVE.” Also, I tried to snag a sip of Henry’s beer around this point but he yelled at me because there was “SECURITY” right next to us and I wasn’t wearing a 21+ wristband. Oh for fuck’s sake, Henry. Like anyone would ever do a double-take if they saw me drinking alcohol! Unless they thought Henry was my dad and I’m a super-old-looking teenager? A teenager who’s seen some shit? Anyway, this broad considers her band to be “dark soul and goth pop” but I didn’t get that vibe at all. All I got was some Gwen Stefani-mimicking annoying bray backed by trombones. Not a fan.

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  • HippoCampus: We walked over to the Roots Stage to wait for Hippocampus to start, but Jessica Hernandez said, “We got two more songs for you!” and I was like, “WHAT? HOW?!!?” because it was like one minute away from Hippocampus starting on the neighboring stage. The Riot and Roots staging alternate, so as soon as one band is done, the next band immediately starts on the other stage, and Riot Fest is pretty good about keeping the schedule accurate. However, Jessica wouldn’t shut her trap, and then the powers-that-be did my favorite thing ever: THEY SHUT HER DOWN. She just kept singing, no sound coming out, until she finally realized what was happening and frantically waved her mic around like they were going to turn the sound back on for her, like it was an accident, like she was better than the next band and allowed to abuse her time on stage. Fuck OFF, Jessica Hernandez. Meanwhile, Hippocampus ended up being kind of boring, but I’m still glad they didn’t have their set cut short by that dumb bitch.
  • High Waisted: Since Hippocampus wasn’t capturing my heart, I looked at my app to see who else was playing. I quickly skimmed the bio for High Waisted, which mentioned 1960s SURF and DREAM POP, and I was on board. “I thought you don’t like female singers?” Henry asked when we rolled up to the tiny Storyheart Stage. He will never understand my criteria. This band seemed like it was in my wheelhouse and I was willing to give them a chance, and thank god for that because they ended up being a huge highlight of the whole weekend, especially when they had a legit Dick Dale breakdown at the end of the set. Plus, the singer, Jessica Louise, was hot AF! Unlike that other Jessica (Hernandez *hisssss*), this one had an Erin-pleasing voice. They’re on tour right now with Somos and Free Throw and of course it’s not coming to shitty Pittsburgh.

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Dick Dale vibesssss.

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  • Motion City Soundtrack: They were next on the Roots Stage and Henry begrudgingly followed me there. Neither of us are actually fans of this band and in fact, I can’t tell you how many times I walked right past whatever stage they were playing at numerous Warped Tours. I think probably because I associate them with Christina’s crazy sister. But this is the last tour they’re doing, probably for like 5 years at which point they will realize how much money there is to be made on reunion tours, and then they’ll be all, “Wow, we forgot how much we loved making music as this band so now we have a new album coming out! And another tour after that!” I mean, I can’t judge. At least five bands I really fucking love have done this to me over the last 10 years. But still, I wanted to be there and actually watch them for what might be my only chance ever. I only really know two songs and they played both of them so I was content. Henry made his “I don’t get it” face the whole time, and truthfully, we spent most of the set willing someone to “accidentally” step on this bitch who wouldn’t stand up:

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Motion City Soundtrack's penultimate show.

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Chooch’s new shirt for picture day.

Admittedly, my favorite part of the set was when some girl pushed her way through us and Henry casually said, “Oh hello, come on in.” I don’t know why it made me crack up as much as it did, other than the fact that I was fucking high on life. And then we saw a guy with flipflops literally tattooed to his feet. OH OK.

  • Bob Mould: I hope if you’re reading this that you know who Bob Mould is, but if you don’t: GET YOUR STUDY ON. He’s a living alt-rock legend, and his 80s bands Husker Du and Sugar are both essential for any music fanatic. I have never seen him before so I was pretty giddy about this, especially since he was supposed to be at the first Riot Fest I ever went to but then WASN’T and then when he was in Pittsburgh, I WAS AT RIOT FEST. Guys, these are the big problems in my life, OK? Anyway, a fun fact about Bob Mould is that when Henry and I first started dating, or whatever you want to call, he was way more accepting of my musical tastes and Bob Mould’s “New #1” was like, our song or something. I guess. We haven’t listened to it together in like 10 years because we don’t love each other anymore.

 

Bob Mould is such a freaking legend.

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  • Balance & Composure: But, as much as I love me some Bob Mould, I REALLY FUCKING LOVE ME some Balance & Composure, so we split the Riot Stage about 30 minutes into Bob’s set and ran over to the small Rebel Stage, where B&C was setting up and I pulled Henry all the way to the front, which he just LOVES. Right away though, I heard A Voice that immediately made me feel angry and tense and then I realized it was the obnoxious Minnesota know-it-all from the line to get in on Day One! Henry started cracking up and I just slowly turned back around and proceeded to block her out. Luckily, I had SAM and her SNOWCONE to fixate on. She was standing next to me and I know her name is SAM because she saw one of her friends, who came over with another friend, and introductions were made but then they left and SAM continued to stand alone with her BLUE snowcone. She was interesting. And of course we saw her like 87 times the rest of the weekend too. Always alone! I felt so sad for her. But then B&C started playing and everyone around me just melted away. For being up against so many heavy-hitters and being relegated to the smallest stage, they really had a shit ton of people there for them! I don’t know what to say about this band other than they are just excelsior alt-rock, kind of emo-revivalist, really great song-writing, the kind of music you want to listen to in the car while driving around in October wearing your favorite sweater and MAYBE DRINKING A MAPLE LATTE TOO. They are for sure an autumn band for me, like just writing about this right now makes me want to go on a haunted hayride, good thing it’s October 1. (OMG it’s October 1 and I’m not done writing about Riot Fest, whyyyyy.) They have a new album coming out so they started their set off with two songs from that and then Jon (he’s the SINGER, you guys) admitted that they were nervous as fuck to perform those songs for the first time, and it did kind of seem like they were stiff and uncomfortable but once they dove into the old jams, they were shining like diamonds. For the record, I love the new songs they’ve released so far. This is one of them, it’s called POSTCARD and you should listen:

ilu 💗

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Go back to Minnesota.

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After Balance and Composure, we had some time to wander around and forage for food before Brand New started at 6:15. It was around this time that I thought I saw Justin Bobby and Henry was all WHO and I said “Justin Bobby” and Henry was all “…………….” and then I yelled, “FROM THE HILLS!?!?” Fuck Henry, turn on MTV sometime in 2006, OK?

I ended up getting one of the most texturally interesting veggie burgers ever:

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I think it was made with potatoes. I liked it. It could have been warmer but it’s better than the soft pretzel I’d be eating at Warped Tour, so who am I to complain. Those food vendors are amazing every year though I feel like this year wasn’t as on point as the past two years. (I’M STILL NOT OVER THE FACT THAT DARK MATTER WASN’T THERE WITH THEIR HOT, HEAVENLY NECTAR A/K/A COFFEE. I missed those tiny donuts that were there last year too. Come back, tiny donuts.)

We saw, for the second time that day, a girl wearing the same Emarosa “For Fox Sake” shirt that Chooch has. She was sitting down with her friend and I did that thing that Henry loves where I boisterously comment on someone’s attire (I can’t tell you how many times I get all Tourettes-like when we’re in another city and I see someone wearing a Penguins shirt). I ran up to the girl and screamed, “I LOVE EMAROSA!” She was clearly caught off guard. I could tell by the way her hand flew to her chest and she let out a startled, “Oh!” But then she said, “Yeah, they’re fantastic!” and that response satisfied me so I continued on my way.

“Why do you have to do that?” Henry groaned.

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Anyway, it was around this point where I started to notice a lot of vendors had put up Morrissey-related signs regarding their food and I didn’t realize until later it was because one of his stipulations for playing Riot Fest was that all food vendors had to stop selling meat after 8pm. Obviously I’m a huge fan of THE CURE but I am just a basic, average fan of the Smiths and not really a fan at all of Morrissey as a solo artist (not for any reason other than I just never really paid attention to it because I’ve been too busy worshiping at the feet of Robert Smith almost my whole life), so I didn’t know that this is something Moz supposedly requires of all venues he’s playing at. I guess it really sent Riot Fest attendees over the edge though because the comments I was reading online were so fucking hostile. Like, if you ever hear me complain about not being able to eat a certain food for a two hour block, please fucking kill me. Personally, as a vegetarian, this really made me respect Morrissey a lot more. How fucking punk rock is that?! Plus it incited so much controversy, which come on, who doesn’t love some fucking music drama!?

No one thought Riot Fest would comply to Moz’s demands, but they did and that made my veggie burger taste even more delicious and satisfying, not gonna lie. It’s not everyday us herbivores get a victory.

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Riot Fest really starts to get crowded around 5. That’s around the time my stranger-danger anxiety usually starts to set in, but the way they had the stages set up this year made it feel like less of a cluster.  I mean, I still clung to Henry’s shirt tail like my life depended on it, but it wasn’t as gnarly as past years.

