Friday, December 1, 2017

Ten Helpful Tips for Surviving Facebook Music Fan Groups.

As a music fan, Facebook can be a wonderful place.  It’s a boundless source of new music and information as well as a fabulous place to connect with fellow fans through Facebook fan groups.  But, there’s also a seedy underbelly.  One where trolls look to ruin your happy space and fellow fans are assholes.  But there’s no need to let that ruin your good time.  As a long time lurker in many Facebook Fan Groups, I offer to you  my ten helpful tips to surviving as a music fan on Facebook.

1.      PROCEED WITH CAUTION – You new in town?  Just joined a Facebook fan group?  Take a minute and look around.  Scroll through a good month’s worth of posts and check out the general vibe.  What looks like a fan group may actually just be a troll group.  So, before you go wearing your heart on your sleeve, make sure you’re not setting yourself up for heartbreak. No one wants to be a victim.  If you’re in the wrong part of town, call an Uber and GET OUT!

2.       SEARCH BEFORE POSTING – You finally found the right group.  A sea of fans just like you. You’re eager.  You have the world’s most brilliant idea.  An amazing topics of conversation.  A question that NO ONE has ever asked before, right?  Wrong.  Chances are, the question’s probably been asked before.  And if it’s one of those questions that gets asked every few weeks, more than likely, you’re going to catch slack for it.  So before asking that one of a kind question in a Facebook Fan Group, use the handy-dandy search feature.  Type key words like ICE CREAM FLAVOR into the group search feature to find out if the question “If you could make an ice cream for XXX band, what would it be called?” has already been asked.  Does it hurt to ask it again?  No, not really.  But, if you do ask a question that has been asked a billzion times before you, don’t be surprised if you get some heat.  And we all know heat and ice cream = melted mess.

3.       KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE – If you’re a new fan of a band or artist, understand that there are those that came before you. Be respectful.  Be calm.  Sometimes, new fans are excited. But that excitement can come across like that of a new puppy. Sure, it’s cute, at first.  But that old dog on the porch is only going to take so much of that new puppy smell before they start to nip.  And if that cranky old pooch starts to growl in your direction, simply do what any smart pup figures out quickly.  Back away slowly and let sleeping dogs lie.

4.       OPINIONS ARE NOT FACTS – We’ve all heard that old adage “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.” And the internet is full of assholes… I mean opinions.  That’s the beauty of music.  Some things aren’t for everyone.  If everyone liked the same thing or thought the same way, we’d all be robots.  And robots have no soul. If you wish to have your opinion respected, then respect the opinion of others.  We don’t all have to agree.  That’s what makes intelligent conversation fun.  Avoid incendiary words like “faggot”, “cunt” or other offensive nominatives that I probably shouldn’t list.  If something makes you mad, utilize the angry face emoji under the like feature. There’s no need to call someone a “twatbucket” because they thought a set list was boring.

5.       DO NOT SEEK VALIDATION ON FACEBOOK– This really goes hand in hand with #4.  Facebook is a poor place to seek validation.  It’s also a bad place to seek free therapy.  If you post an opinion in a Facebook music group, chances are, someone is going to disagree with you.  If they do, don’t let it ruin your day.  Engage with those like-minded people that make you feel all warm and fuzzy and SIMPLY IGNORE the ones that don’t share your point of view. If you’re a sensitive creature, this is sound advice.

6.       THINK BEFORE YOU POST – Sometimes, I type out entire paragraphs of text, on ridiculous tirades, because someone on the internet has either hurt my feelings (I’m a truly delicate peanut) or because some idiot has made me angry (I’m a Gemini, I can go either way.) BUT, before I hit POST, I usually walk away from my computer or phone and take a second.  And then I think to myself, would I want someone to say this to my mother?  And if the answer is “no”, then I hit delete. Perhaps, you don’t like your mom, and that’s a bad example.  Regardless, take a few minutes to calm down and think if what your responding to even really dignifies a response.

