After Fluff Fest we lounged our way to Prague in our new gigantic van with our friends from Richmond, Hate Edge and Mary. (Dead Vows and their mini-coop went back to Sweden.) We stayed up giggling late into the night and at some point someone realized it was my birthday. I am now 27 years old.
The next morning we went to my "birthday lunch" which was terribly coordinated and no one we invited came (I personally invited all of Fluff Fest during our set. After the set people asked me when and I shrugged. This kind of planning could have something to do with it being a bust.) I got what I had been set on ordering since March when we planned this tour. Vegetable needles with peanut sauce:
Then we walked around Prague:
This was my favorite show of tour. I'm asking Dave right now if it was his favorite as well and he can't decide, but says that it's in his top 3. Pierce is asleep in the loft so I can't ask him. Anyway, point is- this show ruled. It was us, Outrage, Wait in Vain, Reconcile, and a band from Portugal called Together. There were kids from Russia, Finland, Ukraine, and basically everywhere else in attendance. The room was so crowded I couldn't get close to watch the other bands. I played in my birthday dress and felt ridiculous, but that good kind of ridiculous like the kind you feel on Halloween. People laughed with (or at?) me, since I lacked anything to wear with a dress or time or place to do my hair, I paired my beautiful black satin dress with high top tacky-like-Jersey-Shore silver and gold fat-laced Baby Phat canvas sneaks, a plastic cake pin I got at Fluff Fest, and a backwards Wayne's World hat. But really, if any outfit was to sum up my 27 years of life- that would it.
A few words about Kingdom: We're not for everyone. (I think Trapped Under Ice is the only band that can actually stake that claim.) We don't draw huge crowds, we don't sell zillions of shirts, and we probably never will. We're vegan, we're straight edge, we only have 1 breakdown, I sing too fast for most people the learn the words- we're not an easy band. But whatever our appeal (or lack thereof), we're the band we want to be. Being ourselves has grown us accustomed to shows where a small group of people know us really well, the rest look on bobbing their heads. Our sets are rarely filled with Have Heart-style pile ons or Terror-esque mega pits. However, this night was not our average night. Due to Fluff Fest ending the night before and most people's flights leaving Prague the next morning, every kid that liked us in a 6 country radius was at this show.
Our set was amazing. An explosion of dives and sing-a-longs, with no air left to breathe in the humid little venue, and no room to stand anywhere- not even on the stage. At one point during our set I looked out at all the familiar faces from places we've been over the course of this tour and realized that the small group of people that knew us well was not-so-small. And as I watched our old friends, new friends, and those yet unmet all glistening under those green surface-of-the-sun hot stage lights, dancing to melodies written by my dearest friends, and screaming out lyrics I wrote in my tiny pest-infested bedroom... it became clear to me that my life had taken me to the exact point, to the exact place, that I've always wanted to be. And all the things I "sacrificed" to get there? (Going to school, making money, acquiring nice things, etc, etc) I never wanted those things. All I've ever wanted is nights like this one in Prague.
After our set a few kids approached with a chocolate cake that they had baked for me before the show. Out came a lighter and a single candle was lit, and in the company of total strangers, flattered and happy, my laughter blew it out. Then the dudes, some of the kids in the other bands, the kids at the show, and I all devoured the cake in a matter of minutes.
Together had been held up getting to the show and it was assumed they were no longer playing, but during our last song in they came, just in the nick of time. On stage the singer mentioned that it was kinda rad that the opening band playing last, how hardcore seems to have a hierarchy of "headliners" on top and then everyone else below. It was a perfect thing to say, especially as we all lingered in the after-glow of Fluff. This band had only been around for 3 months. This was their first tour. They tore up the stage, and kids tore up the floor. I stood at the back of the pit in my satin dress, smiling. "This next song is a cover..."
They played "New Direction" by Gorilla Biscuits. I have seen this covered one million times. I have seen this covered one hundred times on this tour alone. But the amazing thing about that song is that it never gets old. Dave ran from behind the merch table and I left my quiet observation behind as we charged the stage with everyone else. The band stopped playing and the crowd screamed together, "REBIRTH OF HARDCORE PRIDE!", then the guitars came roaring back in. I forgot that I was on tour, I forgot that my band had played just 15 minutes before- I was another kid at the show, screaming the words we all knew oh-so well, words that were the perfect way to end this evening.
The set ended, people filtered out of the show. Handshakes and hugs, circles of conversation grew smaller and smaller as people left, and eventually it was our turn. Back in the van, Dave spoke in an echo of my own thoughts. He said that during Together's set he had forgotten we were on tour, and felt like he was just another kid at the show, and that it felt great. That was the just kind of night it was. We don't get many of those, and don't think that we ever take them for granted. Thanks Prague.