On Yellowcard, old music, and why every rock band should have a violinist.

This evening I went to Yellowcard’s farewell concert at the Enmore Theatre.

This music has been with me through a full half of my lifetime. The lyrics are embedded invisibly somewhere deep within my neural pathways. I don’t listen to much of this kind of music any more so it seems a funny choice to get misty-eyed about, but it was just that 2 or 3 year period of your teenage life where certain things stick, you know? If I were a few years older I’d probably feel the same way about Blink182.

It’s simple music – in some ways a lot simpler than what I generally listen to these days. But it’s real and it’s genuine and it’s energetic and joyful, and there are moments when the lyrics shine and the melody soars, and it’s a bloody punk rock band with a violin. The notes of it are engraved on my bones.

They have always been excellent in concert. Tonight, Sean Mackin backflipped off an amp (as he always has done) and I lost. my. goddamn. mind. 

They did an acoustic guitar/violin arrangement of Empty Apartment and I swear to you every single person in the theatre sang every single word, a single seething mass of song. 

Ryan says “I want you all to run around in a circle in the same direction like it’s fucking 1997 up in here.” And the average age of the crowd was about 30 so we were right at home. It wasn’t new fans; they’d brought these people along with them through the decades. Imagine creating something so good that people can still sing it along with you half a lifetime later.

It’s not my music now, but it was my music then.

And their music does acknowledge the passage of time – as the albums go on things get messier, darker, lost, saved, and then nostalgic, and lastly (because they knew it would be their final album), a closing sense of farewell, a goodbye, a thank you. 

It has been quite a few years since I got home at 1am, feet aching, ears ringing, throat swollen and sore, guitar riffs still fizzing in my veins. But tonight they brought it like they always do. Like the time in the Big Top at Luna Park when the stupid mosh kids broke the stage barrier and we had to wait around for an hour for a new one before they could play. Like the time a week or two after ‘Light Up The Sky’ was released and everyone knew it off by heart already and there was a moment in the last chorus when Sean and Ryan looked at each other, their eyes glittering in this ferocious disbelief and joy that we were GOING OFF for this brand new thing they had created. We were more levitating than jumping, I swear our feet barely brushed the floor. They have always looked so freaking happy to be up there on stage, and it’s infectious to watch someone doing what they love to do. It’s a privilege. It’s a joy.

I’m so sad to see them go. I’m so thankful for the soundtrack they provided to my growing up.

Popping the Hamilton cherry

I recognise that I’m late to this party, but tonight I finally sat down and listened through the Hamilton soundtrack.

… Hoo boy.

I was going to write a thoughtful blog post about storytelling through musical theatre and the cleverness of weaving a tale through not just words but melodies and beats, but let’s be honest, I’m great at deconstructing prose but I’ve always found musical analysis harder to pin down and express.

(I’d rather be divisive than indecisive, drop the niceties)

So instead I’ve given it a modicum of thought:

Hamilton is Valjean, Burr is Javert, Eliza and Angelica are clearly Cosette and Eponine, Phillip (I think) is Gavroche, oh and I think Washington is Enjolras?

… And now I want to watch a hip-hop version of Les Mis.

But there’s a lot about writing in there, writing like you’re running out of time, and this morning I read an article about how Harry Potter changed the world (or changed people) a little bit, and now I’m like, you know what? I want to do that. That’s what I want to do. I want to make something that makes it. I want to create something great.

(And look, I don’t know much about American history but it seems like Hamilton was pretty much a professional shit-stirrer, so at least I know that’s a career option.)

‘Emo’

Okay, I recognise that there was a legitimate ’emo’ moment in the first half of the 2000’s, but really, could there be any more of a stupid and inane description of music?

What kind of music isn’t emotional? Music made by ROBOTS?

#FridayNightInsights

#Wine