7.       CO-EXISTING WITH TROLLS – If it looks like a troll or acts like a troll, it’s probably a troll.  Shocker, right?  Internet trolls feed off naïve, unsuspecting music fans.  They look just real music fans, but they hide a dark sinister secret – THEY’RE ASSHOLES.  While you’re curled up in the fetal position in the corner of your bedroom because some douche made fun of you, they’ve moved onto the next victim.  They are heartless, plastic creatures with big noses and frizzy hair.  Who knew that dolls could use the internet, am I right? But behind those nasty fingers spreading hate through the QWERTY, they’re really just insecure bullies who don’t get enough love.  And letting any troll on the internet ruin your day or the music you love, if by far the silliest thing you could ever do.

Now, I don’t suggest this next tactic, unless you are relatively witty and have a good sense of humor.  But, in my experience, sometimes, you can troll the troll with wonderful results. So, if a troll calls you dumb, act dumb. If a troll calls you ugly, take the world’s most hideous selfie and share it with them.  When a troll realizes you aren’t going to feed their need for drama or melt, they get bored and move on.  It’s also a great way to keep them engaged so they can’t find other innocent victims. So, in some ways, you're doing your part to help make the world wide web a better place.

And for the love of all things Mihali, I mean holy, if someone comes into  fan group and starts trolling with an obvious troll like “This band is stupid”, don’t respond with someone like “This is a fan group, why are you even here?”  That answer should be obvious.  They are here to troll you! DON’T FEED THE TROLLS!

8.       I’M FRIENDS WITH THE BAND- Maybe you’ve known the band since they were playing shows in the sandbox back in elementary school.  Perhaps, you’ve never met them at all, but the drummer accepted your friend request. Maybe the band even liked one of your post that you tagged them in.  Part of a band building their empire is about building relationships.  Regardless of the length of time you’ve known a musician, your opinion doesn’t hold more or less value than anyone else.  In fact, if you truly are their “friend”, keep personal drama off the internet.  You wouldn’t want someone airing your dirty laundry on the internet, would you?  I know I wouldn’t.  Especially my underwear.

9.       TURN OFF YOUR DEVICE – Music is a great muse, one of the best.  Let the music inspire you.  Things getting to heated online?  Paint a picture, go for a run, make fan-art, write a pretentious blog about being a music fan on the internet and then post it online. Whatever it is, find your zen.  And when stupid stuff happens on Facebook, remember these ancient words of wisdom “IT’S FACEBOOK!!!”

10.   DON’T LET STUPIDITY RUIN YOUR GOOD TIME – A long, long time ago, circa 2015, I knew this girl.  And she and her then fiancé made a piece of fan art that consisted of incorrect lyrics.  Oh, the horror. And when the internet lost their minds, her heart was broken. It was an honest mistake.  Even the fan run website had the lyrics incorrect. But some of those people were so mean, she swore off the band’s music and the entire fan base.  Which was unfortunate because she had just gotten a tattoo inspired by some of the band’s lyrics (thankfully, these were correct.) And as she sat in her tiny apartment sobbing tears of heartbreak, she got a phone call from a fellow frend… I mean friend… and they reminder her that the music was the most important thing and giving up something that gave her so much joy and happiness because a few people were jackwagons was pretty silly.  And for that I… I mean, she is eternally grateful.

So, there you have it folks, some friendly assistance on being a music fan on Facebook.  I hope you enjoyed this little piece of useless advice.  If you liked it, feel free to share it with the world.  Or maybe you think its complete garbage and that I’m a trite, opinionated know-it-all.  Honestly, the latter is probably true.  But hey, I haven’t written a decent blog in a hot minute.  And just like opinions, or assholes, they can’t all be winner.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

When Music Saves...