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  • Brand New: Henry was being so nice to me around this time! So now instead of associating Brand New with terrible Christina things, I think I will associate them with Henry kind of showing me something that resembled affection! It was nice. But then he said he only knew one song that Brand New played that night and I was like, “YOU’RE A FUCKING IDIOT THERE IS NO WAY YOU DIDN’T KNOW AT LEAST 75% OF THAT SET LIST, YOU MOTHERFUCKING MORON” and then the mood was killed. But seriously though it was a delightful set. We stood far back enough that we didn’t have to deal with any of their asshole fans (honestly, Brand New has some of the douchiest fans I’ve ever encountered and I can’t even imagine them in real life scenarios outside of a Brand New show). I feel really lucky to have gotten to see them twice in two months, although I’m kind of annoyed that I didn’t jump at the chance to buy tickets to their upcoming Cleveland show because they just announced that they’re playing The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me in its entirety, fuck my life. I also think it’s kind of interesting that Jesse Lacey basically made a career of trolling his fans yet people still fall over themselves to see his band play. There’s a sick kind of respect there, I guess. (I do think this band deserves every accolade it receives though and anyone who says they’re overrated can go fuck themselves because I’m pretty sure Jesse Lacey is a fucking mad genius and when he sings Degausser I lose it every time.) Here is someone else’s video of it because I only have a few Snaps:

Honestly, what else is there to say about Brand New?

Somewhere around this time, we had our third conversation about rats (????). This time we were talking about how we saw rat traps in the yards of the houses we walked past that morning and Henry was mouthing off about how bad rats are, etc., and I said, “Yeah but, some of the rats of NIMH were good though…”

“Those were cartoons, Erin,” Henry sighed.

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JUDGING.

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  • Death Cab For Cutie: This band needs no introduction. There was a chunk of my early 20s when they were my shit, I loved this band so much, before that TV show The O.C. made them a household band (I mean, good for them! But I’m just saying…) However, I stopped listening to them almost entirely after Transatlanticism. Not because I thought they got sucky or anything like that, but because I associated them with this. Basically, I was listening to DCFC when I found out that someone I had a very dysfunctional relationship with had been killed in a car accident/alleged suicide. Pretty hard not to think about that anytime I hear Death Cab nowadays. I actually saw them a week after that happened too, at Coachella in 2004. The first and last time I’d ever see them live, until now at Riot Fest. And I have to say, it felt like beautiful torture. It felt like having my heart ripped out of my chest, only to have it pumped full of life and love and reinserted. It felt healing and necessary. But…if they had played anything from Something About Airplanes, I probably would have had to leave. No lie.

(OH GOD why did I just let myself listen to this?!)

Riot Fest, you are a fucking violent stumble, heart-in-throat, down memory lane, Jesus Christ. I wasn’t ready.

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  • Morrissey: I had a chance to begin processing the past that had been dredged up slammed into my face after Death Cab’s set since Morrissey kept us waiting for like 30 minutes. I get it, you’re a big star, but FYI: The Cure has never left me standing out in the dark, looking at my imaginary watch. SORRY TO KEEP MAKING COMPARISONS. There was some 30 minute long video montage that we had to suffer through and I guess he does this at all of his shows? OK that’s fine, but maybe don’t do that when you’re playing a festival and people have been there since noon and just want to see you play now so that we can all leave and pass out in our shitty Motel 6 hopefully-clean beds. People were leaving left and right, and Henry really wanted to leave too, but I got all white knight-y and said reasoned, “Come on, it’s Morrissey. We have to see him at least once.” Because unless someone gives me a free ticket, I can’t imagine that I would ever go to a show specifically to see him (unless the Smiths suddenly reunite, then it’s game on). There was a moment where we actually thought that maybe he seriously wasn’t going to be there after all, because when the Riot Fest lineup was announced last spring, he was like, “I never agreed to perform at Riot Fest so this is news to me” in typical Moz-fashion. I mean, you have to admire his consistency with being notoriously difficult and coy, I guess. He did, obviously, come out and immediately began singing “Suedehead” in his typical bombastic fashion and I found myself saying, “IT’S OK MORRISSEY, WE’RE NOT MAD!” because that damn voice. And: “By the way, thanks for opening with a song I know!”

When he sang “Ganglord,” there were images of police violence splayed out on the screen behind him and while it was difficult to watch, it felt so fucking important and I had to give him credit because that was a message that needed to be forced on everyone watching. Like, “Hey guys, you’re here right now enjoying your life at Riot Fest when this is the shit that’s happening in your idiotic country right now. Don’t forget that.” Henry hates it when musicians use the stage as a soapbox but I’m all for it. I feel like more people are going to listen to what their music idols have to say than what a politician is jawing off about, so go for it, Morrissey. Tell us to Dump Trump! WE’RE TRYING!

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We stayed for five songs then made our way back down the streets lined with rat traps and rejoiced when we saw our car was still in one piece in the shady parking lot where we left it that morning.

This was by far the best and most emotionally satisfying day of Riot Fest and I wish I could hold it in my hand and squeeze it lovingly like a dove BUT NOT TOO HARD SO I DON’T KILL IT.

 

 

Sep 252016
 

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Since the shitty “hotel” we’ve stayed at for all three Riot Fests switched brands, they no longer offered breakfast. Not like we were missing much because it was below basic breakfast fare, we were still disappointed because it was convenient and free. Going to Riot Fest is not cheap, you guys, and I’d rather spend my money on merch than food, ugh. All of this is to say we went down the street to some joint called Victoria’s, where I had crepes that were OK and Henry had meats.

Then Meghan Trainor came on (the worst M.T. song of all time, All About That Bass) and I believe this was the first time where I had found myself in a position where there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t change the station! I couldn’t leave because I was still eating. I HAD TO SIT THERE AND ENDURE IT.

Oh, the horror! The pain! But I reminded my ears that soon they would be in Douglas Park, surrounded on all sides by the most beautiful blend of pop punk, punk rock, emo revival, hip hop — it was all going to be there. Some of my most favorite genres, and most favorite bands.

It was going to be OK, ears. It was going to be OK.

After breakfast, we went back to the “hotel” and ordered the first Uber of the weekend, an older man named Woody, who, in spite of having his GPS up on his dash, asked Henry unlimited questions regarding the route. Henry was happy to answer because he is a PROFESSIONAL DRIVER and I can guarantee that Woody’s lack of directional savvy gave Henry his own woody.

Luckily, through numerous detours and train crossings, we made it to Douglas Park with a good 45 minutes to spare before the gates opened. This year, it was set up a bit differently with only one entrance, but I was happy to see that it wasn’t yet a cluster fuck.

Only bad part about standing in line was this uber-annoying Minnesota broad who talked extra-loudly to her friend about how EVERYONE KNOWS HER and HOW MANY TATTOOS SHE HAS and HOW SHE IS SO FUCKING COOL HOW ARE WE NOT MELTING BENEATH HER RADIATING BRILLIANCE. Henry knew right away that she was annoying me so we communicated through eye-expressions alone, and then when she mentioned in her grating Midwest lilt that she COULDN’T WAIT TO SEE BALANCE AND COMPOSURE the next day, Henry started to crack up because I had literally said that same thing about 37403720580 times that morning.

Ughhhhhhh.

Gates opened late as usual and we ran, I mean I ran and Henry slowly lumbered behind me, to the Riot Fest merch tent to snag a set of the limited edition Riot Fest Garbage Pail Kids and then Papa Drunk skipped off to get his 21+ wristband and guess who couldn’t get her own because she left her whole entire wallet in Pittsburgh? My preparedness is a non-factor in my game of life. Do not ever choose me for your zombie apocalypse team.

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Ugh. First beer at like 11:30. Get it, Hank.

We had some time to kill before noon so we stomped around the food vendors looking for Dark Matter because I desperately needed coffee. Couldn’t find it right away, so I settled for a water and while Henry was paying for it, some guy at the next food booth asked, “Hey! Why’s my name on your shirt?” I looked around and when I realized he was talking to me, I had to glance down to refresh my memory with what shirt I was even wearing that day, and it was my beautiful Howard Jones shirt!

So I walked closer and engaged in a rare conversation, because I hate talking to people but Riot Fest is an exception because it makes me remember who I used to be, how alive I once was, and it reminds me that hey, I’m surrounded by a ton of my people right now, so it’s not really stranger danger, right? Anyway, the guy’s name ended up being Howard Johnson (like the hotel, I guess), not Jones, but he had never heard of Howard Jones before so I encourage him to check that shit out.

Henry was like, “OK REMEMBER WHOSE PROPERTY YOU ARE LET’S GO.” He is like, so possessive of me. It’s almost sickening.

(Lol, sike. He was like TAKE HER, SHE’S YOURS.)

(This just brought up a horrible memory of when I was briefly dating this guy Erik in 1998 and we were hanging out at my apartment with some guy named Kevin who I recently met at a Sunoco — hey, I made friends everywhere I went back then when I still had self-esteem — and Kevin, who was totally blitzed off a 40 of Miller’s High Life, asked Erik if he could steal me and Erik said, ugh do you know what he said? He said BE MY GUEST. I have that heart-breaking moment on 8mm, even.)

(Well, fuck you Erik Grove, because now I’m with Henry and here we are at Riot Fest and some cute guy name Howard is talking to me so suck it.)

First band up was Tigers Jaw at noon on the Riot Fest (main) stage.

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These guys are on Run For Cover Records, one of my fave labels, but this was the first time I ever saw them live. If you know me, you know that I’m horribly fickle with female singers, but I love the boy-girl sharing of vocal duties going on in this band. It’s fun, feel-good indie rock, you guys and there is no reason why Henry should have said, “Nope, they did nothing for me” other than the fact that he wasn’t paying attention because OMG WHAT ARE HIS 57 FACEBOOK FRIENDS DOING, GOTTA CHECK!

