Monday, April 10, 2017

Just another fan of the freshest band

Although my main goal in this blog post is to cover the recent show at IWU, I thought since Sarah (which I’m quite grateful) offered me the mic, I could dig a bit deeper on how I feel about this band.

I first started listening to Relient K back in 2001 when Anatomy dropped and my eight-year-old ears were blessed through the walls of my brother’s room blasting the album almost every weekend when my mom would make us deep clean our rooms. I can vividly remember hearing the intense opening to the album with “Kick-Off” into the next two songs that would change how I saw/loved music. “Pressing On” was the first song where my young, ignorant and tasteless music self was shown that music could be good and have a purpose behind it. Then transitioning into “Sadies” blew my mind and the rest of the album was just golden. I didn’t realize it then, but this band and their music would have me hooked for years.

I tweeted this out a few weeks ago about how I felt Relient K was that neighborhood friend that I grew up with and spent a lot of time together, but then that friend moved and had only recently moved back into my life with a ton of new friends. I was hoping to unpack that tweet just a bit more on here if I can. RK was an integral part of me growing up, going to youth group, church camp, and as I mentioned before, deep cleaning our house. On road trips, we would put on their albums because my parents (who are really picky with music) didn’t mind it and it was all me and my siblings could agree on and sing to. Although were not the closest family out there, I’m realizing now that it sort of, for a short amount of time, brought us together. Which, I wouldn’t learn until only about a year ago, that they tend to do that: bring people together.

Their music has changed and developed in my life from the different things that I have gone through and struggled with. Some things very personal and other things a bit more superficial. However, no matter how hard I tried to NOT like them, they would always come back into my life. I didn’t have a lot of friends who knew or liked them so the only way I could jam with a friend is if I forced them to liked them (which I’m sure they did to an extent) and we would jam out together and it just felt right when we did. I felt really close to their music when I first heard them but since no one I knew at school really knew or liked them, I kind of felt embarrassed to like them. That embarrassment would unfortunately transfer over to high school, college, and even still a bit to this day. I hate that I have felt this way for so long but I’m glad that, because of the community I have found on social media, I feel less insecure and more confident in loving a band that deserves to be loved!

The first time I officially introduced myself to the Matts and Dave was back in July for the AFF album release show in Akron (on my top 3 best shows). I was pretty awkward and nervous and definitely embarrassed myself (another story for another time) and the guys weren't exactly what I expected. The Matt's personalities felt completely switched in my mind and Dave was a lot nicer than I thought he looked. After the first meeting, the next few encounters would be A LOT better and less putting-foot-in-mouthy. It's crazy to think that I have established some solid rapport with a band that has meant so much to me. I probably owe it all to my wit and trolling that Hoopes enjoys on twitter and to the great friends that I have made through the band who also had their own established relationship with them.

ANYWAY, I could say a ton more but I'm sure you're all bored from hearing my personal stories and want me to get into how IWU went so let me start:

First off, I had no idea this was a youth conference when I bought the tickets so getting there I was a bit confused on the mass amount of high schoolers. Also, since I had work till 2PM, I didn't get there till about 630PM. So a huge shout out to Kess and her family for going to every show, being there early and letting me jump in line with them! So we get into the chapel where they're gonna perform and we didn't know if they were gonna allow us to stay in front of the stage or force us to sit down so we decide to get seats close to the front and also stand in front the stage. We were all relieved they didn't make us sit down because I HATE when venues with seats do that; as I'm sure the guys do too because the energy doesn't compare. Anyway, they had a DJ playing first, then some women from the Bahamas sing a few songs, then this worship band, and then the RK. Before the guys even came out, some of us could tell that the acoustics were a bit off in the room. Regardless, the guys were still great and brought it just as they always do. Some huge changes that I felt they made to the set list in comparison to Looking for America tour was adding "Prodigal" /Doxology mix and "God"; which I'm sure had everything to do with the setting (even with that, M@ said he still felt weird playing them but also felt right).