Growing up, I remember seeing a plain billboard in town that read "Jesus Saves." I often marveled at the sign, wondering what it's large bland letters were meant to say to me.  What I learned later in life was that it wasn't Jesus that was meant to save me, but rather hope.  And it really doesn't matter how that message is delivered.  For some its through traditional religious experiences like Christianity. For some, its through money, career and success.  Others find it through hobbies, family, friends,or meditation. For me, it's always been music.  And on one fateful day, July 8, 2014, it was Twiddle.  

For most of my life, something always felt wrong.  The older I got, the worse it got.  I was riddled with back pain and anxiety. For years, I told my doctors that something wasn't right.  The older I grew, the worse my symptoms became. I was in constant pain.  My sleep was affected. My decision making was sketchy at times. Family members were convinced I was bi-polar.

Hindsight is always 20/20.  Looking back now, the symptoms were evident. I had two distinct groups of symptoms that, as I would find out later, were completely misdiagnosed. But because the symptoms are rarely only linked together in rare diagnosis', medical professionals never sought to include both together. 

When I was 20, the first major "symptom" reared its ugly head. I was a junior in college. The year before, I had won two national titles in swimming.  My friends and I were stuck on campus of my small all-women's college, during a Virginia snow storm. I was leaning over to fit a puzzle piece in its place, when the muscles of the right side of my body seized in epic, vice like knots around my neck and shoulder blades. I was in horrible pain. 

For the next twenty years, these type of episodes riddled my life. My swimming career ended on a down note, the same year as the first major incident. I was constantly told my chiropractors and doctors that I had some kind of degenerative issues around my C-4.  No one ever took a closer look with an MRI. It was always only X-Rays. 

On the other side of the coin, was an extreme feeling of anxiety.  ALL THE TIME. As I grew older, everything became effected by it. Any kind of stress was too much.  At my worst moments, I would scream, yell, kick, and throw things. People would tell me to calm down and relax.  And believe me, I wanted to do just that, but I couldn't. My decision making became overruled with "flighting" rather than "fighting." By the time I was 38, I had established a startling pattern. Quit anything and everything that was mildly stressful. It also effected the people that should have been the closest to me.  It also damaged important relationships and partnerships. 

At 38, other symptoms started to add themselves to the list.  I started stuttering.  I would become cold with chills when I was nervous. My hands and feet began to fall asleep easily.  My eyes became sensitive to light. And my upper back and neck- CONSTANT PAIN. Sleeping became impossible. The less I slept, the worse my anxiety became.  And then the depression started. My body was wrecked.  My mental state was weak. I began having thoughts of suicide. But I kept telling myself that this was simply part of growing old. In my head, everyone probably felt this way. In my heart, I felt like I was dying. 

In March of 2014, I woke up one morning and the entire left side of my body was numb.  The first set of doctors repeated the diagnosis of so many before them. X-rays once again revealed a degenerative disorder.  I was told a pinched never was the cause of my pain. After several weeks of treatment, it was getting worse. My employer begged me to see his chiropractor. I was hoping maybe he would see something other doctors hadn't, so I went.  

Dr.A (as well call him) later told me that he knew something was wrong the minute I left his office after our first meeting.  He said he had never seen a patient that was so aware of their symptoms, down to the mental timeline I had accrued as my symptoms worsened over the course of my life. He referred my to a colleague that specialized in Orthopedics.  

Dr. G was the first doctor to ever look at my x-rays and ponder a very simple question: 

"Why does a 38 year-old former athlete have spinal degeneration in her neck?"

He immediately ordered an MRI. The results of that MRI and the subsequent surgeries and medical tests revealed the following: a pilocystic astrocytoma (a type of juvenile cancer) that started at my C-4 and spanned upward to the base of my brain stem.  

The type of tumor revealed that I had literally been growing up with cancer. Generally, a type of brain cancer found in children, mine had settled on living in my spinal sac, making this rare type of cancer even harder to find. The symptoms were easily misdiagnosed.  Very few adults are diagnosed with a tumor of my size and location.  The location of the tumor revealed the reason for a lifetime of back pain. The directional growth of the tumors (toward my brain stem) revealed the reason for a lifetime of anxiety. As I grew up, so did my tumor.  It was retarding proper development of my central nervous symptoms. My brain and body weren't communicating properly. The mental exhaustion was leading to depression.  All a result of mounting pressure inside my spinal sac and on my brain stem.  

