May 242017
 

Me: Ugh why is Balance & Composure so fucking perfect?

Henry: I don’t know….?

Me: UGH WHY DO YOU HATE THEM?!

***********

Ok so maybe Henry doesn’t hate them per se, but he definitely isn’t a fan either and had zero guilt whatsoever about dropping me off in the Land of Post-Penguins Game Drunks on Sunday for their show at the Rex. It would be the third time seeing them in less than a year and you better believe I don’t take that shit for granted.

The height of my B&C obsession was last fall. We got SUPER hot&heavy, you guys, and I’m ok with sharing that because we’re all friends here. Their most recent album stayed on my record player for months and Henry and Chooch were all wide-eyed and tense. So while I might be all up on the Hallyu jock currently, I will always drop the Hangul long enough to let in some All American sad boy rock.

I arrived shortly after doors and had friendly banter with the bouncer, who asked if he could add to my collection of wristbands, or if I wanted to take my old one off (I usually keenmy wristbands on until they wear off on their own: my name is Erin and I’m disgusting). I shrugged and opted to take it off, so he rummaged in his pocket for what—A KNIFE? SCISSORS? A HACKSAW?—but I had already yanked the wristband off on my own. He acted like he was so impressed and made a “u so strong, girl” motion with his arms.

I love that guy.  Last time I was there, we struggled to work the ATM together. Not all bouncers are dicks, I guess!

Then I nearly got duped into changing electric companies (again!) by some girl who was standing at the door and I thought she wanted to take my ticket but NO she was just trying to start another fight between me and Henry. I literally just got persuaded by a cute college boy last fall to switch to some environmentally-sound clean energy thing and it sounded great but it was going to raise our bill by like three dollars and Henry had a fit because he googled the company and found review after review of horror stories from customers who got taken and everyday he was like DID YOU CALL AND CANCEL YET? YOU BETTER FUCKING CALL AND CANCEL.

God lay off, pops!

Anyway, when I tried to hand her my ticket, she was all, “Oh no, I don’t need that. But say, maybe you could help me? Do you like the environment?” And I said yes because sure. But as she said that, I noticed the paper she was holding said CLEAN ENERGY so when she asked if I oh the electric bill in my household, I said “No my dad does” BECAUSE IM ON TO YOU NOW, YOU LITTLE TREE HUGGER.

J/K I like trees.

“Oh! Well, when you get your own electric bill, look us up!” she said, and I was like, “Byeeeee suckaaaaa!”

(My tangents are the signs of someone desperate for compassionship. Henry doesn’t count. He’s exceptionally skilled at tuning me out. probably that’s how he cansleep  through concerts too.)

So now I was officially inside the Rex. It wasn’t very crowded yet so I slunk on over to the side of the stage because you know me, that good ol’ side bitch.

I mean…

Normally at shows, I can immediately spot the other loners in the crowd, but this show was populated by groups of friends and COUPLES WHO LIKE THE SAME MUSIC. Like, 75% of the crowd was on a date.

And then there’s me.

Leaning against a wall.

Next to a garbage can.

Le sigh!

Sometimes I feel like going to shows by myself is getting to be “not so bad” but this was not one of those nights. In fact, I was so self-conscious that I distracted myself by blogging about the last show I went to.  I literally blogged at a show about another show.

My life is so rich.

Thankfully, the first band—Queen of Jeans, from Philly— started right at 8 so I had something to do other than fidget with my phone, looking all loner-y and suspicious.

I had never heard of Queen of Jeans before and wasn’t expecting much. When I saw that three of them were girls, and two of them were dressed in various shades of 1970s afghan brown, I totally judged that book by its cover and wrote them off to be some riot grrl band. You know me! Picky with girl bands.

Anyway, you’ll be smug to know that I was wrong in my assumptions, and I ended up really, and I mean truly really very madly, loving them. Like a lot. The singer (Miriam – I’ve been reading some things, I do that sometimes, try to get some cold hard facts before I start laying down my super opinionated words) had the most unexpected voice, kind of reminiscent of Stacy King (Sucre, ex-Eisley), but with so much more power. I mean, this girl could BELT IT OUT. And the other two fucking slayed that stage right along with her, while the drummer, the lone dude, knew his place in the back. (J/K – he was incredible too.)

I can’t remember the last time I was at a show where the opening band was unknown to everyone there, yet still managed to get the whole crowd so hyped. We were LOVING it, totally eating out of their hands. They could have told us to scream, “FLYERS RULE” and….well, no, we probably wouldn’t have done it. THAT’S JUST GOING TOO FAR.

They ended with a cover.

“It’s 90s R&b,” Miriam gave us as a hint. “She’s dead.”

Right away, I was thinking Aaliyah because I’m old and used to be a yo-girl, that shit was my wheelhouse. But I didn’t want to yell it out loud by myself, so I said nothing.

AND GUESS WHAT I WAS RIGHT, UGH.

Here’s the tail end of it, where they were fucking shredding and we all lost our minds:

Good lord. Yes. @queenofjeans

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And here’s a full one, please enjoy. Have a drink and relax:

The second band was From Indian Lakes. I have been wanting to see them again ever since the first Riot Fest I went to in 2014, when I was walking past the small stage they were playing on and did the whole HOLD UP WAIT A MINUTE stop-in-my-tracks-while-Henry-keeps-walking thing.

I think I was body-snatched during their set because I barely remember it aside from the initial text I sent Henry that said, “OMFG I forgot how good they are!” I absolutely cannot remember anything now. Should I be concerned?!

I do remember that they had a bright white neon marquee that said F I L and I had a fleeting thought of, “LOL, father in law” and then I was clearly hypnotized. It’s the only explanation.

Aside from aliens.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is that I went to see Balance & Composure and was caught up in the rapture just like Anita Baker and shooooooo lawd, if I could see these guys once a month maybe you could start calling me religious. As soon as Jon Simmons starts doing his dreamy Midnight Zone dance, I SUDDENLY FIND GOD.

I’m just over here fanning my face, please hold.

ILYSM!!! 😍💗

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They played all of my faves: Midnight Zone, Postcard, Tiny Raindrop, Quake, Reflection, Tore You Apart….OK every song they played is my favorite because there’s not a single song I dislike in their whole entire discography. They are perfect, in my opinion. And just what I needed to cap off an already wonderful weekend. Sometimes, the social anxiety is worth it when the reward is a night of beautiful music that sticks with you.

Be my prom date, B&C.

**********

It was after 11pm by the time I got home and Chooch kept asking me if I was hungry, which I thought was strange because since when does he care about how or what I’m feeling?

“No, it’s after 11 and I’m ready for bed, not food,” I said. But he just kept it up, until finally I was like, “OMG, if YOU’RE hungry, eat something then go to bed!”

“Are you sure you don’t want an ENGLISH MUFFIN?” he asked, not so subtly stressing the “english muffin” part. He did everything but the wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

Finally, I figured out that he was trying to lure me over to the toaster so that I could see they bought a new one while I was at the show. No more burnt bagels!

“We don’t even have English muffins, so it’s a good thing you didn’t say yes,” Henry mumbled.

“Do you want to listen to a RECORD?!” Chooch asked from the back porch, practically sprawled across the table the record player sits on. And I noticed there was a new speaker sitting there. Wow, what a huge night for Henry and Chooch. Send a postcard about it. Five lines.

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May 212017
 

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

That’s always the reason!

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

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

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

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

So here are some things I want to remember:

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

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

OWEL YOU HAVE MY HEART. 

If you need me, I'll just be following @owelband around on the rest of their tour kbye.

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

It was strange seeing A Lot Like Birds without Kurt, but I still love them lots. Tonight had good energy. 💗

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

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

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May 192017
 

I have a lot of bands that I really love lots like tater tots, and I love the feeling I get when I see them live. But there is no feeling greater than the one I get when I see Emarosa. It’s so much more than just a concert: it’s an actual show. It’s crowd involvement. It’s an intense wave of raw energy that makes you forget everything else happening in the world, because for that small amount of time, Emarosa is inviting you into their world. And it’s chaotic and honest and nearly as beautiful as G-Dragon’s face.

You guys, they are my favorite band to see live, and I see A LOT of bands live!

Chooch and I already had tickets to see them last week in Pittsburgh, when  they were supporting Pierce the Veil, but when I saw they were also doing a handful of headlining shows on their off-dates from the PTV tour, I quickly bought three tickets for their Cleveland show at Mahall’s. Emarosa twice in one week? SO FUCKING BLESSED.

Plus, Mahall’s is a very intimate venue and I was excited to get all up close and personal. You gotta see Emarosa up close.

After spending a lovely afternoon polluting Cleveland with our idiocy, we got to Mahall’s right around the time doors were set to open. Do you even know me? I am rarely late to a show. I need to see it all! Anyway, Chooch spotted Bradley in the back of Emarosa’s van when we were walking past, so he started doing that thing he does where he starts to approach, then backs away, then approaches, then flings himself against a wall in anguish. I don’t know where he gets that. I have never had a problem talking to musicians. In fact, I’m the greatest at talking to musicians. No one talks to musicians in a more bigly great fashion than me. My confidence is uuuuge. So many people came out to see me talk to the last musician I talked to. So many!

#fakenews

But back to Chooch. There were several other people standing around, observing Chooch on the brink of a nervous breakdown and it was so awkward that I couldn’t watch any longer. “Please go with him, for Christ’s sake!” I hissed to Henry, giving him a gentle (lol) shove toward the van. So Henry was like FML and went to the back of the van to get Bradley’s attention.

I stayed by the door to Mahall’s because I’m too cool for that shit.

SIKE.

I was too busy staring into my phone screen, willing it to suck me in and away from this situation. I’m always so worried that Bradley is going to think we’re psycho stalkers, or that we’re trying to use him for perks or whatever, but that is totally not who we are – we all, as a family, love Emarosa and their music so much. There are very few bands that all three of us equally enjoy, so it really brings us closer as family (lol, j/k – we fought like 87 times that day, but the fun we had negated that so we’re cool, guys, don’t worry).

