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#CoMoTripn: San Francisco

Three-hundred and eighty-two miles laid before my bloodshot eyes to make it to San Francisco for Coast Modern’s final show in the Temper Trap tour.  I got lost in Valencia trying to find my nostalgic Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf mocha.  My head too clouded for simple Google Maps instructions about when to take that right turn. The clock ticked 9:30 am and there wasn’t much time to drive the stretch, get checked in to the hotel, and relax before my last pre-concert ritual.

The long drive gave me an ungodly amount of time to think about my previous days.  Playing through all the places, people, and friends I’d seen along the way.  My heart swelled with appreciation and then immediately constricted in fear.  What the Hell was I doing?  The four show spree lulled me into this false comfort there would be more time, more music, even more selfies the next time.  My usual concert game includes trying to buy the band drinks, showering them with my appreciation, and snapping a million pictures together to commemorate the night in my work cubicle shrine.  Now, here I was on the final day with no viable selfies and one last chance.  I’d left all my hopes for concert success on one final night.  And that’s a lot of fucking pressure.

I won’t even go into the fact San Francisco hates my hair.  Its foggy haze wreaks havoc on whatever look I decide to sport.  Match this with four days of hard living, no sleeping, and we can pretty much guarantee photo nightmares.  With dried sweat hair pulled up in a pony tail and caked mascara streaking under my eyes, I set the cruise control on 80ish mph and headed up I-5.

My road trip companion (my phone) kept me company throughout the hours.  I chatted with Bestie, caught up with Tragic Spinster, and scrolled through snaps/tweets/statuses.  I even caught Coast Modern’s snaps where they were making the same long drive.  I shouldn’t have been surprised after I picked up a bag of Takis for lunch that I came up on their van.  For fear they might after catch a glimpse of my horrible state, I flew by at about 90 mph.  Better safe than sorry.  (Safe clearly being drive like a bat out of Hell while you take pictures of the scenery.)

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I rolled into San Francisco traffic around 4:00.  It’s always a crap shoot when you book a hotel in a city you’re not that familiar.  And with San Francisco you can pay $400 for a shithole.  Luckily, the hotel wasn’t bad.  They did make me sign several waivers about their contracted valet service so I pretty much kissed my car good-bye when they took it.

I had slight hopes I might sleep for an hour before starting the ritual, but it was a lost cause.  I found the ice machine down the hall, mixed up my last lemon drops, and started the ritual.

The San Francisco crowd was a tough one for me.  You’d think it would be easier since I met up with a lovely couple I’d met through Airborne on Twitter.  We’d been tweeting for months about the Coast Modern show and I was excited to finally meet in person.  We introduced ourselves, they saved my spot as I bought a cocktail, and even helped talk up Coast Modern to our neighbors.  It was the rest I struggled with.  All the other shows, I had no problem stirring up a group atmosphere.  People wanted to mingle.  San Fran did not have the same vibe.

I did meet a couple girls on the front barrier who were excited to hear me talk about Coast Modern.  The adorable brunette was celebrating her birthday.  I asked her to promise me she would give them a chance.  She even pinkie promised.

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When the show started, I actually heard the girls around me swoon.  No, I’m not exaggerating.  And it was really nothing new from my four days following the gentlemen.  I can’t tell you how many girls came back to tell me how beautiful they are.  My new pinkie swearing friend was one of the most effected.  When Coast Modern asked everyone to close their eyes and imagine being somewhere else for The Way It Was, she took the instructions to heart, as did all the other women around.  (Her friend, not so much.)

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That’s a pretty stellar photobomb, too!

Another amazing show.  Gazillion more pictures.  They’re just so fabulous.

After Coast Modern ended, I talked one of the stage crew into snagging the last set list for my trip collection.  Not nearly feeling enough of my vodka soda, I bailed from the front and hung in the dark shadows.  I encouraged Lovely Couple to stay upfront for Temper Trap and I would catch them after the show.

Exhausted, and a bit sad my trip was coming to an end, I headed to a side room for a cocktail and nachos.  With everyone else enjoying Temper Trap, I had the room pretty much to myself and the two bartenders.  And then the most amazing conversation happened as I watched Bartender #2 make my drink.

  • Bartender #1: Hey you want this?  (She holds up some sticker.)
  • Bartender #2:  What’s that?
  • Bartender #1:  An all access pass.  I’m not going to use it.
  • Bartender #2:  Nah, I don’t care about it.  Hey Susan, you want it?
  • Me: Fuck yeah, I do.
  • Bartender #2 : Don’t leave before your nachos are out.
  • Me:  Do you think I’m crazy?

My impulsiveness to snag this sticker didn’t give me much time to think it through.  But as I sat at my table waiting for my first meal of the day, I started to freak myself out.  What the Hell was I supposed to do with an All Access pass?  So I took to Snap Chat for a consensus or maybe some reassurance.

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I wish I captured the overwhelming response that I was an absolute dumb ass if I didn’t use the pass.  Here’s the thing no one thinks about…I wasn’t invited by anyone who would be found backstage.  So, here I am intruding in someone else’s private space.  And clearly, I hadn’t been drinking enough.  If I were drunk or with a group of friends, it’s a no-brainer.  However, I had a Snap Chat brigade waiting for my update.

I enjoyed those delicious nachos, gave myself a pep talk to be brave, and headed to the stage.  There was a large security man sitting in front of a door, which meant that one had to be important, right?  I stopped a passing cocktail waitress and asked her how you get backstage.  (Can you feel how cool I am already?  OMG…I should’ve known at this moment things were not going to get better.)  She asked the security guy who stood less than two feet from us and he shook his head yes.  “Can this sticker get me back there?” He told me I had to wear it before he opened the door and I promptly forgot how to take the paper off a sticker.

I thought when the door closed behind me and I was on the other side, somehow life would change.  I mean, this was like a dream sequence, right?  Uh, nope.  There was a small staircase to get to the same level as the stage and and then another small one leading to a hall with a bunch more rooms I wasn’t invited into.