After consulting with multiple neurosurgeons, I fearfully accepted that surgery was my only option. Otherwise, I would spend my life slowing dying. The tumor would eventually compress my spinal cord enough that I would become paralyzed. It's location also meant I would eventually stop being able to breathe on my own. But the worse was the toll this tumor was taking on my mental health. Without surgery, I probably would have ended my own life as the mounting pressure on my brain caused me more unexplained grief.  

By July, I had selected a nuerosurgeon. We had set a date for my surgery for later that September. The tumor wasn't aggressive.  I wanted some time to enjoy a few things over the summer before I committed myself to open spinal surgery and cancer treatment.  The weight of the entire situation was incredible. I knew I needed a bit of time to accept all the possible outcomes of the delicate procedures. 

I was overwhelmed by the final meeting with my surgeon.  His beside manner was soothing, but the reality of the procedure was not.  We were dealing with tumor removal in one of my body's most delicate neurological areas.  Success meant I walked away with minor neurological damage and a lifetime of medical treatment to monitor the area.  But I had also been informed that the tumors location increased the risk and that long term paralysis was a possibility.

My father had been paralyzed in a car accident when I was 8 months old.  I knew what that scenerio looked like and I wanted nothing to do with it.  I left his office and slid into the front seat of my car.  I sank under the weight of the entire situation.  I was inconsolable. I sat in the parking lot of the medical complex violently crying.  After some time passed, I knew I needed to pull it together. So I did what any sensible, reasonable person does in the situation. I prayed. 

I've never been a particularly religious person.  I believe that the man-made dogmatic principles of righteous study often mow down the basic karmic values of most spiritual journeys. But, I have always found a healing power in music.  And often in my life, I ask the powerful energy around me to present itself to me through music. Regardless of who you're praying too, its still an invisible energy.

So, with IPOD in hand, I asked the universe to help me.  I asked for a sign.  I needed something to give me hope.  I needed something to remind me I wasn't alone.  I asked my "God" to give me just one thing to prove to me that I would be okay.  And with an IPOD that sat 20,000 songs deep, I pressed shuffle. And then this played.  A song I had heard many times before, but now it came to me as a beacon.   

From that day, I have listened to this song every day.  It is my alarm clock. One single song has provided me with hope, comfort and safety. When the little things in life stress me out, the last four lines of the song "thinkin' 'bout the day" remind me to look forward.  But more importantly, they also remind me to look at what I have overcome. 

I have had the honor of talking with the songwriting about the reasons behind the song. I am beyond thankful that he found his own comfort in writing the song.  Any writer will tell you that putting your fears, dreams, hopes and life out into the word can be a terrifying experiences. Perhaps, the same message would have found me through some other form of spiritual intervention.  Maybe it was pure coincidence.  Maybe, I could have pressed shuffle and overtaken by the power of song crazy pop song.  Does anyone know what Britney means when she says "Baby, hit me one more time." But on that day, music "saved me."

Life since surgery has been looking up.  I suffered minor neurological damage, but it really is minor in comparison to what it could have been.  I have to work everyday to deal with my anxiety and depression.  But its much easier to do that when there is a reason behind it. The crippling back pain is gone sans the occasional stress and strain of being in my forties. And regardless of how many times I hear it, especially live, "When It Rains, It Poors" will always make me cry.  Because it reminds me that hope find you when you need it, So, if you ever need a tear buddy at a Twiddle show, come find me at the start of "Hattie's Jam" and stick around for the "tearfest" that is WIRIP. 

