Nov 202015

“I think I need therapy,” I said in lieu of normal morning salutations.

“Well…yeah,” Glenn said, implying that this was the most obvious statement.

“No seriously, I’m so paranoid anymore that I feel like I’m going to have a nervous breakdown. Take this morning on the trolley, for instance…” and then I told him the story of the guy in front of me, this white thug-looking dude with a neck tattoo and all dressed up in a gray sweatsuit, who had two metal stick things that I went back and forth between thinking was either a part of a gun or a fishing rod. One of the sticks had rings on it, so who knows.

But he was doing stuff with them, prepping them, I don’t know. And at one point he was doing something with … Thread? String?

I’ve been like this, moderately-so, for probably the last 10 years, but lately the DANGER WILL ROBINSON portion of my brain seems to be usurping whatever dying area of rationality is left up in that dusty cavern and I’m controlled by wild flights of fancy and panic-inducing paranoia. My senses are particularly heightened while I’m downtown, and at least once a week I’m convinced that the person walking beside me has a bomb detonator in his hand, or the man with the casual stride behind me is a serial killer, or the tired man on the trolley is going to stab me and ruin my favorite sweater. (OK, that last one was a valid concern, you have to admit!)

This happens at home too. Let’s never forget the time I freaked out when an old man was knocking on my door because I thought he was a zombie.

There have been times I’ve come back to work from my lunch break early because things just didn’t feel right out there, like two days ago when I was on the phone with Henry and started to walk past this one building but a well-dressed man, standing alone near the entrance, sternly said  to me, “Ma’am, you can’t walk over here” and sent me packing to the other side of the street. I described the scene to Henry, who remained calm and unflappable.

“Maybe he just doesn’t like you,” Henry reasoned, but he did the same thing to the man in front of me!

Once I crossed the street, I pretty much ran as fast as I could because I was convinced that there was A Situation unfolding inside the building and that the man who yelled at me was SECRET SERVICE. He was dressed like he could have been, OK!? And he was staring up at the building like he was waiting for something to happen, and that’s when I noticed that one of the windows WAS OPEN!? I was actually on my way to the Point when this happened, and after that, I changed my mind because if something was going down in this building, I didn’t want to be trapped with the RIVER on three sides of me.


I went back to work, out of breath, and relayed my latest precarious situation to Todd and Glenn, who each answered with various versions of “You make this shit up.” And after I told them what building it was, I admitted that I only knew that because I sent Henry a picture of it so he could tell me.

“That’s the only believable part of the story,” Glenn said in his Yelp review of the most recent visit to Erin’s Delusion Theater.

Anyway, back to yesterday.

I texted Henry about the morning’s scene and he was like, “OK?” And then “You watch too much Homeland.” I wasn’t satisfied with his response, so I called him later that day on my break so that I could try to better paint the picture for him.

“COULD THAT HAVE BEEN A FISHING ROD MAYBE?!” I asked him, near-hysterics, praying that he would say yes and that I hadn’t been sitting in such close proximity to military-grade weaponry. “THE ONE METAL STICK THING HAD HOOP-THINGS ON IT!” It looked like it could have been that thing that stick down the barrel of shotguns. WHATEVER THAT THING IS. He had two of them!!

Henry considered this. “I guess it’s possible….” he said with little conviction, and then started asking me questions, like what color it was, and if it could have been fiberglass, etc.

“I DON’T KNOW! I’VE ONLY EVER SEEN CARTOON FISHING RODS!” I cried, and then Henry was pretty much done with the conversation by then, plus I was standing near all of the smokers and they were starting to notice my conversation at this point, so I figured it was time to say goodbye.

The most alarming part to me is that no one else on the trolley seemed to care that this guy looked shady as fuck and was taking up TWO SEATS with his backpack and SUSPICIOUS RODS. Never trust a motherfucker who needs TWO SEATS on public transportation.

I went back to work and tried to resurrect this topic because, like I said, I think I need therapy and spreading my conspiracy theories around the department is the closest thing I’ve got to that right now.

“Well, I haven’t heard anything about a mass fishing rod murder, so you’re probably safe,” Glenn sighed, and it was clear that he was done talking about it, too.


This blog post is brought to you by Google searches of “fishing rods” and “metal things that stick inside guns.”

ETA: My friend Regina has informed me that I was correct to assume that dangerous things were happening at that building because WINDOWS ARE FALLING OUT. She assured me that I wasn’t just being delusional. I told Todd and he was like, “Wow! I was really sure that you were just over-dramatizing the situation, but it actually is dangerous!”


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Nov 172015

I’m really excited to write about something different today, you guys! J/K. This is totally about another show.

But not just ANY show.

During the summer, when I was at the height of my Warped Tour frenzy, my favorite thing to do was watch YouTube videos of it. There was this one YouTuber who was on the entire tour, making videos for one of the labels. I can’t remember which one exactly, but I want to say it was Fearless. Anyway, he was funny as fuck, way better than the “actual” YouTubers who were there as some strange, freak show attraction, so I subscribed to his channel and then made Henry watch all of his videos too.

Oh, his name is Jarrod Alonge. I guess that’s vital for people who enjoy details.

One of the videos he made was a series called Bless the Office, which was a spoof of The Office, starring the band Blessthefall. I have no beef with BTF, but I also never really paid much attention to them. However, these videos made me fall in love with them as people and I figured it was time to actually give their music a chance.

(These seriously make me laugh so hard. Being a scene kid is great, you guys.)

And then, about a month later, they announced that Slaves would no longer be a part of the BTF headlining tour, and that they had replaced them with EMAROSA.


The show was at Mr. Small’s last Monday. It was Chooch’s first time seeing a show there, and we were all really excited because Emarosa is just the best. Henry was excited too, but his demeanor never changes. Bradley saw us when we were waiting in line and he called up to us and asked us how we were doing and Henry was the only one who was able to remain calm and answer him back like a normal human. Chooch and I gave each other the OMG DYING BYE looks and then giggled because we’re 12-year-old girls and someone noticed us.

(I mean, Chooch wrote about all this too but after I read it, I was like, “OK don’t act like this didn’t faze you, liar.” But look, it’s not easy writing about things that hit you hard!)

Once we were inside, the very first thing Chooch noticed was that a girl he knew from school was there with her friends. I think she was in 8th grade when he was in 1st, and they know each other because she was the classroom helper and he was wearing a Pierce the Veil shirt one day, so you know—-soul-mates. She kept waving to him and trying to get him to come over to her but he was Suddenly Shy and practically buried himself under Henry’s arm until Cane Hill started, at which point he began throwing horns with abandon.

I really enjoyed Cane Hill, but then Oceans Ate Alaska came on and my hysterical declaration of “Hashtag Obsessed!!!” was met with a heavy frown etched into Henry’s face. I’ve listened to them before, but hearing them live was a whole new ballgame. Those breakdowns tho. It’s like having the year 2008 wrap its big, warm arms around me.

Seriously, fuck Alaska.

The three of us moved all the way up to the side of the stage for Emarosa because we fucking love them, don’t you know that by now? It’s like #lifegoalsreached now that I get to see them with Chooch. He was 2 when I started listening to them back in 2008, so this is literally the stuff he was raised on and it makes my heart swell to watch him get all excited and smile so big when he sees them walk on the stage. I think this might be my favorite part of parenting, you guys.

Emarosa came out hard, but I could kind of tell that Bradley was feeling under the weather. But you would barely even know it because he was still running into the crowd, doing flips, and spinning Will upside down. He told us after the show that he thought he maybe had the flu, and I just can’t imagine what it must take to still get up on that stage and perform with such fire. I get a tiny cold and I can barely manage to SIT AT MY DESK and do a job which requires 0% LABOR.

So much goddamn respect for this band.

(The sound on this is terrible, but you know me and my compulsion for Instavids.)

After their set, Bradley came out and went right over to Chooch and hugged him, which was amazing. In my mind, we talked for a bit, but what really happened was Bradley tried to make normal conversation and Chooch and I were just like HNNNNNNG. Chooch somehow was able to ask him to sign his new Emarosa shirt, and Bradley teasingly sighed, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll sign your shirt.” Chooch looked at me and started laughing because he LOVES being teased.

Bradley asked if we were going to stick around, but Chooch made it clear all evening that he was leaving after Emarosa. But I stayed because I have this thing about leaving shows early. Plus, after the Warped Tour videos, I felt compelled to see Blessthefall at least once. So I quietly slunk back into the stage area and went straight to the bar for a cider now that my under-aged concert buddy was gone.

Stick To Your Guns was on next and they were OK. I did not feel strongly about them one way or the other, and that’s fine because Chooch was texting me the whole time from Henry’s phone because they apparently came back to Mr. Small’s after Chooch ate and he got to meet the rest of Emarosa and I’m SO JEALOUS because I still haven’t met the rest of them and here’s why: I AM A SHRINKING VIOLET when it comes to meeting bands that I really love. Ugh, I hate myself.

Henry told me later that Will asked him if this was their first Emarosa show. “Did you tell him that I saw them in Buffalo in 2008? With Pierce the Veil?!” I frantically texted back.

“No. You weren’t there, so why would I tell him that.”




And then apparently Bradley was asking him what shows we’re going to next.


And he didn’t! He told him that the next show is Never Shout Never in February. Whatever, Henry. You’re so dumb.


“Uh, no. They’re just regular guys. They were all extremely nice.”

Oh I could just die.

Henry said that Chooch was besides himself, couldn’t even talk.

I can’t blame him! I love that he already has such respect and admiration for musicians, at such a young age.

Meanwhile, I was still inside for Blessthefall and I don’t regret it. Even though I don’t know very much of their music, it was hard not to get swept up in the energy. Plus, Beau Bokan sprayed me in the face with his water and touched my hand, so it was a pretty fantastic night for this scene kid in an old lady suit.


God. That night and all of its feels. I will never, ever forget it.

The next morning, Chooch woke up on his own and promptly threw on his new Emarosa shirt. He couldn’t wait to show everyone at school, and now he wants to buy a frame to keep it in. Everything about this rules.


Sadly, Emarosa ended up dropping off the rest of the tour yesterday because of health issues, and I feel so terrible for them, yet really proud that they were able to play the shows that they could and win over more fans. Forever my faves.

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Oct 152015

I must be getting at going to shows alone because as soon as I saw that Better Off was coming to town with Pentimento, I just bought one ticket and assumed that Henry wouldn’t be joining me. My assumption was correct!

The show was at Smiling Moose, and those shows always have early start times because the Moose always has late night shit going on. Knowing I would have to go there right after work, I brought clothes to change into. My boss-person Rachel passed me on the way out of the bathroom after I changed and commented on my band shirt, which opened up my favorite can in the world: Cure worms. Turns out, Rachel’s brother-in-law grew up across the street from Robert Smith in England. MIND = BLOWN. And she said it so casually, too! I can’t believe we have worked together for over five years and this is the first I’m hearing about it.


Remember to breathe, Erin.

My personal Lyft driver picked me up from work as usual and then booted me out of the car at Smiling Moose around 5:45. The hardest part for me is walking in. I’m cool once I get inside and assess the room, but those several minutes leading up to that moment totally ravage my stomach. Typically, I’d go straight to the bar and get a drink to help calm my nerves, but this time, I went straight upstairs and waited for Quarter Crisis to come on. They’re a local band and it was their first real show, so there were some family members milling about and I was thankful for that because their elder status helped me blend in a bit. These types of shows tend to draw in the high school and early college crowd, which is strange to me because the music definitely isn’t young or immature in any way. People at work asked me what kind of bands were playing and I just gave them the vague “pop punk” response, but that’s really not what genre this is at all. I like to consider it modern emo, to be honest. And also, I hate labels.

Old people acting giddy for the family band. One of the Quarter Life guys was standing near me for a short time before they were ready to play, and a woman who I assume was his mom kept trying to get him to just please stay at her house after the show. He was all, “Look, I appreciate it, honestly, but I have class at 9am.”

“So, you can leave at 7!” she countered, so this is where my excellent deductive reasoning skills figured that he must go to some college outside of Pittsburgh.

“I’ll be fine!” he promised. “I’ll drink a lot of coffee tonight, I swear.” This didn’t seem to satisfy her but then one of his bros showed up and bro-hugged him so she sighed and then started annoying her granddaughter about taking pictures of the show and the granddaughter snapped and said, “Grandma, staaaahhhp! I will just take pictures with my phone! God!” because I guess grandma didn’t know how to use her camera, who even knows with grandmas these days.

Anyway, the band had some sound hiccups during their set, but I still appreciated them for what they are and was glad that I was there to help out fill out the room some (or, with my girth, A LOT). My favorite part was when the singer pointed out that his older brother and dad were filling in and that’s when I noticed that the dad behind the drumset could have easily have been GLENN.


Me, leaning against a wall, cracking up so hard that my ghost gave up right there and reverse-slurped right out of my mouth.

We had a fun convo about it this morning at work!

Meanwhile, I had scarfed down a cheese sandwich before leaving work that day, having the foresight to actually prepare something before leaving home that morning, knowing that I wouldn’t have time to eat a real dinner before the show. Because I ate it so fast, I kept burping up cheese and mustard, so you’re welcome, anyone standing close enough to me to catch a whiff of my regurgitated culinary wizardry.

