Dec 302015
 

I was home alone on Christmas Eve, feeling slightly under the weather.  Naturally this meant I felt compelled to exercise. I went to YouTube because there was a hip hop workout I did the other day and I wanted to see if that broad had any others. When I typed in her name, even though she’s Spanish, one of the first things that came up was SUPER FUN K-POP DANCE WORKOUT.

Oh shit, hold the phone, I screamed out loud to Trudy and my succulents. This was bound to be good. Plus, I went through a heavy k-pop/j-pop phase back in 1999-2002 when I used to get numerous foreign TV channels, like ZeeTV, included in my cable package (then they switched those to premium, good one, Comcast). My favorite programming was obviously the music videos, followed closely by the soap operas. But the music videos were like soap operas in and of themselves — especially the slow jams, so depressing and full of tragedy. I kept a blank tape in the VCR so I could record my favorite videos. Sometimes I would even opt to stay home when my friends were going out to the bar, because I was in so deep.

The bars don’t play k-pop, you guys.

My all-time favorite was Lee Juno’s “Return of the King of Dance.” Years later, I found the CD on some Asian music webstore, and I was sorely disappointed when it arrived and I realized that that was the only good song on the whole disc.

OK, so back to Christmas Eve. When I saw this workout video on YouTube, I forgot all about the coughing fits I had been having all evening and immediately pressed play to be sucked into a world of shiny Korean choreography.

IT IS A GODDAMN DREAM.

And somehow, I’m actually able to do it! I am never able to do any dance-based exercise workouts. Don’t even come near me with Zumba. I will fall and break my face. But k-pop fitness? It’s like it was MADE FOR ME.

My gateway into this niche of the fitness industry was through YouTube user SarahKayPop. She puts together 35 minute compilations of various k-pop dances that are on YouTube, and she even throws in some of her own in there too, which she performs in her bedroom. Not intimate at all. But through Sarah, I found the official KpopX Fitness channel and it hasn’t just consumed me—it has carefully digested me and shit me out as a better, more Korean version of myself.  It is honestly the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning, all I talk about at work, and how I end my days — pushing the coffee table out of the way and k-popping my fat face off.

I AM SO GOOD AT IT!

And I know this will come as a huge shock, but I’m following KpopX on Instagram now and have basically imprinted with their creator, #MaddyLim.

“Who’s that?” Henry mumbled last night during my post-dance routine of continuing to scour YouTube for the next day’s lineup while Henry watches with glazed eyes from the couch.

“THAT’S #MADDYLIM, THE CREATOR OF KPOPX!” I screamed. How did he not know this by now? But then he was laughing, which means that he was just trying to piss me off, which is really stupid considering my muscles are now inflated with gangnam style and cat ears.

I don’t have a huge floppy bow yet but Henry will make me one. He hasn’t said that he will yet, but come on.

One of my favorite moves requires one to put the hands together in the shape of a heart above the head and then lean forward while furiously shuffling the feet. It probably burns at least three Jollypong bag’s worth of calories. I tried to teach this move to Glenn on Monday morning but he wouldn’t get up from his desk, saying that it was “stupid” and telling me to “stop.”

I can’t explain how it makes me feel,  but I imagine rainbows squirting out of my feet and cartoon birds fluttering out of my armpits. So at least you know how it looks. I think that I need to set up some cardboard cutouts of toadstools around the room, though. And I should probably also get a nurse costume. (One of the instructors wears one, OK?!)

The other day at work, I went to the official KpopX website and learned that I can become a certified instructor online for only $189.99! Then I tried to order one of their official shirts, but shipping to the US is not available! WHAT WHY!? So now, just like when I didn’t get a Chiodos hoodie for Xmas 2007, I’ll have to make my own I guess.

And even though I’m not certified yet, I took liberties and taught Henry how to do this exhilarating and mildly perverse routine to Psy’s pony-play inspired hit “Daddy.” He was not filled with such wow like I was, though. I guess KpopX isn’t for everyone, surprisingly.

But so far, my favorite routine is to the crowd-pleasing banger “Hot Issue” by 4 Minute. I might know the moves by heart now, is all I’m saying. That song came on the other night when I was forcing Henry to fall asleep to a k-pop Spotify playlist and I nearly flipped him out of the bed, that’s how hyper I became. IT’S THE MOTHERFUCKING JAM.