Bradley came out of the van and hugged Chooch, etc but I still wouldn’t go over there because I was too scared, for god’s sake. I’m 12, remember?

According to Henry, Bradley said something like, “Wow, you don’t stop!” to Chooch, since he had just seen him FOUR DAYS prior. Then he said that if he saw Chooch in the crowd, he was crowdsurfing that night.

I laughed when Henry told me, like what a cute threat, amiright?

Meanwhile, some guy standing near me outside saw Chooch with Bradley and he asked me, “Are you guys friends?” I wish! But I told him that we just casually know him from going to so many Emarosa shows and that Chooch really looks up to him. I mean, my kid rarely gets starstruck, but you put him near Christofer Drew from Never Shout Never or Bradley Walden from Emarosa, and that boy has eight tongues that are all tied together and then shot 4 times with Novacaine.

He’s not talking anytime soon.

“Bradley’s a good role model to have!” the guy said, and I was like, “Yeah, he really is.” Especially when after seeing Emarosa, Chooch pulled out his Sing Machine for the first time in like, a year. I  think he feels really inspired by them and that is just the best thing any parent could ask for.

Please, please, please let him have a future in music!

Then when we were inside waiting to get our tickets, Bradley came in and hugged me and I was like JUST BE COOL, ERIN, DON’T DIE.

Really though, how far we’ve come from the days of being ridiculed by a former singer for driving five hours to see his band play in Buffalo because I couldn’t get the night off work to see them when they were in Pittsburgh (OMG I’m such a loser for having a job and being broke but STILL making the drive to see your shitty face) to having the current singer say it’s nice to see me.

But enough about the past – back to the show!

There were five bands playing that night much to Chooch’s chagrin. He just wants to get in there, see the band he wants to see, and go the fuck home. Eleven-year-olds, you know? Pfft. He survived the first band – Keys and Corridors – but then “had to go the bathroom” which means he wanted to go back out to where the pinball machines were.

I liked Keys and Corridors though! Anytime there’s a girl in the band, I hope with all my heart that I will like it because we need more bands with girls.

And this one had two!

Chooch came back before the second back, Forage and Wander (I think?), started to play but he was being so fidgety and making me nervous, so I made Henry take him outside. Like he’s a dog. Take the dog for a walk, Henry! And here’s a bag for his messes.

Thank god Mahall’s has re-entry. God bless you, Mahall’s.

Anyway, the second band was fine. Nothing that my ears found inoffensive.

But the third band! Oh my sweetly-spanked Mussolini, this next band was everything I needed right then.

That sweet, melodic post-hardcore vibe taking me back to 2010? Check.

Immediate excitement that made me type things like #OBSESSED all over social media? Check.

Super hot frontwoman in a leather jacket with a voice that could knock you on your ass? Double check. 

I texted Henry and said, “You’re missing this band with a super hot girl singer” and LO AND BEHOLD, minutes later, Chooch and Henry sidled up next to me.

Wow, such coincidence.

Oh! Their name is Leav/e/arth. I even love their name!!

Honestly though, they gave me that excited feeling I used to get when I was younger, seeing a local band at Nick’s Fat City and thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe this band is from Pittsburgh!” That’s how I felt during their set: “Wow, Cleveland is so lucky that have this band!” I would try to see them as often as possible if I lived in Cleveland.

Just saying, Jason!

Also, I just saw that they’re on InVogue Records so now I’m going to start hounding the appropriate parties on Instagram for a Hotel Books / Leav/e/arth tour!

Next was Cedar Green, who are on this whole mini-tour of Emarosa’s. I thought that their name sounded familiar and then I realized that I saw them three years ago in Allentown, PA when they opened for Hands Like Houses and Slaves (ugh). Cedar Green had some technical difficulty during one of their songs (ER from Emarosa came out to help them behind the scenes which was so cool of him) but honestly I thought they were wonderful regardless. They had great energy and I know I say that a lot but have you ever seen a band that’s just kind of like…there? Then you know what I mean. I was happy to be able to support them, and when they did a Twenty One Pilots cover, Chooch was on board too.

I went over to talk to the guitarist after the show that night, and asked if they’re from Allentown. He confirmed this and seemed sincerely shocked that I not only had seen them before, but remembered it, too. He called the singer over to tell him, and he was also super excited about this. I love young bands that still have that humble graciousness – it’s adorable and it makes me so excited for them! I really hope they garner lots of new fans on this tour.

They remind me of summer. <3

Ugh, and then it was time for Emarosa! I’m going to cry at the memory of it because it was one of those nights that you wish you could gather up and stuff inside a snow globe, to relive with every gentle shake. LE SIGH. My emo heart, it bleeds.

I hope that if you’ve read any of my past Emarosa posts, you’ve taken some time out to listen to their music. If not – PLEASE do yourself a favor and check out their most recent album, 131. Their whole discography is beautiful and perfectly encapsulates each era of their journey, from Chris Roetter to Jonny Craig to Bradley Walden.

But…this current era with Bradley is tops, and it’s the best starting point for a new listener. PLEASE GO LISTEN AND REPORT BACK. I’ll wait.

At an Emarosa show, you’re going to get everything from:

  • charmingly funny stage banter that doesn’t come off as trite
  • literal acrobatics: Bradley usually does a backflip or two; picks up their bassist and spins him upside down;  gives their guitarist a piggyback ride through the crowd; and if there’s anything around for him to climb and hang from, he’ll find a way,
  • tons of crowd immersion (sometimes I think he spends more time singing in the middle of the floor than he does on stage),
  • but most importantly, incredibly well-written, passionately-performed music.

And this night, Saturday May 13th at Mahall’s in Cleveland, had all of these things.

(Except the climbing, although it did seem like at one point Bradley was casing the ceiling for something to grab onto it.)

Here, just watch this. JUST WATCH IT!

Young Lonely 💖

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I was in tears from all of the beauty, when, in the middle of “Helpless,” Bradley pointed to Chooch and summoned him on stage. Chooch was trying to convince himself that the attention was actually for the girl next to him, but even she knew what was going on and turned to make room for Chooch.

So he goes on stage and I’m like OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW ARE YOU KIDDING ME and then Bradley picked him up like a regular sack of potatoes and slowly launched him onto the waiting hands of the crowd. My fucking kid was crowd-surfing. I oscillated back and forth between: “FUCK YEAH MY KID IS CROWD-SURFING!” to “OMFG PLEASE DON’T GET DROPPED!”

I can’t even believe it. I mean, I can. Bradley doesn’t make idle threats, I guess. I mean, the night was already 100/100, but this just sky-rocketed it to extra-terrestrial levels of outrageousness. How is this band so great?!

My kid got his first crowd-surf out of the way. At age 11. 😳

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Chooch of course ran over to the merch table after the show so he could once again act all quiet and awkward in front of the band, and get another photo for his ME&BRADLEYFOREVER scrapbook (I’m just guessing he has one).

img_1900

(The lighting was awkward!)

While I was getting my phone ready to take the picture, Bradley started whispering something to Chooch, and I figured it was probably something like, “Hey kid, stay in school” or “Be nice to your mom & dad, they love you” but NO.

Chooch told me as we were walking away that what he said was, “Why do you let your mom have that phonecase? Tell her to get rid of that.”

Ugh! Whatever! My phonecase is….lit? OK fine it’s dumb and clunky and something only someone riding on the back of a unicorn should have, but I love it. I mean, the manager at CVS asked to Snapchat it, for fuck’s sake!

It’s fine. No, I’m OK. I still love Emarosa.

(OK but seriously, if you made it to the end, now you have to go and listen to at least one song. And then buy their album. And a t-shirt. And then go see them. I’ll go with you, even. Maybe. If it’s within driving distance. And you’ll feed me.)

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May 112017
 

It’s hard to believe that nine years ago, I saw Emarosa open for Pierce the Veil at some dinky skate park venue in Buffalo, and now here I was with Chooch (a much better concert companion than the one I had in ’08), seeing them together again on a much larger scale.

Pierce the Veil is still the same band from way back when. Emarosa couldn’t be more different. Yet, the feelings (trying to stop saying FEELS all the time because Inannoy even myself) were still the same.

100%.

Henry dropped Chooch and me off at Stage AE right after work on Tuesday and I was READY. Chooch found joy in pointing out all the parents in line who were way older than me, so that was a fun game for me too, although it was also kind of bizarre because I don’t remember parents ever being at PTV shows back in the day – why are their fans getting consistently younger?!

Although in every case I’ve encountered, the parents were there because they actually like PTV too, so that’s something.

Standing in line was boring. Nothing exciting happened. No ice cream truck. I did happily shout, “TAMPON” when the security guard was patting me down and asked what was in my pocket.

And Henry mocks me for never being prepared. Pfft!

Chooch and I managed to get the same spot we had for Never Shout Never, a sweet spot against the railing, off to the right where absolutely no one crowds so we’re free to gesticulate wildly and Chooch can, god forbid, rest his weary 11-year-old bones between sets.

As soon as we claimed our spots, an older woman gave us a once-over and said, “Oh good, you’re here with a kid too!”

I get real defensive about this because I’m not just some chaperone. So I felt the need to explain that I have actually liked PTV for the last 10 years (I didn’t mention liking their first incarnation, Before Today, because I didn’t want to sound like an indigent hipster even though I do have the indignation part down pat).

“He likes them now too so he became my concert buddy,” I said, jutting an elbow back toward Chooch. Henry is still so thankful about this, btw.

Anyway, Yinzer Mom (that’s not nice – she was actually a lovely person who knew when it was fine to just stand together in silence without puffing out empty words all night) went on to tell me that her daughter got her into PTV last summer.

“I started listening to them while working out – I lost 50 pounds!” she exclaimed.

“It’s like you and Kpop!” Chooch butted in. Shut up, Chooch. The moms are talking.