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Yep, this is me living the dream taking a picture of a hallway and closed doors.

To calm my nerves, I told myself this was all great research.  I snuggled up at the side door and watched Temper Trap from an angle I’d never seen a show.

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It was interesting, but nothing like being in the front, in the body crushing mix.  The energy from where I stood was one of an observer versus a participant.  It wasn’t nearly the rush I thought would come from wearing the elusive backstage pass.  And then it got worse.  People showed up.

For my first few minutes, I was alone in my awkward.  All of a sudden, Coast Modern was there and my uncomfortableness rocketed off the charts.  Everyone in their group looked a little confused as to what the Hell I was doing there, but no one said anything.  I pressed my shoulder even harder into the wall hoping I could disappear.  Why not leave, you ask?  Well, the area is small and they’re standing opposite to me with the staircase out behind them.  I felt like if I pushed everyone down to run out, I might draw even more attention.  Instead, I stood there, without a word spoken, and pretended like I belonged.

And for a brief few moments, I thought “this isn’t so bad after all.”  (This is what writers call foreshadowing.)  Temper Trap played their last song, the crowd roared, and they started to walk off stage.  In my direction.  With absolutely no place for me to hide. Exit still blocked. Holy shit!  And then there were about 14 people crammed in the smallest space.  Everyone chatted comfortably after touring together for weeks, except for this one stranger off to the side.  More confused looks.  No words directed towards me.  And me dying for the first person to point their finger and ask the obvious, “Who the fuck is she?”

Even though I was internally dying from embarrassment, the crowd chanting for the encore was the best thing ever.  Having been in so many audiences begging for your beloved band to return, seeing it from another angle was a unique experience.  And one I won’t share.  Because everyone needs to have their own.

When Temper Trap went back on stage, and there was a small break in the barrier between the door and me, I got the Hell out of there.  I used my pass to stand off to the side of the stage by myself behind the barrier, which was a lot more comfortable.  The final Sweet Surrender played and the tour was officially over.

The crowd funneled out into the merch area.  I looked for Lovely Couple, but they sent me the saddest thing. They had to leave early to catch public transportation.  Concert buddy fail. I did run into someone I saw at the Coast Modern show from June.  She remembered me and posed for a picture. Then the girls from the front found me.  They wanted a guide to the Coast Modern merchandise booth and I did what I love best.  I took new Coast Modern fan Birthday Girl to the present she wanted most.

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She was so excited. Can you tell?

The night got closer to ending with the crowd thinning out.  My adventure slipping away to only being a memory.  One where I didn’t yet have a picture to add to my work cubicle collection.  This is where my pass really paid off.  While I’m usually one of the last in the building, it usually ends with security ushering me out the door.  (Yes, that’s true.)  That little orange sticker gave me some defense and I was able to make it last a little longer.  I got to work making sure I had Luke personality selfies, snap cuteness, and my final set list signed.

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My only direction to Luke was “be your cute self” and he was.

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You know, they’re champs. I ask them to sign many and they make it different every time.

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I think Luke calls this pose “the flower.”

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This will pretty much be my Christmas card for the next five years even though my hair is wrecked.  Damn you, San Francisco.

The night ended.  I stumbled out. Uber took me back to my hotel.  The adventure was over.  I crashed across my bed and got a solid five hours sleep before having to get up to head home.  The seven hour trek back to reality was long and somber, dreading the Post Concert Depression I knew would arrive in a couple days.  It gave me time to replay through all the amazing moments I’d experienced along the way.  Things I couldn’t have imagined months ago when I bought the tickets.

Coast Modern delivered every night with a unique experience.  They were entertaining, charming, and created a party each time they performed.  The crowds reacted differently in each city but shared the same enthusiasm.  After the shows Coast Modern continued to impress with their generosity.  They give time and appreciation to fans, which will always leave me 100% loyal.  If this blog series hasn’t yet convinced you to give them a chance, then I leave you with my last final evidence of their extreme awesomeness.  My favorite snap of all time. (And is my ring tone. Kidding, not kidding.)  All these reasons are why Coast Modern will forever be one of my favorites.

 

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#CoMoTripn: Los Angeles

Breaking through from the Orange County line into LA county means stopping in my old hood.  While I lived in Belmont Shore for eight years, my favorite spot was Seal Beach.  It’s quaint small town feel, beautiful view from the pier, and excellent sushi restaurant made it a must visit in my travels.

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I could’ve sat there all day. A major thing I miss about California.

With the sun finally out, I enjoyed soaking in the warmth and smelling the sea salt air while I walked up and down wood pier planks.  Everything looking so familiar and foreign at the same time.  I Snap Chatted the calming waves to my Oregon friends, who  were suffering through another fall storm, before heading to my favorite restaurant to have lunch by myself.

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Table for 1

There wasn’t much time to visit some of my other favorite places, such as the fine paper store or the small local shop on Second Street that sells the best gardenia scented candles, due to the looming traffic I knew would be waiting for me in Los Angeles.  By early afternoon I was back on the road heading to Santa Monica to meet up with another old friend.

When I visit LA, I have a pretty sweet deal.  My friend-since-birth happens to have a kickin’ guest house he lets me crash in.  I pulled up by 2:00pm and unloaded all my gear again.  A little shaky from heavy drinking and light sleeping, we caught up on old stories, high school peer updates and such.  He gave me the low down on what I might expect for traffic and how early I would need to leave.  He even dared mention walking a mile to take a train.  WTF?  Uh, no.  Uber it was.  To make up for the hour it was going to take to get to the venue, ritual had to start early and move a bit faster to leave some time to enjoy a cocktail with my friend in his oasis backyard.

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Drinking lemon drops out of a pint glass.  I’m that classy.