****

“You have a really addictive personality,” Amber2 laughed after I gushed about KpopX on a boring Tuesday afternoon at work.

“Yeah,” Todd agreed. “You go from one thing to the next so fast! For example, you never talk about your plants anymore.”

YES I DO AND THEY’RE SUCCULENTS OK.

****

Henry came home from the store last night when I was in the middle of a “Big Bang” routine and I went ape shit on him for corrupting my zone.

“I’m sorry!” he yelled. “I didn’t think you would STILL be kpopping!” Bitch please, I was going on 75 minutes straight by then. Maybe call ahead next time.

I also really like the k-pop routines by Crazy Sock TV, in case you care.

Sorry Paul Eugene, but I’m putting a moratorium on the gospel aerobics. Jesus ain’t got shit on these k-pop bitches.

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Dec 212015
 

We tried so hard to keep it a secret, but Robbie pretty much figured out right away that me, Henry and Nikki were taking him to Cleveland last Wednesday for the Craig Owens show. Henry and I weren’t sure if it was going to work out at all, since it was in the middle of the week, but Nikki super slickly went behind Robbie’s back and asked his boss to give him the day off. Once that happened, Henry bought the tickets and then we tried to come up with a plausible explanation as to why we were going to Cleveland on a random Wednesday, but stupid Bandsintown alerted Robbie that Craig Owens was playing that night, so he knew. It’s a lot easier to pull one over on our gullible 9-year-old, so I sometimes forget that everyone else wouldn’t just go along with a mysterious road trip without doing some serious investigating on their end.

Robbie loves Craig Owens even more than I do, so we thought it would be the perfect birthday/Christmas gift for him. Especially when our friend Jason mentioned that he could possibly get us access to the video session that was going to filmed earlier that day in the Alternative Press office. That meant we had to leave early on Wednesday, which really set off the alarms in Robbie’s head. Nikki said he was practically bullying her into telling him what was going on.

Surprises are so delightful!

We left an hour later than originally planned because Henry is the worst. Do you know how hard it was to sit in my house waiting for Henry to come home, when there were all these awkward vibes because everything was so suspicious?

< insert boring drive to Cleveland here. >

We arrived in Cleveland sometime after 1 and Nikki woke up from a nap.

“I had a dream that I asked Craig Owens how tall he is and he said he’s 5’10”,” she said. We all agreed that we felt like he was taller than that, so Robbie quickly googled and announced that Craig is, indeed, 6’2″. I wonder if Craig ever thinks about all the rando conversations his fans probably have about him on a daily basis. I mean, even Henry has talked about Craig’s hair A LOT over the years. He’s kind of obsessed with it and will always be the first one to notice if it’s changed since the last time. His only takeaway from the D.R.U.G.S. show we saw in 2011 was that “Craig’s hair is darker.”

We had just enough time to grab coffee and a quick poke through my favorite store of all time, Flower Child:

I had just ended a conversation with the owner about how much I love her shop and how I cried real tears when I was there a month ago and it was closed, when Henry got a text from Jason that said, “Get here NOW.” Henry barked, “Let’s go!” and whisked us out of the shop, which probably looked like we were the clumsiest shoplifters EVER. I can only imagine how suspicious we looked, tearing out of a shop that we had just entered a minute before, but I was too excited to be embarrassed.

“Where are we going?” Robbie asked nervously.

“We have to meet our friend Jason real quick. I have a case of root beer for him,” Henry stuttered.

I mean, that was partially true! Jason is a true root beer connoisseur and especially likes it bottled. So Henry brought a case of root beer from the Faygo Factory for him. This is why Jason likes Henry better than me. Well, that and because Henry doesn’t bring up Jonny Craig every single time we hang out with Jason.

And Robbie knew something was about to happen. He met Jason last year when we were in town for a Chiodos show at House of Blues; Jason met us at Melt for a quick hello and Robbie remembered that he was affiliated with Alternative Press, so even though there is no signage outside of the building that houses the office, it didn’t matter.

The jig was up!

