I've been spouting off about nostalgia and such for well over a year now. In a way, it kind of makes me feel old. I finally feel "dated" for the first time in my life. Not only in a sense of "When I was your age," but also looking back on all the bands I've still missed before my time of consumption as well as a few bands I missed during that portion of my time when I was really adhering to new music. What's great about a decade passing is there's some sort of adequate timeline to judge your idols against what came after and those that influenced them before. When you're in the moment, like most of the younger users right now, you have no judgement besides "This music speaks to me. I don't care what you think!" As much as I can have my bitter opinion against yours, you should always strive to have that attitude. When ten years comes creeping up on you, and you have that moment to reflect back, I can only advise you this: take it, be judgmental and see who really stuck with you over the years. Which albums still give you chills? Which artists that changed the way you looked at music are continuing to change the way you look at music? These are the important questions to ask yourself among all the subjectivity that we continue to war over.
At the beginning of the month, I had the privilege to be a guest to go see the Taking Back Sunday/Thursday tour in Houston on the Fourth. Besides having a great night enjoying music and not pandering to every detail of "how well the band was performing," it was really about watching two bands that will always be part of my childhood, and one opener that still excels after discovering the band at their EP release show years ago. There's not enough praise I can talk up when it comes to Colour Revolt. From the first time I saw them, to how each record continues to change course yet still continues to captivate with its blend of raw emotion and executed delicacies, Colour Revolt are one of those bands that are held special to more people than you know and without ever getting some sort of larger recognition. It's a shame, because no matter when I see them, they never disappoint in their live show. No matter how big the room I've seen these guys in, their aura always has a way to fill it and turn quite a few silent until applause.
But Colour Revolt came into my life a few years later, and the two big names of the evening were engrained in my blood since I was sixteen and was at that age of simply eating up new music like it was a bottle of Flintstones vitamins and I was on a binge. Thursday was that band for me when it came to the hardcore genre. Before that I had heard and enjoyed essential albums like The Shape of Punk to Come and Relationship of Command, but Full Collapse was a whole other personal level that isn't detachable to this day. On the band's sixth album, this year's No Devolcion, they have simply reminded many of us how far not only the band have pushed themselves in the truest sense of the word "progression" over the years, but that a quieter and more aural feeling can be just as intense as any heavy guitar riff hammocking under a cathartic scream. With cuts mostly from their new album, the band are just as impacting months after doing a run that reminded us why we fell in love with the band's presence in the first place.
While Thursday has mostly kept a steady fan base throughout the years, it's also always been the same five people (sans the pre-Waiting departure of Bill Henderson and the later inclusion of Andrew Everding soon after Full Collapse) and you wonder what it would have been like if the same stayed true of Taking Back Sunday. Even through all the muck, bad relationships and reunions, the last few years that was Taking Back Sunday still has its memorable moments - you can't deny that. There's some great tunes, and there's some not so great ones - that's music! Music certainly thrives on a natural flow not only in what is processed out, it also has to be experienced among the creative outlet. Watching the "newly reformed" original line-up gave me that feeling. No matter how you feel about the band's self-titled as a product judged against your high expectations (or low ones depending), it certainly feels like the most natural sounding record since the beginning. I felt that standing on stage as well. These were men - years later - reflecting not only on their past few years (the band taking part in Straylight Run's "Existentialism on Prom Night" and Nolan of course singing parts not his own from absence), but they were happy in the present moment as well. That's what shined through the most.
What's mainly been rolling around in my head over the past month (and after seeing the current indefinite hiatus of one of my absolute favorite bands of all time that sits a few notches above the aforementioned) is how some of our most cherished bands exhibit the worst behavior in us (see also: the Glassjaw fiasco of the last few years). We're so passionate about holding onto that special something, that there's a bit of feeling in us that makes us become so judgmental. Most older people will tell you that their favorite bands never made the same record twice. For me, that's easily true. At some point when your musical tastes shift, you start to become a crank about how it used to be and how band X sounds like a refurbished version of your favorite band. What I've yet to understand though is that moment when band Z is no longer a rip off, but reminds you why you fell in love with your favorite bands.
Nostalgia will hit us when we least expect it, but it's a net we always seem to fall in that's triggered by an event most notably associated with a past experience acting as your reference of deja vu. I can hear losing my first love in Beneath Medicine Tree, my parents' divorce in Full Collapse, the best times in my senior year of high school in Through Being Cool, moving to Austin in Mean Everything to Nothing, and even further back, I remember my mother playing records while she cleaned the house on Saturday morning anytime I spin Magical Mystery Tour and Led Zeppelin's II. All those feelings have been rushing back to me in the last year, and I think its surely because enough time has passed. Standing on that stage a few weeks ago seeing two bands I not only grew up with - but grew up with - made me feel that sudden rush of nostalgia to the head.
No matter how fleeting your memories will eventually get, it should eventually lead you to finding the bands that influenced your best kept collections, or appreciating a band you once wrote off years down the line. The Taking Back Sunday/Thursday tour has a lot of different meanings to a variety of people. Some of us saw the headliners in small clubs or practice spaces on the weekend, and some of us are thankfully witnessing two bands that keep pushing themselves years later to refine their sound. 2011 has been a great year for music, but we've yet to see what the next ten years will offer us as a whole. I still think we have yet to see if the next generation has picked up on our influences yet. I think 2021 will be quite interesting to reflect back on. I'll be 35. Wow! Maybe they'll have those mini-Pizza Hut pizzas like in Back to the Future II.