It was cool to listen to an older person gush over a band that has been associated with teenage fans for as long as I’ve been into them. I don’t really understand why that is, because they’re so great, and for as many times as I’ve seen them (at least 20 times by now!), they have not put on one single bad show.

I asked her if she’d ever heard of Emarosa and she admitted that she hadn’t.

“You’re going to love them,” I promised. And then she told me that the last concert she attended was Kid Rock & Lynyrd Skynyrd 10 years ago.

Wow. Just wow.

Also, not surprising.

Then some other old broad rolled up with two young teen girls. They were standing on the floor below us, but the broad turned around to talk to us several times, my favorite of which was when she asked me if I liked Korn.

LOL.

For a minute in 1997? And then a second in 1999?

She must have been bitchin’ back in the day. I could tell by her form-fitting black attire, severely bleached hair, and faded sleeve full of hearts and daggers.

Ugh, I’m trying to do this new No Judgment thing and it’s hard. So very hard.

She was a very nice lady.

With some pretty poor choices.

The first band to play was Chapel. I had never heard of them and didn’t do my due diligence because it’s a struggle for me to leave my Korean bubble. I gave them nary a Spotify spin. I expected them to be moderately heavy, but instead we were treated with an electro-pop duo from Georgia who completely and unexpectedly slayed. The drummer was a bad-ass girl who, at one point, was beating a drum with her head. Chooch was enthralled.

He’s been learning how to play drums now too, in addition to piano. His teacher Cheryl dedicates the last 15 minutes of his piano lessons for some drummin’, and he is really into it.

“That’s your basic rock beat,” he said, nodding toward the stage during the intro  to one of the songs.

Yeah, Chooch and I were definitely fans of these guys.

Chapel was way better than I anticipated ❤

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I kept thinking of Whitechapel in my head, and I’m glad that they didn’t sound like them.

After Chapel, it was EMAROSA TIME! It occurred to me that it had been nearly a year since we last saw them, and maybe I’m just spoiled but that is way too long and I’m glad we were able to rectify that shit. Chooch and I were fine not being closer to the stage because we’re also going to see them in Cleveland on Saturday, where they’ll be a doing an off-date headlining show at Mahalls. Way more intimate!

Bradley has bleached hair now and that was disorienting at first (Henry would have had a field day because he’s obsessed with noticing changes in band members’ hair), but then they started playing and it was like, “MY HEART IS HOME AGAIN.” How are they not taking over the world yet!?

Guys. Emarosa fixed me right up tonight.

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Bradley did all of the people-pleasing tricks: doing backflips on stage, literally immersing himself in the crowd, carrying their guitarist on his shoulders through the crowd. But most of all, he sang like a fucking anguished angel while the rest of Emarosa supported his vocals with intense instrumentals. There is no other way to explain an Emarosa show to someone other than it sounds like magic and you will be fucking engaged. Bradley will make sure of that. Every show I’ve been to, people go nuts, whether it’s their first time or fiftieth time experiencing the bombastic showmanship.

Afterward, I asked my new mom friend what she thought. I mean, she was fucking whistling (yes, she’s a whistler; sigh), fumbling to record with her phone, and screaming her crispy-haired head off.

“Holy shit! I was NOT expecting that,” she yelled. “When they first came on, I was like OK who is singing?! And then I was like, Oh! There he is, IN THE CROWD! They were AWESOME!”

I love experiencing someone’s first time with Emarosa! I’m starting to cry as I write this, someone give me a pill.

Immediately after their set, Bradley hopped off the stage and went straight back to Emarosa’s merch table, because he cares about his fans, you guys. The merch table was on  the opposite side of the venue from where we were standing and I didn’t want to lose our spots. I could have asked Yinzer Mom to save them for us I guess, but I hate talking to people.

“I’ll just go by myself,” Chooch said with a shrug, and off went my independent 11-year-old kid who doesn’t need me to hold his hand like I need Henry to hold mine. WHO IS THIS BOY!?

Anyway, he stood in line all by himself and he said Bradley playfully punched his arm when he noticed him. <3

Of course, Chooch didn’t say much because Bradley is the only person in the world who can take Chatty Chooch’s tongue. It’s amazing, really, how shy and clammed-up he becomes. But he got a picture!

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<3<3<3

Chooch was angry because the guy who took the picture for them didn’t do a good job.

“It’s blurry!” he whined, and I was like, “Yeah but it’s still better than if Henry had taken it.”

Bradley asked where his parents were and Chooch was probably thinking in his head, “THEY ABANDONED ME WILL YOU ADOPT ME PLEASE BE MY NEW DAD” but instead, Chooch said he told Bradley that his mom was “over there somewhere.”

Yep that’s me, being a vigilant parent, on the other side of a venue full of drunk people and boobytraps and kidnappers.

The next band was Sum 41 and I was totally not looking forward to them. I kind of wished, selfishly, that they were the headliners so we could peace out after PTV, but no….they were right smack in the middle.

I’ve managed to go all these years without ever having to see them live, and I only know the songs “In Too Deep” and “Fat Lip.” So I was willing to give them a chance, because maybe they’d be fun. As the stage was being setup for them, the floor started to fill in with a lot of older persons; Yinzer bros who most definitely listen to nu-metal started pushing their way to the middle of the floor, sloshing their bro-beers around and just looking like genuine hooligans.

I was glad that we had a railing separating us from them because I could only imagine.

You guys. I’m probably going to offend people here, but Sum 41 now sits comfortably in my list of Top 20 Worst Bands I’ve Ever Had to Stand Through. Maybe they’re for you but THEY ARE NOT FOR ME. And apparently, not for my kid either, because he was ANGRY during their set.

He flipped them off several times, too.

Look, I’m glad Derrick Whibley didn’t like, die, or whatever, and that he got away from Avril Lavigne, but good goddamn, he is not very original with his crowd engagement and banter (getting the crowd to yell Fuck Yeah – so progressive).

Also, their set was like a billion decibels louder than the other three, and was definitely one of the loudest shows I’ve ever been to, and not in a good way. I was actually in pain, that’s how needlessly loud it was. Like, I actually wished I had earplugs.

I felt like a subwoofer was having me for dinner.

And when did Sum 41 become metal? It was basically 45 minutes of generic-sounding metal riffs, a quick Black Sabbath cover, a cover of We Will Rock You that they dragged out for 10  minutes because Derrick had to stop in the middle of it to fling more banal banter at the crowd while sauntering around the stage aimlessly.

Sum 41 guitar solos.

Sum 41 minutes I’ll never get back.

Sum 41 days of hearing loss.

Yeah, I hated them. It was the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus all over again.

It was years of enduring Dope because they wouldn’t stop touring with my beloved Cold.

It was just a waste of time. Go back to 2002, Sum 41.

But none of that mattered once Pierce the Veil came on!

Pierce the Veil's show-opening never disappoints 🔥💥🥊

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There’s not much I can say on this here blog other than they were utterly fantastic. From their stage design to the performance, it was flawless and entertaining and kept us all engaged – even my fickle kid who has been known to want to leave after three songs are played.

But he was really feeling it, and we kept elbowing each other each time our faves were played, or when Jaime would come to our side of the stage, or when legit smoke circles came bursting out into the crowd during “Circles.”

Mike’s drum set was on top of a giant stick of dynamite, even!

Pierce the Veil shows have it all!

Vic mentioned that 2017 marks TEN YEARS of them being a band and I can’t even believe it. Obviously, it makes me wistful for certain people, and a certain time in my life, but I’m glad that I can still go to these shows and not be completely sucker-punched with sadness anymore. Maybe it’s a new era. Maybe it’s because now I can share it with Chooch.

But it’s good now. Even when they threw it back to A Flair for the Dramatic – sure, I held my hands to my chest like a little old lady clutching her purse on the way to church….but no tears! I was TEAR FREE!

I AM SAVED, LORD JESUS!

I do miss the fluorescent clothes-wearing scene kids with side parts that used to make up the majority of the crowd, though. Those were the days. #StayPosi

No one even wears bows in their hair anymore!

💙 Pierce the Veil 💙

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OMG, after they played “Stay Away From My Friends,” my new mom friend and I literally squealed and she elbowed me SO HARD (I’m delicate!) that it hurt but I’ll let it go this time since it was in the name of PTV.

Chooch was a happy boy because the last song of the encore was King For a Day. I wish that Besitos was still part of their set list, but their last album is so great that I don’t really miss it that much, I guess. (But it IS one of my favorites! God, Vic — aren’t you reading all of my letters!? Is it because they’re written in blood?!)

As we were leaving, we saw Chooch’s One True Love, Courtney, leaning against the bar with her boyfriend. Chooch has loved her since he was in 1st grade and she was the 8th grade mentor. Now she’s like, I don’t know, in some grade in high school, but we run into her a lot. We saw her earlier when she was crowd-surfing during PTV, so now I figure it’s only a matter of time before Chooch needs to step up his concert game and I AM NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT SO MANY KIDS WERE WALKING PAST US WITH BLOODY NOSES AND I DON’T WANT MY SWEET LITTLE BOY TO BLEED WAAAAAH!

Sometimes I’m a mom.

Anyway! So we saw Courtney and Chooch was all, “Oh no. Oh god no” and he tried to go the opposite way, but I grabbed him by the shoulders and steered him over to her while he was literally dragging his heels. Eventually, he was right in front of her. She looked up from her phone, smiled real big, and said, “Hi Riley!” with just the right amount of taunting-ness to her voice.

His face turned so red that I feared if I pricked it with a pin, a gush of blood would come spurting out a la The Shining.

Then we went outside and ran around looking for our parents like all of the other kids leaving the show. Don’t worry, Papa H was waiting.

 

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May 082017
 

“What’s wrong? Why are you so flushed?” Amber asked me this morning as she walked by my desk. 

I took a few seconds to compose myself before squealing, “I just watched this G-Dragon video,” at which point there was a collective groan of “oh my god” all around me. 

