A WEARY MIND, A HOPEFUL HEART

October 14, 2010

Phoenixx C.
10/9/10

A WEARY MIND, A HOPEFUL HEART

I had been looking forward to Bradley Hathaway’s gig at the Main Street Café in Kansas City since early September. I wanted that late night nostalgia with the heavy scent of musk draped on every man’s clothing. I didn’t want to forget the scent of all our pleading cries staining our shirts in what the deodorant could not cover up. We hummed a little and sang a couple verses to ourselves on the hardwood floor. The low lights gave Bradley a red glow. When he closed his eyes I could read the somewhat sagging-in-hopes-of-lifting demeanor across his straining eyebrows. “There is love, there is beauty, and there is pain but at the moment I can’t help feeling they are all the same.” This thought is so profound yet the idea is simple, it seems it would take the purging of some emotions to get this onto paper.

– He leaned forward against the small merchandise table, his elbows resting next to his mug of tea, his bony fingers laced together.

What got you started writing?
Well I had gone to see a spoken word poet and then a couple months later it literally just came to me. Like I was driving one day and then it just came to me.

Do you write for yourself or for others?
(loosely) In the beginning, for myself but now there is definitely more of a [demand] for it. You guys are definitely a part of it but at there are also things that are for yourself.

Bradley Hathaway’s way of storytelling is so vivid; I find myself immersed in the flow of his words and his humble laughter. He read us the children’s book Owl at Home in order to perform “Look Up”. There is no love like the night. Did you ever place your thumbnail to the sky and measure the size of the moon when you were little? Back then the moon’s existence seemed invaluable. Are we vainer now that we question everything, of which we ask for answers and to be heard?

Bradley wove a thread through his prose, all speaking of a relatable pain, of which created a patchwork of divine wisdom. The empathy in his bones, enunciated by his teeth and jaw, was viral. There is clarity in Craig Owens’ lyric “we’re screaming at the same moon,” in realizing not everyone has that anchor in their lives to persevere past their depressions and traumas. I felt a sense of accord that although we may be alone, we were not lonely that night for we all felt worth in ourselves. I think Bradley gave us all a taste of hope Saturday night. Watching him perform was not a religious experience but a spiritual experience. Throughout his 90 minutes of musing with us he was able to give light to the sufferings in his writings with a witty sense of humor. Whether he intends to or not, I find it truly a gift that he can reach people, even himself, through his words.


Warped 2010

August 20, 2010

8/2/10

Without seatbelts and cigarettes shoved into our bag we sped down the highway on our way to the 2010 Vans Warped Tour. “State Avenue west exit,” Tyler kept repeating to Mackenzie. As we neared the west exit Mackenzie see’s the State Avenue east exit and as she’s about to turn into it Ashley and Nicole shout, “WEST!” We swerve out of that lane and I think about if my parents were driving behind her they’d get mad because of her reckless driving that I love.

We walked over to the big blow up billboard with all the set times patched onto it and onto the burning pavement that covered most of the Sandstone amphitheatre’s ground. All I could really feel was my sunscreen covered skin burning underneath the sun. Out of all the days Warped Tour could come to Kansas City they picked today August 2nd, the hottest day of the year, the temperature reaching a staggering 100 degrees with a heat index of 110.

The first thing Mackenzie said when Vic Fuentes, the lead singer of Pierce The Veil, walked up to the microphone after the guy wearing the day of the dead costume completed with a giant sombrero finished his intro was, “They’re cute,” with a smile turning her lips. Pierce The Veil opened with “Besitos,” the first track of their new record Selfish Machines. “Open that pit up!” Vic kept instructing. Each time the pit calmed down Nicole reached out for my hand as we wormed our way to the front. After a few more songs Vic came down into the crowd. Nicole ran to the front to reach at his sweaty arms and I whipped out my camera and followed her. The best part of Pierce The Veil’s set was before they played “Drella” Jaime, Vic, and Tony were working on build up guitars and Mike on drums then the clip of Ludacris’s “How Low Can You Go” soprano voice came in and Jaime, Vic, and Tony raised their guitars all together that read in colored duct tape, “GET FUCKIN’ LOW.” Then the clip ended and the guitars came back in as they headbanged in sync.

You Me At Six walked onto the makeshift Altec Lansing blow-up stage in all their British glory. I was stoked to be seeing them to the extent that I showed up to the stage ten minutes early. I claimed my spot in the front row but I burned like a leaf under a magnifying glass. You Me At Six put on a fair show but sadly the crowd was very, very weak. There was no excitement of a moshpit and I only had to hand up one crowdsurfer. They mostly played songs from their new record Hold Me Down but I was content with jumping around to “Underdog” and echoing Josh on “Stay With Me,” though they did play “Save It For The Bedroom.” I wanted to inhale excitement at the You Me At Six set. I wanted to be pushed against the barricade and have fear I’d get stuck in the pit if I got pushed. I wanted Josh to look at me and sing back to me, something.

Walking away from their set sweat was literally dripping down my legs and the air didn’t seem so hot anymore since there wasn’t so much combined body heat building up. A dizzy head and with queasy stomach, my hands were slippery with sweat and dirt stuck to my fingers from the little valley we would sit in to cool off. I walked over to Tyler and said, “Can I have that water? I feel like I’m gonna pass out.”
“Really?”
“Yeah.”
I slid down to the burning pavement that had been heating the barricaded sound system and drank what was left of our boiling water.

After visiting the sprinkler showers again I caught the last of VersaEmerge’s set. I left the crowd when Never Shout Never came on to climb the hill and sit in the seats with Tyler as Mackenzie and Ashley left to cool down the car.

Driving home in Mackenzie’s air conditioned car we all complained about how much we smelled and how grimy we felt. Then Tyler said from the passenger’s seat, “I’m as fresh as a fuckin’ daisy.”

I cherish Warped Tour no matter how miserable it can be in the heat because it’s usually my last summer stint. It feels like home, like a giant party. It’s the last something that means anything before I go back to school. So I bought a red Set Your Goals shirt with a picture on the back of Jordan Brown singing to a crowd of kids. It reads lyrics from “The Fallen…” – May I never lose my youth/All of this is too unforgettable.