“Don’t freak out,” I whispered over my shoulder as Jason keyed us through the AP door and led us into a back room where cameras were set up and Craig Owens was sitting on a stool, strumming his guitar and warming up.

Robbie’s face looked like this pretty much the whole time: somewhere frozen between a smile and a stroke.

Jason got chairs for us and basically bent over backward to make sure we were comfortable—he is such a stand-up guy! As if he hadn’t already done enough for us, now he was trying to give us more things. We promised him that we were fine, and after reminding us to turn off our phones, he retreated back to his office, because deadlines.

I accidentally took this blurry photo as I was tucking my phone away:

Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset

Jason warned me that the chair he gave me was kind of broken, which didn’t stop me from leaning back in it, and further and further back until I realized I was falling. I caught myself before anyone noticed and made sure to lean forward for the rest of the afternoon because I didn’t want to be That Person who disrupted filming.

Ugh, that would be so typical of me!

Craig performed two songs with his friend Pete: one was a song that was so brand new, Pete was having difficulties because they literally had just written the music for it the night before. Craig said it will be released sometime in 2016 as part of his new, top secret project. TOTALLY PIQUED.

The second song was off the new Before Their Eyes album which he produced. Both song were fantastic, but that first one was a stunner. Those two songs were being filmed for Periscope, but we got to hear the first one several more times when he was asked to play it again but with a more detailed introduction other than just, “This is…a song” which is how he had originally introduced it, ha! I love Craig.

When he finished performing the songs, he walked back over to where we were sitting so that he could join his friend (NICOLE RORK who is an exceptional photographer and I was low-key fangirling when I saw her there) and come up with some facts for the 10 Things You Didn’t Know segment that he had also agreed to film.

“Did it sound OK, guys?” he asked us, and we were all like, “HHHHHHHNNNNNNNGGGGGGHHHHH YES.”

OK, Henry was way calmer than that.

I don’t want to give anything else away since these video segments haven’t been posted on Alternative Press’s website yet, but I just have to say that Craig is ridiculously interesting, multi-faceted, and extremely intelligent. Listening to him answer questions was riveting. All the behind-the-scenes minutiae was actually fascinating and I’m so humbled that we got to take it all in.

After about an hour of filming, he walked over to us and held out his hand.

“Hi, I’m Craig,” he said with a friendly smile and not the forced kind that Henry always adopts.

I’m sure internally, we were all like, “WE KNOWWW OMG!” but I feel like we kept it together and somehow managed to introduce ourselves without causing a nose bleed or biting off our tongues. He asked us how the drive from Pittsburgh was and Henry gave his stock answer, “Fine. Fine” while I blurted out, “BORING” and I think Robbie was just giggling at this point. Thankfully, Nikki was there to break the ice by telling Craig about her recent dream about him and his height.

“Yeah, I’m pretty tall!” he laughed. “Actually, all of the Chiodos guys are like, over 6 feet tall,” he added, and we were all like, “Oh wow,” with batted eyelashes and flirty giggles because CRAIG OWENS.

Somehow I was able to muster the courage and enough of my voice to thank Craig for allowing us to sit in on that. Thank you, Craig Owens, for being a true gentleman and so gracious to your fans.

(I love that there’s a Cure issue two above Robbie’s head in this picture!)

Before walking out to the parking lot with us to get the root beer, Jason asked again if we needed anything. “Any magazines? Anything at all? No, you’re good?” he asked, and we assured him that he had already done so much for us. Seriously, thank you Santa Pettigrew!

We were about to leave when Craig passed us in the parking lot. Thank god Nikki had the good sense to ask him if we could take his picture with Robbie. He very jovially agreed, at which point we all just stood there.

“Erin, take the picture,” Henry hissed. SORRY! I was in a Craig Owens daydream bubble. Henry’s burly tone snapped me out of it and I was somehow able to take the picture without fumbling for my phone.

We told him we’d see him later that night, and with a big smile, he said, “I hope you’re wearing your singalong pants!” I laughed along with everyone else, but I couldn’t help but feel a tiny pull of paranoia.

“Do you think he said that on purpose?!” Nikki whispered on the way back to the car, knowing that Craig and I had a…disagreement on Twitter four years ago because I wrote a bitchy blog post about how I went to his solo show and he let the audience sing most of his songs while he just stood there and held out his microphone. Look, my cat had just died and I was really emotionally fragile OK?! Nothing could have made me happy on that night.

