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Hello Nostalgia, My Old Friend

May 5, 2009

I volunteer with an organization called Lifebeat (The Music Industry Fights AIDS). Basically, the tour outreach program raises AIDS awareness and promotes safe sex through communicating with youth at shows. We hand out free condoms and literature, answer any questions they may have, etc. There is also a Hearts and Voices program which puts on shows at hospices and treatment centers for AIDS patients. You can learn more about Lifebeat (and volunteer!) at their website.

If you’re interested in continuing the fight against HIV/AIDS and are in the New York area, you might want to participate in the upcoming AIDS walk. I am unable to participate in the AIDS walk this year, however, my roommate will be, and here are a few words from her:

I’m happy to announce that this is the third year I will be participating in AIDS Walk New York. Once again, I will be walking the 6.2 miles through Central Park with the crew from LIFEbeat, a fantastic organization that works through the music industry to ensure that young people are informed about HIV prevention. This walk also marks my two-year anniversary as a LIFEbeat volunteer.

With all the advancements in healthcare that are enabling people with HIV and AIDS to live longer, fuller lives, it’s easy to forget that HIV/AIDS is still a significant problem, even in our own country. But did you know that every 9.5 minutes, someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV? And, sadly, 1 out of every 2 new infections occurs in a person under 25 years old.

Clearly, we are not doing enough as a society to reach our citizens, especially our youth, with the message of HIV awareness and prevention. This why I believe it is crucial to support the organizations that are out there doing this work. While being a LIFEbeat volunteer is enjoyable for many reasons – live music, fun events, being part of a great community – the best part is knowing that I am encouraging my peers to make responsible decisions that could possibly save their lives.

So please support this very important cause by giving a few (or many) dollars to sponsor me for AIDS Walk New York, which is taking place on May 17. Your money will support GMHC, LIFEbeat and over 40 other organizations that promote HIV prevention and provide social services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

For more information about the organizations and statistics I mentioned in this e-mail, please visit the following sites:

http://www.cdc.gov/nineandahalfminutes/

http://gmhc.org/index.html

If you would like to sponsor her, or anyone else for that matter, her personal page is here: http://aidswalknewyork2009.kintera.org/acp245AIDS Walk NY 2009.

After all of that, my post is actually about the last outreach show I worked: The Get Up Kids. Yes, world, the Get Up Kids are alive and kickin’. And I couldn’t be happier. In the late 90s/early 00s, the punk/emo scene was my thing. My favorite bands were MxPx, blink-182, Weezer, Dashboard Confessional, etc, etc. I slowly made what seems to be the normal transition into indie, but every once in awhile I get nostalgic for those bands. And even though I didn’t list them a few moments ago, the Get Up Kids are certainly one of them. I had a few GUK shirts, and in fact, the roommate whose AIDS Walk page I just shouted out and I met in a college class after she though my Get Up Kids shirt (in the style of The Godfather logo, hell yeah) was cool.

I wish I knew what happened with that shirt.

Anyways, the opener that night was a group called “Motzah’s Ballzes” which turned out to be Brand New. Oh, Jesse Lacey. They sounded awful. It’s really bizarre, because every review or snippet I’ve seen from the show is saying that they were wonderful, but no, Jesse Lacey sounded like he was dying. The screaming wasn’t working. He couldn’t stay on pitch. It was just sad. Granted, I was still downstairs handing out condoms, so I couldn’t SEE the performance, but from sound alone, it was sad. But at least I got to hear “Okay, I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t” and feverishly text message a bunch of old friends from 2003.

The Get Up Kids came on, and I haven’t been around that much energy in a NYC crowd in a long time. I haven’t been that energized at a show myself in a long time. It was one big, happy laugh fest. People were singing with their arms around each other, there was a mosh pit (which I stayed away from), during songs like “I’ll Catch You,” people brought out lighters. Not cell phones. Lighters.

It was one of those shows that reminded me that nostalgia can be a good thing. No one needs to live in the past. No one needs to only speak fondly of their youth and never move on. But every once in awhile, we can all gather together with that band that was there for us, sing at the top of our lungs and feel alive. And make no mistake about it, it’s been ten years since Something to Write Home About was released, and if I were a dude, me and my bros would all have “we’re loyal like brothers” tattooed on our inner arms above our elbows in fancy script or something.

They were funny, really funny, in their awkwardness and acceptance of how strange it was to be on stage together again. Playing for crowds that were now ten years older, wiser and still had all of the words to “Don’t Hate Me” memorized.

And happily enough, they played their cover of “Close to Me,” a B-side off of Eudora, or if you’re like me and owned every silly punk 80s cover compilation ever (thanks Warped Tour), you would recognize it off of Before You Were Punk 2.

I don’t know what I was expecting. But I knew that I wouldn’t be disappointed. And I wasn’t. Because they recognize their age. They recognize that the lyrics can be a bit silly coming from them now. But they’re not trying to recapture old glory or writing songs like “Everything Sucks” like MxPx eventually did (though I did just read that they’re coming out with a new On the Cover album, yes!), and they kept their battles in private unlike blink-182.

They’re just a band who got back together to celebrate the tenth anniversary of one of my favorite albums ever and realized that they could have us all celebrate with them. And it was glorious. Now if only they had played “Anne Arbour..”

Set list (Courtesy of PunkNews.org):
Coming Clean
Action & Action
The One You Want
Valentine
Holiday
Woodson
Never Be Alone
Red Letter Day
Up on the Roof
Campfire Kansas
Holy Roman
Mass Pike
No Love
I’m a Loner Dottie, A Rebel
I’ll Catch You

Encore:
Close to Me
Don’t Hate Me
Ten Minutes
Walking on a Wire

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to listen to some 80s punk covers and jump up and down. Because everything old is new again.

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