(pictures)


Cage the Elephant concert

June 28, 2010

I burst through the door of our office screaming at my dad, “HE HELD THIS HAAAND!” shoving my left hand in his face. That’s all I could think to do with uncontainable energy spilling words of awe out of my mouth. I had just witnessed a Cage the Elephant concert for the second time, the second time I was in the front row, and the first time I ever met the lead singer, Matt Shultz. I am somewhere on cloud nine, not wanting to wash Matt’s sweat from my left hand. – My mind keeps wandering back to holding his hand during the show, I squeezed his hand and he squeezed back as other people of the audience tried to cling to his arm. I wish we could have been inseparable, breaking all clocks to be frozen in time holding onto his sweating hand.

But let’s start at the beginning.

I showed up outside of the Beaumont Club two whole hours early. (Thinking about it after the show now, I’m glad I showed up early otherwise I would have nearly passed out in middle of the crowd.) I was waiting outside of the venue with my mom and my friend Taylor when I caught sight of Matt Shultz pacing past their tour bus talking on the phone. After I heard Matt murmur, “I love you too,” into his cell phone he bowed his head and started to walk on. I stopped him and said, “Can I just say hi because I think you’re really awesome.” He looked up and smiled, the parentheses around his mouth became more defined on his strong square chin. He stuck his hand out and I introduced myself, “I’m Phoenix.” He looked right at me through his Ray-Bans.
“Phoenix, I’m Matt.” His smile made my insides squeal with that happy fuzzy feeling. He continued to exchange introductions with my mom and Taylor. Then I spoke again smiling and told him I was so excited for the show I arrived at five. (The doors opened at 7:00PM.)
“Yeah?” he sort of trailed off and finished still smiling, “Awesome.” (My mom also noted we saw them last November and how amazing of a show it was and he thanked her.) After that he told us he had to leave for Cage’s soundcheck but I had already determined the show would remain a lasting memory.

Front row and center most literally I stood and frowned at the huge barricades keeping me from grabbing hold of Matt. AutoVaughn were the only openers for Cage because the 22-20’s had come down with an illness. AutoVaughn gave us a show. The guys chased each other across the stage dueling with their guitars. The lead singer often added little remarks like, “If you guys are into that kind of thing,” in a lighthearted tone after introducing the title a song and its meaning. The lead guitarist of AutoVaughn, Steven Wilson would jerk his neck to the beat moving his feet around with mad skills of some modern dance, scuffing his shoes. He told the crowd that they were preparing us mentally, physically, and spiritually for Cage the Elephant to blow our minds. I believed it when his guitar would plink out solos, his fingers washing across the neck of his bandaged mint green guitar skillfully, easily. They closed their set with “Hell of a Place” and carried the song on with the sound of our clapping and improvised guitar jams.

Matt Shultz in short is “mad as a hatter, thin as a dime.” When Cage walked onto the carpeted stage in almost total darkness I screamed. Cage hurled into the first song “Dr. Dr. Dr.” Matt shook wildly flailing his arms in different directions. He screamed into the microphone his words incomprehensible but the guitars screamed back licks that sounded like heavy southern punk. The guitars echoed the fast paced beat of the drums. I kept reaching out to him hopeful but his hand was bunching up the fabric of his shirt. I am sure that he looked right at me underneath his heavy lids a couple times. He recognized me, I thought. Then finally during one of the songs Matt thrust his hand out. In that moment I slapped my hand onto his and squeezed. He squeezed back while other people in the crowd clung to his slick arm, he just kept singing.

The push of the crowd was terrifying. I constantly had to push back so my lungs didn’t get crushed. Being in the front row and in the center I was kicked in the head easily more than eight times by crowd surfers. I was dizzy and my head hurt, my curly hair gone frizzy but I kept singing the lyrics I knew (which wasn’t many considering Cage played so many new songs). I kept thinking I am going to die. I am trapped and I can’t even climb over the barricades or push through the crowd to get out. In line of the last song before the “In One Ear” and “Saber-Tooth Tiger” encore, “Sell Yourself” bent over after stage diving Matt looked at me and screamed into the mic, “Save yourself!”

After the show I met the guys from AutoVaughn. Darren the lead singer asked, “What’s your name?” as I handed him the CD I had just bought from their merch table.
“Phoenix,” I answered.
“Spelled like the city?”
“Yeah.”
“With an extra ‘X’,” my mom added, smiling.
“Boom!” Darren said pointing to the little note scribbled into the liner notes of the CD. When I met Steven I told him he had mad feet dancing skills. “Yeah? I don’t even realize it. I’ve never been able to dance for my life,” he replied.
“Well now you can!” I said. I made movements to exaggerate his feet movements.
“Kickin’ shit and stuff,” he said nodding his head.

I had left the venue, knowing there was no re-entry. I said goodbye to Taylor as her dad’s car pulled up to the curb of the street. Then I saw it. A small group of people huddled around something, or someone. “Can you move over Matt?” one of their crew members said pushing a luggage cart loaded with instrument cases. I saw Matt signing and taking pictures, grinning and laughing with fans. I wanted in on it though our first encounter was more intimate. I wanted a picture to remember it by. – I watched the fans as I waited my turn for a picture. A girl muttered something about not being cool and then Matt said to her, his tone changed to be more serious, “Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t… don’t do that.” – After I got my picture I opened the car door and said in a daze, “That was… amazing.”

It’s official. Cage the Elephant did indeed blow my mind.

(Pictures)


HOLY mountain show

June 9, 2010

I could kiss the sounds. As if time could meld into the body of the music. It rests so undecided in the different realms of time. We may not remember our thoughts in or from those moments, they were so clear yet hung so loosely as if I could pull them from a tree like leaves. Or erase them into the sound, finally understanding the sound of separation; understanding a piece of a bigger picture that remained invisible to all that were fragile and close minded. The music simply acted as a guide and a vent for all the unknown feelings we were experiencing. For all that could not be spoken. It is true, silence is dry and sound is wet.

