Friday, June 30, 2017

ain't born typical

ooooof, been back in the real world for almost a week and it still feels a bit weird. at least i'll have some weird-ass tan lines to remember rockfest by.

princess rockfest, looking only slightly disheveled by hour 6 on friday. photo from musikuniverse! (hyperbright waterproof paint eyeshadow by make up for ever)

honestly, it took me a few days to get back to normal; on friday and saturday of rockfest weekend, i didn't get to bed until 3 a.m., so trying to sleep at a regular hour on sunday once i was back home was difficult. also, my voice was still a bit froggy and fucked up by monday. yeeeeesh.

so yeah, all the written/photographed recapping is done and the world is moving on. i feel melancholy about the big weekend being over, because i'd been looking forward to it for so long and it was here and gone so quickly, you know? it's like when you're a kid and christmas is almost here and then it's over and you're like, well fuck, now what? (my mother has no sympy for me on these points; i swear i could hear her rolling her eyes at me over the phone when i was moping)

these make it better though:



(yes, i can definitely see my raised hands in a few of these shots - i can spot my tiny sticklike wrists and the cuffs & bracelets i was wearing - and i could very clearly hear my shrieks in the "stripped" video since it was filmed pretty close to where i was standing, as well as one hilariously long scream right at 10:53 of "halleluja". i was incredibly fucking excited to hear "halleluja".)

what the hell, i'm gonna timestamp the full video just for my own usage, because it's really awesome to actually get to see/hear everything from a different viewpoint than the one i had:

1. 0:46 - "Ramm4"
2. 6:46 - "Reise, Reise" (schneider flipping the drumsticks between beats k i l l s me)
3. 10:52 - "Halleluja" (till's gestures somehow made it even more obscene)
4. 15:00 - "Zerstören" (oh my god paul and richard at the beginning, my fucking heart. vampire guitar bros 4 life)
5. 19:21 - "Keine Lust"
6. 23:38 - "Feuer Frei!"
7. 27:14 - "Seemann"
8. 32:36 - "Ich Tu Dir Weh" (watch this one for the sparks skit alone)
9. 39:34 - "Du Riechst So Gut"
10. 45:05 - "Mein Herz Brennt"
11. 49:51 - "Links 2-3-4"
12. 54:41 - "Ich Will"
13. 58:58 - "Du Hast"
14. 1:04:17 - "Stripped" (worth watching for the lightshow and flamethrower guitars)
15. 1:11:07 - "Sonne" (encore)
16. 1:15:51 - "Amerika" (encore) (i later found confetti in my bra and of course i kept it)
17. 1:21:26 - "Engel" (encore)

(adorable birthday stuff for richard starts at 1:09:50)

and you're wrong if you think i'm too humble to make one of my own photos my iphone background:

helllllllllls yeah. (also it is way crazy to watch the paris dvd now and remember all the times i watched it feeling jealous of all the people in the front row, thinking fuck, i want that to be me, how am i gonna make that happen - and then it did. the alternate universe provides)

i also hauled back all the merch i'd wanted:

i'd been eyeing the waldbühne tank top on the online shop for a while now, so i'm glad i was able to save the shipping charges and just get one in hand. (plus i've never been one for tour tees, but i really do love theirs. only a single canadian date on the back and i was there!)

the tank also works really well as an inconspicuous top to wear to the office:

i've long since decided that, to display a piece of my actual self with me no matter what, i'm going to add a little bit of rock n' roll to all my daily outfits. whether it's a leather accessory or some rubber bracelets or messy hair, a choker necklace or black nail polish or slightly intense makeup, i'm going to try to have something every day. i'm very fortunate to work in an office where what we wear is totally casual, so nobody bats an eye. not yet, anyway. (though it's not like i'm wearing any t-shirts with bullets on them or my spiked crown or my razor blade necklace or anything.)

it's a tad easier to be a bit more punky now that i've got my short hair back:

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

the disconnect is sharper than it's been; my grown-out bangs and front pieces are super long, but then they angle up and back to super-short above my neck. muss it up with a bunch of hair putty and there we go! back to the early-twentysomethings.

