Nostalgia Reigns Supreme At Varsity With Lit, POD, And Alien Ant Farm


I’m a firm believer that nostalgia is a hell of a drug. I’m also a firm believer in the idea that you should never be embarrassed or ashamed of what music you listen to. Music is music and if Kenny Chesney is your cup of tea- so be it. At least you have music in your life. Sure, I give my friends crap when they listen to something that isn’t quite for me but the truth is– at least they’re listening. Last night should have been a sold out show but it was nowhere close. It should have been full of people singing through their youth with a sense of angst and probably one too many drinks but I feel like people are ashamed to admit that they still listen to the same music they did ten or even twenty years ago. Bands that were cool then are not cool now and people won’t go to a show because of that– that idea absolutely hurts my heart. But I digress…

My friend and I showed up a wee bit late to the show on Thursday night due to the obnoxiously early start time but we did make it just in time to see the one and only Alien Ant Farm grace the stage. Hailing from Riverside, California, Alien Ant Farm is one of those bands that has such a unique sound that it’s impossible to not at least be intrigued by their music. Singer Dryden Mitchell has one of those voices that is so distinctively his that you know it’s AAF within the first few words of a song. Having seen them a couple of times over the past years, I knew to expect a great energetic live show and they definitely didn’t let me down. Although they did seem a bit disappointed in the lack of audience, they powered through their short set playing both new songs and songs that instantly took me back to do the days of playing Jet Set Radio on the X-Box with my little brother (yeah, let’s get suuuuper nostalgic here). Things really haven’t changed much with this band since they formed in the last 1990’s. They have definitely stayed true to their unique sound and still have three of their four original members. 

Where do I even begin with the next band that took the stage. I feel like I always say that my bucket list is getting down to just a handful but then a band like Lit announces a show and that bucket list grows with a band that I’ve never even thought about seeing live. This show was originally supposed to be held in early August when I was in Colorado. I was so disappointed that I would be missing my first chance to see Lit live but somehow I got lucky and that show was rained out and moved to last night. It was my chance to finally see this 90’s pop-punk band that set the stage for so many bands to come after them. My friend and I grabbed a drink and prepared to dive into a world of pure nostalgia. That’s when the stage was set with four chairs towards the edge of the stage. The band came out in kind of an unorganized fashion and the singer explained that their drummer had been rushed to the hospital just hours before (it was kidney stones and he will be alright) so they would be doing a special acoustic set. My heart sank. My first chance seeing this band that sang me through the summers I spent at the pool with my mom and brother and they are doing an acoustic set? I know I was being selfish but can you blame me?

The band sounded great acoustic. A little more alt-country than pop-punk, I was still able to sing along to some of the songs even though the mood was a bit more somber than the upbeat pop-punk anthems I was used to from Lit. It took me a couple of songs but I warmed up to the idea of an acoustic set from these guys but, as soon as I did that, Alien Ant Farm drummer Mike Cosgrove moved from helping out with drums on a muffled drum box to behind the kit. It was all happening and the band jumped into two of my favorite songs, “Miserable” and “My Own Worst Enemy”. It sounds cheesy but those couple of minutes of last night was everything I wanted from the entire show. Being able to scream along to “My Own Worst Enemy” as I watched Lit singer Kevin Baldes and Dryden (from Alien Ant Farm) sway along to the beat as they both sang was absolutely freaking magical. Nostalgia is a hell of a drug and in that moment I was high as a kite.

Closing out the already amazing night of music was P.O.D. Although I never became a huge fan of them like I did AAF or Lit, there’s no denying the power behind this band. Playing their song “Boom” (that was in Grind — the best movie of all time) first definitely had me hooked. There was a new sense of energy in the venue was the band powered through their quick yet powerful set. Like the two previous bands, P.O.D. is one of those bands that really hasn’t changed over the years. Their nu-metal, rock blend of music may not be the hottest thing out there right now but that’s their sound and they are sticking to it and that was so refreshing to me.

At this point I really don’t care what people think of the shows I choose to go to. I go see bands that I want to see and bands that mean something to me. If you’re letting your friends or reputation get in the way of a night like last night then you’re doing it wrong. Give into nostalgia- go to the show.