Uber picked me up around 5:30pm and we headed into the belly of the traffic beast.  The driver and I talked for a while until I realized I was going to have to keep up conversation for at least an hour.  That’s when I turned to my phone and started with the selfies  I think I might have asked him if that’s what everyone does in the back seat.  He reminded me I probably didn’t want to know what some people did in his backseat.  (Ewww, I’m sitting there.)

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And yes, I matched my hair to my outfit.  (Not really, but people ask that all the time.)

By the time I rolled up to the venue, there was already a line snaked along the building.  Once again, I was alone.  Not even Mother/Daughter would be there for reassurance.  I stopped at the bar first thing for my double vodka soda and about died when I paid $25.00 (without tip yet) for it.  People already lined the barrier by the time I got there.  The nice thing about being alone is I just asked for them to let me in to watch Coast Modern and they did.

After meeting a lovely couple who drank this awful blue thing, our crowd continued to grow steadily.  None had heard of Coast Modern, but were happy to follow them on socials and pose for my pictures.  Finally, there was one person who came for Coast Modern.  Our section cheered like I had found my long lost CoMo fan soulmate and we found out he was a friend of Coleman’s.  Our crowd drank, joked, and had a helluva good time like we had known each other for some time.

And you know what comes next, don’t you?  The show, of course.

I danced around in the thick crowd and pretty much sealed my hair fate.  Then there was the awkward moment when the nice woman from the blue drink couple slumped over the railing.  I offered to take her to the bathroom for her boyfriend, but he declined and left her over the barrier.  This was followed up by a guy telling me I was a “before and after” picture because I looked such a mess by the end.  Uh, thanks?  And my lovely barrier neighbors secured a set list for me to make it three in my collection.  So sweet!

As promised, after Coast Modern finished, I removed myself from the front.  In the back, I ran into Twitter Guy from the night before, chatted for a while with his friend, and watched people buy merchandise.

After the show, I funneled out with the rest of the crowd and waited for Uber to take me back to my friend’s house.  Sitting across the street, I spotted a taco truck the instant my ride pulled up and it reminded me I hadn’t eaten anything since my sushi lunch twelve hours before.  If you know anything about being highly intoxicated, this is the moment where you decide if you don’t get something to eat you will die.

It was at Wilshire Boulevard when I saw an open bar and demanded my Uber driver drop me off.  He tried to protest and explained he’s supposed to take me to the programmed destination.  I relieved him of all worry and had him drop me off on the corner.  There was instant sadness when the bar told me their kitchen closed fifteen minutes before I got there.  He did point me four blocks down to a twenty-four hour Jack in the Box.

As I stumbled down the street towards the red and white beacon, I started to question my life choices that led me to wander aimlessly on LA streets at 12:30am by myself and having no idea where to find my friend’s house. Snuggled inside, I ate curly fries and egg rolls (please remember I’m very intoxicated at this point, don’t judge) and watched a homeless man sing along with this radio.  The cashier chatted with him like they were old friends and I realized I was the intruder to their nightly routine. I uploaded some Coast Modern pics to social media and messaged my sleeping friends in Oregon about what a great time the LA show was before deciding I should  head towards the residential section about a half mile away to try to find my bed.  After a couple wrong turns, and trying to find familiar looking streets, I finally came to my friend’s residence.

He’d given me a key to my cottage in the back and I couldn’t wait to try to catch some much needed sleep.  When I came up to the half wall fence surrounding his property, I realized the gate was locked.  I went into a straight up panic imagining sleeping in his front walkway.  After pacing the length of his property, I committed to hiking up my dress, angling my heeled boots, and scaling the wall.  Yep, I did.  It was only when I had two feet planted firmly on the other side in their beautiful garden did I even consider the fact my key could possibly open the gate.  (Yep, it did.)  Lucky for me that learned lesson came before I faced the full size fence to the backyard.

By the time I crawled into bed I’m pretty sure it was around 2:00am but time is lost on nights like this.  The vodka and sleep deprivation make it difficult to tell which side of the day is up and how many hours have actually passed.  I was back up at 5:00am after three hard slept hours.  I dreaded the seven hour drive to San Francisco with only nine hours sleep over the previous four days.  A Zip Fizz shooter powered me up until I could track down a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf store on the road.  I repacked my suitcase, left my friend’s key, and started the long road to Northern California.

Next up: The Conclusion – San Francisco

 

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#CoMoTripn: Santa Ana

It poured rain from San Diego to Cypress and I wondered if I left Oregon at all.  Where was all the sunshine and warmth I remembered from living in Long Beach for eight years?  Sticking to my road trip plan of driving fast to make record times, I ended up at my friend’s home by lunch.  This may have had something to do with the fact she promised to join me at my favorite old Mexican restaurant haunt from fifteen years ago.  (OMG, it was as good as I remembered.)

We did a little shopping, got caught up on recent life events, and headed back to her house for a little more quiet time visiting before my pre-concert ritual.  While I planned to Uber to the event, she agreed to drop me off before her plans even though it would have to be a little early.  A huge score.  With no planned familiar faces at this venue, the ritual brought the needed couple of cocktails before heading to the show.  It was a little surprising to find Disneyland turn-style gating in front of the doors.

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What were they expecting here?

The wait can be painful when alone.  Sometimes I start a conversation with the people next to me, but my neighbors were a “no-go” in this line.  I did see the cute mom/daughter couple at the very front dancing while Coast Modern sound-checked inside.  They waved hellos and kept company with the others who lined up hours before.

The inside of the venue was quite surprising.  Three step down layers led to the stage.  Once again, another gated barrier kept us concert-goers a few feet from the stage’s edge.  This is different from Portland’s smaller venues.  They let you right up close and photographers have to elbow it up with the rest of us.

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I shimmied into a second row position right behind Mother/Daughter.  They were front and center chatting away with the people they met in line.  They saved my place as I procured a vodka soda.  After the second double, I slid right into meeting everyone around.  My favorite was a delightful pair that I found out was a mother and son. (I spent a good five minutes telling the mother it was impossible because she looked so young.)  When I went to take their picture, an amazing thing happened.  A friend I met two years ago in line for The Airborne Toxic Event photobombed the picture.