also i'm still shamelessly pleased at how many people have been thinking i'm still in said early-twentysomethings. it's nice to know that all the ridiculous money i've pumped into skin care products has actually been paying off! (yes, i know a portion of it is genetics as well, so i definitely owe my parents too - also i strip my makeup every night, drink a lot of water, and get plenty of sleep)

onto some summer goals:

get my upper body in shape. my arms are like sad wet noodles. see photo at the top of this post for proof.

keep practicing the hell out of my german. malcolm gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill, and i'm determined to get there. i've almost completed(!) the duolingo german lessons, so from there it'll just be constant training and practice every day. and honestly? i find it really, really fun. it's no struggle at all for me to sit down and do, like, an hour of german each evening. and as i've said on twitter, it's slightly creepy how good i'm becoming at it. hard work and practice pays off, who would have thought?

experiment more with makeup. i now have four(!!) eyeshadow palettes, including this new beauty:

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

so between all these eyeshadows and the lipsticks i've amassed, it's time to start brushing (haha) up on my makeup techniques as well as try new things. i'm far more daring with my makeup looks than i was a decade ago, and i'm actually developing the skills needed to make it happen. it really does take a lot of trial and error and practice, and so i'm going to commit myself to trying more things, even if it means just experimenting at home on the weekend (or getting more professional makeovers done and committing tips to memory).

do some diy crafty stuff. i've been getting the hankering to learn a new skill for a while now, but something where i can make a thing. unfortunately, a lot of my ambitions are constrained by costs, but i keep turning ideas over in my head about what diy stuff i can learn on the cheap. it may just get to the point where i ask for a sewing machine for my birthday or christmas, then buy some patterns and fabric and go to town. practice makes perfect, right?

(it's not exactly a huge project but i did slap together a quick about me page, for my new readers.)

i guess lastly, i can say that i'm really, really happy with life right now. i'm not sure why i've got such a heart-on for toronto at the moment, but for some reason i'm super into how beautiful the city is and how lucky i am to (still) be here. maybe it's because it's granted me so many opportunities, and because it's always been very central to everything i want to do and be in my life. but oh man, there's no place i'd rather live in at the moment. it feels good to wake up every day and be so thankful you are where you are, and to know that there's always more great stuff to come.

i have music, and i have wrestling, and i have toronto. that's all i need to make me happy.

[ music | rammstein, "reise, reise" ]

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

where you belong

so here's the rest of my montebello rockfest 2017 weekend, in recap form! (here's the full rammstein recap, if you missed it yesterday)

i got outta town on thursday, and even though we were an hour late getting into ottawa, i didn't stress it too much (i wasn't heading to rockfest til friday anyway). this was my first time being back in ottawa since, like, probably 2002? i really had no idea where i was going, but fortunately the backpackers inn i was staying at was right near byward market, which isn't hard to find. (i'd booked the private single room for a bit extra, mostly because i was conscious of the fact that i'd be tromping in at 3-4 a.m. each night.)

the proximity to byward meant good choices for thursday-night eats, too:

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

(this would end up being one of the only actual meals i would eat all weekend. festival beers do not count as a meal.)

tried to get a decent amount of sleep on thursday night but ugh, so excited. friday morning meant getting up early enough to fight off the other hostel inhabitants for the shower, then gearing up in my gothy best for day 1 of rockfest. (if i were to do it again, i probably would have worn my rammstein ketten tank top rather than a plain black tank, but i'm still not sure where i stand on the debate of wearing a band's own shirt to their show) the shuttle bus pickup/dropoff point was conveniently down the street from where i was staying, which was a positive, since i didn't want to walk through town in a harness and hot pants.

also worrying was the weather report for the weekend:

but i mean, there wasn't much you could do, you know? umbrellas weren't allowed on site, so i just had to make sure all my makeup was waterproofed and to not give a fuck about my hair. at least it wasn't going to be stinking hot. (a couple people later told me that it had been 40 celsius at last year's rockfest, so we got off lucky this year) plus, this meant i had a good excuse to wear my tall black lace-up boots rather than the chucks i'd bought - one was far more waterproof than the other, and looked a lot cooler with said hot pants.

so about an hour later, our humble school bus pulled into montebello, and so began my first time experiencing rockfest.

