Aug 172016

With the exception of Warped Tour, Henry hasn’t gone to a show with me since JUNE. While I’m mostly ok with being a loner these days, it’s still nice to have the big dum dum with me so I told him he was going and he answered with a sigh that could be heard around the ‘Burgh.

I woke up Monday morning feeling positively giddy at the prospect of Henry going to see Sianvar with me after work. Sometimes I kind of enjoy his company, I guess, I don’t know. Stop looking at me like that.

As the door guy was putting my rubber ducky wristband on me, I dorkily cried, “Were you at the John Carpenter show?!”

He looked taken aback but then smiled and said that he was.

“I knew that was you!” I said. “I couldn’t imagine where I knew you from but then I realized it was from here.” I mean, god knows how many wristbands he’s applied to my arm.

So then we talked about how great that show was and Henry was all, “WHAT WERE YOU TALKING ABOUT I’M A JEALOUS BOYFRIEND” after I rejoined him.

God Henry. Maybe if you wouldn’t send me off into the wild without a chaperone, these connections wouldn’t happen.

We had some time to have a drink in the back of the room, where we talked about the OLYMPICS with the bartender. There a million reasons why I absolutely love going to shows at the Smiling Moose but a big one is that the bartenders there are so FUCKING NICE. I’m not a big bar-talker, but any time I have gone there, I have engaged in the most pleasant conversations with the girls behind the bar. The bartenders at the Altar Bar were absolute assholes and that was one of the reasons I didn’t give a fuck when that venue closed. Smiling Moose forever!

While we were leaning against the bar with our drinks, some older man with a cane came limping toward us and said, “Sup crew?”

I was so fucking excited at the prospect of being in someone’s crew that I way too happily exclaimed, “Hi!”

He looked at me weird and then repeated what he said, which was actually, “Restroom?”


I pointed the way and the bartender laughed. “It’s because you guys look like you know what you’re doing!”

I mean, duh. Don’t ask me for directions to the restroom at work, but if we’re at any music venue in the city, I can draw you a map on your palm with my eyes closed.

Meanwhile, the first band had started playing and I was s-s-s-stoked because it was one of my favorite local bands, False Accusations! Henry was like, “Oh boy” as soon as he recognized them. I chugged my Ace, slammed down my empty glass, and left Henry at the bar in favor for a spot near the stage.



Henry joined me just in time to put his hand on my shoulder and gently pull me out of the way before I got cold-cocked with the neck of a guitar. Guys, I love your band but I’ve got some brittle bones! Go easy on this old broad.

These are the times when Henry wishes I liked Coldplay or Of Monsters and Men like other ladies my age.

What DO other ladies my age like?! I’m so out-of-touch with my demographic.

(Also, see the guy in the dress shirt in that video? NEMESIS. I hated him at another show at the Smiling Moose but now I can’t remember show or why. BUT I DON’T FORGET A FACE.)

The next band was Atlas Decay. They had a lot of family and friends there because they’re local. I liked them well enough but I was anxious for Sianvar so I drifted off a lot. Also, I started to recognize some people in the crowd, like this one girl who was also at the Hail the Sun show last year and wound up becoming friends at the bar with a guy who is security at Mr. Small’s; a photographer we talked to outside of Diesel while waiting for the doors to open for the Hotel Books show (Henry stopped me from saying hello to him because he thinks I get weird when I talk to people); and my high school Instagram friend who started following me two years ago after some other show at Smiling Moose (Henry wouldn’t let me say hi to him either because he thinks 37-year-old women talking to 17-year-olds at shows in weird).

Also, there were a ton of people who were there alone! This is never the case when I’m there alone! There was a girl in a Circa Survive shirt who I totally would have talked to if Henry hadn’t been there with me. She ended up buddying up later with some other guy who was there alone and at one point I think they were talking about the upcoming Anthony Green show and I believe they were trying to remember what band Mat Kerekes (who is opening for him) is in and I SO BADLY wanted slide into their real life DMs and say, “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear, and I believe CITIZEN is the answer you’re looking for” but Henry gave me the “DON’T DO IT” look.


After Atlas Decay was Save Us From the Archon! Oh, how I love these proggy Pittsburgh peeps. Their bassist Samantha recently left the band to pursue her career so I was pretty bummed about that because the scene needs as many girls as it can get. And Samantha was a fucking bitchin’ bassist, you guys.

“What’s her career?” Henry asked.

“I don’t know but I bet she’s stupid-smart, being in a band like that. So probably an astrophysicist,” I shrugged.

SUFTA was recently signed to Tragic Hero Records, so they weren’t just playing at Smiling Moose that night because they were local support: they were playing there because they’re actually ON TOUR with Sianvar. I’m so stoked for them! They had a ton of family and friends there that night, including one of their moms, who dragged a stool right over to the stage and sat there in her denim farmers dress, literally headbanging and screaming.



My heart soared.

Henry was ready to murder his eardrums around this point and his frown was getting so deep and droopy that I feared it was going to usurp the whole lower half of his face, like an actual Snapchat filter.

“You should just be happy that you’re spending time with me!” I shouted over the mathy vibes.

“I’d rather be doing that at home on the couch,” he grumbled.

“Yeah, but this is like…a date!” I said optimistically.

“Dates are when both people have fun,” he sighed.

“Eh…not always.”


Here’s Mom chatting up my photographer friend and Circa Survive girl.

Around this time, some guy arrived wearing a Number 12 Looks Like You shirt and I got unreasonably excited about this.

“Remember when I liked them?!” I cried.

“Not really,” Henry mumbled.

“Yeah it was probably in like 2006 or something. When I went through my really heavy screamo* phase.”