Next up was Carolyn and Caleb, but every time one of the other bands would give them a shout out, I thought it was some variation of Carrots and Kale. They were….OK. Inoffensive. Nice, complementary voices. But, kind of boring and too twangy at times. Also, “Kale” resembled that d-bag Pittsburgh Dad (if you’re not from Pittsburgh, he’s a “comedian” who makes parody videos of stereotypical Pittsburgh dads, and I have yet to find a single one of them even mildly humorous, but people here flip their shit over him for some reason) so I immediately felt inclined to dislike him. They also seemed to take themselves too seriously.

Sterile and bland. Their Bob Dylan cover was tight though and I don’t even really like Bob Dylan.

I wish Carrots would have sung some things on her own instead of just being Kale’s accessory.

There was a girl standing alone near me and part of me thought, “MAYBE SHE IS HERE ALONE TOO AND YOU SHOULD SAY HELLO I AM HERE ALONE AND SHE WILL SMILE AND SAY OH THANK GOD ANOTHER SINGLE DAME!” and then you will become besties and go to every show together from then on until you realize that the reason she kept tossing furtive glances over her shoulder is because she was waiting for her actual friends to arrive and of course she wasn’t alone because why would she be and also no one has said “dame” in a hundred years.

Also, I was the only girl there not wearing some combination of olive, maroon, black and cream. Hot pink Cure t-shirt up on this bitch’s torso, thanks.

A Will Away was completely unexpected. They had some major technical difficulties which prevented them from starting on time, so their set got cut short, and that was a shame because they had That Sound, you guys. The vocals and the music and the lyrics, sad boy music reppin’! I wish that Carrots and Kale hadn’t been in the line-up, affording A Will Away some more time.

I think “Home” was my favorite.

I bought their EP after the show and I’m already looking forward to seeing them again!

And then it was time for Better Off! I didn’t get any pictures of them because I was too excited and caught up in the music, OMG can you imagine. The sound was questionable in the beginning, but it gradually got better (I have issues with the sound at Smiling Moose no matter what — the room is so goddamn small and the sound is actually too loud at times and vocals can be hard to hear). I was really feeling it hardcore, especially when they launched into “Dresser Drawer” WHICH IS MY FAVORITE:

And cue more technical difficulties. They ended up having to cut their set short after like, I don’t know, FOUR SONGS. I was pretty wrecked, but I have faith that I will see them again real soon because I’m basically stalking them on every social media site so that I don’t miss a single thing. This is why I don’t have time to keep up with the Kardashians. Too many bands to stalk.

Something about this band reminds me of the Jealous Sound, and that’s a really good thing. There’s not one bad egg on their new album and you should all go buy it right now. Or here.


(That took a lot of effort so that’s how you know I feel strongly about this album. Go make yourself a PB&J and think of me while you eat it.)

Pentimento was headlining, and I have to admit that I’m only just a casual fan of these guys. I like their sound just fine, but last night was a game changer; now I’m on their jocks hard bro. It’s unclear to me how anyone could stand still during their set, but most of the room was going nuts and that shit is contagious. My legs are pretty sore today.

“Thanks for coming out on a school night!” Jeremiah, Pentimento’s frontman, joked. I cheered and laughed along with everyone else, but my 36-year-old self was crying on the inside. Please, I would never let something as insignificant as my age stand in the way of going to shows, but I’m not going to sit here and pretend that it isn’t occasionally awkward at certain times. At least this one seemed to have more college-aged people there.

I tweeted something similar to that after the show, and a guy who was there last night replied to let me know that he’s right behind me, turning 31 in a few weeks, and that he’ll forever be the old guy at shows. And I’m like “good for you, guy! don’t ever stop!” All I know is that I have definitely been having better experiences at shows in my 30s than ever before. This is going to sound amazingly contrary given the fact that I paint myself as someone who is really concerned about age (see also: last 8 sentences), but now that I’m older, I feel less pressure to look or act a certain way at shows, because who gives a fuck. I’m not there to impress a single person. Ultra Chill: Unlocked.

Later on, Jeremiah gave a very heartfelt mini-speech about how they aren’t sure how much longer they’re going to have the opportunity to live out their dream, and how they never know if a show they’re playing is going to be their last, but they never take it for granted. Hearing gratitude pouring forth from such a down to earth band really gives me hope that the scene isn’t entirely going down the shitter. And of course, I always picture my own kid up there and hope he can someday turn a passion into a career.

But then I started thinking about this in my own terms and had a mild panic attack because I don’t ever want to have that “last show” I go to but I know it’s inevitable, because hello mortality. My mind was reeling there for awhile until they started playing again and then everything in my head calmed down. You can’t do shit like that to me! My mind is fragile.

It’s such a good feeling when you go to a show alone and then once the show starts, you suddenly don’t feel like you’re alone anymore. It was a good crowd. A SPARSE crowd, but definitely good quality.  Youth might be fleeting, but I’m not going to let go to this part of my life that easily, not when going to shows makes me feel so alive and hyper.

And if I ever stop feeling that way? Stick a fork in me, because I’m done.

This concludes another predictable chapter of the Emo Erin Diaries. Thank you for yawning, I mean, reading.

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Sep 192015

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Saturday was a beautiful day: blue skies, in the low 60s, and the line to get in wasn’t as clusterfucked as Day One. We only stood for about 10 minutes before the gates opened and had plenty of time to roam before any bands started.

If I had to say one thing about Riot Fest (me? limited to one thing? can you imagine?) it would be this: It feels like your entire person is an excavation site and Riot Fest is digging up parts previously forgotten. Even a week later, I’m still letting music guide me down memory lane and it has been tremendous fun, if not eye-opening to how much much things have really changed. Some of those bands, good Lord, I haven’t listened to them in 10+ years, and the memories and feelings that came over me were overwhelming – most in good ways. These weren’t necessarily old wounds being torn open, but just some decent feels having the dust brushed off. Although it did make it even more evident that 2004 is a time in my life that could use some more healing. Watching some of these bands, like the Dear Hunter for instance, made me ask myself why I ever stopped listening to them in the first place. And I can’t remember. Other than the fact that there is just so much music to listen to and some bands just inevitably fall through the cracks. That felt like the theme for Saturday though; all of these bands that I was so excited to see even though I haven’t listened to any of them in years.

Seriously though, I’m going to try to be brief for real this time. Wish me luck.

  • Chon: We recently saw these guys open for Circa Survive a few months ago, so I threw Henry a bone and told him we could skip them. They were the main stage openers though, so I at least got to still hear them while we stocked up on food tickets and bought some deep dish, which we ate like Fat Americans At a Concert while watching….
  • The Ataris – I have never really given a shit about them, not because I think they suck or anything, just because I never really bothered and no one has ever tried to force them on me, either. I did think it was kind of odd that they were playing so early, but what do I know. They were playing on the Roots stage, which had slight hills on either side of it, so Henry and I stood on one of those while eating our pizza. Because, Fat Americans At a Concert. (Seriously though, if there is one thing I really don’t like, it’s eating at shows. I think it’s weird and kind of disrespectful to stand there shoving food in your face while a band is playing. But we were just trying to get it out of the way because there was a long day of stage-hopping ahead of us. So, we joined the douchebag masses and fed our faces.) “Did he change his hair?” Henry asked. “What? Who?” I replied, which always comes out as a frantic yell while I whip my head from side to side, looking for what, I don’t know. “The singer for the Ataris,” Henry said, pointing at the stage. LIKE I KNOW?! The Ataris could sit next to me on the trolley and I would have no idea it was them. Why is Henry so concerned with band hair?! (Never forget: Sceney Todd.) Then they played their “Boys of Summer” cover and I was like, “Oh yeah. Them.”
  • The Dear Hunter – Another band that I used to really love and then inexplicably stopped following. I’ve seen them once before, when they opened for Thrice in 2009, but it was at a really annoying venue and the experience wasn’t optimum. But at Riot Fest, the crowd was fantastic and I could see perfectly because it was the stage with the tiny hills and the crowd wasn’t too large yet. Henry asked, “Who are these guys now?” and that’s basically my favorite question because then I can start rambling useless facts and playing connect-the-dots with other bands (“The singer is Casey Crescenzo and he was also in The Receiving End of Sirens, remember when I loved them, and you know who else was in TREOS? BRIAN SOUTHALL do you even know who BRIAN SOUTHALL is well he basically wrote the entire Isles and Glaciers EP, so go suck a dick, Henry.” And that’s how it goes.) The Dear Hunter was exceptional, but my favorite part, maybe even in my Top 5 moments of the entire weekend, was when the guy next to Henry offered him a joint. Father NARC politely declined and I lost it; Henry was so annoyed, but if I hadn’t laughed with abandon, my cheeks would have holes in them right now from when the force of my pent-up laughter ripped right through like giddy cannonballs.

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  • Gwar – I mean…I associate Gwar with my ex-boyfriend Psycho Mike and I usually try to avoid them, but this time I was like, “Fuck it, we’ve got some time.” I still don’t like their music, but their performance was mildly entertaining. The only song I knew was “Meat Sandwich” because I’m a poser.
  • The Movielife – YES! I was really looking forward to this one, because the Movielife haven’t been together since…2003? Someone help me out here and Google for me; I’m tired. I wasn’t a rabid fan, but I have always liked Vinnie Carauna (he was the main reason I got into Set Your Goals back in 2009) and I Am The Avalanche, so this was a must-see for me. And they fucking brought it! Vinnie looked so happy and the camaraderie within the band seemed great. It was basically one massive singalong while Henry stood there, squinting at his phone, looking at a visual history of the Ataris’ hairstyles.

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  • Dead Milkmen – My friend Bill texted me that morning and said, “Please tell me you’re going to see Dead Milkmen today” and I was like “BILL. YOU KNOW IT.” I’m by no means a huge fan, but this is one of those bands that I used to always hear my BFF Christy’s older brother talking about when we were kids. I’ve always considered this a “big brother” type of band because of that, and it always made me sad that I didn’t have my old big brother who was teaching me about good music. (I mean, I actually do have an older brother, but I didn’t find out about him until I was 19, so…) Then in 8th grade, I had a pen pal from Seattle who used to make me mixtapes and she too loved the Dead Milkmen. I felt like I owed it to my youth to be at the Rock Stage for their set that afternoon, and I’m so glad I was, because they were wonderful, and the crowd was great. I love festivals like this because they give me the opportunity to see bands that I normally wouldn’t see at a club show. My favorite part was when Joe went off on a tangent about hipsters and how he couldn’t believe that Riot Fest was making the Damned and Echo and the Bunnymen play in daylight, all of the hipster bands should be playing those slots because hipsters love the sun and gentrification and riding their bicycles and opening trendy popsicle stands—and it was all true. Every last word of it, and I was laughing so hard because fuck a hipster. I just want to be able to walk into a coffee shop and order a cup of coffee without some asshole with stupid hair, wearing a scarf in summer judging me. I originally planned on leaving their set early to run over and catch the end of Babes In Toyland on the Rebel Stage, but the Dead Milkmen were just too much fun. Even Henry was like, “Yeah” when I said, “Wasn’t that awesome?”

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  • Desaparecidos – Early-20s Erin pissed her pants when she saw this band on the Riot Fest announcement. Henry was like “Who?” and I snottily yelled, “DON’T YOU REMEMBER THEM?! CONOR OBERST’S SIDE PROJECT FROM WAY BACK IN THE DAY!?” and he was like “Nope, but thanks for essentially giving me the heads up that I’m going to hate them.” I used to love Bright Eyes before it was hipster to love Bright Eyes, before Winona Ryder dated Conor Oberst, before your mom came home from Whole Foods with her hemp satchel stuffed with organic Diva Cups and kale and started telling you about the haunting song she heard at the check-out counter, but JOKE’S ON ME YOU GUYS because just admitting to any of this is basically publicly outing myself as a secret hipster. But seriously, who cares. I is for everyone and Bright Eyes is the shit and at one point in my life, they were everything to me. Actually, the Saddle Creek record label had me eating out of their hands back then. I loved Cursive (still do) and Now It’s Overhead and AZURE RAY! Goddamn, I was a different person back then! And Desaparecidos was one of those bands. I loved them because I hated George W. Bush and their music was smart and political—they were on my side, and not on Henry’s; I used to be smug about that. (I know, it’s hard to imagine.) I never had the chance to see them back in 2002, so I was READY. This was one of those times when Henry mumbled about going to get a beer and then he never came back. But that was OK — I was fine because I was amongst my people. And Jesus Christ, Desa fucking went hard. I forgot how much I loved that beautiful Midwestern emo sound. And seeing Denver Dalley brought back such memories! I struggled all weekend to remember the name of the band he used to be in, and I was determined not to google that shit. “Remember we saw them at Club Cafe? Now It’s Overhead opened for them?” I kept pressing Henry. “Nope,” he’d answer disinterestedly. “His band name had something to do with math. Not Subtraction….” Then, late Sunday night, I shouted from my side of the bed, “Statistics!!! It was Statistics.” Henry was like, “No one cares.” But I digress, seeing this band was amazing. Seeing Conor Oberst was amazing. Being so close was amazing. Life was just amazing that day. All days. LIFE FUCKING RULES. CHOOSE LIFE. FOREVER AND EVER. KUMBAYA AND JAMBALAYA.
  • Echo and the Bunnymen – Seriously, fucking Echo and the Bunnymen. I got to hear “Lips Like Sugar” live – another bucket list item. I would have liked to have been closer for them, and also to have stayed for their whole set, but remember when I mentioned in my Day One post that there were three bands that were the Big Draws for me? Well, the third one was about to start during Echo’s set.

