Middle school isn't an easy time for anyone. Actually, maybe I'm just saying that to make myself feel better, and the average pre-teen experience for my fellow millennials was a flourishing social life with no braces or ill-fitting Abercrombie tops in sight.
I personally didn't find my stride until I met a big group of like-minded ~weirdos~ in 7th grade, who had a passion for emo music, skinny jeans, black eyeliner, and oversized hoodies from Zumiez. I mean, what better way to express your angst than screaming along to Fall Out Boy in your friend's basement?!
I'm lucky enough to still be close friends with two of these heathens, Abbie and Maggie. Here we are at the mall taking obligatory iMac selfies at the Apple store in 2008:
And here's one in sepia with our tongues out because...duh:
As someone who nearly got crushed by a crowd surfer in a mosh pit at Bamboozle festival in 2008, I was definitely nervous about the vibes leading up to the event. But my nerves were relieved by waves of anticipatory nostalgia, and I was ready to rock the fuck out with my besties. Here's a play-by-play of how the day went:
1.My brother's lovely girlfriend Jess decided to sacrifice her sanity and come with us to Vegas for the weekend. Here she is with Abbie and Maggie drinking in our hotel room before 11 a.m. The intensity of this pregame would later be regretted:
2.We had to snap a pic of the OG middle school crew before we headed out:
3.We passed by some precious emo newlyweds as we wove through our hotel's casino:
4.It was 92 degrees out and the walk to the festival was way longer than we expected 😭. But...
5.AYYYYYE WE MADE IT:
6.Unfortunately, there was no time to admire the scenery since Motion City Soundtrack was playing and we had to race to the stage. Everything was indeed NOT alright because we missed the first half of the set, but they still bopped:
7.Next up was...THE VERONICAS (of "Untouched" and "4ever" fame)!!!!!! They were in all latex and hot as fuck (literally and figuratively):
8.This was the perfect precursor to none other than MICHELLE BRANCH:
9.These two were really enjoying it:
10.Yellowcard was when we started feeling the alcohol. I don't know if it was a good feeling or a bad feeling, but it was certainly a feeling. 🎵 IF I COULD FIND YOU NOW / THINGS WOULD GET BEEEEETTERRRRRRRRR 🎵.
11.We realized at around 3 p.m. that we had a two-hour period where we weren't dying to see anyone, so we decided to take a break. This is when things started to go downhill for a bit. I insisted we walk a mile to get lunch at a nice hotel, not quite aware of how dire the group vibes were. Let's just say the booze was hitting, the stomachs were growling, and the faces were glaring. See, Maggie? I'm taking the L on this one! Anyway, here we are feigning smiles while wandering aimlessly through the Wynn:
12.After about 45 minutes of panic, we finally found food! Blessed, bank-breaking food! In the moment, it was worth every truffle fry:
13.By the grace of god, we somehow made it back into the festival grounds for the second half of our sets. Good Charlotte thankfully came ready with the hits and special effects. Hi, Joel!
14.Simple Plan played all the deep cuts and frankly brought us back to life, although it might not seem that way from this pic:
15.Abbie and Maggie wanted to get a good spot at blink-182, and I wanted to see one of my favorites (Say Anything), so Jess and I split up from them. Thanks to our media passes, we were up close and personal with my Jewish pop-punk king, Max Bemis. The man sure knows how to work a microphone stand:
16.Here's my obligatory dance break during their most famous song, "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too:"
17.Finally, it was time to head over to our last show: blink-182! For whatever reason there was no media entrance, so Jess and I chilled in the back of the GA crowd while contemplating what we wanted to eat when we got back to the hotel. I know all the popular blink-182 songs, but have never seen them in concert or listened to them extensively. Therefore, I had no idea that their shtick was being kinda mean 😂. They were like, "Las Vegas has some of the world's hottest women. Too bad they couldn't make it tonight," and we were like "😲." And then they talked a lot about Travis Barker's alleged big penis that they call "the hammer" and made jokes about banging each other's moms. All in good fun I guess ¯\_(ツ)_/¯:
Jess and I dipped out early to beat the crowd, but Abbie got this sick shot of the fireworks at the end of their show:
And H/T to Matty Vogel for snapping this epic pic of the boys:
18.With a few snack stops and anti-nausea meds to get us through the drive, we made it back to LA in one piece the next day:
Despite my blisters, backache, and exhaustion from the weekend, I can't stop smiling whenever I think about it. Yeah, 2007 might be long gone, but emo will never die.