The first concert I ever went to was Z100’s Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden. I was there to see my favorite band at the time, but I found myself being moved by so much more: the fans eagerly singing along to their favorite songs, the lit lighters shining in the crowd and the sounds of the many instruments booming out of the speakers as the crowd went wild.
It was a magical night.
Never once did I think to myself, “I am not safe here.”
For me personally, that night opened the door to a new lifestyle, one that relied heavily on attending concerts. I spent a majority of my teen years seeing my favorite bands live and a large portion of my adult years reviewing them. The only time I ever felt a sense of fear was when I was accidently kicked in the head by a crowd surfer — but hey, that’s what I got for always insisting I needed to be in the front, right by the action.
But again, I never felt unsafe. In fact, it was the complete opposite — I always felt at home.
The senseless bombing that happened at Ariana Grande’s concert in England is a tragedy of epic proportions: 22 people were killed, 59 people were wounded and a countless amount of people are in fear while wondering if/when it will happen again. Even worse, many of the people who witnessed this terrifying event were defenseless children and young people who had no reason for being at that location other than to enjoy the music.
Those who survived will most likely never feel safe going to another concert again.
Sadly, this is not the first time a tragedy has occurred during an event that intends to celebrate music — Christina Grimmie was shot to death after one of her concerts last year and 89 concertgoers were killed at an Eagles of Death Metal show in Paris in 2015.
Ariana Grande — who, sure, may have offended countless people when she was caught saying, “I hate Americans, I hate America” — is also a victim, because her now-canceled “Dangerous Woman” world tour will forever be associated with this event. Hours after the attack Ariana tweeted, “broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”
Many musicians shared in Ariana’s disbelief:
Lorde tweeted, “Every musician feels sick & responsible tonight — shows should be safe for you. Truly a worst nightmare.”
Justin Timberlake tweeted: “My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this horrific act in Manchester. We need to do better. We need to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”
The 1975’s Matt Healy — whose popular group also hails from Manchester — delivered an emotional speech after the tragedy unraveled. “We can’t carry on in the way that we’re carrying on…I don’t know what it’s in the name of… but these are the things that keep happening, and I’m f****** pissed off about it.”
The heart-wrenching reality is that it could happen anytime, anywhere — and we are powerless against those troubled souls who use concerts as hunting grounds. But for those who find their ‘safe place’ or ‘second home’ in an arena, ballroom or public grounds, where the music is loud and the vibes are good, keep in mind that music is universal. It does not discriminate against color, religion or social status — its only purpose is to serve those who choose to listen.
For that reason, we should not fear our happy place and let the cowards win — we should continue celebrating and appreciating music, wherever we are able to.
The Death Of Chris Cornell
2017 has been a tough year for music lovers: on May 17th, Chris Cornell was shockingly found dead at the age of 52.
Chris Cornell helped form Soundgarden in 1984 and in 1985, he became the lead singer. With Cornell at the helm, Soundgarden played a huge role in the grunge scene with their angsty-yet-relatable songs, “Black Hole Sun”, “Fell On Black Days” and “Rusty Cage”. In 1991, he recorded an album with future members of Pearl Jam as a tribute to a friend of theirs under the name Temple Of The Dog, offering the world the type of songs (“Hunger Strike”, “Say Hello 2 Heaven”) that would remain relevant even when the band no longer was.
The singer embarked on a solo career and in 2001, he joined Audioslave and dominated the charts with songs “Like A Stone” and “Show Me How To Live.” During that time, his career was threatened by personal demons and he checked himself into rehab.
He continued making music throughout the years, but focused mostly on his family.
Cornell, who used music as a tool in fighting off depression, lost his life by what was ruled a suicide after being found dead in a his hotel room after playing a sold-out Soundgarden show.
He leaves behind the kind of musical legacy that will surely outlast his years on this earth…and then some.
Music For Everyone
John Nolan of Taking Back Sunday has created an important compilation called Music For Everyone with the help of Collective Confusion Records, Hopeless Records and the non-profit organization, Sub City. The album, inspired by the impossible-to-ignore current presidential administration, was made with the intention of giving musicians an outlet to voice their views in the best way they know how: by making music. While most compilations are hit or miss, this particular one hits all bases, with original songs that make it unavoidable to not contemplate the shape of our country. Contributing artists include Anti-Flag, Taking Back Sunday, Modern Chemistry, The Republic of Wolves, among many more. Music For Everyone is available at https://musicforeveryone.bandcamp.com for a price you set yourself (the minimum being $10) and proceeds will benefit the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The best part is, the musicians stay true to their punk and emo roots so well, you almost forget you’re listening to a political album.
This album truly IS for everyone — so check it out!
AKING BACK SUNDAY
SLEEP ON IT
THE REPUBLIC OF WOLVES
BRENDAN KELLY &
THE WANDERING BIRDS
JAMES DEWEES &
GIFT OF GAB FT. TAKING BACK SUNDAY