It has taken me my entire life to figure out one very prominent but at the same time slightly disturbing aspect of life and living that I have always been drawn to. This aspect is not something that should make me feel good and does not really serve a purpose of making anyone feel good, but in some sadistic way it does nothing but make me feel good. Ever since I can remember I have always been completely infatuated with the horrors that can plague the human psyche. Whether it is a realistic horror or some over-the-top yet somehow believable horror that has the ability to consume a person's mind and drive him or her to do something that no one in their right mind would ever even think of doing, I love every god damn moment of it.
I think this all stems from a one thing and that is movies. Sure books and songs can depict the evils that live within us in very interesting and gripping fashions but it is the visuals that come hand in hand with film that is particularly striking to me. I am not entirely certain but I think it all started with Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas. Now this is not a film that I necessarily grew up with or one that I watched that frequently at all, but it may be one of the first films I ever remember seeing. Its frightening visuals and spooky atmosphere really left a heavy impression on my very young psyche and elicited some sort of thrill out of me that I had never felt before. It made me feel comfortable and, in a way, at home.
Disney sure had a way of fucking up my brain throughout my younger years. I distinctly remember that after watching the Lion King everyone was humming Hakuna Matata or I Just Can't Wait To Be King, but I was the only one thinking "Man, Be Prepared is one heck of a song!" I think it was just the nonchalant way that Scar simply says "No, we're gonna kill him," that really shakes me up and gets my blood pumping. What kind of event could ever lead a person (or in this case talking lion) to ever feel like that? It is this tipping point into manic insanity that both fascinates me and fills me with wonder.
As I grew older the next distinct film I can remember falling in love with was The Dark Knight, and this was because, as most people will agree with, how completely fascinating it was to watch Heath Ledger's portrayal of the greatest villain ever created, The Joker. All my life I always thought Batman was my favorite superhero because of the gadgets and the martial arts and the cool vehicles he drove but no. It was all about the Joker and it always will be. Batman, while unique and dark in his own right, does not hold a candle to the intricacies that the character of The Joker creates. We do not know why he does what he does and we do not even know where he came from, and quite frankly neither does he. He has no back-story and nothing to even allow him to justify his own actions. He demands anarchy just, to put it quite simply, because he is bored! The world as it is would be a boring, albeit nicer, place if it was not plagued by certain evils. This aspect is absolutely fascinating to me! No one ever WANTS to live a life driven by hate or anger or jealousy or lust but it DOES happen and it DOES effect us. Now of course it will probably never drive anyone to the point of The Joker but to realize that that sort of evil is out there is...I don't even know how to explain it. It is such an unknown, dark place that I can not help but want to immerse myself in via cinema.
I recently just watched the classic 1960s horror film Psycho and I feel this movie perfectly embodies everything I just talked about. Norman Bates is a starving soul. He is starving for attention from his mother, he is starving for lust, he is starving for acceptance and all of these things consume him and drive him to absolute insanity. Everything I have ever loved about the evils of this world can be summed up by that famous macabre grin that Norman gives at the end of the film. I believe that this character really has to be what started it all as far as psychotic murderers. Every "psycho" in film since 1960 can be traced back to...well...the original psycho! Whether it be Jack Nicholson in The Shining, Alex from A Clockwork Orange or even Heath Ledger's Joker, I believe that none of those characters would be as gruesomely likable if it was not for Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates as well as Hitchcock's brilliant directing.
I will never truly understand what it is about the darkness in people that I will always enjoy. Maybe it is the intriguing fact that no matter who you are, where you came from or what you look like, there is a specific thing or event that could happen that will leave you spiraling into madness. Whether it is too much isolation, too much jealousy or for no traceable reason at all, it could happen to anyone. Now that is scary.
Here I am. Christmas day (well the end of Christmas day), and I couldn't help but notice that I was/am not excited for anything about the holidays. As I saw my little cousin's smiling faces opening a ton of presents, enjoying the thrill and surprise of Christmas. And then I glanced down at all the cards I received with nothing but money. Yeah, money is great! We can all use a little more of it from time to time (so far I received about 300 dollars, win!), but the holiday spirit just isn't there if you're not unwrapping a gift of any size with no idea what is under the paper.
I miss it a lot.
And I realized the Christmas "cheer" has declined considerablly each year as I get older. I saw it coming, I really did, but I didn't realize it was going to be this disheartening. I remember waking up at 5 AM on Christmas morning as a young kid to see what "Santa" had brought me this year and just getting this dorky-ass grin across my face as I saw the plethora of presents under our colorful plasitc tree.
This year we opened presents on Christmas Eve night for the first time ever, and I had three gifts (excluding the Underoath/Thursday VIP package my mother bought me as an early gift). Two movies and an external hard-drive. Three things that I wanted, yes. But pretty unexciting things to say the least. The next day I celebrated with my family and only got the cash that I had mentioned earlier. I know I shouldn't be bitter because I really didn't ask for anything, but I'm just saying I miss the surprise and delight of the holidays that I so constantly urged for as a child.