Growing up, I remember seeing a plain billboard in town that read "Jesus Saves." I often marveled at the sign, wondering what it's large bland letters were meant to say to me.  What I learned later in life was that it wasn't Jesus that was meant to save me, but rather hope.  And it really doesn't matter how that message is delivered.  For some its through traditional religious experiences like Christianity. For some, its through money, career and success.  Others find it through hobbies, family, friends,or meditation. For me, it's always been music.  And on that day, July 8, 2014 it was Twiddle.  

Listen to the words I'm singing in this line
That your life will be just fine and
Troubles do not stay they get replaced with good times
Now you've got a great life
Smile as you walk by thinkin' 'bout the day

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Why I've stopped defending Twiddle on the Internet!

I discovered Twiddle in 2012.  It was love at first listen.  The music speaks to me.  I have a love for vocalists with mildly sharp tonal qualities.  Lyrically, Twiddle is fun, passionate, insightful, and even absurd. I hear influences from some of my favorite bands.  And live shows are never really the same.  And then there is the fan base.  Seriously some of the most friendly, wonderful, sweet spirited people I have ever met.

And I'm not quite sure why, but despite the band's growing success (oh, maybe that's a clue), the internet is filled with haters.  I post a lot of pictures from shows and events.  And I post a lot of the band's music, video, reviews and promotional information. And almost always, someone has to insert their "Twiddle is overrated" two cents.  And for a while, I would find myself at the center of ridiculous debates.  I spent way too much time defending a band, that based on their exponential growth, really didn't need my defending. 

As a child/teen obsessed with music in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I spent hours in my bedroom wrapped in the cords of my headphones while pouring over the liner notes of my favorite albums.
Some of my friends had similar musical taste, while others didn’t get my fan girl obsession over bands like Duran Duran, R.E.M., Nirvana, The Smiths or the Cure. Music was my life’s soundtrack. Certain album’s hold autobiographical memories. I know exactly where I was the first time I heard “The Sweater Song” by Weezer or exactly which of my friends gave me a dubbed copy of Nine Inch Nails “Pretty Hate Machine.” And I know exactly where I was the first time I heard Twiddle. 

I have always had very strong opinions about music.  Finding my new music is a form of sport to me. I'm a self proclaimed Queen of Music Promotion.  When I find music that speaks to me, I often feel it's my duty to share it with others.  The skill has served me well. 

But when I encountered peers whose musical taste didn’t coincide with mine, I never felt the need to dismiss their musical taste or to defend mine own.  I'll always willing listen to a song or two, even check out a band live before checking the "DO NOT LIKE" box on any musical artist.  It’s a preference.  No different than my desire to spend my early teens wearing Doc Martens, converse, flannel shirts, Goodwill corduroy and baby T’s while my high school counterparts were sporting Keds, shoulder pads, ADIDAS or Umbro’s.

And disliking music doesn't negate the art.  It takes talent to create music.  Sometimes the world's most over-saturated  pop music is create by teams of genius musicians, marketing gurus, fashion icons, and a whole host of artists with their hand in the end product. 

I was raised to understand that my opinion was just that - my opinion. I was also raised to understand that just because I have an opinion, doesn’t mean that I have been garnered the right to shove my views on others or dismiss someone because their opinion is different than mine. But I also wasn’t raised with access to the same type of modern day technology that fostered what I consider to be "right to post" internet thought process.

Discretion in life is key.  And for the most part no one needs to know that your landlord is a douchebag, that your girlfriend is a cheating whore or that the salad you just ate needed more dressing (oh yes, I’ve seen that as a status update.)

Folks coming of age in this day of modern technology don’t know a world where you didn’t have the viral right to post your business (and anyone else’s for that matter) to a world waiting for uploaded content.  And sometimes, I think folks my age ( ya know, people born sometime after the moon landing, but before MTV stopped playing music video) have forgotten the basic Thumper rule they were raised on.  “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

And THAT is why I have stopped defending my music choices online.  I don’t feel the need to tell someone their favorite band sucks.  And when I come across a thread or an internet troll that wants to try and discredit the music that makes me happy, I simply move on.  Because the bottom line is that my long winded rebuttal as to why the music makes me happy isn’t going to be the reason they stop being miserable.