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Literally the exact moment I found out my friend was able to make it!  And proof this woman did not look old enough to be that guy’s mom.

Needless to say, I flipped the fuck out.  We’d been talking for months since last reuniting at a Dreamers concert in April.  I’d been begging her to join me because she and her husband are such great fans.  They travel great lengths, appreciate the music, and even send care packages while the band tours.  (Who wouldn’t want them as fans?)  I knew they would love Coast Modern just as much as the other bands we share in common.  With them joining, the party really went into full swing.

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Yep, I chat up every person.

It wasn’t long before Coast Modern took the stage and I started my picture-palooza.

The craziest part was this guy next to me who insisted on texting the entire time.  Of course I had to know what was so fucking important you would text during a concert.  It wasn’t a problem to find out because he had his text font size at a giant 144pt or something so I read his screen as he talked about the show.  He was so lost in it, he didn’t even notice when I took our picture.

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Best text line is when he’s trying to describe what Coleman Trapp looks like.  Who texts this?  Take a picture!

After the show, my friends headed back to the merch table, as good fans do, and started to buy gear to support.  On my way back to the bar, the funniest thing happened.  A gentleman stopped me.

Him: “Are you Susan?”

Me: “Yeeahhh??”  (Waiting for it to register that I know him from somewhere even though I’m 800 miles from home.)

Him: “I know you from Twitter.”

Me: “Ooohhh?”

Him:  “I don’t mean for that to sound creepy.”

Funny thing, I then knew who it was.  We chatted for a bit, I tried to buy him a drink, and he introduced me to others he came with.  Once again I was reminded how incredible Twitter can be.  You meet the most amazing people.  And some people think social media is the devil. What do they know?

I took some random shots before my friends and I decided to skip Temper Trap and head to a bar to catch up.

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Scored my 2nd set list on the trip!

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My friend V looking adorable with Luke.

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Selfie with Coleman since Twitter friends were horrified I didn’t take any on night #1.

My darling couple friends drove us to a small, dark bar and we drank the night away madly. The thing about these friends are they are hella fun and don’t even flinch about keeping up with me.  We talked bands, sent snaps, and played in a giant photo booth. This might have been when the night went a little hazy.

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V and S are so good to me!

After hours catching up, they said they would take me back to my friend’s house.  When we walked in the parking lot, I confidently headed to their car and tried to get in the backseat.  Spoiler alert:  It wasn’t their car.  Worst part was the owners of the car were standing next to it and didn’t make a sound as I tried to get in.  Awkward!

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I guess they were chill with me breaking into their car.

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Lucky for me, S and V wrangled me back up and got me back to my place safe and sound.

I stumbled into my friend’s house sometime around 2 am, I think.  She was waiting up for me like the night owl she is.  I confirmed it was another amazing show and pulled myself up the stairs to try to get some sleep before traveling to Los Angeles the next day.

I think I clocked in another three hours of sleep before I was up and packing my bag for another round.  The eyes were a bit redder, I moved a tad slower, and I slammed two Zip Fizzes before leaving the driveway.  Only forty miles to the next show city, so many things to see on the way there, and I might have started to worry a bit if I could make it another three days.

Next up: Los Angeles.

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#CoMoTripn: San Diego

For quite some time it’s been my dream vacation to follow a band around for a multi-show run.  There’s something fascinating in experiencing the same show night after night to appreciate the nuances between them.  How do the performers change bouncing from city to city?  Do the different crowds offer different vibes to what seems like a repeat performance?  How does my participation vary after seeing the same show a few times consecutively?

In October, I followed Coast Modern up California’s Interstate 5 for four shows starting in San Diego and ending in San Francisco.  My original plan was to document the trip as it happened.  What better way to get the touring feel than to bust out blogs in between shows.  Uh…here we are over a month later and I’m finally getting my shit together.  What happened you ask?  I got a taste of that touring life and it pretty much kicked my ass.  Between driving, getting settled into the new city, visiting with friends, completing the pre-concert ritual, and drinking heavily, there was little time left after enjoying the show.  Not a bad deal, right?  And after returning home, keying down, suffering through my post concert depression, and regular life duties, I’m finally ready to write about each city and my #CoMoTripn experience. (Yep, you can check out the hashtag on Twitter to see the details when I remembered to add the hashtag.)

San Diego took fourteen hours of drive time from my small Oregon town.  Don’t worry, I stopped overnight at my parents’ home in Bakersfield and had to explain twenty times why I was traveling 1800 miles for a band.  I also caught lunch with my sister in Orange County on my second day’s travel and tortured my teenage nephew with Snap Chat selfies. By the time I pulled into San Diego, I was exhausted and only had a couple hours before starting my concert ritual.  No time for sight-seeing, beach-walking, or sun-soaking.  Instead, I started my cocktail a little earlier than usual and enjoyed the calm.

Lucky for me, a lovely lady name Nerdeebirdee (who I met after battling it out on Dreamers TunesSpeak contest) agreed to meet up with me to catch her first Coast Modern show.  She picked me up, I gave her some cookies, and we headed over to the venue with a packed bakery box for Coast Modern.  As I’ve explained before, treat box delivery is not for the faint of heart.  You get to hold the ten pound box while you try to flag someone down or talk a security guard into taking it inside.  While in line, I had a minor meltdown when my electronic ticket didn’t work.  Panic took over as we were only a few minutes from doors opening.  Nerdeebirdee agreed to hold the box while I went to the box office to figure out what the hell?  (Can you feel the panic in my voice?  Lucky for me no one I know witnessed my increased hysteria and sliding my phone under the bulletproof glass to the chick to prove my ticket didn’t work.)  After a few frazzled moments, I had a ticket in hand.  When I got back in line the box was gone and we were ready for our security pat down.  Who knew San Diego was such a rough place?  I didn’t even know venues still did this.  And this rub was not shy.  Good thing they checked under my bra because who knows what I could’ve been carrying in it.  Spoiler alert: they’re boobs.  After getting all up in there, confiscating Nerdeebirdee’s Polaroid camera, we were finally able to head to the front for our barrier spot.

