“What do you love about music?”
“To begin with… everything.”
It’s that indescribable buzz. The one that pulls you in, opens up your soul and leaves you craving more before you even leave. It’s the way the guitar strings ripple through the air and the way the bass line matches the beating in your chest. It’s the buzz and the high that’s better than any other substance could possibly give- live music.
It felt like we had been in a lull. The move, winter and life had gotten in our way and we hadn’t gotten to experience a live concert experience for quiet sometime. It was long overdue when one of my favorite bands “Lord Huron” announced they would be making a stop in Santa Barbara. I couldn’t’ believe it. This tiny town was hosting a great band within the first month of us being there- maybe our music scene wouldn’t be an absolute bust with the move.
Lord Huron, the indie folk band from LA, was playing at the intimate, 600-person occupancy, Lobero Theater in downtown Santa Barbara last Thursday. In true music enthusiast fashion, I made sure to arrive at the venue six hours before doors were set to open for three reasons. One: to ensure my position as number one in line. Two: to watch the band settle in and listen to soundtrack. Three: because there is just something about being in the band scoping setting that just sets my heart racing for the hills.
Camping out at the theater while Dave was still working like a good adult, our friend Nick and I were wandering the grounds. The small venue sits just off the main drag, State Street. There was no way the band would realistically be able to escape without us knowing of their arrival. The stage opens to the side street so sound check would also be a breeze to listen to.
The Lobero Theater staff thought we were a little nuts. They reminded us several times that the theater was small and that doors didn’t open until 7pm but we refused to leave. We lingered, patiently waiting for the black suburban to roll up to the curb and unload our rock stars. I couldn’t help but feel this nerve of excitement wash through my bloodstream. We had decided to do another “walk by” just to check out the scene and what not. During our walk by, we saw Ben… then Miguel but neither Nick nor myself wanted to say anything.
We sat back down, giving each other the “you do it” look. The pair walked by us again and we failed to say anything…again. We knew they would be back but I was worried we might have missed our opportunity to talk to them. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world, however, they have a song “We Went Wild” that I was really hoping to request.
Sitting back down on the curb, we continued our conversation, distracting ourselves while continuing to pass the time. We were on high alert, making ourselves fully aware each time a person would walk by the theater. Not only we were waiting for the band to walk back this direction, but we also weren’t technically in line yet and wanted to make sure if someone else thought they were getting in front of us, we would be there to let them know otherwise.
The sun continued to beat down on the cement. It was a gorgeous day in Santa Barbara. The weather had been extremely hot all week leading up to today, so I was thankful it cooled down a bit. While doing another loop to ensure no one else had decided to start waiting, I saw down the street that the band was on their way back. Excellent. This time, I was going to have to say something. The closer they got, the more nervous I got and pleaded with Nick that he say something first. Shaking his head, the pair moved closer and closer until I realized it was now or never.
“Hey!” I said stepping out onto the sidewalk, as they were about to walk by. Luckily, they stopped and acknowledged that I was clearly a fan wanting to talk to them. I continued, “umm, I saw one of your shows last summer and was wondering if you guys could sign the set list.”
They smiled and took my sharpie and set list and began to write. “Sure! Where did you see us before?”
“San Diego. At the North Park Observatory.”
“Right on. What’s your name?” Miguel asked, extending his hand to mine.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Miguel”
“I’m Ben.” The lead singer offered his hand as well.
“I was wondering if I could ask you another favor as well.” I shyly questioned.
“What’s that?” Miguel answered with a laugh.
“I was wondering if you could play ‘We Went Wild’ tonight”
Muttering excuses that they love the song but it’s not on the set, they have a new guy, etc. I thought to myself this will never happen, but, I remained hopeful. Just before they could take off we snapped a quick picture together before they head in for sound check.
Just like that, I was back. It had been months since I had seen live music and just like that I was instantly hooked again. There’s just something about music, my bands and the chase of your favorite song that gets me giddy and excited about life.
The conversation could not have happened at a better time. Just as quickly as we finished with the band and made our way over to the door to start the line another guy joined us. I checked in with Dave who was on his way to finish waiting with us in line. Slowly but surly, people began to line up. Before I knew it, the line to get in had wrapped clear around the block. It felt like each of the 600 tickets were in line because the line seemed infinite. I love leading the pack of wolves waiting for the doors to open.