During their set, an older gentleman strolled by and said, “GREAT ALBUM!” while pointing to my Howard Jones “Human Lib” shirt. I agree, guy!

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Ahhh, Citizen was next on the Rise stage. I can’t say enough wonderful superlatives about this band. They get me right in the feels, as all the kids and ironic bloggers say these days.

It started to rain during their set and I hated almost everyone around me, but I didn’t let that sully my third live dose of Citizen for 2016. Also, Mat basically dresses like Henry, proving he just doesn’t give a fuck.

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oh, Citizen. ❤️

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Here’s Henry, secretly enjoying Citizen and his style-twin, Mat.

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Right after this was Touche Amore on the Rock Stage and I was ready to burst — they’re part of this trifecta for me which also includes La Dispute and The Saddest Landscape, but I’ve never seen Touche Amore before; it was a long time coming.

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Some of the finest post-hardcore I’ve ever heard comes courtesy of this beautiful man. I play their records so loud in the house and Henry and Chooch are always like, full-body eye rolls and grimaces, but GUESS WHAT? Guess who finally jumped aboard the Touche Amore-wagon? Mr. Henry J. Robbins.

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“They weren’t that bad,” he mumbled, and then, “I didn’t hate it,” which in regular people’s terms translates to, “Say, I think I actually enjoyed that.”

Touché Amore 💗

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After Touche Amore, I had penciled in a small window for getting food. I can’t remember what Henry got, but I enjoyed a wonderful BBQ jackfruit with slaw on top of a slice of Texas toast. It was delicious, except that the slaw was more just a wad of pickled vegetables, which found me for the second time in less than a week explaining to no one in particular that the only pickled things I like are pickles.

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Oh, I think Henry had vegetable paella and I accused him of being a vegetarian but he defensively said he wasn’t turning his back on meat, he just simply “didn’t feel like eating meat right then.”

HMM THAT SEEMS WEIRD.

Anyway, thanks to Henry having to also get food, I missed Dillinger Escape Plan so thanks Henry, like you couldn’t have waited until later to eat.

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After missing DEP, we wandered over to the outskirts of Douglas Park, where the two smallest stages live. Jule Vera was going to be playing soon on the Storyheart Stage, so we figured we’d just hang out in the grass and take selfies, right Henry? Because that’s totally a thing that Henry does. My hair looked shittier than usual that weekend because remember our shitty “hotel”? Well, they don’t supply their rooms with hair dryers and Henry even tried for a hail mary by inquiring at the front desk if they had any available and the answer was NO THEY DID NOT, YOUR RATTY-HAIRED GIRLFRIEND IS FUCKED, BOIIIII.

So frizzy, air-dried hair it is, then!

We had to suffer through the tail-end of the Far East’s set and I absolutely hated them, like if a person could vomit out of their ears, this would have triggered my aural gag reflex, for sure. Let me just describe it as Reggae No Doubt. I was like GOOD RIDDANCE when they finally ended.

Then it was Tancred, which I kept confusing for Tantric — like, totalllly different band. Fun Fact for anyone who cares: the singer is also the guitarist from Now, Now and the singer from Now, Now is dating Lynn Gunn’s (PVRIS) ex-girlfriend Alexa San Roman, OMG there more you know. Anyway, Tancred is a good example of why I’m picky with girl-fronted bands — they usually tend to have that 90s sound to them and I know this is putting my head on the chopping block, but I really didn’t like a lot of rock or alternative from the 90s, until later on in the decade. SORRY BUT I’M JUST BEING HONEST. In my defense, I was heavily into hiphop, gangsta rap, and R&B back then though.

Also, around this time, Henry started complaining about a “foot cramp” but I was like, “Hmm, that doesn’t sound like the name of any band that I like so I’m officially exiting this conversation, bye now.”

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OK, then it was finally time for Jule Vera and I missed Chooch so desperately. (He’s annoying me so much today though, a week later, so I already forget what that felt like.) Chooch has loved Jule Vera since we saw them last winter at the Never Shout Never and blushed the whole time he was posing for a picture with Ansley, their singer:

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Not even gonna front here, I got totally misty-eyed during their set because it made me miss Chooch so much. We were sending him pictures of Ansley on Facebook during soundtrack and he was getting so mad at us but then he said “SEND ME VIDEOS.” Originally he wanted us to record their whole set, but contrary to popular belief, I actually don’t like being That Person holding their phone up at concerts. I tend to grab a few Instavids (like 30 seconds in length at a time) just for my own posterity and to have something to post on the blog as a memory of the night.

SO FUCKING SUE ME.

But for Chooch, I broke that rule and recorded 30-60 seconds of every song the performed, but I didn’t feel too asshole-y doing so because I was right against the barrier so I didn’t have to hold my phone up high, which means no one behind me was bothered, and if they were, it was probably because of Henry.

Henry’s mere existence is very bothersome to some.

Is it wrong to say that I think a band is adorable? I also think they’re really talented, but there is something really charming about watching such a young band play their hearts out on stage. I didn’t think I was going to care much for them when I saw them last winter, but I fell for them alongside Chooch. He’s got good taste.

Jule Vera killing it.

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Some old dude, like even older than Henry, yelled, “Hey what high school do you go to?!?” to Ansley and OK, I get where he’s coming from, but damn dude, that sounded totally creepy, go away. Save that for when you’re role-playing with your old ass wife.

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Their finale had to have made new fans out of the unbiased people lounging under nearby trees. Even one of the security guys came over to get a better look and then to me and Henry said, “This shit is crazy!”

Jule Vera killing it.

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Set Your Goals was up next on the Rise Stage and I was so excited to see them again! They recently reunited and I didn’t even realize how much I missed them. This is the band that Henry always pauses and then asks, “Is this the big guy and little guy?” Ugh, yes Henry. Sure. SYG has the dual-vocals thing going on, and I credit them into getting me into pop-punk, after swearing it off for years. They were my gateway, if you will. I always liked emo and post-hardcore but really never cared much for pop-punk, until I heard one of their songs that Vinnie Cuarana was on, and then Hayley Williams rapping (literally!!) on one of their songs in 2009 really helped the medicine go down.

I made Alisha go see them with me that summer at Mr. Small’s and it was just such an awesome show and I kind of wanted to get punched in the face but it didn’t happen.

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Henry was not into it.

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This guy stood right by us while sucking on his CHRONIC CANDY lollipop and I wanted him so badly to turn to Henry and offer him a lick, which prompted Henry to later go on a tangent about how Chronic Candy “isn’t actually a drug, Erin!” and like yeah OK but it’s still part of DRUG CULTURE and we all know Henry has the D.A.R.E. insignia tattooed on his left ass cheek.

Oh you didn’t know? WELL NOW YOU DO.

He also has “just say no” on his inner lip.

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Anyway, go listen to Set Your Goals.

We tried to catch some of the Citizen acoustic set in the StubHub Tent, which was packed, so we were standing near the entrance when some dumbass rolled up with her friends and proceeded to shriek, totally unrelated to the music, like she had been proposed to and this really set me off so I flipped out and stormed away (I was also suffering through some major coffee-withdrawals, thanks for not having my back this year, Dark Matter!), and had a mini-meltdown, but then Henry calmed me down after some guy stared at me with a scared smile because I think he thought I was yelling at him. Not you, bro. Not you.

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Once Henry verbally massaged my frontal lobe, we were able to catch a little bit of Somos on the Storyheart stage. The best way I can explain this band is that they would be perfectly at home on a soundtrack for any 1980s John Hughes movie. This is a good thing! But Henry doesn’t get it, which is why I had to see them alone at Bled Fest last May.

This was the harried, frenzied block of time on Friday where there were three bands playing all around the same time and I wanted to see them all, so after two Somos songs, we had to do a brisk walk to the Rise stage where Glassjaw was playing and can you believe I have never seen Glassjaw in my whole entire life?? Henry thinks this is incorrect, but that’s because we saw Daryl Palumbo’s other band, Head Automatica at the Cure’s Curiosa festival in 2004. So I got to have major chills hearing Daryl’s screams cutting through the early evening Chicago air. No one sounds quite like Daryl Palumbo!

(LOL, a commercial for Motel 6 just played while I’m writing this and our Motel 6 did NOT look like the one on TV at all. Nice try, Tom Bodett.)

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FUN FACT: I sold a custom serial killer card to G.G. Allin’s brother last year and it was pretty much the highlight of my card-making career thus far.

Oh man, young emo Erin was READY to see Jimmy Eat World again. I kept trying to remember when the last time was that I saw them, and Henry swore that it wasn’t him because Jimmy Eat World is evidently a band that he would remember seeing. I stressed about this for the whole weekend because I was sure that I saw them at one of the Edgefests in Buffalo but I couldn’t find them listed on any lineups, so then I searched for their all their 2001 tour dates and said, “Well, I just don’t know then because this says they only did Warped Tour in 2001….oh wait I was at that Warped Tour, never mind LOL forever.”

Mystery solved! I saw them at Warped Tour with my pal Wonka.

When I first got into emo, it was through Instant Messenger (good ol’ AIM) and I was chatting with some random, and I remember asking him what his screen name meant. I don’t remember the name anymore, but it had something to do with the band Christie Front Drive, and that’s how I fell down the emo rabbit hole and, 20 years later, still haven’t clawed my way back out. Once he suggested that I listen to the Emo Diaries compilations, I knew it was for me.

(Full disclosure, I was still heavy into nu-metal back then too, hahahah, but emo clearly won the war over my heart.)

