Monday, August 22, 2011

All Borders are Porous to Cats

My friend and I were chatting on the phone, excited by the prospect of her moving in soon, excited to finally see each other again.  Finally, we'd be on the same coast after two years apart.  And I decided since she was one of the people that I bonded with over music, to casually look over some of my favorite band's websites.  And there it was.  The title of their tour page read, "All borders are porous to cats."  And I scrolled down.

"Oh. My. Goodness.  World Inferno Friendship Society!!!"


"They are playing here in October!"

We hastily made plans to go, the tickets were inexpensive, it was going to be awesome, amazing.  But the planning had me reminiscing about Boston.  All of the shows that I went to, and all of the random travels and tribulations that came with being a show goer/kind of groupie to my friends' band.  Not a real groupie, mind you, but just a girl that hangs out with them, drinks with them, loves their music, and sells stuff at their merch table in exchange for free beer.

My favorite moments were traveling back from shows.  Our ears still hot and ringing, our feet tingling from the bass vibrating the room, the drums pounding in our heads, the restless bodies bouncing and swaying to the music, sometimes pushing and shoving, but always in good fun.  It was the energy that I loved, I fed off of, so thick that it was absorbed into my very essence. These rides home always proved to be interesting - everyone still tense and buzzing from the show.  You take the bus, you transfer to the subway, and you always find new friends along the way or lots of laughter.

Heading back from the Against Me! show at Club Lido, my slightly boozed up friends started a sing-a-long.  As if we didn't get enough of their music at the show, we now infected other people on the bus - they joined in, our voices ringing throughout the seats.  Onlookers gawked, but with slight smirks on their faces.  It was infections, it was raw, it was us.

From a Rise Against show, most of my friends were never interested in them - which was really a pity since they were one of my favorite bands.  I found myself wandering back to the T (subway) alone, scared at the darkened streets and the faint hiss of street lamps.  Once I got myself into the subway, I spotted someone else.  He was wearing a band shirt, and I heard him chatting up one of his friends.  I didn't know if they went to the show, but it was the energy, the feeling that they had together - yeah, they had absorbed it too.  We chatted the T-ride away, and I felt safe even though it was almost midnight and I was with perfect strangers.  We bonded for one moment in time over that same, intoxicating feeling.  The high we got when we felt the music invade our brains, where the world melted away and all that mattered was the show, the band, and the people around you.  School didn't exist for tonight.  Hell, society faded into the background.  It was us and the wonderful world of music.

And finally, one of my fondest, albeit scariest, experiences in Boston was when I went to a World Inferno Show.  All of their shows have been fantastic in my book, with their cult following.  You'd see the same people at each show and it almost felt like, after a time, that you knew them.  In a way, you grew up with these people.  There was the kid that started vibrating when "Peter Lorre" was played - there was the girl that always wore a suit coat, dress, and high black knee boots - and there was the guy that dressed up in his finest suit and danced his ass off.

One of my girl friends and I walked home after the show, bummed cigarettes off of some guys to offered to walk us in the opposite direction.  We declined and went towards Mass. Ave.  Now, if you ever have walked the bridge at night, you understand how dark it is.  The pressing blackness of 1am is no different.  So many things in Cambridge were closed, but the bar crowd was still locked up, drinking.  There were few people on the streets, and the bridge took us directly over the black Charles River.  You could barely even see the river in that light.  A few streetlamps hung what seemed like miles apart from each other, only allowing everyone in front of you to be back lit.  A man's silhouette walked towards us. 

My friend and I let our imaginations get the best of us.  What if he was holding something?  What if he ran away with one of us into the darkness?  What if he just shoved us off the bridge?  We wouldn't stand a chance, and we wouldn't even be able to see his face.  It was the unknowing, blank face scared us more than anything, I think.  I held my breathe as we passed by three different groups of strangers, each of them chatting about their evenings, none focused on us.  Safely across the bridge, the world ignited - bars were letting out, the drunks were headed home, some gentlemen and ladies were getting lucky that night.  Our conversation became cheery and lighthearted, once again focused on the music.

Music, for me, has always been an adventure.  I never can truly appreciate a band until I can feel their energy, see them perform.  I can see their emotions on stage, their eyes serving as reflectors to every word, guitar rift, drum beat, bass slap that rolls out of them.  Everything that they intend to convey in thirty to forty-five minutes of brilliant sounds.

This is why I was drawn towards my husband, a musician.  He's my lifelong adventure, and his music often makes me strive to reach my own goals - to write that novel, or finish that painting, or just be inspired and let the music take me to someplace where society melts away.  And I can imagine myself anywhere - in a crowded bar, in a field with swaying grass so high it strings your knees, in a busy subway car watching someone try to keep themselves upright after having too much to drink, or just at home in the backyard with my cat by my side and a warm hand in mind.  Music makes me feel perfect, even if it's just for one moment in time.

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