Strip To This Tour

Yall, music is freakin amazing. Just a few short weeks ago I had no clue who Cherub and ForteBowie were, now they will always have a special place in my heart.

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If you know me you know I am always down for a show. A few weeks ago I posted an image on instagram with all my 2015 concert plans so far. I had mentioned that on January 23 I was either going to drive to see Moon Taxi in NC or I was going to stay local and go to a Cherub concert. Between all my social media profiles I received several people adamant that I check out Cherub. People talked about what a blast their show is and how nice Jason and Jordan are. I hadn’t really heard of them before and I wasn’t familiar with the opening acts. Enough people convinced me that it would be well worth my time though. I looked at Cherub’s tour schedule and saw they were actually playing in Richmond the week before. I decided to buy a ticket and check them out. Then if I loved them I would get to see them again in Norfolk instead of driving to NC. It seemed like a win win!

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I listened to their music and as soon as I heard the song ❤ (Heart) I fell in love. They are a little more electronic than my usual style, but their songs make me want to dance. I knew it would be a good show based on that alone.

I am addicted to crafting right now. When I am home for a night I am usually making things with no real end game. I have so many random magnets, stickers, and apparel I could almost open a shop. I went to target one day after work the week of the show in Richmond. In the dollar section they had these baskets that were PERFECT for the booze arrangements I love to make. I don’t make every band booze arrangements, but I was feeling crafty and those baskets were so cheap! So I sent Cherub a snapchat asking what their drink of choice is and their favorite candy. If they responded great! If not, no big deal I just wouldn’t make an arrangement. I didn’t even get out of the dollar section and I had a response. It was on.

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Once I start crafting I can’t stop. I made them an arrangement with gummy bears, chocolate, whisky, and some coke for a chaser/mixer. Then I decided to also make a t-shirt for the show. I had just gotten some new vinyl in and hey why not. Go big or go home right? So I was looking at lyrics and 90% of their songs are either about sex, drugs, or a break up. Sometimes they just combine all elements. This made making a t-shirt tricky. I am a young professional. I see my tenants all over the place. Plus I am a military wife. I really don’t need to be walking all over the place with a shirt that says “Champagne and Cocaine”, ” Let me find out if pussy pay your bills”, ” I’m gonna take a sledge-hammer to your car and Break everything apart”, ” Teach me things I never knew I like it when you work it harder Freaky me, Freaky you”, exc. So I went with “Chocolate Strawberries with a, vanilla smoothies.” Yeah, not a typeo, the song says “smoothies”. I posted a pic of it on instagram and added a caption that Cherub doesn’t give a shit about grammar. (That will come in to play later)

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It was finally the day of the show. It was pretty chilly outside, it is January after all. I made a reservation for the restaurant next to The National so that I could get early entry. That way I would be one of the first people in and I could get some food and a drink before the show. Always important since it is a two hour drive for me to get up there.

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The last time I went to the National it was for MOBS 2014 Night 1. The early admission line was crazy long. For this show I was actually the only one who did early entry. That was a little odd, but whatever. I had a few minutes to myself in the venue to get another drink so heyyy!! Really, the early admission wasn’t necessary, because when the doors opened there were barely enough people to fill up the barricade. Time went by and I started talking to the few people around me. None of us had ever been to such an empty show. It was so weird.

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ForteBowie was the opening act. He is pretty active on social media, a quality I value as a fan. I checked out his tweets in the days leading up to the show. He seemed pretty chill. I found what I could of his music, before the show too, but I spent most of my time focusing on learning Cherub’s music. I got good vibes from Forte though. I loved his set! Then when he introduced himself to the crowd he said he was from Atlanta. My chill was gone in that moment. Always gotta get excited for a hometown act on the road.  He had a great set! It was fun, he was very interactive with the crowd, highly impressed with ForteBowie.

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Next up was Mystery Skulls. I have only seen one other DJ set, about a year and a half ago when DJ Pauly D opened for Backstreet Boys. I had a lot of fun during this set though! I danced the whole time. The girl next to me was REALLY in to their music which got me in to it more. I do love the concert community. These girls behind me kept whining that they wanted Cherub to come out, not gonna lie it made me dance just that much harder and I might have “accidently” stepped on a few toes. Don’t heckle the opening act, especially when they are doing such a great job! I loved his set!

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When the stage was being set for Cherub shit got real. I suddenly understood why there was no one there in the beginning, everyone was pregaming! People were so obnoxious trying to get to the front. I was able to hold my own on the barricade. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the girls I was talking to before the show. The ones who were jamming out to Mystery Skulls were solid though! Cherub had a fucking incredible set. They were energetic, interactive, and just so much fun! Even the songs I didn’t know well I was able to rock out to. At one point Jordan came over to me on the barricade and told me he liked my shirt! Then when he went back to his place he quoted my “Cherub doesn’t give a shit about grammar.” comment from instagram. OH SNAP, they do pay attention! That was pretty freakin sweet. After the show Jason got my attention and I met him on the side of the stage. I was able to talk to them a little after the show. Some of the nicest guys I have had the opportunity to meet. I was pretty crushed that I had to dip out early to get back on the road. They hooked me up with some free merch, selfies, and told me they would put me on the guest list for the next show in Norfolk.