The crowd wasn’t too bad. My strategy was to stand behind a lady in a wheelchair because no one wanted to stand right in front of her, which meant the view was pretty clear for me. I’m really picky about how far up I’ll travel into the crowds — I base it on how much I love the band and how big/small the stage is. I do not like being close to the main stage because people scare me and I hate feeling trapped.

Anyway, they played my favorite song, Lucky Denver Mint (mixtape staple!)  Enjoy my finger cameo! I’m good at this!

Jimmy Eat World

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It was time for Second Riot Fest Feeding after Jimmy Eat World and I went with a vegan sloppy joe. I think Henry got salt and vinegar fries. Who cares. I kept stealing swigs of his beer and he was getting so angry because “if you had really wanted to drink, you wouldn’t have your left your fucking license at home!!” He kept saying, “I hope you get busted!” because I didn’t have a wristband on, but come on, I think it’s pretty clear that I’m over 21. Maybe it’s debatable in a dark club, but when the sun is shining down on me, the grays are all a’shimmer and the bags under my eyes are looking ready and willing to hold your car keys and Altoids.

So gimme your fucking beer, Henry.

That sloppy joe was wonderful. Riot Fest has the best food! This is what I wish Warped Tour would do — but I guess because it’s at an actual venue and not a park, outside food vendors aren’t allowed in so we have to stick with the standard $10 soft pretzels and nachos or whatever that First Niagara whips up. This is why I just stuff my bag with granola bars!

 

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On the way back to the Storyheart Stage in preparation for BASEMENT!!!, we watched a few minutes of All Time Low at the Rise Stage. I never really got into them that much, so after a song or two, we began to walk away, but then they started the next song and I screamed, “I KNEW IT!!” and ran back to the stage because Vic from Pierce the Veil came out to sing “A Love Like War” with them. Henry was like, “Wha—-what’s happening!?” and had to follow me back. He’s so dumb sometimes. But then he saw Vic and understood.

Vic 💗

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For real though, after that song ended, we had to run to the Storyheart Stage because I wanted to be up front for Basement and now, as I type this, I feel like I’m going to start crying because this was the first time that weekend, other than crying about missing Chooch or just being my typical whiny self, that I dropped real tears.

This is the same band that threw a wrench in Henry’s “driving to Disneyworld” plans last April — he wanted to leave on a Saturday morning but then I quietly, while slowly back away, reminded him that I had a ticket to see Basement that night, so we had to wait until 11:30pm that night to embark on our Orlando road trip, lolololololol all the way to the market.

I am obsessed with Al specifically, the guitarist, because he was the man behind the camera in all of the Tuesdays with Tay videos that Henry and I love (well, that I love), and I’m just a huge groupie for Run For Cover Records. Huge. I make Chooch wear their shirt to school in an effort to get those basic Brookline brats interested in good music.

(Hasn’t happened yet, although Chooch played some Emarosa for his friend Dimajio and said that he liked it, so fingers crossed. Chooch is a lot like me in many ways but he hasn’t yet honed the SHOVE YOUR INTERESTS DOWN YOUR FRIENDS’ THROATS skill yet I guess. I’ll work on that with him some more, don’t worry.)

When we were waiting for Jule Vera to play earlier, Henry elbowed me and pointed to the fenced-off area behind the stage, at a white van that had just rolled up. “Isn’t that Basement?” he asked casually. AND IT WAS. Henry is so great at recognizing bands that he hates!

Some of my friends were disappointed in me because I chose Basement over some other band, but bitch please, I’m not going to skip a band that I genuinely love in favor of a band that I don’t like but feel like I’m supposed to watch just to say that I saw them. That’s not me! I like what I like. And Basement pumped me full of life. I love how James has Robert Smith-esque dance moves and I love their energy and their fans aren’t assholes and they’re just adorable Brits who make emotional, heart-felt, energetic rock.

I’m used to disappointing people with my music preferences though. It’s my thang. Bang bang.

Plus, they have a song called Bad Apple and I have a rotten apple tattoo, so I’m kind of obligated to be a fan. <3

I’m going to listen to them all weekend now because they’re such an autumn band for me. And I finally got Henry to admit that he likes them so it was a big moment in our relationship. This band is just so good, and they are HILARIOUS on social media (their Snapchat stories are entertaining) and I have to say, when a band plays super emotional music but then act like complete clowns on the Internet, I love them even more.

Just do yourself a favor and listen to their latest album. It’s the first release since they came out of hiatus. I mean, I’m no Lou Pappan, but I think “you gonna like it.” (SHOUT OUT TO MY PITTSBURGH READERS LOL.)

Sep 192016
 

Much to Henry’s  inner joy and invisible mirth, yesterday was the third and last day of Riot Fest. It’s also the first day Henry and I fought– we made it so far! Specifically all the way to Rob Zombie’s set where I tried to lose Henry in the crowd like lol ok what is that going to prove. 

Anyway, we saw lots of bands so let’s see what Henry hated, didn’t like, and thought was “not too bad.” (Heads up, he was not impressed by anything on Sunday.)

  • The Bronx: They were good…? What?
  • Frankiero andthe Patience: I liked that too. (He sounded unsure. I don’t think he knows who this is.)
  • All Dogs: I don’t remember if I liked them. Apparently not. 
  • Dee Snider: Eh. Novelty. 
  • Juliette Lewis & the Licks: Interesting. Not too bad for what we saw before you got hangry. 
  • A Will Away: I only saw five minutes of them so I can’t make an informative opinion. (He was sitting alone by a fence for their first few songs, looking like an undercover cop.)
  • Thursday: I was never a big fan anyway so that didn’t change. (He breaks my heart.)
  • Bad Religion: Pretty much the same. Not a big fan anyway. 
  • Underoath: I don’t know. (He scrunched up his face and made a so-so motion with his hand.)
  • Deftones: I only knew their older stuff, so. Not bad. Can’t say I’m the biggest fan. (Well they played mostly old stuff, so…)
  • Rob Zombie: From what I heard I liked. (When I left him during Rob Zombie, he was standing by himself– obvi–and said that a younger guy was doing DRUGS next to him, but when he saw Henry, he got nervous and put it away. Like no duh, Henry—it’s because you look like a NARC.)
  • Sleater-Kinney: We walked through them? That was it. (Yeah right when they were commending Riot Fest for writing a No Harrassment policy – Henry hates when girls stand up for themselves and get all “lippy about their safety” don’t you Henry the Oppressor?)
  • Misfits: I don’t get it. 

And now is the time where we ask Henry what his dream Riot Fest lineup would be.  Lol, nevermind. Just Ted Nugent. 

Out of every band there this weekend, Henry’s favorite was “I don’t know.”


Henry got lemonade because “everyone else seems to be getting lemonade.” What a fucking conformist. 

Overall, Henry thinks that Riot Fest “wasn’t a bad weekend. At least it didn’t rain.”

Wow. I feel like a need a fucking butterfly net to catch all those words. 

Sep 062016
 

Hi, hello, I’m here again with more Kennywood words and stuff because memories are like Pokémon to me and I GOTTA CATCH THEM ALL.

That made no sense. It’s the end of Labor Day weekend and I’m all tapped out. Just a few minutes ago, I called Florence & the Machine “Florence and the Hendersons” so that should tell you where my mind currently resides. Still, I’m going to power through this last Kennywood post because I love torturing myself and anyone out there on the Internet who might actually read this. Cringe away!

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  • The Aero360 used to be my favorite ride at Kennywood and I still love it but it doesn’t thrill me as much as it once did, especially when we sit there for 10 minutes while there is some sort of harness malfunction happening behind us and pearls of sweat are starting to dot my brow, but then we find out that it’s someone whose shoulders are too broad so it’s literally the person’s physique that’s malfunctioning and not the ride so I feel less anxious but still not too encouraged that we’re going to survive this thing. LUCKILY we had Sam assisting us and SAM was my favorite ride attendant of the day and Chooch didn’t understand why and I couldn’t find the words to explain it to him because he’s not yet reached Henry Levels of understanding me and my obsessions, for instance like tonight when Sandy alerted me to the existence of Ballet Zoom and I watched an hour’s worth of YouTube videos and then made them my cover photo on Facebook. Henry didn’t question this, but Chooch was like, “THE FUCK.”
    • We rode on it again later and there were three middle school girls in front of us in line and they were so fucking annoying because they were middle school girls, and one of them was talking about some airline conspiracy where airlines make sure that “no one ever survives a plane crash” because they don’t want to have to pay them money?! Even Chooch was like, “WTF Is this girl on, that’s the dumbest thing ever.” And I was like, “CAN WE STOP TALKING ABOUT PLANE CRASHES WHILE WAITING IN LINE TO GO ON SOMETHING THAT GOES UPSIDE DOWN PLEASE?!”
  • One of the things I want to remember always is Chooch’s extreme madness at all the attention I was getting in nearly every line we stood in, from not only other people in line, BUT RIDE OPERATORS TOO. People loved my phone case, so that got a lot of smiles and compliments much to Chooch’s chagrin because he is SO JEALOUS OF MY BITCHIN’ ACCESSORIES, but what really got a shit ton of attention was my beloved Marcy tattoo. Most people just quickly complimented it as we passed each other in line, but one couple took it a step further and started asking me legit questions about it in line for the Kangaroo, which gave me the opportunity to pimp out the artist, Erin Hosfield, but also talk about MARCY. I wasn’t done talking about her but the dumb line started to move and we were in opposite queues so as we both started moving away from each other, I had to yell, “SHE WAS REAL MAJESTIC! SHE HATED EVERYONE!”