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Another picture where I have serious scary smile face and isn’t she so cute?

While I’d made great promises about not drinking at the San Diego show, it didn’t hold up.  Although this was the least intoxicated I’ve ever seen a show, I did need a little courage juice to meet so many new people.  I was fortunate to meet some Twitter friends.  The lovely mother/daughter team, 1975mom and Darby Days, were front row with sunflowers in hand for Coast Modern.

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Aren’t they so adorable?  I cropped my giant head out of this picture because it was ruining it.

I also chatted up everyone around me and helped encourage some new fans.  Here are some of the lovelies who agreed to follow the #CoMo gents on social media.

Don’t even think I would consider skipping over my gazillion show pictures.  It’s such a great time watching Coast Modern perform.  They even threw in a twist during Hollow Life where Luke and the bassist switch sides and instruments to finish the song.  When I can get a clear shot in between their constant movement, they’re stunning.  So expressive and engaged in the moment.  Complete fun to watch.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out:

After Coast Modern’s performance, I gave up my barrier spot for the die hard Temper Trap fans.  It’s a crime to have such a position if you don’t know every song.  The front should be shared with the people who adore the band the most.  So I bow out and head back to the merchandise table.  Once again, Coast Modern was gracious with their time between the sets.  They chatted with people, signed set lists, and posed for photos.  I checked back in with the ladies I met before the show.  Each told me how much they like the performance and meeting the band afterwards.  New fans committed.

After Temper Trap wrapped up, the venue had a weird line up thing to get to the merch table.  It snaked to the back wall with Temper Trap fans.  My lovely date Nerdeebirdee stuck around to get some pictures, pick up the merchandise I bought earlier in the night, and retrieve her camera.  Special shout out to Nerdeebirdee for being such a champ with my crazy all night!

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My first Polaroid picture and I even made her autograph it for me.

By 12:30am, I was back in my hotel and prepping for the next day’s travel.  It took me a good two hours to calm down before falling asleep.  As usual when I go to shows, the sleep was brief.  I was back up by at 5:30am to return messages confirming for everyone the first show was as spectacular as I knew it would be.

Next Up: Santa Ana.

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After a concert trip to Portland where I saw my favorite new band, Coast Modern, I came back with show highlights for the masses.  A common response I receive after hearing about excessive drinking, front row dancing, and photos with the gents is, “It must be so fun to go to concerts with you.”  I usually point these naive people towards Bestie or Ladyfriend so they can be warned.  Either friend usually chuckles it off and gives a flip warning about how it’s not all fun and games rollin’ with me to a rock show.

So, I thought why not pull back the curtain and walk everyone through my concert rituals.  And yes, there are rituals.  Show all the small details involved when you travel hundreds of miles to experience something dear to my heart.  For this case study, I’m using Coast Modern as my subject since I’m still swooning in #CoMo concert juju.  While I always promise an adventure on these trips, it comes with having to bring the heart of a lion to put up with pretty much twenty-four hours of non-stop action.

1.) The Road Trip Prep:

Even before we hit the road, there’s planning.  Lemon drops are pre-made, unhealthy snacks gathered, and a new wardrobe purchased.  Yep, I buy a new outfit for every single concert.  Do you know how many pictures I take?  There are so many it would be recognizable if you saw the same shirt twice.  Sometimes I might slip one back into the rotation, but years needed to have passed or there’s no photo documentation.  Once everything is prepped, we actually get on the road. Early.

2.) The Drive:

I’m always the driver.  Usually it’s a minimum of five hours to get to the closest venue.  The car ride is part of the excitement.  Those crappy snacks we usually don’t splurge on during regular healthy eating days are busted open in about ten minutes after pulling away from the curb.  Being a passenger in my car is not for the weak spirited.  In my car, you better bring your dancing and singing A-game. We crank up the tunes, open up the sun roof, and jam like no other car is watching, even though they all are.  There are car dance competitions and lip sync challenges posted to everyone in my Snap Chat world.  Which brings me to the next detail and it’s HUGE.

3.) Your Picture Will Be Taken:

No ifs, ands, or buts about this.  You will have your picture taken at every moment on the trip.  It’s one of the rules of being in Susan’s universe.  I photograph everything.  There’s something about capturing a moment in time, a memory.  I can’t pass it up.  It may be something sweet, or crass, even a little embarrassing, but it usually always makes me laugh.  If you hate your picture taken, you might want to decline if I ask you to do anything with me.  Don’t worry, all pictures you hate are quickly deleted.  We are friends, remember?

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Ladyfriend loves selfies.

4.) The Pre-Show:

It starts about four hours before doors open at the venue.  We chill it in our hotel room, pour a cocktail, and start the beauty prep.  Showers, hair, and make up application while blasting music and enjoying the ultimate girl time.  This is one of my favorite traditions in concerting.  Even alone, it’s a time I seriously enjoy.  There’s something meditative about this calm before the storm.

5.) Box Delivery:

Lately I’ve had packages for some of my favorite band peeps and Coast Modern was no different.  You did read about how much I love them, right?  I load up ten pounds in goods to haul over in the Uber, cart around the venue, and beg someone from security to deliver it to the band.  This is not an easy mission, I’ll tell you. In the Coast Modern delivery, it started with me asking one guy guarding the door.  He said he had to radio someone.  Then a woman came out.  She said she had to radio someone.  Before I knew it there were five guys with five walkie-talkies swarming around until one finally said he would deliver.

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Ladyfriend couldn’t believe how difficult a package delivery could be.

