Recently one of my friends apropos of nothing said, “I forgot you are a mother.”
It must have been one of my pole friends.
Yeah. I’m a parent even though I don’t always act like it. I even happen to be the parent of a band kid. I attend meetings, pay my PTA dues, keep track of homework, sign permission slips, and go to school concerts. Both my kids are in the Scouts for crying out loud! But I try to not let one single thing define me.
This last weekend was so many facets of my life colliding as I went from a band recital to a parent meeting to two crazy EDM shows.
Scratchy took up the clarinet in grade school and that first year was not quite musical. But now he’s in the 6th grade band and he had his first middle school concert.
Yes, I am very proud of him and the way he has stuck with the clarinet. I straight up sucked at the clarinet in middle school, most likely because I never took the time to learn how to read music … or practice. But he’s doing it.
His concert was right after getting my hair cut, I felt the back of my neck itching from the small hairs that fell into my collar.
I’ve been trying to grow it out for who knows what reason. I don’t know, maybe I thought it would make me look softer and more feminine. I’m not sure why that was the goal, I don’t feel like I’m not feminine. I guess I got nostalgic looking at pictures of my youthful long hair, but to be fair it was a complete pain in the ass then and it was looking like it was going to be more of the same so fuck it.
I have been motivated lately to step up my game, if for no other reason than my boss always looks like a million bucks and I’m feeling like a bag lady with a hundred clips in my unruly hair. Also, Penny moved back from Atlanta and Theresa left Boulder so there was no reason not to go back to short with Penny handling the scissors.
Short hair is better on me. And I get to see Penny.
After the show I talked to Scratchy about how it felt to be on stage. He liked it. A lot.
He’s trying to decide if he wants to continue with music because he has to choose between it and applied science. I hope he sticks with music. But I also hope he goes with science.
Anyway, after I got in bed that night he beelined over to me, grabbed the black cat off the foot of the bed and said, “It’s been nice doing business with you,” in a really offhand way and stalked out of my room with That Fucking Cat glaring at me over his shoulder.
I don’t know what makes me prouder … the concert or him being so weird (so like me) about cats. Finding my own kids so amusing is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
I looked through my pictures for something and came across this cutie from back in my pole dancing days.
Lately stress has caused me to lose weight (WOOT!) so all that’s really stopping me from looking that fucking sassy is an excuse to treat lingerie like athletic gear and wear clear plastic heels like gym shoes.
LIKE THE GIRLS AT THESE SHOWS! Holy shit! The other day there was a gal rocking panties and a bra and sensible shoes.
Right on girls.
Redacted is into this You Are Beautiful thing where he wears a YAB shirt and passes out stickers. I stuck one on my chest at a show and walked into the ladies’ room (my favorite thing to do because it always turns into high fives and a lovefest) and not one but two young women said, “You are beautiful!” and I was all, “THANKS! IT MUST BE THE NEW HAIRCUT!”
But oh. Yeah.
Actually they were just reading my sticker but whatever. I’ll take it.
Sideboob and I decided we needed to step up our fitness game so instead of talking while sprawled on the couch with our legs tangled up, we should be planking and squatting.
Also me …
So yeah, I might not be getting in the stripper heels but between the haircut and the completely solicited compliments, I’m feeling pretty good about myself.
The Concert Death Pact buddies have approached this fall/winter as a musical season; one that ended last weekend. Our show schedule has been crazy, oftentimes seeing two shows in a weekend. It became my raison d’être.
Around Halloween a friend of mine panicked over not having something worthy enough to do on Halloween.
“It’s my all-time favorite holiday. I look forward to that one day all year.”
I had a hard time relating. My favorite day of the year happens at least once a week when we are in full music-going swing. There is always something to look forward to, always something on the near horizon that has me stoked. I don’t mean to sound condescending – but maybe I do – but I kind of feel sorry for him. There is nothing stopping him or anyone in our socioeconomic bracket (gotta keep it real) from finding a good time. You just have to decide to do it.
I’ll give a pass to anyone with small kids, though. That shit is a struggle.
It wasn’t always like this. I did the parental slog (as my long-time readers, all three of you, would know — Hi Dad!) and didn’t have many non-kid related pops of color and joy. And mind you, I did other things like pole and ceramics, but this feels way more decadent. Everything shifted in the last 18 months, ramping up to now.
