This weekend my daughter came up from tiny little Ephraim, UT, where she is attending her last semester of school at Snow College before transferring back up north to go to Weber State University (go, ‘Cats!). She was home for the typical college student reasons: laundry, food, and to see a concert in Salt Lake City.
Specifically, she was seeing New Politics. I’m glad that she has grown up into a music lover. She was raised on a weird mix of my classic rock,
her mom’s dance music, and, of course, classic 80s (of course). She went through her “scream-O” period, of which some vestige still remains. But she’s moved on into a mix of bands like Fall Out Boy, Neon Trees, The Colourist, and the aforementioned New Politics, amongst (many) others.
It’s not bad stuff, either. Pretty good, actually. Her mom and I both enjoy it, though we’re not as rabid about it as she is. Is any parent rabid about their kids’ music? Not often. Anyway…
Back to New Politics.
My daughter got picked up by her friend and they drove down to wait outside the venue by 10:30 am. The doors opened at 7 pm. That’s 8.5 hours in line.
Remember those days, fellow old-people? I do.
As often happens at smaller venues, the band buses aren’t really hidden like at arena shows. My kid tweeted (@NewPolitics @Me_Is_Boyd) about being outside the venue, and the lead singer of the band, David Boyd (she just calls him Boyd, so I will, too) came around from his bus, recognized her from previous shows (where she had also waited, gotten photos with him outside, and even gotten in for sound-check and meet and greets), and they took another photo together.
She was giddy. Apparently, Boyd is a complete sweetie. More to come on that.
A tech that she met at another show managed to get her a couple guitar picks (with the band logo) from sound check, and a venue poster from another show she had seen a few weeks back.
Here’s where it starts to get really cool.
By the end of the night, the band had gone through a photo op with everyone that bought enough merch, and my daughter had given her spot to a friend who hadn’t purchased enough to qualify for the meet and greet. She had gotten a copy of the set-list from the stage (gaffer tape and all), though, and politely asked the tour manager if the band could sketch their logo on it so she could use it for a tattoo later.
He agreed, and the band happily sketched it and signed it, and then asked if she was doing the photo-op. After explaining that she had given her ticket to her friend, Lou (the drummer; apparently the 3rd member was feeling ill and was resting on the bus), noticed her homemade vest, which she had painted and decorated with the band logo, and he insisted that they get photos of her and Boyd with their matching jackets, and then a normal photo op, as well.
And as if that wasn’t the coolest thing that happened that night, the band finished up by doing what fans of every band wished would happen.
Since the line was done, they did a group photo with the few groups of fans that hadn’t left yet.
As they were lining up for this photo, she told Lou, while starting to tear up, how much their music had helped her and his reaction was wonderful. He pulled her in tight to his side for the photo and told her that he was glad that they were able to do that for her.
Now, most parents, however well they get along with their kids, never really know everything that is going on with them. I would like to think that my wife and I have an exceptionally good relationship with our daughter, but still, you never know everything.
We knew that she’d been having a tough time since she went to college, with pressures on the academic and personal sides, but we weren’t necessarily aware of how much she had really delved into music and how it had helped her get through it, as so many young people have been helped by so much music through the years.
The absolute coolest part of her night, though, came last.
After the group photo, she lost it (sorry, kid, you’re not that tough. Heck, neither am I.). David saw her crying and brought her in and gave her a genuine hug, rubbing her back until she collected herself.
Classy moves, Lou and Boyd. One which this father and music fan thanks you for.
As a music fan, I applaud New Politics’ appreciation of their fans. Not just their dollars, but their hearts, too. We invest so much in musicians we respect, sometimes even more than we realize we do. It’s nice when an up-and-coming band realizes that and stands in genuine awe of what they have established with those fans, instead of just basking in some sort of self-aggrandizing, entitlement limelight, oblivious to the faces in the crowd.
As a dad, I repeat my aforementioned appreciation to Boyd and Lou.
The next time New Politics comes to town, my daughter may have to buy an extra ticket.
*There is a version of this story out there that my daughter’s friend could tell, since she saw the whole thing, including Boyd and Lou’s reactions, but this is about my daughter and how I feel about what happened, so I didn’t even ask for that viewpoint.