Sunday, July 23, 2017

Happy Birthday AFF!

❤💙💛

It's kind of hard to imagine that it's already been one year since the release of Air For Free. I vividly remember Mrs. Hippopotamuses' being the first song that played when I gave the album a listen for the first time, and it's now one of my all time favorites from the album.

This time last year I was just beginning to develop a deeper love for Relient K. I considered myself a casual fan, having listened to Collapsible Lung, FANSD, and a handful of songs from the older albums. But this album is what cemented that love for this band. Something about it felt right and resonated with me. It held my hand through some hard times and helped me draw closer to my faith in God.

By August, I'd bought tickets to see them on the Looking For America tour and I kept a daily countdown. Then finally October rolled around. Between the time I bought my tickets and the day of the concert, it hadn't really hit me that I was going to see them play live, until my mom and I arrived at the parking garage. I was fine until I started walking across the street, then the tears hit.

I'm sure in that moment I looked like one of those crazy fangirls, but I didn't even really care. I was so overwhelmed with joy and happiness I didn't know how to react other than cry happy tears!

Music has and always will be an important part in my life. Words through music seem to impact me so much more than if they're just spoken. Music inspires me to create everyday and I'm so thankful for it. I'm thankful for the band, Relient K, and I'm thankful for each and every person who reads this blog. Starting this thing was one of my best decisions yet!

So I just want to ask: what does Air For Free mean to you?

For the past few weeks, I've been asking people to make a little sign with a few words (or none, if you just can't put the feelings into words) that explains what the album means to you. I've had a few people ask, so you have until the end of the month to get them in. Tweet or post them on instagram with the hashtag #AFFBirthdayProject!

I can't wait to see everyone's designs and what they have to say.

Thank you again, Relient K. I can't say how much you mean to me.

- Sarah

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I Believe The Sky Was Made For Me To Touch...


There’s something special about seeing Relient K play outdoors. Singing the lyrics to my favorite songs as the stars appear in the night sky along with 50,000 other people is something I’ll never get tired of. Creation was the first place I ever saw Relient K, the place I fell in love with the lyrics that have comforted me in the happy times and in the dark times, and everywhere between.

2005 was the first time I attended Creation, and the first time I saw Relient K live. Mhmmm had just been released the fall before and it’s safe to say I was obsessed. I was 14, and still to this day that album sticks with me as one who has shaped who I am. Fast forward 12 years. I still listened to RK, but hadn’t seen them live in three or four years, and didn’t listen as much as I used to. I had the opportunity to go to three Looking For America shows, rekindling my love for their music. I got to meet the Matts, Dave, and Jake for the first time at some shows in California, and met some other incredible fans that I’ll never forget. In April I decided to move back to Pennsylvania after living in California for two years, thankfully just in time to join my family at Creation East. My sister Rebekah and I were ecstatic to finally see RK together after the late night calls we’d make to each other raving about how great the LFA shows were. RK’s music is something we’ve really bonded over, so to be able to share the experience with her was awesome.

After not-so-patiently waiting all day and talking our family’s ear off about how excited we were for the show that night we went down to the main arena in the afternoon. We stopped by the merch booth before running into Jake outside and talking to him for a bit. We got to chat about his rad solo project Phangs, his new music video that dropped the next day, and about their crazy journey to get to Creation. If you ever get the chance to chat with him definitely do, he’s a great guy! Afterwards we went down to the stage and watched a couple of bands and the main speaker before RK’s set. By the time they came on we had made our way up to the barricade in front of Jake and Hoopes’ spot after a bunch of people left. The guys were introduced one by one, with Mark Lee Townsend joining them which was super cool! They had a similar set list to the LFA tour (I’ll include it at the bottom for those interested) with a mix of classics and newer songs from AFF. The energy was amazing and they sounded great. M@ talked a bit about how it’s been a while since they performed at Creation, how great it was to be back, and was his usual goofball self. Towards the end he took a book from someone in the crowd (you can read his awesome story on here as well, it’s inspiring and beautiful!) They wrapped up their set with Be My Escape and everyone pretty much went wild. 50,000 people at once screaming the lyrics, and it was a blast. After it was over and the crew came out to break down the set, Rebekah and I yelled and gave Dave some love, which made him laugh and wave.

