A Day To Remember, probably the only people I know that will fly me across the country to come to their 200 capacity home show in the middle of nowhere (no offense) Ocala, Florida. The show was so secret I barely knew about it. I was just told a few days before that I would be flying out for it and I couldn’t have been more stoked. How exciting, a rather large band, playing a *secret* home show in an alley behind a bar. I didn’t know these details right at the start- all I knew was ADTR had a secret show and I wasn’t gonna miss it.
I left San Diego, California the day before. Packed two bags with the intent of not having to check anything. I have never been a firm believer in paying an airline to lose my bag. So I packed my gear. Two bags THINK TANK BAGS. Fun fact you can fit a Profoto B1 air into your backpack, almost like they were made for each other. True gear love.
La la la la boring stuff. I boarded a plane in San Diego, got off in Dallas, boarded another plane and arrived in Orlando. I took an Uber from the airport to Jeremy’s place and hung out with him for a bit.
Snagged dinner with Jeremy and Andrew that night. It was good, Jeremy and I have a history of going on food & coffee adventures together all over the world. We are the most *open to anything* of the band. It is a good relationship. Anyway, when I am Florida he takes me to his local favorites. We went to.. I can’t remember the name. Was so good I got another meal so I could eat it late at night.
Back to Jeremy’s house for wine and tarantulas with his girlfriend. Don’t believe me? I wouldn’t believe me either, but I have photos for proof. Scared the shit out of me, honestly. I have never had the opportunity to hold a creature like this. The only rule was that I couldn’t drop her or her sack would pop and she would die and I would be heartbroken so naturally, we put her on my face. We did it for Instagram! We do it for the kids! We do it for the internet! Please, try this at home, it’s fun.
Jeremy knows how much I love cats and that night we worked cohesively to limit the number of spaces his beautiful Bengal runt cat named Lola could sleep. Shut all the doors except the one to my room. In the end, I am still very scary and she did not sleep with me but I got to pet her a few times and she is one of the best-looking cats I have ever seen. So soft as well. Sorry, Mark, this kitty got you beat.
Wake up before Jer and go for a jog. It was so hot I think I barely made it to two miles. I struggled, but Florida is beautiful so the flora visuals fueled me when my lungs failed me. I returned to his house and he made some coffee. So good.
Neck Deep showed up by 9:30 am as they were working with Andrew Wade and Jeremy at his house (studio) to make their new record. It was refreshing to see the way Jeremy, Phil, Andrew, and Lloyd worked together. I have been to eight different studios now and theirs is by far one of the most relaxed. I love it, they basically just relax, talk, and make good music – in what seems to be effortless but in reality, is very easy – they are just pros. Kiss their feet. I did while they weren’t looking.
Jeremy has a dog that barks farts inhales and burps simultaneously. His name is Zenki but I think they should rename him something less cute that infers warming into his first time admirers souls. It just not fair. I am also cute, so nice, I am going to pet you and Zenki is all ROOF take my shit smell into your nostrils, give me all the air in the room, nah take it back but it tastes like my stomach now. I think he feels accomplished and takes our lack of discipline as approval. But, still love the dog.
Jeremy and I left around 2:00 pm for Ocala to make it to the venue in time to soundcheck. Ocala is a small ass city. I think 78k people or something. Pretty tiny, lots of horses. It was the city ADTR started playing shows at so they wanted to come back and play their first show of the year for anyone that was smart enough to catch on to their ridiculous show flier. Here it is:
The promoter told me they sold the first 100 tickets in 18 minutes. In reality, I don’t think there is any way for people to just guess this was an ADTR show – so what it comes down to is I think think the promoter told his close friends, they told their friends, so on and so forth. I could be wrong, but that is what I am guessing of the point of guessing, so don’t quote me on this. Anyway, about 200 people were expected to show that night and in addition, there was a good 60 or so guest list/family/friends/people working the show.
Soundcheck was good, another band – Wage War – from Ocala, was playing. They were good friends with A Day To Remember, and although they were a new band, they were still very good.
I hung out a bit before the show with Josh and Jeremy, it was nice hanging out with them in their hometown. I don’t know, they visited my hometown of Madison, WI a few months earlier with me, and it was kinda nice to be with them here.
I shot all these photos with the Fstoppers Flash Disc, it rules – its obnoxious and large, but perfect light! I’ll use it forever.
Fast forward a few hours and the show starts. I have never been more excited for a show in a long time. So many locals. I knew it was going to be good and I was going to get some nice photos. Wage War was was so good. I never heard them live other than at soundcheck and I was an instant fan.
The show was insane. I always tuck myself and make sure not to block crowd, I think that is one of my biggest pet peeves when photographers or video people block the fans, they paid, you’re working, your job is to never be in their way, and if you are – get your shot quick and get out. Sigh, one-day people will learn. I even tried to tell some of the people before the set, but they still did not really listen. Oh well. Just doing me.
After the show was over the guys just hung out with all their friends, homies, people they care about, smiles all around, never seen band so stoked on a show.
It was the perfect secret shot no one posted online other than like one person. I am not sure how they kept it secret but got everyone to come to it. It was good to see ADTR in hometown, I didn’t grow up in Ocala – but I care a lot about them and it was cool to see them back in their old stomping grounds.
Lots of these people supported the band ten years ago when no one else would
I drove Jer home as he was tired. We passed his First job ever- Boston Market, luckily I was driving and made the executive decision that we would stop and take a photo out in front of it.
Then we got Steak n’ Shake. Then we drove back home to his place in Orlando. Then the next morning I woke up late and photographed him working in the studio with Neck Deep.
I have known Kevin forever. After lunch I went to his place (he is on the far left above) and we were going to hot tub it up, but it was broken – so we watched television. It was nice to relax.
I love A Day To Remember.