Thursday, November 25, 2010

U.F.Z: This is my kinda place, my kinda crowd - By David

In my short time on this earth, I've had the privilege of seeing some of the best bands ever play. Some even nothing short of legendary, from watching Warren from the Vandals climb the main stage at the warped tour in 2000 to watching Travis barker drum it out with DJ/AM about a year ago. I've seen my share of some great moments in music.

This past Saturday was another badge in this sash of awesomeness, I saw the Bouncing Souls play at the House of Blues in Anaheim. Who are the Bouncing Souls you ask? They started as a punk rock band in New Jersey almost 25 years ago and have been pioneers in the do it yourself record business ever since. They've never been on Los Angeles paid by advertisers radio or MTV because they simply don't believe in buying your fame.

Out of all the amazing acts I've seen like Rancid, Dropkick Murphy's, The Damned, Manic Hispanic and The Reverend Horton heat just to name a few, the souls remain my favorite band live. The difference between a live band and a band live is the experience you get, any group of musicians can play their music live but few acts and bring their music to life. I've been fortunate enough to see this band play live eleven times in three states and they get better each time I watch them perform.

Saturday, after a warm up performance from an aging Adolescents, the moment the Bouncing Souls took the stage, the music grabbed me for an hour and it didn't let go. For a band that's been around this long, they move like teenagers playing at a friends back yard. Greg's voice has come a long way since the first time I saw them play ten years ago, and hearing them play the old songs now compared to early recordings makes it feel new, like hearing them for the first time all over again. Overall this was a great performance but concert venues will never have the organized chaos like at the Alex's bar show in Long Beach a few years back, personally I didn't hear classics like Joe lies or any acoustic songs.

Why does this show mean so much to me and why does this show qualify for Unemployment Fun Zone. First reason being the price, seeing two awesome bands for 13 bucks can't be beat. To understand the second reason, you have to understand the last six years of my life. I've lived my whole life afraid of the world and afraid of pursuing the things I wanted to do like writing, drawing and working in production. Much of that reason is because I was always told not to leave the secure situation of having a sixty hour a week job and health care, even if it killed me everyday. Out of everyone in my family none of us even attempted to become what we wanted to in life because once we got into a job that seemed good enough we were afraid to be without it. My situation of getting up at 4am everyday to go to a job where nothing you did was ever good enough and your bosses hated you because you refused to act like a tool was killing me with the worst headaches of my life, then being diagnosed with anxiety disorder by my doctor and hating my life to the point where suicide or killing spree was an option. Self destructive behavior affected me even when I wasn't at work, costing me countless relationships with friends and loved ones. Knowing full well I never intended for my life to turn out that way, it was an unbearable situation that I put myself in. Before you say it, yes I know there are people out there in worse situations, but I've always wanted more for my life than a stupid shirt with someone else's name on it.

Sitting in my room three weeks ago, while contemplating my life one of my books fell off the shelf and it opened on an excerpt from a fortune cookie that said " Find release from your concerns and have a good time". It was something a fallen friend and mentor carried till he lost his eight year long battle with cancer in 2007. A man who never once gave in to self loathing which many in that situation do. I stared at that line for what seemed like hours and I thought to myself, if tonight was my last night on earth I haven't lived a single day the way I wanted to. The day after that, I was in a meeting where the only people I cared about at work were bashed unfairly for their work ethic. To me they had never been anything but the best, but when your not the head cheese your opinion doesn't mean jack. I was given an ultimatum either give up the money you make or they were gonna take it from me. I remember looking into the eyes of those two assholes who had made this whole situation unbearable, and thinking to myself I have a 3rd option. I can go see the bouncing souls play in two weeks and I can chose to live life without fear for once. I decided in the moment, it was finally time to let go of my concerns and fears and have a good time. On what quickly became my final day of work, I strutted out for the last time saying my good byes to few. My being was full of fear but I remember turning on my car and hearing Gone by the bouncing souls, at that point my doubts were turned to hope. It's the same feeling I got on Saturday night when I heard them play it, there wasn't a doubt in my mind I knew my decision to start living life, facing my fear of the world was the right choice. No one was ever gonna pull me out of my situation, so I had to do it for myself. As I got older these last few years, I'd been living this cloud of lies thinking that my life's sole concern should be paying bills and not about experiencing the world to find what your passionate about. How could anyone lead a full filled life that way?

That's the second reason this show qualifies for this blog, because it was the first show I got to see as a free man. For the first time, it felt amazing seeing the clock strike midnight on a Saturday night and not have to feel an anxiety about how I was gonna hate my life the next day. This band has a way of making each person in the crowd feel like they are playing just for them. Which was highlighted when lead singer Greg dove in the crowd to do a couple of songs.

What they did for me that night was put all my worries aside for an hour and gave me a reason to sing like nothing was wrong in the world. That night I sent the band's bass player Bryan a message because I left that show with a sense that following my dreams wasn't impossible, after all if four punks from New Jersey could grow up to play music in front of thousands of people all over the world, then maybe just maybe I could live a life that didn't make me hate myself. So i had to say thank you, but unlike most rock bands, he actually wrote back. Nothing long winded just a couple of encouraging words that get a person through the tough days (and I know there will be a few), in fact it was just two encouraging words "fuck yeah".

So not only did I see a great show, I got some reassurance that the only thing I got from living the comfort I drowned in the last six years was the fear of losing it. For practically nothing that's an awesome way to spend an unemployed night. Have a great Thanks Giving for the first time in a very long time my dinner will be after 3pm and I will be asleep Friday morning ( for you Abel).

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