But this particular night was about to be so much better. And we determined later that he probably didn’t mean anything by his singalong pants remark, thank god!

Afterward, we had about 90 minutes to kill before the actual show. We drove to Coventry in search of food, since none of us had eaten anything since breakfast, not like it mattered, because it probably would have gotten puked up anyway. (I mean, except Henry’s. Nothing fazes Henry.)

Big Fun is next to Tommy’s, so we popped over at dinner, hoping to find some toys to buy for the show. Anyone who brought a new toy or stuffed animal to the show got a meet and greet wristband. Even though we already had our time with him that afternoon, we wanted to do our part in helping out underprivileged children. Except Henry. He was like, “I don’t need no meet n greet bracelet, fuck off!”

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Saul Berenson is big fun.

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We wound up just going to a nearby Target, where I bought Candy Land, and Nikki bought a Mr. Potato Head and an exorbitantly-priced stuffed pony, which Robbie picked out with complete disregard to the price tag.

“Oh wow, that sucks,” I said when she told us how much it ended up costing her. “Mine was on sale for $4.”

Mine was on sale for $4!” Nikki mimicked, and we all laughed. But then we all agreed that it was nice to do something charitable but Henry wouldn’t know what that’s like.

Doors to the Grog Shop weren’t open, so we stood in line where I thought about all the things I should have said to Craig.

**********

Things I Wish I Had Said To Craig:

  • OMG I’m super stoked for the new Hotel Books that you produced!
  • I love Lomo Prieta too! I saw them open for Pianos Become the Teeth last spring and they blew my mind!
  • [SOMETHING ABOUT JONNY CRAIG!!!!]
  • Do you like Artifex Pereo????
  • What is your stance on the whole Blue Swan music movement and would you ever consider working with any of the bands in that genre?????
  • WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOREIGN HORROR MOVIE!?!?
  • And in response to his ironic Juggalo tattoo inside his lip: HENRY WORKS IN A FAYGO FACTORY!
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Dec 162015
 

Today, we’re going to Cleveland with Henry’s son Robbie and his girlfriend Nikki for the Craig Owens solo show at the Grog Shop. It’s been a minute since I’ve seen Craig solo and I’m excited but super nervous because he’s always been one of The Big Ones in my life, you know? Some of his words are tattooed on my arm, so to say that I think highly of him is kind of an understatement:

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My all-time favorite Craig Owens experience was back in 2009 when Alisha and I went to see him, also at the Grog Shop. That was such a fun day and one of my favorite memories of Alisha, so today is making me miss her tons!

I love his solo work, but I will always love him in Chiodos the best. Chiodos was like the gateway drug into me becoming a scene kid back in 2006, so I’m sure Henry has mixed feelings about Craig too, haha. I just pointed this out to him and he did that laugh-without-mirth thing that he does when he wants everyone to know that he hates his life and nothing is amusing.

This is what I live for.

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Dec 062015
 

From the very first moment I first heard Dance Gavin Dance almost 9 years ago, I was instantly smitten. I was already neck-deep in the post-hardcore scene, but this just sounded so different to me. I obsessed hard and it quickly became the official soundtrack of 2008-2009, to the point where Henry had become numb to it. Through numerous line-up changes (including three singers!), I have never given up on them. So when they announced a few months ago that they’re celebrating their 10 years as a band with a tour, I knew I had to go even though Jonny Craig’s band, Slaves, was going to be there and I absolutely cannot stand them (I actually despise the other guys in that band more than I hate Jonny Craig, so you know it’s real). I felt like a hypocrite though, since I’ve said many times that I wasn’t going to support a single thing JC does anymore, but then Kara reasoned that I shouldn’t feel that way about this, because I love DGD so much and JC is a part of their history. So, I decided that I would go and just deal with it.

And I’m so happy that I did! It was mind-exploding. In addition to Slaves, Strawberry Girls and A Lot Like Birds were also on the tour, which meant all three DGD singers plus one former guitarist could potentially perform together. I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself if I missed that! And I am a super huge Kurt Travis fan kid, so getting to hear him sing with ALLB and then DGD in one night was almost too much for me to handle. It’s been over 5 years since I’ve seen him perform with DGD so I was in sheer Heaven.