While the whole show was awesome, there were two songs that really stuck out to me. First was God, which has always been special to me. After a few years away from my church I started to doubt and struggle with my faith. When I heard God for the first time it inspired me to find my way back to God, and has helped me restore my relationship with Him ever since. The second was Look On Up. If you’ve ever been to Creation East, you know it’s in the middle of nowhere. You camp out under the stars, far away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world. To be able to sing Look On Up with that many people under the stars is an experience I’ll never forget.


If you ever get the chance to attend Creation, do it without hesitation. You’re removed from the world and immersed in music and inspiring speakers for four days and there just aren’t words to describe how awesome it is. You might even fall in love with a band after seeing them for the first time, much like I did after seeing RK all those years ago! Thank you for reading my story, if you’d ever like to talk about RK, Phangs, or life in general I’m always up for making new friends in the RK Family! You can find me at @amberrmoh on twitter or @ambermoh on Instagram! Here are some pictures from the show and the setlist!







Setlist:
High of 75
Bummin’
Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been
Forget and Not Slow Down
Sahara
Holy Holy Holy
God
Look On Up
Pressing On/Chapstick
Mood Rings
Sadie Hawkins Dance
Air For Free
Mountaintop
Don’t Blink
Be My Escape

Sunday, July 2, 2017

TAKE THAT BOOK: M@'s Book @ Creation Fest East

Hello you beautiful followers of Relient K,

My name is Nicholas Michael Reeves, who most call Cole. I’m from Middleburg, Florida, a small rural town just southwest of Jacksonville. I am writing for the Freshest Blog In The World to tell you a super rad story that happened at Creation Fest East in Mount Union, Pennsylvania. If you were at the show, or if you watched the live stream that is now on Youtube, you may be asking the questions: Why did the crowd keep chanting, “Take That Book?” What book was this? Who wrote this book? And why?

Well first, I’ll tell you the short scoop of what went down:

I drove 877 miles with a book in hand that I wrote for Matthew Arnold Thiessen. I came to give it to him, to say thank you, to tell him of the profound ways his lyrics, words, and music have shaped and molded the heart that beats within me today. That book was given to him, in front of the 50,000 person audience in the mountains of Pennsylvania, with only two songs left on their setlist. M@ walked to the end of the stage, received it from my hands, and set it atop his piano. He then sang the bridge of Be My Escape with my book wrapped around the microphone. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

So yeah, that’s the short scoop. But who wants the short scoop? You folks who are reading this most likely love and appreciate the wonderful, esoteric world of RK, and that means you probably love details, and stories, and life, and all the good, beautiful things. So I’m going to tell you all about it: my trip, the show, the book, and the heart behind it all.

3 weeks ago, I was drinking a cup of coffee in my hometown, and I thought, I want to write Matthew Arnold Thiessen a book, and I want to drive to Pennsylvania to give it to him. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted it to entail, or how I wanted to go about it, but I began writing it anyway. On the first page of the book I wrote this:

“I am writing you a letter for so many reasons, the first being to say thank you. The second, to describe to your influence on my heart and my soul. The third, to describe the profound ways you have changed the fabric of my life and my becoming. The fourth, to tell you a story, or actually, many, many stories, that all lead back to one. And the fifth, to hear myself let you hear me.”