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Saw this bro’s cat shirt and tried to ask him where he got it but he was so fucking high, his answer was covered in drool and question marks. So his friend was like “I BOUGHT IT FOR HIM. I SAW IT IN A STORE. I BOUGHT THE SHIRT AT A SHIRT. CATS.” Wow, thanks guy. Luckily, I posted it on Instagram and one of my friends said Urban Outfitters sells it, but I guess that was like, so last season because it’s not in stock anymore. SORRY CHOOCH, I TRIED.

  • Alexisonfire: Fucking fuck fuck fuck.  This is the band, out of all the bands that weekend, that walked away with my heart. I listened to them heavily from around 2005-2007, but I never got to see them live. A thing that you should know about that time in my life is that I was unemployed for most of it, and then pregnant, then I had the thing (a/k/a Chooch) and then I worked from 4pm-midnight. So I was either poor, pregnant, figuring out how to be a mom, and then working shitty hours; all of this is to illustrate how infrequently I was going to shows back then. It was near impossible, and I had to be very choosy with what shows I did go to because $$$. Not surprising, I was extremely depressed during these days too. Major correlation there. When I was working the job with the horrible hours, Alexisonfire used to come up a lot on my Zen and I just loved them because I had some aggression, one might say. This was around the time I was really starting to get into post-hardcore more exclusively, and would soon discover Chiodos, which just changed my whole world, musically. Alexisonfire was right there in the middle of it, so I was really anxious to see them last weekend, especially because they haven’t toured in ages (Dallas’s main gig is now City & Colour, and Wade fronts Gallows). I got up as close I could, near the barricade on the right side (that’s my sweet spot at shows; never estimate the side of the stage) and Henry was like, “I’m gonna….” and then ran away. Which is fine, because sometimes I prefer to be alone during these times.  I mean, I knew I was experiencing some level of excitement while waiting for them to start, but what I hadn’t anticipated was the grip they were about to have on me. The feelings and emotions that came over me as soon as they started playing was inexplicable…and also maybe a little concerning. I was crying and losing my mind, quickly remembering just how much I used to like them and knowing that this was all out of my control — I was about to walk away from that stage TRIPLE liking them. It was nuts how many of those songs I haven’t heard in about 10 years, but the words came right back to me. I like City & Colour just fine, but Dallas Green was born to sing in Alexisonfire. From the moment he opened his mouth, I could barely breathe, and George was a fury of testosterone on that stage, and by the end of the set, he had bent the mic stand around his neck, folded it in half, jumped on it, and then folded it again. I was inspired to do the same thing, using Henry’s neck though. “So are they like a big deal or something?” one of the security guys asked the girl next to me, watching the crowd lose their shit. “Oh god, yeah,” she laughed. “And it’s because they haven’t toured in a really long time.” He nodded but you could tell he was like, “The fuck.” One of Henry’s friends, I guess. It’s crazy how something just clicked; all those times I listened to them years ago, I liked them so much but not like this. Not on this level. They blew me away and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it ever since, constantly playing them while I get ready for work, in the car, in my head, relearning all of the nuances and split second parts that make my heart flop. After their set that day, I slowly walked back to Henry, who was standing far back not near anyone, looking distressed and angry at what he had just been subjected to. “CHILLS” I shouted to him, and he rolled his eyes. I need to see them again. Immediately.
    • My co-worker Aron likes to keep tabs on me via Instagram and then he’ll walk by and casually namedrop something I’ve posted on there, just to prove that he’s in the know. So on Tuesday, my first day back to work after the glorious weekend, he came over and said, “So Alexisonfire, huh? SO GOOD, RIGHT?” I agreed and then said, “But….just so you know, it’s ‘Alexis On Fire,'” because he pronounced it ‘Alex Is On Fire’ — a common error! “Goddammit, are you serious?!” he asked in defeat, and it was so funny. Poor Aron, he tries.
      • When they played “This Could Be Anywhere In The World,” I sincerely I was going to cry my big ugly face off and I am CRYING RIGHT NOW just thinking about it. (Also, back when I liked them years ago, I always wanted to sing “The city is burning” instead of “the city is haunted” and I was doing the exact same thing last Saturday during this song. Old habits.
        • Honestly, I just want to delete everything else in this post and replace it with every last Alexisonfire video I can find on YouTube. I am smitten. LIKE A MITTEN.
          • ON A FUCKING KITTEN.


  1. Accidents
  2. Boiled Frogs (<3)
  3. Old Crows
  4. The Northern
  5. We Are the Sound
  6. .44 Caliber Love Letter
  7. Dogs Blood
  8. Drunks, Lovers, Sinners, and Saints
  9. This Could Be Anywhere In the World
  10. Young Cardinals
  11. Happiness By the Kilowatt

I had my fingers crossed for “You Burn First” but it’s ok — they made up for it by playing 12 other songs that I wanted to hear. 

Can I go back to last Saturday now or….?


    • Drive Like Jehu – Post-hardcore is one of my favorite music genres, a real close tie with 1980s synthpop for first place. And DLJ are veritable grandfathers of that scene at this point, so there was no way I was missing them. The crowd for them at the Rebel stage was pretty dismal, and definitely older. This was another big deal because they broke up in 1995, and only recently reunited last year, but have only played a handful of west coast shows. I had to, had to, had to see them. Also, their drummer is Mark Trombino, who has produced some of the greatest records (like goddamn Jimmy Eat World, for Christ’s sake) and admittedly, I was hoping that there would be booth for his donut company, Donut Friend. I AM OBSESSED WITH DONUT FRIEND! Their donuts are named after emo/punk/hardcore bands! Custard Front Drive! Drive Like Jelly! Fudgegazi! They could taste like dog shit for all I know, I’d still buy them all because music. (I got to see Drive Like Jehu live! What is this life.)

  • Billy Idol – A few months ago, “Eyes Without a Face” came on my bedroom radio and I said out loud to the monster under my bed how much I would like to see Billy Idol live one day. I mean, it’s Billy Idol. And then because I said it, my under-the-bed monster made it so. (With a little help from some warm virgin blood and Faygo Moon Mist.)  Billy headlined the Rock Stage and when the monitors weren’t completely cutting out, he sounded fantastic. But there were some major, disappointing sound issues happening. Still, the crowd was great and it was basically the only performance that Henry and I were both looking forward to all weekend, so it was a nice, bonding moment and I think we held hands for a minute or two. And then, “Eyes Without A Face”! Gah, the childhood memories. This song, and “Drive” by The Cars are two 80s ballads that make my arm-hairs rise and my idiot heart fold in half. (OK, fine: “Is This Love?” by Whitesnake, too.)

  • Taking Back Sunday: After Billy Idol was over, Taking Back Sunday was ready to headline the Roots stage. They were one of the second night headliners last year too, and I had deja vu as my teeth chattered and my feet froze into blocks of boot-shaped ice. We didn’t even attempt to get close to the stage for them, opting instead to stand back where the crowd was less dense. I promised Henry we could leave after a few songs, because he’s 50, you guys. He needs rest. I really wanted to hear “MakeDamnSure” before we left, but alas. Normally, I would pout about something like this, but the whole entire day was….I almost said made of win. Who even says that anymore.

Meanwhile, people were near death behind us at the Riot stage, where System of a Down was headlining. I watched some videos and read a lot of online accounts and “horrifying” is the only word that comes to mind. A lot of it had to do with the muddy conditions, but it sounds like the incident was in large part due to obnoxious, drunk, overzealous and disrespectful fans. I love festivals, you know I love Warped Tour to death, but this is shit you almost never see in a club show. (Or, for that matter, Warped Tour. You know why? Most of the people there are underage!) I feel like festivals bring out thousands of people who just don’t really go to real shows, and they don’t know how to act. People were falling into mud because the crowd wouldn’t stop pushing, even before SOAD came out, causing a domino effect until there were dog piles of people in the mud, unable to get up and some unable to breathe. By the time SOAD started playing, they apparently had to stop their set at least three times to allow paramedics to literally SAVE PEOPLE FROM DYING. This is why I won’t put myself that close to the stage like that in festival settings. Pack mentality scares the FUCK out of me. I love music, I love shows, I love supporting my bands, but I also love being alive. Some of the things I read on Reddit were horrifying, the way some people were treated, literally being pushed over and stood on, having their faces shoved into the mud, breathing in that dirty water and absolutely thinking they were going to die.

Nope. That’s not for me. Not at 36, not even at 21. I think the most scared I ever was at a festival was at the Rolling Rock Town Fair in 2001. You want to talk about a football field full of wasted, aggressive nu-metal-loving frat boys? Good lord, I thought that whole field was going to burn. Every time I see footage of the Reading, Leeds, or Glastonbury festivals, my chest feels so tight. I just don’t think I could ever do a festival that size.

Nope. Riot Fest is probably as large as I’ll go. And that’ll be over there, standing off to the side, thanks.

System of a Down aside, the whole day was one majestic moment after the next, ending with the best Lyft driver of the entire week, Bobby, who was hilarious and candid, hates No Doubt, and gave us an off-the-cuff tour of the Chicago outskirts the whole back to our hotel. Bobby was the fucking shirt, and as I rolled out of his car, I drunkenly told him he was the best Lyft driver of my life, and I wasn’t even DRUNK.

I have been on the verge of combustion all week because all I want to do is talk about the weekend but I’m trying not to be annoying (Henry is reading this, feeling puzzled right now. “Trying not to be annoying?”) Riot Fest, these things that you do to me. I can’t even.

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Sep 182015


So, this tour was announced yesterday and it’s a dream and a nightmare all at once. Slaves is Jonny Craig’s current band and I have been boycotting them for over a year now because GIRL POWER, etc. But….Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds, AND Strawberry Girls all on one tour? (Strawberry Girl’s is Zach Garron’s band, and he also used to be in DGD).

When I first saw this yesterday at work, I almost fell out of my chair. Then I shoved my phone in Todd’s face and said, “TODD. LOOK. OMG UGH.” And Todd was like, “Oh shit! What ever will you do?” because poor Todd knows all about the Jonny Craig Conflict since he has to sit near me now. So I texted Henry who was just like “LOL” because not only is it Jonny Craig, but it’s also a show that will require us driving to Cleveland on a work night.

But then Chooch said he wants to go, too. “We just won’t pay attention to Slaves,” he said with a shrug. Like, duh. Just ignore them! We’ll stick our fingers in our ears and yell “lalala”!

Anyway, Kurt Travis posted on Facebook that in addition to singing with ALLB,  he’ll be coming out and doing some of his old songs with DGD, which makes me believe that Jonny will be doing the same, since this is a 10th anniversary tour, and you guys know that DGD is in my Top 5 favorite bands of all time.

I’m so conflicted!

I actually sat here and cried about it this morning because will I be a hypocrite if I go? I don’t want Jonny to get a single cent of my money, but I also really don’t miss seeing DGD (they were just here in August on the All Stars tour and I skipped it because I didn’t care for any of the other bands, it was right after we came home from vacation, and I didn’t want to spend $30 to see one band play for 45 minutes. I figured I’d just wait for their next headlining tour…Sigh.

So I called Henry and before I said anything, I blurted out, “OK I know you’re going to say no, but…” and then I told him about the Kurt Travis thing and what if he sings Happiness with them?! I have never heard that song live! And Henry said, “Well, I guess I can’t say no, then can I?”


I might have a heart attack.

I really don’t want to deal with Jonny Craig, but this is an opportunity that I really feel like I can’t pass up because it’s DGD and ALLB, and there’s always the strong possibility that Jonny will do something fucked up between now and then to get himself kicked off the tour. (Also, it’s fucked that Slaves gets top billing over ALLB, but whatever.)

OK, that’s all. Thank you for walking down Freak Out Alley with me.


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Sep 172015

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[disclaimer: my blog keeps smashing words together after I hit publish; that’s not actually me trying to form post hardcore band names out of everyday sentences.]

We were duped by Riot Fest again. They said “Gates open at 11, guys!” and we fell for it. Our Lyft driver, Bobby (he asked us to tell him things about Pittsburgh and he definitely doesn’t want a Primanti’s sandwich, guys), got us there promptly at 11, only for us to stand in line for 90 MINUTES. Why you do this, Riot Fest? Why so mean? Aside from having a musical know-it-all standing behind us (talking about Gwar like he didn’t know Oderus died, though) and then being rained on for 30 minutes, it wasn’t the worst line I’ve ever stood in.

But then the lines started moving and we were one of the first 50 to be let in. It’s so strange being there that early, before any of the stages are bumpin’, none of the food vendors are ready, and people are just roaming around aimlessly in an attempt to familiarize themselves with the grounds.

This was the first year for Douglas Park to host the festival. When Riot Fest started 10+ years ago, it was actually just a bunch of shows split up around different venues of Chicago. It was only within the last 4 or so years that it became the sizable festival that it is today. Since 2012, it was held in Humboldt Park, but after last year, Humboldt Park was like, “Hell to the no,” so the organizers were forced to move it to nearby Douglas Park. Douglas is smaller than Humboldt, so the layout had the stages closer together. A lot of people were complaining about this, but I kind of liked that it was easier to run from stage to stage — last year, two of the stages were so far apart from each other, god help you if you were trying to split your time between the two of them. Henry and I practically walked the soles off our boots last year. It was a lot more hectic and the I’M GONNA BE LATE sensation that I’m so susceptible to really put a damper on my fun at times.

