Is it rude to say that a particular city’s crowd/show on a given tour is tame? Even by way of comparison? Because we just got back to our hostel from seeing Thrice / La Dispute / gates (it was great btw) and I’m not even close to as disgusting as I was immediately leaving their LA show. What is implicit when I say that, comparatively, this was a pretty mild show compared to sets I’ve seen in LA, the OC, and even in Ventura? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the venue’s “no-mosh” policy, maybe it’s the scary bald dude with a goatee going aggro on the pit, or maybe it’s the weather or whatever. It was cooler in that venue though.

Oh, and about that Steve Austin knockoff dude - he was getting angry near the barricade because push-pitting push-pitted into him, so he’d thrust his hips out back in order to give himself a good three foot diameter of space. Needless to say, in a crowded concert venue this is asinine, and if you get mad when people push back against your pushing specific people out you need to find a new hobby. I’m sorry, goatee connoisseur, I know you’re upset that you’re a head taller than most of the people in front of you, but you’re gonna have to marinade in others’ essence just the same as all of us if you want to be near the front.

Anyway, yeah, being immediately behind this guy (and one of the recipients of his contentious reverse hip thrusts) was a disconcerting experience. I don’t usually feel unsafe in situations, especially not at rock shows (I usually feel safer than normal at shows, for what that’s worth), but I was legit afraid that an errant push would have this guy trying to scrape the inside of my skull with his elbow. I think he got kicked out? I mean, I was hoping for it, whatever.

Just…don’t be that guy. Like, for real, this isn’t an Eagles cover band cover band at the county fair, know what you’re getting youtself into, even in general, dig?

In non-bozo related news, I reinforced a lot of notions of my self that I haven’t considered in a while - probably since my last big vacation two years ago, up the coast to the PNW with two friends. That’s always a nice feeling.

Today Ian and I split up for most of the day, him exploring a neighborhood near the venue and me in central city. I haven’t been lost in a city with nothing in particular to do in a long time (recent trips to LA have, at times, been more goal-oriented than I’d like). Going around a city I know nothing about with no direction is a singularly liberating feeling for me.

For instance, in an moment of odd personal triumph, I decided against eating at local favorites in favor of a Starbucks latte and a few items off the dollar menu at McDonald’s for lunch. Today wasn’t about the things, or the specialties, or the cheesesteaks or whatever, it was about the feeling. I’m glad that I spent time trying cheesesteaks (in vain) and seeing Ben Franklin’s favorite pair of socks and stuff, but recapturing the sense of discovery and exploration meant that sticking to the familiar allowed me to anchor myself in a new place - McDonald’s is the same here as it is back home, same as it is in New York, and DC, and Radford, Virginia. Instead of allowing myself to get overwhelmed (mentally and/or financially), just grabbing a familiar latte and some disgusting(ly good) chicken nuggets let me really just focus on exploring without having to wonder if I’m eating at the best vegan asian fusion shop or not. It was a day of buildings, of people watching, and getting used to sights, smells, patterns, and everything I’ve missed since the last time I was lost for a while by myself in Portland, or Seattle, or wherever else.

Also, naturally, my Philadelphia-band playlist assisted with staying in the moment (regionally mapping travel playlists is a fun pastime for nerds), and I’m reminded again of how great mewithoutYou’s entire catalog is. (In case you were wondering, I mostly listened to mwY in sequence, but was planning on mixing in Nothing, Circa, Little Big League, and Hop Along for good measure.) It’s a win-win-win. They even liked my tweet.