Sometimes I want to disappear

[Houdini – Foster the People]

I know I am almost a week late on these posts but it sort of just occurred to me I hadn’t written anything.

So, last Monday I went to see Foster the People at the Palace Theater with Amelia, who else… It just so happened that I somehow capped my incredibly large allowance of Internet because my entire family was streaming and downloading lots, so I didn’t have a way to do my timetable registering. I ended up going to Mela’s house super early to use her Internet, while getting the chance to cuddle her dog which is starting to like me quite a bit.

As usual, Portal crashed spectacularly, so in the end I got Annie to do it for me anyway, but at least I got the chance to cuddle with her a bit and play with the puppy before we realized that we were late. We were trying to move some Doctor Who episodes onto an SD card because the hotel room has a TV that can read SD cards, but in the end it took so long that we brought Mela’s laptop along anyway.

We took the train up from Ferntree Gully station, which was a, oh, 1 hour ride…and we managed to get to the city when it was getting kinda hot. We took the tram up to the Palace Theater, where around the corner our hotel stood, and we passed a girl sitting outside the doors with a book and a water bottle. “Surely,” I said, “surely she’s not waiting already? There’s still 5 hours left!” But Mela said, “why else would someone sit outside a venue?”

We went to our room, which was smaller and less luxurious than the NYE one, but came with a kitchenette and cutlery. We watched Ready Steady Cook for a bit, then went out to a late lunch. It took us a while to decide, but we ultimately decided on the new Taiwan restaurant on Swanston, which turned out quite nice. We missed out on an ice-cream parlor because we were running late on relaxing, so we’ve tucked it away in our mental to-do list. We got some cup noodles and cheeseballs which I was craving, and went back to our room with the leftover fried noodles from lunch to relax. We laid about a bit, then started watching Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood on Mela’s laptop, which I promptly became engrossed with. We started watching an episode of Doctor Who, and I didn’t realize my phone was on silent, because we missed a text from Julia saying she was lining up already. We hurried downstairs and met up with her.

To cut a long story short, I drank a lot of liquid which made me need to pee early, but I was way up front and if I left I wouldn’t be able to make it back. So we stood waiting for the opening act Last Dinosaurs for 90 minutes, and my feet were well sore before the first note was played.

During the open, this girl came up and stood behind us and started having a conversation with another girl in the middle of a song. So loudly. That I still remember that she works at the Art Center and earns 25 an hour. I ended up turning around to tell her to tone it down, at least while the song was going.

Foster was another hour away, and my bladder was really screaming. I didn’t want to leave Mela by herself up front, so I tried to stay with her as long as possible but 4 songs in I had to leave. It was so hard to get out, some people tried to push me back up front. I tried to get back again later, but the crowd was packed from the merchandise table, there was no chance 3 rows in.

Still, even from the back, I could feel the buzz of the crowd. If anything, Foster the People were good performers. Their big finale, obviously, Pumped Up Kicks, shook the place, and even at the back we were jumping.

After the gig, I was drained and unfortunately had no energy to go with Mela and Rebecca from the Wombats to Maccas, so Mela and I went back to our room. We heated up the leftover noodles and watched more FMA, then Mela ate some of the instant noodles, then felt really sick. We ended up just lying there while I rubbed her tummy, then we tentatively ate some cheeseballs and got ready for bed.

Accidentally left the air con on, so we froze if we didn’t pull up the blanket, and boiled if we did. Got up super early the next day to pack up and check out. Mela was tired and not a morning person, so I made toast and washed up. We got out just in time, and went to State Library to drop off our super heavy bags then went to Degraves for breakfast, as Mela’s never been.

We ate a full breakfast and ran into Dani who saw my check-in and called me to say she was next door. Then we walked around a bit and shopped for presents, then watched some more FMA at State before taking a train home.

So yeah, big day. Some else happened in Thursday which I will write about very soon.

Alex

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Who takes a train at 11:54 at night to Seymour?