the old train station where we pulled in, very rustic

picture this: a small quebec village with one main drag, and it's swarmed by rockers, skids, crust punks, half-naked dudes, half-naked girls, people in costumes, people carrying props, music fans, and more tattoos and facial piercings than i've ever seen in my life. up and down every side street were tents where people were camping. the main street was lined with booths selling everything you'd need: food, deep-fried snacks, sunglasses, bongs, patches, harnesses, bootleg shirts, masks, blow-up sofas, belt buckles, $2 shots, and more. the regular local businesses were open with rockfest specials (one laundromat was charging a few bucks for showers and toilet facilities) and packed to the gills, especially the convenience stores with lineups down the street. there were midway games, and loudspeakers blasting constant rock music, and a general carnival-party atmosphere to the entire place.

i loved the shit out of it, obviously.

i mean, the last time i went to a proper music festival outside of toronto was lollapalooza in 2006, and that was different because it was big-city chicago. montebello is a tiny village with a population of like 1000 people, so the entire place was overrun by rockfest-goers. like, every single one of us was there for the festival. it made for such camaraderie and so many good vibes.

also the inhabitants of montebello seemed to be taking the invasion in stride, at least the seniors:

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

it was extra handy having a rented locker on site, so i stored a bag with a change of clothes (i didn't take my top off, but i did go braless all weekend - might as well show off the outlines of my $150 piercings - so i at least packed an extra one), some extra makeup, deodorant, sunscreen etc. (and later all the merch i bought) and took off for the fest. it was only drizzling a bit at this point and i honestly should have sunscreened up, but i was definitely psyched to see the rest of montebello and to get to the actual festival grounds. go go go!!!

speaking of drizzling, the rain definitely impacted the, uh, firmness of the grounds. that's a nice way of saying that everything was a muddy swamp by friday afternoon, and a gigantic smelly bog on saturday.

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

spoiler alert: it didn't rain nearly as much as the weather forecast predicted, and there were no thunderstorms that i saw, but i was still pretty, pretty okay with not camping in the mud pits, thanks.

as i mentioned in the previous blog post, i hadn't planned on sticking around front stage zone at the budweiser stage for the entirety of friday, but uh, that's what i ended up doing.

this means i didn't see too much else of the fest, but it did mean i saw the entire sets of six bands (and rammstein at the end) on the main stage. i saw soulfly first, and watched as the pent-up crowd went absolutely insane (it was still so early and everyone had a lot of energy), then moved into front-row position just in time for pennywise. complete with hot dog man!

this was probably one of the most fan-involved sets i saw, given that they had their fans swarm the stage for "bro hymn", there were about a billion circle pits, and i saw a guy crowdsurfing in a wheelchair. seriously punk rock.

after pennywise's riot of a set came wu-tang clan, a band i never thought i'd see live but was pretty, pretty happy i did:

i'm very certain i got a contact high just from being in that crowd. wu-tang ruled.

then came afi, another band i was super excited to see in the lineup. i love a ton of their singles, and was thrilled to see that they've got a crazy high-energy set with a lead singer that sounds (and looks) just as good as he ever has:

you bet your ass i howled along to "silver and cold" and "love like winter".

bad religion was up next - actually my second time seeing them, after reviewing them for nxne 2012 - and it's always amazing to see that they honestly just look like a bunch of high school teachers. also, their bass was so frigging loud i thought my eardrums were going to pop. (this was around the time when my fatigue began setting in, too; it was about 8 p.m. at this point, and standing for so long - with only a single very quick bathroom break - was starting to wear on me, along with the lack of hydration, so i made sure to at least grab a beer from the roving beer tray guys)

the offspring hit the stage at 10 p.m., playing the ixnay on the hombre album as well as other hits and putting on a great show. they can all still go, for sure, and their stage banter was casual and funny. when i was 16 and blasting "all i want" in my bedroom, i never thought i'd be seeing it performed live when i was 33, but it happened, and life is weird and amazing.

and yep, then rammstein's crew of like a hundred people hit the stage to set up for their set at midnight, and i already wrote up all the details here. greatest. ever.

they finished promptly at 1:30 a.m., which gave me only half an hour to get through the massive crowd, get off the grounds, and get back to the bus dropoff stop for 2. suffice it to say, i basically fucking ran through the mud and down the main street in order to catch my shuttle back to ottawa. we ended up pulling back into the city just after 3 a.m., and i stripped off my caked-on makeup (it survived the rain at the expense of sinking into every one of my pores) and crashed into bed close to 4.

