I took a small vacation from my college life in Athens, Ohio to venture back to my hometown near Cleveland. I've been feeling a little lost lately, and quite frankly finding myself has never been harder.
With all the changes that have been happening, and graduation looming I guess I just needed a break. So i drove my beat up Chevrolet Venture Mini-Van 4 hours, puttering past farms and flat lands. I made it. Watched a few of my brother's baseball games and hung out.
One of my long time friends texted me and asked if i wanted to go see Taking Back Sunday at a festival downtown. For 6 bucks how could I say no?
TBS is one of those bands that most people write-off as one time emo darlings with no staying power, but I never thought that. I just liked the music. And back in my dark days of pining away over unrequited high-school love, 7th grade heartbreak and a lot of black eyeliner I really loved the music.
Along side Green Day, Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday was a band I could really sink my teeth into. Great presence, good dramatic lyrics and some guitar riffs that were catchy enough to hum along to in the car with your mom. Its a recipe for angsty delight and I concocted it every time i listened.
I had forgotten about the feeling of plugging in and tuning out ever since my band broke up last year. Music kind of felt like a burden, something i used to do. Something i used to love. I feel guilty for abandoning it, but people get busy. They grow old and they grow tired. And once the music stops, its tough to hear it again.
So what the hell. We get to this venue and its a mixed crowd of aging hipsters and believers like us. People who somehow got lost in the shuffle on the way to adulthood and took a wrong turn at growing up.
The girls who used to dye their hair and wear glitter on their faces had turned into Lana Del Rey clones, and the boys who wore skinny jeans and hung out in the back of pep rallies were wearing polos. And here I am caught in the middle.
My favorite part of any concert is the moment that the lights go down. All the stresses of the day, people, places things; they all melt away. All the people around you become friends, not strangers. The music makes it that way.
Everyone starts screaming, breathing as one. The existential fright of failure fades away. The only feeling better than watching the band enter the stage is doing it yourself. Leaving your life and walking on to a platform that puts you right in your element? There's nothing better for a performer, an entertainer, a musician. Like me.
Its a weird time revisiting songs you used to cry to in your basement. I used to plug in my PA system that I set up as if it were Shay Stadium and sing along with lead singer Adam Lazzara as he'd pour out words laced with disdain and misery, tinged with the tongue and cheek outlook of a Tyler Durden wanabee. I was at home. The very instant the lights went down I felt it again. The feeling of complete and total contentment. The feeling of rock and roll.
They blasted through their set sounding like the CD's that lay scratched up in my old room. You could feel the room pulsing with a thousand or so hearts beating in 4/4 time.
My two friends and I sang so loud that I'm pretty sure all of Cleveland could hear us. And it may sound like a joke, but its not a bad idea to revisit the things you once loved, because you never know. You could still love them.
As the last song, their most popular, Make Damn Sure started, I couldn't help but feel a little bit nostalgic. Man, where was I when I heard this song last?
I saw this band with my mom in 8th grade. We loved it, and the best part is that the feeling doesn't change. No matter how jaded you get, how sad, how discouraged, how lost music can help bring you back.
Its square one, ground zero, the bands that you listen to, love, pine over and throw yourself into are the ones that you can count on. They'll always be there, not like a faulty car, or a jilted ex.
So, I'm going back to school tomorrow to live in a less than stellar house without a driveway to park my car in. And as I step through the door, I'll get discouraged, but I'll always have that feeling of screaming at the top of my lungs to Make Damn Sure with my best friends. I'll always remember the feeling of stepping on the stage, the lights going down, the world spinning in slow motion. I'm determined to get it back.
Because, life's too short not to hear the music you know?