My band Speakeasy Tiger was given the incredible opportunity the play 10 dates at the start of Warped Tour. It was a surreal experience that would be impossible to forget. However, it was also the hardest work I have ever done in my life, and I rarely had a moment to catch any of the bands play. We’ve been home for a few weeks, but this Sunday Warped Tour came through our hometown of Denver, and this time I was able to enjoy the event as a spectator for the first time this year.
Here are a few highlights:
iwrestledabearonce: Fantastic live show. In a scene that is flooded with terrible cliché metal bands, iwrestledabearonce takes those clichés and makes us laugh WITH the band. I'm sure there are tons of haters on this site, but they know that what they play is ridiculous, and that’s the selling point to me of this band. They are so creative and musically talented, and manage to make music that stands apart from the rest of the scene. Their vocalist was spot on for the entire performance. Despite her growls that sound like vocal-chord-nodes waiting to happen, she kept up the intensity. They also really knew how to work the crowd. Check out some footage of the performance.
I Can Make A Mess… (Ace Enders): On our short run on the tour, I made sure to watch him perform everyday, because it’s that good. I’ve been an Early November fan since I was 13, so it’s no surprise that his set resonated with me. His voice sounds better than ever, sustaining notes that send chills through the audience. At one point, he had everyone in the audience dosey-doe (sp?) to one of his songs, and I sure as hell did. He played a good mix of new material, stuff from their first release, and an Early November Song, “Ever So Sweet.” It’s one of my favorite TEN songs, so I made sure to get it on film (for the second time.) Check it out.
Gardening, Not Architecture: This is someone that I had the privilege of playing on the same stage with. Sarah Saturday performs as G,NA and is a gem that I truly hope takes off. If you’re a fan of the Postal Service, Metric, and Maria Taylor’s poppier stuff, you’ll probably like her. It’s just her on stage, looking tiny holding her bass, playing some catchy-ass tunes. If you go to Warped on these last few days, definitely check her out on the Kevin Says Stage.
Other bands I want to mention…
- Dillinger Escape Plan absolutely killed it. I’ve never seen such acrobatics with a guitar before. At one point the guitarist ran off the stage and jumped on a nearby couch-area 93.3 FM had set up, and started shredding over there.
- Pennywise is one of the nicest bands out there, and are still rocking the hell out of the stage. They played with one of the members of The Descendants who recently had brain surgery. EDIT: I hear they beat up Alesana last night. Not cool.
- I’ve never seen Every Time I Die play a bad show.
I've been off the Warped Tour for about a week now. I am still reveling in the confusion, glory, awesomeness, stress, and enjoyment of being a small band on such a giant and well-oiled tour. I learned so much about myself and the music industry/world than I ever expected to. I'm currently in the process of journaling every single date of the tour out, because it's something I never want to forget. Being given the opportunity to play music the way I do is something that I never stop feeling grateful for.
I feel like this tour finally broke down a lot of walls I've built up over the years. By nature, I'm an eccentric, deeply emotional goofball. A lot of my life I've tried to hide a lot of myself because I've had a deep fear of not fitting in, or appearing uncool. Even in the beginnings of this band, which I now find to be my outlet of self-expression, I struggled with how I was observed on stage and off. There are a number of people that used to be in my life I could name that reinforced my insecurities with steel, but all I'm hoping for now is that they find a way to shatter their own shell. It's hard to hide yourself in the overgrown conceptions of "what people like." But on this tour, I decided "fuck it." And I decided to show the world what I have to offer. It turns out that people like it. People loved that I have an overgrown 19th century style moustache, and that I like to promote my band by dancing in my booty shorts holding a hand-made sign. I feel like I got to have some of the most honest conversations with some of the most honest people I've ever met, fans and bands alike. There is nothing at ALL that compares to being able to meet so many amazing people within 10 days. I'll treasure it for the rest of my life.
