Yesterday was special. Let me tell you about it.
For the first time in over ten years, I went to a live, non-classical concert. And not only did I go to a concert, I went by myself – a huge deal since I don’t usually do well in crowds. And not only did I go to a concert by myself, but I got to see one of my favorite bands perform: Flogging Molly!
I first saw the event a few months ago, and Krystal encouraged me to go even though it wasn’t necessarily her jam. But the entire evening’s lineup of punk reggae, punk ska, and Celtic punk was right up my alley.
I ended up taking the whole day off, and I’m glad I did. I was able to rest before driving up to Raleigh a few hours before the gates opened to visit my favorite independent bookstore, Quail Ridge Books. I spent an hour or so browsing before settling on a book and a sticker.
I first read Kevin Hearne’s Ink & Sigil and Paper & Blood, and found he’d written an entire series prior to those two excellent books.
Then I drove to the venue and was able to get parking right across the street from the gate. I was an hour early for the gates opening, but the years of waiting in convention lines had prepared me well. I was second in line and made a few “line friends” as we vibed to the sound check.
Finally it was time to go in and I just had to get a few shirts. I really wanted a tour poster, but sadly that wasn’t part of the merchandise.
I also glanced at the drinks and food, and realized I was smart to have brought my own, eating in the car just after I parked and with more in an insulated bag for the drive home.
I found my seat, and found that while I thought I’d chosen an aisle seat, I was actually more toward the center of my row. It turned out to be a very good location.
Don’t let the look on my face fool you: I was very, very happy and excited to be there. But I don’t know how to look happy in photographs and the sun was in a bad spot at the time. Yesterday was also Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, so the sun stayed up even longer than normal.
The Skints kicked things off at 6:00, and I loved them. It was great to just sway and vibe to the music – and I wasn’t the only one.
We’re The Skints; it’s written on the moon.Josh Rudge
Then it was time for Tiger Army. Psychobilly isn’t really my thing, but neither did I dislike their set. The upright bass was pretty cool.
Then the first of the headliners were up: The Interrupters. It was great to be able to sing along and know the words when Aimee or Kevin got the crowd involved. There was someone a few rows ahead of me just as into it as I was, and it was great. I could have listened to them for longer, but as their group was just recovering from a bout of covid (which had caused them to cancel other previous cities on the tour), they cut it short. Or maybe it just seemed short because it was so good.
And then it was time for the band I’ve loved for the last 17 years: Flogging Molly.
They opened with The Wrong Company, launching almost immediately into The Hand of John L. Sullivan, and then proceeded to play a mix of other fan favorites (like Selfish Man, Crush, Tobacco Island, Devil’s Dance Floor, What’s Left of the Flag, and If I Ever Leave this World Alive) and new songs (like These Times have got Me Drinking, A Song of Liberty, and Croppy Boy). Dave did an amazing job running about and keeping the crowd engaged (as if we needed it by that point).
All too soon, the night was over and it was time to go home. I found the car, and while the air cooled down I chugged a Death Wish cold brew coffee, ate some food, and started in on an orange sports drink. I spent the drive home listening to the Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone podcast, which almost got me the whole way home.
I thought that was the end of my wonderful day, but I was wrong. I’d been tweeting about my day, and after I microwaved some chicken nuggets as a late dinner, I picked up my phone to see that Paula Poundstone had replied to me:
Needless to say, I fell asleep very tired but also very happy. I’m also glad I took today off as well, because I am beat from jumping up and down on concrete for three and a half hours 😂
I’m so glad I listened to Krystal and did this for myself. She’s the best.