Last night I saw HOLY Mountain again for the fourth time (and counting) at the Main Street Cafe. In short it was spectacular.

The Main Street Café is set up to look like a miniature house party. Couches and chairs are placed around the stage (some of these were held together by duct tape). A nice rug is covering almost the entire floor. The stage is small and as far as stages go, cozy. You could probably sit right in front of the speakers if you wanted. There was such a positive mellow atmosphere in that room with a bunch of little indie kids.

During the fourth band’s sound check Elisha strode over to me. I was sitting on a small love seat near the stage staring at my hands when I saw someone else’s hand. Elisha handed me another one of their demo CDs and said, “Here, this is for you.” I turned to look at him kneeling next to me on the couch. “Oh hey, hi,” I smiled. I felt gauche, but this time I wasn’t hypnotized from his scent so much as to stumble over my own words. He nodded his head and said, “It’s really good to see you here.” It looked uncomfortable kneeling on the floor so I asked if he wanted a seat on the couch. I swore I could have heard him almost say, “Oh no thanks hon,” like I was his kid sister or something. A guy walked over to us and gave us a handout. “This is for you guys,” the guy said. He shook both of our hands, asked our names, and introduced himself as Jessie. He had sandy blonde hair parted to the left with a swoop. He had a firm handshake and a nice smile. He was very cute. After that Elisha and I made small talk before he had to get ready for their set.  I asked if he’d ever played the venue before. Elisha told me he didn’t like performing at the Main Street Café because they were too unorganized and he needed for venues to be organized. I introduced him to my mom and found out he liked drawing and quiet time to think to himself. It was so simple and perfect.

Every time I see HOLY Mountain it is something different. I notice an improvement in the way they go about performing their music. The simple notes may change varying on what mood they are in. Sometimes they change the timing on the songs. Every note they play sounds better live; enriched and amplified in sound. I try and let the eminent sounds of the guitars and crooning voices sink into me. They opened with “Slam Dunk Giant” (my second favorite HM song) complete with a cardboard cut-out of Michael Jordan on stage. Carlos’s hair swung wildly in front of his face when he would slam into the fast guitar bridge.

Before HOLY Mountain played their third to last song they told everyone it was called “In Time.” Then unexpectedly Elisha leaned over the mic and said, “This one goes out Phoenix because she’s been to a lot of our shows and I like seeing her out there.” I smiled and blushed Bella red. It was funny because I could feel the audience look over like, who is Phoenix? After that Carlos added a few more names and said, “You guys can just shout your names.” Everyone cheered, but it didn’t degrade what Elisha had said. Not one bit.


You’re a robot, and they designed your life.

November 19, 2009

11/14/09

My ears are still ringing.

Front row and center. As an early birthday present my mother treated me by taking me to see one of my absolute favorite bands, Cage The Elephant. The hard work finally paid off when we arrived to take our front row spots at the Beaumont Club. It was vacant in the beginning, but we suspected that people preferred to go out and get a drink before coming to a show on a Saturday night.

The Shakeltons was the first band to take the stage. Leaves and branches were draped over speakers and monitors. The lead singer came onto the stage and set down a few small bouquets of flowers. The Shakeltons sang of love and broken hearts, but there was hope on their lyrics. The lead singer was a good performer. He fell from a monitor purposely and shook as if he was having a seizure then jumped to his feet. He would grab a lock of some boy’s hair and jerk their heads around. Once he set his hand down on my mother’s head. The drummer was amazing. He was banging the crap out of those drums. The Shakeltons ended their set with the lead singer handing my mother a daisy.

Next was Morning Teleportation. I love this band. Earlier, we briefly spotted a small guy wearing an off-red jean, a bowling shirt, and a ladybug backpack; topped off with a retro haircut with curved bangs. (Honestly, how can you not adore a guy who wears a ladybug backpack?)

— Morning Teleportation have such an unconventional sound. Most bands you will hear often have similarities because of the instruments they play. Morning Teleportation are more different than any band I have ever heard. Despite how young they seem, Morning had experimented with a variety of sound effects. The lead singer would often change up his guitar tuning by tapping his foot of the different pedals below himself. The trumpeter looked like Zack Merrick of All Time Low and there was a keyboardist set off to the right side of the stage who would dance. Their songs are filled with several hooks making some last around six minutes. The last song was dedicated to the lead singer’s mother, who was sitting at a table off to the side. At the end of the set the band members all fell to the ground. The lead singer hopped off the stage and to the floor right in front of me. He crouched down and folded his arms over his head as the song ended.

Cage The Elephant opened the show with “Doctor, Doctor, Doctor” and that’s when I really realized that more people had arrived. I was shoved against the stage but I didn’t mind much. It was all good fun. While there was no crowd surfing throughout the entire concert -other than Matt Shultz stage diving- there were several moshpits. People were moshing right behind us, but I enjoyed it because everyone was having fun, no one was angry.

Little words of thanks were uttered in between songs and the infrequent introduction before Cage would launch into their next song. Matt Shultz, the lead singer, was my favorite. He danced around the stage wildly, swinging his arms. Sticky sweat poured down his arms and chest leaving his green stripped tee stained. Matt leaned over me, crying from getting himself so worked up his tears splashed on my forehead with an addition of drool. He often dived into the crowd amid their chaotic set and the tech guy would have to reel out his microphone wire. He continued this for the duration of their set. “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” was towards the end before Cage finished out with an encore. The encore included “In One Ear” which the crowd and I hollered the lyrics too, throwing our arms into the air as we sang, the music blaring in the background. “Saber-Tooth Tiger” followed and caused an outbreak of fangirls to climb onstage, only seeking attention and hugs from Matt. Cage The Elephant played thirteen songs altogether.

I can only begin to describe how infectious the energy of the concert was. I mean, if all three bands -from The Shakeltons, to Morning Teleportation, and the highlight of the night Cage The Elephant- can make my mom dance without feeling self conscious then you know it’s a damn good show. If I still smile at the thought of Matt leaning over me, singing to me then you can only imagine what this show was like.