So basically, I wrote M@ a book about who I am because of Relient K. Through Relient K, God has gripped my heart, maneuvered me into a walk with Him, and drawn me into a life of His upward calling. I summed it up to M@ like this:

“I believe the Holy Spirit has gripped my heart, maneuvered me in and drawn me to a path of Christ’s upward call through the far-reaching branches of your deeply-rooted writing. I’ve experienced an imprinting on my heart, the truths of the Gospel, the wonders of grace, the miracles of healing, the essentiality of the cross in the frameworks of each distinct part of my life, and an abundance of other things like that as well, through your voice.”

That will be all that I quote from the book I wrote M@. After all, it’s his book, and for him and only him, but I wanted to paint for you the picture:

I wrote Matthew Arnold Thiessen to thank him, to tell him I’m so grateful for his lyrics, his words, and his melodies. To tell him is a hero to me, a role model, a friend, and brother in Christ. To encourage him and portray to him that his writing led some random young kid in the Sunshine State into a deep, intimate relationship with Christ.

I went about telling him this through the lens of the 2009 record Forget and Not Slow Down. I told my testimony throughout each song, citing lyrics from the record, sequentially, that told of my battles and struggles as a Christian, and as a human.

I am a firm believer that this is the most beautiful record ever made by Relient K. Its raw, honest, vulnerable and deep-rooted aura is so unique in the world of music, Christian rock, punk, etc. When I think about FANSD, I think first about the beautiful truth of grace. The record has time and time again allowed me to explore into the parts of me that are supremely broken, and that exploration has led me to a place of understanding God’s healing hand, and his sovereign touch.

I also think about forgiveness, I think about restoration, and I think about a look into a well in the desert, from a lion too recognized by defeat, as he shakes his mane, and overcomes, all in the hands of Christ.

If you’re reading this and you haven’t listened to FANSD (I’d be shocked if that were the case), go listen to FANSD, like right now. It’s way better than this, I promise you. If you’ve listened but not so intently, go challenge the record. It’ll do much more than prove itself to you.

So yeah, that was the scope of the book. It was super long, and I hand wrote it in this book I got from India. It was leather and what not, and it’s pages were crisp. Nothing like fresh paper and a nice expensive pen. Ha.

So then I drove to Pennsylvania. The drive was captivating and mesmerizing. Being from Florida, I never get to see mountains or hear streams flowing through them. By the time I reached Agape farm and watched RK checking the sound, I wanted to move to the great state of PA. It was so very beautiful.

So the show starts, and I am in the front section near the right of the stage, and everyone around me is asking about the book I am holding in my hands. So I told the short scoop that I told above: “I’m from Florida, I wrote M@ a book about how his words has shaped my testimony and my walk with Jesus today.” Everyone thought it was super neat, they were super encouraging, and so kind.

As more and more people began spreading the word about the book I’d written, the conversations about it grew. Before I knew it, people were giving me their front row spots against the railing so that I could get close enough to M@ for him to come get the book.

If you’ve never met an RK crowd, you should know, the RK family is close-knit & sincere, and the environment of there shows is so uniquely cool.

So the show starts, and let me just say, it was A M A Z I N G. It was my 5th time seeing the K Car, and tied with every other time for the best show I’d ever seen. They played a variety of the old goods and the new goods, and I poured all my heart out into that Pennsylvania night, singing loudly along to the RK melodies.

When the 8th song started, a group behind me exclaimed, “Tell M@ you have a book for him!” I had been waving the book and yelling his name between every song, but I was not taking it seriously enough. I was just jamming. So from then on, I really started screaming between every song. Yelling as loud as I could to get his attention. All of a sudden, I had about 50 people screaming along with me. But M@ still could not hear us. After all, the festival was massive, and the lights were probably blinding for those on stage. It was getting discouraging to want to give him the book and him not hear us, but I knew it would all work itself out.

With just 2 songs left, after Mountaintop and Don’t Blink, a group behind me started a chant: “TAKE THAT BOOK! TAKE THAT BOOK! TAKE THAT BOOK!”