But then I let her watch it and she became obsessed with trying to make fingerhearts and by obsessed I mean she practiced doing it for like 15 seconds and then went back to being a professional adult while Glenn was using his hostage eyes to plead for her to take him with her as she walked away.

Tim của anh nè 🖤❤️ @xxxibgdrgn @peaceminusonedotcom @peaceminusone

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Every time I made someone watch this video today, I would giddily whisper, “OMG what’s he looking for? Oh, oh! Fingerhearts.” And then I would clutch my heart and swoon. 

Wendy thought this was dumb but then she too tried to accomplish the perfect heart-shaped placement of the fingers. 

She was watching me do it and cried, “Why can’t I do it? My fingers won’t do it right! Why?”

“Because they’re yours,” I shrugged. 

“I couldn’t imagine what he was going to pull out of his pocket,” Todd said. “But then it was just fingerhearts. That’s time I’ll never get back.”

Whatever.  Lauren thought it was adorable. And Glenn is probably at home right now waving fingerhearts in front of his baby daughter’s face. 

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Apr 282017
 

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Basement is currently on tour with Thursday and Touche Amore and I was disappointed that there was no Pittsburgh show. But then Basement announced that they were coming here on one of their off-dates! Henry is pretty ambivalent about Basement* so I didn’t even bother asking him to go with me. I just bought a ticket for one (so sad) and told him he had to drop me off at Cattivo after work on Wednesday.

*(He didn’t go with me the first time I saw them at Altar Bar and he didn’t even stand me when I was right in front of the stage for them at Riot Fest. Henry hates British people. Pass it on.)

We got there a bit before doors opened so I told Henry to just drive around so I didn’t have to stand in line with my head down, praying no one would talk to me. So Henry drove past Cattivo and made a right.

“Hey look, that’s probably Basement’s van,” Henry said, and then, “Hey look, someone just got out.” So he turned around because I was interested in seeing who it was. It turned out to be Al, and he’s my favorite!!

He was walking down a dead end street which leads toward the river, and Henry fucking turned down the street and followed him in spite of my protests. There was literally no reason for us to be driving down there, and it was clear that we were stalking the poor guy, so he looked extremely startled when Chooch put down the window and cried, “Hi AL!!!” Like, were we about to shove a burlap sack over his head and hogtie him in our trunk? YOU NEVER CAN TELL WITH US.

“Oh, hi,” he cautiously said back to us, and then we made eye contact so I felt obligated to also say hi as I was sliding down in the front seat into the puddle of anxiety I had created on the floor.

And then Henry promptly turned the car around and drove off.

It was so embarrassing. Like when your dad drives you to school and your little brother says something dumb out  the window to the cute skater guy that you’re obsessed with, Scott Dambaugh who, what now?

Luckily, Chooch wasn’t wearing his Tuesdays with Tay shirt that features Al, because then this probably would have been just one more instance of Chooch stealing bands away from me. (NEVER FORGET: THE T-SHIRT THAT RUINED MY LIFE.)

Ugh. After that happened, I made them drop me off a block away from Cattivo so they wouldn’t have a chance to strike twice.

I was blessed to have an evening of relative invisibility. I sank into the wall and was the victim of no small talk, no sleazy accidental touching, and no drunken Yinzer rudeness whatsoever. Thank you, concert overlords.

The first band to play was Primer & Grayscale, a local band I first saw several months ago at Smiling Moose. I think they were opening the Pianos Become the Teeth show, but I am too lazy and unconcerned at the moment to fact check that. Which is why my blog is fake news. Anyhow, I fucking fell in love with these guys from the get-go and immediately started following them on Instagram and Facebook, which is actually how I found out about this show. I bought my ticket directly from them because if you don’t support local bands, you’re dead to me.

I forgot how great they are, to be honest, so hearing them the other night was like falling in love all over again. They opened with a new song and it made me catch my breath.

Please give these guys your ears for just a few moments and let their emo majesty swaddle your soul. I want them to play in my living room. LIKE RIGHT NOW. I’ll pause the Kpop that’s currently playing, just for them.

The second band was also local. Swiss Army.

They were alright and seemed to get the crowd hyped, and maybe it was just because my back was starting to hurt and I was hungry and tired, but they weren’t holding my attention. I didn’t feel all jammed up with the warm, moist feels like Primer & Grayscale had previously provided. Now I was just cold and lonely and wanting the night to hurry up and end.

Seriously though, I was “chew on my hair” hungry.

Thankfully, there were just three bands on the bill that night, and Basement started promptly at 8:45. Early shows are the best shows.

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This was my third time seeing them in just over a year (remember, this is the band that threw a wrench in Henry’s original itinerary for last year’s Disney trip lol) so I felt super lucky. There’s a certain energy they exude that I was desperate to take in that night, like a sonic slap to the face to wake me up. I’ve been doing OK lately but these kinds of wake up calls are always valued.

Basement gets me every time. (Only the first part is sideways sorry lol.)

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I quickly went from being cold and cranky to sweaty and SO FUCKING STOKED. I was still really hungry though so when I got in the car after the show and saw that Henry had a bag of pretzels, I snatched it out of his lap and ate like a hungry, hungry hippo. If concerts could curb appetites, I’d be a fucking waif.

Anyway, that was my night at Cattivo. I didn’t hate anyone and I adored 2 out of 3 bands.

 

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Apr 262017
 

YOU GUYS. Yesterday, G-Dragon announced that he’s coming to NORTH AMERICA on his world tour this summer and I almost made Henry wreck the car.

“How old are you!?” he hissed when I couldn’t stop muttering, “G-Dragon, oh my god” over and over, ruining Chooch’s birthday.

I sent Amber2 an urgent CAPSLOCK text and she was all, “Wow, your vice is coming to America.” I knew she meant to say bias.

This morning, I just about slammed my phone into Glenn’s face to show him the announcement and he was like, “Wow. That pretty little girl is coming here.”

Because that’s what he calls GD. :(

Then Wendy came over and Amber2 asked, “Did you get a text too?” and Wendy just rolled her eyes and said yes.

“Mine ended with ‘I’M DYING’,” Amber told Wendy.

“Mine had exploding heart eyes or something,” Wendy sighed.

Then I got REALLY EMOTIONAL AT WORK which almost NEVER happens and my eyes started to water (allergies) and my face was SO FLUSHED (heatstroke?) OK fine – because OBSESSION.

The small audience around my desk was like, “Wow.”

“And we were just watching that video of him yesterday!” I cried over my shoulder to Glenn, and explained to Wendy that it was a video from a few years back, when GD was doing a fan greet where people got in a line to shake his hand.

“I didn’t see him actually shake anyone’s hands,” Glenn mumbled. “He just barely touched them.”

“Yeah, well…that’s because you didn’t watch the entire sixteen minutes, Glenn,” I spat and Wendy took that as her cue to peace out from the ridiculous dialogue.

When Todd got to work, I screamed, “TODD OMG!” and Glenn was like, “LET HIM SIT DOWN FIRST, FOR GOD’S SAKE.”

It was the talk of the town. Well, office quadrant. Well, half of the office quadrant.

Anyway, tickets haven’t gone on sale yet and I am so nervous. His Seoul concert sold out in 8 minutes. Ugh! We’re (we’re, lol) hoping to go to the Toronto show because it’s on MY BIRTHDAY. Please pray for me.

I was looking at the different VIP packages (of course there aren’t any prices available yet) and now I feel like I need the gold package but Henry said it’s probably $2000. I HAVE THINGS THAT I CAN SELL. I WILL SELL MY FUCKING RIOT FEST TICKETS WATCH ME.

(OK I don’t want to have to do that but I will because not going to Riot Fest will save us a lot of $$$ GOD WHY ISN’T HENRY A DOCTOR OR AN OIL TYCOON OR A FRENCH PORN DIRECTOR*.)

*(Mostly because that would just be cool.)

“I don’t see that hi-touch thing on here, though,” Todd said when I made him also look at the VIP packages because that’s what I do – I suck people in and make them hold my hand while I obsess over things.

“Todd, that’s for KCON,” I said exasperatedly.

“Oh yeah! That’s KCON,” he said in an “I’m so dumb” tone.

Please try to keep up with my ever-changing flights of fancy.

This is going to be my last, if not only, chance to see him before he enlists in the military and IT IS ALL I COULD EVER WANT. (Aside from all the other things I want, but this is my #1 want currently!) I will be happy if I get the very top of the balcony seat, because at least I will be in the same room as the most perfect person in the whole entire world, Korea’s National Treasure, MY BIAS.

I will end this with a video of the time GD took the fall for a girl who killed her abusive boyfriend with a pineapple. <3

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Apr 062017
 

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Chooch in 2013, when he was known to wear a wolf hat just like his idol, Christofer Drew.

On Sunday, I got to do one of my favorite things in the whole entire world: go to a show with Chooch.

We hadn’t gone to a show together since last fall when we saw the Summer Set in Columbus! So when Never Shout Never announced a throwback tour, there was definitely no question that we were going. Henry bought two tickets and cheerfully said, “Have fun!” as he mentally planned all the things he was going to do without us that night, such as: eat meat, read the circulars, chip away at his tunnel to freedom, and sleep?

I actually have no idea what he did after he dropped off at Stage AE. I tried to get out of the car as quickly as possible, before too many people in line saw me and thought that my DAD was dropping me off. Ugh, the horror.

Except that Chooch was with me, immediately marking me as a mom. Oh well. That and my gray hair.

The line wasn’t terribly long, but long enough to make Chooch grumble. These whippersnappers and their instant gratification! They don’t know the satisfaction of good things and waiting, or whatever that fucking bullshit adage is.

I’ll tell you one thing though: there were a lot of girls there with flower chains all up in their unwashed hair. Oh, that neo-hippie couture. I was just wearing jeans and a striped shirt. You know, my uniform.

