Last night Alyssa saw New Found Glory play “Sticks and Stones” at Irving Plaza (Jack was/is busy being fever delirious), and it was awesome. Read her thoughts about it below.
I’m writing this in post-show delirium. I got back from New Found Glory’s Sticks and Stones 10th Anniversary show a few hours ago, and I knew I needed to document how I’m feeling.
This show made me remember why I do what I do, why I focus on what I love. It’s not like I had ever really forgotten why I wanted to be involved in the insecure, incredible place that is the world of music, but sometimes I think my head gets blurry. I get frustrated by deadlines and dealing with annoying people on the phone and trying to piece together enough dollars to make payments — all of that detracts from the main point: to put more music in the world.
Music is simple, it’s beautiful, and I could wax poetic for days. No one reading this needs me to explain how a song can make you feel, or an album, or a band. When Candy Hearts and The Story So Far opened tonight, that was enough to make me happy. They’re great bands who put out great music and that’s more than enough. But when New Found Glory came on and played Sticks and Stones in its entirety… that was special for me.
Simple math says that I was about 10 years old when Sticks and Stones was released. But I had been a fan of NFG even before that — around 7 or 8 I would say. I first heard their music in a college weight room. One of the players on the basketball team that my dad coached had put in their CD, and I was immediately drawn to it. Which is strange. I think girls my age were supposed to be listening to the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys (not to say that I didn’t have my fair share of them as well). I remember that after telling my dad I liked the CD that had been playing earlier that day, he found out the name of it, and we went to a store to buy it not long after. To say I was hooked would be an understatement: I couldn’t get enough of this band. My dad took a special interest in encouraging this, to this day I’m not really sure why — I guess it was a better alternative than making Britney Spears my teenage idol – but that eventually led to me buying all of their CDs, and later even seeing a New Found Glory concert with my father. In fact, that was the first time I saw them at Irving Plaza.
I grew up with this band as my soundtrack. When I hear Sticks and Stones, I don’t just hear the songs. I remember sitting on the floor of my old house, listening to the album on my old CD player that would skip if I walked around, so I had to just sit there. I remember cracking up with my best friend, Lindsay, over the hidden joke track at the end. I remember car rides and time spent with my dad.
After tonight, I have seen New Found Glory eight times live, and each time has been fantastic in and of itself. There’s always something special about seeing your favorite band. A band that could play any song off their repertoire and you could belt the words right along with them. But tonight was special because I found myself in a crowd of people that were having just as great of a time as I was. Everyone around me was screaming their lungs out, throwing their bodies around, sweating, panting, smiling. These are the days people live for. And I was surrounded by friends who felt just like I did. Like, it didn’t matter that tomorrow they would wake up with sore backs and headaches and ringing ears. All that mattered right then was showing a band they love, truly how much they mean to them. Returning the favor.
I’m getting long-winded, but my point is this. That feeling in the venue tonight, that is something I wish I could recreate for everyone I know. The entire world should know the feeling of caring about music so much that they just cant stand it. It was a moment of clarity, where I felt like what I’m aiming to do with my life is exactly what I should be doing. I want to give artists the chance to bring their music to the ears of anyone and everyone who will listen. I want people to discover their new favorite band. I want someone to play one song over and over and over again because it reaches a spot deep in their chest that they can’t describe, but it just feels good. I want to be a part of the connection between a fan and the music. The business end of things can get too involved, too unnecessary. It’s important to remember that THAT is always the main goal, and it will always drive me to do what I love to do.