Sunday, 15 September 2019

THE JOY OF LIVE MUSIC

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Everyone’s teen years differs from others, some have the best years other life, others can’t wait to hit their twenties and never think about their high school years ever again. One thing we can all agree on, though, is that they’re some of the toughest years you’ll ever go through and nothing quite prepares you for the change in hormones, awkward experiences, and starting to understand who you are as a person.

To be blunt, I was the girl with a tonne of friends, a massive friendship group and a relatively stable home life, yet I was also a total loner. My friends and I didn’t really have anything in common, everyone was keen to star relationships, they didn’t have the same taste in music as me and I felt I had nothing to bring to my circle of friends. So, if there was one thing I was thankful for at that stressful time, it was travelling the country for live shows.

It was back in late 2006 when my mum started listening to My Chemical Romance, I’d been banging on about them for a good year and a half, but she wasn’t having any of it, and then she saw Gerard Way and life started to change. By that Christmas, she’d already booked a trip to Paris for us to see them live.

I suppose should take it back a bit further though, first. I was almost six when I attended my first concert, mum told me some BS lie to keep the secret and before I knew it we were at Manchester Arena (then MEN Arena) and she told me to poke my head through the door and look at the stage because I’d be seeing Steps on it in a few hours. That was 1999.

To follow that, I saw Busted a few times, McFly a few more and Darren Hayes (Savage Garden’s frontman) and I’d fallen in love with how cool it was to see my idols on stage in front of me, the artists whose albums I’d had on repeat for months on end, the people that only seemed real on the other side of a television screen. I actually cried at the. Steps show because they walked down the aisle beside where I was sat bandit really hit me how real they were.

Around 2007 was when I really started to going to shows more frequently, I was surprised with tickets to Decaydance Festival in London where Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, The Academy Is…, Cobra Starship & Gym Class Heroes were on the bill, I attended my first 30 Seconds to Mars show and saw My Chemical Romance live five times that year.

I’ve become lax the past few years, I don’t queue for fifteen hours like I used to, I don’t brave all weathers to make sure I’m at the barrier and I rarely make it into the venue for the support bands, but I highly recommend people dedicate a bit more time into watching the support acts. I’ve lost count of the number of bands I started following, became friends with, promoted, through seeing them support someone else. You Me At Six, Kids In Glass Houses, Funeral For A Friend, Attack! Attack!, Save Your Breath, Tonight Is Goodbye - the list is endless, bands I couldn’t imagine my teens/early twenties without, yet I wouldn’t have known them if I hadn’t been at the shows early enough to see them.
Over the past decade, some years have averaged out at about 45 shows per year, we’d fit 2 or 3 partial tours in there (mostly Kids In Glass Houses, how do you think I managed 59 of their shows in less than 7 years?) and somehow I still managed to pass my GCSE’s even though I spent the most of May touring the country for KIGH. Touring and followings bands felt comforting, like a place where I really belonged, and I know that feeling rings true for so many others out there, I was making friends in every city I visited, seeing the same faces and planning shows with them for other bands too. Each band has a community, a fanbase, a family, but live music in general has the same thing, I can go to a show of one band in Manchester, but know I’ll see familiar faces for another band, at another show in London.

For those who have yet to go to their first show, I urge you to do it as soon as possible, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of standing in a room, arena, stadium with tens, hundreds, thousands of people who are all there for the same reason, all singing along and losing themselves in the music. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

This past weekend my mum and I took a road trip to London for Gunnersville Festival, we were both shattered, wondering why the heck we were travelling all that way when a large part of us really didn’t want to go anymore (no matter how excited we’d been when we first booked the tickets), but standing in that big top tent with a few thousand other people, I cried and realised how important it was to be there, amongst all these other people that loved live music just as much as me. The prospect of missing my favourite band live (after cancelled busses, Uber’s, and the general shit show of travelling) filled me with such anxiety at 3:10pm, that I just wanted to go home and cry because I was so sure there was no way I was gonna make it to Gunnersbury Park for 3:50pm. As it worked out, I walked up to the tent just as their intro music came on and all the negativity and stress I’d been feeling just buggered off, nothing else mattered because I was there, watching my favourite people in the world standing on stage and playing to such a large crowd.

That night mum dragged us up front for You Me At Six, eleven and a half years after I’d seen them play a support show at Manchester Academy 3 (a venue capacity of about 300), they were playing their biggest headline show to date. That really knocked sideways, they’d been about 17/18 when I first saw them, and now they were fully grown adults, performing to this enormous crowd and I felt so proud of them, it was utterly unreal. Being in the heart of the crowd made me feel the happiest I’ve felt in weeks, I’ve hit some low points since graduating but I forgot about everything just for that day, and I couldn’t keep the smile off my face.

We spent the drive down there reminiscing on past shows, hilarious experiences with bands, memories that we’ll treasure for the rest of our days, because music given us both so much and we wouldn’t have much else without it.

Live music is far more than just seeing a band live, it’s an experience, an escape route, a few hours (or weeks if you’re touring) where you can forget about everything going on around you. It’s a reason to make new friends, to find new bands to love, to travel the world for, and in my case, it’s just strengthened my relationship with my mum, and that’s the most important thing live music have given me.
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Jacket - Topshop (Old)  //  Top - New Look  //  Skirt - Primark (Old)  //  Shoes - Vans  //  Sunglasses - Marks & Spencer  //  Bracelets - Thomas Sabo & ASOS
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What shows have you been to that really stand out to you? What bands do you still want to see? Have you got any social memories that you want to share? Leave me a comment below or reach out to me on social media because I always love to chat music!


I’m off to plan more of The Maine’s Europe/UK tour next February!

S xo
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PS. I shot these photo's at Gunnersville Festival last weekend whilst Deaf Havana were playing Sinner, most content was scrapped because I was too busy singing along. Sorry not sorry.

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