6.) Front Row Meet and Greet:

When the doors open, I go for the front.  At Coast Modern, I parked it right under the center mic stand.  Since I’m in position an hour before the show is to start, there’s plenty of time to make friends with everyone around me.  As per usual, I checked with the fifteen people around me to see if they were there for Coast Modern or Temper Trap.  Not surprisingly, the hadn’t heard of the opener.  And that’s when the real fun begins.  I take every moment to tell them why Coast Modern should be their next favorite band.  I brag about their funny tweets and hilarious Snap Chats.  I encourage people in the moment to get out their phone and follow them right away.  (Sometimes I even take their phone and do it for them.  Yeah, I get a little zealous.)

Also, everybody gets a nickname.  At this Coast Modern show, some names given were: Fronts (they were the first in line), Coda (he wrote computer code for a living), Brother (he came with his brother to the show), and Guy Who Came Alone (do I really need to explain it?)  Coda tried to give me his real name three times.  I won’t take it.  We’re never going to see each other again, but he will always remain Coda in my heart.

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These are “Fronts.” Cutest thing about them was the guy is wearing 3 shirts.  He wore the concert shirts they bought so she didn’t have to carry hers. So adorable!

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The middle guy bought this chick a Coast Modern shirt and they had just met at the merch booth.  I love these kind of stories!

7.) Gear Haul:

At the merch table, I load up.  Usually as I flutter around to chat up the other fans, my concert guest holds all the gear.  I think they do this because I will probably lose everything if left to my own devices.  The co-pilot position also helps keep me on track.  They help snag set lists, round up signatures, and take my pictures with the band in the most flattering angle.

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Luke Atlas performs a whole show and still looks amazing. I only have to watch it and look worked.

8.) Party Never Ends:

The show’s over, I’ve got selfies with the band, arms full of tee-shirts, and this is when everyone else heads back to their hotel to go to bed.  Not me.  In my mind, once you go to sleep all the magic from your concert night ends. It leads me to work very hard to keep the party going.  With the alcohol drowning rational thoughts and the venue emptying, Ladyfriend nicely guided me out the doors to call Uber.  Even in a last-ditch effort, I still made another attempt to have people join us for drinks.  After they graciously declined, Uber hauled us back to our hotel and we crashed.  (Note: by this time I’d been awake for 22 hours.)

9.) Early Wake Up Call:

A little known fact about me when I’ve been drinking alcohol…I don’t sleep.  I crash hard for about 2 hours, but then I’m up and wide awake.  My companion does not share the same affliction.  Usually I play on my phone for a few hours, uploading show pictures, texting other friends, and tweeting the shit out of the band with accolades. Then, still way earlier than my traveling friend wants, my stare bores a hole in their head and they wake up.  While they’re groggy and exhausted, I’m bright eyed and ready to do it all over again.  (In my multi-show trip in April to see Dreamers, over the course of 5 days I slept about 16 hours total.)

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This is just a great picture of Coleman Trapp so I’m putting it in.

Hopefully this gives you a little insight into how tough my friends are.  They know all this and still sign up to go to shows occasionally.  God bless them for their patience and courage. So if you like the same type of tunes and think you can hang with this kind action, shoot me a text, get a lot of rest ahead of time, and we’ll rock the next show together.

Here’s a video from the show because I adore Coast Modern.  Don’t tell me you watched this and didn’t fall madly in love.  It’s about impossible.  Also, please excuse the terrible filming — I’m having a damn good time.

 

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Months ago I wrote a blog about How To Support Your Band and I was pretty content after I did.  Maybe even a little smug. I felt pretty darn good about giving some solid tips on how to help out those hard working musicians in their quest to become the next big thing.  Since then I’ve wondered why some super-talented favorites (cough, cough Dreamers, Coast Modern) aren’t picking up traffic at a lightning pace like they deserve.  They’re creating solid music, pounding the pavement on tour, being adorable in fan pictures, and engaging regularly in the Twitterverse.  And while they’re picking up a steady following along the way, I worry the world is still missing out.

Sure, some of it is luck where Oprah picks them as her favorite thing.  Lightening in a bottle if they’re featured on a crazy video that goes viral.  Or maybe they scored a deal with the Devil? Obviously Twenty-One Pilots must have sold their souls to go from people saying “Twenty what?” to sold out stadiums seemingly overnight.  Since there really isn’t a way to quantify selling your soul, I’ve tried to look a little harder at what works towards a band’s success.  After considering the band’s efforts, I turned the microscope onto my brethren — Fans.  And when I did, I have to say I saw some apathy and selfishness.

Don’t get me wrong out there, Fans.  I love you.  I love you like no other kind of love in this world.  You have a passion so deep the darkest oceans can’t compare to your band commitment.  However, what do you do with this love?  Do you picket the streets with their new album release?  Cold call strangers to try out their latest single?  Stand outside the local mall and hawk digital downloads?  Nope, I didn’t think so.

That’s the thing.  As fans, we bask in our own love.  You may tell friends in passing they should give your new band a shot.  You might even put a sticker on your car and get a question or two at the gas station that you happily answer with over-information.  But we rarely step outside our comfort zone to really support the bands we adore.  Maybe we’re scared. What if they get so big they won’t love us back? Oh, dear fan, that’s a risk we all take.  And honestly, it will happen.  But our selfishness shouldn’t stop us from helping our favorite musician taste success.  (Hint, this is how more music gets made.)  Or maybe it’s because we feel too small to really make a difference.  We don’t have the same platform when we only have 72 Twitter followers.  (Hey if you’re on Twitter, congratulate yourself.  Bestie still can’t figure it out.)

You’d be surprised the difference you can make when you really put some work into it.  Don’t know where to start?  Here are some tips on how to help be a great fan to your band:

Tweet, Facebook, Instragram, YouTube, or Snapchat the shit out of their releases.

It doesn’t matter which social media platform you use, you’re reaching a wider audience.  Be creative.  Make up your own fan art to highlight.  Or if you lack creativity, share what the band’s putting out.  You may have an old acquaintance from high school who is constantly looking for their next favorite band.  They see your messages and give it a go.  Soon they’re telling their friends about it.  Do you see how amazingly influential you are already?