*(Real screamo as in “not the Used” or any of the bands that are commonly mistaken for screamo because people JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND.)

So I wanted to tell that guy I liked his shirt but then some other guy stopped and said, “Hey man, I like your shirt” so then I couldn’t because I was standing right there and I would like a TRY-HARD.

UGH, my life.


My Iron Lung was next. I was totally in their way when they were trying to get all their shit before they set up, because I am always in the way no matter where I stand in that place. It’s inevitable. Even Henry was like, “Stop being in the way” and I was like, “WHERE DO YOU WANT ME TO GO THERE IS LITERALLY NO PLACE FOR ME ON THIS EARTH.”

God, what a deep fucking realization for me, you know? Life parallels. Ugh.

So yes. My Iron Lung — they were great! The singer reminded me a bit of Pacey from Dawson’s Creek meets Alex Vincent all grown-up from Child’s Play, so I was into it. But again, I was anxious for them to be done because Sianvar.

My Iron Lung reminded me of the Iron Lung Glenn that I made for Halloween at work one year. (It’s totally blurry, too bad so sad.)


OK, but then it was finally time for Sianvar, and as each of them walked past us to take the stage, I made all kinds of swooning/fainting couch pantomimes and Henry just frowned.

(Did I mention that earlier in the night, he elbowed me and said, “There’s Will”? Because he did. Because he reluctantly knows everyone in this scene whether he likes it or not!)

Quick summary: Dance Gavin Dance is one of my all-time favorite bands and if you didn’t already know that then this must be your first time here (I’m sorry). The founder/guitarist of that band is a brilliant man named Will Swan, one of the most underrated musicians if you ask me (and a lot of other people, probably). Sometime ago, Will started his own record label called Blue Swan and it is the home to some of the most magnificent, unique post-hardcore bands of our time. There is a distinct sound associated with this label, and Will had curated some beautiful groups of musicians to represent that.

One of those bands is a Blue Swan supergroup, featuring Will, Donovan from Hail the Sun (they’ve recently been signed to Equal Vision, a bigger label so you can’t blame them), Sergio from Stolas, and Michael and Joseph from A Lot Like Birds. Together, they gel into this mystical, sonic beast and even Henry was like, ‘They were good.”

I mean, they were fucking exceptional. My eyes didn’t know who to look at! So much talent!

Henry said he hates how Donovan moves and I was pretty offended. Henry can be so judgey sometimes. I mean, how would Henry like him to move?! How would HENRY move if he was a singer on stage?!

Donovan moves like Pinocchio at times and that appeals to me, so suck it Henry.

Also, I love how Donovan stares over everyone’s heads with an intense, murderous gaze and sings so hard that he starts to rage-shake. I think he’s an amazing frontman and his voice is unreal, like why aren’t more people talking about this time? Why isn’t Hail the Sun a household name? Why did Chooch RUIN MY HAIL THE SUN EXPERIENCE AT WARPED TOUR?!

(I realize I just saw them last winter, but I’m not over my sour Warped Tour HTS experience. Thanks, son.)

I liked that Sergio chilled up on a windowsill at one point, like “I’m just gonna sit here and casually play these complicated guitar parts while staring dreamily out the window at Carson Street.” Henry just rolled his eyes when I asked him if he too thought that was awesome.

Henry just doesn’t get excited about anything and I feel genuinely sorry for him. That cunt.

After the show Henry asked me if I wanted to talk to Will Swan and then we both just laughed because yeah right – me, talk to someone in a band? I don’t talk, I blubber. And then I cry. So we just left before any of that could happen. I’ll just be over here admiring you from afar, Will Swan. Le sigh.


After the show, we stopped at GetGo for our super fancy date dinner and when we got back in the car, Henry dropped the car key and spent the next fifteen minutes swearing while practically fisting the space in between the car seat and console where lip gloss, change, prosthetic fingers, and apparently car keys go to die.

It was so stupid that I started to crack up and then, you guys — get this: HENRY STARTED CRACKING UP TOO.

God, what a great night. Thank you, Sianvar.

  3 Responses to “Monday Night $12 Therapy at Smiling Moose”

  1. Ok so here’s the deal… Sianvar was beyond amazing! I was blown away by the sonic power of those guys. I could go on and on but I know you get it.
    Bought both of their CD’s and can’t wait to put on some big headphones and get lost in that music.
    Such a great show!!! I need to see them again!
    Next up…DGD and Hail The Sun at Mr.Smalls. I love having some great concerts to look forward to.

    • Yeah! This made my day. It’s hard to believe a band of that caliber is playing at such small venues.

      Henry and I will be at that DGD show so I’ll see you there, hopefully!

  2. “and his frown was getting so deep and droopy that I feared it was going to usurp the whole lower half of his face, like an actual Snapchat filter.”


    “including one of their moms, who dragged a stool right over to the stage and sat there in her denim farmers dress, literally headbanging and screaming.”

    That’s pretty funny and awesome. Some moms don’t even know the name of their kid’s band.

    “Henry said he hates how Donovan moves and I was pretty offended. Henry can be so judgey sometimes. I mean, how would Henry like him to move?! How would HENRY move if he was a singer on stage?!”

    Maybe Henry should be a STAGE COORDINATOR so that people will know how to move better!!

    “Also, I love how Donovan stares over everyone’s heads with an intense, murderous gaze and sings so hard that he starts to rage-shake.”

    I love this. I love this so much.

    Now I’m having troubled thoughts about people who don’t get excited about anything. Part of what I like about you is that you get excited about things no one notices. And what would life BE if we didn’t? I don’t understand this.

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