insert something that was less sleep and more disco nap. three fucking hours, baybeeeeeee. at least i made it back with everything intact, save for my remaining half-pack of cigarettes that fell out of my pocket sometime during rammstein (probably for the best, though).

smash cut to the next morning:

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

at least i wasn't alone in my suffering:

but whatever, i could deal. my exhausted self winced through a quick shower, tossed on my day 2 outfit - a bit more covered up, thankfully for my poor chest - and procured a gigantic coffee before climbing on board the shuttle bus again. (the bonus of knowing that i didn't have to stand in one place all day: i could actually drink fluids because i knew i could take bathroom breaks!)

the crowd for ensiferum on saturday morning (circle pit in the middle)

because saturday didn't have the goal of being front row for a favourite band or else, i had way more freedom to explore the grounds and really get the full rockfest experience. this also meant getting some decent food in me for the first time since thursday:

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

i pretty much snarfed this down in like two minutes. best lunch.

so from there it was going to and from various stages - and squishing my way through the mud pits, thank youuuu giant waterproof boots - to see whatever i could see. there weren't really any "must-sees" for me in the saturday lineup; it's true that i basically came to rockfest for rammstein and rammstein alone, and i don't think i was the only one. at the end of it, i only saw full sets of eagles of death metal and alexisonfire, but i did see at least a few songs from ensiferum, teenage bottlerocket, pup, the birthday massacre, anti-flag, good charlotte, sham 69, meshuggah, grimskunk, megadeth (during which the skies actually opened up for about 15 minutes and i hid in the front stage zone beer tent with a ton of other people), and queens of the stone age.

photo break!

people told me to see pup, so i did

someone offered eagles of death metal's jesse hughes a smurf!

he was very grateful.

he is also very rock n' roll. (i danced through their entire set.)

saw alexisonfire from outside the vip zone because i was too lazy to get back in line to go in. still a good show!

the view of alexisonfire from the other side of the grounds (i was lurking near the headrush stage, standing in deep mud, waiting for grimskunk)

queens of the stone age! i could have been closer, but i'd had my fill of front row on friday, so i backed off a bit

but yeah, saturday...was a long day. we got dropped off at 11 a.m. and wouldn't get picked up until 2 a.m. (though i ended up grabbing the earlier 1:30 a.m. shuttle because i was dead on my feet so sorry, no iggy pop for me), which meant i had fifteen hours to kill by myself. and though seeing all the above bands was fun, a lot of my time was spent wandering the grounds and aimlessly walking up and down the main stretch of montebello. that got a bit old by hour eight, basically.

at least it made for good people-watching and observations:

as for the former tweet, i realized that my brain can only handle english + one other language, and my german is far better than my french right now, so i kept scrambling for words when french people tried to talk to me (this happened a lot) and only coming up with deutsche, haha.

as for the latter, i made plenty of quick friends, whether it was on the shuttle bus, just hanging around the crowd, waiting in line for the portapotties, or waiting in line for beer. two of the better compliments i received this weekend: that i look 25 (yesssss) and that i've got talent if i can take such good photos with an outdated iphone 5s. additionally, i heard at least three audible "wow"s at my friday outfit (full-on harness bra, the shortest shorts i own, and my spiked crown), and hopefully not of the scandalized kind. plus i've never been so aggressively hit on by french guys as i was at rockfest, haha. my harness, my crown of spikes, and my gigantic sunglasses may have all been huge hits, but it's also hilarious that i got a lot of attention on saturday night when i was just wearing a crappy oversized hoodie. what.

weekend looks:

and honestly? that money belt (fanny pack, whatever) was such a good investment. it actually managed to hold all the stuff i really needed on hand - phone, passport, cash, credit/debit/health card, some makeup, my hostel keys - and stay in place, and look super cute, and keep both my hands free. will definitely be using again for future events.

speaking of future events, things to remember next time:

