There is nothing like standing in a room full of people and watching a band. A room full of people all there for the same basic reason – going to the show – but also there for an infinite amount of other individual reasons. I was at 3 shows over 5 days and because of the mix of people each one had a decidedly different feeling in the air. I could get even more existential over the whole thing, and that may be one point to the story, but the main point it that is was a great week full of great music (Anti-Flag, The Street Dogs, The Briggs, Drive By, Billy Talent, My Chemical Romance, and MXPX).
Sunday: Anti-Flag, Street Dogs, The Briggs and Fake Problems
Went 3 for 4 at this one – just wasn’t that keen on Fake Problems. This was somewhat of a sad night for the music scene in Cleveland seeing as they were originally supposed to play the Agora Theatre but were moved to the Ballroom – a smaller room off of the bar. I’m assuming this was because of the ticket sales and that was rather depressing. Having them in a smaller room though was a good turn of events for everyone actually in attendance. Street Dogs were amazing live – so much energy in that room I almost forgot that we were there for an Anti-Flag show. And Anti-Flag but on a non-stop set just like they always do. Where’s the pictures? Well, the Agora was pretty full of themselves and wouldn’t let me camera in claiming it would be deemed “professional”. Whatever – my camera would have been dwarfed by the real professional rigs running around the crowd. For now I am apparently destined to not have any pictures from an Anti-Flag show.
Tuesday: Drive By, Billy Talent, My Chemical Romance
Everyone one this bill was amazing. No cameras were allowed this time at all – and the security crew took a little too much pleasure in physically ripping cameras and phones out of the hands of anyone brazen enough to try to sneak a pic. It’s sad when a band gets so big that they can’t really be at the show with their fans – they can’t reach into the audience or jump into the pit or let anyone share the memory with them and snap a photo. My Chemical Romance is definitely on that plane. This show was at the Cleveland Agora which was a really small venue for them and the room was filled with an energy that we hadn’t really experienced at any shows in the past. It was sold out and every single person in that room felt like they were there for exactly the same reason. It felt incredible. And Billy Talent put on a fantastic show. Their lead singer is something else – like a modern Iggy Pop/Mick Jagger. I can’t wait to see any of them again.
There were a couple of local bands opening for MXPX – each of them had decent material but really needed some work on playing a set. It was fine but people just didn’t seem to be interested. This was at the Grog Shop which, for us, was pretty exciting. Considering this is one of my favorite bands I was completely overwhelmed to be in such an intimate setting with them. When we were walking over to grab a bite to eat we could hear their sound check coming out the front door – the bus was parked right out front on the street. It was an interesting crowd – a little younger than I expected.
(I guess a lot of people have grown out of them? Quite possible and absolutely something that I will avoid at all costs. Don’t give up the things that you enjoy just because you have a career or a family or whatever else is supposed to come with adulthood. Keep doing it because you need to still be you and all of the people you live with or love or work for will be better off in the end. And if you think you can honestly say that those are the ONLY things you do enjoy then spend a little extra time with yourself because there is ALWAYS something just for you.)
Anyway, this one was highly anticipated for us and it didn’t disappoint. It was pretty evident that the guys in this band wanted to connect with the crowd and their fans. After all these years I think it’s great that they’ll still come out and do that.
Were we the oldest ones waiting to take a picture with Mike? Yes, most likely. Did we make complete fools of ourselves when the camera wouldn’t work right the first time we tried? Yes, probably. Did it matter? Absolutely not! It was an exercise in being in the moment and not having any regrets. We would have been kicking ourselves in the ass for a long time to come if we hadn’t jumped at the chance to get this picture.
And now I think that’s until July! Too bad we couldn’t have spread this out a bit. I’ll keep checking the tour schedules, though, just in case.