I was too young to see my favourite band when they were my favourite band. Their style changed through puberty, as did mine, and by the time I was into my gig-going prime, three of their albums had passed me by without stirring much interest. I saw them at Rock Werchter 2017, arriving halfway through their set and watching from the back. My fourteen-year-old self would’ve been horrified, but bands change and people change. I have new favourite bands, though my adulation for them doesn’t come close to the esteem my teenage self held for his idols. Posters, calendars, hoodies, t-shirts: you name it, he was there. Growing up today, he’d probably say he stanned them.
There’s beauty in that raw idolising of a band, to the point of adopting them as part of one’s identity. The instant messenger names, the homemade fan art, the “buy all the albums, and the live ones, and that weird mash-up one with Jay-Z.” The Discman, plugged in with a headphone fed up through the sleeve of a hoodie to listen to surreptitiously in class. The waking up early to download video clips and Live on TRL performances from LimeWire. Even as I’m writing this, I think of more things I did, examining them as I would the relics of a long-lost civilisation. The homemade clock, the poster torn from a magazine and stuck up in my locker, the logos I etched into school binders. I look back with fondness on that youthful obsession, but will I ever be that invested in a band again?
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