And seriously, this 15 second Instavid from ALLB’s set gives me unlimited heart-flops and goosebumps:

DGD’s set started out with their current singer, Tilian, who I do actually love a ton and he has really breathed new life into DGD. I love the direction they have been going with him and I’m happy to see that he’s survived through two albums so far!

With Tilian, they played some songs from Instant Gratification and Acceptance Speech:

  • Stroke God, Millionaire
  • On the Run
  • Strawberry Swisher, Pt. 3
  • Death of a Strawberry
  • Jiggler
  • Variation

The crowd was pretty great all night, but it was nuts for DGD. Especially anytime Jon Mess starts screaming. He is fucking beloved and more than anything, he is the one I would want to meet someday even though this entire band intimidates me so badly. I just think he’s a literal genius, 100%. Even HENRY likes Jon Mess and has said more than once that he’s his favorite DGD member, past or present. For Henry to even seriously answer that question is a huge deal. It was fun watching him do a slow clap after every song, too. HENRY IS A FAN.

After Variation, they left the stage while the Instant Gratification banner fell, revealing another one with a giant “X” made from all of their album covers. And then everyone returned, with Kurt Travis and Zachary Garren replacing Tilian and the current touring guitarist from Eidola. IT WAS FUCKING AMAZING.

With Kurt, they played:

  • Tree Village
  • Rock Solid
I was so excited to hear the conversation part of Rock Solid with Kurt and Jon! IF YOU KNOW THIS SONG, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. FUCKING ROCK SOLID, MAN.
I just kept tugging on Henry’s arm all during this and I’m not going to pretend like I’m not weeping at my computer desk right now as I recap this night. Why do you think I waited two weeks?! Ugh, this is agony because I want to be there again, not sitting in my dumb house with Roseanne reruns on in the background. If I didn’t have idiotic responsibilities like, I don’t know, keeping my job and making sure my kid gets to school everyday, I would totally be a fucking groupie.
The part that hurt my heart the most immediately followed Kurt’s exit from the stage.
Because…Jonny Craig.
I won’t even bother getting into it again on here, because it’s Broken Record Central already as it is. But it’s just really hard for me emotionally to hear this guy sing in person, to even be in the same venue as him. He is the ULTIMATE representation of a part of my life I’d sooner just forget and seeing him opens wounds every single time. I can’t tell if I love that or hate it. I can’t imagine living a life where music doesn’t make me emotional…
  • And I Told Them I Invented Times New Roman
  • Robot With Human Hair 2 1/2
And I’m sorry, when they played “Times New Roman,” the tears flowed freely and I just didn’t even bother trying to hold it in because that song, that voices, those screams…saying it makes me feel some type a way is a huge understatement considering it practically transports me back to the summer of 2008 when things seemed so simple even though Henry’s voice of reason was like, “FIRE=BURN.” Man, when will I ever start listening to Papa H!?

This video isn’t from the Cleveland show, OH WELL. The only one I could find from that one was terrible.

I still don’t like Jonny Craig for personal reasons that admittedly have nothing to do with his music and I’m not sorry for that, but I have to say that it was pretty amazing getting to relive some of my favorite moments of DGD history, and especially hearing this song, it was just unbelievable. Discovering DGD really changed the course of my musical tastes and I will forever attribute that to Jonny Craig, because it was his fucking stupid golden voice that hooked me from the very first second and forced me to pay attention. DGD definitely isn’t a band for everyone and the only reason I even gave them that first play was based on their band name. So yes, sometimes judging a band by their name pays off.

Encore:
  • Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most
  • We Own the Night

I remember seeing ALLB on tour with DGD a few years back and thinking that for sure Kurt would come out and sing “Uneasy Hearts…” with them, since that song has dual-singers, but instead, Donovan from Hail the Sun did the honors. But on this night, Jonny, Kurt, AND Tilian all took turns singing it and my head and heart could barely handle the fact that ALL DGD SINGERS WERE ON THE SAME STAGE.