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  • Also in line for the Kangaroo, we were behind this lady and her two young boys and this lady was like so pissed that she was at Kennywood. Our first encounter with them was when we rolled up into line and the two boys were fighting over their water bottle and the one started kicking the other and the mom had basically no idea that this was going on because she was engrossed in her phone, and it wasn’t until they crashed into her that she snapped out of it and yelled, “WHAT ARE YOU FIGHTING ABOUT!?!?” and I thought to myself, “Well, I’ll tell you what they’re fighting about: Billy’s being a cunt and won’t share his water with his little brother” but she didn’t actually care about what they were fighting about, just that they disturbed her SCREEN TIME. For some reason, this was a really long wait and the entire time we had to stand there and watch her completely neglect her kids. The older one eventually started talking to Chooch about Pokémon Go and then the younger one got lost for a bit (I knew where he was but when Mom realized he had wandered away, it was pretty hilarious to watch the panic — he was literally only a few feet away, playing in some rocks), and the whole time I’m wondering what’s the point of bringing your kids to Kennywood if you’re not going to enjoy the time you’re spending with them. I mean, even Chooch noticed it. It was heartbreaking, especially when one of her friends walked over with her young daughter, and Kangaroo Mom adopted this super fake, saccharine voice while asking the little girl if she wanted to ride with her. The little girl did not, in fact, want to ride with her, because Billy probably tells her all kinds of stories about how shitty his cunt mom is.
    • Also, she was really annoyed when the people were asking me about my tattoo. I loved that part, though.
      • Chooch and I sat in the car behind her and exhibited joy that was extremely disproportionate to the ride we were on. I mean, the Kangaroo is mildly fun but we were screaming our dumb faces off and everyone in line was like, “…………………….”

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  • Standing in line for the Log Jammer, Chooch casually said, “Oh, that’s Johnny’s sister up there in line.” Using my hyper-accurate mom decoder ring, I cracked this message to read: I HAVE A CRUSH ON JOHNNY’S SISTER AND WANT TO ASK HER TO PLAY ROBLOX WITH ME OR MAYBE WATCH SHANE DAWSON VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE. So I started egging him on and he was getting really mad at me, I have no idea why, it’s not like I kept elbowing him and daring him to wave hello or blow her a kiss. Because does that sound like something I would do, NO. He kept trying to see if she would look at him and I was like, “She’s not looking. She seems like a REAL B if you ask me” and then he was getting defensive about her which means he’s writing his marriage proposal in his head already, oh my god, my little BAYBAY IS GROWING UP.

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ONE OF THESE GIRLS IS JOHNNY’S SISTER. Also, Chooch doesn’t know her name, just that she’s Johnny’s Sister. 

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We saw her in line for the RACER too. Speaking of the Racer…

  • The ride attendant let Chooch and I are on the ride at the last minute after noticing that there was one empty car so in all of the flurry and excitement, I couldn’t get my seat belt buckled and THEY NEVER CHECKED IT. Chooch was frantically yelling, “EXCUSE ME MY MOM’S SEATBELT IS NOT ON” but then they were all ALL CLEAR with their thumbs up in the air and I kept assuring Chooch that I wasn’t going to die, and I would only care if the seat belt was the kind that crossed the whole seat, but this one was just mine, so Chooch was safely belted in. I’ve ridden this damn coaster enough times to know that I wasn’t going to get flung into the tree tops unless I stood up during the part where the skull and crossbones sign tells you DON’T STAND UP, but THEN WHY WAS I WHITEKNUCKLING THE BARS!? No really, it was fine. I made it. I’m alive. BUT HEY TEENAGE RIDE ATTENDANTS, DO A BETTER JOB.
    • Fine, I was kind of scared.

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  • I was so excited when it was finally time to ride the train and by “finally time” I mean that we were in the area and I slickly corralled Chooch into line before he could figure out what was going on, because he thinks the train is so stupid and hello, it IS so stupid, which is why it’s so fucking fun! Anyway, it was really crowded for some reason, and we mistakenly boarded the last train car which was occupied by an entire group of people in matching t-shirts and we wound up sitting in the front, which also has a row of seats FACING toward the rest of us, so part of the group sat there and we had to stare at them while they held conversations over our heads with the rest of their group and I fucking hated it. I actually started to sweat, because it felt too intimate and I considered getting off the ride before it started but that would look worse, wouldn’t it? OMG why are they staring at me? Anyway, these assholes spent the whole time complaining about the ride and making fun of things and suddenly, it wasn’t so funny when other people were making the jokes! Also, one of them asked, “Where are we? Ohio?” and one of other people calmly said, “No, Pennsylvania” LIKE IT WASN’T A STUPID QUESTION? They weren’t from Pittsburgh so maybe someone else might have cut them some slack, but I just got hyper-sensitive about my hometown and wanted to punt them off the train.
    • “I liked those people!” Chooch cheered when we walked away from the train. That made me hate them even more!

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  • We ate at Johnny Rockets, because that’s what we do when Henry isn’t there — we eat at a place where our food is brought to us. Plus, Johnny Rockets has veggie burgers!
    • By the way, Chooch’s vegetarianism is still going strong and I can’t believe it. I swear to god I’m not pressuring him into doing this! It’s all on his own. His favorite brand of fake chicken is Quorn, by the way. Ask him about it sometime and he’ll morph into Paula Deen napping on a hammock, having a butter dream.

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  • Ugh, I can’t ride the Cosmic Chaos anymore because it makes me have optical seizures. Honestly, my eyeballs become part of a pinball game and my whole day is ruined. I used to love this ride when it was new, but now I just sit on a bench like a MOM and watch Chooch have a grand ol’ time on his own.

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  • This time around, I bought Chooch his beloved lemonade before he had a chance to start crying about how badly he needed lemonade, which is what he did last year because I’m not HENRY and I can’t handle these demands as quickly and seamlessly as Hank the Tank. (Literally no one ever calls him  that.) Anyway, he was enjoying his lemony ade while standing in line for the Jack Rabbit when suddenly! He noticed that there was a discarded lemon on the track of the coaster, just laying there looking sad and orphaned, and because Chooch has the innate propensity to anthropomorphize anything and everything just like his MOMMY, he latched on to this sad, acidic wedge of refuse and began making up songs about it until eventually he had started some weird political campaign for lemons and began shouting “HASHTAG LEMON EQUALITY!” which was funny at first but then people were starting to stare and I’m only OK with people staring sometimes, and not other times. Chooch doesn’t care though, he’ll stare right back.
    • Corey wasn’t even there, but now he’s all about lemon equality too thanks to Chooch’s persuasiveness.

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  • Ugh, the Black Widow, why did I do this to myself again?! I swear, that line moves so slowly because they want everyone to stand there and think about what they’re about to let happen to themselves. It’s one of the most solemn lines I’ve ever stood in. And now there’s a new sign screaming about how hair longer than shoulder length needs to be pulled back, and that hair ties are available.  WHAT, WHY. WHAT HAPPENED?! At first I thought I was the only one panicking about this, because was my hair at DANGER’S LENGTH? Did I need to request a hair tie?! Chooch was like, “Good lord, calm down. That broad’s hair is way longer than yours and she doesn’t have it pulled back” and he pointed to some broad whose hair really was way longer than mine, and the ride attendant just walked right past her, like, “Well, if you don’t care about getting scalped, then I don’t care either.” Meanwhile, the girls in line behind us had also just noticed the sign and they started making wild speculations as well, and my legs were beginning to buckle. When it was our turn, I cried, “Do you think I need a hair tie!?” to the ride attendant, who was just like, “Wha—? No.” And then that was that. No hair tie for me. But I started to feel like maybe I needed one anyway. Maybe their measurements were off and it was actually “just hovering at shoulder length” and now I was in peril.
    • Also, we each were handed a card with a seat number on it which I thought was fantastic because sometimes on circular rides like this one, you end up getting split up from your friends because people love to sit down and leave one empty space between them and that fucks everything up! So now people are guaranteed to be seated with their buddies and it makes me happy. All of this is to say that even with a plastic card that had a LARGE BOLD SEAT NUMBER ON IT, Chooch still sat in the wrong seat and almost screwed everything up. He’s so embarrassing.
      • Like my Woman on the Edge shrieking during the entire ride isn’t already embarrassing enough. I swear this ride was worse than the first time I went on it last year! The girls next to me were so happy to get away from me when it was over, I think. I’m sorry, but when I’m under duress, things come out of my mouth and I can’t control that. Or the volume.
        • The people working this ride are no fun at all. We re-watched “Kennywood Memories” the other night and I think we all can agree that the people working there in the 1980s were the BEST. Kennywood needs to raise the bar. I need more interaction. And bigger hair. (On them, not me. I don’t want anymore of this hair tie hassle.)

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JOHNNY’S SISTER ALERT. This time she said hi to him so I had to stop calling her a B.

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“Pretty soon you’ll be coming here with friends, and not your dumb MOM,” I said wistfully at one point during the day, watching a group of middle schoolers crash through a line of people with zero regard.

“No, I’ll still come here with you!” Chooch declared, and I ALMOST believed him.

(I mean, I am a lot of fun at amusement parks, so I can’t imagine why he’d want to ever go with anyone else!)

***

Another successful day at Kennywood without supervision. We’re growing up!

