Hello, cloudbursts! (That is going to be my fandom name, even if the only person who reads this is, like, my mother. Whatever.) I had such an intense weekend with so many emotions and thoughts and experiences that only a blog post could satisfy. It is about music, particularly two shows that I went to this weekend, meeting the band, and what I learned from finally seeing the band that’s breaking up.
First and foremost, The Used came out the gate swinging with a show for their new album, The Canyon, that was released the day before. I, graciously, pre-ordered the album with a cute shirt and pin to come along, so I got the download on Wednesday instead of its actual release date on Thursday. A mixture of hardcore, punk, and thrash, you know that you’re in for a lively time. Glassjaw was loud, the Used was louder and it was like one big emo sing-along. Bert (now going by Rob) really tried opening up to audience about his friend’s suicide and putting so much of himself on the album. People wouldn’t stop talking so even with a microphone, I couldn’t really catch what he was saying. Dommage. Nonetheless, I felt pretty into it and happy that I went.
THEN, dear cloudbursts, I hopped on a flight first thing in the morning to go to Denver, Colorado for HIM’s Bang & Whimper Farewell Tour. If you aren’t hip to the happenings, HIM, my favorite band in the world other than Avenged Sevenfold, the Finnish peeps who taught me about love, my writing soundtrack for like ten years, the music that breathes life into my lungs and joy into my soul, are separating. They are going their separate ways to work on other projects, so this tour which ends in Helsinki on December 31st is their last (though Ville did not discard the idea of a possible reunion, so cross your toes).
Probably because of the high altitude, though I’m pretending it’s not, my heart was racing all day Saturday and Sunday. It was the whole reason I was there. We got there early and, thank god for the ADA, got first dibs on seating. 3TEETH and CKY opened for them. 3TEETH was the bomb. CKY was aight. Then Kosmo and Migé came onstage and my soul left my body.
You would be proud of me, dear cloudbursts, for I did not cry. I almost cried, several times in fact, but I did not. I held it together. I sang along and recorded some pretty good videos. They opened with “Buried Alive by Love” and played “Poison Girl” and “Killing Loneliness.” It was fast and it was slow and it was sad. As Ville so succinctly put it, “We can’t end on a high note because we’re miserable bastards.” And so they played “Right Here in my Arms” and “The Funeral of Hearts” and “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol and it felt like a pretty good time that ended and then I could breathe again and my heart calmed down and it stopped feeling like the world was over.
I thought I would lose my shit at the ending, knowing “never again.” But alas! I did not.
I did lose my shit when, first thing in the morning, on my way back home (because I have to go to work on Monday), an extremely tall, beautiful white dude with long dark hair, dressed in all black, got off the escalator near Caribou Coffee in the A-Terminal of Denver’s International Airport. The keyboardist, Burton, was followed by two very familiar others: Linde, the guitarist with silvery-blond dreadlocks down to his ass, and a thick man with an even thicker beard—in pigtails, no less—with his hair in a bun. In the corner of my eye I saw them step out into the floor and it literally stole the air from my lungs.
L I T E R A L L Y stopped breathing.
“Oh my god, it’s HIM.”
I did not scream (audibly—I did scream internally, however). I played it cool. I walked towards my gate. They walked in my direction. We would cross paths. It was fate, so I called his name.
They all heard me and looked, but I wanted Migé’s attention specifically. He’s the bassist, and if you’ve ever listened to anything I ever said, the bass work of HIM sounds like sex. It is your heart and your soul and your sins personified. It is truth, and that night, it was alive in front of me and I saw him feel it as much as I was feeling it and watching him made me want to cry again.
“I just wanted to say that you did such a great job last night. It was an amazing show and I loved it.”
I looked into his eyes. They are blue-green, like water, and he had the cutest cheeks and I felt like crying again.
So I ran, to catch my breath again. I think I said goodbye, that I hope they had a nice flight. Maybe I didn’t. Only later did I realize that I was wearing a shirt with his face on it. Maybe it was awkward. Maybe it wasn’t. I needed to breathe so I left.
I feel okay, coming down from that. I feel energized to write in a way that I haven’t in weeks. I have been putting off Cassandra’s Curse and Through Gazing on the Unquiet Sky, but—and forgive me for this—I feel real again. I feel capable and powerful and ready for some really exciting shit.
At the top of this post is a song, “Dying Song” by HIM from their album, my personal favorite album ever created by anyone ever, Screamworks: Love in Theory & Practice. I kept listening to it on repeat when I drove home today.
Shedding skin to a dying song, we hum along to the evening sun till we are no more. Little deaths to a dying song sound a lot like life.
It felt perfect. I feel perfect.