And I am still smiling.

(Pictures.)


My bright is too slight to hold back all my dark.

October 10, 2009

10/8/09

Last night I saw Brand New with Manchester Orchestra and Sybris. It was really a great concert. The sound was stellar. I felt like I could close my eyes and feel at home. Almost everything that happened last night was worth remembering. I won’t try to relive last night, but I will always remember it. Sometimes it will probably seem distant, but maybe in another year I will see Manchester Orchestra or Brand New again and remember.

When I got in line outside of the Uptown Theatre I thought I was hopeless. I was at the end of a fairly long line, and I wanted to at least be able to see Jesse Lacey’s face. Though, when my mom and I got inside the theatre and found floor standing seats I felt a million times better. I wasn’t trying to be too greedy because I know there are bigger fans of Brand New than me, but I was pretty close. Once again my mom pulled me to the side of the stage where the crowd is generally shorter and not so many people fought to get in front of us. I was in the fourth row.

When I looked around, the theatre was set up to look like a little city from the olden days. Think of a theatre fit to present one of Shakespeare’s plays. Picture a theatre with the castles and balconies, the red velvet curtain held up by gold rope, and when you looked at the ceiling it looked like the sky. I swear it’s one of the most beautiful venues I have ever seen.

Sybris came on and I was surprised at how much I liked them. Sybris has a female lead singer. Listening to some of their songs, some of the edgy chords from the guitars my mom pointed out sounded similar to Dead Confederate. But Sybris had a sound very much their own. Think of Alison Mosshart’s vocals for The Dead Weather, but with a raspier tone.

Manchester Orchestra was absolutely fantastic. I cannot believe how many followers they have in Kansas City and how energetic the crowd was. Everyone was screaming the lyrics and pushing back and forth. Two kids behind me where constantly jumping up and down. It made me happy to see how much fun everyone was having. It got annoying when the girl’s ponytail whacked me in the face, but otherwise I loved the vibe. The lead singer seemed so sad. His lyrics seemed like he was saying he had an ache in his heavy heart. I could feel it in his lyrics. People kept shouting, “We love you!” I don’t own any of their albums yet, but after last night I promised myself that when I have the money I will go and buy ALL OF THEM. The acoustics in the theatre were so great, it made everything sound better. (I like my music loud.) Manchester played almost all of their songs from their new record Mean Everything To Nothing. But my favorites were, “Everything to Nothing”, “The River” and “Shake It Out”.

As Manchester Orchestra left the stage, their fans screamed for one more song. No, they didn’t play another song, but the crowd began to push forward. People started shoving and when you are stupid and wear a long sleeved shirt and a hoodie to an indoor venue when you plan on being close to the stage, like me, things get a little hot. “Push forward!” a kid kept yelling. I tried to push back, but nothing was working. I couldn’t keep it up so I told my mom I wanted out. She looked relieved. But when we tried to shoulder our way out, it didn’t work. So instead we got lifted by a bouncer. He told me to turn around so I did. He lifted me up and sat me on the metal railing then he pulled my legs over the railing. It was weird having everyone look at me, but it was for the best in my case I suppose.

We walked back and sat down on the floor. It is much easier to breathe fresh air when you aren’t in an enclosed space. I could smell excessive amounts of beer on some people’s breath and clothes. I could even smell a little pot. And even though these smells are disgusting, in a way they are almost comforting to me. After all, it is a familiar smell of a concert but not necessarily an indoor one. We probably waited around for thirty minutes when the lights went out. Everyone was screaming with excitement and I couldn’t help but let a few girlish screams escape my mouth.

You are probably curious with what song Brand New opened with, and unfortunately I can’t tell you. I can’t tell you this because as much as I love Brand New’s music, I haven’t had the time or money to go out a buy their new record and become acquainted with it. I couldn’t be called a “true” fan, but I know Brand New’s older music quite well. I can sing along with it. It feels like the melancholy soundtrack to my life. — Brand New played a few more tracks from their new record Daisy. I kept hoping Brand New would play a song, any song, from Deja Entendu, when finally they did. I screamed at the top of my lungs when I heard the introduction for “Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t.” Then after everyone had calmed down for a minute, Brand New launched into “Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades.” I was jumping around and I could feel a few people’s eyes on me, but this is my therapy. I was finally somewhere where everyone likes the same music as me and we are all enjoying it.

It made me really happy to see a couple next to me singing along. I knew they were so stoked to be there. This couple was different than the others. They weren’t kissing and feeling each other. They were the couple that knew every word and were singing along together.
Jesse Lacey told us he that he had woken up sicker than he had been in a long time. He said that he might not be able to hit a few notes, and I was almost worried Brand New was going to cut the show short, but thankfully they didn’t. Jesse sounded amazing. His screaming was better live than it was on the recordings. It was much more raw. I could barely see the stage and there was just about no hope I could have gotten one good picture (even with as many exposures and settings as I used). Even though I saw Jesse’s face very seldom, I saw his blue hat and smiled to myself. (I like his hat with flaps better, but any hat will do.)

Brand New had the creepiest set I had ever seen. Sometimes there would be a black and white video playing on a screen behind them. There would be old scenes from movies and pictures. The lighting was either white flashes or an off yellow. Though most of the time the theatre seemed pitch black. When Brand New played “Jaws Theme Swimming” I went insane. I was yelling so loud my voice got lost with all the others. “In car outside, we stalk the idle kind. If you’re leaving just let me know.” We paused our singing and came back in with, “Tobacco and peppermint, dusting the finger prints, a film in her eyes from the glow.” My favorite part of that song is the chorus, “And we learn as we age, we’ve learned nothing, and my body still aches.”
Brand New sang all of my favorite songs. But the best one was most definitely and infinitely “Jesus Christ”. When that song came on I really did close my eyes. Everything about that song is perfection. The lyric, “My bright is too slight to hold back all my dark,” is one of the most brilliant things I have ever heard. The music written for Jesse’s lyrics melts me. — Brand New closed their show with “At The Bottom”.

I promise myself that I will remember that night. I will remember it and eventually experience one of their shows again.