Sep 012016
 

Ever since forever, it’s been tradition to get a Golden Nugget ice cream cone at Kennywood. I mean, I’d like to break tradition and get THREE ice cream cones at Golden Nugget sometime, but who knows what kind of jinx (and pounds) that would put on me.

Probably have written entire dissertations on this subject in the past, but I don’t care. Golden Nugget needs some blog lovin’.

They use some kind of standard vanilla ice cream (Isaly’s maybe? I feel like I heard once that it was Isaly’s but I always make up a lot of things in the Imagination Station that is my head, so…), hand-cut into squares (I’ve seen them do it with my own eyes). It’s all a part of the process. Watching them cut it into the exact size needed to jam into the weird double-header cone, drooling as its dunked and drowned in the chocolate sauce bath, and then wringing your hands in an OCD fashion because you want every last centimeter to be coated when they roll that beast around in the designated topping.

It’s been a staple of true Kennywooders (?) since 1967, you guys! That’s a long ass motherfucking time.

I’ve literally never seen a Kennywood employee smile while making one of these which seems preposterous.

PREPOSTEROUS!

When Chooch and I stood in line, I started to sweat because I couldn’t remember how to order them. WHAT WERE THEY CALLED?

“The Original,” Chooch said, pointing to the sign, but that didn’t sound right to me! I considered texting Henry to ask him what he calls them when he does the ordering, but figured he wouldn’t reply fast enough so I just stuttered, “Uh, two of the ice cream things…..um, with uh….nuts.”

“Yeah, THE ORIGINAL,” Chooch muttered under his breath.

SORRY BUT THAT DIDN’T SOUND FAMILIAR TO ME. Jesus Christ, do it yourself next time!

The broad (lol, she was like 16) making mine lost the original ice cream chunk when slapping it around in the tray of nuts, sighed, and started over with a new one.

“That’s basically the same week I’ve been having,” I said to her, and we kind of shared a laugh, sort of? But then I kept overthinking what I said until it just didn’t make any sense at all to me anymore and why do I bother speaking out of turn, am I right?

(OMG EW, you can see my reflection in that last picture. I just scared myself.)

Idiot Chooch didn’t get a cherry on his ice cream cone (SORRY, ON HIS “THE ORIGINAL”) so he handed it right the fuck back and said, “I wanted a cherry.”

Damn son. You know how to go after what you want.

So that little shit ended up getting TWO cherries while I only got one, and he ragged me about that for the next two days. I don’t know where he gets his mean spirit from.

Do you think those people in the background are on a first date?!

I wish I always had one of these cones to camouflage my Leno chin. :(

Chooch’s ice cream review: “They’re really good. And also this year I didn’t get any on my face.”

Guys, when you come to Kennywood with me in your dreams, I’ll buy you one of these square cone things and then we can sit beneath a canopy of HAM SANDWICHES.

Aug 302016
 

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After proving that Chooch & I can be trusted to make it through a day alone at Kennywood, we decided to try it again this summer too. SPOILER: we made it again!

So this was last Tuesday when this shining example of bravery of Big Kid Pants went down. I took the day off work so that Chooch and I could get one last totally excellent day out of the quickly waning summer, and it was beautiful. The weather, the company, the crowd-level—the whole day was just so fucking GOOD.

(Except for Henry not being able to make oh there, but whatevelyn–we persevered without his calloused hand to hold.)

(Sorry, Henry, but somehow Chooch and I seem to get along better when you’re not around — probably because we’re not fighting for your attention. Sigh.)

We elbowed and shoved past a gaggle of shambling elder-zombies who were bottle-necking the damn entrance. Like, run guys! IT’S KENNYWOOD! Ugh, I hate people who aren’t in a hurry.

The first ride we went on was the Phantom’s Revenge, where I was reminded by the amused yet moderately concerned looks given to me by the guys in front of us that I am a fucking fool on this coaster. I don’t know why I even bother riding it because it feels like a death wish every time! But then it pulls back to the station and I’m like, “FUCK YEAH, I’M SO GLAD I SUGGESTED THAT WE RIDE THIS!” And Chooch is like, “Cool let’s go on again!” and I’m like, “Maybe next year.”

We did end up going on it again later and I think I sincerely alarmed the mom and young girl in front of us. My mouth man, I can’t stop what comes out of it on some of these rides.

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This kid was in front of for the Exterminator and I couldn’t imagine why his parents were yelling at him for swinging on the railings and being generally spastic until Chooch finally said, “I think he’s alone” and then we panicked that he would try to ride with us, like that time we got saddled with some weird little kid on Delgrosso’s version of the Exterminator who wasn’t tall enough to ride without an adult, but thank god the ride attendants sent him off alone in his own car, BON VOYAGE MOTHERFUCKER.

I love that Chooch is at an age where he too dislikes children.

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Noah’s Ark brought the whale back and changed a bunch of the interior which is a huge improvement but I can barely remember what it used to be like, so yay!

Stoked to be in a whale’s mouth or to be behind that striped ass? Only Chooch knows.

One thing didn’t change though: Chooch and I were giddy as fuck up in that ark. How can you not be? God, dark rides are just the best. I wish I was in charge of Kennywood. I would put in at least two more. Maybe have someone recreate the old Castle Dracula from Wildwood and 100% rebuild La Cachot so we could have new generations of devious children calling it the Lick-a-Shit like they invented it.

OK new life goal: OWN A DAMN AMUSEMENT PARK.

Don’t fuckin’ judge me, Noah!

Then it was Turtle Time!

Some mom-type turned to me in line for the Turtles and asked, “Are you guys having fun?”

Wow, how nice, I thought. That this stranger-mom cared about our fun quotient.

But it turned out she mistook us to belong with the school group that was there on a field trip.

“WE’RE THE CHARTER BUS 16 GROUP FROM MRS. BLAHBLAH’S CLASS!” the chattiest of the children said to me, like it was some sort of BRAG or something. Like, cool story, IDGAF?

Meanwhile, the chaperone had completely turned her back on us once it was revealed that Chooch and I were just commoners and not part of some stupid field trip.

That kid kept talking to me and finally Chooch was like, “MOMMY STOP TRYING TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH KIDS OMG.”

Well sorry that no one my own age wanted to talk to me!

 

Seriously though, we get such a fucking kick out of the Turtle and if you ever wanted to see Chooch and me in our true forms, this would be a good time. We practically choke and gag on our laughter but then Chooch unfailingly gets too close to the opening of the turtle and I start screaming, “MOVE OVER! YOU’RE GOING TO FALL OUT!” and he’s like, “OH, OK ‘MOM'” and then we start cracking up again and that’s when we start to notice that no one else around us seems to be consumed by our level of hysteria, so what are they doing wrong!?

Oh Christ, I started to lose my voice before we even made it through the first hour. I’m a fucking hyena at these places.

Guys, oh guys, let me tell you a story about this little old ride called Enterprise. It looks like a Ferris wheel laying on its side but then it starts spinning and before you know it, you are upside down and nothing has you strapped down! I have always loved this ride and I think it’s because it’s one of the first grown-up rides I rode on my own as a child and I felt like such a fucking bad ass.

But this one time, pre-third grade, I was at Kennywood with my friend Kristen and her family. I do not remember a single other thing about this day except riding the Enterprise with Kristen, and as I exited the car, it swung back and caught me on the back of my heel.

And it fucking killed, man.

I vaguely remember not being very comfortable with Kristen’s family so I didn’t want to cry in front of them, so I tried to downplay it but I was bleeding through the back of my (ruffled) sock. They must not have deemed it necessary for a trip to the first aid shack, because I have a VIVID memory of going back to  my house in South Park and having to soak my socked foot in the bathtub because my sock had adhered to the exposed wound thanks to the CONGEALED BLOOD.

It took so long for that cut to heal too, because of its location.

Now this ride is called the Volcano and it’s almost always closed — apparently they were having a hard time finding a part that they needed to repair it? Maybe I dreamt that? I’m not the Kennywood Insider, for fuck’s sake.

When we saw that it was actually opened, Chooch cried, “OMG I finally get to ride it?!”

People around us in line are always so jealous of our glamour lives.

When we boarded our desired car, Chooch tensed up.

“This is it? We just….sit here? There isn’t a seatbelt or a harness or CHAINS TO HOLD US DOWN WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.”

I tried to explain that it was science-y physics centifiblahblah something or other, oh just shut up and enjoy the ride, my child!

Oh man, even the WHIRRING SOUND of this damn thing takes me back to better days, when people were losing pocket change on the Flying Carpet and the Pirate Ship didn’t literally make me seasick.

Our day was off to a great start, and I know this because we made it AT LEAST three hours before calling Henry!

****

This is taking me so long to write, because if we’re being frank here, I AM STALLING. I know that technically the calendar says we have a few more weeks of summer, but let’s be real: summer is done. School’s back in session. This day was our last hurrah and as soon as I put it in words, that’s it–the last thread of summer is going to be yanked from my soul.

Ugh. I’ll be back with tales of Lemon Equality and JOHNNY’S SISTER OOH LA LA.

 

Aug 012016
 

FINAL WARPED TOUR 2016 POST, I FUCKING SWEAR TO GOD. YOU HAVE MY WORD! But I would be remiss to close the chapter without allowing Chooch to provide his side of the story. Really, he’s only doing this because he gets to use my laptop to answer the questions and for some reason, this is like a huge deal to him, I have no idea why. I guess it’s like when my mom used to let me use her typewriter?