Yesterday I went to see The Wombats at Festival Hall with Mela. I don’t actually like them that much, but they are close to Mela’s favorite band, and what with it being our 1 month, and her coming to Anberlin with me at the start, I felt it would be simply wrong to not go with her. Besides, the smile on her face when she heard I would go with her was worth everything.

We went to her friend Rebecca’s house, where we would be spending the night, to drop off our bags. They live right near MacRob, I am BLOODY JEALOUS OF HOW CLOSE THEY LIVE! So then, Rebecca, her friend Phoebe, Mela and I went into the city to eat Maccas (I had Maccas earlier that day so I felt all fat and stuff but hey) for dinner before heading to Festival Hall.

Everyone lining up were sort of the hipster wannabe tweens, something I was expecting. We went to our seats in the balcony, and I started buying a few drinks so I wouldn’t be bored for the evening. The drinks were pretty expensive, but I felt generous. Mela and I each had one bourbon and coke, then I discovered and started on the Smirnoff Limes.

The bands that played were pretty decent live, I do admit, they could carry their energy well – especially Owl Eyes, considering she’s only well known in certain Australian circles. Faker were pretty good but I never liked his voice.

The mosh was huge – and quite fluid. So when The Wombats came on, I was quite glad we didn’t get standing tickets. Mela was beside herself in excitement, and danced along to all the songs – and knowing all the lyrics. It was quite heartwarming to see her so consumed and happy.

By the end of the night, I was a spot beyond tipsy. Rebecca and Phoebe put up with me quite well – but they had nothing on Mela whose love for me was really put to the test when I continuously complained and hated on everything. At some point, at Southern Cross, I yelled at the announcement claiming that the 11:54 train to Seymour was departing, because who the hell takes it that late?

We went back to the house and went to sleep pretty much immediately. Mela snored a little, which was very cute, except when she grunted when I poked her to roll over.

We got up a bit later than intended the next day (today), and left the house as the rest of Rebecca’s family were coming back from church. Her parents are SO incredibly casual and friendly – I wish my parents are like that!

Mela and I were going to have a quick breakfast of congee, and then go home, but after downing yum cha (or, as I called it, brum cha) and walking around the city to walk it off, we realized we didn’t want to go home and part ways, so we hung around for even longer. We saw Mai for a bit, and then had lunch at a cafe on Hardware Lane. Finally, stuffed full and promising to mutually start eating healthier and exercising more – both of us having developed relationship guts – we went home.

We realized that we’d spent over 24 hours literally in each other’s company the entire time (bar the small moments we went to the bathroom), and yet still weren’t sick of each other.

Alex.

And since we’re being honest, I feel I should tell you

[Between You And I – Every Avenue]

Big day yesterday.

Got serenaded while being asked out by one hell of a girl called Amelia (ahh it all makes sense now, doesn’t it, reader?) who only picked up the guitar about half a month ago. She wrote the song herself (with some help from Brendan and Cindy). She refuses to send me a copy of the lyrics, but basically it was the sweetest thing anyone has EVER done for me. Bar has been set damned high.

Haven’t stopped smiling for about 48 hours.

Spent a whole day with her today when she went to a job interview. Pretty much stoked and excited to have someone I can just hang out with all the time and go do things with.

You’re probably not going to be graced with a moody post for a while! Fingers crossed, at least.

Alex.

With quiet words I’ll lead you in

[Unwinding Cable Car – Anberlin]

So last night was An Evening With Anberlin. I didn’t bring a camera so right now, I don’t have photos to share.

Went to Monash in the morning to pick Amelia up, and ran into Sonam again – starting to think the myths of her being a myth are myths, because she seems to be there all the time.

After Cindy gave me the Totoro beanie – and tried to also sneak in the Ash Ketchum cap I saw and made the mistake of saying “what, you didn’t tell me they had those!” which I promptly returned to her because, hey, she got me the damn beanie what more can I ask for? – and we sort of hung out for a bit, Amelia and I went to go to the city.

On the trip there, Amelia was doing some last minute Anberlin cramming, trying to get all the songs in her head for the concert – fair effort, considering she was introduced to the band only a fortnight prior. On the way, Amelia helped me discard an item which I kept on my person that I should have thrown out long ago. Amelia threw it over the escalator at Flinders station, and now it should be a piece of crushed plastic underneath some Epping train. I was hungry, so I went to my store to pick up some noms.