I’d say a hundred people joined in, but M@ thought we were singing Jingle Bells. Then Hoopes looks over at him and says something along the lines of “Bro, I think they’re saying, take that book!” And then M@ goes, “Oh, yeah, take that book!” And he runs out to me. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

When M@ ran out, he bent down to talk to me and said, “This is mine?” “Yes,” I said. “You wrote a book for me?” He was so astounded. “For you, I wrote it for you. It’s my testimony, it’s FANSD, my walk, who I am. Thank you so much, I love you man!” He smiled so big. It was so b e a u t i f u l. As he walked away, I broke down, weeping.

I’d say I wept for a thousand reasons in that one tiny moment that forever changed me as a person.

My dear friend looked at me, and crying, said, “That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.” I asked what was meant by that, and why, and she said, “In that moment you were doing everything you were born to do.”

My gratitude to that line extends further than words could ever say, but here is why that moment meant what it did to me:

I am a person who loves writing, who loves love, who loves pouring my heart into everything I ever find. I love people, I love art, I love honesty and courage and transparency. I love showing gratitude, I love kindness, and I love Jesus.

And in that moment, I got to thank the one person who has taught me so many of those precious things throughout the last seven or eight years.

I finally was able to pour my heart into him, to tell him everything I had always wished to tell him, to recognize as him as being a dear friend, leader, and mentor of mine.

I think many of you know exactly what I am saying and what I mean:

Matthew Arnold Thiessen has reshaped so many of our hearts and souls. He has given the Relient K fan base a new ‘language,’ I call it, to talk and approach the world in a way that is tangible but yet so mysteriously beautiful.

Without him, we wouldn’t know the world we know, and we would not see the world we see, we would’ve never heard music the way we do now, we would not read poetry, or lyrics, the same.

We would not see the moon and think of not photographing it.

We would not see a hospital and think of salvation on a deathbed.

We would not think anything too special when the weather was clear and the high was 75.

We would not know of the music we have always craved that breaks our heart so much for the Lord, but also draws us and pulls us into Him.

We probably would not know the word proverbial.

And there are a million other examples!

And I finally got to thank him for those things, those life-changing, soul-altering things.

So I wept. I wept because I’ll never be the same, and I never was the same, now 0r when I met Relient K through my sister’s car speakers back in 2009.

The RK crowd was so kind to me. I had a family there. Before I knew it, so many people were getting my number, and my Instagram (@nicholasmichaelreeves), and those things. I met people from several states, a wonderful group of men from Brunswick, GA, who I want to start a band with.

I was crying, years worth of tears, and I was being hugged and lifted up and cherished. The people were so beautiful, so sincere, so genuine and real and authentic.

When Be My Escape played, M@ picked up my book from the piano he originally rested it on and sang the bridge through the pages of the words I had written him. I was crying so hard I could not see that that was happening until family around me told me so.

I remember weeping through the second chorus of Don’t Blink. You know, “Hold on, now don’t you blink, or it’s gone.”

That song always reminds me of my great aunt, the most wonderful lady in the world. Though she is growing old and her life is difficult, her heart is seeping with contagious, pure joy. To see her is to watch a sunrise forever. I love her. The lyric from that song, “You’re the only person who reminds me, love is beautiful and true, life is beautiful and new,” has always reminded me of her.

So you can see I was a mess, haha.

When the show ended, M@ ran off the stage with the book I had written him. It was a beautiful sight. (Sorry if I’ve used that word too much — there is no better one to use).

I began walking to my car as I had to begin my 877-mile journey back home.

I drove in silence for a time, taking in the mountains lit fully by fireflies. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.

After 15 hours, I made it home. The last 2 hours of the drive, I listened to FANSD, and cried, thanking God for his beautiful orchestration. For making me His, for loving me, and for providing me with such influences like Thiessen & Hoopes & Douglas & Tom Brey.

After the nap I took when I got home, I went and told my aunt the story. The same aunt that has always been the face of the song Don’t Blink for me.

