Apparently, I'm back! I'm still somewhere in the throes of illness, but I'm cognizant enough to type and I braved the journey to Brooklyn last night, so for better or worse I'm at the helm of this blog once more.
So, filled with enough cold medicine to start a meth lab (if you are a cop and you are reading this, please recognize that this is something called a joke, and if you bust into my apartment to try to get me on drug charges all you will find is some tylenol, a half a bag of cough drops, and an empty carton of cookies and cream ice cream that I ate for breakfast) I trekked with my friend Kate (of The Music Obsession) to The Knitting Factory, where the sounds of New Jersey were pouring out of the doorways and into the frozen night sky.
The last time I saw Death Spells was in April, and I had nearly had an aneurysm from meeting Frank Iero. The last time I saw The Architects they had been opening for My Chemical Romance, which was still a band. So the potential for emotional ineptitude was high. But something about the atmosphere was calming, sedative, in a way that made me act like an adult, not in a way that made me fall asleep against the sound booth while the curly haired technician shook his head at me in pity.
Frank Iero, the man, the legend, the person who I may or may not have a photo of myself with taped up on my desk, was selling merch next to the stage, and perhaps it was this, his existence simply as a person working a gig, that relieved my hyperactive, nervous tendencies and replaced them with a calm professionalism. Professionalism in this sense means I didn't feel the need to pee myself. Option two is that I had taken enough cold medicine that I no longer existed in this mortal plane. But I bought a shirt from Frank Iero, did not scream, did not cry, did not do the collection of embarrassing hand motions that I caught other fans doing. And for that, I applauded myself. I am a champion.
As this cool calmness took place, The Scandals were on stage creating the aesthetic that I've always wanted in a show. A solidly New Jersey space, a Jersey rock basement show filled with people who came to see a show not to be seen at a show. The Scandals have a sound akin to both I Am The Avalanche and Gaslight Anthem, but distinctly their own.
I leaned on the Architects merch table, eyes wandering between Sheila playing dice with the band and the crowd of teenage girls that made me feel way too old to also be a teenage girl.
Between sets, Kate introduced me to Josh and Jenna, two music publicists who double as professional cool people. You'll hear more about them later.
Death Spells are an experience that will shake you to your core and rebirth you out of the sick flesh that coats your uninspired insides. The lights on the stage are cut completely, the only source of illumination comes from the fourth dimensional horror movie images on the screen behind James and Frank. At some point during the set my spirit left my body and floated above the masses, resting on the cloud of virile feral sound. All you feel is the music, the crowd is gone, the venue is gone, the whole world is gone gone gone and there are colors and static and music and nothing else. With the knowledge of this other dimension was how I re-inhabited my body, a new understanding of the world flowing in the layer between skin and bone, surging between transient existences.
I was firmly back in my body, feet on the ground, lungs filled with tepid air, when The Architects came on, sporting Frank Iero as their bassist. If you want to be sad for a minute, just know Frank was playing Mikey Way's signature bass.
The Architects are a band that remind you why you bother going to gigs. Because music can be powerful outside of a glossed up recording. The actual physical presence of other people feeling music and caring about it is a type of magic that can get lost somewhere after going to show after show and slowly losing the novelty. The Architects, with their chugging guitar and Springsteen vocals and midwest work ethic, made me happy to be out in the world again. It had been a long, long time since I felt good after seeing a set, and last night, on the fringes of moshing teenagers and a girl with a fanny pack, I felt incredible. If any band deserves full-out glory, The Architects are that band.
After the show, I hung around with Kate and Sheila, Josh and Jenna. Josh is the Architects' publicist, and is one of the most musically educated people I've ever had the privilege to talk to. My knowledge of Fall Out Boy's pre-origin hardcore legacy was finally useful, and being able to discuss Andy Hurley with someone was one of the highlights of my life. Standing in front of the unloaded stage, sitting at a table next to the bar, honestly discussing music that matters, that on its own was worth the trip to Brooklyn. Jenna and Josh are two of the kindest, funniest, most wonderful people I've met since moving to New York, and they reconfirmed my wavering faith in the state of the music industry.
Josh introduced us to Brandon, the singer of the Architects, who I enjoyed talking to just as much. He's a funny and unbelievably talented guy. I meant it when I told him his show was the best I've been to in ages.
So let's boil this down to a Sesame Street ending: I, being of unsound body, made it to Brooklyn, talked about music with fantastic people, saw my hero just doing his work as a normal human being, and didn't even pee my pants. Today's blog post is sponsored by the word phenomenal.