Met up with Annie at uni, and she was in the midst of pulling her hair out researching for an essay which I myself hadn’t started so, in an attempt to calm her, and to make myself feel less guilty, I moved us to South Lawn to sit in the setting sun for a while. (In case you’re wondering, yes I got burnt a little bit.)

Annie wanted to paint her nails, but demanded that I fix one of her nails for her. Now. You must know I have never held a nail-paint-brush-object in my life, and her continued mockery of my ineptness made me laugh uncontrollably, and you know when you’re trying to accurately do something on a small surface with a small tool, laughing simply does not mix.

Amelia took the brush off me with all the weary impatience of a female, and applied a coating. I gagged on the ammonia.

When Pearl arrived albeit half an hour late, we bid goodbye to Annie to pick up a quick takeaway dinner, and head to Palace Theater. Yes. Yes we had Maccas again. I managed to get the two new Snivy toys and, Clare, if you read this – I got you Munna.

There was a fire at Steve Madden on Bourke St, meaning the trams weren’t really running. We walked (ascending incline, I was horrified) to Palace Theatre, and lined up behind a dozen people – so not as far front as last time – and found Susan. We ate our cold dinner. Amelia downed enough Red Bull to make a bull go red.

Memorable quote of the night goes to Susan: “I can’t sit on the cold concrete, or I’ll getย diarrhea!”

Slowly everyone arrived in line, and at around 7:30, we started going in. We all stripped outside the venue – ha – so that we could cloak immediately and get barrier. Julia froze in her tank top. I had to put that in because so many people said she was mental.

We did get barrier, but we were off to a corner, so missed the main mosh. It turned out that Anberlin was filming their Australian DVD last night, so it was rather disappointing that we weren’t in the midst of the main action, but it was still pretty damn good off to the side. Comment on the design of Palace Theatre, I guess, that even being off to the side you get a pretty good slice of the action.

Louis introduced us to another Brendan, who was enjoying his first time gig at his favorite band, so we were sure he was going to have the time of his life. It was to his advantage that he chose to stand behind a bunch of short Asian girls too, so he never missed anything. That guy was probably 6 foot tall.

Also got good mosh buddies – no one drunk. The girl’s boyfriend disliked crowds so left to go to the bar, and she was left with us. I felt kind of bad for her, but she seemed to have really enjoyed herself.

ANYWAY the set list! I can’t remember off the top of my head which songs were played, but they opened with Dismantle.Repair which got the mood going. The difference from March, I think, was that they sort of cooled down for a few songs for the acoustic ones. They didn’t do Inevitable, which probably killed Pearl.

They did A Day Late, however, which had me going so crazy – it being my favorite song by them – Amelia had to pull me to calm down. Then again, when they covered Unwinding Cable Car, Amelia went nuts, so, I mean, even Stevens. They also covered Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House with the lead singer of the support band Tonight Only and…would you believe…Travis Clark from We The Kings! He just casually strolled onto stage and everyone squealed in surprise. Except for this one girl who said “oh…I don’t really like We The Kings anyway.” I gave her a good (friendly) pinch on the cheek.

They did a short Q&A from questions they received on Twitter, which was pretty funny and gave a great insight on the friendliness between the band members.

Finally, they encored with *fin (and I didn’t expect them to do the final part) which was the BEST way to cap off the night.

After the show, Amelia’s brother drove us home. I wasn’t sure how to tell them they missed my turn off, and they seemed to have forgotten I was in the car, so I waited until the brother said “oh shit, Amelia weren’t we meant to drop off your friend?” and Amelia, who’d dozed off, laughed at me for not speaking up when it became obvious they forgot me.

All in all, though, I think we were both glad that I nagged her to go so much, because it was an unforgettable night.

Alex.

