"So, it's awesome that we're best friends."
See that picture there? Yes, that is THE Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional, only my FAVOURITE ARTIST EVER. #nbd
But before I get to explaining all of that, I just wanted to take a second to brag and let that picture air. My heart is still bleeding a little bit from that entire weekend. I haven't felt that fabulous in a while, and it just kept getting better. I hate when people say, "It doesn't get any better than THIS!" but let's be honest- this past weekend was paradise. Truly. And I always curb my enthusiasm.
It was quite the hectic yet relaxing weekend. Now, for the deets. And kittens. And cake.
I had been mad STRESSIN' about getting a ticket to this show. It was at the Bienes Center for the Arts in Ft. Lauderdale. I didn't know anything about the venue, but what I did know was that it had sold out. Normally, I am the first person to get tickets for any DC shows, but I was in my final semester at Stetson... which basically means I was SOL. Big time. Like, maxing out my debit card over a $5 Publix pizza. Good for me. Winning.
But because of that, I had no monnaies, so I couldn't exactly acquire a ticket easily. I reached out to Jack, the infamous tour manager and he did everything in his power to get me a spot. Luckily, I was able to find a ticket and get into the show, for which I am still grateful. I was having a MAJOR WARDROBE CRISIS because I didn't know what the venue was like (it was at a high school?!) except that it was a seated show. Not good. I only like GA shows unless I am at the symphony, for crying out loud. Did you hear me? UNLESS I AM AT THE SYMPHONY.
But anyway, I ended up deciding on my new Tom's (grey with sparkles, woof woof), Bullfrog jeans, and a hip shirt with beachy palm trees and such on the silky sleeves. I thought it made sense according to the general vibe of many DC songs. SoFla, represent! The Tom's were a good choice, but I'm not there yet...
When I got to the venue, it was pretty odd. It was literally a high school, yet they were serving alcohol. I found my seat which was towards the back. During Ryan Alexander's set, everyone was pretty mellow. I know a lot of his earlier music when he was in Alexander, but didn't know his new stuff (it was still awesome). He played solo the whole time, which takes a serious amount of guts. Maybe next time I can jump on with him. Eh? EH??
After his set, I went outside with some of the DC gals just for a breather then came back in when Chris was going on. I managed to talk to one of the ushers and asked if I could sit closer. She asked to see my ticket then pointed at a general area in the front, saying loudly that "that area in the front" was where my ticket specified, but then she winked. She whispered that if someone came for that seat, I would have to move. Uh, deal! I got to sit next to two gals who were quite into the music and were singing along. My kind of crowd! Eventually two bimbos came and said we were all in their seats, so the two gals moved away and I snuck to the second row. Why not? Exactly. There, I sat next to a lovely dovey couple. They were simultaneously being romantic while getting sloshed. Always a good combo. The woman said I could continue sitting in her paramour's seat as long as no one came. Somehow, by the random but fabulous happenstance that is often life, though the entire rest of the venue was sold out, that one singular person never showed up. So... basically I sat the second row the entire time. Sweet Lord.
Chris started off the set as usual- playing old DC with new, occasionally taking audience suggestions (WILL SOMEONE SHUT THE FREEBIRD-LOVING HOBO UP), and generally acting like his normal, DC-fronted self. He had a pretty extensive setlist.
But wait. About 3/4 of the way through his set, he suddenly announced that he had some friends he wanted to welcome to the stage. I knew it wasn't any of the DC dudes since I had talked to Johnny earlier, so who could it be?
Two guys and a gal walked onto stage- drums, bass, mandolin/keys. Chris said that he had been working on a new project that was "more in the direction he wanted to take his song writing", which was folkier in nature. Turns out that the group didn't even have a name yet, but had about five songs prepared and ready to play. It was downright bizarre. Don't get me wrong (GET ME RIGHT), I really enjoyed the new tunes- it just seemed random. I had no idea Chris wanted to go folkier, though "Into the Flood" definitely had a vibe of country/folk to it. The reception was an odd one too; people were clapping, but no one knew about the musical surprise. It was hard to gauge the reactions of most.
Chris kept the new band mates on stage for the last few songs, though one song they all stood silently. Ending with the band during "Hands Down" was interesting and not quite the same energy level. Though they are all great musicians I'm sure, that song only really seems appropriate with the original DC cast. Maybe I am a purist. The DC gals came up to the stage so we all stood on stage right for the final moments of a mind-blowing concert. I still left feeling warm and fuzzy, a sentiment I don't think will ever go away when there is still Dashboard to be had.
After the show, I talked to Suzie (mandolin) who apparently is in a band from NYC called The Narrative. She was super sweet and said the new ensemble was a bit unorganized in its beginning stages. My question was: when is a band ever organized? I also talked to Ryan some more, then waited to chat with Chris. When the line of hyperventilating winos calmed down, I approached Chris and immediately said, "Nice shoes."
Yes, he was wearing Tom's. What colour? Grey, like mine. GOOD.
