I used to pride myself on my active participation and support of the hardcore scene. Not realizing that the year I have spent covering hip hop has caused me to be de-sensitized and ill prepared for the world that is “hardcore shows”. Forgetting the basic rules like: don’t bring a bag in, don’t wear low cut tops, fake glasses will be lost or broken (most likely, while on your face), as will shoes if not double knotted, only idiots wear their hair down, and be aware of the mosh pit. The rules I once lived by, now nothing but nostalgic memories. That was, until the evening I almost died trying to score an interview with Touche Amore.
It was Friday, September 29th, also known as, the day I would finally see Touche Amore! After 8 years of fandom it was happening and I was pretty certain I would cry. Especially with them performing Stage Four, an album written by the vocalist, Jeremy Bolm, about his mother’s passing. I was running late leaving work and had no time for indecision on what outfit to wear. Oblivious to the obvious, I threw on faded black jeans, a low cut tie-dye “half” shirt, and silver bomber jacket. My hair flowing free and wild, framing my face and the fake grandpa glasses it was supporting. Feeling myself, I head to the venue. Now fully prepared to execute my game plan of interviewing Touche Amore.
The venue hosting the show was The Camel, which coincidentally was the same venue HennyNCoke (the company I write for) hosts shows at. Feeling familiar, I dap up the doorman and scan the scene. It was immediately clear this crowd was larger than any crowd I had seen at this venue in the past. There was approximately 40 people standing out front, which was about ⅔’s of the audience that was normally there alone. Noticing my observation, the doorman chimes in, “I’ve sold about 300+ tickets myself, not including online or presale.” Damn. I couldn’t even fathom how this venue could hold that many people. Assuming he was exaggerating some, I head inside. Turns out, he wasn’t. It was packed. Like, wall to wall, stage to restroom, table to bar, packed. And as the hair from the girl in front of me whipped my face as she fist pumped to Single Mothers. I realized that for once, I was “out of my element”.
Fuck it. I was here for Touche Amore and was not letting any amount of “hair whipping” prevent me from making it to the front of the stage. Quickly, I began weaving in and out of the crowd. Waiting for any opportunity to push my way closer. With just one more row of people to go, I saw my next move and began to execute. Not noticing the man next to me, whom was double my size, had also identified this spot as his own. Out of nowhere, I feel his hands against my chest as I begin to fall backward. This prick! I had come too far and had too much pride to lose this spot. Despite how large he was. Before he could make his move, I bounce back, ducking in front of him while delivering an elbow to the ribs. His face went red with defeat as I stood in front of him, now directly at the stage. A moment later I feel a weak punch against my back. Okayyy, Bro.
The room had filled up more since my initial entry and as the band began to occupy the stage, it erupted with excitement and life. Touche Amore wasted no time, immediately jumping into the start of their set. Members of the crowd now attempted to claw their way to the front, a bit late I might add. After fighting my way to the stage and securing a spot so close I could touch the band member, there was no way in hell I was budging. The crowd swaying side to side and back to back all at the same time. Slowly but surely, the people who once stood next to me disappeared into the crowd as the stronger fans pushed forward. With feet planted apart to help distribute weight and balance, I swayed with them while screaming the words at the top of my lungs. It was beautiful, the energy and passion of the crowd and band alike. So beautiful, I barely noticed the large man who had now made it a point to try to knock me out of the way the whole show.
I could feel the bruises on my knees forming as the big man pushed his body heavily against mine. Causing me to lean over the speaker, onto the stage, my boobs now half way out. It was risky but I had to choose, keep my spot or keep my boobs in my shirt. My spot it was! Their performance solicited a heavy emotional response from the audience as they worked through the set list. It was apparent the band's music had a magical quality that a lot of hardcore artists don’t posses. That quality being the real, raw, feeling behind each word they have written. It was emotional, for the audience and for them. Belting the words to the song with Jeremy Bolm just 3 inches from my face. Everything was worth it.
It had come time for their final song and the crowd was not fucking around. Jeremy stepped off stage and within a moment, everyone went ballistic. Fans pushing and hopping off the stage in an attempt to crowd surf to him. The chaos of the everything caused a catastrophic shift amongst the audience. Taking down a number of the people in the middle and front, including myself. Everyone laid in a pile on top of one another, struggling to avoid being squished while trying to pull themselves up. Somehow, I had ended up on the bottom, the sound no longer reaching me. Assuming the fetal position, I laid balled on the ground until I felt “god’s hands” pulling me out.
It wasn’t god, per say, but instead a fan whom had witnessed me going under. “Are you okay?!” the fan and Nick Steinhardt, the guitarist, yelled to me at the same time. “Yeah!” I nervously mustered, still shocked that Nick had acknowledged my existence (#fangirl). Somehow, I still hadn’t lost my spot, or my glasses, shoes, and plugs for that matter. So with the rest of the crowd, I screamed their final song. I had never wanted to cry at a show before, that was, until I saw Touche Amore. It was the best performance I had ever seen based on their skill and sound alone, but the added touch of them performing an album with so much meaning took it to another level. After they finished, I made a snippy comment to the big man along the lines of, “That show was excellent, I’m so glad I got that dope spot!” Then proceeded to sneak out front in hopes of securing an interview and picture with the band.
As everyone packed up, Jeremy stood taking pictures and signing the various merch fans brought forward. Without hesitation, he agreed to an interview. Barely holding it together, I started my recorder. “What is your favorite tour food?” “What album had the most impact to you personally?” and “What is the craziest interaction you’ve had with a fan?” I stood in awe as he spoke and shared his answers with me. Unable to process the fact that I was privileged enough to be having a meaningful conversation with one of my idols. As I thanked him again for the interview, he thanked me for holding my place at the front of the stage, and I waved good-bye.
In an effort to re-live the moment, I went to replay our interview on my drive home. To my disappointment, it hadn’t saved. I couldn’t be mad, the night was one of the best I had ever had. Plus, it will forever be consider the night I almost died to get an interview with Touche Amore.
(Jeremy Bolm & Myself)