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?”
“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.


I want to scream at the top of my lungs.

June 25, 2009

I can’t stop smiling. I want to scream and punch things like a mad woman, but I can’t. Instead, I’ll just smile and run in circles while listening to Taking Back Sunday.

Last night I said to my mother, “I would do anything to see Taking Back Sunday again.” “Well, hon, it’s over. You can’t be mad about it,” she replied. My mother had it wrong. I wasn’t mad, I was extremely sad. I wanted to have a good cry over it. Really, I should be lucky I even saw Taking Back Sunday at all. Instead, I moped about not being close to the stage or to put it this way, I couldn’t see the stage at all. All I heard was my voice next to Adam Lazzara’s voice. It was like watching a YouTube video.

I sat on the bus today, God knows how hot it was. The humidity was stiffling, and I could just barely breathe. I flipped on my phone and pulled up the interent. I immeadiately checked my email, hoping there would be something worth reading. I opened one my mother had sent me. My jaw dropped. Taking Back Sunday were coming back to Kansas City September 4th with Blink-182 and Weezer. To top that off, tickets were only twenty dollars.

I turned to my friend and grabbed her arms and shook her wildly. “GUESS WHAT?! TAKING BACK SUNDAY ARE COMING BACK TO KANSAS CITY!!!” I yelled, hopping up and down in my seat. “Phoenixx, calm down,” she said to me, but I couldn’t. My stomach was way too excited to simply calm down. I knew instantly that this was going to be a damn good bus ride home.

Nothing mattered. All I cared about at that moment were tickets. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs with joy and race up my front porch. I wanted to kick at things violently because no one knew what I was feeling. I felt amazing.

I later found out the twenty dollar tickets sold out, BUT thirty five dollar tickets were still available. So of course I bought them. Nothing matters. Though Taking Back Sunday do matter, and I want to live in the moment of their performance because I know it will be stunning.

Maybe “finding yourself” is part of the process as well.

April 11, 2009


You’re so brilliant, don’t soon forget. You’re so brilliant, grace marked your heart. — Anberlin “The Unwinding Cable Car”

These words stain me in the best possible way. Though if anyone were to ever say them to me, they would sound fake. Untrue and dishonest. Cheesy, even. These words are not meant to be repeated, for the purpose would dull. I’m just a dreamer. It seems vivid fantasies dance through my head. Words etch themselves across my skull. I create plots and scenes for movies or books I will never write. I am impatient and I have no idea what to do with these ideas. I dream I’ll become a guitarist. Sometimes I even write out interviews I’d have with people in my head. Things I would say onstage. Music racks through my brain and occasionally they will escape my lips in the form of a hum. I live in my head and in the best moments of the past. After each concert I try hard to remember each feeling and moment I witnessed or felt. And I don’t think I’ll ever officially realize the past is over. I close my eyes and become lost in thought.

Mikey Way’s Wife

February 25, 2009

One afternoon while coming down to my chilled basement of course to log on to the computer, I checked my email. Now in my inbox I had an email titled, “Mikey Way’s wife…” The first time I saw if I thought it said “Mikey Way’s life…” and let out gasp thinking he had died. Instead it was an email from my mother. She knows the My Chemical Romance obsesser that I am and told me a woman whom she works with used to go to school with her. Now this may be cool or uninteresting, but hey, I’m just here to write, so don’t hate on Mikey or the band. –The woman’s name is Tracey, and I’m guessing she is like 27 years old and what a teeny thing she is! Tracey has auburn, chin length hair, has great bone structure in her face, and has I’m guessing a small five foot five frame. She came with my mom, Roxann, and I to the Buzz Stole Christmas concert back in December.– Anyway, Alicia Simmons, Mikey’s wife, went to the same high school. My mom said Tracey thought she was a bit strange and possibly a druggie. Tracey was unsure that Alicia had grown up to marry an awesome bassist such as Mikey Way. Then she saw a picture of Mikey and Alicia together or read in article in a music magazine and could finally believe it. Now Tracey is from Grain Valley Missouri and that gave me, the Missouri girl I am (though I live more in the city), some hope. Heck, maybe I’ll marry the next Kurt Cobain but I hope he doesn’t shoot himself in the head or snort cocaine or do any sort of drug really. In fact maybe I’LL be the next (female) Kurt Cobain without the drugs and suicide.