If you have seen the guys before, you can kind of know already how the show went. They always do a stellar job, but there are obvious moments that happen that aren't the same for each shows. The main moment that sticks out to me was actually something that I shouted out. M@ was going on a small rant before playing AFF and how it's a song about motivation when he didn't want to do anything. How this motivation was what helped push him to finally finish and release the album. He said something along the lines of "So yea, this album just took a bit longer to release..." and there was a silent gap and I carpe diem the crap out of that moment and shouted "WE KNOW" and the crowd and the guys DIED. Hoopes, Dave and Jake were shaking their heads but also livid that I came at Thiessan like that. So that was my favorite moment of the night. A close second was during Candy Hearts (Which THANK YOU JAKE for always pushing them to play it AND pushing them to make similar pop punk sounding album!) when Hoopes came up to where I was standing and just shredded his guitar over me #blessed.

Now if you know how to cheat the system, you'll be able to hang with the guys post show. Tom (Bass) was the first one out so we went to talk to him first to get an update on his life and see what he thought of the show. Aside from obvious feedback and acoustic issues, he said it was a solid show. Also his intro to "Must have done something right" was SICK. Hopefully they play it again so the rest of ya'll can be blessed by that intro. Hoopes came out next and he went in for a big hug which was new but hey, no complaints. We talked for a bit about stuff, I fake apologized for the jab I made earlier at M@ and I usually take a polaroid pic with him at every show so this time I wanted to have a look from just after the moment I yelled "WE KNOW" and the face Hoopes first initially made. See below for results:

I then brought up to him that I was guest writing this blog and used my phone as a microphone to interview him about how he felt about the show that night. This is a rough cut of that transcript:

Me: How did you feel about tonight’s show?
Hoopes: I have no words. There was good energy. Although there were slight issues with audio and feedback, there were good vides. It went a lot better than I thought it was gonna be.

Well I was glad we were on the same page when it came to how we thought the show went. I also mentioned that this show felt a little extra important since it was show #20 for me since 2008 when I first saw them with Switchfoot at the Appetite for Construction tour.

After I let him go talk to other fans, Jake came out and him and I had a good talk about music, Phangs, how he first got connected with RK, and some stuff for the future. Here are a few things I got from our convo:
- The music industry is so freakin complicated and what he said made me a lot more patient for waiting new Phangs music.
- As I mentioned before, he's trying to push the guys to writing the next album as a pop-punk-candy-hearts-sound type. Which I mean, Jake was a huge influence on pushing AFF out, so THIS MIGHT HAPPEN. But M@ seems to decided everything so fingers crossed ya'll.
-There's one other main huge thing he spilled but he said it's on the DL and I don't want to break his trust or confidence, but just know it's big when it comes to the future of Phangs, Jake and Hoopes.

We were talking to Jake long enough that everyone else had left and Hoopes came over to us to talk some more. We all just stood in a circle for a bit and just talked, hung out and it was real chill. Now there's a ton of stuff that happened after that that was really cool. I won't share all the details but here's a few:
-They needed a ride to Walmart and Jake was gonna come with me, show me some new music, and even carpool karaoke with me. But he ended up going into the bus so that didn't happen. Instead Hoopes and Nolan (their photographer for the night) came with and Hoopes (as usual) just had a lot of really good insights on things. We talked a lot about the science of popularity and twenty one pilots. It's always cool to talk to him and I encourage everyone who likes RK, to really try to get to know them as people because they're really wise and have real good things to say.
With the cash that Hoopes forced me to take for the ride, we bought taco bell and it was a great way to end the adventurous night.

When it comes to these guys, you never really know what you're getting yourself into. It's always a pleasure spending time with them and I always look forward to our next weird/fun/crazy interactions. Thanks for reading and I hope you found my insights somewhat entertaining and informative. Thanks again to Sarah for offering this opportunity and I hope to get the chance to do it again in the near future.

Here are also a few pics that I took of the show:
(for those who don't follow me on social media: Jerry_thehuman  #shamelessplug)

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