Dave, Nick and I made friends with the ushers who were guarding the doors. Although, to be honest, thankfully Santa Barbara is a chilled, laid back community because these ushers are sweet little grandparents. It just takes one nasty person and they could have easily busted through these fragile guards.
Less than 5 minutes until the doors were set to open. My heart started to race. Which direction did I have to run? What was the quickest route? My mind is always going a million miles an hour when It’s time for a run to the rail. I almost didn’t notice the older couple to my left who was sneakily trying to make their way to the front. Luckily, the sweet grandma usher noticed them and stated that they would not be getting in until the entire line was in. Ha.
The ushers finally took their positions. The doors opened and they waved us forward. Heart racing, I ran to give them my ticket, received my stamp and raced inside. The “run” was actually a lot easier than anticipated. Before anyway one had even had their ticket checked I was inside the theater and making my way to the front row. The tiny venue was gorgeous. The Lobero Theater is on the of the oldest in California but has been remodeled. The red crushed velvet, movie theater style chairs were laid out almost right up to the stage- perfect. We were able to sit in a seat and not worry about people crowding our space or trying to take our spot.
Slowly, the theater began to fill up. People of every age made their way into the theater and found a seat. “Great,” I thought, “this would be perfect if we could just stay by our seats the whole time.” The opening band, two women and their drummer, started off the show. They weren’t very entertaining or good, though. We were polite and listened but my head was wandering the entire time. However, I did like that the whole time they played, everyone stayed in their seats. I was hoping that no one would crowd the stage and just stay near their seats.
Finally, the lights dimmed and the cheers erupted throughout the venue as the band made their way onto the stage. The roars only got louder until finally we heard that sweet, beautiful opening lyric of “Love Like Ghosts. The smile instantly spread across my face as I sang along with the music. The band immediately played right into “Until the Night Turns” leaving the stage lights dim with only the backlight from Strange Trails lit up.
As soon as they finished their two-song intro though, a group of girls rushed the stage on the aisles. This forced the people around us in the front row to stand- thus forcing us to stand so that no one would take front and center. Dang, Dave, Nick and I were all hoping to be at the seats for the concert. Now, we were standing right up next to the stage, essentially on top of the band. We were resting our arms and belongings on the stage front. Interesting enough, we noticed there was no security aside from the sweet grandma’s at the back of the theater. Crazy!
The band entertained the intimate crowd with 14 songs mixed from their albums “Strange Trails” and “Lonesome Dreams” as well as 2 brand new songs. As the band left for their short lived encore break, I took one last chance and held up my “We Went Wild” sign, hoping they would grant my wish during the encore.
When the band reappeared less than five minutes later, Ben, the lead singer took to the mic to thank the crowd for coming. “Thank you all for coming tonight. We hope you had fun with us tonight!” The crowed erupted with applause “We have Brittany down here in the front tonight. We are sorry we can’t fulfill your request tonight. However, we want to dedicate the encore to you for being so sweet to us. Thank you for coming!”
With that he strung the opening chords to “The Night We Met” echoed through the cheering theater. I couldn’t believe they acknowledged my request on stage and blew a kiss before singing and dancing along to the final two songs of the night.
The last lights fell and the house lights came on- showing the end of another wonderful show. We nabbed a new set list form this show and made our way out into the cool Santa Barbara air. I was on a high. I had re-confirmed a deep love and appreciation for music, my bands and the people music has brought into my life. Before we were even in the car, I was already researching when our next concert can be and where.
I love how music tugs at our heartstrings. I’ve been trying to pen the words and put the emotions into words for years, and I still haven’t found the right ones. For now, all I can come up with is this:
Music is the only thing in the world that will always make perfect sense. Day after the day the world around us is changing, falling apart, losing it’s way and then finding it’s way. Our personal journeys are always winding in different directions proving to us that almost nothing is permanent but two things are- love and music. Music will always be there through any emotion and will always take you to where you want to go. Music is the tie that brings people together and gives us a common bond. I love my music and the crazy adventures it has been the soundtrack for in my life.
xx. Happy Musical Adventures!