But before this night is through…

[Bad Things – Jace Everett]

It’s one of the most tense moments in my life when I press play on one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands – in today’s case, I pressed play on an Anberlin song to a newly-made friend Amelia – and I try not to, but I’d watch their face for their reaction. As if someone’s love for a song can be gauged in the first few seconds.

Or maybe it can.

It’s one of the best moments when, without me badgering them with “what do you think?”, they come up to me on their own accord, and tell me they love a song.

It was a good day today. I’m kind of excited about converting someone to my music now.

Alex.

Was This Over Before It Ever Began?

[Feel Good Drag – Anberlin]

One last song title post, even though Autumn has hit. So, on March 1st, I went to see my first ever gig – Anberlin, supported by Bayside and The Starting Line.

I warn you now, very long post.

After my classes ended at quarter to five, I went to the tram stop to meet up with Julia, who had my ticket. At the same time, I was due to meet up with a friend of a friend’s, who up to that day I hadn’t met before. His name is Louis.

So we grabbed a quick bite before we headed to Bel’s apartment where Julia and I dropped off our stuff. We went back up to Billboard, where Susan had started lining up already. She had with her a whole bunch of food that she probably thought she could finish but then realized she had a limit to her appetite, so she tried to offload the food onto us.

Pearl arrived at around 7, just in time to get to know the people we were lining up with (friends of Julia’s). We went into Billboard as one of the first ones, got our stuff cloaked (and, I’ll say now with hindsight, I should not have kept my Metcard in my jeans pocket. Also, Metcards are damn durable.)

We’d gotten that amazing spot at the barriers, right near the center. At this point, standing around while more and more people crowded in behind us, Louis decided to tell me that 1) the waiting part takes ages (which it did, nearly 40 minutes), and 2) there is a chance I’d die (Julia also said she hoped I wouldn’t die). Now, seeing as this was my first gig ever, I had to take their warnings with a certain note of fear. Still, the atmosphere of the waiting crowd pretty much soon made me put aside those words.

At this point, two people began chatting to Louis, who was standing behind me. I didn’t catch the guy’s name, but the girl’s nickname was Ish, and they were both well lubricated with beer. There were general high-fives of excitement, and then the guy decided to pat my head, saying he liked my hair.

Bayside kicked the show off, and even though I didn’t really know any of their songs, their energy, and a guy standing two people behind me who knew every word, got me into the mood of the concert. There were some rocking of bodies, but in general the amount of violence was tolerable. Oh except for Pearl, who was being battered by Ish.

After they finished, the buzzing grew a bit louder, not only because I think more people liked TSL, but it was also one band closer to Anberlin.

At this point, Ish had managed to move her way to being right behind me, and so when TSL started, it became my turn to be battered by her. I supposed it was better to be battered by a drunk girl than to be beaten by an enthusiastic drunk guy. Anyway, TSL started playing Island, and Ish had been screaming for them to play it for two songs already, so you can imagine her enthusiasm and volume when they did start playing it. There were many amused glanced that Pearl and I shared at her excitement, but I rather enjoyed it (ignoring the bruises), because she made the whole event even more exciting, even when there wasn’t a song playing.

When The Best Of Me (admittedly, the only TSL song I knew that they played) began, so began my scream-along for the night.

The one thing I noticed about moshing (and, pressed against the barrier – ย actually, pressed against Julia but that’s a later story – I could only assume that what I experienced was moshing) was that everyone around you, stranger or not, suddenly share the same emotional flow. Everyone screamed the same line, everyone threw their arms up in the same beat, and, to some extent, everyone jumped in unison.

After TSL went offstage, the amount of time as Anberlin was being set up no longer became the placid waiting as it was for TSL – everyone began pushing forwards for the best view of the band they’d all come for. It was through some elbowing that I managed to keep my position behind Julia and next to Pearl.

Remember what I said about there being a later story? Well, having not experienced it before, it soon became clear to me that all rules about personal space and touching get trampled, as complete strangers pressed up against my back, and because of my limited upper body strength, I was subsequently pushed so far into Julia that we REALLY tested the boundaries of our friendship.