Instead, I focus my energy on finding the people that want to hear and enjoy the music exactly like I do.  Because those people are out there.  And instead of spending hours of my time with my fingers to the keyboard in a battle of the wits with an unarmed person, I’d rather be listening to the music.  I'd rather be working a second job, so I can drive four hours one way to hear 90 minute of music with the  room full of people just like me.  I'd rather be spreading the love than adding fuel onto a fire I can never put out. 

So stop battling with someone that wants to waste their time on negative pursuits.  Silence is powerful in times of aggression.  Instead, engage with someone who needs their spirits lifted or a message of love or share a funky jam that you can’t help but dance to.

You don’t need to convince anyone that the music that makes you happy is worthy of their approval.  There are plenty of people around you that already agree with you.  And there are plenty of people just like you that want to explore the variety of wonderful music in the world. Go celebrate the commonality with them instead.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dear Prospective Aqueous Drummers...

Dear Prospective Drummer for Aqueous, 

Let me start by saying this, I probably have NO BUSINESS writing this letter.  But, I recently had to write a piece for NYS Music on how one of my favorite bands is back to looking for a drummer.  And that broke my heart a little bit.  And I have feelings. Some people eat theirs.  I write mine.

I won’t pretend that I’ve been on the Aqueous train for a long time.  I saw them for the first time when they opened for Lotus in the summer of 2013 in Buffalo.  They were instantly on my radar. It wasn’t until this past summer at Buffalove that something finally clicked.  I’ve been obsessed ever since. I actually counted the other day and realized I’ve seen Aqueous live 15 times. I know in the whole “count your shows” jam scene that’s not a big deal.  But for me that’s more than I ever seen any other band live.   

So, I consider myself a fan, sometimes a bit of a fan girl.  But I wanted to put into words what I think probably a decent amount of Aqueous fans are thinking.

To say that these are probably the nicest, most humble, down to earth guys in the business is an understatement.  They always have time for their fans.  I hope that the band’s new drummer will also have time for us.  We’re pretty cool people.

The Aqueous family is the most welcoming set of fans I’ve seen in the scene. It’s a simple philosophy; the more people that are at the party- the better. You won’t hear us complain as the fan base grows and the band books bigger shows at bigger venues and better time slots at festivals.  We might complain that we missed things like that time when Joel Cummings from Umphrey’s sat in with the boys in Colorado, but we’ll never complain that it happened.

At the heart of this band’s music – at least for me – is passion and fun.  Those two things are the most important qualities of everything I do in my life.  So it’s fitting that this band’s music is rooted in that.  They take what they do VERY seriously, but they also have a blast doing it.  I appreciate that they set the bar so high.  I love that I know they are going to nail it, even on an off night. Honestly, I’ve never seen them have an off night.  I’m not even sure what an off night would sound like for them. 

They play to be a part of our party.  That is one of the most selfless acts you can make as a musician. And they do it every show.  They are building a reputation for what they do on stage.  You don’t hear about them getting wasted back stage.  You don’t hear about post show antics.  They want to be known for what they do during an Aqueous show. And the magic created during an Aqueous show appears to be all they wish to be known for. 

There are Aqueous fans all over the country.  And most of us know that this band is the best kept secret in the scene right now.  We also know that our little secret is spreading fast.  And we love it. 
The fans here in Buffalo have a lot of pride about where this band is headed.  In a town that has never won a Super Bowl or a Stanley cup, we always find hope.  And for a lot of us, Aqueous is our hope.  So if you are thinking about auditioning for this band, remember this. 

If you want to play in a band that has a dedicated, loving fan base….

If you want to play in a band that is going places…

If you want to play in a band that is about creating something special for their fans every time they play…

We will welcome you with open arms.