Last weekend we saw G Jones in Boulder (the night after Scratchy’s show) and it was one of the most challenging, immersive, intense evenings of music I’ve been to. It was kind of like going to experimental Jazz but with electronic music and crazy visuals. It wasn’t my favorite show – it was too much – but it was totally worthy and something I won’t forget. I’m glad I went and truth be told, I like his music more now that I’ve seen the show than I did before.
The music was at once lyrical and dissonant, beautiful and grotesque, inviting and repellant. A fellow concert goer said it was like sawing into a nice piece of wood. You are cruising along through it just smooth as butter and then you hit a knot and everything comes to an abrupt stop. Then you have to find your way back into a new rhythm.
Loony said that sometimes the music sounded like a brick in a washing machine.
His music tears itself apart and then reassembles itself back into something beautiful. It’s hard to describe.
I think his music is like a cat that shows you the belly, practically begging you to touch it, and then claws the shit out of your hand when you do.
It was just like that. But not nearly adorable.
But Loony and Redactor were really stoked on this show so I decided I’d give it a go.
Like with most things, I will only have as much fun as I allow myself to. There have been some nights where I really wasn’t into going out but peer pressure and the knowledge that I would be a happier and more alive person got me out of bed.
The week before we ended up at this free techno event where we were literally the only people on the dance floor. Five of us. All alone. Dancing for two hours.
It made no sense but we are so used to going to shows that we will dance to just about anything.
A couple people we know just happened to be walking by and stuck their heads in, saw us clumped up on an empty dance floor, shook their heads and walked away.
But honestly, what I was waiting for was the main event. Troyboi.
Redacted took me and Loony to a Troyboi show a year-and-a-half ago and we have been zealots ever since. I have pretty much been nonstop yapping about how amazing he is from the day he announced his dates three months ago.
TROYBOI IS COMING TO TOWN AND YOU HAVE TO COME BECAUSE I GUARANTEE IT WILL BE THE BEST SHOW YOU’VE EVER SEEN YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME JUST COME BECAUSE YOU WILL HAVE SO MUCH FUN I PROMISE!!!
On repeat. Forever. To everyone I know.
Some went, most didn’t, their loss.
We were a solid group of eight and with the third row of Redacted’s Audi up – AKA The Boombox because of the dope sound system – we were able to cram everyone in. It was pretty much a clown-car situation as we bumped Fuji all the way to Denver.
Other Dan – who doesn’t go out with us often – is so damn funny that I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe. It was like close-proximity stand-up. In a car. Sitting on top of Sean’s wife.
Redacted had an extra ticket for the show but instead of trying to sell it he gave it to this very distraught young lady.
She was practically in tears because she purchased a ticket from someone on the street. Her friends went into the venue ahead of her and then it turned out that she had been scammed. So there she was, outside, without her friends, and ripped off. Then she got a free ticket out nowhere from a nice person who didn’t want anything in return.
Isn’t it great when the moral balance of the universe is so quickly restored?
The whole concert experience, from meeting at my house, to cramming in the car and listening to music the whole way over while close-talking and laughing, the circular argument over whether to wear a coat or leave it in the car (this one would come back later to haunt us), waiting in line, the usual drama surrounding who has the tickets, it’s all part of the adventure. Then there is trying to stay together.
Upon arriving we immediately lost Morsel (a nickname spawned 25 years ago when he lived at Chez Frye) and it was nothing short of a miracle that he managed to find us again. Reuniting with him had the emotional equivalent of finding the family dog after he’s gone missing for a week.
The warm-up started just as we got to The Ogden Theater which was packed with insane partiers. Whoever he was, the opening act did a great job getting us pumped.
As a matter of fact, we were all so freaking stoked that I worried about Troyboi being able to be more better. I mean, when you think you are already at an eleven with the warm-up act, you start worrying that you have nowhere left to go.
Seriously, I have been talking up the show – how good Troyboi is, how insane his stage show is, how freaking psycho everyone goes on the dance floor – that maybe it would be a great show but nothing could be that good. It wasn’t possible.
Wait for it.
Yeah, I didn’t have anything to worry about. I had the actual concern that if the music got better I might just drop dead. I wasn’t alone in feeling this way.
Seriously. There were lasers, visual, pyrotechnics, MOTHERFUCKING CONFETTI! Oh and a rapper, and an electric violin, female vocalist, and belly dancers. I’m telling you, it was gonzo.