I’m tightly wound. And I have found that I describe myself this way so often, that it’s got to be a future tattoo.

First thing we did once we got through the gates was sign up to be bone marrow donors, which involved having the inside of our cheeks swabbed, so that was an unusual way to start things off, but you know me, such philanthropy.

“Does it hurt, donating bone marrow?” I asked Henry after we walked away with our BONE MARROW DONOR cards.

Henry just smirked at me. “Uh, yeah.”


In an effort to dial back the amount of information I’m tempted to cram down the Internet’s throat, I am going to now make a list of the bands that we saw on Day One, even if it was just a partial set, and then briefly (LOL, what’s that word mean?) talk about the highlights. EVERYSINGLETHING! It was all a highlight! OK, but really. I’m going to try to do this. Henry’s comments/thoughts/reviews are indented.

Bands We Saw On Friday

  • Coathangers –  I really am not a fan of girl bands. Luckily, we were just strolling past while they were christening the main stage.
  • Into It. Over It. – I’ve wanted to see them for quiet some time so I was excited that this would be the first band of the day for us. Henry was not impressed. My favorite part was when Evan stopped playing a few notes into a song and said, “No. Fuck that. You people paid a lot of money to be here and I’m not playing this song out of fucking tune” before starting over. Respect.
    • I don’t remember.

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  • Real Friends – I missed them at Warped Tour in July, but was like, “It’s fine, they’ll be at Riot Fest, so…” but then their set overlapped with Mariachi El Bronx, so I only got to stick around for two songs before running to the Roots stage for a Mexican dance party.
    • We’re not real friends. At all.
  • Mariachi El Bronx!! – God, I love this band! It’s literally the mariachi side project of the Bronx, a band that I used to really love but admittedly haven’t listened to in a while. I saw Mariachi El Bronx once at Warped Tour years ago and they stole my gringo heart. Even Henry smiled a little bit. Go listen to them if you’re having a bad day or so hungry that you’re not sure what you want to eat. 
    • Nope.

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  • Bayside – I don’t care how many times I have seen them, I can never miss an opportunity to hear my heart breaker jam “Don’t Call Me Peanut.” Chooch used to love that song when he was younger and would sing it quietly from the backseat, so I got all sad-eyed and missed him a ton during their set. I was a late-comer to the Bayside scene and never really bothered with them until 2009 when I saw Anthony Ranieri on the Where’s the Band? tour, which also featured Chris Conley, Matt Pryor, and Dustin Kensrue. What a fucking lineup of heart-eye emojis before heart-eye emojis existed. That’s one show I would love to relive. Anyway, Anthony ended up winning my idiot heart that day and I have been a Bayside fan ever since, but I still feel likean00b every time I’m in that crowd.  Anyway, go listen to Bayside. It’s like being hugged by someone you don’t mind touching.
    • It’s a band.

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  • Every Time I Die: I always, always, always miss this damn band every time they play Warped. But not on this day,motherfuckers. We got a good spot near the side and Henry was like, “Who are these guys again?” and seemed pretty relaxed during the intro where they played the theme to Perfect Strangers, like it wasgoingto be a bunchofBalkiBartokomouses andCousinLarrys playing chill 1980s sitcom scores on mandolins. But then Keith Buckley and crew came storming out andHenrysighed. I really liked what I heard/saw butmyactual highlight of their set has nothing to do with the music — we were standing right next to the press gate so after a few songs, a throng of photographers came filing out. I happened to glance at one of them and realized that she looked super familiar. “I think that’s Ashley Olson!” I shouted into Henry’s face. “WHO?!” he asked. I just rolled my eyes because he is so old and dumb and this just proves that he clearly never listens to me when I talk about my interests. Anyway, Ashley is one of the best up-and-coming music photographers I have seen lately. I started noticing her last year when she was on tour with Chiodos, because Craig Owens would always regram her photos and they were stunning. And I never use the word “stunning.”I’ve been following her on Instagram ever since, and her Warped Tour photos this summer just blew my mind. Plus, she has good taste in bands, so. She ended up walking away and I regretted notsayinghi to her. (I even double-checked on Instagram to make sure it was her, and her most recent post was from Riot Fest, so I figured that was a pretty good sign, haha.) Halfway through ETID’s set, she came back! She was standing in front of me for a minute, getting in some more shots, and then she retreated. The guy she was with was still standing in front of me, talking to someone, so she was just hanging back, waiting for him. I really dislike approaching people because I get so awkward and creepy, but I said to Henry, “Ok, I’m going in…” and dove right the fuck into Small Talk Ocean. And it went, well, swimmingly! (God, my writing skills just slay.) I thought it was going to be a “hi/bye” type of transaction, but we ended up having a nice, meaningful chat for several minutes, during which she hugged me TWICE, and said that she had noticed me earlier because I was wearing my (ugh, Chooch’s) Emarosa “For Fox Sake” shirt. So we chatted about how wonderful those guys are and I said, “My 9-year-old son met Bradley this summer at Warped—” Ashley cut me off to say, “You do NOT have a 9-year-old son.” I laughed and said, “I do! I’m 36!” and she was genuinely surprised and kept saying, “NO YOU’RE NOT!” I enjoyed the moment because I know my extended youth is fleeting and these days are slipping through my fingers. I’m reminded of this every time I look in the mirror and see more gray hairs and deeper bags under my eyes. Ashley gave me a sticker and we tookaselfie. “That’s really cute!” she said when I showed her, and asked me to tag her in it so she could save it. I think I’m getting better at talking to strangers! I’ll be kidnapped any day now. 
    • It all runs together after awhile.

Henry was like, “You and all your weird Instagram crushes” when I excitedly showed him the picture. I was happy that he didn’t come with me when I was talking to her because who brings their dad to Riot Fest, you know?

  • Coheed & Cambria: Heard part of their set while roaming around. I used to really like them when they first came onto the scene but then I stopped for no real reason. Their drummer is a douchebag on Twitter, that much I know; tweeting shitty things to Jonny Craig’s ex-fiancee and it’s like, “Why do you care? Don’t you have some lame hip hop rhymes to lay down?”

  • THRICE: You know how your elderly Uncle Milton is always telling the same stale-ass war story every time you sit down at the kids table to eat fucking figgy pudding, supposing you live inside a Christmas carol? Well, just call me Uncle Milt because DID YOU KNOW THAT MY KID IS NAMED AFTER THE DRUMMER IN THRICE? Well he is. It’s true. (His real name is Riley,btw.) And I am contractually obligated to mention that every single time I write on my blog about Thrice, or text someone about Thrice, or hear the song Three Times a Lady by Lionel Richie. CHOOCH WILL LOSE HIS NAME IF I DON’T. And then that fucker Bastion from Never-ending Story will have to give him a new one and it’ll be something stupid. Like Chooch.Ok Ok Ok, let’s reel it back in here for a second. Thrice is one of my all-time favorite bands and I won’t get too whiny about it because there are definitely more than one lengthy post in the archives about my love for them, so I will give you the truncated version: The last time I saw them was in 2009 and then they went on hiatus and everyone was like WILL THRICE EVER COME BACK!? They played a show (one show) a few months ago and I knew, I just fucking knew, that they were going to be announced for this year’s Riot Fest and I was fucking right because I spend way too much time analyzing this shit. There were three bands that were announced last May for Riot Fest that made me fall to my knees and beg Henry, and Thrice was one. I was fucking giddy all day, but then right before their set, my stomach got all knotted and my eyes got all moist and sting-y, and I knew I was in for it. Yep, I cried for most of their set—which was SO FUCKING GOOD and it alone was worth the drive to Chicago. Crowd was great and really into it and it felt sogoodto be there in the middle of it all. My connection with Thrice is on another level. Like some spiritual shit. This Riot Fest moment was brought to you by some strong 2003 feels.
    • They’re ok.



Those clouds, tho. Thrice was literally bringing Heaven down to earth. OH YEAH, I WENT THERE.

  • Faith No More: Friends. This is the top reason I had to go to Riot Fest. Faith No More is one of the few bands that I never grew out; they’ve stuck with me through every musical phase I’ve gone through, from gangsta rap to synthpop. I was in middle school when I first heard Midlife Crisis (back when it was cool to discover new music on MTV!) and it was the first “heavy” band that appealed to me and I was like OMG someone take me to the mall right this instant so I can buy thatfuckingcassingle (which I still have!). I can’t say that they were a gateway band for me though, because they were literally the only metal-type band that I liked until junior year when I became a closet Marilyn Manson aficionado. Naturally,FNM would go on  to break-up before I ever had the chance to see them, so that sucked. (I did get to see Mike Patton’s sideprojectFantomas though, in 2000…or 2001?) As 7:45 approached, I started to freak the fuck out—I was so giddy and excited and probably super annoying forHenryto be around. (I mean,moreso.)FNM was headlining the second main stage, so there was a huge crowd there. We got a decent spot on the right side, andIwas relieved that there weren’t anydrunkdouchebags around us. Everyone was cool and excited, if not a little disappointed that they were only given an hour to play. But for someone who had never seen them before that night, an hour felt like a fucking gift. I thought it was fantastic — they sounded great, they played most everything I wanted to hear (unpopular opinion, but I REALLY like “Stripsearch” and would have maybe fainted if they played it), obviously MIDLIFE CRISIS. Just hearing Mike Patton’s otherworldly voice traveling across that park gave me chills. I have chills again just writing about it. Also, it wasreallychilly. This was definitely one of the Top 3 moments of the weekend for me, and I just kept murmuring, “That was so fucking amazing.” I need to invent some new adjectives to use when talking about music because “amazing” just doesn’t cut it anymore. The only downside was when Mike Patton told everyone to snap their fingers. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO SNAP MY FINGERS,MIKEPATTON!
    • They were good.

Setlist, according to the Internet (it looks right to me):

  1. Motherfucker
  2. Be Aggressive
  3. Caffeine
  4. Evidence
  5. Epic
  6. Black Friday
  7. Midlife Crisis
  8. Gentle Art of Making Enemies
  9. Easy
  10. Separation Anxiety
  11. Ashes to Ashes
  12. Superhero
  13. Introduce Yourself

I still can’t believe No Doubt got to play longer than Faith No More. I mean, I can, because Americans have a knack for making mediocre bands rise above the good ones. But, THAT’S A POST FOR ANOTHER DAY, SMILY FACE.

  • Ice Cube: Immediately after FNM ended, the main stage to the left came to life and I couldn’t get out of that area fast enough because — No Doubt. Words cannot express how much I dislike that band and Gwen Stefani. And maybe I’m biased, but holy shit they sounded atrocious. Not just her cat-in-heat voice, but the whole band. I know, I’m full of the unpopular opinions tonight. That band just gets under my skin for some reason that I can’t explain; it’s not even like I associate them with bad memories or anything. They just have never sounded pleasant to my particular ears. I remember in high school when No Doubt was playing at Starlake and pretty much every fucking female I knew went to that show, regardless of how much they liked them, if at all. I was like “Lol, nope,” stayed home and listened to Spanish gangsta rap, probably. Anyway, back to 2015: Henry and I finally made it across the park to the Roots stage, where Ice Cube was about to headline. I had no fucking qualms with Bye Felicia’ing No Doubt in favor of Ice Cube. I was never even really a big Ice Cube fan, but my inner Yo Girl was definitely curious to see his set, which to be honest was mostly one long commercial for Straight Outta Compton, but it was high-energy, he sounded great, and the crowd was fucking going nuts. There were people climbing trees, trying to get a better view. His special guests were his son, MC Ren, and Yella. Some people were speculating that it was going to be Dr. Dre, and if I had been one of those people, I would have stayed for the whole set to find out. But I was pretty confident that Dre wasn’t going to show up to perform for an hour on a stage that wasn’t even the main one. So we left after I got to hear Check Yo Self, which I have to admit, was pretty fucking cool.

Douglas Park didn’t have any lights so if you weren’t close to a stage, good luck. There was lots of stumbling and stepping in invisible mud pits on the way to the exit, and then a long walk into the sketchier area of the neighborhood, looking for the designated Lyft pick-up area, which is one of the reasons I could never go to Riot Fest alone: there are too many things you have to know about! Too many logistics! Thank god Henry looks into all of this or I’d probably be sleeping on a bench in Douglas Park right now instead of blogging in my dining room.

So, impromptu props to Papa H for getting me there and back all three days with absolutely no incident.


We got back to our shitty hotel after a pleasant ride with a Lyft driver (“You were really talkative with tonight’s Lyft driver; you must be hammered,” Henry observed, to which I clarified that I was not hammered from the ONE Strongbow I drank eight hours earlier, but that it was because I thought the driver was cute, duh) and I collapsed onto the bed and cried, “TONIGHT WAS FUCKING AWESOME.”

Then we fell asleep to Jaws, which was also on when we left earlier that morning, too.


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Aug 302015


Anyone who even casually knows me would probably say “obvi duh” upon hearing me declare that Warped Tour is my favorite day of every summer. And probably punctuate it with an eye roll. But it really is the one day a year that helps me relate a little bit to religious zealots, because being around so many of “my people” at once is a really powerful, exciting feeling. Much like being at one of those colossal mega-churches with people passing out and screaming.