The show ended with just Tilian-era DGD blowing the roof off the joint with “We Own the Night.” I just wish that Dayshell hadn’t been on the tour so that maybe DGD would have played longer, giving Kurt and Jonny more stage time. Also, I hate Slaves and literally stood with my back toward the stage during their entire set* (which, by some grace of God, was cut short) but I understand why they were there, at least. It made sense to bring out the past singers’ current bands, and Strawberry Girls, but as far as I’m aware, there isn’t a real connection with Dayshell and DGD.

*(I’m not going to lie, Jonny sounded fine during his set with Slaves but the rest of the band sounds like a tinny landslide of shit-filled pots and pans. I’m not even saying  that because I hate those douchebags. They honestly just aren’t a good band and it sounded like they were just playing the music for the same song 4 times.)

But oh for fuck’s sake, I just can’t stop replaying this night over and over in my head and smiling and crying and then thanking Henry for taking me to Cleveland on a work night and then buying me this sweet ass screen print!!

DGD is in my Forever Top 5 and I can’t tell you how many times a day I think about the future tattoo I’m going to get to honor them. But it has to be epic. With strawberries and robots with human hair and the art of Mattias Adolfson (with his permission, of course). Because this band has made the music that is fucking everything to me.

I’m still wearing my House of Blues wristband. LE SIGH.

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Dec 012015
 

When I was little, there was some broad named Maureen who was the local notary public, and as a kid, I had no fucking clue what that even meant, but that my dad would openly call her a dish.

I didn’t know what that meant that either. I mean, my mom explained it, sure. “It means he thinks she’s hot,” she sighed, rolling her eyes. I always thought it was a stupid way of saying that someone is hot.

It wasn’t until we got Trudy that I truly understood the sentiment behind the term. Because good Lord, my friends, my fucking Xmas mannequin is a goddamn dish.

Especially now that she’s all metallic green and draped in glowing lights and glittering garland. She is a fucking BABE SUPREME.

Finally, after nearly 20 years of pining for a mannequin to pile Christmas presents beneath, I finally had one in my house, my dream was being realized after all this time. No more Christmas trees, real or artificial, that made me feel like I was being untrue to myself. It might seem like a joke to you, but I’m sure there are psychotherapists out there who could draw some conclusions, connect from metaphorical dots, and give my addiction a name.

But for now, let’s just call what it is: my time to finally get down with a holiday like the rest of you.

And finally, Saturday evening was trimming time. I invited Janna and Corey because who better to celebrate the unveiling of Douglas Fir’s hot sister than the two people who are like, “No, this is normal. I mean, there will be wine though, right?”

Corey was already wound up before he even got here. Sadly, Janna saw this on Instagram (I THOUGHT SHE RARELY CHECKED IT!) so she was on to Corey’s plan. Oh well. There will be other times to lace her ‘Tussin.

I happily set out Angie’s cookie dough truffles, and Corey mistakenly thought that I cared enough to get them specifically for him and Janna. “Pfffft, no!” I laughed. “Angie had extras and gave them to me after breakfast today.” Corey didn’t seem to care either way, because they were delicious and he kept making me text her to tell her.

And then it was, “TELL ANGIE I’M EATING ANOTHER ONE! HERE, SEND HER A PICTURE!”

Meanwhile, Corey’s contributions to the night was a pack of Toasty peanut butter crackers. He shared, at least.

Henry didn’t even have the boxes of decoration ready to go! So I had to berate him in front of our guests while he flared his nostrils before disappearing into the basement to fetch our whopping two whole boxes of Christmas decor. We’re really into holidays.

While Henry untangled lights, I reminisced over the first time we bought a tree for the house, when Chooch was 4. I had never bothered previously because for me, it was No Mannequin, Why Bother? But then this awful thing called SOCIETAL PRESSURE happened and I though it was The Right Thing To Do now that I had a kid in preschool.  My mom actually bought a live tree for us from Home Dept and brought over some of my old baby ornaments and a shit ton of tinsel and then peaced out before Henry had a chance to complain. It’s hard to remember back to a time when my mom was still a mom, and that was definitely one of the last happy memories she gave me.

My friend Alisha came over to help decorate that year, and when I realized that we didn’t have a tree topper, I cut a star out of a disposable baking tin and then taped it to a McDonald’s straw.