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Throughout that next week I thought of and created another gift idea for the guys. I also reached out to ForteBowie and his manager Ty to get lunch before the show Friday. I was shocked, but they actually responded and plans were made! I met up with them before the show and grabbed some juice from The Juice Bar across the street from the venue. Then they let me come back with them to chill before the show. Backstage at the Norva is one of the coolest places I have seen! I went back stage with SomeKindaWonderful for a few venues, but they didn’t compare to this penthouse! This place had pool table, pingpong, basketball court, sauna, hot tub, and probably a bunch more I didn’t see. They had a ton of cool signed memorabilia everywhere too. So I was there for a few hours before the show just chillin.

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My friend Katrina got to the venue around doors, I had Forte put her on the guest list when I realized we may not be entering the venue together. The pre show in Norfolk was just as odd as the Richmond show. Total ghost town before the show started. I am used to shows where if I don’t get there 2-3+ hours early I will be a few rows back. It was trippy.

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The show was incredible from start to finish (again)! ForteBowie had some fans in the audience requesting songs. Mystery Skulls again had a few fans (with face paint even) who were there just for him. Then Cherub is always a blast to watch. Jordan hurt his wrist the night before so he couldn’t play guitar. He was so upset about it when we were talking backstage. But the show must go on! They pulled it off and it is kind of a fun fan trivia thing to say you were at a show where he DIDN’T play guitar. If I hadn’t seen the show before I wouldn’t have known something was off. He had some really funky dance moves for sure!

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After the show we again exchanged gifts and this time I had my friend with me backstage. There were some other girls this time who were all pretty cool. I exchanged instagram names and snapchat with them. I would totally hang with them again! It was an awesome day and evening and hopefully not a one time experience. That backstage area is too cool not to see again!

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Just a quick minute for a personal note. I am was exhausted and completely burned out. I have been going nonstop for weeks. I volunteered for overtime. I have been frustrated with my job performance and other job related issues. Just burned out. I previously signed up for overtime the Friday after the Norfolk show. After talking to a few of my managers I decided not to take that day as overtime.

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When we were hanging out at the Norfolk show everyone kept talking about how sick the New York City show was going to be. It was their biggest headlining venue and they were expecting to sell it out. Everyone was stoked for it. I decided to take my day off and take a road trip to NYC. During my discussions with my managers I decided to devote February to work more than music. This would be my last hurrah. Plus I would get to visit a girl I met at a show last November who I have kind of adopted as my little sister!

So after work on Thursday I made the six and a half hour drive to NYC. Caught up with a few friends on the phone, drove through some funky snow, but arrived safely.

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Not getting the overtime pay and the long drive was totally worth it! My time in New York was a BLAST! I got all caught up with the little sis. She showed me parts of the city. It is always cool seeing things through a local’s prospective instead of a tourist’s. We got some great Greek food, spent some time at starbucks, and froze our asses off! I wasn’t able to meet up with the guys before the show, because they were doing press around the city. Totally made sense, but kinds sucked.

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The show was the best I saw! The energy on stage and in the crowd was so intense! I loved the people around me too! I met these two great guys from New Jersey. So bummed they left after Mystery Skulls, I would have loved to dance with them more! I will be a little heartbroken if our paths never cross again. The crowd was a bit instese, but everyone was having a great time. Forte fucking crushed it. It was by far the best I have seen him. The crowd loved his energy and it was such a great way to start out the show. During Mystery Skulls I gave up my spot on the barricade to one of his dedicated fangirls. I had so much fun dancing with everyone around me it didn’t matter if I was barricade or not. Concerts are such a cool experience when you can be surrounded by strangers but feel so comfortable. At one point one of the guys grabbed my hand and held it above our heads as we jumped and danced together. It was just a fucking blast. (I shouldn’t have to point this out, but since I just mentioned the hand holding I will… the guys were gay. I promise I am not going to all these shows hooking up with strange men lol). Cherub was just beyond words. I wish I could relive that concert 100x. You could feel how pumped they were to be on that stage. They changed their set list a little and added a cover song at one point which was so great. Jordan was back on his guitar. I really can’t imagine a more perfect show from them. It was just WOW! After their set there was an afterparty DJ set at a local club. Unfortunately, the little sister wasn’t able to participate since it was 21+. It was pretty cool going in with the tour manager and crew and being included with the headcount for that group. It’s the little things. I didn’t stay long, but we did give Ty a ride to his friend’s place in exchange for stoping by the bus to drop off more gifts for the guys and their crew. I wish I had gotten to know the tour manager (didn’t even get his name) and their merch girl Maria more. I could totally hang with them! I’m SURE the rest of the crew was just as fantastic, I didn’t have much opportunity to hang out with them though.

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I am so heartbroken that my time following the Strip To This Tour has come to an end. There is SO much more that I can write about my experience, but I think I covered the important parts pretty well. I am so long-winded when it comes to these blogs. This whole experience following the tour was so amazing from start to finish. I am so thankful for ForteBowie, Ty, and the guys from Cherub, Jordan and Jason, and their kindness. Like I said before I had no clue who ANY of them were just a few weeks ago now I will be a lifelong fan. I DEFINITELY hope I will see them again in the future. If you get the opportunity to see them, just do it! Even if it isn’t your genre, their show is good enough where I am confident you will have an amazing time!

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