I told her this whole story and I read her the entire book I wrote for M@. I was highly emotional. When I finished, she looked at me and said, “I know exactly how you feel about this, and why you feel that way?”

“How?” I asked.

To which she responded, “Because you’re my Relient K.”

Those words will be on my body on a day when she’s no longer here. I’m sure you can imagine what such words mean to me, what they would mean to any follower of RK.

What I can say from all of this is that I am incredibly grateful for Relient K, for all they have taught me, for their ‘language,’ for their understanding, for their persistence in writing and making beautiful sounds.

I am constantly and eternally changed by Matthew Arnold Thiessen, and that is beautiful to me.

If you are still reading this, I thank you so much. This is so dear to me, and I hope it is for you, too.

Again, my name is Nicholas Michael Reeves, who most call Cole. I’d love to talk with anyone and everyone about Jesus, about RK, about life, about music, about mostly anything.

Find me on IG or email me: nreeves@stetson.edu

With love in Christ,

NMR



P.S. watch the livestream here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkaIGyahfXk

M@ gets the book right after Mountaintop, with about ten minutes left in the video.










Tuesday, June 13, 2017

We're Back + Perfect Gifts for the RK Fan

LONG TIME, NO BLOG! But I'm back! I graduated from high school on Saturday and now I've got a lot more time to get the blog back up and running. I'm planning the podcast, still working on those button packs, and polishing off the professional side of the blog by designing some stationary! As far as Relient K news, there are still a bunch of shirts on sale for $5 on relientk.com, so be sure to snag one if you can! Now, on to today's post...

I know buying gifts for someone can be stressful, especially when you have no idea what to get. So I've compiled this little list of things the Relient K fan in your life is sure to love.



1. Bummin' themed art. Price varies. 
Bummin' by Youu
(from Redbubble user Youu)
This really cute drawing can be made into anything from shirts to post cards, and even phone cases!

Click HERE to shop!



2. Deathbed sound wave art. $35.00 

Deathbead - Relient K Print, Canvas, or Framed Print, Christian Rock Song - Wall Art - Gift Idea
(from Etsy shop VoiceAndSound)

Click HERE to shop!


3. Air For Free bracelet. $7.50

Relient K Air For Free bracelet
(from Etsy shop shop315)

I spotted this bracelet a few months ago when I was online window shopping on Etsy. It's absolutely adorable and I hope to buy one for myself soon!

 Click HERE to shop!



4. High of 75 handwritten wall art. $10.00

HAND WRITTEN PIECE : Relient K

 (from Etsy shop handstolearn)

Click HERE to shop!


5. Be My Escape print. $20.00
Be My Escape Print
(from Etsy shop RivyePrints)

Click HERE to shop!


I hope you found a cool gift idea! Personally, I'd love to buy each of these things. Guess I'll have to save a bit of money up!

Hopefully soon I'll have some fresh new RK news to be reporting to you all, but until then...

Don't blink
- Sarah

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Artist Spotlight: MILKK

Image may contain: 3 people
Picture from Twitter
Feel good, sad songs.

MILKK is an indie-pop trio based out of Nashville and Minneapolis. Comprised of Pat Kiloran, Jack Vondrachek, and Joel Ogelby, the three guys are no strangers to music, but their band is. They've only been around since March, but they did something that captured the attention of people from all over the world. On top of all that, MILKK already has a strong fan base despite the fact their debut song "Pacific Kiss" won't be released for another 9 days!

Yesterday I got the opportunity to sit down and have a casual chat with Pat through good 'ole Twitter.


First of all, I gotta thank you again for taking the time to do this! I'm excited to learn more about you guys and the music you make. So, how did the idea of MILKK come about?

Pat: Jack and I grew up together in MN playing in bands and working on music. After high school we went off and did our own things for awhile. I moved around to Toronto, Los Angeles, etc, and Jack built up his studio in the Twin Cities.

