With all of my recent self-disappointment has come some sentimental nostalgia. I used to be cool. At least, I used to believe I was cool. Now, I just shake my head at my own ridiculousness most days. What happened to that false sense of superiority? I blame it on the music. When I was just out of high school, a friend brought me to a small show at a small club that cost $5 for a 4-band performance. It opened my eyes and a world of pop-punk possibilities. Those, my dear readers, were the “good ol’ days” that are so oft described. Please, sit back and let me wax nostalgic for a bit.
Truthfully, this affinity for boys on stage started with the New Kids on the Block. They awakened that part of me that would always have a scream and a wink ready for a hot guy on stage. We all have our things…don’t judge me. As I grew older, the NKOTB ceased to exist and made way for newcomers like *NSync and Backstreet Boys. As everyone who has ever met me knows, my love for those boys (men, rather) will never die. They created an interest in pop culture and the entertainment industry that would follow me for the remainder of my teen years and apparently, throughout my twenties.
When I was a senior in high school, I was a co-editor of my school’s newspaper. For whatever reason, our paper was sent “press packets” from record labels who were trying to gain a fan base for newcomers in the music scene. I jumped at the opportunities to see free concerts and receive free CDs so that I could write reviews and do interviews for our humble publication. This sweet setup is how I discovered Maroon 5 and the All American Rejects. Jealous? I thought so. One day, I was approached by our faculty advisor about travelling to Detroit to see the All American Rejects perform with a little-known band called Wakefield. I would be interviewing Wakefield before the show and then enjoying the concert for free. I was pumped. I got a press-pass and felt very official until I was put in a room with the dreamy pop-punkers who called themselves Wakefield. I managed to squeak out a few awkward/obvious questions and get a picture taken with them before the interview was interrupted by four men streaking through the room in their tighty whities. It was the All American Rejects and they were SKINNY! Thankfully, that was the end of the interview so I could quickly move on to picturing them all naked while standing front and center in the crowd. My obsession with Wakefield was born.
As I mentioned, shortly after high school a friend brought me to a show she was sure I’d love. Fall Out Boy was playing at the Intersection for $5. I didn’t really know who they were at the time, but I figured for $5, I’d check it out. I’m really glad I went, because I ended up falling in love with the no-name opener (Plain White T’s) and of course, Fall Out Boy that night. When Pete Wentz closed the show by hanging upside down from some scaffolding, and screaming the last note of the song, I knew I was a goner. It was like a boyband, but with instruments and tattoos. I was intrigued. Several shows later, as I was beginning to cultivate my “concert etiquette” (mostly throwing elbows and mean-mugging skinny blondes who got in between me and the stage), I followed the Plain White T’s back to the Intersection where they played with the band that would have a giant impact on my life: The Matches. Ah, The Matches.
My sister, who was 16 or 17 at the time, came with me to that show and we both just stood there, two feet from the stage with our mouths agape and our eyes wide. It was love at first note. Shawn Harris, with his asymmetrical hair and his drop-dead looks stole our…not hearts, necessarily. I’m not sappy. It was more like hormones. He stole our hormones and instilled an instant obsession. It didn’t take long for me to notice Justin SanSouci on bass, who was always smiling. Their energy and enthusiasm was contagious and we had to see more. I knew I wanted to pick up their $10 EP, “E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals” after the show, but I didn’t have enough cash on me. I had exactly 9 dollars and a broken heart. I was resolved to talk to them, regardless and marched up to the merch table with my sister in tow. Luckily for me, The Matches were (and still are, I assume) amazing people and the drummer gave me a dollar so that I could get the CD. I was ecstatic. I got their signatures and a new soundtrack to my early twenties.
This is getting wicked long, so uh…to be continued. Later tonight. 🙂