When I was in sixth grade I discovered Audio Galaxy, and in keeping with the overall momentum of the universe, shortly thereafter discovered pop punk. I was a big fan of the band MxPx, and I would be lying if I said alternating capitalization and the presence of x’s in their name had nothing to do with the appeal. So bootlegging my way through their catalog I eventually came across a file titled the “Summer of ’69,” hit download, waited the three days for it to download, then opened that bitch in Real Player.
Then immediate, crushing horror
I got my first real sexing
In the summer of ’69
I immediately x’d the Real Player window,right clicked that .mp3, and sent it to the recycle bin like I was banishing it to hell. I then emptied the recycle bin, then emptied the now empty bin a few more times just for good measure. Then threw some more files in there, and emptied it again, because I thought computers were like when the trash compactor gets clogged and you throw some orange rinds down there or old pieces of bread to help things along. Just keep on opening blank Notepad documents, saving them, and chucking them in the recycle bin.
I never thought ’69 referred to an actual 69. That seemed too obvious and childish even for an eleven year old. All I wanted to do was be punk rock and now I had downloaded smut onto the family Hewlett Packard. For a decade I was terrified that .mp3 would mysteriously reappear, like Samara climbing out of the well in The Ring, and I would have to defend my morals to my parents, who would never believe me, because what idiot doesn’t think 69 means 69.
Even when I was much older this experience was incredibly traumatizing. It never made the transfer to the part of your brain where you recognize the distance between you and the event and can find the humor in it. Summer of ’69 was always there beside me, staring me down, threatening to expose my sexual deviance.
Then one day I heard Bryan Adams. This motherfucker is saying six string. This is a semi-ironic cover of a shitty Bryan Adams song about a guitar. I know I should blame MxPx and their marble-mouthed pronunciation, but I just hate Bryan Adams. Bryan Adams made me feel like a sexual deviant. Bryan Adams made me afraid to try new things. Bryan Adams made me empty the Windows XP recycle bin obsessively for two or three years.
For all the old blog entries and school assignments I’ve read, and old pictures and art projects I’ve looked at, I cannot tell if it’s the things about you that change, or the things about you that don’t change that are more disturbing.
[sic] everything because there’s a few too many typos to change. Switched my cousins’ names.
Sunday, January 19, 2003, 6:11PM EST
im depressed. again. this summer thing is really really bothering me. i swear i cant take it. i loved the summer… after 7th grade was over. it was seriously the greatest time of my life. everything was fitting in to place. the 2 years since i moved here, i had struggled to fit in, and have friends. i had finally achieved that. i had gotten better grades than in 6th grade, i had found music, my calling. it was the time to lay back and watch everything fall into place. the music. the smells. the sounds. the sights. the tastes. the whole wonderful package that is summer. it wasnt just summer. it was paradise. a summer with a bow, and a cherry, and sprinkles on top. all of that shit that just makes everything a bit better. i guess i felt i could do anything. i wrote songs every day. sung songs. designed more sites than ever. now im fucked. 8th grade is hell. there is not one teacher i truly like. i have no freedom, the music just isnt working. the friend situation is worse than it had been in years, worse then it was before the i moved. and if life isnt bad enough, eveything reminds me of summer. im sitting here in the dark, alone listening to mix tapes i made over summer… defaults wasting my time… i hear it, and im sitting in my room, june or july maybe, its around 3 or 4. they’re playing the video on tv as im sitting on my comp chair. my bag that i got for my birthday is sitting on my bed, along with a bunch of francesca lia block books, and my walkman. and thats not imaginary. i swear that was a specific day. one that i wish i could relive over and over again. but i cant. its over. its gone forever. and i hate it. treble charger’s hundred million… the athem of summer. i remember i was so happy the first day i saw it. now it just brings more memories of summer… our lady peace’s somewhere out there. reminds me of wonderland, in the evening, chilling with cady and phoebe as they played it by wonder mountain at one of the game stand things. the calling’s wherever you will go… JESUS. im sick of this shit. i see things i made over the summer, summer clothes, i just want to cry. it cant be healthy. its just so depressing thinking that something you loved so much you will never see again.
Yeah these photos look like they were taken with a fucking VCR then run through posterize on PhotoShop then saved as a .jpg 8,000 times. It was dark, I was in the seats, and I had (have?) a 6MP camera.
This was one of the worst shows I’ve ever been to. I’ve been surprisingly lucky that virtually every show I’ve been to has surpassed my expectations but this one was the outlier, outshitted only by a Brand New concert that I actually thought I would be crushed to death at. I’d (I’ve?) seen both bands before and they were both great (a little surprisingly so on Panic! at the Disco’s part.) I think this was just a great (harsh) lesson in ‘playing in an arena doesn’t make you an arena band.’
Also the sound system at the Patriot Center sucked a ton of ass, which didn’t help.
Jack’s Mannequin just seemed lost, physically. I guess it’s a ‘command of the stage’ thing. I remember reading Keith Richards’s Life and he often praised Mick Jagger’s ability to utilize every inch of the stage, whether they were in a stadium or a club. Jack’s Mannequin were in a 10,000 seat venue playing to 1,000 people.
Panic! at the Disco went the complete other route, don’t fill the stage up with shit if you can’t take command of said shit. It’s a hard criticism to justify when it photographs so beautifully, but that was a hot mess in person. They were just a bunch of literal boys in a very hyped Myspace band with no headlining experience lost in a sea of face paint and alternative titties. I recognize and respect the sort of burlesque/freak show/carnival ambiance they were trying to cultivate, but they got swallowed up in it instead of having it bolster their performance.
I almost hate being complimentary because of how ambivalent I’ve become about them, but Green Day are great at this. I saw them play a Halloween show right after American Idiot came out, and they’d picked up all the sets and theatrics and whatnot, and even with the added over-the-top Halloween element, I have to admit they owned it. It was grand but they never lost their grasp over the audience and let it distract them. They were a big band and they seemed even bigger for it.
The other big problem was that the PA system was a piece of shit. I’m not sure what Panic! at the Disco is up to now, or the current state of stadium PA systems, but at the time they used a ton of programming and as unsuited as stadiums are for live music, they were even more unsuited for canned music. Try putting a bunch of Atari bleep-bloop electronic music noises (not live) through a tin can speaker system in a college sports arena. It was ear splitting, and just… sad. Whatever part of their performance was not being de-hanced by moon goddess praising strippers was killed by the sound of Die Antwoord being played through a cell phone. It reminded me of when I was twelve and my cousin used to go sing karaoke in the middle of a flea market. That karaoke system seemed sanctioned by Dr. Dre in comparison.