- bring hand sanitizer
- always choose the portapotty line with the fewest girls (we take foreverrrrrr)
- don't wear sticky lip gloss because it will get filled with dirt bits

so as i mentioned, i peaced out early that night so i could grab the 1:30 shuttle bus rather than waiting until 2 a.m.; although that meant i wouldn't get to see iggy pop (he was on at 1:30), i really, really needed to get off my feet and get some rest. i was done drinking, i was tired of people, and i had walked the festival grounds and the street of montebello a thousand times. it was a day, and finally done at about 3 in the morning. (i was and still am so very grateful that this was only a two-day festival. i may have died if it had been three days.)

i didn't even get a very long sleep-in on sunday either, since my bus to toronto was leaving at 11:30 and i needed to get to the station for 10:45 or so. up at 8 a.m., another quick shower to get the dirt and dust off, packed up all my shit, put on my rammstein tour t-shirt, and walked back through downtown ottawa to get to the greyhound. i hopped on the bus back to toronto - along with three other people also in rammstein shirts, hah - and headed homeward. all things considered, it probably would have been cheaper or equal in spenditure to have just gone to see rammstein in chicago on the 27th, but i don't regret getting to see them (from front fucking row for my very first show) and also a ton of other great bands right here in canada. best of times. supporting the community!

logistics: all the thanks and gratitude to the staff and crew of rockfest for an unbelievable weekend, the ottawa backpackers inn for putting me up for the three nights, spectrasonic for the super convenient shuttle buses to and from ottawa/montebello, locketgo for the also super convenient onsite locker-and-phone-charging service, and the smoque shack for feeding me the only two actual meals i ate all weekend (both at their ottawa location and at their food truck in montebello!). also budweiser for sponsoring my liver.

so that's one summer adventure in the books and we'll see what the next few months hold. (hint, hint. i have some plans in the works.) à la prochaine, rockfest!

[ music | the raveonettes, "forget that you're young" ]

Monday, June 26, 2017

louder than bombs

i'm back from rockfest! i'm badly sunburned and half-deaf and i have bruises and wounds that i don't know how i got (plus i carried back a shit ton of montebello mud on my poor boots and i even got it in my mouth at one point), but i'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

so here's how it's gonna go: this blog post will be completely about the entire rammstein experience, and tomorrow i'll do a blog post covering everything else from my rockfest trip - the other bands i saw, random observations on the weekend, et cetera. reason for this is twofold: i have a lot of feelings, and i have a lot of photos to spam you all with. breaking this madness up into two posts is the way to go here, i think.

let's start with round one:

it's funny, because the rammstein: paris concert film did exactly what it was supposed to do: make me want to see rammstein live immediately. i say it's funny because i initially went into it back in march being like "yeah, cool, i'll just spend $15 and see the film and it'll be just like being there without the huge cost!" - but then less than a week later, i was dumping $500+ to go see them live. well, fuck.

no regrets though, obviously; some rock/metal fans describe seeing rammstein live as a bucket list item, and for good reason. (i actually did hear a few people saying verbatim afterwards, "well, that's the bucket list.") there's absolutely nothing like their stage show, which i previously explained to my parents as "a wagner opera, except performed by german metal dudes with flamethrower bazookas and dick cannons". exactly this.

and although i knew it wasn't going to be exactly like the paris show - which, to be fair, was filmed five years ago, and with myriad camera angles that would give a far better view than simply from the audience - i just felt fuck, i have to see them immediately. because it's rare enough that a band is still playing after over 20 years together, let alone with the same lineup, and that generally adds to the urgency, because who knows how long they'll still be doing this?

and oh my god, having been there myself for the first time, i can now say definitively that i've never seen anything like it. never in my life. i've been going to live rock concerts for 18(!) years now, but this? this was another goddamn level.

but okay, let's back it up and begin from earlier on friday the 23rd.

i got to the rockfest grounds around noon, and i'd originally had a plan to head to the vip front stage zone area around 4-5 p.m. to try and get a good spot. this idea flew out the window when i managed to get right up to front row, stage right by 1 p.m., and i decided to be a total moron and just stay there all day. i may be a front-row ninja, but let's be clear - for a show like this, it's too tough to try and work your way up to the front. so, i took a page out of 18-year-old caitlin's book and claimed that spot early.

i stood in that spot for 11 hours, through six other bands, with only one very quick bathroom break. no food, one beer, no sitting down, the occasional soaking by rain, and a hell of a sore lower back.