This is a photo of the setlist that Anberlin played yesterday (“King” was “We Owe It To Ourselves”). Standing right next to the speakers, it was a comment on the enthusiasm of the crowd that our collective screaming matched Stephen’s amplified vocals. It was so loud and so full of energy that he was momentarily taken aback at the microphone.

Bouncers threw water into the crowd, wetting the already sweat-soaked faces. Stephen passed by us many times, as did Deon.ย When the first few bars of Dismantle.Repair. began playing, I put aside the breathlessness I was feeling, and I fought off the tingling dizziness, and completely lost myself in the beat. It’s strange thinking back now of my conduct, but in that moment, with at least six other bodies occupying my personal bubble, and Julia’s hair in my mouth (yeah…), my crazed arm flailing and very-likely offkey screaming to lyrics that barely need any thinking to recall seemed like just the right thing to do. The crush of bodies turned from an unrelenting enemy into the friend that kept me upright.

At the end, they came back on for two more songs, Readyfuels and Never Take Friendship Personal. In a flash, the show was over. We retrieved our jackets, and sculled down blissfully cold water. I was tingling all over, half from exhaustion, half from the lack of oxygen, and half (my maths have taken a hit lately) from the overspill of excitement. I also noticed that my right side was completely soaked (as was my back, despite wearing two layers), and since I didn’t feel that sweaty, I realized that the wetness was due to the fat guy who’d fought his way to my right towards the end.

Louis and Pearl had to leave to take the train home – can’t express the gratitude I have for Bel for letting me crash at her place, because I was able to stay behind with Julia. We waited around for a while, and saw the band come out at the back. Through Julia’s persistence, we managed to get photos with three members of the band:

This is the one photo of the both of us with Deon, who, by that time, had become my favorite.

Deon actually stood with us and had a bit of a chat, and for a moment he managed to make me forget that he’s the guy who stood onstage in front of us, playing amazing bass. Stephen and Joey had gotten into the van already, so Julia only managed to get a quick signature.

This is sort of where the concert part of the blog post ends, the rest is just for my remembering pleasure.

After we left Billboard and made our way back to Swanston, we realized that we’d just missed all the trams for the night that go to Bel’s apartment. Ignoring the pain in my feet (Julia is a tank, she wasn’t in pain at all), we started on our leisurely stroll to Bel’s apartment (except at Julia’s walking speed which, in case you don’t know her, would make her future children speed walking champions). I tried to keep warm by singing the whole time, and Julia’s complete nonchalance to my musical attempts meant that I had to be the backup vocals too.

We got back to the apartment and, it being half past 1 in the morning, we cat-footed our way around the dark apartment, opting to shower the next day as to not wake Bel’s family. Julia took the mattress on the floor and I took the couch, which was leather. Here, I must recount the moment when, after I’d fallen asleep, the sweat on the back of my hand stuck to the leather and when I changed position, the ripping of my hand off the couch was possibly one of the more painful experiences in my life. How can something so little hurt so much? (That…is what she said.)

Bel left for uni early, so I was half awake at around the time the sun rose. Julia woke once or twice, each time rolling over to sleep more, but finally at around 8:30 we both gave up trying to continue sleeping and simply started the sluggish morning rituals.

After waiting a while for her phone to charge, and talking in semi-whispers in fear of waking Bel’s sister who might not have even been in, we went to DeGraves for brunch (oh, by the way, my sweat soaked Metcard – yes, ew – works, if not after a hesitant click from the turnstile). Dropping her off at Flinders Station so she could go to Uni, I made my way back to my own Uni, bumping into a newly made friend on the tram.

The rest of the day was spent in a sort of sore, tired stupor, and finishing class at 6:15 did not help.

So here’s the predictable I LOVE MUSIC CONCERTS conclusion. I’m not quite sure if I want my next time to have two drunks right next to me, and I have yet to experience a concert where I wasn’t fighting for breath every three seconds, but the thrill of having a stranger next to you hold you up while you’re both leaping to the music is something I want to experience again.

Also, massive thanks to Julia who stuck with me the whole time, Pearl for exchanging amused looks with me the whole time, and Louis who tried his utmost to shield me from the worst of the moshing.

Alex.