Ed. – Sarah Nichole, frontwoman for Columbus’ Absolute Hero, kept a diary of the band’s most recent mini-tour. Here’s their story…
Day 1 – Columbus, Ohio
You’re always ready. Always pumped. Our first show happened to be in our city, Columbus Ohio, booked by us at Ruby Tuesday live. It’s a great place, and the owner is all around a genuine guy who seemed to be very open and excited about us booking there.
I personally love the Columbus scene so much; there’s not much drama, if any, and there’s an indescribable closeness between not just the musicians, but the fans. The fans, my goodness, they’re honestly amazing all around, but there’s a special love with your fans back home. They tell all their friends about you, buy all of your merch, constantly bug you, in a good way, about when new stuff comes out. I adore every single fan of ours, that will never change.
The atmosphere of this night, playing with all of our friends, was incredibly stellar. Past conflicting situations were put aside, all for music, and everyone came together, drank a few, and had a good time. The sound at Ruby Tuesday Live is honestly one of my favorite sound settings in Columbus as well. The night started with a band called Something Else, which my current guitar player, Landen Grusewski, plays in. It had an invigorating, 90’s grunge sound, and it’s safe to say they gained quite a few more fans that night. The vocalist, Aidan, has an incredibly voice, very raspy and soulful.
Second came Undergrads, a very edgy underground pop punk band. I’ve always really liked this band because the messages in each song are inevitably powerful, and you can honestly feel the pain in each lyric. Recovery is my favorite, have to admit it’s made me feel very compelling emotions on several occasions. I’d strongly recommend checking Undergrads out.
My band, Absolute Hero played next, putting our hearts into some originals, before playing a few covers as well by Brand New and Paramore. We ended with an acoustic rendition of our up and coming single ‘Death of Innocence’, which will be released sometime in 2018, along with our new EP, ‘Gone Bad.’ We’re definitely straying away from pop punk and touching up on our more heavier side for this new EP. Be prepared for more screams, more powerful vocals, and more in-your-face and brutally honest lyrics.
Last, but certainly not least, was one of my all-time favorite Columbus bands, Heroes Like Villains. Lead by David Butler and his soulful vocals, plus simple but powerful lyrics, this band is hands down worth checking out. All of the members are insanely talented, and they too have new material about to hit your ears. I have to say, watching David dance and really get into it on stage definitely puts a light to the night.
After all was said and done, we ended up crashing at our drummer’s house, because the next show was only 2 hours away. The next day we headed out around 6 PM, but ran into some van trouble. A spark plug popped, and considering I know nothing about cars, I really was nervous that tour might already be over. However, our fill in bassist, Alex Doak, happens to also be a mechanic. (Since the shop didn’t have any openings until Wednesday, he also FIXED the van the very next day, and we are forever grateful for having him along to save our asses.)
Day 2 – Muncie, Indiana
It’s insane finally loading into the van. Our drummer, Justin Moegling, invested into buying a 15-passenger van for tour, taking a couple rows of seats out too. He spends a lot of time carefully loading equipment so that not only will everything fit, but those of us sitting in the back are comfortable. You’re honestly so anxious during the entire time you’re loading up because you just want to be on the road, and you don’t really feel like you are until you hit the highway.
Our next spot was this really down-to-earth bar called Be Here Now. Whitney Lewis was one of the only bookers who actually reached out to me when I’d been seeking a day two date, and I’m honestly so glad that happened. This place was amazing, and when we arrived, there was a group of talented college students from the BSU music and theater department covering some classics like ‘September’ by Earth Wind and Fire. It was fun to sit back and enjoy a show before putting one on.
When we set up, it started to rain a little, but the show went on. A lot of people cycled in and out of the bar to watch us, and they really seemed to enjoy what we had to offer. After our set, more people showed up, so we played some songs acoustic for a bigger crowd. Every person we spoke to after playing was very friendly, very interested in the music, and very easy to talk to.
On top of this bar just having an amazing atmosphere, they gave us a bar tab to drink, and offered us good deals on food as well. We ended up staying in a hotel that night, thanks to our guitarist’s mother. Finally crashed around 3 AM, mostly because we stayed at the bar for a little while longer and enjoyed ourselves, then, of course, had some playful banter full of joking insults towards one another. (Our fill in drummer, Zach frost, decided to sing to us until we threw the ice bucket at him and told him to shut up.) That’s what it’s all about though, hanging out with your friends, insulting each other, and maybe occasionally passing gas.
