Music is a lot of things to a lot of people. It can be a way express ourselves, a way to amp ourselves up or to decompress. Sometimes, it's just background noise to our day. But as I’ve come to realize, it can paint a picture as to who you are, where you’re from and it can be a comfort.
Growing up in the Los Angeles beach cities, it had never occurred to me that there were people in places that had never heard the same music that we had. Local all ages shows were a regular occurrence. Surf and skate videos were on in just about every house you walked into, with good old fashioned punk rock blaring in the background, and crazy shit would happen, like Pennywise, popping up at the beach for a surprise show. It was a pretty epic place to be and to grow up.
So what happens when you move out of that sort of epicenter?
We moved our little family from SOCAL to Metro Atlanta. Yes, Georgia. In short, there are considerably less Pennywise, Black Flag and Strung Out fans. There is, however, no shortage of country music devotees. That, my friends, is a very strange dynamic to grow accustomed to.
My husband and I love to go to live shows together. It's that much more of a treat now that we are here, and the opportunities are harder to come by. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a country music show or festival. Which is cool. To each their own. We tried to assimilate... We even went to a Luke Bryan concert once (once). In the end, it's just not who we are. It felt a little diminishing. Then something amazing happened.
I always have my eyes out for a show to go to, but since we had moved it was proving difficult. After living in an Atlanta suburb for a couple of years, it finally happened. A show we WANTED to see.
Joey Cape came through Atlanta on his solo tour. We. Were. Elated. Lagwagon is easily one of our favorite bands, and we could not be kept from this. Find a babysitter. Get off work early, babe. I will fly my mother here to watch the children. I don’t care. WE ARE GOING. Well we went, and it was awesome. The venue was a super small room that was part of a bigger place. It ended up being a pretty intimate show; which, if you've heard his solo stuff, was ideal. We even got to meet Joey, and my husband thoroughly enjoyed discussing Slayer and other bands that influenced them as young men. Totally rad, out of body experience, I tell you.
After what can best be described as a dry spell, we had a great realization. Looking around that room, we saw lots of people with patches, shirts, stickers etc., of familiar and beloved bands. We weren’t doomed. There IS more than country music here! Were gonna make it after all!
From there it felt like a domino effect. The next spring and fall, we were all booked up with shows to go to. It seemed there wasn't a weekend that went by, that we didn't have someone to see. We started making new friends who were excited to let us hear their playlists. Frankly I am shocked, but pleasantly surprised when a new buddy with a twang randomly busts out some NOFX or Subhumans. But alas, after that lucky streak, the shows began to die down.
Shows may still be a little hard to come by. Most of our faves skip over ATL when they do tour. But the dry spell was broken. We might be a little bit of a musical minority here, but we feel (slightly) less like fish out of water. I'll take that!
We still listen to the music that made us who we are, and that's never going to change. We see our friends back home going to shows we wish we could, and that's a little bit of a bummer. But on a Friday night, after the kids are in bed, you'll find the hubs and I in the garage with some beers, reminiscing over the bands we love. Playing name that tune, or guess which comp this was on. Recounting when the first time we heard whichever song / band was, and what we were up to in that stage of life. And if and when they ever come to town, we will be there.