Pour me a heavy dose of atmosphere

October 2, 2009

Last night I saw Owl City. I haven’t been listening long, but the show only cost $5 for minors. I didn’t have school the next day so I figured, why not? I like Owl City enough, and that’s all that matters.

It was a waayyy bigger turn out than I expected, and I was surprised to see so many guys there. The doors opened at 7PM and I got in at about 7:30PM. The first two bands from Kansas City were both complete shit. I won’t even mention their names because they wouldn’t be worth listening to. This was an outdoor show and I was freezing. My teeth would chatter in the 50 degree cold every now and then. Folding my arms against my chest helped a little as well as all the body heat, but I was still cold.

I started off like in the sixth row and slowly, but skillfully we managed to worm our way to the second row. (Though, I don’t imagine it is much of a burden to anyone since I’m only 5′ 1 and my mom is only 5′ 3.) People shifted and we moved into the tight spaces. Eventually, we were on the right end of the stage looking up at the stage check for Owl City.

— Ha, you won’t believe it! There was crowdsurfing! The sad part is they didn’t expect it so they didn’t set up a space to catch them. So the bouncers ended up having to pull the kids onto the stage. Though, as soon as Owl City started they wouldn’t let the kids onstage. The bouncers would motion to the crowd to put the crowdsurfer down.

Owl City was great. Adam was spastic and energetic. He would dance and whip his head around. Sometimes he would lie on the floor of the stage and sing, then instantly jump to his feet. He wore this big grin across his face while most everyone sang along to their favorite Owl City songs. Before Owl City played “Vanilla Twilight” (which is my personal favorite) Adam said, “If you came here to slowdance, here’s your song.” That song made me so happy! I even recorded a little bit of it.

My other favorites were “Strawberry Avalanche”, “Hello Seattle”, “The Bird and The Worm”, and of course “Fireflies”. Owl City played almost all of their songs. Their set ended a few minutes after midnight. I saw the small merchandise tent was empty because they had sold out of everything. I suppose I’ll order something online….

Cheers to Owl City and Adam Young!

(Thank you mom for accompanying me once again.)

(You can also see this post on my other blog: http://thehumanbean.tumblr.com/post/202615613/pour-me-a-heavy-dose-of-atmosphere)

Owl City


Buzz Beachball

September 7, 2009

You don’t even know how insane this concert was. I had gotten to the show like at 3:30 to get really close seats up front. While all the Blink-182 fans wore their fancy Blink shirts I was here only for Taking Back Sunday and Weezer of course. As soon as Taking Back Sunday’s set started everyone was shoved about five steps forward. It went on like this throughout their whole set. Our bodies moving to the front, back and side. There was a mosh pit right behind me and technically I was in it, even though I wasn’t swinging my fists at everyone. Since I was smaller than everyone else there, people kept asking me, “Are you okay.” I could handle this, dripping with sweat, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. My cousin wanted out after the first song so she crowd surfed to the front because it was easier to get out that way.

You would think it would be distracting when you are getting shoved around, but I still sang along with Adam Lazzara. My voice next to his. I could hear it. I could see Adam’s face, and Matt Rubano’s face, and even Eddie Reye’s face. I lasted more than half their set when I had finally had enough. It was hard shoving through all the people to get out of the crowd, but I had to before it got worse. I wanted an experience and that is what I got!

When my mom and I (can you believe she stuck it out with me?) finally found somewhere to sit in the grass my face was drying with sticky sweat matted to it. My hair was coming out of the two little buns on either side of my head it was pulled back into. People were giving us funny looks probably because we looked somewhat dazed or just worn out. I called Mackenzie and found her and her friends sitting on the complete other end of the amphitheatre.

 I don’t understand her friends. Ashley (the other girl who accompanied me to Warped Tour) was there with her boyfriend. She got drunk later in the night. She is only eighteen. Her boyfriend who is at least twenty-one probably bought her drinks. I really don’t understand why people drink or get drunk. Why? The next day you’ll vaguely remember what happened and feel like shit (so I’ve heard). You look like a complete idiot, barely able to stand. Oh well, Mackenzie also was sitting next to some nice guys who were there to have a good time and were really funny. A couple of them found some Tom DeLonge masks which they were wearing around. One of them kept on saying, “Na-na na-na na-na na-na na na na-na na-na na-na na-na na na,” in a Tom DeLonge accent.

 Weezer was on next. Rivers Cuomo makes me smile. He seems like such a quiet, chill guy. Before Weezer played “Island In The Sun” Rivers got up and said, “Okay, I’m gonna go play some drums.” He sat down and started tapping on the drum set and he was surprisingly good. But it turns out it was just recorded. Rivers would walk over to each instrument and begin to play and each member was slowly added in. The crowd was singing, “hip hip.” Rivers said how they had played a show in New York the night before and Kansas City was a more lively crowd because everyone in New York was “too cool” to jump around. “Buddy Holly” was probably my favorite song they played. I would love to see them again sometime soon.

 I’ve got to say, really don’t know any Blink-182 songs. If you asked me what song they opened their set with I couldn’t tell you. I have heard about five of Blink’s songs and the rest remain unknown to me. I could have left before they played, but I wanted to stay for them to play “Dammit”. They came on at 9:30 and since I was now adjusting to my early morning schedule it was getting harder for me to keep my eyes open. Blink probably played ten songs when Mackenzie pulled away from her friends and asked us if we wanted to leave. I still hadn’t heard “Dammit” but my mom and Mackenzie were ready to leave.

  We tried to weave our way through the crowd just to find the exit and people began to get mad. They were cursing at us because they were missing like two seconds of Blink-182’s performance. “What’d you pay your money for?!” one guy yelled. Another girl called us dickheads and one guy yelled, “Fuck you!” That’s when Mackenzie got pissed off. “Fuck you! Anger management, douchebag!” she retaliated. I had a horrible feeling in my gut as people yelled at us. All I wanted to do was leave. I didn’t care if I missed “Dammit” or not.