Meanwhile, an ice cream truck rolled up! What smart marketing. Too bad Papa H didn’t give us any cash, so we had to stand there like peasants and watch all of the other kids rush over to grab a Push-Up.

And by “all of the other kids,” I mean four of them.

“Wow, their prices are high!” Chooch scoffed.

“Are they? Those ones over there are like, a dollar….”

But he didn’t hear me because he was too busy mentally comparing the prices with other ice cream trucks he’s seen around town, like he’s suddenly into the economics of ice cream on the go.

I was like, “OMG stop sounding like such a nerd right now, we’re in line for a fucking concert, ugh, STFU.”

Meanwhile, some Stage AE broad was pacing back and forth like a drill sergeant, yelling for all the guys to move over to the line on the right where they could proceed to the obligatory pat down from a male security person, while us girls got felt up by fellow women because that makes it better.

I had to send Chooch into the man line and I acted like I was sending him off to war.

“Are you sure you’re going to be alright?” I called after him like a smothering mother. “Wait for me inside!” That last part may have been muffled by the sound of me drowning on my tears.

But then Chooch came back because I forgot to give him his ticket, lol. This allowed some of the girls ahead of us in line to notice him, and once he got his ticket and went back to the Man Line, they started gushing loudly.

“DId you see that kid?! He was wearing a Dance Gavin Dance shirt!”

“He’s the coolest person here by far.”

“I want to take a picture of him!”

“How old do you think he is, like 13?”

OMG I was dying to holler, “Hi! Hello! It’s me! It’s me, his mom! And he’s only 10, btw!” But I didn’t want to be all High-Strung Mother so I just kept my mouth shut.

“That’s the kind of mom I’m going to be,” one of the girls said and I took a leisurely lap around Validation Bay.

Chooch was waiting for me, unscathed and un-abducted, after I emptied my jacket pockets to show the security broads that there was no room for drugs or switchblades next to all the ramping, lipgloss, and plastic toy capsules. They seemed satisfied that I wasn’t a terrorist or just your standard American delinquent with a sinister cherry bomb agenda.

Chooch and I claimed a prime spot against the railing, which I knew would be good for him since he’s a shortie with a predilection for resting on his laurels; our spot was sparsely populated so he was able to sit down without being tripped over.

There was only one opening band: Me Like Bees. I thought they were ok, definitely inoffensive to the ears, but I had listened to them before and they just didn’t stick with me. Seeing them live didn’t really change that—I was kind of bored. They reminded me a bit of Modest Mouse, calmer and less musical, and just kind of boring to me. IM SORRY.

I did enjoy their cover of Beastie Boys’ Sabotage though.

After Me Like Bees’ set, the couple next to us asked how we heard about Never Shout Never. I told them that Chooch was the one who actually got me into them, leaving out the part where I had already known who NSN was but refused to give them a chance because in my mind, it was just some lame kid who got YouTube famous for singing whiny songs. I’m glad that I let Chooch change my mind, because Christofer Drew is actually a talented song-writer and let’s be honest, he can jam that ukulele. His music just makes me really happy, and I love that it gave Chooch and I something to share.

Anyway, they were shocked that Chooch has seen NSN five times already in his young age (and met them once!), and the guy part of the couple (I think they were actually just friends, but whatever) said that when he’s a dad, he hopes he can do the same thing with his kids. That was the second time that night that my parenting style was commended by a stranger – I can’t even describe the awesome feeling it gave me.  I love getting to share these experiences with Chooch: going to shows, falling in love with new bands, fighting over who which member of BIGBANG is the best — this is my favorite part of being a parent!

Never Shout Never put on a fantastic show as always. Chris’s banter was fiery as usual, but Taylor wasn’t there to volley it back, so that was sad. But they sure busted out the throwback jams, that’s for sure!

  • Big City Dreams
  • Trouble
  • Your Biggest Fan
  • On the Brightside
  • California
  • Piggy Bank
  • Cheatercheaterbestfriendeater
  • I Love You 5
  • Coffee and Cigarettes
  • Happy
  • Love is our Weapon
  • Sellout
  • First Dance
  • Harmony

During Harmony, Chooch shouted in my ear, “He should sing this song to Donald Trump!”

Indeed, my little friend.

Two of my favorites were played: “On the Brightside” and “Cheatercheaterbestfriendeater” so I was happy. Chooch sang along to every single song, and in between screamed, “Jane Doe!”

Sadly, Chris did not grant Chooch’s wish.

“Ugh, I feel like I’m in middle school again! This is great!” I heard the girl next to us yell to her friend at one point, and that made me happy because nostalgia can be such a precious thing.

It also made me feel REALLY OLD because I was already in my late 20s when Christofer Drew debuted in the scene.

💖This song gets me every single time. 💖 Long live Christofer Drew. 💖

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“All of it,” Chooch said just now when I asked him what his favorite part of the night was. What a perfect way to end the weekend!

 

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Apr 022017
 

It started out that I didn’t want to be around people on Thursday. I even took the day off work in advance, because I know myself all too well. I reminded myself to stay away from Timehop and then attempted to fill my day with healthy things to keep my mind from reliving the bad memories from the last March 30th.

I went for a walk in the rain.

I practiced my Korean.

I went to lunch with Henry.

I watched a Running Man episode.

All good, healthy things to keep my mind spinning in positive directions, and not unnecessary downspirals. Anniversaries are so weird. I could have stayed in bed all day cried but fuck that noise.

I had a ticket for the Stolas / Icarus the Owl show that night, but I wasn’t particularly in the mood to be around strangers. The idea of staying home was very tempting, but I really like Icarus the Owl and I hadn’t seen them since September 2015. I had to go. I let myself be selfish for most of the day, but now it was time to get over myself and go support a band I love.

And I am so glad that I did because it turned out to be not only an amazing show, but just an overwhelmingly healing night for me in so many ways.

I got to Smiling Moose about twenty minutes before the opening band, Atlas Decay, went on. The room was still relatively uncrowded and the tiny bar area was empty. I grabbed a stool, had a brief conversation with the bartender about wheat beer before settling on Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (I’ve been making an effort to try new things rather than fall back on my old standby—cider). A few minutes later, I was looking down at my phone when a girl sat down next to me and said, “Hi, how are you?”

Alarms went off.

No one ever acknowledges me when I’m alone at a show. I’m invisible, remember?

I blurted out that I was fine and then tossed some side-eye to my left and saw that it was a younger girl in a Contortionist hoodie. I realized within seconds that I recognized her from other shows at the Smiling Moose, and that she too tends to always be there alone.

After the awkward salutations wafted off into the ether and were now just a faint memory, that familiar, uncomfortable silence set it. But when the bartender set down her Boddington’s, I used that as my chance to start a real conversation.

So I told her that I’m just learning to drink beer.

Because I’ve found that people who drink beer always want to talk about drinking beer.

And that worked! We started talking fluidly, without any awkward pretenses. This is how normal people do it! This is how I used to do it, too, back when I still had a personality and self-esteem! And then she asked what band I was there to see and when I said Icarus the Owl, she said, “Me too!” We animatedly discussed bands we liked until Atlas Decay started, and once they were over, we immediately resumed our conversation.

We talked a bit about Emarosa and she asked me how many times I’ve seen them. When I told her about the first time, at a skate park in 2008, opening for Pierce the Veil, she exclaimed, “Wow! That’s one for the books!”

HOLY SHIT, SOMEONE WAS INTERESTED IN MY GRANNY TALES!

Anyway, her name is Cat and she is only 22, but she’s an old soul. I could sense it.

We hung out for the duration of the show, and I really hope I see her again. It was so cool to have someone to stand with, as simple as that sounds. At one point she said, “Erin, you’re awesome” and I almost cried because usually I hear, “You’re weird” “you’re annoying” or “you’re dumb” and that’s just when I’m not being interrupted, talked over, or just ignored completely.

#life

And holy shit, Icarus the Owl. I am even more in love with them. Their music filled the holes in my heart that night and I knew I made the right choice. Not just for myself, but for the bands. Our scene here is not the best and these shows at Smiling Moose never really fill the room, so it’s my duty as a fan to boost the attendance by at least one. These guys sacrifice a lot to go on tour. I live 10 minutes away from Smiling Moose and had no other obligations that night. No excuses.

Joey Rubenstein makes me smile. <3

When they played “Skysweeper” I had an out-of-body experience. It was beautiful.

Next was Mylets, who I had never heard of but Cat was like, “OMG you’re going to love him!” and she was right of course because she’s awesome and has impeccable taste! So Mylets is Henry, a one-man band. It’s almost like he’s playing DDR up there with his pedals, and it was mesmerizing to watch.

Mylets was just one guy doing it all. It was beautiful.

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I almost left before Stolas because I’ve seen them numerous times and while I don’t dislike them, they’re not a band I generally tend to listen to on my own. But something told me to stay, and I’m so glad that I did because they blew me away. I don’t remember them being that good!

After Cat and I said our goodbyes, I was about to leave as well, but I noticed Joey from Icarus the Owl standing nearby. We made eye contact, and I thought to myself, “You had two beers. YOU CAN DO THIS, ERIN R. KELLY.” And so I walked over and told him that I think he’s amazing, and he was all, “Me?!” in the most adorable, humble way, and then he said, “We’ve met before. About two years ago….here, I think, right? And….you’re on The Twitter.”

“Yes! I’m the girl who’s always wishing for you guys to tour with Artifex Pereo and Emarosa!”

He remembered! People don’t remember me! I’m too average!

I couldn’t believe it.

And we had such a good, effortless conversation about the scene and their tour, and he said that actually, they were supposed to do a tour with Emarosa but plans fell through. Ugh!

I bought their newest album on vinyl and he legit wouldn’t let me leave until he had every last band member sign it for me, which required him to text, call, and flat out leave the merch table to seek out the last guy. Some of the people waiting in line looked annoyed, but I was like I’M SORRY OK.

Anyway, he hugged me two times and said it was nice to re-meet me and by the time I got to the car (Henry and Chooch were annoyed that I came out later than I originally said, lol), I was super giddy.

