A Family Affair

Jerry Welsh, Staff Writer

Have you ever felt worthless? How about invisible? What if you even wanted to take your own life? We have all joked about these kinds of people, the cutters, those “emo” kids, the loners. The truth is that we all have insecurities. That beautiful girl you see walking down the street has a mirror for a worst enemy. Your average Joe may have some kind of secret tucked away in his past.

What is my point? We all face troubles in our life, and we all deal with them accordingly in different ways. Be it a D in your Psyche class or a loved one has just passed away, we all have a story, and we all have things that haunt us.

So what do you do when you feel like this? Many people, including myself, put on a pair of headphones. Music. Saves. Lives. Period. What we call music is nothing more that organized sound, vibrations travelling through the air. But if it is that simple, how can music be so powerful as to move us to tears? To make us happy when happiness seems so far away? How can one song save someone from taking their own life?

On Friday, September 16, I had attended the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival. I had fooled myself, thinking that I was simply just going to a simple rock show. After all, I have been to so many before, why would this one be any different? I had taken it upon myself to write a concert review for “The Sentry,” but little did I know that this small assignment would open an opportunity to me. A part of me knew then, when I took on the assignment that I was looking for something bigger than a simple review. Bad reporting etiquette? Yes, possibly. But being objective was out of the question. I was looking for a story, something bigger. What did this show “mean?”

This is the only concert I have ever attended by myself, with no friends to distract me. Watching the bands and the crowd react with them, I began to see the power of music. I saw the mosh pits, people helping other people, and crowd surfers who became king of the world for two seconds.

These people (at least the majority of them) are the ones who go unnoticed by you every day. They are your cooks, your waiters and waitresses, your clerks, cubical workers, strippers and drug dealers. But today, their profession means nothing to them or anyone else. They come on this beautiful Friday night to be taken away. They come to feel free, if only for a short while, liberated momentarily by the rebellious noise.

By sheer happenstance, I had the opportunity to meet several band members and have a very in depth conversations with all of them. Gabriel Garcia, singer and guitarist for Black Tide, was walking around blending with the crowd. I could tell that he felt uncomfortable being seen as a typical rock star. Soft spoken at first, he began to come around. I asked him what it’s like to perform for all these people.

it’s awesome dude…I have been doing this since I was 14 when our first record came out, and it’s just amazing to be out on tour with all our friends,” he said. The camaraderie between all the bands on tour was something he stressed to me. It was like a big family. Everyone was looking out for each other. Not wanting to hold him up, he left me with a brotherly handshake as he pulled out his phone to call family back home.

Family – a very prominent theme that I had recognized that night. Later on that night, I found myself walking around between band sets. I bumped into Craig Mabbit, singer of Escape the Fate, walking along, talking to fans that had recognized him in the dim light. This was not the first time I had saw him that day. Earlier, he was off to the side in the parking lot, playing ball with his daughter. It was certainly a picture. Here was this guy, rock star and “professional partier”, playing catch with his daughter on tour.

I yelled his name, just to say hello, but he actually jogged over to greet me. Probably the most down-to- earth person I had met that night, he tore down every single stereotype about being a rock star. He was in it for the fans, for the love of music, and most of all for his daughter. I asked him about new music, vocal techniques, favorite drinks, and even his new clothing line that’s on its way into production. But nothing made him smile more than when I brought up his daughter.

That’s my girl”, he said simply.

I watched some of my favorite bands, like Black Tide, Escape the Fate, Seether, and Avenged Sevenfold perform like gods on a stage. Fans were echoing every line, and singing louder than the band themselves.

The escapism was obvious. Thousands of people in one place, gathered together for the sole purpose of leaving behind their lives for one night of being free. I walked away feeling enlightened. I saw firsthand the power of music, family and friends. Amidst all the drama and unwanted things I will accumulate in this lifetime, nobody can ever take this from me. I’ll have my Family. I’ll have my friends. And I’ll have my music. The next time you have something happen in your life, and you just can’t see a way out, grab your computer and throw on that special song, call mom, dad, Aunt Sue, or your best friend, and tell them you love them. Then ask yourself – Can I get through this?