Then just earlier this year, after a few years of working in the industry, some circumstances came about that brought Jack and I together, discussing and working on a new project. The idea for MILKK just started as something fun we thought we could do on the side. We did not expect it to gain the support it has so quickly.

Then after playing a few gigs with him around Nashville, I met John and almost immediately knew that he was the exact right person to be a part of this band. It was just sort of obvious.


When you and Jack were in high school, did you consider music to be a hobby or did you already know that you really wanted to pursue it?  

Pat: We played in a lot of bad bands ha. I think we both knew it was what we wanted to do. I remember at 14 or 15 being very excited by the idea of making records and touring. It's been a weird twisting road since then, but it seems like things are heading in the right direction.


So technically you've both been musicians since high school. That's cool. Was there a specific person or artist that influenced that?

Pat: I don't think specifically.

I remember back then I was a big fan of bands like Green Day and Fall Out Boy. Jack was really into classical guitar and Led Zeppelin. I honestly don't know what John was into haha. But he has also been playing for a long time. We all grew up studying and working in the industry in some way.


Lastly, the one big question that's been on my mind since I found you guys...  How did you come up with the name MILKK? Why two K's?

Pat: If you want the honest answer haha. We were originally going to call it "MILK" just because we thought it would be funny, but Facebook wouldn't let us name a page that because it was such a common word. So I called Jack and asked what we should do. I randomly hit the "K" key again and looked at it. Then I told Jack "We're good. I think this will work."

It's really dumb, but it's the truth.

__________




Click above to hear a clip of the song!

Pacific Kiss comes out May 26th, 2017, and you can pre-order the song on iTunes (which I have gladly already done).

I hope you fall in love with this band as much as I have. I look forward to seeing where they go from here, how they grow, and the day I get to see them live!

Again, I would like to thank Pat, Jack, and John for creating this amazing music, and I would also like to thank the Milkk Cartons group on Twitter! You are all so kind and I'm lucky to have met such nice people.

Find MILKK on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat: wearemilkk

Don't blink!
-Sarah

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Local Wave + Earth Day Updates

Hello friends, welcome back to the blog! I've been a little inactive recently due massive cold, but I'm on the up and up. Hehehe.
                                             
ANYWAY, today I want to talk about two things! First up is the podcast Matt Hoopes did with The Local Wave last week, and second is the Earth Day stream the guys did a couple of days ago.

However, I do recommend you check out The Local Wave's podcast (click HERE to listen online and download). It's a little over an hour but it's really a great listen.

The thing I really loved about it is hearing some of the stories around certain events and albums (like how they were first discovered and how the AFF primary color theme was an accident).

The bit about Empty House was another great moment. It's by far one of my favorite songs from the record for the reason of perfection in the midst of imperfection, and listening to Hoopes' opinion and thoughts about the song was really great!

Now as far as Earth Day, the guys released a surprise song (you can download it for free at relientk.com) and did a livestream straight from Thiessen's porch. They played Mountaintop and Air For Free as well as the new song, then did a mini Q&A!

Some highlights from the stream (in no particular order):

• The actual vase that inspired Mountaintop (there's an actual bluebird on the vase and that missing piece)

• Matt T mentioned a solo project and Goodbye Dubai (confirming the project with Owl City's Adam Young for a second time)

• Jake Germany's rice cake shoes

• M@ ate dirt and threw some at Hoopes

• M@'s improvised lyrics to Awakening by Switchfoot: "Here we are now with a piece of toast and jam"

If you missed the stream, you might be able to find it on YouTube. I know for a fact the Instagram stream is on there somewhere.

So until next time, I'm signing off!
- Sarah

Monday, April 10, 2017

Just another fan of the freshest band

Although my main goal in this blog post is to cover the recent show at IWU, I thought since Sarah (which I’m quite grateful) offered me the mic, I could dig a bit deeper on how I feel about this band.