“That’s great,” Henry sighed, and Chooch just mumbled, “Cool story.”

I mean, probably that’s what happened. I still had so much buzzing in my head.

Oh! And the bartender said, “You look so clean cut but then you have hand tattoos. I love it.” That made me laugh so hard, because I make no sense. 

Fuck, I needed this night. Pity party officially canceled. 

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Mar 092017
 

One of the hardest things I have been doing recently is cutting back on concerts in order to save travel money. It sucks but the one good thing is that there haven’t been very many must-see bands coming to town recently. 

I did sacrifice a road trip to see Dance Gavin Dance last weekend though. THAT is how devastatingly bad I want to go to South Korea.

But then I saw Foxing was playing at Cattivo and I had to go, just for sure would not be able to live with myself if I slept on that one. After listening to them for several years and finally seeing them in Cleveland last fall, I have been dying for a replay. 

Henry is not a fan. He’s not even impressed by the trumpet. But he sighed and agreed to go with me because he is Oppa Supreme. 

We went straight after work on Tuesday and he bitched the whole time because Cattivo is located in one of his least favorite parts of town (he hates hipsters even though he has a beard and wears flannels and slouchy beanies—oh wait that’s lumbersexual. I’m confusing my stereotypes again). 

We stood in line surrounded by high school girls talking/screaming about bonding in the bathroom while pooping, vaping and Vining. I saw Henry leave his body and go back to THE SERVICE at one point. 

And then Conor, the singer from Foxing, came out and the ringleader of the high schoolers stopped him and gave him a drawing and then made him recreate a picture he took with her  last year. 

“I look like an egg,” she said, examining herself in her phone’s screen. 

 “Me too,” Conor said. 

“He said ‘me too’!” the high school girl screamed in this cocky tone and have I ever told you that I hate when people repeat shit someone said while that person is standing right there. I think it must remind me of someone I hated in high school I DONT KNOW I’m drawing a blank. But I hate that, regardless.

We stood in line for a good 45 minutes after doors were supposed to open. I’m not a fan of Cattivo. 

When the doors finally opened, we went inside just to show our IDs, get a wristband, and then GO BACK OUTSIDE to stand in line again? You can believe that Henry muttered out loud about this for the next half hour and then another guy who may have been almost my age was also complaining about it so then they had a moment where they complained about it to each other and I was just like “kill me.”

(She said kill me!)

I commented that it smelled like standing in line for a haunted house. 

Henry considered this briefly and started to half-heartedly agree. 

“—-in 1997,” I finished. 

And then he shot me that fierce “you’re an idiot” glare that will probably be frozen on his face when he does. I guess he didn’t agree with me anymore after that?

Some kid behind me started to vape and I was ensconced in fruity fumes that I couldn’t quite place and then Sandy texted me because I sent her a picture of a guy in line that I thought looked like how Ethan would look if he went to the same shows as me and she showed it to Ethan who disagreed and said I’m racist, so then I couldnt stop cracking up and now I wonder if someone else from that line also blogged about their night and mentioned the mom-aged broad in line who was trying to take clandestine pictures of people while laughing alone and her burly mountain man companion who complained about everything and was flicking his AARP card in and out of his wallet like it was a switchblade. 

Sorry. I’m running on 4 hours of sleep and lots of Kpop-dance adrenaline. 


Finally we got to back inside and downstairs where the shows was being held. 

Because I was so grateful that henry didn’t make me go alone, I let him sit down in the bar area even though it meant that I couldn’t see very well. It was just as well, because I ended up getting drunk off  two beers and then crying about Bigbang. Because this is me. 

I spent a lot of time sitting back and people-watching  which is when I noticed that I’ve been seeing a shift from 90s grunge to 80s alternative/new-wave as far as clothes and hairstyles go at these shows, and I don’t hate it one point. There was a dark Corey Haim aesthetic happening and I felt so hopeful, like perhaps there was where I belonged. I always rue the fact that I wasn’t old enough in the 80s to experience the club scene. 

Um, and then Joy Division started playing overhead and I had an out of body experience. I didn’t go to the Service though like Henry does when he leaves his body. 

I went to Robert Smith’s house. We had tea. Except that I was drinking mine while watching him from behind a bush. 

The opening band couldn’t be there because they couldn’t get into the county (thanks, TRUMP) so one of the guys from the second band, Yohuna, played an endless set which essentially sounded like just one long, exhausting song with minimal vocals and lots of gratuitous reverb and look, it was fine – even beautiful at times – but it was boring as fuck. I was tired and emotionally numb from work and needed something to make me woke, you know?

Henry hated him but I wouldn’t go that far. It would be good to have on in the background while you’re working on a coloring book of stained glass windows or writing your Will.

Luckily, there was some middle-aged (OMG THATS ALMOST ME) Yinzer (NEVER WILL BE ME) couple in front of us who drank so much that henry became obsessed with keeping track (I’d ask him what the final tally was but he’s — can you guess? —sleeping.)

Yohuna was fine. 

BUT THEN FOXING!!!! 

I know what you’re thinking: “But Erin, don’t you hate trumpets?” Fuck no. That’s banjos. I hate banjos. 

They opened with a new song that’s never been performed live! (This was the first night of their tour!) I haven’t been able to stop thinking of that song ever since. It’s haunting me. The goosebumps I had on my arms were no joke and henry can attest that the tears falling from my eyes were not Crocs. 

According to some dude on YouTube, the song is called Nah Man. I can’t wait to hear it again, fuck. 

My favorite song by them will forever be Rory, and that’s what they closed with, which felt religious. Church on a Tuesday. Why not. 

But I’ve already posted that video on here before so here is some other person’s video from that night, of The Magdalene. Also a stunner. 

On the way to the car, I said, “I have tears all the way down my neck!” And Henry mumbled an exasperated “Oh my god.” Boyfriend will never get it. 

Tear-jerking music and Henry bitching: everything was as it should be. 

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Feb 032017
 

Things have been fantastic in Little Korea (that’s what Glenn calls my house)! I mean, everything else ranges from so-so to poo-poo, but I love being home these days, learning Kpop dances, trying to read Hansul, inhaling the stench of gochugaru permeating from the kitchen.

Honestly, open our refrigerator and see all the traditional Korean kitchen staples!

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Which is why I think Henry doesn’t mind my new lifestyle as much as you would think. Henry is just really great at adapting to whatever phase/crisis I’m going through (Chooch is just really good at ignoring it altogether.) And if there are three things Henry FUCKING LOVES to do, it’s: cooking, grocery shopping, and watching instructional cooking videos on YouTube. So learning the ins and outs of Korean cuisine is a challenge he’s happily accepted.  (I don’t think he likes it when I call him oppa, though.)

And I love reaping the rewards! Henry makes some bomb jjigae! And I get to use chopsticks everyday!

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Henry’s Hallyu Hell….or HEAVEN?!

We hit up the Asian markets every weekend and sometimes Henry even goes without me during the week, WTF?! When I found that out, I felt cheated.

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Chooch is only interested in the Asian candy and ice cream, and is known to yell things like, “I wish Korea never happened to you!” to me. Chooch hates when I like something before he does.  However, I heard him in his room last week singing Black Pink so what’s up now, Chooch. I hear you.

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Henry made me bibimbap for dinner last Sunday and I cried because it was so great and brought back memories of when I used to order that all the time at Ginza, back in the beginning of our relationship when we used to eat all sorts of international fare because we didn’t yet have the pickiest child in the world.

Exotic fruit salads back in action.

Henry treats himself to Samancos after eating his Korean dinner. He bought these FOR HIMSELF and when I ask him to share, he yells, “You have a box of B•B•Big in the freezer!” Well yeah, but I want something that’s not mine.

And now Henry’s mom is suddenly very interested in my new k-diet. When she was at our house last week, she sat enrapt on the couch hanging off my every word. Then I made her watch some KpopX routines and I pointed out my bias during a BIGBANG live video. She considered what she was watching and then said, “Yeah. I like this better than our music here. I don’t know what they’re saying, but I can tell they’re at least saying something. Unlike AMERICAN music.”

And there you have it. Judy’s kpop review. Maybe next time she’s here, I’ll live blog her reactions to Red Velvet and EXID videos.

***

Aside from food, we’ve been watching tons of Korean variety shows, especially the ones that have had BIGBANG on, because welcome to obsession. And you would think Henry would reject this, retreat to the bathroom and watch Blacklist on his phone in peace, work some more on the curious ditch he’s digging in the backyard….but no, he sits down and ACTUALLY LAUGHS! Sometimes he gets irritated if the subtitles aren’t good, which only means he’s afraid of missing out on something good.

Lately, we’ve been watching a lot of Running Man, Weekly Idol, Infinity Challenge, and the BIGBANG making-of reality show and every single time, I say, “He really is fabulous” when they refer to G-Dragon as the fabulous leader in the opening credits. And Henry just nods like it isn’t the 10th time he’s heard it this week. Anyway, last night’s viewing inspired this convo:

Henry: I read that Se7en is the reason things changed for celebrities in the Korean military.

Me: OMG you’re reading about Kpop on your own time?!

Henry: …what? No…on someone else’s time.

And then he mumbled something about wanting to know more than me.

Later, we were getting ready for bed and I noticed Penelope (see also: Peen Lop, Jon Benet, Penis) perched on my dresser.

Me: if Penelope was a member of BIGBANG, who do you think she’d be?

Henry, muffled by sleep: I dunno.

I thought for sure he wouldn’t answer, but then…

Henry: Taeyang.

Me: Good assessment! What about Drew?

Henry, no hesitation: Seungri.

Me: OMG I WAS GOING TO SAY THAT TOO

And then Henry mocked my laughter and fell asleep.

