Brain Goes Boom – Monday October 24th, 2017

Pabst Riverside Theater, Milwaukee Wisconsin

Alt J (with special guest  NoMBe)

I stood in front of my seat in the Pabst and couldn’t believe how much fun I was having.  The tickets were general admission, but that included the option to sit in the theater instead of standing in front of the stage.  I hesitated at first- what about the energy of the crowd, the collective joy, the slick sweat of the molly’ed out frat dudes who always wedge themselves in front of me? Then I chose a seat.  A glorious aisle seat, a protective little piece of real estate, a red velvet force field.

The theater is intimate and easy- even 2/3rds of the way back it was the best view of a band on stage I’ve had since the 8th grade, when my height was still average.  The beer lines were short and accessible, the bathrooms were not disgusting.

When the first notes of 3WW creeped out and the lights came up, we all stood in our seats and gasped.  All of us.  Every one of us.

It occurred to me that I didn’t have a concert enemy.  You know that horrible person who ruins a show for you no matter how carefully you avoid them: The Talker.  The Wasted Chick Who Swings Her Hair In Your Beer.  The Guy Who Pushes His Crotch Against You. The Space Stealer. The Falafel Burps Guy. I could see those people, standing in front of the stage, but from the safety of my seat I just enjoyed their enthusiasm.  I drank my cold beer without being jostled, I sang loudly and bobbed along happily.

All it took for me to have a creative epiphany was two years of melancholia, a road trip to Milwaukee, my (current) favorite band, and access to euphoric and mildly hallucinogenic state.  Everything suddenly fit together.  Like, this must be what it’s like to have religious faith – I could see purpose in my struggles and disappointments. All the fears and insecurities and dullness and ache fell away as I stood there. It was just me and my brain, loving each other again.

I’m back.  I’m writing again.


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  1. Vel says:

    Yes! I periodically peek here to see if you’re back…and now, you are!

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