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Dear Chooch, this was your fourth Warped Tour. MUCH AWE! Do you feel like a pro at this point?

Yes, I feel like a pro because now that I’ve been there 4 times I know where everything is. So jokes on you, lazy people on your couch reading this piece of crap blog. I know what to do when you first get in, you run straight to the VANS tent and say a secret word to get free stuff! Stuff a beginner wouldn’t know.

Please tell us who Courtney is and why you’re so AFRAID OF HER:

Courtney is a girl who was in 7th grade when I was in 1st and she liked me, but I didn’t like her that much. So mommy bullies me and says I like her and I blush when I see her. BUT I DON’T (flips table). I’m also not scared of her so shut up with these mean questions.

THEN HOW COME EVERY YEAR WHEN WE SEE HER AT WARPED TOUR, YOU GET ALL STUPID AND GIGGLY WHEN SHE SWEETLY SAYS, “HEY RILEY! WHAT BANDS ARE YOU GOING TO SEE?” Lol-forever.

I’m not answering that.

Say your old as fuck 4th grade teacher has never heard of Warped Tour before. How would you explain it to her? (We are currently arguing because I’m “allowed” to swear on my blog and he’s not, lol.)

Well I would say to her that she doesn’t need to know because she can barely walk 1 mile, so to walk about 7 miles would be an instant heart attack for her. So maybe when you’re younger, OH WAIT!

 

How the hell did you manage to score a free shirt at the Truth tent? 

Well it started when the TRUTH guys were calling for people to come over and play a game. So he said “Who wants some free shit!” so I said “WOOO” and he told me to come over and play the game. So we waited and waited for other people, there was already a couple people. So finally we started, and we played the floor is lava. So we had to jump on small bricks and the last person had to pick them up on the way across the lava pool. Our team won first so we got to go up to the free shirts at the tent then everyone else got to go up.

You had some dude make you a tshirt that said “Dick Pic” and featured a picture of Donald Trump. Obviously you CANNOT EVER WEAR THAT TO SCHOOL, but here is your platform to tell the Internet how you feel about the current presidential race:

Well I think Ronald Dump is a mother(bleeping) scumbag and he can go (bleep) himself. Why can’t Obama secretly run for president again and win so we can have him for 8 more years so we can live in peace and not have a stupid wall. Screw you Dump.

OK so Emarosa basically made all of our dreams come true. Pretend you’re Henry telling his WORK-HUSBAND DAVE about what happened:

Well first I would say: “Oh sup Dave my bruh. So me and my “girlfriend” be driving to da Warped Tour and be watching dis band who be singing the songs we be liking. Den we be walking up hill to der tent to meet Bradley. And me was out of breath because u know me old as hell.”

When did Daddy turn into a pirate? Anyway, next question. Remember when you ruined my life during Hail the Sun’s set? TELL ALL YOUR FANS ABOUT WHAT YOU DID.

Oh yeah. When I really wanted to play Pokémon Go but you wouldn’t let me because oh god forbid you couldn’t hear me even though I could hear myself. So yeah.

The PETA2 people successfully turned you into a vegetarian — for now, anyway. Tell everyone about the exhibit we saw there and how it made you feel, using the biggest words you know:

Well it was flabbergasting, the tent, it had clothes and shoes that was made out of anthropomorphic skin and flesh. But of course it wasn’t legitimate skin it was fraudulent skin. They had sorority girl uggs made out of humanistic skin and they even had leather jackets made out of bipedal skin. So yeah. It was weird. They had it because they wanted payback for using animal hide and skin for clothes and shoes.

What were some of your favorite merch booths there this year?

Some of my favorite merch booths would have to be….

5- The Twix Booth. The Twix Booth was a booth where you got to try Left Twix and Right Twix. Right Twix was the best because it was bigger and more rich with chocolate. Then you get to get a picture taken of you with your choice of Twix, so yeah.

4- The Peta2 Tent. This tent was cool because (see above)…

3- Choonimals Booth- The Choonimals booth was just a clothing booth, but had really cool looking tanks and shirts to wear at Warped Tour. The shirts have zombie animals and stuff that look cool.

2- TRUTH VAN- This was a cool van wear you play games or dance for free stuff. So it’s a win/win.

1- Vans Tent. So this tent was a tent you go to at the beginning of the day to get free stuff like a water bottle, glasses, and wallets. But you need a secret code Warped Tour posts on their Instagram.

How many Twix do you think you ate that day from the Twix booth?

Well I think I ate about 3 Twix, 2 when I first saw the tent then 1 when the were giving them at out for whoever passed.

 

Remember when we ditched Henry twice? Hahaha that was so great.

Yeah, it was funny. He just walks around like “Doyyyy, No ones watching me so I can scratch my butt and pick my nose and daydream about Dave.”

You met up with Bradley a second time that day, when I was off watching some other band. What did you talk about that time? AND STOP MEETING THE WHOLE ENTIRE BAND WITHOUT ME, YOU JERK-DICK.

Well, they were doing signings, so I went over and said hi. Then Bradley asked for our address so he can send us stuff, but we forgot to so now he can’t send us stuff. ): Also shut up! I do what I want.

I found out at Warped Tour that you’re apparently obsessed with Chunk! No, Captain Chunk. When did this happen and tell the kind people of the Internet what they’re like.

Well it started when I first saw it on my IPhone 3, mommy downloaded one of their songs on it so I wondered who are they. So when they were at the Ampitheater I was like “I want to see them!” So we did. They are a French Pop Punk band. So I like them because when Bertrand Poncet (The Singer/Vocalist) said Pittsburgh, he said “Peetsborgh” So yeah. I just really like them.

OK so you like Warped Tour, but you hated Bled Fest? EXPLAIN YOURSELF. Bled Fest was bae.

Well Bled Fest had no bands that I liked it was all like bands that you like, so I hate them. (except Emarosa, PTV, Chunk, No Captain Chunk! ETC.)

 

If you were making a Warped Tour 101 video, what would you tell people to expect about spending a whole day running back and forth between 6 stages?

Well I would say “Wear Tennis shoes not dress shoes or fancy shoes, you’re going to an outside concert with many people (most likely to rain) you’re not going to a ballet recital.”

What age do you think you’ll be when you start going without me and Henry? (I mean, obviously I’ll still be there because I’M NOT MISSING WARPED TOUR just to save you from being embarrassed in front of your dumb friends.)

Well I would be about 18-20 (If it lasts that long) but you’re not going with me and also I have no friends, so deal with it.

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Oh shut up, you do have friends. They’re just cool enough yet to like good music, lol. Name 5 bands you hope will be at Warped Tour next year.

Ok easy! CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

5- Pierce The Veil.

4- Emarosa.

3- Chunk! No, Captain Chunkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grOz8I2PKrE!

2- JuleVera

1- The Summer Set.

Well thanks for even reading this piece of crap blog. I’m surprised my mom has friends! Please if you read this don’t comment, just dislike this. It’s my moms blog for gods sake!

 

Jul 302016
 

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Even if there was only one band that I even remotely, slightly cared about on this year’s Warped Tour, I would still go and here’s why: there has never not been a time when I haven’t left there with at least one new band to love, or an old band to have newfound respect for.

If you like music at all, no matter what your age is, you could probably find at least one band that piqued your interest. Probably. I don’t know. (Even Henry usually likes one band, and that’s a guy who likes Ted Nugent, you know? If there’s hope for him there’s hope for all.) The festival is very well-rounded in that regard and if people hate on it, it’s probably because they’ve either reached that crotchety “THINGS WERE BETTER IN THE 90s” phase in their life, or they just have some preconceived notion that it’s literally a field overrun with feral scene kids and bros.

Please – my tolerance for kids is pretty non-existent so if I can float through an entire day on a cloud of bliss and ignorance, then you know it can’t be all that bad!

They don’t even make me feel old! And let’s be real, I’ll be 37 by the time I finally get off my ass and finish writing this idiotic post, so this isn’t exactly my demographic.

THAT BEING SAID, here are the bands I saw at this year’s Warped Tour. Bands that are in bold are the ones I have deemed worthy of expanding upon and you know how much I love expanding. Have you seen my waistline?

  • In Heart’s Wake (If I hadn’t been going through a personal life crisis, I would have probably REALLY ENJOYED this set; these guys are on my radar now at least. But right now all I associate them with is Chooch literally pacing in circles begging me for my phone so he could play Pokemon Go and I JUST CAN’T WITH POKEMON GO.)
  • Assuming We Survive (Chooch said he didn’t care about them but then inexplicably wanted to meet them until he saw the line)
  • Real Friends (I got as far as waiting for them to come out before freaking out for the 2nd time that morning and walking toward the exit)
  • I See Stars (some – I really want to like them more than I do; th)
  • Ballyhoo! (some)
  • Issues
  • Knuckle Puck
  • Bad Seed Rising
  • Hail the Sun (Chooch fucking pissed me off and I ended up storming off because he kept trying to TALK TO ME while I was attempting to ENJOY A BAND THAT I LOVE. Rude. I was right in front of the stage too when I stormed off, ensuring that there were ample witnesses. But fuck, those two songs were tight as fuck, yo. I LOVE YOU HTS. I will see you in October with Dance Gavin Dance! Chooch, you’re lucky that I’ve seen them a million times.)