And there was this …
DOUBLES AERIALISTS! Right above the crowd! Unfortunately I missed recording their best move. They were both in center splits, pancaked to each other crotch-to-crotch in what I believe is technically called the “Clam Slammer” and spun in circles to the music. It was such a badass move.
Troyboi puts on the best show. Most shows I go to have parts I just have to stick with through the rough or boring or repetitive spots, but Troyboi is completely easy to get into and ride. He’s a master of keeping audiences on the line the entire night.
I have no doubt he is amazing in the sack.
The guy is star, I can’t believe we saw him in such an intimate venue. I’ve seen his massive crowds at Coachella and wonder how long catching him at a non-stadium venue will even be an option.
The crowd itself was downright aggressive. There were some sweet girls that handed out bracelets (turns out they said “fuck me up” but still, it was a gift) but this was no Pretty Lights crowd. These were intense, territorial folks who didn’t mind dominating space. People were constantly staging hostile takeovers of our dance space, which wasn’t extravagant or particularly well-situated, but there just wasn’t any room anywhere.
Junebug is the youngest among us by 20 years or more depending on who you are, so the gentlemen in our group did a great job of protecting her space so she could fully soak up the experience. Because she hasn’t been to many shows, we really wanted her to have a great time.
Redacted has a style of intimidation where he stares at people until they back down. He is usually saying something de-escalating and even nice, but the message is pretty clear.
It usually works but one extremely tall man posted up right in our space and wasn’t going away no matter what he said to him. He was straight up rude about it. “I’m not leaving.”
“You need Sean!” I shouted over the music.
“YOU NEED SEAN!”
Sean who walked up on this guy and after one look homeboy was all, “Fine, I’ll go.” Being 6’4 and built like a brick wall has its benefits.
Actually, I don’t think there are any downsides.
We all danced and shouted and took in the wonderful show while trying not to get head butted or otherwise violated, but it was all good. It was just part of a bonkers evening where just about anything went.
I danced up on Other Dan for a bit, because that’s what I do at these things, and he looked me in the eye and said “You’re dangerous.”
“This is too much fun. You are showing me too much of a good time.”
Well if being all about having a great time at shows with friends makes me dangerous then I’m …
… but it’s not just me. It takes a solid crew to have this much fun and I’m really glad I’ve got Loony, Redacted, and a handful of people who are willing to sacrifice a night on the couch with Netflix to do something unique and exciting.
In the 27 years I’ve lived in Boulder I averaged going to Denver once a year. Now I go at least once a month. Denver has one of the most robust bass scenes in the country. The venues are legit, the ticket prices are ridiculous (ten dollars to go to a show? Suuuure, I’ll roll the dice) you just have to get out there!
The show ended what felt like an hour too soon and we wandered around the venue looking like stunned refugees wondering what the fuck just happened to us and why was it over?
Then half of us were ejected out of the building (it was cold as balls FYI) while Sean, his wife, and Redacted LITERALLY fought with the police and security over the right to get their coats back.
The coats they paid $3 each to put in the coatcheck. Except Redacted didn’t have a coat but he felt like fighting on principle. Security gave everyone 30 minutes to get their shit and get out, anyone who hadn’t made it through the giant line was supposed to just give up and go home. But not tonight.
So I was super freezing but at least no one threatened to taze me for having the audacity to ask for my coat back.
We finally piled back in the clown car, this time with Loony as the designated driver (thanks babe, from all of us) while blasting Troyboi all the way home. Junebug looked a little alarmed at the way Loony was waving his arms around and dancing in his seat while he should have been paying attention to the road.
We dispersed to our respective homes and somehow I managed to fall asleep despite buzzing with energy. But the next day I woke up still sparkling from the night before.
I was in shockingly good condition – likely because of my habit of only drinking water at shows – and wanted to get outside in the worst way.
It was a perfect morning. The air was clear and everything was covered with a hoary frost. The dogs ran around while we downloaded to each other our favorite parts of the previous night. It was the best morning after activity.
Now it’s all over, at least for a little bit as the snowboarding season starts and people scatter on the weekends. It’s probably for the best.
I can definitely say that I am one satisfied customer. Never in a million years would I have thought that my 46th year would be the one where I danced every weekend, laughed the hardest, and spent the most time with my friends.
I’m not about to stop.