Get everyone you know, in every city, to see their show no matter what you have to do.

Okay, so some of your friends and family can be duds.  You hear their million excuses to why they don’t go out and know it doesn’t do any good to suggest they try something new.  Why not entice them to get out there?  I’ve been known to use a cookie delivery (with a treat for the carrier too) to get some people to shows in their area.  For support, they brought some friends of their own.  Four new bodies primed to be lifelong fans.  Not one yet has come back cursing my name.  In fact, most planned to check out the band again without prompting.

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How could you ever pass up the chance to see Nick Wold from Dreamers?

Buy all the merchandise you can stuff in your arms.

Who says you have to only buy a single shirt for yourself?  Your friends don’t have to attend the concert to be a walking billboard for the band.  Sometimes, a new item in their wardrobe encourages them to give the music a go.  They listen so when asked by a stranger about their cool shirt, they have a stronger answer than “Oh, I don’t know, I got the shirt from a friend.”

Remember folks, ticket and merchandise sales are some of the biggest money makers for the artists in this age.  The more coin you drop at their merch booth means more tunes your ears will enjoy in the future.

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BONUS:  Sometimes at the merch booth you get to see your faves like Luke Atlas from Coast Modern.

Tell every single radio station in the country how you love them.

Okay, so you’re broke and don’t want to sling any money when you can’t even afford to buy a large pizza for yourself. I get it.  Then let your fingers do the work by contacting your favorite radio stations to work them into the rotation.  With on-line streaming you can listen to any station in any state in this country.  Listener feedback is becoming a staple in creating station playlists.  The more you request, the better chance the station will pick them up.

Caveat: Don’t be a dick.  Don’t spam the station or tell them they’re stupid if they don’t love your band as much as you.  This will actually do your band a disservice and probably get you blocked.

Encourage friends to follow them on social media.

Yep, numbers matter.  The more followers on social media, the more seriously someone is taken.  People assume if fifty thousand other people like a band, they must be good.  If nothing else, media outlets will give them more credibility.  Encourage everyone you meet to like your band on the social platform of their choice.

If they’re the concert opener, talk to everyone in the place about them before they hit the stage.

I know this one takes some extrovert courage, but it pays off.  Most concert attendees don’t give too much attention to the opener even though every great band started there at one time. Instead, attendees check their phone, talk with friends, or get more drinks from the bar while they wait for the main attraction.  You get out there and pique their interest by telling everyone you came for the opener!  If you do, they may give your new favorite band a chance.  And that’s all you want.  Then your band needs to deliver, which you know they will because you love them.

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Look at all the lovely friends I made at the Coast Modern show. (Ignore the weird photography.)

I can hear some of you now, “But that’s a lot of work.”  Yes, it is.  But we’re talking about a band you love, right?  I ached for years as I watched how my favorites, The Airborne Toxic Event and The Limousines, worked relentlessly and baked a cookie or two.  But that was it.  And a band can only take working hard with minimal reward for so long.  Then they have to make decisions about whether the investment is worth the return.  Trust me when I say you don’t want your band to weigh out the pros and cons.

And before someone out there gets righteous — yes, I do these things.  If you doubt it, ask anyone I work with, see at a bar, or stand next to at a Dreamers or Coast Modern show.  I can tell you first hand there’s been a few new fans picked up here and there.  There are days where I think I’m not making much of a difference and other days I want to wallow in selfishness to keep them small.  Those are the days I crank up their songs, remember how they’re good people, and get off my ass to find them more fans.

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After months of pining on Twitter for a Coast Modern show, I was graced with one on the West Coast.  Yes, I said the West Coast.  Since I live in a small town on the Southern Oregon border, travel is required for any band I want to see live.  And when we’re talking about Coast Modern I pretty much would’ve traveled anywhere along the Pacific Ocean to finally see them.

Last November when I submerged myself in all things Dreamers, I heard Coast Modern’s debut song Hollow Life played on Alt Nation.  It may show you how incredible it was because it was really hard to get in my head during that time.  Then a serendipitous moment hit when one of my new Dreamers’ friends, DJ Beauty, suggested I give it a go.

Mix a good song with a hella fun Twitter presence and you’ve pretty much landed on my Favorite People Top Ten list. While this new Coast Modern band was pretty illusive about releasing any details about themselves, they were responsive, charming and engaging in the Twitterverse.  It was easy to make a dance video of their song and include them on Twitter blasts.  They were even charitably understanding when I Snap Attacked them a couple times.  How could you not love them for that alone?  Now after months of gushing in 140 character-ed spurts, I would be able to see if they could live up to all the hype I created in my head.

I’m not going to play this down, I was pretty freaking excited.  I’d worked in a double concert shot by catching Dreamers in Fresno and then coming back up to Coast Modern in San Fran.  Could there have been anything better?  (Uh yes…you could throw in an Airborne Toxic Event or a Limousines show to completely blow my fucking mind.)  I knew catching Coast Modern in a small venue at these early stages was something special. I don’t think they’ll be this small for long with all the buzz going around.  However, that didn’t mean I would feel the love.  I have different criteria to be one of my fave bands.  Meeting them in person is requirement to determine if I can really invest my heart.

My Bay Area friend let me use her place to get ready while she worked and she even agreed to meet me at the show.  Taking Uber to the city hurts a bit.  The bill kills you until you consider the driving, the parking, and the needing to be completely sober.  Then the dollar signs don’t look so bad anymore.  Lucky for me, my Uber driver was a pretty nice guy.  After he complained about the company for the first fifteen minutes, he asked what I was doing.  Okay, my turn to put Coast Modern on blast and I did.  By the time he rolled up to my destination he promised me he would check them out and tell his son to do the same.

“You sure this is it?” he said when we both looked at a purple spray painted door with the address digits stenciled on the front.

“I think so?” And jumped out before he gave me some lecture about how a female shouldn’t go to shows alone.  And if you think I haven’t heard that story before, you have no fucking idea what it’s like to be a woman.