A few weeks ago, I made a poster of all of my pictures from this year’s Warped Tour, which was one of my favorites.

And I feel weird saying that, because this year’s was rife was drama and controversy, starting with the allegations against Front Porch Step earlier in the year. This has been written about ad nauseum on the Internet, so I’ll keep it short: Jack Mcelfresh, the singer behind the Front Porch Step moniker, was using his scene status to lure underage girls via social media. Several of them finally spoke out about it via Tumblr, complete with screen shots of text messages and gross pictures he was sending them. I had never heard of him until we took Chooch to see Never Shout Never in Cleveland in 2013. We were hanging out by his merch table most of the night and he gave Chooch a free poster, which I thought was so nice, but also — we were there with the editor in chief of Alternative Press, so I’m not stupid. If I wanted my music to be acknowledged by the biggest publication supporting my scene, I’d give out free shit to a kid, too.

Now I just feel gross about it.

FPS ultimately was removed from Warped Tour; literally no one wanted to see his face after all of this. But then he made a surprise one-off appearance at the Nashville date which inspired massive outcry and widespread disappointment from those who had the misfortune of stumbling across him that day and everyone following along from home. This really put Warped Tour and its founder, Kevin Lyman, under a lot of fire and public scrutiny. Kevin defended his choice to allow Jake play in the Acoustic Basement that day by stating that he was working with Jake’s counselors and that this was part of his recovery process. While I have mad respect for Kevin Lyman for organizing my favorite music festival year after year, I will be the first to admit that this guy just shouldn’t even give statements to the media and he definitely should think harder before tweeting his opinions, because he is a master word-mincer. Every time he opens his mouth, he makes it worse! So he basically made himself look like a misogynist (and I truly don’t believe that he actually is) while essentially minimizing the issue at hand. Jake Mcelfresh is not the victim in this situation and he should not have been given a platform, even if it was only for one Warped Tour date.

That shouldn’t have even been an option. I will hand it to Kevin though, he made himself available every morning and invited any concerned fan to come and speak to him directly about this before the show.

So that was one big issue, and it was enough to start the #boycottwarped hashtag.

The second involved my old buddy, Jonny Craig! It’s never a dull moment with him. Quick backstory: the last time he played Warped Tour was in 2010, back when he was still in Emarosa. He caused a lot of drama and Kevin Lyman had to get Jonny’s mom to come out so they could attempt an intervention. Ultimately, he was told he’d never be allowed to play Warped again. But for whatever reason, Kevin decided to give Jonny a second chance, so five years later his new band Slaves was invited to play the second leg of Warped. (Emarosa played the first half.) Of course, Jonny started off by being super cocky about it, because everything Emarosa does, he thinks his idiot band can do better.

They managed to play…three dates, I think? Then people started commented on Jonny’s Instagram asking things like, “Hey, why didn’t you guys play today?” and of course, no one would respond. Well, Jonny sexually harassed their merch girl; it’s believed that he shoved his crotch in her face and made her touch him. I know, so uncharacteristic of him! He never even denied it, but still managed to make it worse by choosing douchey ways to express that what he did wasn’t “wrong.” He flat out replied “lol” to the merch girl’s vague tweet about how upsetting it is when alcohol turns decent people into monsters, which turned out to be her discreet way of alluding to what happened to her. Girl was traumatized, and rightfully so — she had only just met the band days earlier.

Some girl named Shelby who has known Jonny for some time and has also worked as his merch girl in the past, posted this ridiculous defense of Slaves online, about how women need to have thick skins to work in the music industry and that you have to expect things like this to happen, and how she can attest, without even being there, that Jonny was just joking around and that if you can’t “be one of the guys,” you should find a different job.

WHAT A WONDERFUL WOMAN! Teaching all these girls out there that they should just expect to be groped and humiliated by men, and if they can’t handle it, they’re clearly weak Lesser-Thans, right? So fucking sickening. Way to leave your own dirty finger print on rape culture, lady! The last line — really? So this girl should just go home and then Slaves can just carry on the rest of the tour like nothing happened? She should be punished but not them? I just…I can’t.

The bottom line is that being a merch person is still a job. Do you go to work expecting to be sexually harassed? Me either. So why should Slaves’ merch girl? She was just trying to make a living like everyone else.

All of this culminated into a huge divide behind the scenes at Warped Tour. First, Kevin kicked them off the tour, but then decided, for whatever reason, to let everyone involved in Warped Tour decide the fate of Slaves. They had a town hall meeting one Saturday night after all the fans were gone, where everyone was invited to say their piece, and then vote on whether Slaves should be kicked off or not. I have become Twitter friends with Jonny’s ex-fiancee, Amanda, over the last year, and she had a friend who was at the town hall meeting that night. She and I DM’d each other for hours that evening, on pins and needles waiting for the outcome.

Can I just pause for a second to say that this is a band full of dickhead members who tweet things like this?


Alex Lyman is the Slaves guitarist, and I honestly think he’s worse than Jonny Craig. People get fired from their jobs for saying things much less bad than this on the Internet. But it’s OK because he’s in band, right guys?

According to Amanda’s friend, about 300 people showed up that night to vote. It started with Kevin telling Jonny that he’s done with him, and he’s done with his band, but now it’s up to his peers to decide his fate. It was, obviously, a landslide vote to have them removed from the tour. Jonny was incredulous, and during all of it, he still wasn’t owning up to what he did to tip over that first domino. He kept accusing everyone of judging him based on his past, when sadly, it sounds like a lot of the bands that voted him off were doing so because they were worried that the Warped Tour environment was reversing his recovery process, while also trying to reason with him that getting drunk every night was not something that he should be doing. The rest of his band got real defensive about that and kept saying things like, “he’s an adult, he can handle it” which is hilarious because Jonny Craig is one of the most emotionally-stunted people I have ever encountered. He is the true definition of Man Child, which is why deep down, I honestly feel really sorry for him.

Billboard interviewed Kevin Lyman about the decision to remove Slaves from Warped Tour; yay — more face/palm Warped Tour media spotlights.

My favorite part of this latest Jonny Blows It Again episode is that a bunch of bands started wearing “Bring Back Emarosa” shirts. <3

Meanwhile, Fronz from Attila was having a major feud with The Wonder Years and Buddy from Senses Fail, who went on to tweet a virtual manifest of the state of the scene and how shit needs to change and Kevin Lyman needs to quit giving stages to these immature brat-bands. And Coop from Hands Like Houses posted a picture of himself flipping off the YouTubers tent and saying that he wishes the kids at Warped Tour would stop paying so much attention to the people who have nothing beneficial to say (truth), which incited an Instagram riot with all the teenage girls who are obsessed with the Warped YouTubers.

I know shit like this happens every year, but it seemed especially bad this time around, resulting in Kevin Lyman to give another cringe-worthy interview in which he seemingly chose his words in haste, leaving them open to easy misinterpretation. (Warped Tour will never be a 21+ event, guys. That’s not what he meant. Kevin knows his Warped Tour bread-and-butter demographic is the teen girls!)

It’s depressing to see that most of the people defending Jonny Craig are GIRLS. The victim-shaming on Twitter alone is enough to make me want to cry for all womankind and scream at them to get off Twitter and go burn a fucking bra. And then I read comments about how bands have been doing shit like this forever and how come it was OK back then, it was brushed off as “Oh, that’s so rock n’ roll,” but now all of these bands suddenly are expected to be held accountable, and the scene is becoming so “pussified” and “sensitive.” How about, no—it wasn’t OK back then. But I think it was easier for bands to get away with bad behavior in past decades because their lives were more secretive and more protected. With social media, everything is out there. It’s easier for smarmy musicians to bait underage girls, and it’s also easier for them to get exposed for doing so. It’s better, and it’s worse.

This is why I’m relieved that Robert Smith of the Cure has barely any Internet presence at all. He still ensconced in beautiful mystery. And how rare!

The one silver-lining I took from all this drama is seeing how many bands I respect speak up about the state of Warped Tour, offering solutions, begging the ones who are giving the scene a bad name to hear them out, trying to resolve beef without violence, and just ultimately coming together in an effort to make this community stronger. Also? There are a lot of men out there in this scene who give a fuck about women’s rights and are willing to go to bat for us. Misogyny and rape culture is rampant at most music festivals—not just Warped—and in many music scenes, but it is refreshing to see that this is something that my scene is being vocal about and recognizing that shit needs to change. The discussions that have been going on all summer long over at Absolute Punk have been smart, intelligent, and a sign that there are people out there who are open to change and willing to fight to make this scene good again. Also? Asshole behavior and sexual misconduct will not be tolerated or brushed off as “it’s just rock n’ roll, bruh.”

It’s a lot to think about, and something that we’ve been talking about a lot in my house, Chooch included. As a music-lover, I don’t want to ever stop going to Warped Tour. But as a self-respecting woman? Things need to change, and soon.

There comes a point where it’s not actually just about the music anymore.

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Aug 182015


A bunch of years ago, like 26 or 7, I met Octavia through Etsy. Specifically, it was my fauxtography Etsy shop, Appledale. No one ever paid attention to that shop of mine, full of lomography before iPhone apps made that shit cool (and so much easier and cheaper to achieve that vintage effect, bastards), accompanied by my signature idiotic short stories.

But Octavia noticed. And she sent me the greatest convo ever; a meaningful, deep virtual handshake from one person happy to meet another person of like-mind. I will never forget how excited I was to read it! We started writing back and forth; I was enchanted by her own art and deranged imagination. She is incredibly talented.

Thank god for the Internet! I feel like if the Internet didn’t exist, then Octavia and I probably would have met through the world of pen-palling. Somehow, someway, we’d have found a way to meet!

This meet-up has been in the pipes since we bought the Williamsburg vacation package thing at the 2013 Big Butler Fair. Because clearly, Williamsburg, VA and Savannah, GA are so close to each other! The first half our trip was fun, but this was the part that I was really looking forward to, so when I woke up the morning of my birthday, I was S-T-O-K-E-D!

We had plans to meet Octavia at the Bonaventure Cemetery at 11:00am that morning. I was so nervous on the way there! I love meeting people but I am beyond awkward about it and sometimes that awkwardness never goes away because that’s just who I am, you know? Be nice.

Luckily, Octavia was chill as FUCK, sang-froid in a green dress. She claims she is awkward too but I definitely didn’t sense that, thank god, because then I would have just fed off it and it would have unraveled into some socially depraved banquet of stutters, ticks, and twitches. Instead, I felt at ease. I mean, once we got the obligatory “now is where we hug as normal people do” act out of the way.

I didn’t take any pictures of Octavia at first because I was scared to, but those will come later!



There is one super huge difference between Octavia and me: she actually knows shit about where she lives. Out-of-towners visit me in Pittsburgh and ask me simple Yinzer 101 questions like, “What river is that?” or “How are the Steelers doing this year?” and I have to politely decline answering.

That’s accomplished by either shrugging, grunting “I dunno”, or a combination of the two. But Octavia taught us shit about the war and the Masons and Johnny Mercer, and then a ton of stuff about NATURE because she went to college for botany so immediately Henry’s ears perked. You know how he gets nature boners. Especially when she turned her nose up at the moss issue. HENRY HATES MOSS. Now he had someone to hate moss with him!


While we strolled around the cemetery grounds, we talked about Jonny Craig (I mean, duh; I’m sure Octavia couldn’t wait to have THAT conversation in person) and the nightmarish insects that live in Georgia, holy shit. We saw salamander things and skinks:


The skinks really freaked me out but Chooch was trying to figure out how to turn his t-shirt into a skink carrier. Then we walked under a tree with berries on it and I cried, “WHAT ARE THESE, OCTAVIA!?” while trying to get Henry to eat one. Now I can’t remember what she said they were. But I think the final verdict was that they were not poisonous. Don’t worry, she didn’t let me eat any of the mushrooms I saw, either.


I also learned that you can eat that ballsack thing in the middle of the palm thingie! “Like, right now!?” I asked.

“Well, I mean, you have to cook it first, probably,” Octavia patiently explained before I had the chance to whip a fork out of my bra and dig in. God, Octavia was determined to prevent the cemetery from becoming my test kitchen.

At some point during our aimless journey across Bonaventure, a butterfly popped out of a bush and Chooch groaned. I relished the chance to rat out Chooch’s wussy phobia and blurted out, “Chooch is afraid of butterflies!”

“Do you know what the German word is for butterflies?” Octavia asked Chooch. “Schmetterling!”she yelled like a witch in an uncensored fairy tale.

“SAY IT AGAIN!” I begged, and she did. It was glorious! I couldn’t wait to go back to school work and talk about my educational vacation!


There was some douchey guy there leading a walking tour and they were everywhere we wanted to be. Octavia hated him too for the same unsubstantiated reasons as me (he just looked like an asshole and I hated his blond swoop-y hair and monochromatic clothes) and that was when I knew for sure that was the real deal.


“Ow, my head.”

“Ow, my back.”


We got to see Little Gracie! This is one of the most popular graves in the joint, and Octavia said that it used to be more easily accessible but there has always gotta be those assholes who like to be destructive. So now you can’t get beyond the gate for a closer experience. I was just happy that we got to see her at all, and I wished we had brought something to leave behind for her.