I’ve been using it every year (except for the one year when I swapped it out for a Jonny Craig Angel topper, ugh) but I had to replace the McDonald’s straw two years ago.

I sent Alisha a picture of the tree topper (she lives in Arkansas now) and she was like, “Gee, you know that you can get an actual tree topper at Walmart, right?” But even though I’m not poor anymore, I will never throw this away! It has too much sentimental value.

Anyway, After Henry strung up the lights, I strangled her with one strand of garland and then basically pawned the rest off on everyone else because decorating shit makes me tired and the hockey game was on and I wanted to drink more wine.

The phalanges came in handy.

HANDY.

Earlier in the day, she was in the dining room. I forgot she was there, turned too fast, and got slapped by a hard green hand right in the face. It hurt so bad but I was like, “Trudy, I can’t hate you” so I tried to just laugh along with Henry, who unfortunately witnessed the abuse.

I put a Henry ornament right up in the crotch.

Speaking of crotch, I considered dressing her in a pair of granny panties, but laziness overruled the idea, so bottom-nude it is.

My dream is to get Henry’s mom JUDY to pose with TRUDY for this year’s Xmas card.

“Is grandma going to have her pants off, too?” Chooch asked.

“Oh god, no!” Henry cried.
  

And then Henry reluctantly took our picture. Chooch couldn’t decide if he was happy or not.

FATHER XMAS.

Corey and Chooch both aspire to be Vine famous. Chooch made this Vine without any of us paying attention and then Corey saw it and was like YOU TOTALLY HAVE THE VINE HUMOR DOWN! and now I think he’s trying to be his agent or coach or something. I don’t know.

Making another Vine.

Meanwhile, Chooch taught himself how to play the Tetris music on his keyboard, so it was the perfect lunacy soundtrack for Corey’s incessant gushing over the truffles. Over and over, faster and faster.  Our house is literally onomatopoeia for “pandemonium.”

You guys know he secretly loves this shit.  
Trudy from a stalker’s POV.

You can hear Henry gruffly bitching at Chooch in the background. Something about crackers.

Henry in his typical state.

Everything feels more homey now that Trudy’s around.

I struggle every year when the holiday season rolls around. Some years are easier than others. This past Thanksgiving, even though I chose not to do anything, was just another reminder of how abnormal things became after the passing of my grandfather. Most years, I try to fight back by going out of my way to celebrate with friends and the few family I have in my life.  But now that Trudy is here, I finally feel excited again. It’s like a new beginning! A new tradition born! THE MANNEQUIN THAT SAVED CHRISTMAS!

I woke up the next day more hungover than I was that time we dyed Easter eggs in 2011. So…total success.

In related news, I couldn’t stop thinking about Notary Publics last night in bed.

“What are they even?” I asked Henry, who was about 85% asleep by then. “All they do is like stamp shit right?”

And then: “Do you think I could be one?”

“Sure. Be whatever,” Henry murmured into his pillow.

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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.

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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!”

SEE!?

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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.

FATE.

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.”

“DID YOU TELL HIM ABOUT ME AT ALL?!?!”

“No.”

FUCK.

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

“DID YOU TELL HIM I’M GOING TO COPELAND AND EISLEY ON FRIDAY!?” I asked.

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

“WAS IT SUPER AWKWARD TALKING TO THEM!?” I asked.

“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.

I WORK WITH SOMEONE IS RELATED THROUGH MARRIAGE TO SOMEONE WHO PROBABLY SAW ROBERT SMITH CUTTING THE GRASS OR TAKING OUT THE GARBAGE AT SOME POINT.

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.

I DIED.

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.

OR MAYBE STREAM IT FIRST, GOD.

(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.


Setlist

  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
 

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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?”

OH MY GOD.

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.”

Fuck.

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.

 

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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.

GOD, EVERYTHING WAS SO PERFECT THAT DAY.

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Aug 302015
 

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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?

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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
 

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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!

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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!

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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“Ow, my head.”

“Ow, my back.”

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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.

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

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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:

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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.

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“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.”

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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
 

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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!)

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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!

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TIM CURRY GUY!!

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.

UNLESS YOU’RE IN A BAND.

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

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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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