Day 3 – Crown Point, Indiana
As soon as we pulled into the nice, gated suburbia, it started pouring down rain. We loaded everything quickly into the garage, and in that instance some drama from the neighbors broke out. Something about someone driving through his lawn, blah blah blah. Eventually it subsided, the person, Josh Andrews, of Spineless Heartless, who put on the show took care of the entire situation.
Honestly, this atmosphere was amazing. When you go to a house party, you think it’s going to be a bunch of rowdy younger people getting shit faced and doing stupid stuff, but this was the exact opposite. A lot of the crowd was definitely a lot younger, (old enough to drink), but they still were incredible to be around, and fun to party with. All of the bands were amazing, including Josh’s, but of course I was super interested in the female fronted band, Came Out Swinging.
Marissa Douglas fronted this band, and let me just say her voice is absolutely remarkable. After the show was over, and there were only a few of us left, we sat in the living room, drinking and singing some classics. Marissa and I harmonized our vocals to Brand New songs, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, and more. Eventually we crashed there, and of course, left the next morning for our final stop.
Day 4 – Chicago, Illinois
The feeling of knowing you’re headed for a city you’ve never been in is phenomenal. Our fill in drummer, Zach, was super excited to show us around. We got there super early, so of course, we had to explore.
Walking through parks and a large flow of tourist, we made our way through the excitement of street performers and food trucks. A few of us made it our mission to flip off the Trump Tower, because that’s a to-do in the windy city. We chilled by the river side and had beers, we went to Navy Pier and had lunch, and by the time we’d done all of our exploring, it was time to head to the venue.
Township reminded me a lot of Buzzbin in Canton, Ohio. One section was a bar, another was an arcade, and the other was where the actual stage was. It was a smaller show, and we played with some very talented bands such as The Fight Night, who played acoustic, and Stratford, who showed off their feels with aggressive lyrics and intense emotions.
My friend, James McHenry from Portals, who Absolute Hero played with a couple years back, made a 40-minute drive to come kick it too! After that, since the show was pretty short, we headed to Beauty Bar up the street, where they were having emo night, kinda like Sad Boyz back home, but all together I think I had a lot more fun. Jake Marquis from Sleep On It, who you should definitely check out, was there and said hi. Everyone felt closer. Strangers put arms around strangers and danced. We all made a circle and screamed, ‘Socco Amaretto Lime’ at the top of our lungs. It felt like the biggest bonding moment ever, and my heart was the fullest on this night.
I liked going into a city with my best friends, my band mates, where we knew nothing about the world around us and still feel welcomed by people who didn’t even know us. We were drunk, and we felt young, and that’s what playing music does to you. Makes you feel alive. Makes you forget, at least in the moment, about all the stressors in your life.
One second brings tons of people together, no matter who they are, and we just want to stay like that forever. After the bar closed down, we still stuck around, playing Overdose acoustic on the street for those who were waiting for ubers, or just shootin’ the shit with friends. When we left, that sinking feeling caved in on us all. That feeling of knowing this was the last show of tour, and tomorrow we would hit the road towards home. The only thing worth coming back to were our friends and family waiting for us that we love dearly. We would live on the road if we could.
Day 5 – Columbus, Ohio
The scenery seems so bland coming home. You’re going away of what you were so excited to head towards, leaving the city lights in the review, all the new friends you made, all the new fans. You just sleep, honestly, because you’re exhausted, and you might not be able to accept it, but you’re depressed too. Post tour depression at it’s finest. The closer we got to home, the more we felt our hearts sinking. We were coming back from doing what we loved, and though we have a name, we’re still not doing it as much as we want to.
In this world, we’re all born with a fate on our shoulders. Some of us were born to be doctors, some born to be writers. Some were born to be nurses, or truck drivers, or bartenders, or stay at home parents. Some of us were born to keep quiet. Some of us were born to die young.
Some of us were born to live life to the fullest, and die of old age.
But us, every person in Absolute Hero, was born to rise. We were born to play music. We were born to take whore baths in gas station bathrooms and live off of PBR and fast food. We were born to sleep on a van floor, and get up the next day to spill our guts on stage. We were born to leave our family and friends behind for a bit, and then come home missing them more than ever. We were born to make the fan girl’s scream our names when the lights come on, and we come out on stage.
For now, it’s a struggle, though we’re making it up there. But until we’re turned towards the biggest crowd we’ve ever seen, holding up their lighters and cell phones up to us, screaming our songs at the top of their lungs so I don’t have to sing it for a minute… we’re gonna keep on fighting. Until our name gets bigger. And we can die rock stars.
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