I suggested leaving Chooch, but Henry said no. :(


Being in Bonaventure was surreal. Cemeteries are one of the few places on this earth that I feel at home (and also Warped Tour, duh) and Bonaventure has always been one of the cemeteries of my dreams. Finally getting to see it, on my birthday no less, was amaze. And the best part was that instead of getting sucked into some touristy walking tour, or blindly stumbling around on our own until we started fighting within 20 minutes, we got to meander about at our leisure with Octavia. Which was great because it was like 299 degrees and walking any faster than I already was probably would have set me alight.

And you know what else? Henry checked in here on Facebook, which means he was excited in his own weird, silent way and wanted his “friends” to know that he was living it up in a famous cemetery in Savannah. Sure, he probably would have chosen a nap over this in a heartbeat, but I think he at least recognized that it’s not the worst thing he could have been doing that day.

Until I forced him to pose for this, that is:


I took this with my phone that day because I needed to be able to plaster it all over social media ASAP, because: HENRY ON THE GRAVE OF HIS ROLE MODEL, NUGENT, what a great birthday! Of course this inspired Chooch to tell Octavia the story of Henry at the Ted Nugent show, which I was actually trying to tell her at the same time, but Chooch always has to steal the show…AND MY FRIENDS! He kept hijacking the conversation by bringing it back to video games and I was getting so jealous.


“Are there crocodiles in there?!” I asked Octavia as we looked down over a small hill at the water below.

“No,” she assured me. And then she added, in the most non-patronizing tone possible,”and they’re alligators, anyway.” Something about her delivery made me crack up. The people I need most in my life are the ones who will gently correct me when I’m wrong and also make sure I don’t eat poisonous berries. Octavia exceeds expectations in both departments.

I just asked Chooch what his favorite part of Bonaventure was and he said when Octavia told us that sometimes there are dolphins in the water there. He hasn’t learned Henry’s favorite response yet, which is: “When we left.”


We waited until it was time to leave to look at the map, because that’s smart.

From here, we continued on to downtown Savannah so that we could eat food that was cooked in a kitchen and not picked up off a boneyard floor, and Chooch was thrilled that Octavia got to sit in the back with him SO HE COULD CHEW HER EAR OFF SOME MORE. Ugh. I’d steal his friends to show him how it feels, but…kids and I don’t get along.

I must have said, “UGH!” in response to Chooch’s charm at least 87 times that day. Ugh!

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Aug 102015

Alternately titled: I need a hobby. 


Wow. Another dumb photo series birthed from my perpetual boredom. I have so much Cure memorabilia laying around the house that I sometimes joke it’s like Robert is my guardian angel—HE IS ALWAYS WATCHING ME. 

I c u, Robert. 
This painting was seriously some kid’s art project and then she sold it on eBay afterward. I was at King’s Island on the last day of the auction and wrote a reminder ON MY WRIST to make sure that I checked eBay that night, because this was in 2005 and I didn’t have a cellphone, and even if I did, it probably would have been some  prehistoric flip phone. AND YOU CANT CHECK EBAY ON THOSE. 

By now, you’ve probably guessed the ending: I WON THE PAINTING.  

 Here’s a Robert Smith doll that I begged my mom to buy me back in 1999 or 2000 even though it barely resembles him, but the eBay listing said RARE, you guys. (I was way too into eBay back then.)   

I can’t remember where I got this Cure print. Lol, j/k. eBay. 

 My friend Anastacia just sent me this Cure comic book, which I have always wanted but never got around to adding to the collection, so THANK YOU Anastacia for contributing to my shrine!

I have so many posters and prints rolled up in tubes because I never got around to framing them. Someday….

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Jul 252015


It seems that people associate Warped Tour with metalcore these days, and I get that it definitely caters to that part of the scene, but Warped’s pop-punk, indie, and alternative rock game is just as strong. Contrary to popular belief, Warped Tour isn’t just one giant breakdown. I was really stoked when Hands Like Houses were announced, because they’re definitely one of my favorites. Henry is pretty whatever about them though; he thinks Trenton looks like he’d be a dick, but I have never heard of him having a reputation nor have I ever tried to meet him, so I’m not sure where this judgment stems from. (He also feels the same way about Austin Carlile from Of Mice & Men and that man seems so genuine to me!)


I’m obsessed withi their guitarist, Alexander Pearson, because he reminds me of a young Tim Curry. So I just call him “The Tim Curry Guy” and Henry just shakes his head because he doesn’t get it. BUT YOU GUYS, LOOK! TIM CURRY GUY! I was so giddy watching him set up!



I would like to see more bands from the Blue Swan scene on Warped Tour, though. Eidola, Stolas, Hail the Sun, Icarus the Owl, Adventurer, and also Artifex Pereo and A Lot Like Birds who aren’t on Blue Swan but should be. I love the sub-scene that those guys have been cultivating and wish there was more of that type of post-hardcore sound on Warped Tour.

I got to hear “Lion Skin” and then it was time to sadly say goodbye to HLH and run back to the Unicorn Stage for PVRIS! They started out on one of the smaller stages, and wound up getting bumped up to the main stage once Kevin Lyman saw the crowds they were drawing. I’m so proud of these guys! It’s always exciting to see such a young band bust their asses and be rewarded for it. It’s also nice when a female-fronted band comes onto the stage and doesn’t try to sound like Paramore. Sorry, but I had to say it!

This was my second time seeing them, and I was pissed that it had to be under that damn amphitheater. There was no way I was going to try to push my way into the pit, not with Chooch there. And even standing where the seats start on the floor is dangerous. I remember a few Warped Tours again, Pierce the Veil was playing on one of the stages under there and Henry and I were standing up in one of the first rows of seats, and I seriously thought we were going to get crushed because people still try to mosh and crowd surf even with the seats in the way and it’s just bad news all around for less-resilient adults. So Chooch and I had to find seats back where it was safer, and it was fine I guess. I don’t know where Henry was. We lost him again because we were running too fast.

I actually cried several times during PVRIS’s set. Lynn Gunn’s voice just kills me. Terri sent me an article yesterday about how music can give people “skin orgasms” and that’s definitely what was happening to me under the First Niagara pavilion. PVRIS is going to be huge.

And the best part is that when Chooch met Lynn later on that day, she was so sweet and had no rock star ego. It was refreshing. She also got excited when she saw that Chooch was wearing the Emarosa “For Fox Sake” shirt and told us that she designed it, which makes her infinitely more awesome in my eyes. Chooch almost didn’t get to meet her at all. I misheard the time she was going to be at her tent, so we casually walked over after Pierce the Veil’s set later that day and there were only about 10 people in line.

“Yeah, realllly long line,” Chooch said sarcastically, because I told him that there were probably going to be hoards of people trying to meet her. Well, it turns out the line was so short because it was cut off a long time ago, and the end of the line was like THE END of the line. But the guy in charge of it was like, “I’m not supposed to let anyone else in line, but….you’re a kid so go head.” Relish this time in your life, Chooch. You’re still a novelty to the scene but pretty soon, you’ll just be one of the masses.


I think Chooch already posted this in his guest post, but oh well:


He was like STARSTRUCK after this. He kept murmuring, “I can’t believe I just met Lynn Gunn….”

I had no idea he liked PVRIS this much! Warped Tour is so much more fun now that this kid goes with me. I know this is like the 6976th time I’ve stated that, but I really mean it. I never thought it was possible, but it means even more to me now.


Some of my favorite Warped Tour moments over the last 7 years involve Pierce the Veil. They’re one of those quintessential scene bands and always put on a great show at Warped Tour. They’re so much bigger now than they were the first time I saw them there in 2008 though! So even though they were playing under the pavilion on the main stage and we had to stand back really far, it was still exciting for me. (And Henry, too. Admit it, Henry.)


We ended the day with Set It Off, and Chooch the hustler managed to get $10 from Henry in order to chase down the merch guy who was walking around selling the new SIO acoustic ep, which was only $5 and Chooch slyly pocketed the change.

So while Henry was all annoyed about getting ripped off, I was bloated with pride over the fact that my kid is doing his small part in supporting bands by caring enough to buy their CDs when he knows that he could just YouTube it or play it on Spotify.

Henry doesn’t like Set It Off, so this made it even better.


As usual, I was dragging my feet toward the exit. I hate saying goodbye to Warped Tour every year and with everything that’s been going on with it this summer, I worry about its future. How much longer will it go on? I hate thinking about that. And to be honest, I’ve been dragging out these posts because I don’t want it to end. :( I have to find a way to get a job in the music industry or suddenly develop  enough talent to start a band or marry the owner of Rise Records, because this is fucking ridiculous.


On the way out, we saw a magical rainbow. Perfection.

Normal people might consider relaxing at a spa, or on a wine tour in Napa, or laying on the beach in Hilton Head, and I get it; but for me, Warped Tour is my place of Zen. It’s where I recharge and heal and feel whole again. I can’t imagine ever losing this feeling.

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Jul 252015


Warped Tour has been under some heavy scrutiny this summer, lots of controversy and drama with some of the bands exacerbated by social media. I’m not sure what state that’s going to leave the tour in by the end of the summer, but right now I want to focus on the most important aspect of Warped Tour: the music. This summer’s lineup was stacked. I don’t give a fuck what all those aging punks on music forums have to say about this topic: the mix of bands was diverse. The unfortunate downside is that there are going to be bands I have to miss in favor of other bands, and that is what heart-break feels like, my friends. As soon as the gates opened, Chooch and I sprinted to the Vans inflatable while Henry stood in line to buy a paper schedule. When we met back up, he handed me the schedule and said, “I don’t think you’re going to have a problem with scheduling conflicts this year!”

I bore holes through him with my furious eyes and spat, “Really? Then you don’t know me at all!” Because the inflatable had already broken my stupid heart. I knew I was going to have to forfeit ’68 (I have been dying to see them again ever since last year’s Chiodos tour) in favor of Never Shout Never for Chooch, and there could be no Beartooth, August Burns Red, or Moose Blood because I was 100% unwilling to miss even one second of Emarosa’s set. And don’t even get me started about how bummed I am that I missed Matchbook Romance. I really need to plan on going two Warped Tours next year. I always say that though. #musicfestivalproblems

Bands we managed to catch, whole sets and partial:

  • Palisades
  • Koo Koo Kangaroo
  • Our Last Night
  • We Came As Romans
  • New Year’s Day
  • Man Overboard
  • Never Shout Never
  • Night Riots
  • Transit
  • Hands Like Houses
  • Silverstein
  • Emarosa
  • Pierce the Veil
  • Set It Off

Bands I am not sad about missing out on at all:

  • Black Veil Brides
  • Attila <—fuck them, seriously

Even weeks later, as I’m looking at this schedule, my heart feels so heavy looking at all the amazing bands I couldn’t squeeze in without cloning myself. Bands like Citizen, Pup, The Wonder Years (I’ve seen them several times, but still), Lee Corey Oswald, Alvarez Kings…ugh. Heartbreak.


We started the day off with Palisades, which was actually Henry’s idea. We saw them once with Dance Gavin Dance and I guess he must have secretly liked them enough to want them to be his Warped Tour breakfast. I thought Chooch would like them because they’re pretty fun and energetic, but he just shrugged and said, “I don’t know. They’re too loud.” I really only like one of their songs, which they played so I felt fulfilled.


Next up we had to run to the Beatport stage to see Koo Koo Kanga Roo. This is not something I ever would have given a second thought, or even half of a first thought, but when we were waiting in line before gates opened, one of the singers was walking by carrying a stick with a huge picture of his head on it, trying to spread the word about the band. (I’m thankful for these distractions every year. It makes waiting in line way less excruciating.) He targeted Chooch right away and they had an adorable conversation.

“You must be in a band,” he said to Chooch, and in my head, I was screaming, “I WISH! HOPEFULLY SOMEDAY! I MEAN, I’M NOT GOING TO FORCE HIM OR ANYTHING BUT I PROBABLY WON’T TALK TO HIM MUCH IF HE’S NOT!” Then he asked Chooch what bands he was excited to see, and Chooch thoughtfully said, “All of them.”

“That’s a lot of bands!” said whichever one of the Koos this was.

And then out of nowhere, Chooch said he was most excited to see PVRIS, which kind of surprised me because while I knew he liked them, he hadn’t really mentioned that to me before and WE ARE SUPPOSED TO TELL EACH OTHER EVERYTHING ABOUT OUR FEELINGS FOR MUSIC.

The group of kids in front of us were listening to this and when he said “PVRIS,” they expressed their approval at his taste in music and I was like, “Well, he only likes them because I do, so….”

God I hate myself.

The Koo Koo Kanga Roo guy went on to totally sell on us on his set. “You gotta come by! It’s a dance party! We sing songs about fanny packs and cats….” Welp, someone said the magic word.


Their merch guy was dancing like a crazy person to Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” which entertained us while waiting for Koo Koo Kanga Roo, who eventually come out wearing gold fanny packs.


And a hilarious dance party ensued.


This is why I love Warped Tour! Where else could you sing songs about everybody pooping with two crazy guys who play shows at elementary schools and then have your face melted off by Beartooth? But no, there’s no diversity. You’re right, jaded music forum posters.

Their set was fun and hilarious. I’m so glad we went!


Afterward, we went to their merch tent so Chooch could get a CD. Henry Warbucks was like, “Buy them all.” Chooch and I exchanged a “wtf got into HIM look?!” because Henry hates spending money at Warped Tour so now I’m convinced he has a side job as a gigolo. (Oh come on! Everyone has a type. I bet there’s tons of octogenarians out there who want a surly-faced man in a striped shirt, naming Faygo flavors in a husky voice.)