January 26, 2009

I was listening to Coldplay’s “Clocks” just a minute ago. Knowing just how amazing it is. One of my favorite songs in fact. The lyrics are beautiful. I decided that I needed something to calm my nerves. I’ve got my stomach churning with excitement just thinking about… Eli. I’ve got to admit. It is quite strange for someone three or four years older than me to like me (or vise versa), but its not like I’m going to go out with him. I honestly wouldn’t want to. It just freaks me out. Though when I’m twenty and he is oh say, twenty four, it would be a little different.

I was thinking today, I should have bought that Joker T-shirt and how I want The Maine’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop album. So maybe I’ll make a trip back to Hot Topic this weekend… or not. I should probably save my last $60 dollars for merchandise at The Killers concert. (Did I tell you I was going? Well I am, and I’m super excited!!) Though that isn’t until May so – wait! I want to see The Maine, right? Decisions, decisions.

Back to Coldplay’s song. “Am I part of the cure, or am I part of the disease? Singing, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are. And nothing else compares, oh nothing else compares…” You cannot deny that you like those lyrics. His voice almost hums those words. In fact the whole album (A Rush Of Blood To The Head) is brilliant. I am easily amazed by this band. Another favorite song of mine from this record is “In My Place”. I think it was one of their singles, but just because it is popular doesn’t mean it can’t compare to their other tracks, right? The drums catches me off guard at the beginning then the guitars slow into a more calming sound. Like you could close your eyes while floating in the water and let the waves take you where ever. Go pull up the song on YouTube, picture that right now, close your eyes, visualize, relax. Can you not feel that?

Coldplay. One of the greatest British alternative rock bands out there.


January 7, 2009

Chiodos. This is a band that have definitely earned my respect. I managed to pick up a used copy of their first album, “All That’s Well, Ends Well” in November of ’08 for five dollars. I love that album and from the songs I look up off “Bone Palace Ballet” they just get better. Craig Owens has this beautiful, yet odd, high pitched voice that becomes so addicting to me.  Then he can scream at the top of his lungs all of the sudden. The guitarists, bassist, keyboardist, and drummer, all know what they are doing and sound amazing whether in recording or live. I adore the songs, “A Letter From Janelle”, “Expired In Goreville”, “Baby You Wouldn’t Last One Minute On The Creek”, “Bears Make Money, Pings Get Slaughtered”, and “Lindsey Quit Lollygagging”. I don’t listen to screamo, or hardcore other than Chiodos and honestly I don’t consider them to fit into either of those genres. Chiodos have a style all their own with songs that make you sad or just feel like they fit in some point in your life. I don’t understand it.

From what I have seen in videos, read, or heard Craig has this really generous personality. I want to meet him, it makes me want to know him, be his friend. I suppose that sounds creepy, but I don’t mean for it to. While listening to Chiodos, I’ve developed a small “crush” on Craig Owens. You are probably thinking, it’s always the lead singer, right? Get this, I know he has a girlfriend and I’m not hoping for him to break up with her like some fan-girls. I admire his wisdom and talent to understand the concept of music.

I keep looking on their website in hopes of finding a tour date for them to come near me. I keep saying to myself, “Come to ____!!!” Another clip I found on YouTube when they were here on Warped Tour of ’07. *sigh*

The Killers

December 31, 2008

With The Killers new album out reaching the top of charts for their single, “Human”, the video for “Human”, and just a brilliant album.  every now and then I try and check TicketMaster to see if The Killers are coming my way, yet no dates scheduled quite yet. I have my fingers crossed that if I see them in 2009, I hope it will be the best concert of the year. For Christmas I recived adore the songs “On Top”, “Andy You’re a Star”, “Smile Like You Mean It”, and “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine”. While searching YouTube I found this video of  The Killer performing, “On Top”. Great sound, performance, everything. Just watch it.