Two eager, fresh faced people stood by the wall.  (I named them #1 and #2, and yes, I called them those names all night.  Have you ever read this blog?  Everyone gets a nickname.)  I made sure they were going to the same show and I did actually have the right place.  They told me about the other band and I got in some more Coast Modern lovin’.  “I drove all the way from Oregon for them,” I said.  My mantra throughout the night.

I won’t bore you with details about walking around trying to find something to do until doors opened or my friend catching me Snapping a video as I walked across the street.  In the end, I stood front and center at that stage.  And then I kinda panicked.

For people who don’t use social media to death, it can make an awkward relationship.  I mean, can you even call it that?  Do we have a relationship?  I mean, maybe you recognize my Twitter profile pic.  Do I introduce myself as Susan or sprunty2000?  It wouldn’t be long before Coast Modern took the stage and I’d have to make eye contact with someone I’ve never met but know somewhat?  That’s when the worry started.  What if they have no idea who I am?  I mean, I told them I was coming.  What if they didn’t care?  Heck, why would they care?  Nothing is worse than trying to over-explain your existence.

My coping mechanism?  Meet people.  I grabbed some of the stickers from the merch table and made my way around the joint. I asked everyone who they were there to see and then promised them something special from the opener’s show.  They smiled, nodded, and agreed to give them a chance.  They got a sticker, I took their picture, and moved on to the next group.  Several asked if I worked for Coast Modern and I said, “Nope.  I just like them a lot.  I drove all the way from Oregon to see them.”

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These two dudes were my first victims. They were such sports, I really ran amuck after them.

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This was much prettier than the real gauges in his ear.

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It wasn’t long before I Got #1 and #2 on the bandwagon too.

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And these two? I just loved them. They posed for each other all night. One of my fave couples.

As show time approached, I worried more about how I was supposed to act.  Do I wave?  Pretend like I’m not the same person that blows up their Twitter feed with nonsense?  Should I try to act somewhat mature so they don’t ban me from future shows?  And what about pictures?  Should I take my million pictures?  Oh God, please don’t let my concert Tourette’s kick in and start barking out rando facts.  This was their IRL first impression of me and we all know you only get one chance.

Coast Modern walked on the stage and my worry amped to 11. (Yep, anytime I can get that Spinal Tap reference in a blog, I do.)  Lead singer Coleman seemed to half-smile when we made brief eye contact.  It was a half smile, right?  Was it recognition?  Maybe appreciation I traveled for their show?  Or maybe it wasn’t for me at all.  Maybe it was directed at Pretty Young Thing standing at my side.

They started with a song they haven’t released yet.  The vibe confirmed it was going to be a good show and I kept my excitement in check.  Maybe I could pull off being seemingly normal all night.  Then, they went into Guru and I was done.  Music has a funny way of doing that.  A familiar song you love and have played on repeat a million times lights up your soul.  The dancing started, the camera came out, and I recognized myself again.

Coast Modern killed it.  I mean, this wasn’t “Oh I’ve got dreamy eyes for this band and you can play all shitty for me to still love you” kind of show.  This was “people who didn’t know them were dancing their asses off” music being pumped out.  The show flew by so fast I was sad when Hollow Life closed the set.  How could it be over already?

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It’s really hard to choose one Coleman Trapp picture to capture the moment, but this picture calls to me.

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This one also has a je ne sais quoi to it.  I love it.

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That sound? It’s girls swooning everywhere for Luke Atlas.

The set ended, lead singer Coleman swooped up his set list, and they all darted off stage.  Not gonna lie, I think my hand might have been out thinking he would give it to me since I begged for one on Twitter the day before.  Sucking up my sadness, I looked down to grab any of the other ones.  They were already gone.  Snatched.  Vanished.  I died inside.  Pretty Young Thing offered me the one she held.  I declined.  She’d marked it with her lips before the show.  That was her memory on that set list.  I couldn’t take it no matter how selfish I wanted to be.

I was back to awkward “what happens now?”  P.Y.T. asked me to stay up front for the next band. I told her it’s a travesty to be a “Front” when you’ve never heard a song before.  I excused myself to slink back to the merch table to enhance my tee shirt collection.  Do the familiar.  Get my head back to reality.  I was there for a good concert and that’s what I got.

While worming through people, I ran smack right into Coleman.  Literally, I looked up from the floor and we were face to face.  All the worry, insecurity, and doubt choked off any intelligent thought I might have had.  This is usually when my Concert Tourette’s gets the best of me and I scream out something ridiculous.

I can’t remember who said “hey” first.  Don’t jump to any conclusions, I told myself.  It didn’t mean anything.  You just shoved your phone three feet from his face for the last forty minutes.  He’s probably plotting the quickest way out from this awkward interaction.

“Did you get your set list?” he said.

“Uh…oh no.  They were all taken,” I said.

“I saved you mine.  I’ll go get it.”  He turned to head backstage and in that moment I fell truly, madly, deeply in love with Coast Modern.  Because in that moment all of it was real.  Everything I wanted them to be was captured in that one thoughtful act.

Coast Modern only continued to impress when they talked with people, signed gear, and posed for pictures. They took the time to treat each person like a special snowflake. That kind of niceness I can’t resist.  I was hooked.  Done.  Completely smitten.  Forever loyal.

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Luke’s poses are like nothing else. He killed me with this, which led to taking thousands. You MUST get a picture with him.

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This is totally the international symbol of endearment and we should be Best Friends Forever, right?  No way Coleman could be implying “Hey crazy Susan, I’m kinda tired of this.”

I really can’t say enough about meeting Coast Modern.  The music was terrific.  Seriously, one of the best shows.  A good feeling party.  I could go to one every night to fill my spirit.  As for the gentlemen themselves, they were kind, funny, and genuine; the kind of people you want to get behind and wish wonderful things for.  It’s an experience I recommend everyone check out for themselves because it’s a rarity you get all this greatness in one package.

 

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