BUT, like a jealous best friend…

If you do anything to hurt our boys, you will not like us. 



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Best Part of the Rainbow is the Illusion

You never realize in how many ways your worlds can collide.  As the magic of an Aqueous Wizard of Oz Halloween unfolded before my eyes, it felt like the show was being played just for me.  It may seem a little far-fetched and even here, putting proverbial pen to paper, I still can’t wrap my head around how many amazing musical dots were connected. This is my trip over the rainbow.  

Back in July, I went to see the John Butler trio at Artpark.  They were the opener for O.A.R. We cut out shortly after the JBT set ended.  I had caught wind that Mike Gantzer and Dave Loss from Aqueous were playing an acoustic set at Buffalo Iron Works.  Wanting to keep the music going, a few friends and I headed downtown to watch the duo play.  During that set, the boys covered a tune from Dark Side of the Moon

I’ve never been an uber Pink Floyd fan, but my connection to Dark Side is a strong one.  I’m a huge Wizard of Oz fan.  Maybe it’s the fact that I share a birthday with Judy Garland. Maybe it’s the fact that as a Gemini, I find truth in the films seminal question, “Are you a Good witch or a Bad witch?”  No matter what the reason, it’s a film I simply cannot escape. In college, I spent many a weeknight piled in my dorm room with friends, pressing play on my CD player just as the MGM lion began his third roar on the intro to Wizard of Oz. I’ll never understand how Dark Side and The Wizard of Oz meshed so well together, but that’s the beauty of it.  I don’t need to know if it was done of purpose, because it just works. Knowing would simply ruin the illusion.

So on this fateful night at Buffalo Iron Works, after they had played a tune from Dark Side, I trapped Dave Loss in a conversation (as I always seem to do). And I waxed poetic for a few minutes about how my ultimate Aqueous fantasy went something like this: The band’s four members dressed as the characters of the Wizard of Oz playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety, with the film playing on a large screen in the background. 

Now, I am not naïve enough to think that they had never had some sort of thought of playing the album in its entirety.  But Dave simply nodded his head in approval and said something to the effect of, “Yeah that would be a great time.”  After the band announced their Halloween theme, I tried on a few occasions, to find out if that conversation had somehow sparked the idea conceptually. At Night Lights and Catskill Chill I was able to trap Dave Loss in conversation (as I always seem to do).  Each time, Dave would just shrug his shoulders, smile and Miss America me with an answer like “Where do ideas really come from?” And I’m so glad that he did. 

Maybe I was simply one of many people that could hear what Aqueous was capable of.  Pulling off a task like playing the Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety is a feat that few bands could achieve from a technical standpoint.  Even in today’s studio world of digital multitasking and looping, musicians don’t record music as technical yet successful as Pink Floyd did back in those Abbey Road Studios. And maybe my Halloween dream just added to the conversation.  If their fans have the faith that they can accomplish something so complex, why wouldn’t they tackle such a lofty musical challenge with flawless resolve?

It was one of those moments when you want something so badly, but you don’t want to get your hopes up.  As they started the first set of the evening, a twisted mash-up of the “MGM Wizard of Oz” theme and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” I waited with baited breathe.  As the melded into one of my favorite songs, “Kitty Chaser (Explosions in the Sky)” my heart sank a little.  Okay, maybe that’s what the second set was for. I lost myself in the dark and slightly twisted sound of the first set. 

As I waited for the second set to begin, I could overhear the rumor mill.  The room was buzzing.  It wasn’t just me that wanted Dark Side. It wasn’t just me that got the connection.  I noticed the very talented Sarah Jane present in the room, too.  When Pink Talking Fish come to town, she usually joins them on stage for “Great Gig in the Sky”. So as the sounds of heartbeats and cash registers ushered in “Speak to Me”, my knees buckled.  They were going to do it. 