Here are just a couple more…

All Time Low

December 19, 2008

At first I wasn’t really a fan of All Time Low. They seemed to “boy band-ish” to me, meaning girls will say “Oh he is soooo hot!” I heard All Time Low were parading into Kansas City first with a signing at Hot Topic then they’d go on down to a little “club” and give the crowd a show with Mayday Parade. I thought I didn’t need to go see them, besides I was basically a poseur fan anyway. A few months went by I heard more of their music and you know what happened I liked it. I jumped around to it. Attempted to sing along with the very few words I knew. On my birthday I received an iTunes gift card. As I logged on to iTunes I realized I could purchase a few of their songs. You know what, I did. Now I throw my head around to ’em and jump around like mad. I guess I do dance like no one is watching. After I had learned most of the words to “Break Out!” and “The Beach” I was sad that I didn’t see them live. Now I cannot complain that they weren’t here or never came, because I missed them purposely. Maybe next year if they go on tour with There For Tomorrow again, definitely.


The Night the Buzz Stole Christmas

December 12, 2008

Band Line up: Vedera, Airborne Toxic Event, Gaslight Anthem, Anberlin, The Eagles of Death Metal, and last but not least Jack’s Mannequin.

I arrived to a beautiful restored old building, which I knew would hold great memories. I show the bouncer, at the  top of the stairs, my ticket allowing me to go down to the floor seats. I scope it out looking for the best “seats”. As the Airborne Toxic Event finished their last two songs (one of them being “Sometime Around Midnight”) I was trying to figure out why they were on so early. I had a nice view of the amazing stage by the railings. Airborne Toxic Event were pretty good, they have a nice, calm, slow sound, they sound similar to Snow Patrol actually. Yet, the players didn’t seem so energetic. When I come to a concert I expect to see bands giving an enthusiastic performance along with phenomenal sound. I was surprised Airborne Toxic Event had played so early. Vedera was first in the line up, right? I later found that they were ill and unable to make it to this show. I shuffled around looking for a closer standing point by the stage in time for Anberlin’s performance. I found a nice spot and stuck with it.

Gaslight Anthem walked on stage. The lead singer walked toward the microphone and announced they were another couple of boys from New Jersey. To be honest I don’t know what they opened with seeing that I can’t really be called a “fan”. Though they crowd often screamed for the song “Drive” which is obviously popular and crowd favorite. I enjoyed them bobbing my head to their music. Gaslight Anthem were great his voice is pure and the guitar players were energetic. Though it was quite hard for me to pay attention to Gaslight Anthem while waiting to see Anberlin. Especially since I had a “seat” right up by the stage. The minute I saw them I knew my mom would say, “They are so CUTE!” I jumped around a little, trying to save my energy for the next band. Like most people my eyes tend to follow the lead singer, though this time it was a bit tough. A couple “rows” in front of me, a tall guy with dark hair, blocked most of my view of him. I often arched my feet standing on my tip-toes, attempting to keep my balance.

Another intermission and brighter lights turned back on once more. I dragged my feet back to my mother, Tracey, and Roxann. We chatted for a couple minutes about the band and what we had noticed from people watching. Believe it or not my mom said “The guys from Gaslight Anthem are too cute!” The longer we stayed chatting, my old space had closed in with more people. I was mad at myself for leaving my seat behind. It was stupid, why had I done that? I balancing on my tip-toes franticly looking for other places I could squeeze in. Anberlin were soon to be on stage I worried, though I had a little bit of hope. There was space, but no way to get in. A guy with auburn, average length hair, a little scruff, he wasn’t very tall, guessing he was about twenty, in an Anbelrin T-shirt next to me said, “You just want closer seats?” “Yeah.” I replied, hoping he could help. “Here, lemme see.” he jumped off the floor for a moment and pointed, “Right over there… it’s shorter.” I tried to nudge my way through a couple of girls, no luck. “Want me to go first?” “Yes.” I replied. He used his shoulder to make a path as his girlfriend and I followed him through the path. Two girls stand side by side in front of me with a nice space right in front of them. He asks, “Can she scoot right up there?” one of them turns and looks at me, she smiles, shakes her head and says, “No.” Hatred filled me it annoyed me like heck the way she looked at me and smiled. We moved over a little “Can you see better here?” he asked. “Yes, thank you.” I answered. The lights went out, people screamed uncontrollably. Lights flickered all over the stage readying a big entrance as the members came on and grabbed their instruments. I screamed as loud as I could.

