To get to Anaheim, we got on the highway and onto the 5, or what I think was the 5, passing by Burbank and Griffith Park. After we finally made it out of the typical traffic jam through Downtown LA, I started to think about how going to concerts means that you are deliberately paying people money in hopes that they will make you feel happy. Sure, that applies to a lot of things, but it’s more blatant here when you consider that you can just listen to the music online with no cost to you. I still wanted go to the concert, but my mind was ruminating about this for a minute or so.
After an hour or 2 of driving on the freeway we finally made it to Anaheim. I like that place. I liked that it seemed from my first impression that there wasn’t an obvious division between “yuppie neighborhoods” and “poor neighborhoods” unlike in LA. Dad spent a while driving around showing me various spots around the neighborhood where he grew up in the 60s and 70s. If the gentrification got so bad to the point where I had to stop living in The Valley, then I’d definitely would like to live in Anaheim. The different looking street signs induced an uncanny valley effect.
On the way to House of Blues we passed by Disneyland. I jokingly suggested that we run over a bunch of people leaving Disneyland that were currently walking on a crosswalk. House of Blues was a place in this gigantic mall that had this huge maze of a garage that we had to navigate through in order to park our car. There was tons of cars in the way and we were constantly getting blocked in our path. After dawdling all the way over to the 4th floor, we walked over to the exit of the garage and were now on the 4th floor of the mall.
Me and dad saw a huge line of people set to attend the concert and joined them. We then put on paper rings on our wrists before finally entering inside. The inside of the theatre had this large wide space in front of the stage and there was two small bars serving snacks and shit on both the left and the right of the audience. On top of both of the places serving food were these balconies where the people who bought the VIP passes sat down while us peasants in front of the stage had to stand. The venue wasn’t the most lit place in the world but the stage flashed bright blue lights which cast bottomless, yet colorful shadows on everyone that looked cool, imposing, and dreamlike. I felt like I was in a surreal music video from the early days of MTV.
After almost like, 20 minutes of standing, the first band of the night named Shock Therapy came up on stage. I had no idea who the fuck these guys were. I tried googling them but I intially got confused when Google gave me results about this band from the 80’s with the same name, which made things even more confusing when I saw all these obvious zoomers coming up on stage. I eventually found the original Instagram post announcing the concert and found this current band’s Instagram.
When they started playing the lights were now flashing all sorts of colors. The singer’s voice was robotic. The blast of sound coming from the band made my voice inaudible when I tried to speak and it felt like my beating heart was being lightly grabbed by someone's hand after my chest was sliced open.
Suddenly, during the third song the band was playing, a guy in lobster costume came up on stage. A concert stagehand also threw a giant inflatable lobster at the audience. I thought all this lobster stuff was cool, and I gained an appreciation for lobsters that day. If I had the ability to rewrite my life like scenes in a movie, I would try to shoehorn dialogue, allusions, and imagery related to lobsters into the screenplay. The band was good too. After their performance dad kept comparing their sound to early Devo and The Stranglers.
Next, the Skatalites came up. It was just as awesome as I could have imagined. I never learned how to properly skank, but I tried to anyways during the second song. It looked retarded so I stopped. After finishing one of the songs, the band announced that they were gonna play some reggae. I was disappointed.
Picture this in your head: Ska is a gorgeous, fascinating, enrapturing 19 year old big breasted blonde vixen in college who occasionally strips naked for strangers online when money’s tight. I’d fuck her. Reggae on the other hand, is her retarded, tiresome, bratty, tweenage little brother who likes to spend his time squeaking loudly at his gaming headset because he can’t handle a little trolling on Xbox Live.
But somehow, when The Skatalites started playing some reggae, I was subjected to the most orgasmic sounding bass and drum playing I have ever heard in my life. I don’t know if this means that reggae is actually good or that this broken clock of a music genre was actually hitting the right time for once due to being played by some actually talented musicians instead some hippie cunt.
After they finished playing for the night I spent my time before The Aquabats came on stage trying to get a good look at the album cover T-shirts of people nearby. They had a lot of cool artworks which made me want to google all the names of the albums. It was extremely difficult to try this in the middle of the massive crowd and I got super afraid of accidentally groping someone or looking creepy.
By the time The Aquabats got on stage I was finally getting tired of being forced to stand. My legs started to hurt. The Aquabats were gonna be the final band performing, but they took the longest to perform their set.
The first song they played was “Super Rad”, which got me pumped. I felt tempted to sing along with the crowd but I initially felt too embarrassed to because of my shitty singing voice. But in the final minute of the song I lost my feeling of self restraint and yowled the chorus at the end like everyone else. The band performing gave out a big hypnotic energy that caused euphoria and a feeling of being a mindless zombie who would do anything upon the band’s command. I realized this when MC Bat Commander demanded at one point that everyone find someone to hug, also adding: "Parents, if you see some guy hug your child punch them out.". His command made me hug my father; something that I would never do otherwise. Or that’s what I thought at the time...
In the midst of my happiness, I thought about death. I remembered what Clark told me dying was like this one time. He mentioned once being clinically dead after a heroin overdose before being revived. Though admittedly while I forgot most of the details of what he told me, I’ve learned that the afterlife is basically just pitch black darkness. Though, I think he mentioned hearing sounds of a river or a shore. I thought about being in the afterlife. All I would have left from the time I was alive are my memories. I imagined trying to replay happy memories in my mind over and over again for all of eternity. But eventually I’d run out of things to think about and would have nothing else to do but mindlessly continue being in the void. Why does being dead have to be so boring?
When the concert ended and the crowd dispersed I noticed Eaglebones Falconhawk standing on the edge of the stage, throwing pieces of paper towards the remaining people in the audience for god knows what reason. There was a piece of paper on the stage that made him turn around and bend over because it was behind him. I spent a couple of seconds staring at his ass.