He also got a Koo Koo Kanga Roo comic book and stickers that smell like gross things. Not a bad way to start the day.

“You made it!” the moustacioed-Koo exclaimed happily when he saw Chooch.  “Do you know what time PVRIS plays?”

“3:50,” Chooch answered, and I had no idea that he had even checked the schedule for that. I guess he likes them more than I thought.

From here, we headed to the amphitheater, where the two main stages were held since there were storms in the forecast. I hate, hate, hate the stages under the amphitheater, and it was even worse this year since it was the main stages, but I understood that it was something that had to happen. It’s just so hard to enjoy any of the bands when they’re playing those stages, because it’s hard to get close. We ended up sitting and it always feels weird to me to be sitting at Warped Tour. I felt like a true Old Person. While we were under there, the first of many waves of heavy rain started, which drove so many people under the amphitheater, it made me wonder if anyone was left at the other stages. I felt bad for all of those bands who were playing at that time.

Oh, also, we purposely lost Henry during this time, and it made Chooch and I ridiculously giddy. We could see his idiot cabbage-head bobbing up and down in the crowd, searching desperately for us. Oh, how we laughed.

Our Last Night was still playing on the left side of the stage, so Chooch and I listened to them while waiting for We Came As Romans. I saw OLN last year with Chiodos in Cleveland and my impression was “meh.” But I really liked them this time around and I’m glad I was forced to give them a second chance. Then WCAR came on and I was just like, “………..” I don’t dislike them or anything, but they don’t really make me feel any type of way. Chooch likes them a lot though and that’s all that matters. He wrote about seeing them here.

We were going to walk around after their set ended, but then it started storming again, so we fetched Henry and found seats closer to the other side of the stage, where New Year’s Day was playing. I feel like they’re at Warped Tour every year.

“Wait, their singer is a girl!?” Chooch asked in disbelief. He kept making fun of them, and I was like, “Dude, they’re really not that bad!” and he gave me this horrified look and said, “I can’t believe you just said that!” I found out later that the whole time they were playing, he thought it was Black Veil Brides, and we have a huge mutual dislike for that band, so I guess he thought he was losing me as an ally or something.

We made Henry feed us around this time. Henry’s favorite thing! Spending money while praying that whatever food he’s ordering will satisfy us and quell the bipolar-demons within for a few hours more.


Henry trying to block out Transit playing behind him. He had to call work around this time, so he left us at the Journeys stage while we waited for Hands Like Houses, and walked around trying to find a halfway-quiet area to make his call. He was so excited when he came back because while he was on the phone, some guy moved him out of the way, and when Henry turned around, he realized it was a security guard escorting Vic and Jaime from Pierce the Veil through the crowd. Henry, the ultimate scene dad.  You guys know he secretly enjoys this shit. He can name at least one person in most band that I like, even some of the ones I don’t like. I really think he likes going to Warped Tour!

This concludes the first half of the day.


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Jul 182015

When I was younger, my friend Shawn and I used to go to shows all the time and we loved meeting the bands afterward. It never seemed like a big deal either, just hanging out after the show, waiting for a chance to take a picture and tell them what a great performance it was. One of my favorite memories is sitting around in a small circle in the parking lot of a venue of Hershey, with Scooter Ward from Cold. Totally casual, and he even passed around Starbursts (I still have mine; it’s orange and deformed and lives in my freezer). Sure, I was freaking out internally because Cold was my JAM back then, but it was always such a positive experience seeing and speaking with him. He was (and still is) a stand-up guy. And we met Tegan and Sara before they became famous and they were adorable and sweet and it was just such a chill moment.

And there was this one night when Shawn and I hung out backstage with Finger Eleven after their show at Nick’s Fat City in 2000 (don’t judge! I used to love them in another life, haha). Even Dave Navarro was super chill, and then obviously there was the time I met The Cure fifteen years that was so beautiful I still have not been able to bring myself to put it into words.

But then I met Jonny Craig in 2008 and it was awful and humiliating and I haven’t even looked at the photo that was taken of us, not once. It was definitely a “I drove 4 hours for this?!” moment.

It kind of just killed it for me. I never really bothered trying to meet any bands again after that (except for Jonny one more time in 2009 which was stupid on my part because it was even worse; sorry I’m not a skanky tattooed scene waif offering you blowjobs and heroin, asshole; God forbid I just want to tell you that I love your music). But now Chooch is getting into music and he has that joy and excitement of meeting bands that I once had, so I’m reliving it vicariously through him. Seeing the stars in his eyes after he met Lynn Gunn of PVRIS was just utterly adorable.

And Chooch’s experience meeting Bradley Walden of Emarosa was a positive one and we were both really excited about it. I know that it seems like it goes without saying that bands would just automatically be nice to kids, but you’d be surprised. Or not.

Even though their set at Warped Tour was already on its way to being the highlight of the day for me, Chooch meeting Bradley afterward really drove it home.

Last Wednesday, I finally made myself sit down and write about seeing Emarosa that day at Warped Tour. I had been craving them ever since they play Riot Fest last year, and was stoked that it was finally happening again. I wrote that blog post on my break at work that day; on the way home, I checked my stats as I do occasionally and noticed that they had skyrocketed. Panic set in because usually it’s no bueno when this happens, like when all of the field trip posts were viewed multiple times and it turned out it was because some mom from Chooch’s old school found it and passed them around to all of the other moms and then I was in a real life “Lucy, you have some ‘splainin’ to do!” moment.

Turns out, Bradley found my blog post via twitter, which I never intended. He retweeted it and also said this:

I mean, it’s hard not to excited about things like this, even though social media makes it really easy for bands and other celebrities to throw their fans a bone in the form of Instagram likes and Twitter retweets, so I was trying to be cool about it but then I was like AW FUCK IT and posted it on Facebook, because it was a really big deal to me! And I made some new friends on Twitter because of it too, smart people who agree that Emarosa is better than ever.

This was kind of weird timing, because Henry and I had tickets to see Emarosa perform a small, intimate, acoustic set at Mahall’s in Cleveland. I was a little bit embarrassed, because you know how gushy I get in my writing, and Christ, I wrote that thing on my lunch break at work, without proof-reading of course, because I’m so “professional,” so I felt a little foolish. Does that make sense? There’s such a fine line between sincere fan and psycho stalker who thinks she has a future being a band wife.

I promise you I’m not the latter even at times it may seem that way!


When Emarosa announced this quick, impromptu tour two weeks ago, I bought two tickets for the Mahall’s show immediately, and then woke Henry to tell him. Then he found out it was on a work night and I got grief from him about it every day up until the moment we were standing in the basement of Mahall’s, with Emarosa setting up less than a foot away from us.

(Literally, less than a foot. The girl next to me kept asking them if we were in the way and they said we were fine, but I definitely felt in the way, which is a normal feeling for me so it was basically just like any other day. Also, I wanted to scream I FUCKING LOOOOOOVE YOU!!!!! but instead I just buried my head in Henry’s chest.)

I felt sick, literally sick-to-my-stomach, like a chud of over-pickled cabbage was sloshing around in it, all day about seeing them because they just slay me right through the heart.

But then they started playing, and my nerves started to stop snapping and sizzling; it was just such a relaxed, campfire vibe, and everyone was so into it.

The whole band seemed to be in such good spirits, and there was a lot of joking and camaraderie. EVEN HENRY WAS SMILING.

Especially when Bradley had everyone sit down. That was Henry’s favorite part. Until he apparently lost feeling in his legs.  (Such an attention whore.)

The only light in that small basement room came from one red bulb, which made taking pictures and videos futile, even with no one standing in front of me. I didn’t want to be That Person who used a flash, so I eventually just hit record and aimed my phone at the floor, because who needs visual when the music is so beautiful on its own.

“You’re better than Jonny Craig!” some guy yelled from the middle of the crowd. Bradley smiled and said, “I know” and everyone cheered. I know it seems petty, but if you knew what it’s been like for the last 8 years, being let down by that piece of shit when you’re such a fan of his music, you would take sides too. Emarosa won all of the smart, grown-up fans in their divorce with Jonny.

They played some older songs too, “We Are Life” and “Heads or Tails…” and I swear to you, Bradley sings them better than Jonny ever did, without even trying.

After the show, I kind of just wanted to run out of there. Henry kept saying, “Whatever you want to do,” which wasn’t helping because I really wanted him to just, “You are going to go over there and say hello to Bradley or I will never go to another show with you. Ever. Again.”

The girl who was standing to me during the show was getting her CD signed by him, and no one else really seemed to be crowding him at the moment, so I sucked it up and edged a little closer. I didn’t see this happen, but according to Henry, after Bradley signed the girl’s CD, he began to walk toward me, but then she started saying something to him, so he stopped. Once she walked away, I can’t even believe this happened and it still feels like a dream, but he walked over and hugged me.

HUGGED ME. (Henry said that the girl who was talking to him before me had a WTF look on her face, lol.)

“It’s good to see you,” he said.

I was stunned.

“……do you know who I am?” I questioned, and then immediately hoped it didn’t come out sounding arrogant.

Bradley gave me a weird look and said yes.


He told me that he read my whole blog post and it meant so much, he loved it.

I said, “I really wanted to talk to you last week at Warped Tour, but I get so nervous. I use my kid as my mouthpiece,” I laughed, and Bradley said I shouldn’t be nervous, and that he thought Chooch was so cool and he made his day.

I told him that he really wanted to come with us, and Bradley said he wished we would have brought him and now Chooch basically wants to kill me, haha. Then he asked me how long of a drive we had from Pittsburgh, so that was Henry’s chance to contribute to the conversation.

But I finally got to thank him to his face for breathing life back into Emarosa and I’m crying now as I’m typing this, but I told him how much that band means to me, and it’s just so wonderful getting to have positive experiences seeing them now and not wondering if their singer is going to be fucked up, slurring his words or flat out forgetting the lyrics, and trying to fight people from the stage.

And then he hugged me again.

To have someone I admire so much actually read something that I wrote, like a REAL something, a not just a tweet….it’s validating. I’ve been blogging since 2001, and writing in general since second grade (I used to write stories on the backs of my dittos, remember when we had dittos?!).  It’s also overwhelming and mind-blowing. This whole experience has helped heal me from past traumas of being treated poorly by band members that I once admired. It’s restored my faith in the scene and has only made me want to try even harder to get everyone I know to PLEASE FUCKING LISTEN TO THIS BAND. I love them so much that I bought an extra Versus album just so I could give it away on my blog last winter in hopes of gaining them another fan. And it worked! And not only did they gain a fan, but I gained a friend. Emarosa is awesome like that.

“You still haven’t met the rest of the band,” Henry said as we walked out of Mahall’s.

“I’m not ready for that yet!” I laughed.

Seriously, I wasn’t trying to cry that night. The way it ended was perfect, and I didn’t want to push my luck. 

Then I gave Henry reprieve from my need to dissect every single second of the night by texting and Facebook messaging my friends a CAPSLOCK summation of the evening, and they all responded to me with the proper amount of excitement and exclamation marks, GOD LOVE THEM.

“Wasn’t it worth it?” I asked Henry, shaking his arm as he tried to navigate his way out of Lakewood, Ohio. “Aren’t you so glad we came?!”

And you know what? He said yes.

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Jul 152015

I do this thing where, as I’m writing blog posts, I’m actually hearing myself talking in my head to a group of imaginary friends, kind of like when you’re preparing to take the stand in a murder trial by staring at yourself in a mirror and clearing your throat a lot. So while I was thinking of all the things I wanted to say in this post about Emarosa, my brain-voice was machine-gunning the words at such an alarming pace that I gave myself a headache.

In other words, I am fucking stoked as hell to tell you, imaginary friends, about how it felt to see Emarosa at Warped Tour last Thursday, a/k/a THE BEST DAY OF 2015 THUS FAR.

If you’re a new figment of my fake readership, let me give you a brief run-down of my love affair with Emarosa and why I didn’t give a shit who else was playing at the same time as them that day because this day trumps all. I fell in love with them in 2008 after Jonny Craig got kicked out of Dance Gavin Dance and picked up by Emarosa, currently in need a new singer. Jonny Craig was It for me back then so naturally Emarosa became my favorite band.

Jonny fucked them over big time in 2011, and so the rest of the band really had no choice but to part ways with him. Jonny was all, “Good luck Emarosa, you guys are nothing without me” and for awhile it was starting to look like he was right; they all but fell off the face of the earth, popping up sporadically to let Facebook and Twitter know that they weren’t done, they were still writing music and looking for a singer.

It took them three years, but they found Bradley Walden and proceeded to record their best album to date; it has never felt better being an Emarosa fan. My pride for them is so ridiculously over-the-top that you’d think Chooch was in the band.

Thinking of the shitty position that Jonny put Emarosa in (remember the MacBook scandal?) always leaves me with the bitter taste of chopped cabbage in my mouth.

(It’s worth noting that Emarosa only played the first leg of Warped Tour, and then a day after their last date, Jonny’s new band Slaves jumps on for the last leg. There was absolutely no overlap. #soblessed that the Pittsburgh date got Emarosa and not misogynistic, drama-perpetuating Slaves!)

