Yesterday, we drove to Buffalo to go to the Warped Tour. Yeah, that's a little out of character- but we had good reason and a great time.
My friend Meesh, who I've known since high school, married Bob Schmidt. Bob plays mandolin and banjo in kick-butt Irish-rock band Flogging Molly.
We actually just met Bob a few weeks ago at my high school reunion after hearing about him for years from Meesh and mutual friends Ellen and Eric. Turns out that they hadn't exaggerated. Bob really is ridiculously nice and a charming, funny, smart feller. After saying goodbye at the end of the reunion, Liz and I commented to each other that we absolutely had to see Flogging Molly play the next time they played within reasonable driving distance of Syracuse. Heck, if we didn't love the band, we'd still get to hang with Bob- and that would be worth a drive.
So Meesh called earlier this week to let us know that FM was playing about two hours from us and that Bob would put us on the guest list if we were interested. We jumped at the chance. I got the afternoon off from work and we drove a couple of hours west.
Bob met us at the gates and walked us through the grounds for the Warped Tour.
Liz mocked me for taking a picture of all the band tour busses, but I thought it was an interesting sight.
So we got to meet the band (who are remarkably pleasant and friendly considering that they deal with a lot of gawking doofuses like me every day) and we got to see Bob's preparation to play as he described some of the logistics of the event.
And this was cool: we got to stand on stage while they played. It was really cool to see waves of teenagers chanting every single lyric.
Flogging Molly was amazing. If you have the chance to see them perform in person, you really, really, really should. The CDs are great, but just can't compare. There's no more ass left to kick anywhere near Buffalo- they kicked it all. More ass will need to be shipped in from Rochester or Albany for future acts that come through town and want to do some kicking.
Bob also got us on stage for Bad Religion's set and made it possible for me to shake Greg Graffin's hand. I have been listening to Bad Religion or about 15 years, so that was a real treat.
Bob and his bandmates spent a couple of hours signing autographs and taking pictures with fans (all warmly and cheerfully, mind you), so we walked around and watched Warped as it started to wrap.
We went out for dinner at the only restaurant nearby we could find before Liz and I headed back to the 'Cuse. It was loads of fun and we're hoping to see both Meesh and Bob at a Flogging Molly show in September.
If you haven't heard Flogging Molly, you should. Listen below. Buy CDs. Go see 'em live.
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