 When we got out of the crowd a slew of curse words escaped my mouth because I was hurt by these strangers. I told Mackenzie and my mom I wish karma would come back and light them on fire. I meant it. We left and I felt better listening to Owl City and the Scissor Sisters (both of whom I don’t really like). We got home and ate left over Chinese food and I went to sleep.

 I look back at my pictures and think how I was really there. I listened to Chester French, the Von Bondies, Taking Back Sunday, Weezer, and most of Blink-182’s performance. All of them were great. D.A. Wallach from Chester French was a bit perverted but they had good music (I actually bought their debut album today). The Von Bondies were good as well. You might recognize their single “C’mon C’mon”. Taking Back Sunday and Weezer were my favorites, and I knew they would be. Especially Taking Back Sunday.

Taking Back Sunday

Song Of The Day – “Everything Must Go” by Taking Back Sunday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPU8nSIVu4A


W-W-WARPED TOUR!

August 5, 2009

Holy shit. Warped Tour was even more than I anticipated. I’m in shock right now, I don’t even know what to say. It’s all too good to be true, and it’s hard even taking the time to tell the whole story. Anyway, let me explain what happened.

I arrived to Warped Tour around 12:30. I was a little nervous for the Wall Of Death during Chiodos’ set that I had heard about, but I couldn’t wait to see them.

Chiodos came on stage and I couldn’t see them at first because of all those darn tall people! Though, I could see a crazy mosh pit going on and surprisingly, I was pretty damn calm. As their set progressed Mackenzie scored us spots really close to the stage. Right when we get there, Craig said, “In 2005 a band called My Chemical Romance set a record of over 60 crowd surfers in one minute. I want to try and beat that record. So, as soon as this song starts you need to crowd surf because after this, it won’t be allowed.” “A Letter From Janelle”- my favorite song by Chiodos – started up and loads of kids were thrust into the air. My wee little arms could barely hold them up so I was often kicked in the face. To all the crowd surfers, sorry if I accidentaly groped you. It’s just, I couldn’t put my hands anywhere else other than your arse because that wouldn’t hold you up. I hope you didn’t mind too much. More and more kids were asking to go up into the air but would take a hard fall to the ground.

As soon as Craig said the words, “Wall Of Death”, Mackenzie, Ashley and I pushed our way out of the crowd. No way would we get caught in that. When we got away from the pushy show gazers I kept singing and jumping along. As soon as the Wall Of Death was over we squeezed back into the crowd and I sang the last of the lyrics and their set ended. It was amazing. Not exactly how I pictured it, but I promise I will see them again someday.

I had hopped I would see The Maine, but they went on at the same time Chiodos did so I missed their performance. I was a little upset, but I knew I would make it to their signing. Mackenzie, Ashley and I wandered around the merchandise booths set up everywhere. I bought a zombie Chiodos T-shirt and a blue Drop Dead T-shirt with the adorable cat head on it.

We finally found our way over to The Maine’s merchandise table to find out when their siging would start. It had started fifteen minutes ago but one of the guys at the table said it was still going on. “Where’s the AP tent?” I asked, eagerly. He pointed me in the right direction and I raced off. I got a little lost, but I found the AP tent, and within it sat John O’Callaghan, Pat Kirch, Garrett Nickelsen, and Jared Monaco, but no Kennedy. I found the end of the line and whipped out my camera. Mackenzie said she and Ashley were going on a quest to find food, so I stood in line alone. I didn’t mind at all. I knew I would meet John Ohh because I made it to the siging just in time to claim the last signing pass! (Also, there were a few guys who came over and talked to me, trying to sell me a CD. I asked them how many songs were on the CD and one guy said, “Eighteen songs if you play it three times. I’ll let you do the math.”)

I reached the table and handed over my signing pass. I set my white Maine T-shirt down on the table and Pat began to sign it. I was squeeling on the inside. The white shirt finally made it’s way over to John, and I leaned over and said, “I missed you guys at the AP Tour! They cut the line to the signing right where I was!” John smiled replying, “Aw.” Then I said, “I know this is gonna sound weird, but can I have a hug?” “Yeah, sure!” John said, now standing up. I walked over to him and I gave him a big hug! This could officially be counted as a great fucking day. To cut to the chase, I got a girl to take my picture with him and I will cherish it forever!

There wasn’t a band I wanted to see until 4:55, and that was Underoath. It was past two when I found Mackenzie and Ashley and we felt as if we might pass out. We walked over to a shaded grassy area and sat down, relieved. I was bored so I flipped open my phone and pulled up Twitter. Less than a minute ago Underoath had posted, “If you wanna watch the show from the stage today, be the first to meet Chris at our merch table and give him the code word: Quenton. Go!” I turned to Mackenzie and Ashley, grinning I said, “Do you guys wanna see Underoath from the stage?” Mackenzie and Ashley both replied, “Yeah.” “Well, I know how. Come with me!” With confused looks on their faces I dragged made them run all the way back to Underoath’s merch table. I told the girls the code word. We got to the table and shouted, “Quenton!” Chris smiled and yelled, “You guys are the winners!” and gave us hi-fives! Chris told us to meet him at the entrance on the left side of the main stage at 4:30.

As we walked away I heard the Chiodos Rock Band set. (It’s where they are the judges of the best “band”.) It ended and kids were leaving the tent. While people were clearing out I saw Jason Hale from Chiodos talking to a woman he must have known. It took me a second, but I walked over to Jason and tapped on his shoulder. He turns my way and I say, “Um, Jason? Can you please sign my shirt?” Jason smiles, blowing away smoke from his cigarette and says, “No.” “No?” I repeat. Jason smiles again and says, “Yes.” I pull out my Chiodos shirt from the bag and hand him a black Sharpie I packed for those just in case moments. “Thank you!” I say. Mackenzie says, “Sorry, we didn’t mean to attack you or anything.” “No, you guys are fine!” Jason replies, and by the way he said it, I could tell he was enjoying this. What was I thinking at that moment? Gee, he has a pretty smile.