I first started listening to Relient K back in 2001 when Anatomy dropped and my eight-year-old ears were blessed through the walls of my brother’s room blasting the album almost every weekend when my mom would make us deep clean our rooms. I can vividly remember hearing the intense opening to the album with “Kick-Off” into the next two songs that would change how I saw/loved music. “Pressing On” was the first song where my young, ignorant and tasteless music self was shown that music could be good and have a purpose behind it. Then transitioning into “Sadies” blew my mind and the rest of the album was just golden. I didn’t realize it then, but this band and their music would have me hooked for years.

I tweeted this out a few weeks ago about how I felt Relient K was that neighborhood friend that I grew up with and spent a lot of time together, but then that friend moved and had only recently moved back into my life with a ton of new friends. I was hoping to unpack that tweet just a bit more on here if I can. RK was an integral part of me growing up, going to youth group, church camp, and as I mentioned before, deep cleaning our house. On road trips, we would put on their albums because my parents (who are really picky with music) didn’t mind it and it was all me and my siblings could agree on and sing to. Although were not the closest family out there, I’m realizing now that it sort of, for a short amount of time, brought us together. Which, I wouldn’t learn until only about a year ago, that they tend to do that: bring people together.

Their music has changed and developed in my life from the different things that I have gone through and struggled with. Some things very personal and other things a bit more superficial. However, no matter how hard I tried to NOT like them, they would always come back into my life. I didn’t have a lot of friends who knew or liked them so the only way I could jam with a friend is if I forced them to liked them (which I’m sure they did to an extent) and we would jam out together and it just felt right when we did. I felt really close to their music when I first heard them but since no one I knew at school really knew or liked them, I kind of felt embarrassed to like them. That embarrassment would unfortunately transfer over to high school, college, and even still a bit to this day. I hate that I have felt this way for so long but I’m glad that, because of the community I have found on social media, I feel less insecure and more confident in loving a band that deserves to be loved!

The first time I officially introduced myself to the Matts and Dave was back in July for the AFF album release show in Akron (on my top 3 best shows). I was pretty awkward and nervous and definitely embarrassed myself (another story for another time) and the guys weren't exactly what I expected. The Matt's personalities felt completely switched in my mind and Dave was a lot nicer than I thought he looked. After the first meeting, the next few encounters would be A LOT better and less putting-foot-in-mouthy. It's crazy to think that I have established some solid rapport with a band that has meant so much to me. I probably owe it all to my wit and trolling that Hoopes enjoys on twitter and to the great friends that I have made through the band who also had their own established relationship with them.

ANYWAY, I could say a ton more but I'm sure you're all bored from hearing my personal stories and want me to get into how IWU went so let me start:

First off, I had no idea this was a youth conference when I bought the tickets so getting there I was a bit confused on the mass amount of high schoolers. Also, since I had work till 2PM, I didn't get there till about 630PM. So a huge shout out to Kess and her family for going to every show, being there early and letting me jump in line with them! So we get into the chapel where they're gonna perform and we didn't know if they were gonna allow us to stay in front of the stage or force us to sit down so we decide to get seats close to the front and also stand in front the stage. We were all relieved they didn't make us sit down because I HATE when venues with seats do that; as I'm sure the guys do too because the energy doesn't compare. Anyway, they had a DJ playing first, then some women from the Bahamas sing a few songs, then this worship band, and then the RK. Before the guys even came out, some of us could tell that the acoustics were a bit off in the room. Regardless, the guys were still great and brought it just as they always do. Some huge changes that I felt they made to the set list in comparison to Looking for America tour was adding "Prodigal" /Doxology mix and "God"; which I'm sure had everything to do with the setting (even with that, M@ said he still felt weird playing them but also felt right).

