Words by Melody Swope
How many universes / am I alive and dead in? / A new one every second / the path of least resistance.
Fourth of July, Philadelphia - Cymbals Eat Guitars
There is something truly incredible about experiencing music. It is honestly the closest thing to magic on Earth; the way that we can fall in love with music is one of the purest forms of love. The Cymbals Eat Guitars show just served as a very real reminder of these truths.
To start, the first time I even heard Cymbals Eat Guitars was almost exactly a week before the show on the 25th. My good friend had sent me their album Pretty Years because he knows my music taste all too well, and honestly, it was love at first listen. I proceeded to listen to it pretty much nonstop for the next couple of days, and when I saw him next, my friend told me that they were playing on Sunday. I knew that the chances of my going were slim because I had so little cash, but I remained hopeful that I would get the chance to see them. Fast forward to the day of and my friend texted me saying that he and his friend had tickets, one of them was for me. I was so excited and I knew that it was going to be an amazing time.
We arrived a little late to the first band, Wildhoney, a sonic force from Baltimore. They would get into these loops of sound and just go on for minutes jamming out. When talking to the lead singer after, she told us about the drama about how the guy who was their bassist that night had just flown in because their regular bassist could not play. So this dude, who totally held it down all night, had not ever met these people or played these songs until just a few hours before. Just a reminder of how amazing great musicians can be.
Next was the band Field Mouse, a great dream pop band with an incredible force of girl power as their head woman. I remember turning to my friend at some point during their set and saying, “I can’t tell if I wanna date her or if I wanna be her,” to which he responded, “Why not both?” And honestly, yeah. But I cannot compete with her actual partner, the frontman of Cymbals Eat Guitars. Honestly, though, he better watch his back, ‘cause I would die for her. Her vocal style was reminiscent of Belinda Carlisle, on top of thick rhythmic guitar and crisp drums. Overall, Field Mouse was a true gem.
The show really began for us, though, when Cymbals Eat Guitars started to play, resulting in my friends and me getting right up against the stage to take in the show as best as we could. They opened with the track “Finally,” the first song on their album Pretty Years, and immediately we knew this was going to be a memorable performance. The dominant energy that came from the frontman, Joe D’Agostino, was enough to get you moving and dancing. We all immediately started to get into the music, singing along, feeling everything we could. The next few songs were just a blur of singing and jamming: an experience only the best shows can provide.
There was one moment that stood out to me at the show. As they started to play a song I was unfamiliar with, I took a moment to take in my surroundings. While standing at the front of the stage with these three boys, who were enthralled with the music, I knew that there was something special about that instant. I could not hold back my smile. It felt like the only things that existed at that moment were us and the music. I also felt so much gratitude to the universe to be standing in between this band's biggest fans, whose happiness and joy rubbed off on me.
Once the songs went back to the album Pretty Years, I was able to sing again. The crowning song for me had to be “Wish,” my favorite song from their album. With a powerful chorus as our anthem, we were all screaming at the top of our lungs. With the bass as my heartbeat and the drums kicking my stomach, I felt like I could fall over from exhaustion at any minute, and the only thing that was keeping me up was the way the guitar made my head feel lighter than air. I know not every word I sang was right, but being there and getting to let it all out was the most I could ever ask for.
After the show, we introduced ourselves to Joe, and he thanked us for getting so into his music. It always amazes me when the band members give fans recognition, because while they appreciate our joy, they are the ones responsible for it. We gave him our eternal thanks for a memorable night and for his amazing music and went on our way. When I finally got home, I took a minute to think about the events of the evening and came to only one conclusion: I was not going to be over Cymbals Eat Guitars for a while.