I was feeling dizzy from the heat. I had been drinking water, yes, but it was food that I needed. Throughout the whole day all I had to eat was half a piece of peanut butter toast and three of Mackenzie’s nachos. We found the entrance by the main stage and practically fell to the ground. I kept checking my phone for the time because Ashley was constantly asking, “How many more minutes?”

Next to the main stage was a skate ramp. Now on that ramp was a six year old boy totally killing it! He was better than the 14 year old (I’m guessing) that was up there! Everyone who was watching him smiled in awe and cheered him on.

It was finally 4:30 and Chris wasn’t at the gate, Mackenzie, Ashley and I became a little fidgety, but Chris saw us waiting and waved us back. “These girls are with me,” he told one of the bouncers backstage. Chris told one of the bouncers to make sure we got on the stage (we were later given green VIP wristbands). I spotted Aaron Gillespie and I peeped to my cousin, “That’s Aaron Gillespie.” “Go over there and ask for a picture!” Mackenzie cheered. I was a bit starstruck so I asked sheepishly, “Can you come with me?” Mackenzie sighed and smiled, then walked over there with me. “He’s your lover,” Mackenzie said. I replied, “But he’s married.” Mackenzie shrugged her shoulders and said, “He can still be your lover.” That made me smile.

Backstage I saw people from loads of other bands. Wil Frances from Aiden, Craig Owens from Chiodos, Nat from 3OH!3, and Zack Merrick from All Time Low. When Mackenzie saw Spencer from Underoath she shouted, “Hey Spencer!” He turned around and she finished, “Can you sign my shirt?” “Yeah,” Spencer mumbled.

We were all rushed onto the stage and my heart pounded in my chest. I never in a million years thought I would be one of those kids. The ones who get VIP passes and such. It was extremely loud on stage but I was so grateful to be up there with Underoath! The words were muffled because the speakers were facing the other way, but I knew the instrumental so I was able to sing along a little. My favorite songs by far were “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door” and “Writing On The Walls”. Both of these songs give me goosebumps. When the crowd would calm for those few seconds to sing, “I’m drowning in my sleep, I’m drowning sleep” or “I hope to God you come down. I hope to God you feel this now.” I felt so numb. This was real.

Sing It Loud were on at 6:15, but Mackenzie and Ashley wanted to see In This Moment who I don’t care for. I didn’t mind seeing Sing It Loud alone because I knew it would be a pretty tame crowd, so yes, I went alone. I managed to squeeze my way a little closer to the front than I expected. I snapped pictures and bounced around. It was fun, Sing It Loud were a fun bunch of people. When their set was over I found Mackenzie and Ashley and I left with heat exhaustion and a pounding headache.

All summer long I had been telling my parents, “Warped Tour is going to be amazing. It has to be.” And I also knew I would meet John Ohh and give him a hug. As crazy as that sounds, sometimes you can just feel it, ya know? So this is really where my summer ends, but it was everything I had hoped for, all of that and more. Now I fear I will try to relive those moments for the rest of the summer which is true. Though, I don’t mind, it’s better than living in the present.

Song Of The Day – “Some Will Seek Forgivness, Others Escape” by Underoath http://www.playlist.com/searchbeta/tracks#some%20will%20seek%20forgiveness%20others%20escape


Buzz Under The Stars

May 28, 2009

5/27/09

I had been looking forward to this concert for months. As the days passed and Friday, May 22nd, 2009 came my stomach was boiling with much anticipation. You are probably thinking I had the best time ever and there is no way I could ever forget a concert like this. Well, it was a lot of fun, but I had been stoked to get to see Taking Back Sunday and The Used in just one show! I saw them both from afar and if I was being honest, I am a little sad.

The outdoor venue was huge. There were people just about everywhere. With little tents set up for drinks, merchandise, and even a VIP area. People with hair dyed wild colors and strange hair styles, tattoos, and about a million piercings; short people, tall people, and the list goes on.

Anberlin were the first band to play. I have now seen them in concert three times! Anberlin were putting a lot of effort into that performance, but very few people would move around to their music. Now I really do like Anberlin, but the gig is just starting to get old and I was ubber excited to see Taking Back Sunday. I don’t think Anberlin played more than five or six songs before they left the stage, but they had fun with it.

During the intermission the crowd would inch forward and Tracey, my mother, and I tried to socialize a little with a couple people around us. Including two boys who proved to be nice; one of them was named Kelvin. When I looked around I would see angry boys or smiling faces. I could smell pot once again, cigarettes, and beer. I could feel the tension build as Alkaline Trio’s performance was about to start. I heard yelling and turned around to see Kelvin grabbing a guy’s shirt. I don’t know how they got into a spat, but I was a little worried a fight just might break out. Kelvin shoved the passerby off and cooled down. “It kinda gets the adrenaline goin’ don’t ya think?” Kelvin smiled, not really directing the question to anyone in particular.

I’m not even sure if Alkaline Trio were two songs into there set when a mosh pit broke out. As some of you may not know, a terrified look spreads across my face whenever I am near a mosh pit. I turned around to see my mother’s face for a sense of protection. One girl says to me, “It’s okay, I got you.” I smiled and said thank you. While people are moshing all I could think was that I am anything but hardcore. How can these kids enjoy banging themselves up for no real reason?? The last mosh pit I saw, I was literally standing right next to it. Though, those boys were having fun with it. These people in the mosh pit during Alkaline Trio’s set were mean to each other. In fact, I am pretty sure I saw a couple of people punching each other. There would be boys with their girlfriends pushing out of the crowd. I heard one of them say, “She needs help.”

At the beginning of The Used’s set I was singing to “Liar Liar (Burn In Hell)” (which I love dearly) when a drunk guy knocked into me. He took a look at me and noticed that I’m was a bit younger than most of the kids there. Kelvin’s friend pulled him off me, then the drunk says, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” repeatedly. As the drunk is ready to push in front of me I was fine with it, all I wanted was for him to be gone. The drunk reaches across and his hand accidentially brushed against my chest. “I didn’t touch her! I swear I didn’t touch her…” he said over and over. I panicked more than I did when the first mosh pit broke out. My mom pleads, “Just go. Just go.” “Please,” I added. With the fresh air shortage and the angry boys I told my mother, “Let’s go. We need to go.” I grabbed Tracey’s hand and we shouldered our way away from the stage.