***

I guess this was my subconscious New Years Resolution. Like how some people quit smoking, I wanted to quit being the person I was in 2016 when all the shit happened. And I  just happened to be getting back into Kpop aerobics toward the end of the year and it all just kind of fell into place. All these Korean vlogs started playing on YouTube after I’d finish up a KpopX workout and before I knew it, I was learning about sasaeng and tteokbokki, and watching Canadians give a tour of their Korean apartments, and realizing that holy shit BIGBANG is so much more than just music for fun KpopX routines.

And then the next thing I knew, I had imprinted with Korea. A whole country this time. That’s how empty my heart is, it needs a whole entire country to fill it.

When Boots comes home and starts stomping around and slamming doors and fighting with his new roommate (some younger guy and they fight about the same shit he fought with Phyllis about: $$$$ and friends, or lack thereof in both cases), I giddily blast kpop so fucking loud and pretend like I’m South Korea and that motherfucker in North Korea.

And now this is honestly one of the few joys I have in life, and I am fucking bear-hugging it so step off.

***

I will conclude with this week’s Friday Video pick, because I felt everyone in my little group here at work needed some cheering up:

But even better, here is a video of MY BIAS G-DRAGON dancing to Cheer Up, which Amber2 and Lauren both said cheered them up even more than the actual song because G-DRAGON.

But then Amber mused, “Wow. I like his nude turtleneck. What look is he going for…like, Michael Jackson and….old office lady?”

And it was at this point that I had to remind everyone that he’s a fashion icon so BACK OFF.

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Jan 212017
 

Remember that time I promised Henry that if he went to see Circa Survive with me at Stage AE, we could go upstairs and sit through it because I know he’s old and feeble, and I’ve seen Circa Survive approximately 87 times since 2005? But then we got inside Stage AE and I realized that I left my ID in the car and there’s no reentry and the upstairs is 21+? And they don’t give a fuck if I have gray hair if I don’t also have a drivers license they can shine their dumb flashlight on? And then I suggested that I could just show them the green wristband from the show I went to a week earlier that said 21 AND OLDER all over it and Henry was like DON’T BE DUMB THAT WON’T WORK so then he had to stand and complain the whole time?

And also when we accidentally got there an hour before doors opened because I thought they opened at 6 since I’m used to earlier shows and then we had to stand outside for an hour in the rain but luckily we were one of the few people who got to stand under an overhang because we were literally the fifth people in line like Super Fans?

Yeah, that was last Tuesday night and Henry is still mad about it, haha.

When we were standing in line, I saw one of the guys from Primer and Grayscale! Henry was like, “Go say hi” in a tone that implied he realized it was a dumb suggestion because I don’t talk to musicians. I’m Erin R. Kelly, remember? My voice box tumbles out of my kooka before I can even say hello to someone in a band.

And then I made him buy me a Blue Moon, which he did, grudgingly, and then goaded me the whole time I was drinking it because there’s an old man in a red shirt whose only job is to walk around and spontaneously card people who are drinking and I was like, “HAHA yeah right” but then I saw him do it with my own two eyes and I started to get super nervous about it because I literally watched him nab an underage couple and escort them off into a secret room AND THEY LOOKED OLD ENOUGH TO BE DRINKING so what if he didn’t care that I’m literally a 37 year old mom?!

I kept making Henry hold my beer so then he was mad about that too.

Then we saw our photographer friend that we met at the Hotel Books show except that he’s not actually our friend, just someone I had a 10 minute awkward conversation while waiting for Diesel to open their doors and then I’ve seen him at probably 4 shows since then and we act like that never happened.

I AM GREAT AT MAKING CONNECTIONS.

I gotta be honest, I was really excited to see Circa Survive because this was their On Letting Go 10th anniversary tour, but I would have been just as happy being home, watching Bigbang videos which is how I know this obsession is real. Please send help. I actually started crying about it in the kitchen this morning. My life is confusing. Emotions are weird.

Anyway! I was also stoked to be seeing Turnover again!! And of course they were wonderful. I love my Run For Cover bands.

I've been dying to get you dizzy.

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You guys, they played Danny Elfman’s Pee Wee’s Big Adventure theme in between sets and it was bliss. The last show I saw at Stage AE was Thrice and the house music was SHIT. Have I told you lately how much I dislike Stage AE? I always feel so cold and unwelcome there.

😂 #henrysbigadventure

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After Turnover was MewithoutYou and to be honest, I haven’t paid attention to their career in probably 10 years, but I still thought that perhaps Henry would enjoy them.

In a shocking turn of events, he did not.

Sometime during their set, two annoying broads beamed down behind me and you know how once you zero in on a sound, it’s ALL YOU CAN HEAR? Like someone crunching on a bag of chips nearby? Well, this happened to me and one of their voices. She had that god awful vocal fry, you guys. WHAT IS WITH THAT. And a nasally vocal fry at that.

“Like, On Letting Go like totally changed my life,” she fried away in a monotone to her friend, and my shoulders immediately crunched up to my ears. And then I could barely hear MewithoutYou over top of her frying pan of sizzling ear-sounds. And when she said, “Can we squeeze in here?” to the lady next to me along the railing, I looked at Henry and said, “Please, you have to switch places with me when Circa Survive comes on because she’s going to ruin the whole show for me. PLEASE.”

And when Henry wouldn’t do it, I physically moved him myself so that he was now my vocal fry barrier.

According to Henry, she didn’t talk through the whole show, but her friend who was actually the one standing next to him, had really long hair extensions that kept hitting his face and arm and making him itchy, so that’s another thing that he’s been angry about all week, lol.

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Oh man, but then Circa Survive came out and as soon as that angel-faced Anthony Green started singing, the tears fell from my eyes like water balloons. I didn’t bother wiping them away because I knew there would be more, and there were: four entire songs worth of them. But then I was OK!

I love this album too, but unlike Vocal Stir Fry, it didn’t change my life.

That was their first album, Juturna. They did a 10-year anniversary tour for that too, but it didn’t come to Pittsburgh and we couldn’t feasibly travel to any of the other dates, so I’m still kind of bitter about that. That album is everything to me.

Still, it was a beautiful night and as usual, I felt blessed to be in the same room as Anthony Green. He’s a living legend to me. Such a powerful, veteran voice in my scene. I can’t believe I’ve been going to his shows for 12 years now!  This was the biggest one yet (aside from Riot Fest). Usually Circa plays at Mr. Smalls, which is much smaller than Stage AE.

I cried through the first four songs real hardcore-like.

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When oppa disappeared briefly, I assumed he had just slipped off into the bathroom to cry about his shitty life, but when he came back he had a tour poster in his hand. Oppa really does love me after all! (Or else he just really secretly loves Circa Survive and wanted the poster for himself—both of these options are a stretch.)

It was a good night though. Henry rarely goes to shows with me anymore, and it was nice to not be at one alone for once. IT WAS ALMOST LIKE A DATE. Except that I was mad he didn’t wear a beanie. I like when Henry-oppa wears beanies. 

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Jan 192017
 

Let’s just get right into it, the ten albums that defined my teen years in no particular order.

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This album! I was obsessed, so obsessed. Literally none of my friends could understand why I loved it so much, but let me just say that I’ve own three copies of it in my lifetime because I kept playing it out so hard. “Can’t Get Enough” and “I’ll Be There” were my favorite jams on it. If I hear either of them right now, I’ll start to cry. I know — there’s a thing that rarely happens!

(Really fun side note for no one but me, Bigbang’s “Café” reminds me SO MUCH of El DeBarge that I started feeling like I was legit 15 again the other day when listening to it and Henry was like “Well you act 15 so you might as feel 15 too.” He didn’t say that, really. But HE WAS PROBABLY THINKING IT. Anyway, El DeBarge has been on my mind this week so that’s why I decided to do this dumb list thing that everyone else was doing.)

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Like…le duh. Creepin’ on ah Come-Up was also my jam, but this album start to finish was something that I really connected with. Which is weird I guess, because I was a suburban white girl, but you have no idea how much soul I had back then, you guys. When my friend Christy got her drivers license, I begged her to drive me to Cleveland so I could try to see them; she refused, but SPOILER ALERT: I got Henry to take me in 2003 and it’s surprising we’re still together after that fuckarow. I did get to see them in concert in 1995 though, at the Palace in Monroeville with my then-boyfriend Russ who embarrassed me by wearing a NIN shirt. Also, there was a shooting in the parking lot afterward. Also, my aunt Sharon drove us (and also my friends Erika and Jameelah). So fucking cool, yo, rolling up in your middle-aged aunt’s car. But yeah, Bone was a huge chunk of my teenage years, for sure.

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This came out during the tail-end of my teen years, but it sent me down a path of alt-obsession. I had it so bad for OLP for years and years, until Mike left the band and then they shifted from being that weird, quirky alternative band to safe, radio-friendly generic band. But holy shit, the amount of times I scream-sang along to “Superman’s Dead” in my 1995 Eagle Talon, you guys. Those were the motherfucking days.

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Probably not a surprise to anyone who knows me, because I have never one to hide my affinity for soft rock. Phil Collins not only was a huge part of my teen years, but also my early childhood…and present. Hearing any of his music from the 80s conjures up the happiest memories of my Pappap. I finally got to see him live when I was in high school, at the old Civic Arena, and it was mind-blowing.


Even though my relationship with Psycho Mike was tumultuous at best (did the “Psycho” in his name ruin that surprise?), he definitely broadened my musical horizons. When we first started dating junior year, I primarily listened to rap (gangsta) and r&b. He had me listening to Neutral Milk Hotel, Radiohead, and Hayden in no time. But the one that really affected me was Billy Bragg. I will always owe Mike that much.

(I also listened to a shit of soft rock then too, and he was the first person my age I ever met who would actually sing those songs along with me. We loved us some soft rock. Whaddup, England Dan & John Ford Coley?)

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I “bought” this through Columbia House or BMG without knocking much about her, other than I had 12 free CDs to choose and needed one more. THIS ALBUM IS EVERYTHING. I had all this insane mood lighting in my childhood bedroom (obviously where my love of lights and marquees come from) and I would throw this CD on my 6-disc changer and just cry and cry.