(18-year-old caitlin is also responsible for the frostbite misadventure.)

but also being in front row all day afforded this random opportunity:

rammstein superfan robert - with whom i'd spent the day trying to identify which of the pyro-cannon gear was rammstein's ("this is so cool but also kind of terrifying? like, are we going to die?") - said, "i'm never washing this hand again" and i believed him. (i was also so happy for the young french couple next to me with rammstein shirts and tattoos - they had a happy birthday richard sign and he gave it/them a quick smile, and i think the girl almost burst into tears)

see, to me, being front row has always signaled that you are fucking dedicated. if you're in the very front for a band, it's pretty clear that you're insane about them, because it's very likely you've been waiting there all day. sometimes the band even notices you - and sometimes you end up in videos and photos - and that's enough motivation for me to forever be ruthless about staking out a prime spot.

but honestly, it was all worth the dehydration migraine. their stage show is such a spectacle that they even had a disclaimer up on the video screens beforehand that advised us to just enjoy the show and not focus on taping it. but then they had giant black curtains obscuring the stage during setup, and a projected countdown clock before they began, and various members descended on platforms from the stage rafters, and till had an exploding hat, and yep. camera pandemonium. (i regret that i fell prey to it a few times - being more ready to capture the pyro than i was paying attention to the songs, boooo me)

so i'd never trade front row for the world, but it can be a tough choice sometimes because the sound isn't great up front. you need to be further back to really hear everything, so i feel like maybe i didn't get the total audio experience? fingers crossed some video surfaces at some point soon (also because i want to relive it).

also, set list in order:

Reise, Reise
Keine Lust
Feuer Frei!
Ich Tu Dir Weh
Du Riechst So Gut
Mein Herz Brennt
Links 2-3-4
Ich Will
Du Hast
Sonne / Amerika / Engel

when you've got as extensive a song catalogue as rammstein does, you're bound to not be able to fit everything in a set. (they're gonna have to play "du hast" forever, though.) probably because of the family-friendly festival atmosphere, there were no dick cannons, which means "pussy" and "bück dich" were out. (funny then how "halleluja" was in the set, given that it could be their most offensive song, but you wouldn't know it unless you understood german) also no "mein teil" (too much blood?) or "mann gegen mann", both of which i'd been stoked to see. also, it's strange that they went with "seemann" for their one ballad rather than bigger singles like "ohne dich" or "mutter", but it must be good to change things up. plus that means i can always hopefully see those songs next time they play the air canada centre and bell centre (i am clearly already budgeting money for the upcoming next album's tour).

but oh god, the songs we did get. two of my absolute favourites - "reise, reise" (you are damn right i howled "aaaaaa-aaaaaaahoiiiiiii" at the top of my lungs) and "halleluja" (which i sing-screamed the whole way through, doing the prayer hands at "faltet er die hande zum gebet" and everything) right off the top. "ich tu dir weh"(!). "zerstören"(!!). so many faves i'd been dying to see live, like "mein herz brennt", "links 2-3-4", "ich will" (i danced so hard), and "du riechst so gut" (my voice gave out towards the end of this one, but at least i got to do the synchronized headbanging). and most of all, the fucking epic cover of depeche mode's "stripped", which i'd wanted to see so badly but thought i never would and then i almost started crying when i recognized that ominous opening synth. (remember what i said at the end of this blog post? it actually happened, you guys.)

oh, and the pyro. rammstein are (in)famous for it. it got very warm during "du hast" - giant pyro cannons from the floor and ceiling in front of the stage - and also with the flamethrower guitars (exactly what you'd think) in "stripped" and the head-mounted flamethrowers (exactly what they sound like) in "feuer frei!", but then during encore song "sonne", the fireballs started shooting horizontally, then up, then down repeatedly and in quick succession. (there was also pyro behind the sound booth and above the stage, i think, but i only saw it in photos/video after) it was honestly no wonder that there were fully-suited firefighters at sidestage throughout. somewhat comforting but also not.