Finally we had space, I bent over and took a couple deep breaths and said, “Let’s go buy merch.” I walked over to the big merchandise table set under a small roof. I was eyeing a yellow T-shirt that read, “I used to be in Taking Back Sunday”. I smiled to myself and asked the woman at the table, “Can I see the yellow Taking Back Sunday T-shirt in a small?” “Sure,” she replied, turning around to find one my size. The woman layed the shirt out on the table and all I was thinking is, Jeez, this is a size small?? “Is this the smallest size you have?” I asked, hoping there might be an extra small. The merch girl responded, “Yep.” Hmph. Instead I settled for a blue T-shirt with cute monster looking things with the words “Taking Back Sunday” printed across the top and bottom of the shirt.

Walking away from the merchandise table I saw a familar looking Hot Topic employee. No, not the mysterious Eli, but a different guy. Honestly, I don’t even know his name after seeing him several times. But he recognized me once I pointed out that he had given me one of his buttons from his employee necklace. His mohawk (or more so frohawk) had grown out since I had last seen him. “You guys have fun!” he said, and left to wander somewhere else.

Tracey, my mother, and I found a little spot where you could see the stage just fine, but it was that whole “experience” I was missing once again. Taking Back Sunday opened the show with “Error: Operator”, and there was just no way I could keep my girlish screams silenced. There would be moments when you couldn’t hear Adam’s voice because he was too busy performing, but I decided I wouldn’t hold anything against him or the band. The only thing that was running through my head was, Please don’t let Taking Back Sunday’s performance end. Adam Lazzara, the lead singer, asked, “If you have a left hand, can you raise it in the air?” I lifted up my left arm as told. Adam continued,”Now if you have a right hand to go with that left hand, go ahead and raise that one too.” The crowd was now holding their arms high above their heads. “Now clap them together like so,” Adam finished. With that Taking Back Sunday performed their single “New Again” off of their upcoming record, New Again. At the end of Taking Back Sunday’s performance Adam Lazzara climbed up on the metal railings that held the stage lights. He hung upside down and sang. I yelled and pointed in awe.

Taking Back Sunday’s set list included, “You’re So Last Summer”, “Liar (It Takes One To Know One)”, “A Decade Under The Influence”, “Sink Into Me”, and ended their performance with “MakeDamnSure”.

There was about a thirty of forty minute break before The Offspring were due to come on stage. And in that short time Tracey was “hit on” by a couple, well, technically one guy.

REPLAY: A guy in a green Blink-182 T-shirt turns to face me and Tracey, and for a minute I was wondering if he was going to talk to us. Of course, he does. “Hey, my cousin over there, the total poseur with his shirt off,” he points to guy without a shirt. Tracey nods her head. “I’ve been trying to get him to talk to you, but he’s too scared. He thinks I’m tryin’ to set him up. He thinks I know you. Would you please just tell him you don’t know me?” Tracey looks a bit confused and replies, “Um, sure?”

This Blink-182 t-shirt wearing guy goes over to get his cousin. His shirtless cousin has brown hair, an average short cut, a smiling face, and a tad bit of chest hair growing in an odd shape (ew). “You don’t know this guy?” the shirtless dude asks, smiling. Tracey shakes her head, “No.” All the while I’m just standing there, entertained, watching some random guys talk to Tracey. Finally, these guys introduce themselves as Joe (the green Blink shirt wearing boy) and Adam (the shirtless one). “What’s your name?” Joe asks. “Phoenixx,” I lean in to tell him because of the booming sound of music and other people’s laughter and voices. Joe laughs and says, “He’s got a Phoenix bird on his chest!” I laugh at how ridiculous this sounds. Adam says, “Phoenix risin’ from the ashes!”

A couple minutes are filled with small talk and my mom walks back over. When Adam told my mom about the whole chest hair deal and she asked, “Do you shave it like that?” Adam smiled, “No, it just grows that way!” Adam asked Tracey quite a few questions including, “So, are you going to any parties after the concert?” Tracey replied, “No, I don’t think we could sneek this one in.” Obviously referring to me. As much as I was entertained by these boys, they left and The Offspring were soon to come on stage.

Kelvin also found me again. He came over and touched my shoulder. For a minute I thought it was my mom until I turned to see who it was. Kelvin asked if I was okay, he said his friend told him what had happened. I told him I was fine now that it was over. (Though, I actually saw that drunk guy again during Taking Back Sunday’s set, but I decided not mention that.) “Did you like Taking Back Sunday?” Kelvin asked. I replied grinning, “Yesss!! They are my favorite!” He smiled kindly and left.

The Offspring totally respected us Kansas City people. In fact the lead singer, Dexter Holland said in the past few days they had been on tour the Kansas City crowd had “totally kicked their asses!” He also noticed how messed up these Kansas City kids were and said, “You know, kids from Kansas City are just as messed up as anyone else.” All those angsty people out there must have loved that quote.

Things seemed to mellow out quite bit in fact a guy with a sign that read, “Free Hugs” wandered around. The first time he zipped past me I didn’t have the guts to hug him, instead I watched other people chase after him. “Hey, Free Hugs Guy!” one girl shouted pushing past everyone and practically tackling him. — I get a laugh out of that every time I think about it. — Later he came back around and I rushed up to him asking, “Can I have a free hug?” I hugged him and he hugged me, and that is the part of the night I remember and cherish most.

After several songs Tracey said, “We can leave early, I’ve seen them like three times already.” I told her I wanted to stay for “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” and then we could leave. The Offspring put on a fabulous live show, but nothing was more fabulous than Adam Lazzara up on that stage. The only thing I am still missing is my bubbly excitement. The kind that leaks out of me and makes other people smile. My favorite songs from The Offspring’s setlist are “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)”, “Americana”, and “Keep ‘Em Separated”.

Driving away from the venue I slid into my vibrant blue Taking Back Sunday T-shirt; then we made a stop at Chubby’s for a burger at midnight.