As you already realize, this blog is going to be about my venture to Vans Warped Tour 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. This was my first time going to Warped Tour so let's just say I was ecstatic to be able to attend the so-called punk rock summer camp. My day started bright and early at 6 AM, leaving my house for Comerica Park in Detroit (about a two hour drive). After we got there and finally got inside, I checked out some of the tents inside the park and than headed outside to lose my Warped Tour virginity and let me say it was everything I expected!
I started out the day with checking out Pierce The Veil. I only stayed for them long enough to hear the first song they played (Caraphernelia) and after they were done with this song I headed over to the main stage to catch Bring Me The Horizon and boy was I in for a surprise. I had no idea that I was going to be in the center of chaos! Right when Oli Sykes came out and started bellowing "We will never sleep, cause sleep is for the weak!" all hell broke loose and I found myself in the middle of a human storm of people. Before I knew it I became seperated from my friends in a struggle to get out of there before I died! (I'm a small guy not meant for mosh pits). After I finally escaped the madness and found my friends I enjoyed the rest of BMTH's set from a safe distance, but left before their last song to get a good spot for my top band of the day, Set Your Goals. And I am so happy that I did, because it was arguably the best set I saw all day.
I ended up right in the front row and was so pumped and when they came out the whole crowd erupted. They came out firing on all cylinders, opening with the heavy Gaia Bleeds and the crowd's reaction was infectious. Their whole set was sprinkled with plenty of old songs and plenty of new ones (from Echoes to Goonies Never Say Die to my personal favorite Summer Jam) and I was having the time of my life, jumping and singing along to every word. After the crazyness subsided and SYG was finished I headed over to the Ernie Ball stage to check out a local band called Act As One and they didn't disappoint. Delivering heavy pop-punk that had the whole (surprisingly large) crowd going nuts.
After a few songs from AAO, I left to reunite with my friends again as we watched the opening song from Andrew W.K. I'm not a fan of him so I left my friends once again to go inside to catch my favorite local band Your Best Friend. The place they were playing was not really music friendly so the sound quality wasn't very good but YBF's crazy energy made up for it and made me satisfied that I missed out on Breathe Carolina to see them.
After YBF's awesome set, I went back outside to catch a bunch of bands that were playing at the same time. I ran as fast as I could to get out to the Glamour Kills stage and catch Alesana before they started but when I got out there they were already playing and the crowd was one of the biggest I saw all day. So I stayed for a few songs and let me say that their vocalist Shawn Milke was the best live singer I saw all day. He hit all the notes that he does on the album and I gave him huge props for that, but I got frustrated with how far away I was so I left to catch some of We Are The In Crowd's set.
WATIC had the smallest crowd of the bands that I saw but that wasn't surprising. All of the members were really good but the female singer (her name escapes me) was just dreadful so I headed on over to the Altec stage to catch Attack Attack! They came out and started playing some song I never heard so I became rather uninterested and went inside to get something to eat.
I met up with my friends again and after having a bite to eat I had some time to kill before the next band I wanted to see (I See Stars). So I decided to catch We The Kings' set on the main stage. I'm not as big of a fan of these guys as I used to be but I didn't have anything better to do, but I was glad that I saw them as they were one of the best bands I saw all day. The highlight of their set (to me) was their cover of The Middle by Jimmy Eat World. That song is near and dear to me so I was ecstatic when I heard the opening riff and I got just as into it as a 12 year-old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert. Another highlight was the contribution of Cassidy from Hey Monday on the song that Demi Lovato recorded with WTK (forgot what it was called) and I was blown away by her performance. She had an incredible voice which almost made me question if she was lip syncing or not, but either way incredible.
After WTK were done I headed back over to the Altec stage to see I See Stars. At this point I was really tired so I just watched the whole set from afar and it was altogether unimpressive but I enjoyed it all the same. Once ISS finished I had more time to kill and just relaxed catching glympses of Eyes Set To Kill and Closure In Moscow's sets at the Ernie Ball stage and than when the time came, we headed over back to the Glamour Kills stage early to get a good spot for Sum 41. As we waited Nevershoutnever was playing his set on the AP/Advent stage (which was literally 100 feet from the Glamour Kills stage) and me being the big pansy that I am knew most of the songs and I enjoyed singing along to them as I waited, and Mr. Drew's performance was really not that bad.
And now the event of the day! Nevershoutnever just finishes. The crowd's chanting "Sum 41! Sum 41! Sum 41!" and when they came out onto the stage and jumped right into The Hell Song, shivers went up my spine and you may have saw a glimpse of the 12 year old me jumping up and down screaming "Part of me won't agree! Cause I don't know if it's for sure!" Heck I'm getting chills right now just thinking about it! Sum 41 continued playing all of their old songs which was a huge pleasure for me as I'm not a fan of their new stuff, and ended with the obvious fan favorite Fat Lip leaving this as the one set that contended Set Your Goals' performance as best set of the day.
This concluded my first year of Warped Tour and I left feeling exhausted and satisfied with a smile on my face. It was the highlight of my summer and I already can't wait for Warped Tour 2011!