In my nine years of playing shows, never have I played a show quite like the one we played Saturday night at Hailey's. Opening for Tilly and the Wall and Pony Up!, we hoped this would be a fun show. As simple as it sounds in words, it was and so much more.
When I pulled up at 7:50, there was already a line of about thirty people. As the rest of us loaded in, more people kept showing up and lining up. By the time we got to play, there was roughly 100 people watching us and plenty more listening outside in line. 100 people may sound like small potatoes to some, but not for us. Plus, this was a whole different crowd. Our last show in Denton was two years ago at a diner where the audience consisted of some friends of ours and the band members in the other band on the bill.
Despite some missteps (a longer, makeshift intro on one song, on-the-spot transposing in another), I felt like we did a great set. I couldn't stop smiling and singing along not because of how large the crowd was, but how much fun I was having playing live. As someone who used to love playing drums as a way beating out my mental frustrations, I'm now at a point where I just love the idea of playing music, especially the drums. So I really enjoyed our thirty minutes on stage as I normally do but slightly different this time out.
Pony Up! sounded great with their poppy atmospheric rock as did Tilly and the Wall's folksy pop and stomp. If you've never heard Tilly and the Wall before, they have a tap dancer that plays on an amplified block of wood instead of a drummer. Yes, the beats sounded like Riverdance at times, but it was actually enjoyable overall. People were going nuts for them and they ended up playing two encores.
So why all this gushing? Well, as someone who knows what is like to play to just a couple of friends at midnight on a Saturday night at a youth center, I could really appreciate a show like this. I don't have stars in my eyes that demand that I play only for big crowds, but it's a nice feeling to play cold turkey to a whole other (and large) audience.
One other thing I have to add. After Tilly and the Wall finished and the crowd starting thinning out, a familiar face walked up to me. Turns out it was the guy who was nearly paralyzed for life in an accident two years ago and went to see Braid on their reunion tour in a wheelchair. I got a chance to talk to him a year later at a Firebird Band show and he was now walking with a slight limp. From what I observed Saturday night, he walks perfectly fine and is doing well. He liked our set and gave us some nice kudos. It was great to see him again and I thanked him for coming out.
So why was this encounter so amazing to me? Well, it's because this guy was from a younger generation that is often made light of for not understanding the power of music. This generation knew punk rock as blink-182 and New Found Glory instead of the Ramones or the Sex Pistols when they were growing up. Critics tend to fear the worst with this generation (and younger) that they will never understand music on a deeper level because of stuff like reality shows and the Internet. Well, like in all generations of music fans, there are the ones that are into it on a passive level and then there are the ones that take it to a deeper level. Knowing this guy's story of how he was so committed to recovering from his accident to see Braid on their final tour (and the miracle that he can walk again) is pretty well beyond inspiring for me. I can now remind myself of how powerful music is to any generation despite cultural fads. This is what it's all about to me with playing and listening to music.