We worked our asses off on this tour, and I'm proud of how well we did. And it was great to be amongst so many established artists and passionate musicians all the time. I did not expect that being in such a stressful yet undoubtedly rewarding environment would break me open and remotivate me to take life by the balls.
Thank you so much to anyone who I met and helped make this one of the best summers of my life. I'm indebted to you.
"Can't you see the walls you built for me?" They're shattered.
There was a time when I was at school and very confused. I was in a lot of mental pain, doubting a god, and learning to self-medicate. I don't bring this up as much as I used to, but I have bipolar disorder. I knew that the singer of Say Anything (Max Bemis) was as well, so after seeing them perform I started to talk to him, and the subject came up. He took me aside and asked me what my story was. We talked for about a half hour, as he smoked his cigarettes back to back. We discussed meds, drugs, women, heartbreak, religion, politics, etc. At one point a bum came up to us, an Iraqi veteran who was mentally disabled after being hit by shrapnel in the brain, and Max gave him 5 dollars. Eventually I asked Max how he lives with his disorder, because I was so lost in it. He was the first person to give me any real advice that sent me in a positive direction. He told me to embrace my pain. To not see it as foreign and malignant. He told me to accept it as part of me, and eventually learn to appreciate it. One of his lyrics says, "This pain is mine, it has become my friend with time." I thought on what he told me a lot, and that is when I finally started to accept who I was and work on getting through my issues. So, in these videos, (it's like 7 minutes total,) Max tells his story. He talks about his bipolar and speaking out about it. He helped inspire me, and hopefully you can learn a bit more about what people with bipolar go through.
And now there is one more medication in my bloodstream.
Rozarem brought me sleep last night, but drowsiness all of today. I fell asleep without realizing it in two different places today. It's one of those medications that builds in your system until it works like it's supposed to, so we'll see what happens.
My new TWLOHA shirt arrived in the mail today. When I opened it, I saw that her entire story is printed on the inside. I read it again and remembered my own scars. I may not be whole, but I have come a long way since housing was threatening to kick me out. When I needed them, there were people in my life willing to save me, and they did. I owe my life to those beautiful souls that befriended me last semester.
I made it to church yesterday for the whole three hours. I panicked the first hour, but I sat through it. The next two hours were wonderful, and I was incredibly happy to be there. I met Emily for the first time, which made my day. Church is a place of healing.
I am going to print a book. I have yet to find a place that will print and bind just one book, they all start at 100 or more. If I have to print and bind it myself I will. This book is something that I need to have in my hands. I want to print all of the notes I wrote over the course of last school year. I've never so periodically documented my life before, especially at such an odd time in my life. Together they are a story of near-death, and the slow recovery. I don't want to forget any of it.
I have volunteered to work for the Warped Eco-Initiative at the Warped Tour this year. I'll help them with their recycling program among other things. Also, I'll get to go backstage, eat with the bands, and watch performances from the side of the stage. I'm really excited about it.
I can't wait to head back to school in the Fall. There are some people that I really need to see.
Current bands I've been listening to:
Mates of State
Tegan & Sara
Because I don't have a doctor out here, I have been without Klonopin and Ambien for some time. Although I've been having to deal without the positive benefits of those medicines, I'm also seeing the positive benefits of being off of them for the first time in a while. Those two medications as a side effect cause anterograde amnesia, or in other words, I couldn't really make new memories.
Since being without it, it's amazing how clear my memory feels. I can remember what I've been dreaming. I remember names, faces, dates. Everything that's been happening. Before, I couldn't recall what happened in that very same day, and now I can remember the week previous. It's a strange feeling to have my memory back.
However, I've been having to deal with klonopin withdrawal... which is pretty uncomfortable. I have little tics, or muscle spasms, every 15 seconds or so. It's just a little twitch, usually in my arms, legs or back, but it's pretty annoying. I was reading up on it, and since I've been on the drug for so long, it may be permanent. Let's hope not.
Good news! Today I've been feeling very positive. Today it kind of feels like I have my brain back.