We talked about the show, the new FSF album, working with old/new band mates- it was nice to be able to merely catch up since it had been a while. I had been itching to ask him about the new band. To me, folk music requires violin. It's entirely necessary since violin adds that "fiddlin' sound". When I finally felt ballsy, I told him simply that I wanted to be in his new group. His response? "Okay!"
Now, wait just a second, kids. Though nothing is in the works yet, I do have my foot in the door. And I will break every damn toe on my foot before letting said door close. I even gave Chris my number, which I personally typed into his phone. Musicians walk a fine line between being enthusiastic and being abrasive. Though I would hope to never come off as the latter, I figured it would be more pertinent to try to approach the request in a mellow way. He asked if I played mandolin (??) and then said he thought I didn't live in SoFla anymore. SO WHAT!
I didn't scream in his face like I just did in yours at the end of that paragraph. I only responded, "I will drive."
He mentioned an after party at a local pub called Maguires Hill 16 in Ft. Lauderdale. He kept saying he didn't feel sober enough to drive (whoops) and wanted to stash his equipment first. I ended up going for a bit but then high tailed it to my former boss' house since I had no place else to stay. It was a hefty drive back to West Palm, but overall the night was pretty kick ass- I couldn't complain.
The next morning, I mad a bad decision about my life and decided to ham out at Howley's with Steve. It was delicious carnage.
We ended up jamming together for a while afterwards and came up with some covers. It was pretty wild since I had never heard Steve sing or play in person. We did "I'll be your Mirror" by The Velvet Underground/Nico and "You, Your Fears" by Coma Cinema. How do you think this one turned out?
I ended up leaving around 4h30 after taking a trip to a local music store to get Steve's guitar restrung. I was supposed to record with some of the Beauty to the Moon boys that evening at their new recording area, The Moon Studios. I hit up Starbucks for a strawberry smoothie first (which has whey protein- be warned!) and then Panera before heading over. The complex where the studio was also housed a porn store and a punk venue (where once, when I first started at FAU, someone had pulled a knife. Oh, good times!). The walls inside were covered with old fliers and shirts staple gunned to the walls, which is a neat idea. Heaven knows I certainly have enough band shirts to do that successfully... Mike was finishing up with a local punk band as I set up. We ended up recording the guitar track for a new jam called "The Risk". Everything was going well until someone below started playing their SHITTY music WAY too loudly. Then, microphone bleed. Awesome. We had gotten some violin stuff recorded, but I don't know how entirely happy I am with what we have currently.
For some reason, all the parts I was coming up with seemed very "major" in nature. I wanted to create depth but via shadows, not light. Since the song is nowhere near completion, I can go back and rewrite some of those parts. There is a really sick harmonic outro that I love, but otherwise I was disappointed with my own playing/writing. Bah! I do love working with these guys like nobody's business, however. I'll probably be back in SoFla within the next month to work on some music with these guys. I really feel quite passionate about everything Mike writes. Sometimes people just speak to you. I had felt that way when I had been in a Christian band way back in the day, but enough of that talk... it makes me kind of nostalgic and sad. BAH NUMBER TWO! But Mike did have a really wonderful compliment: "I am in love with the music we make together." As an artist, nothing could be sweeter.
After the mini-sesh, I ended up driving to Delray Beach to meet up with former FAU folk, Brostowski and Brittany SM. I wandered around aimlessly, since I didn't know where Bro worked. Even if I had, I suck with directions. (Please see Psychostick's "Girl Directions" for details.) I walked past a bunch of restaurants filled with ta-ta'ing rich folk until getting to the now-closed City Limits where I had seen one of the best shows of my life.
"I am filled with sadness and lost memories."
We all ended up at this local bar where it was Wop Central. Jersey Shore all up in this! Brittany took care of us, but it would have been rough without a male protector. Bro and I ended up leaving and calling it a night despite it being Latin Night at the Blue Martini. Whew.
The next morning, we went to a 50's diner and I proceeded to ham the f*ck out again because I lack moral guidance. We sat in the Marilyn Monroe room, which was the only detail that I took umbrage with. It was a delicious meal filled with home fries, iPhone apps, and beermosas.
Afterwards, there was still potential that I would be recording again at the Moon Studios. Turns out that both Bader and Haddox were in a class that would last until about 3, which would mean I would be getting back way too late. Instead, I went mini golfing with Bro even though I would rather lick gum off of my own shoe. Did I mention that I have -5082 hand eye coordination skill? Yeah, so that happened. It was exciting to see Bro make a hole in one because then not only could we feel like an accomplished team, but we could also make a ton of TWSSs. Besides wanting to flip the birdie (GET IT?!) at a bunch of hooligans and pants-pooping children, it was a good time.
The trip home seemed like a short one because I had an extensive but hardly dull conversation. It was almost a four hour drive but worth every single minute. I haven't had that much fun since I was crapping into a diaper! Which was yesterday! But really, it was more than I could have asked for.
Now, let's see about me making some music with Mr. Carrabba in the future.
Until then I remain your faithful, crazed pretzel,
Fine Young Poet : Em
an artist who chooses to starve