As they transitioned song to song, hitting every note in prefect timing, the excitement in the room continued to grow.  Aqueous fans that knew how big this was, that realized what an accomplishment this was, beamed with pride.  There are a lot of bands out there that are up and coming in the jam scene.  But I ask you to find one that has the technical skill that Aqueous does. 

What I love the most about the Aqueous family is that it represents Buffalo in the best possible way.  I’ve only lived in Buffalo a little over four years, but it’s always felt like home.  There’s no snobbery from the Aqueous fans that have watched the “boys” grow into the successful band they have become. They love to tell stories about the days when they saw them play to a room of 10 people, but equally love that they are gaining so much well deserved success.  So many fans bases have a hard time with welcoming new fans to the party.  That’s simply not the case with the Aqueous family. They more the merrier. After all, the bigger the party, the bigger the fun, right?

As I watch this band grow and get to know the people that love them just as much as I do (musically that is), I am struck by something sweet.  Secretly, as much as we love seeing them in our hometown in a tiny little space, we also long for the day when their music is presented in the way it is meant to be heard- at late night time slot at a festival with a killer light show and thousands of people fighting for the rail or in an arena that seats thousands. 

Almost everyone that was at Saturday night’s show realizes that we were part of something special.  We were part of a moment that very well could be one of the things that really kicks this band on the jam scenes map. In the years to come, as the band grows, we will be able to recall this particular Halloween that many people will secretly wish they had been a part of.  And anytime we hear 
Aqueous play something from Dark Side, we will be instantly transported back in time to that show. And no matter how many people start to listen to Aqueous or show up at shows, no amount of new fans will ever take away those experiences.   

For anyone that has never seen Aqueous live, I highly suggest that you get on it. If you’ve ever wanted to be in a crowd full of people trying to see who can have the most fun, they are the band to see.  They are the soundtrack to a well-deserved party. 

Aqueous proved a few things to me this weekend.  Watching guitarist Mike Gantzer dressed perfectly as the scarecrow while melting faces proves you can be silly and strange and still make beautiful music. Watching bassist Evan McPhaden lay down sick grooves despite being in a blue gingham dress with red bows falling from his hair proves that these four musicians are not just making music for themselves but for their fans.  They are willing to sacrifice their “seriousness” for the musical experience. Drummer Tom Vayo is a recent addition to the Aqueous line-up. His style behind the kit has elevated the Aqueous sound; I didn’t think they could be any tighter and more on point then they were, but it’s happened. 

And the simple fact that Dave Loss never spilled the beans, well whether he knows it or not, that was the most magical part of it all.  Because in my mind I was allowed to think it was all for me; that it was all my idea.  And by the end of the night, I realized something better.  In the end, it doesn’t matter where an idea comes from, it’s about being a part of it.  And in the end, knowing would simply ruin the illusion.

I’ve never felt more welcomed into a band’s scene as I have into the Aqueous fan base.  It’s wonderful to meet fellow women who get that sometimes, you just want to rock out.  It’s thrilling to meet people that want to talk about the music.  I’ve spent my whole life looking for people that wouldn't want to stuff a sock in my mouth the minute I started talking about my favorite bands.  

At the end of the night, Mike thanked the crowd.  You could see the pride; that he truly felt humbled and supported.  As he closed out his words, he noted that they were hitting the road again and that he hoped they could “continue to make Buffalo proud”.  Trust me boys, you already have.  

This past weekend, four stunning musicians played me rainbows. Literally, if someone asked me what rainbows sound like, I'll say Aqueous - Halloween 2015. And then magically, when leaving the venue, the air was filled with the smell of honey nut rainbows. I'm not quite sure how they pulled that detail off, but kudos!

Seriously, all silliness and rainbows aside... The amount of dedication and hard work that went into doing what the Aqueous team this weekend is astounding!Those of us that were blessed enough to be a part of that moment realize how special it was. Thanks for playing me rainbows boys! It's every little girls fantasy! And it’s humbling to watch a band that even as the gain success truly remembers that there is no place like home.