But there I was, alone on the side of the stage in a room less than half-full of screaming teenagers, singing along to every word of "Kelsey." "I'll swim the ocean for you" I sang, (to a girl with a name popular for almost whole generation of people younger than me.) "Whoa, oh, oh, oh, Kelsey." I think it was right then, as I watched a room of Kelseys screaming "oh, Kelsey," that I decided to say fuck it. I love Metro Station, even if the band is kind of the worst.
Why is it the worst? Well, Trace Cyrus can't do much but get tattoos. He doesn't really sing -- Mason Musso is the voice that carries Metro Station's mid-2000s Internetty rock n' roll sex jams. Plus, Cyrus wears his guitar like a purse. I'm taking guitar lessons right now and as a very novice player, seeing what Cyrus was doing looked ten times easier than the tabbed out version of Weezer's "No One Else" that I've been working too hard on for the last six weeks. But whatever, I love Metro Station.
In fact, I'm not even sure what Cyrus's role in the band is -- his stage presence was awkward and he seemed uncomfortable and clumsy in his own body, removing his clothes throughout the set until he was just wearing his tattoos, pants and shoes. He did a lot of partial around-the-neck guitar spins, furthering the prop-like nature of said guitar. But he did try to give the crowd as much love as he could, reaching out and shaking hands with the audience and smiling at girls. Smiling at lots of girls.
Judging by the cool girls I later talked to at the take-out pizza window inside of Summit Music Hall, Trace Cyrus smiling at them was a big deal. And judging by the line that formed at the merch table to meet Musso and Cyrus, Metro Station's small fan base is devoted. But I can't separate myself from that group. I'm a Metro Station fan, too.
The band played "I Wish We Were Older," which made me laugh just as hard at the lyrics now at 34 as it did when I first heard it when I was 26. But while I was laughing, I was singing along because I love that song. The millennial couple next to me (who must have fallen out of a tear in the universe because they were no older than 19 but looked like Myspace's heyday) were singing along, too. There was no way these people were ever on Myspace, but they looked like it and loved Metro Station's scene hair rock as much as I did. As they giggled and tossed each other around, they drunkenly apologized for bumping into me. I wasn't even mad -- I was just happy to be sharing this moment I had been ashamed of enjoying with some total strangers. Metro Station was being mediocre, but those of us crowd didn't care. This song is the best/worst, just like Metro Station.
"Love & War," from the band's new EP Gold felt just like old Metro Station, and I found myself singing along to it, too. But I still wanted to hear more from its scene hair days. The dudes delivered, closing their short and early set with "Shake It." It was awesome. It was everything I thought it would be -- kind of terrible, totally fulfilling, equal parts bizarre and fun.
After their set I found myself slinking around in the shadows of a barren venue floor as gaping holes were left in an already small crowd that had funneled over to the merch table. I wanted to buy merch too, but Mason Musso and Trace Cyrus were signing autographs and it was kind of the last thing I wanted to do. I didn't really want to be the creepy old face in a sea of tweens. I just wanted to get my overpriced sweatshirt and get the hell out of there.
I found a dark spot to eat a slice of burnt pizza while I bided my time, watching for the moment when Metro Station left the merch table so I could sneak over and buy my shit and get the fuck out of there. Just being there made me feel like a creep. As I walked by the tour bus parked in front of the venue, someone peeked out from a window on the vehicle. I hid my face in the Metro Station sweatshirt I had just purchased and ran to my car. Metro Station, I love you.
Be my voyeur (or better yet, let me stalk you) on Twitter: @cocodavies