In this First Concert Ever segment, the indie pop artist, Matthew Thomas, talks about the story of his first experience with live music. You can check out the story, after the break.
I grew up in a musical family and was constantly listening to all different genres as a kid. From Ray Charles to Chicago to Amy Grant, I was exposed to lots of music that was created before I was born. It wasn’t until middle school in the mid-2000s that I really started to curate my own favorites and – with the advent of the portable CD player – it wasn’t long until I was lost in my own musical world on a regular basis. But the one thing that was missing was the live experience. For as much music as I listened to, I never got the full experience until I went to my first concert.
The line-up included Jon Reuben (hip-hop), Relient K (pop-punk), and Five Iron Frenzy (ska) at a gymnasium in the suburbs of Chicago. It was a glorious night and I remember it more vividly than I realized. My Mom took my brother and me along with some friends. We were there to see Relient K, who’d just come out with a new album that was just as much fun punk rock as it was thought-provoking. There was a secret track, though, at the end of the new album that professed their undying (and not so secret) affection for Skittles and Combos. Like some blatant (anti) subliminal message, the hidden chorus prompted us to stop at a gas station on the way and stock up on Relient K’s snacks of choice. How could we not? I’m pretty sure it was my Mom’s idea. What a genius strategy to sustain an endless supply of tour food! This is where things get interesting…
My friends and I, armed with plastic bags full of treats, weren’t sure when or how we were going to “distribute” said treats so we sort of just waited for the right moment. That moment was toward the end of the show, before the encore when their things were building to a close but the energy hadn’t died yet. All of a sudden, the lead singer Matthew actually mentioned something about skittles and combos and then launched into a rendition of that secret track! No sooner had he referenced the snack track when bags of Skittles and Combos starting sailing through the air, onto the stage! It was like some beautiful rainstorm of punk rock and junk food. The fun came at a cost though, when my brother heaved a bag of skittles and hit their bass player square in the head. Like a trooper, he kept picking away on those distorted syncopations as if nothing had ever happened. The best shows are the ones that sound good, feel good, and make you laugh. I guess I was lucky enough to experience all three the first go around.