I always get real on edge right before seeing a band that I’m super into, so around 4:30 (35 minutes before their set time), I started to feel pretty barfy, coupled with some intense pants-peeing giddiness. I mean that in all of the best ways, like back in high school when you would hide behind a corner, waiting to take a clandestine photo of Scott Dambaugh with your 35MM camera; or when you would have your mom drive you past his house; or when you and your best friend would walk “casual” laps around the mall while you hoped to spot him slinking about lazily in his billowing Stüssy pants, OMG IT WAS JUST LIKE THAT.

It had been raining, and I mean RA-HAY-NING, intermittently all day long, and it conveniently started up again right before 5:00. I was bummed, because Emarosa has been making huge waves this summer on Warped Tour, and were even bumped up to the main stage for one of the dates, thanks to their incredibly energetic performances. They’ve been growing more and more popular, and the pictures I had been seeing online showed that they were drawing really big crowds for a band playing on one of the smaller stages.

Unfortunately, the rain drove a ton of people clear to the other side of the venue, beneath the amphitheater’s sheltering roof, leaving very few of us to brave it out before the Kevin Says stage. By the time Emarosa came on, the rain was coming down in bullet-like sheets, and there were times I had to shut my eyes because it felt like my contacts were being knocked off my eyeballs.

But it was worth it. Fuck the rain! Bradley gave zero fucks about the weather and spent 95% of their set immersed in the audience. (The few times he was actually on stage, he was busy busting out basic gymnastics stunts and spinning Will upside down. He has done nothing short of busting his ass to win over the old Jonny Craig fans, and in the process, he has garnered a ton of new recruits as well. If I wasn’t such a blathering mess in these situations, I would like to hug him and thank him for breathing new life into Emarosa. And then I’d like to grovel in the faces of Will and Jordan about how grateful I am that they didn’t stop trying and how I never gave up, and how proud I am of them and most of all, fuck Jonny Craig! He was nothing but poison. I wasted so much time defending him when all he gave back was slurred performances and humiliating encounters. I’m too old to fuck around with that.

Moments after the above picture was taken, Bradley had crowd-surfed his way over to where I was standing and I got to touch him and was like OMFG about it for the rest of the day. Chooch likes to tell everyone that I cried, but I promise you I didn’t actually cry. I only cried once all day, and that was during PVRIS’s set. (MORE ON THAT IN ANOTHER POST.)

This was actually only my seventh time: 3x with Jonny as the singer, once with Tilian Pearson who was filling in when Jonny was forced to go to a detox facility, and 3x with Bradley. I am here to report that this was the best performance of them all. I was so excited that this was Chooch’s first time getting to see them live! He seemed really into it, and we were right in front of the barrier so he could see perfectly (not like Bradley was ever on the stage!) but there was a moment when I looked over my shoulder at Chooch and he was making this anguished face, so I thought to myself, “Oh boy, here we go. The Brat is surfacing.” Because he has a pretty low threshold when it comes to doing things he doesn’t want to be doing, so I thought maybe he had grown tired of Emarosa so quickly and was about to start whining about wanting to go home.

Boy, sit yo’ ass down. We ain’t leaving when Pierce the Veil is on next!

Anyway, I found out later that his contorted face was out of repulsion because there was a couple behind me who were making out, God forbid.

Just, wow. Bradley proves over and over that Jonny isn’t the only golden-throated angel in this scene. It makes me laugh that after Bradley had joined the band, Jonny was tweeting about how Emarosa wasn’t “allowed” to ever play “his” songs again, but they are. And Bradley is KILLING IT. “Set It Off Like Napalm” coming out of his mouth is almost too much for me to handle.

If we’re being honest here, I don’t think Emarosa is going to be this scene’s best kept secret much longer. They are too good and deserve mainstream success. I’m rooting for them so fucking hard.


Right after the last song ended (1996 On Bevard!), Bradley said he was going to be at their merch tent meeting everyone; after dropping the mic, he ran straight up that soggy, muddy hill, true to his word. We quickly followed, and thanks to the still-heavy rain, only about 20 people beat us there. There was a little bit of time to spare before Pierce the Veil, so I asked Chooch if he would be my proxy and meet Bradley and Chooch was like, “Yeah, duh.”

He’s clearly a pro at rubbing elbows with bands now, you guys.

“I dare you to tell him that he’s better than Jonny,” I said, laughing as we stood in line.

“What will you give me if I do?” he immediately asked, his wagering cap securely fastened under his chin. It’s never free with him! What happened to the days when the mere act of accepting and completing a dare was all the glory needed?

So I promised him a dollar. That little crook.

I know Chooch already posted this picture in his own blog post, but it is too glorious not to repost over and over again.

God I can’t even remember what happened now when it was Chooch’s turn, I was shaking so bad. But I will tell you that right after I took this picture, Chooch started to walk away but then turned back and said, “You’re better than Jonny.”

“Thanks, man!  I agree,” Bradley said, propelling me into a tailspin of IS THIS REAL LIFE.

I shot myself with a horse tranquilizer just in time to chime in with, “We’re Team Emarosa!” Bradley probably said “thanks” or something, but I couldn’t hear past the psychotic ringing in my ears.

“You’re so goddamn awkward,” Henry said after we walked away. WTF I felt like I was being pretty OK and normal for once? I dwelled on it on for the rest of the day, trying to recreate in my head what I must have sounded like. Probably Bullwinkle. So, thanks, Henry. I’m glad you fucking fell down the hill!


I’ve been going through serious withdrawals like I always do after a show, particularly Warped Tour. But the good news is that I’M GOING TO SEE EMAROSA AGAIN TOMORROW NIGHT IN CLEVELAND, WOO!

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Jul 132015

Everyone is always OMGPITTSBURGH<3 and I’m just like, “Eh. Pittsburgh is alright.” This is probably why I don’t really fit the whole “Pittsburgh blogger” label.  However, the one time I REALLY love it here is during the annual Anthrocon!

You might already know that Pittsburgh has somehow, someway, become the official city of the furry convention. Most of my co-workers get so stoked for this time of the summer because furry-sighting is, how can I put this, FUCKING EXHILARATING.

But the reason it makes me love my city so much is that Pittsburgh of all cities has somehow banded together and invited an unconventional social group into its golden triangle.

Who knew that my city could be so open-minded? Go on with your progressive self, Pittsburgh.

Anthrocon has been held here since 2006 (I believe, and I’m too tied to look it up; for fucks sake, I’m writing this on my phone during Teen Wolf commercial breaks, so if you want facts, go turn on the news and hope for the best) but this year was the first time that they moved their parade outside so that anyone, even non-convention goers, could gather ’round and revel in the mascot circle jerk.

Henry and I brought Chooch downtown to be a part of this cuddly moment in anthropomorphic history. Chooch was fine, in a really mild and amiable mood the whole there on the trolley, but as we walked down Liberty Avenue on the way to the convention center, his Veruca Salt switch was flipped and we (and everyone who has the displeasure of sharing curb real estate with us) were treated to a royal shit show, a sticky meltdown of chocolate drama and vitriolic sprinkles dripping down Chooch’s face and hands.


The time bomb is ticking.

Eventually, he was straight writhing on the sidewalk, whining and moaning about his parents had the audacity to take his photosensitive ass out into the SWELTERING JULY SUN, and they wouldn’t even give him any water because THEY WANT HIM TO DIE.

I had a bottle of water. Every time I offered it to him, he kicked it away so guess what? NO WATER FOR YOU, JERK-SON. Seriously.

There was baby in a stroller, crying its face off across the street, and even that was less annoying that the defective attitude of my nine-year-old brat-child. I found out later that there were actually a lot of people there that I know, and either they just didn’t see me or Chooch’s rotating demon head was serving as a natural social deterrent.

Then I made Henry hold this sign and he started whining just as bad as Chooch.

It’s a miracle that Chooch even agreed to pause his public cry to Child Protective Services in order to have his photo taken with what I thought was Jesus Lizard, but then some dick on Instagram corrected me and said it was actually Raptor Jesus, which is disappointing because I thought it was an homage to the band.

But I guess that’s giving too much credit.

Still, it’s humorous to me that Chooch was wearing his Lucipurr shirt next to Jesus something-or-other. I should have asked him if he could perform a quick exorcism, but he was one of those serious, non-speaking furries.

Luckily, the parade started only a little bit behind schedule, and everyone erupted into happy cheers. Quite a crowd had formed and it was downright heartwarming. Such a nice display of acceptance, and some of the furries even yelled things like, “We love Pittsburgh!” as they strode past. (I mean, the ones who are allowed to speak, anyway.)

Chooch quickly realized that he could turn this parade into a competition to see who got more high-fives and suddenly he was alert and no longer googling “foster families” and “how to make a hobo bindle out of Henry’s bandannas” on the bedazzled phone he stole from the broad next to us.

I clearly won the high-five contest because hello — I’m the original competitive douchebag in our household. I got three high fives in a row that Chooch missed, so that went over real well. We both got some head pats, too; those were 5 points.

I was positively giddy with furry love. But, I’m pretty simple so I get easily swept away in moments of group camaraderie. Collecting high-fives was insanely enjoyable for me.

Henry got ZERO high fives because all of the furries probably thought he was a NARC.

I don’t know if these rabbits are from something, or if these costumes are original, but they were fucking fantastic either way.

The sun was blazing that day. I can only imagine that inside those suits of funfur was the rancid spice of curdled armpit sauce and rotting galumpki in a dumpster outside of the Terra Haute State Pen. Except that I’m not imaging it really because I don’t have time to throw up right now.


Sadly, I didn’t see the Walrus, even though I know he was in town because Sandy spotted him the night before and texted me a picture of him. I kept waiting and waiting and Henry was like, “He’s not here” and I was like, “NO. HE HAS TO BE! HE’S GOING TO BE THE LAST ONE, BECAUSE HE’S THE BEST ONE.” But no. He wasn’t the grand marshal, like I had hoped. So sad.

After the parade, we stood in line for milkshakes with furries. Only in Pittsburgh.

Chooch and I were best friends again by the time we got home, don’t worry. I can’t stay mad at that jerk.

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Jul 112015

It happened in between PVRIS and Emarosa. We were walking down a hill, headed to the Black Craft Cult merch tent because Henry wanted to get a larger size in the Lucipurr shirt he bought for Chooch. Henry was in front of us when Chooch spotted the Warped Youtubers tent over to the left. A small line had formed, idiot girls waiting to get their pictures taken with these kids who are inexplicably Youtube famous.

What a world we live in, where the term “Youtube famous” is a thing.

“I want to meet BryanStars,” Chooch decided right then and there. “I just want to hear him say ‘Werped Ter.'”

As I mentioned in a previous post, Chooch and I like to watch these Warped Tour videos on YouTube and crack up at how some of the Midwestern Youtubers say Warped Tour. Bryan Stars is the major one who we ironically watch, and it drives Henry up the wall. He absolutely cannot stand this kid, because Henry is an Internet bully.

I’m not really sure how Bryan Stars became “famous,” but he has been interviewing bands on YouTube for years. One of his sit-downs with Never Shout Never turned into a notorious shit show and Bryan Stars is so beloved by his fans, that NSN ended up taking a lot of heat for blowing up at him. (Christofer Drew even made him cry!) It is incredibly painful to watch.


So we get in line and I’m like, “Whyyyyy are we doing this? This is so embarrassing!” and Chooch is all, “No it will be great. We’ll just hear him say Werp Ter and then we’ll leave.”


And then Henry realized we weren’t behind him anymore and had to retrace his steps. Please see above photo for his reaction when he saw what we were in line for.

“Daddy’s so disappointed in us,” Chooch laughed.

So then it was our stupid turn and Bryan was all, “Hey man, what’s up?”

Chooch: *becomes a cabbage*

Me: *Gets Warped Tour schedule wet with tears as I see all the bands we’re missing at this moment*

Bryan: Do you watch my videos?

Chooch, nervously: Uh….not really.

Me: *dies slowly*

Bryan: Do you want a picture?

Chooch, shrugging again: Sure, OK, yeah, I guess.

Me: *take the fastest picture of my life while backing away*


Bryan: Do you want to meet Jordan? Hey Jordan, come here.

Chooch: *……….*

Me: *please make it end*

Jordan: *lots of awkward body movements that I think might have been a wave*

Me: *This is so dumb*

Bryan: Um, so, do you like, want to be in a band when you grow up?

Chooch: Uh, not really.

Me, desperately attempting to make a fissure in the ice: I want him to be, but he’s going to end up being something stupid….like a doctor.

[No one laughs.]

Jordan: *reaches out awkwardly to shake my hand*

Me: *swept away in a gust of awkwardness*

Bryan: So…..are you having fun at Werp Ter?

Chooch: *explodes*



And then for the next hour, Chooch relived this moment and cracked the fuck up.

I was so pissed off at him though, because they were so awkward to begin with, and Chooch was making it worse by barely answering their questions, so then I felt obligated to say words and the whole time I was like WHY AM I STANDING HERE WITH THESE KIDS?!

Meanwhile, we found out later that right after we ditched Henry to go to the Warped YouTubers tent, Henry slid down the hill.

That was literally the only bad part of the day. Henry slid down the hill.


But, Chooch got to hear ‘Werp Ter’ so I guess that’s all that matters.

(Ugh, it pains me to admit this, but those guys were super sweet and adorable, even while slowly pulling us down in their awkward quicksand.)

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