If you have seen the guys before, you can kind of know already how the show went. They always do a stellar job, but there are obvious moments that happen that aren't the same for each shows. The main moment that sticks out to me was actually something that I shouted out. M@ was going on a small rant before playing AFF and how it's a song about motivation when he didn't want to do anything. How this motivation was what helped push him to finally finish and release the album. He said something along the lines of "So yea, this album just took a bit longer to release..." and there was a silent gap and I carpe diem the crap out of that moment and shouted "WE KNOW" and the crowd and the guys DIED. Hoopes, Dave and Jake were shaking their heads but also livid that I came at Thiessan like that. So that was my favorite moment of the night. A close second was during Candy Hearts (Which THANK YOU JAKE for always pushing them to play it AND pushing them to make similar pop punk sounding album!) when Hoopes came up to where I was standing and just shredded his guitar over me #blessed.

Now if you know how to cheat the system, you'll be able to hang with the guys post show. Tom (Bass) was the first one out so we went to talk to him first to get an update on his life and see what he thought of the show. Aside from obvious feedback and acoustic issues, he said it was a solid show. Also his intro to "Must have done something right" was SICK. Hopefully they play it again so the rest of ya'll can be blessed by that intro. Hoopes came out next and he went in for a big hug which was new but hey, no complaints. We talked for a bit about stuff, I fake apologized for the jab I made earlier at M@ and I usually take a polaroid pic with him at every show so this time I wanted to have a look from just after the moment I yelled "WE KNOW" and the face Hoopes first initially made. See below for results:


I then brought up to him that I was guest writing this blog and used my phone as a microphone to interview him about how he felt about the show that night. This is a rough cut of that transcript:

Me: How did you feel about tonight’s show?
Hoopes: I have no words. There was good energy. Although there were slight issues with audio and feedback, there were good vides. It went a lot better than I thought it was gonna be.

Well I was glad we were on the same page when it came to how we thought the show went. I also mentioned that this show felt a little extra important since it was show #20 for me since 2008 when I first saw them with Switchfoot at the Appetite for Construction tour.

After I let him go talk to other fans, Jake came out and him and I had a good talk about music, Phangs, how he first got connected with RK, and some stuff for the future. Here are a few things I got from our convo:
- The music industry is so freakin complicated and what he said made me a lot more patient for waiting new Phangs music.
- As I mentioned before, he's trying to push the guys to writing the next album as a pop-punk-candy-hearts-sound type. Which I mean, Jake was a huge influence on pushing AFF out, so THIS MIGHT HAPPEN. But M@ seems to decided everything so fingers crossed ya'll.
-There's one other main huge thing he spilled but he said it's on the DL and I don't want to break his trust or confidence, but just know it's big when it comes to the future of Phangs, Jake and Hoopes.

We were talking to Jake long enough that everyone else had left and Hoopes came over to us to talk some more. We all just stood in a circle for a bit and just talked, hung out and it was real chill. Now there's a ton of stuff that happened after that that was really cool. I won't share all the details but here's a few:
-They needed a ride to Walmart and Jake was gonna come with me, show me some new music, and even carpool karaoke with me. But he ended up going into the bus so that didn't happen. Instead Hoopes and Nolan (their photographer for the night) came with and Hoopes (as usual) just had a lot of really good insights on things. We talked a lot about the science of popularity and twenty one pilots. It's always cool to talk to him and I encourage everyone who likes RK, to really try to get to know them as people because they're really wise and have real good things to say.
With the cash that Hoopes forced me to take for the ride, we bought taco bell and it was a great way to end the adventurous night.

When it comes to these guys, you never really know what you're getting yourself into. It's always a pleasure spending time with them and I always look forward to our next weird/fun/crazy interactions. Thanks for reading and I hope you found my insights somewhat entertaining and informative. Thanks again to Sarah for offering this opportunity and I hope to get the chance to do it again in the near future.

Here are also a few pics that I took of the show:
(for those who don't follow me on social media: Jerry_thehuman  #shamelessplug)