(i also get easily freaked by sudden loud noises, so i'm proud of how well i handled all the flash pots and fireworks. "ich tu dir weh" was full of loud flash bangs.)

one thing i didn't think of while watching live videos at home was how many crowdsurfers i'd have to duck; fortunately, this is also where being front row comes in handy. at least you have something to hang on to when people go sailing over your head.

also, look - i know it's the dumbest fallacy to assume someone on stage made eye contact with you or pointed at you or acknowledged your existence (i've known enough musicians to debunk that idea, because they can't see shit in the audience half the time; though sure, they may acknowledge you if you have a good sign, which explains my early concert-going gimmick), but man, let me believe that my favourite member of the band (paul, whom i was standing directly in front of) totally looked down and smiled at me - dancing, singing in german, fist-pumping, and generally losing my mind - at one point. i want to believe! (he once said in an interview that sometimes you see someone in front who's really into the music and that feels great, so like, !!!!!)

but yeah, i have no shame in my crushes on german dudes in their fiftysomethings. they were all so hot, leave me alone.

of note: friday was a special night because, as mentioned earlier, it was guitarist richard's 50th birthday! (till announced this in really adorable, very careful french and english.) each member of the band came up hugged him in turn while we all cheered, but then richard had already left the stage with flake by the time paul came back with a bottle of champagne and a glass. so clearly, the only thing for paul to do was to smash the bottle while till took the glass of champagne, drank it, then smashed the glass as well. of course. (richard eventually came back over and hugged paul again while they both laughed about it, and it was the cutest thing ever.)

okay so that was close to the end of the show, so it's time to dump a shit-ton of photos on you! and honestly, getting these shots made it worth the day-long wait. i don't know if i'll ever take concert photos this good again. (yes, i shot the entire thing with my crappy iphone 5s. i can at least give myself props for being very good at framing shots)

i labelled which song they were during, if i could remember:

reise, reise





(check behind the kit, schneider is fucking throwing that stick between beats)



keine lust

keine lust

feuer frei!

feuer frei!

feuer frei!


ich tu dir weh

ich tu dir weh
(you can see schneider mid-stick flip behind the kit in this one, too)

ich tu dir weh

ich tu dir weh

ich tu dir weh

du riechst so gut
(this picture isn't the best but i love seeing paul and richard together onstage. the vampire guitar bros are probably one of my favourite parts of this entire band)

du hast

du hast
(paul is my favourite. there is a lot of paul in these photos. i'm not sorry, i love him)

du hast

du hast

du hast












the band once said that their shows are a visual spectacle to make up for the fact that most people don't know what they're saying, so they have to hold your interest somehow. uh, mission accomplished. (there was so much dirty confetti still left on the ground by saturday.)

surprisingly, after "stripped" i think i got the most emotional at "mein herz brennt" ("my heart burns"). it's not even their saddest song, not by a long shot (that would probably be "ohne dich"? though i would make an argument for either "feuer und wasser" or "nebel"), but it's a deep, howling goth rock anthem that gets you right down to your bones. and there's a part in the performance where till, the singer, takes out a glowing heart from under his coat and holds it up just as it explodes into sparks and flames.

and oh my god, i got to see that happen live and i just about lost it.

because look, it felt like i was home again, you know? sometimes, you just feel like you're home, even if it's miles and miles away from where you were born or where you're currently living. and for me, no matter what loves or hobbies or other interests come up in my life, i'm still the girl in the front row. i'm still the girl who's been backstage, sidestage, in the van and in the studio. i'm still the girl and the last 18 years can't be taken away from me. it's all the bands that gave me a home and live music that gave me a place to belong. they've always meant more to me than anything in the world.

(but i felt the pang in my heart, and i remember what it was like to look for somewhere i could belong, and what it was like when they promised me everything, and what it was like when it all went away and i had to stand on my own two feet. and i remembered what it was like to be on the road, to never be sure what came next, to know i could just decide tomorrow, it was fine, it would be fine. but now tomorrow is here - tomorrow's been here for a while - and i feel more lost than ever. because where do you go when you're not sure which doors are still open to you, and which ones are closed forever?)

so this whole experience - plus the entire weekend at rockfest with my people - really gave me back something that i had been missing for a long time. for the first time in a long time, i felt like i was back where i was supposed to be: being so crazy in love with a rock band.

alright, that's it for the rammstein recap, thank you for indulging me. i'll be back tomorrow to detail everything else i got up to on my epic weekend trip!

[ music | none ]