  • Young Guns (they were playing in the background when I had another freak out and then Henry was all, “THAT’S IT WE’RE LEAVING FOR REAL THIS TIME, FUCK THIS NOISE” and Chooch and I were like “Haha, have fun leaving, we’re gonna go down here and wait for Emarosa” and then Henry was only bluffing anyway – we saw him hiding behind a thing.)
  • Sykes (they were playing on the other side of the stage while we waited for Emarosa and I liked them just fine, but hurry up because Emarosa.)
  • EMAROSA!!!!!!! (They got their own post.)
  • Ghost Town (Chooch and Henry went to see coldrain during this. WHATEVER BITCHES.)
  • Set It Off
  • Oceans Ate Alaska (LOVE this band. They can melt my face any fucking day. Chooch and Henry ditched me during this because they can’t handle it.)
  • State Champs (I 100% do not remember watching their set but I have video and a picture….?? And I like Stamp Champs too so this is completely confusing and terrifying all at once.)
  • With Confidence 
  • Secrets (Henry fell asleep during them and they were pretty scream-y, so there goes Henry showing off his God-given talent of BLOCKING IT ALL OUT.
  • Waterparks
  • Chunk! No, Captain Chunk

Issues: I wouldn’t even say I’m a casual fan of Issues, because Tyler Carter has always kind of rubbed me the wrong way and I will forever associate him with Jonny Craig (like when they had a fight and Jonny demanded that Tyler remove the “4L” from his name because JONNY STARTED THAT?!) But everyone in the stupid Warped Tour videos I love to watch kept saying “OMG Issues is a can’t-miss this year” and I figured, nothing else was playing at that time, so why not give them a second chance. The only other time I’ve seen them was when they opened for Dance Gavin Dance in 2013 – so they’re actually the first band that Chooch has even seen live. He liked them then and now he REALLY LIKES THEM because they’re marketing geniuses and worked the Pokemon theme into their merch AND played that dumb Pokemon song when they first came out. One thing that you can say for certain about Issues is that they are genre-bending. They even have a quasi-country jam with some country singer who I don’t care about and Chooch really likes that song for some reason which concerns me because is this the GATEWAY INTO COUNTRY MUSIC FANDOM for him?! I can already see him pissing in the parking lot of a Kenny Chesney concert just to defy me and perfectly curated standards.

The only video I had of their set was through Snapchat so that shit is gone baby gone but here is a video for COMA which has been stuck in my head ever since and will probably go down in history as the one Issues song I actually REALLY LOVE, because I want to be all you think about, anything and everything you dream about. (Fuck, you got me. I like this song a lot too.)

Henry’s review: Eh, they weren’t…I don’t know. They just didn’t do it for me. They opened up good but then….I wouldn’t see them again.

(SOMEONE GET THIS DICK A JOB AT PITCHFORK.)

Knuckle Puck: in full pop-punk disclosure, I am what you would call a CASUAL FAN of this band. I know their album’s name is Copacetic because I love that word and would never forget something like that, but damn I couldn’t name one song for you. However, I have been wanting to see them live and we missed them at Bled Fest (we saw The Beautiful Gorgeous’s last show ever instead), so we clomped our way down into the pavilion and this is where Chooch kept talking to be able it French fries and I was like I DONT CARE DO WHAT YOU WANT so he had Henry go and get us French fries (US! He said he was going to SHARE them) and I stupidly assumed that Henry knew to get them with that weird cheese sauce that First Niagara Pavilion slings, but he came back with just ketchup and I was like WHAT KIND OF INJUSTICE ARE YOU SERVING ME RIGHT NOW? That just made me snap out again (the ground was made of egg shells at this point) and I left the two of them standing there, watching a band they couldn’t give a shit about.

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See ya another time  when I’m not being a moody asshole, Knuckle Puck. :(

Henry’s review: We didn’t stay there very long, did we? I can’t remember when that was, so I can’t say yes or not.

(To be fair, he was off buying french fries that were all wrong.)

Knuckle Puck

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With Confidence: Oh man, I will be honest and say that I was only waiting for them because it was the closest stage to where we were standing and nothing else was happening during this time, but good god damn am I happy for this accident because they were fucking SWEETHEARTS! And also, FROM AUSTRALIA!!! God, I love Australian bands. I also love how many non-American bands were on Warped Tour this year.

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That guy wore a With Confidence shirt to a With Confidence show.

Henry’s review: Was that on the little stage? I”m trying to think what band that was.

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Ghost Town: I saw them by myself because Henry and Chooch were somewhere else and I’m not their keeper so GO I DON’T CARE. Anyway, this band is so reminiscent of mid-2000s nu-emo, kind of like that wave of candy-coated quasi post-hardcore that rode the wave in with Pierce the Veil, the kind of bands with fluorescent merch and scene queens loitering by the bus after every show. I’d say this kind of music is my guilty pleasure, but I KNOW NO GUILT. I derive unabashed, wanton pleasure from synthy-scene jams. Plus, they have upright coffins on stage with them, so of course that caters to my interests.

They make me want to start living my life with a dramatic side-part and raccoon eyes again, you guys. Where did I put all of those old hair bows….

Ghost Town

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Henry’s review: I would see them, yeah.
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Set It Off: This was only my second time seeing them and I think they’re fun watch but if we’re being honest, there’s really only ONE SONG that I l-l-l-love and that’s The Haunting. So we wandered off right after they played that one and it’s fine because I’m not a true fan. I don’t make that diamond symbol with my hands like all the girls do.

We were there though when Cody launched into this full-fledged self-help motivational speech about reaching for the stars, etc blah blah, it’s never too late, don’t let anyone stop you, and Henry gave me multiple shoulder squeezes that translated into “Yeah, Erin, it’s never too late to make your dreams a reality!” and I was just like, “It is when you’re dead inside.”

Anyway, a few days later some girl tweeted that her two favorite singers sang together and it was CODY AND BRADLEY FROM EMAROSA?! So I asked her if she had a video and she sent it to me on Twitter it I don’t think I can save it and I am so pained. BUT FUCK YES I WAS ABLE TO EMBED IT HERE!!!  THANK YOU TWITTER USER RACHELBEE!! I have watched this so many times while making Pudding Face.

There are days when I listen to this song over and over AND I DONT CARE. @setitoffband

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Henry’s review: I don’t mind them. I would see them again….?

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These coppers were thoroughly enjoying all of Cody’s crotch grabs. So was Henry.

Bad Seed Rising: Oh shit you guys, I saw them accidentally after I ran away from Henry and Chooch while wearing my crown of Drama Queen thorns. I was planning on continuing my angry stomp across the grounds when I heard the singer unleash a gutteral scream and that’s when I realized it was this tiny girl. YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION. This was actually the only time all day that I almost got caught in the hardcore-dancing crossfire. I wish that I would have gotten punched because that could have been another thing for me to cry about that day. Boo hoo.

this girl has my heart. 😍

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And she can SANG too y’all. So picky with chicks, especially ones that think that they can scream, but this one got my seal of approval.

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I’m secretly happy that Henry missed this because I got to say, “Man, you have no idea how amazing it was” at least 67 times so far and he acts like he doesn’t care but he cares.

Henry’s review—OH WAIT HAHAHA HE WASN’T THERE.

Waterparks: I wasn’t sure what to expect with these guys, because Alt Press seems to be hyping them in the same way they hyped 5SOS and I just can’t get behind that media-choreographed hysteria, you know? Waterparks opened for Never Shout Never last winter, but Chooch and I got there after they played. When we walked into Mr. Smalls, the singer flat out interrupted the girl who was talking to him just so he could tell Chooch he liked his hair (it was still kind of pink back then). So that’s a definite stand-out impression for me.

Guys, my preconceived notions about this band were incorrect! They were fun and entertaining, and the singer Awsten’s stage banter was hilarious and smart. Funnily enough, he had a weirdness about him that definitely reminded me of Christofer Drew from Never Shout Never. This is all to say that I fell in some serious like with Waterparks on this evening and I will be looking out for them to come back to Pittsburgh so that I can go see them, by myself probably,

I would ask Henry what he thought of them, but he slept through their whole entire set, so…..

(I posted this video on Chooch’s Instagram because I figured all of my friends are OVER IT by now, haha.)

Chunk! No Captain Chunk: I feel like these guys got made fun of a lot when they were new, but now it seems like more people have accepted the fact that France has produced a pop-punk band. I personally enjoy them on a casual level, arms-length if you will, but for some reason Chooch was adamant that we watch them. This made Henry groan because they were the last band to play on the Cyclops stage, right as Warped Tour was winding down, which meant there was no chance of Henry escaping early like we have been able to do in past years when there were no bands left that we cared about.

Chooch’s favorite things about their set was when the singer would pronounce Pittsburgh like “PEETS-burgh” and the fact that they covered Smash Mouth’s “All Star” — I didn’t realize he was such a fan of that song?! Chooch was disappointed that I didn’t get a video it and I was like, “Why would I, though?”.

Henry’s review: Um…I didn’t mind them. I don’t know. I would see them again…?

Anyway, it was a nice FEEL-GOOD note to end Warped Tour on this year. Sorry I was such an asshole for the first half of the day.

And that wraps up this year’s edition of bands we saw at Warped Tour, some of us were clearly more into it than others. The line-up was exceptional this year and I wish I could have multiplied myself to be at every stage at the same time, except for when Falling In Reverse, Reel Big Fish, or Motionless In White were playing because I go out of my way to avoid those ones! (I don’t like supporting women-beaters, ska bands, or cheesy metal.)

I’m already counting down for next year! I could use a massive do-over and I’ll be sure not to answer my phone this time if it rings. Le sigh.

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