Anberlin opened with “Paper Thin Hymn”, as they started playing… MOSH PIT. I’d never seen one up close. Guys rammed into each other with grinning faces and Santa Clause hats atop their heads. My shoulder was bumped several times; I overheard a girl say, “They are so hardcore, man!” I giggled to myself. I couldn’t look away from the mosh pit and loose my guard, finally a dude comes flying at the guy who helped me with auburn hair. He shoved him back as hard as he could and turned to me, “You alright?” he asked “Um, yeah.” I said out of breath. I was glad he was there to keep me safe for the moment. I see my mother’s face appear in teh crowd and she yells, “You okay?” I nod my head and enjoy the music. I turn back to the stage and watch their amazing performance. Stephen Christian, the lead singer, leans down onto the crowd. I almost have a heart attack. I reach to touch him, unfortunately my arms weren’t long enough. Songs went on including “Hello Alone”, “Feel Good Drag”, and “Dismantle. Repair.” I jumped up as high as I could, pressed against other girl’s hair when I jumped smelling their awful Body odder (Ugh) Head banging like mad, screaming the lyrics to the songs. A crowd suffer finally came my way. I knew I could help push him along if I needed to, though again the the auburn haired guy redirected him and relief flooded through me once more. I didn’t want to think about when they would have to leave the stage, right now I was just loving every second of it. During concerts I almost always think to myself and wonder how I will remember this fragile moment when it is over? Anbelrin ended with “Godspeed” which was AMAZING. Anberlin are phenomenal music gods to me. Freaking BRILLIANT!!!anberlin2

(<– Stephen Cristian leans onto the crowd. Taken with my Sprint Rumor camera phone!)


I walked back towards my mom with shocked eyes and a toothy grin. I grabbed her and told her how amazing it was being that close to the stage. I held her arm and she started to laugh she spoke, “Honey, you’re shaking!” “No I’m not.” I replied. I held my hand out to prove her wrong, but sure enough it shook.

Ah, The Eagles of  Death Metal. They sound really heavy, right? May I ask, have you ever heard the song “I Want You So Hard” or “Cherry Cola”?  Yes, that is the Eagles of Death Metal. The lead singer was a such a stage performer crack up. Slicking his hair back, brushing his mustache, talking to girls, he even had the “shades”. “I’m gonna need to get your number. You know, in case of an emergency.” or “No. I love you more!” It liked that they didn’t take themselves too seriously. Yes, they cursed a lot and gave us a spastic performance. The lead singer and one the guitarist even had a little “guitar contest” you coudl say. They would play a riff going back and fourth walking towards each other. Might I say it was oh so entertaining. Of course my mother believes they completely stole the show, but that might be right. In my mind, this was Anberlin’s show. I liked listening to them, but by then I was beat. I had used all my energy for Anberlin’s performance. As they went on I danced around and I’m pretty sure I looked like a fool. So what? I was having fun listening to ’em!

Jack’s Mannequin earned themselves screamy fan-girls’ screeches and howls. The lead singer, Andrew McMahon, threw paper airplanes into the crowd, me being to far away to catch one. The lead singer dedicated one of their songs to his favorite pot dealing lesbians in LA. I screamed at that one, cheering them on. People liking the same gender need some love, am I right? A crowd favorite was “Dark Blue” of course being a popular song and a music video. The same as their new single (and music video directed by Stephanie Meyer) “Resolution”. As Jack’s Mannequin left the stage the crowd kept up an endless stream of screams. Jack’s Mannequin just had to come back on, didn’t they? “We had planned on officially not coming back out here, but we are here.” the lead singer spoke. They sang three more long songs and left, ending the show.


November 30, 2008

This is a video of Anberlin playing live in New York City. Do take the time to watch it because these guys are absolutely brilliant. Anberlin are easily my third favorite band. Oh how I wish I was there, though I do get to see them again, December 10th, hells yeah!