It’s been almost a month since the Manchester Orchestra, Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band, and Balance & Composure show. I should probably tell you guys about it. (I will try to keep my long story short.)
I got to the venue (the Ritz Ybor) just before doors were scheduled to open and by some miracle I had no problem getting in even though I had to pick up my ticket from will-call. In fact, I got in so easily that when doors officially opened I was able to stop at the bar for a Captain & Diet and still managed to get a spot right at the front (stage right, next to the barricade). A few minutes after I parked myself there a security guy took his place more or less in front of me. He started talking to me and so we chatted. At some point I told him I was from Philly (this will be important).
Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band took the stage at 7 sharp and fucking killed. They were soo goddamn good (pun not intended). I chatted with the security guy some more after Kevin’s set once I regained some of my hearing (after all, I was standing right in front of the speakers). Next up was
Balance & Composure, whom I’d heard of but never heard before. I liked them, but I haven’t listened to them on Spotify or anything since.
Here’s where the awkwardness comes in. My buddy the security guy would disappear between sets doing whatever security guys do between sets. After Balance & Composure I was talking to the girl next to me when suddenly my security buddy tapped me on the shoulder and told me to follow him. He led me toward a door that was clearly marked as staff only. (Yes, part of me was terrified.) The door led to the alley behind the club and it contained 80% of Balance & Composure packing up their gear. Apparently the security guy had been talking to them and found out that they are also from Philly, so he wanted to introduce his friend from Philly who really wanted to meet them.
So, yeah, I met Balance & Composure behind the Ritz Ybor on Holy Thursday. And, holy shit, was it awkward. We spent a couple minutes talking about Philly sports (turns out they are huge Flyers fans) and the weather back home. It didn’t even occur to me to ask them for a picture until I was already back inside.
Then Manchester Orchestra took the stage (yay!). And five songs into their set I was bored (boo!). It’s not that they weren’t amazing live; it’s that I didn’t care. I’d been standing on concrete in Chucks for three hours by that point and my feet, legs, and back were killing me. Plus, I didn’t love their set list; too many of the songs I don’t like from Mean Everything to Nothing, no “Virgin” or “Wolves at Night.” (By the bye, the lack of “Wolves at Night” shocked me.) But I managed to stick out the whole set.
The awkward cherry on top of the evening was that on the way out I bought a Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band shirt from Kevin Devine himself and I had no idea what to say to him. And, again, it didn’t occur to me to ask for a picture or a hug until I was in my car.
So pro-tip: if you want to meet a band make friends with a security guy. But try not to be too awkward when it happens.