MY LIFE IS SO DIFFERENT NOW. I just use Spotify or an actual record player.

Or YouTube. Whatever gets ‘er done.

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“Come Undone.” That fucking song. I remember it so vividly because my bed placement. It was against a different wall when this album came out, and so anytime I hear any song from it, I’m looking at my old childhood bedroom from that specific perspective of sitting on my bed, and it’s so weird because my bed wasn’t against that wall for very long.

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This is still a go-to for me! I listened to this so much in middle school and that Mummy Calls track is still THE MOTHERFUCKING JAM. If I ever find someone dumb enough to marry me, we’re dancing to that shit. Henry bought me the vinyl last year and I cried.
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I don’t know guys – I had a thing for movie soundtracks. But this one opened the door to Elliott Smith for me and it will always remind me of when I moved into my first and most beloved apartment, before things went bad. This was another album for the tail-end of my teenage years, but it has definitely stuck with me. And those Danny Elfman tracks, though.
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And the biggest “duh” of them all.
BONUS!
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This Sade album goes hand-in-hand with the aforementioned Duran Duran, because of the placement of my bed. Don’t ask. Furniture location is apparently a thing for me.
Also, I’m sure I will wake up at 3AM and think OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT “________________”
(Speaking of 3AM….I was SO TOTALLY INTO Matchbox 20s first album, LOL I don’t care. Hate me.)

 

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Jan 162017
 

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After an entirely too long concert hiatus—seriously, the last one was in December!–I went to see Pianos Become the Teeth at the Smiling Moose after work last Thursday, and it was a particularly shitty day at work too so I love when it works out like that. Makes it feel even more therapeutic, DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

Yeah, you do.

Since this show was at the Smiling Moose, I didn’t even bother asking Henry (or anyone else) to go with me. I love the Smiling Moose and have no problems blending into the wall there. However, the dumb doors didn’t open until 6:30, which meant I had to hang out downstairs at the bar, being sad and lonely with my hastily-ordered beer (Pumpking because I needed to quell my nerves fast). Look, I’m sure no one even gave a shit about The Girl Sitting Alone at the Bar, but I fucking hate it. I’m a social drinker and like bullshitting with people over drinks, but everyone around me was either engrossed in their own private conversations with their actual friends, or sitting next to their actual friends and scrolling through Facebook because this is where we are as A People.

Such social creatures.

I vacillate between SOMEONE TALK TO ME and NO DONT SEE ME, because I just never know what I want. To be left alone or to be harassed? That is the question. 

Anyway, while being acutely aware that some of the guys from Pianos were sitting right next to me (and looking at their phones), I ordered a second beer (a Hoegaarten, which Henry gets a lot and it tastes like floor cleaner to me so I don’t know why I ordered it so let’s just call it panic) and chugged it just as the clock hit 6:30.

SEE YA, AWKWARD BAR!!

I felt much more at home upstairs with the other loners who were standing around looking lost and praying for the first band to hurry up and get on stage. It was at this point where I realized that I honestly haven’t listened to much American music in over a month. K-pop has legitimately taken over my life. It’s like when the elective becomes the major. And I’m not even sorry. THERE’S ROOM FOR ALL GENRES IN MY LIFE.

But yeah, it was all BigBang in my head in between bands playing.

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My people. This crowd was really great. I liked them a lot. I mean, from a distance. Because, don’t touch me.

The first band that played was a local band, total emo revival, the type of band with vocals that almost seem secondary to the music at times, like another layer of instrumentation in and of itself. They were raw and, well, you know, emotional. I loved them from opening to closing note, but I couldn’t understand for the life of me what their name was each time the singer said it.

I even, gasp, SPOKE to the two girls behind me to see if they knew and even they were like “Shrug.”

Turns out, they were Curse Words and I’ve seen them before….

Oops.

But in my defense, I go to a lot of shows….so.

Second band was Primer & Grayscale from Beaver Falls and I was again pleasantly surprised at how lovely they sounded. There’s no good way to say this without sounding like a hater so please know that I don’t mean this in a terrible way, but you know how sometimes the local opener sounds just like…The Local Opener? Maybe a little bit amateurish and rough? A little garage-y? These two openers did not have that at all and I couldn’t have been more pleased at the line-up. Plus, only two openers?! Thank you, Drusky Entertainment. This old bitch wanted to be home by 10.

Primer & Grayscale – obsessed.

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Nothing significant happened in between bands. When I saw some of the guys from Piano get on stage to soundcheck, I squeezed my way up a little bit further and then sent Henry a flurry of texts reminding him of my existence and filling him in on the all the things he was purposely missing.

I’m pretty sure he probably slept the whole time I was at the show. Henry’s dream life, realized.

Anyway, it wasn’t even 9pm yet and Pianos was about to start playing. I was scanning the room wildly, looking for their singer Kyle, but then I became aware of the guy gripping the mic stand, not moving, totally taking Kyle’s spot….until I realized that holy shit, that was Kyle! Gone were his long locks that curtained his face the other 3 times I’ve seen them live. He looked like…just some tall, thin guy. I guess I never really paid attention to his face before!

But who cares. Long hair or not, his voice was still trembling with the feels and I felt my heart begin to inflate from that sad, flattened state the last month had left in it. And I was once again glad that I came out to this show even though I didn’t have anyone to go with me, because really, it’s so much better this way. I don’t have to worry about if whoever is with me is going to enjoy the band, or if they want to leave early, or if they want to start talking over top of the band, or if they judge me for weeping like Henry when he forgets his gochugaru* coupons at home.

*(We’re a Korean-only kitchen now, you wouldn’t understand.)

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I was sitting next to him at the bar and decided that we definitely imprinted. I giddily told Henry when he picked me up and he said he’ll be my flower girl for sure.

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SHORT HAIR DON’T CARE. I mean, maybe he cares. It didn’t come up during in between song banter, though.

It blows my mind that a band with this caliber of talent and musicianship is only playing Smiling Moose. They deserve more attention, more love, more recognition. So do me a favor and watch this video (I’m pretty sure I’ve posted it on here at least 3 other times in the last 3 years because it’s my favorite), soak up the words, float on the beautiful music. And then if you still think I listen to shitty music, then by all means, continue to make fun of me for it. I don’t care anymore! Kpop has buffeted my sensitive feelings with a cotton candy cocoon, you guys. Ridicule just gets caught in my candy-coated web like a surly, mean-spirited old fly sent by those dickheads at Pitchfork and then I eat it with my new Korean-speaking mouth.

(Ugh, I only know like 5 words so far, but that’s three more since the last time I checked in with you!)

I also really like Ripple Water Shine but that video is about a dog dying and aren’t we all depressed enough?

🎹🎹Like a sister who's finally had it.

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

I love nights like this. Even when I don’t have mean ol’ Henry next to me, grimacing at the sounds he doesn’t understand.

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Dec 162016
 

When I was making a Spotify playlist for my Christmas party last weekend, things got weird. It happens every winter: I subconsciously veer off into my goth origins, and before I could stop myself, the playlist began to fill up with  Greatest Funeral Hits and dark synthpop dirges.

Type O Negative’s “Red Water (Christmas Mourning)” was playing while I searched for my favorite Projekt Holiday compilation tracks to add—Projekt is/was a goth record label and I used to buy all their comps because I was a comp princess—and Henry scoffed, “Seriously, Erin? People have had the worst year of their lives and now they’re going to leave our party in tears.”

I MEAN I WOULDNT GO THAT FAR, HENRY. I had Carly Rae Jepsen tracks on there, for Christ’s sake! But I get it. I gotchu. Not everyone likes to stew in a morose marinade like I do. And truthfully, there was a lot of Cure up in there—and not the happy, radio hits, either. So I remedied that shit by adding some Kpop to the mix. Because how sad can you be with Kpop gyrating into the room while you’re eating handfuls of cheese slices and trying to work up the nerve to ask Henry if he ever killed a bitch in THE SERVICE.

While I was adding my fave Kpop hits, I felt inspired to check YouTube to see if any new developments had happened with KpopX. I hadn’t been working out with them for awhile because they weren’t adding anything new and I was getting bored with the old routines. LONG STORY SHORT, there were new routines, but not only that, I discovered K-KARDIO!!! Holy shit, KpopX has a competitor! So I’ve been back to Kpopping all over the house again and Henry and Chooch are currently embroiled in an intense frown competition. Henry hates how the Kpop songs get stuck in his head, and I’m like, but that’s the best part?

Anyway, during my K-Kardio exploration, I realized that the main choreographer looked very familiar, and it’s because SHE WAS ONE OF THE KPOPX INSTRUCTORS. Holy shit, Jessica left KpopX!?!?

I became worried that there was a rift with her and Maddie, and the creator of KpopX, but then I saw that Maddie still follows her on Instagram, so whew.

I was so excited to share my discovery with Henry, who completely shouldered past me and started doing things he considers “more important” than KpopX, like paying bills or….I don’t know, what are important things? I’m 13, remember.

So then I was like IT’S FINE, MY WORK FRIENDS WILL CARE. But Glenn did not give me the reaction I was looking for, and Todd was just like, “Crazy girl is talking to me again, help.”

Their punishment was that this week’s Friday Video pick was Red Velvet’s “Dumb Dumb,” which is one of my favorite KpopX routines! I hope that it stays stuck in their heads all weekend long.

Amber2 and Sandy seemed to enjoy it though and now they both want a “Dumb” stamp, so hopefully Santa is reading this.

P.S. I kind of like K-Kardio better than KpopX, OMG please don’t tell Maddie!

P.P.S. OMG also I think that Maddie and Jessica might be sisters?!

P.P.P.S. Henry just asked me what “Dumb Dumb” is about and I’m like, “….you?”

P.P.P.P.S. Here’s my Holiday Hangs playlist if anyone cares. I even put a Krampus song on there for Chris and Monica!

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