We almost got arrested. I chipped a tooth. This is the story of one of the craziest nights of my life. If they don’t put me away, oh, it’ll be a miracle.
We took a Party Bus full of diuretics to Modest Mouse and Brand New, complete with two kegs of craft beer from Ten 10 Brewing, a case (12 bottles) of Sailor Jerry Rum, two handles of Fireball Whiskey, Vodka, and Red Bull, so it was no surprise we had to stop and pee along the way. Since we couldn’t pee outside, we chose a Rest Area on I-4 along the way.
22 full bladders and five joints made their way off the bus. After we emptied ourselves, we went to fill our lungs in the “designated smoking area.” I was lighting them and passing them out — as any good host should do. At J number five, Benji — my super best friend — locks concerned eyes with me, places his hand on my shoulder, tilts his head, and asks, “Can I talk to you for a minute?”
“We’re being told on.” He says. Ok. I’m listening. “I think you should round everyone up and get them back on the bus.” He points with his eyes to a woman peeking around the bricks wearing a park ranger costume, wide-eyed, grasping her cell phone, non-verbally screaming “THIS IS WHAT I TRAINED FOR!” Shit. Without hesitation, I announced, “Alright, everyone back on the bus, let’s go!” 60 seconds later I’m waving at Miss Park Ranger with a smile as she reads our license plate escaping. I didn’t mention this to the entire bus, just a couple people, because, it was a fucking party, and I didn’t want to change the mood. So, we did shots!
[Idea: Next time, I think we should show up prepared and do a pre-show at a rest stop. One set. One band. Be gone before they know what happened. Fuck yeah.]
We pull into the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in high style. Tailgaters crained necks to the sound of our bus beeping, backing into a cozy spot in the middle of everyone. We made it.
Martin and I step into the Florida sunshine like a scene from a movie — two kegs, a case of Sailor Jerry, SIGT banners, and a bus-load of the happiest people — in what seemed like a fog of mystery. Within minutes, we’re making friends with our neighbors, doing keg stands, and turning the parking lot into the ultimate pre-party. We are ready for Brand New. We are ready for Modest Mouse.
We sunk into the pit as Brand New began “Sink.” I knew “Millstone” was third and everything beyond would be me completely freaking out, screaming, possibly crying.
I ran into a lot of great friends tonight, both new and old. Most of us hadn’t sweat so much in nearly a decade. Hot yoga makes me sweat more than anything I’ve ever done in my life. Being in the pit at Brand New was worse better than hot yoga, yet even more spiritual. All I could think was, we own the heat.
All of us were riding the same wave of euphoria. I don’t know anyone who rides the line between “obsessive Brand New fan” and “never listened to them.” If you know Brand New, you fucking love Brand New. You love the places you were when you discovered them and those rainy car rides where you were screaming “die young and save yourself,” or those quiet nights where you laid on your floor and mumbled the words “I used to know the name of every person I’ve kissed, but now I’ve made this bed and I can’t fall asleep in it,” next to a glass of cheap whisky or wine.
We all came to these low places independently, discovered how much these sharp syllables meant to us, held them tight, and poured everything out in one fiery spit into the Florida air. We were Heaven-sent. And we won’t dare forget.
Music heals everything. Namely, relationships. When you build a bond with a counterpart over lyrics and sweat, you built something no one can touch. When you say you’re going to see “your favorite band” (there can be many favorites), and your counterpart doesn’t take the time to inhale your feelings, you find yourself alone. Alone, just like you started when you first came into contact with them. And, it’s Ok.
I looked around and caught my ex’s eye before quickly pulling back with my newly drawn smile. She was happy. But, she was alone. Despite her current boyfriend behind her (probably thinking about the next rail he’s trying to grind).
Modest Mouse could have performed anything given the state I was in — completely satisfied. Everything they played was just a little beautiful bonus to a flawless night with the right friends.
The ride back was wild. We raffled off several things on the bus, both on the way there, and on the way back — limited edition Modest Mouse vinyl, tour posters from the show, previous tour posters, a growler from Ten 10 brewing, a Brand New lyric book, and (my favorite) a drunken lap dance from our little cookie, Martin Cardenas. He takes his job seriously. There was a stripper pole put to good use.
Last time we rode a party bus to a show in Tampa, it was to Incubus and Deftones, The IncuBUS. On that bus, there’s a beautiful picture of me chugging a disgusting amount of Fireball, one-handed. This time, I had to one-up that. So, I thought the best idea was to chug the handle of Fireball using no-hands (look, ma!). It worked! Until we hit a bump and the Fireball slung out of my mouth, taking a little white souvenir with it — a piece of my front tooth.
Martin Cardenas: As the night turnt-up, bladders began to tire and a pit stop grew necessary. Our party bus was beckoned towards a 7-Eleven. A barrage of bodies began bailing towards the bathrooms. After everyone’s elated release, a large group of persons formed in the parking lot. The convenience of 7-Eleven loiterers catered to an unexpected need … a little baggy.
Thanks to a dead tired party girl bent against her black car, we were offered a bag of goodies for twenty dollars. Covered in the dark corner of the crazy bus, blocking the only entry and exit, we began to make the ride bumpier. We rode further into the night at the rate of a train, speeding faster and faster, and bumping the rails of wildness. The party bus turned into something more, a speeding machine hell bent on having us stay up all night. The motion in our minds soon made it to our bodies, and we began moving them in an erratic sense. Yay!
My neck is sore, I haven’t showered, I’m still drunk and high, and I haven’t eaten … I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Yesterday ruled.” — read my scratches in my notebook the day after.
I was so upset the next morning (well, afternoon), when I woke up and realized we didn’t take a group photo. About 8pm, Jenn posted this photo to the staff page. “At what point in the night was this? I remember nothing …” Garrett and I agreed. It was a good night.
As I was going through Instagram and Snapchats the next day, I discovered the most shared photo was of the message displayed at the end of their set, “Brand New 2000 – 2018.” Yeah (yeah), I get it, “we’re gonna stay 18 forever … ” But, most captions read, “RIP Brand New” or “Final Tour” or something passionately pessimistic. But, I say “Fuck That.” Brand New never dies — ever — Brand New FOREVER.
HUGE Thanks to our sponsors, Ten 10 Brewing Company and Sailor Jerry Rum!
Brand New Live Review w/ Modest Mouse by Mitch.
Brand New Live Concert Photos w/ Modest Mouse by Jenn Ross.
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