Sayonara, 2020. In Boston it grew some.

February 15, 2020:

It had everything. A date-night, a sold-out out show, an incredible fan movement under the moniker of the Green Headband Gang, Artist Waves representation and most importantly – an incredible performance by Ripe. Night two of a sold-out weekend at Boston’s House of Blues, saw local Berklee alum, Ripe, bringing everything they had to their much anticipated return to the venue. 35 songs spread over a lover’s weekend. It was hearts – from couples in the audience spending time with each other to the affection 4,500 people (who came from all over the country) were showing the band.

There were moments. Most notably two that I would end up asking frontman Robbie Wulfsohn about during an AW Live interview in April. Moments where Wulfsohn would simply stop for a minute, stand still and stare and the crowd feeling beautifully overwhelmed with his hand over his heart.

I thought – this is the perfect sentiment to kick-off what was promising to be a plentiful year of live music.

I had Boston Calling lined-up with an abundance of excitement. It was a 90’s headlining dream with Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and hell yes, the return of Rage Against the Machine all headlining the festival. Those Harvard fields would never be the same after all the rockin, I thought.

Prior to that there was a trip planned to see two night of Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden, arguably the mecca of places to see the Seattle legends. This was going to be the same week of their new release, “Gigaton”. I could barely contain my enthusiasm. Yet, somehow, “Gigaton” knew exactly what was to come, and the all-hands-on-deck work that would lie ahead. Much to be done…

I’m skipping a boatload more as my mind goes to July of 2020 and my favorite weekend of the year. Levitate Festival. The 2020 lineup was it’s biggest yet, with Jack Johnson, Trevor Hall, The Dirty Heads, Tash Sultana and much more all surfing their respective waves right onto the shores of Marshfield, MA.

As I write this – on one of the last days of this trying year, it was just Ripe in February that actually happened. Like everyone else, my world changed in March. As summer suddenly turned to fall, I had a few opportunities to attend some socially distant, outdoor shows, but I declined them all. For some reason, all things considered, it just didn’t feel right, or the timing didn’t allow for me to attempt the opportunity comfortably. Instead of forgetting it all and rejoicing in the spirit of new-normal live music, I thought about it all…

Barely seeing my parents for a year, cousins only hanging together via Facetime, milestone birthdays turning into just…another birthday,  indulging in live streams, participating in benefits, glowing at all the new forms of creativity, worrying a ton, yet full of optimism, gratitude, fear and hope. I grew my hair long, I always wanted to try that. I surfed as much as possible. I tried (really tried) to support the confusion of youth, taking their hand to assure – we’ll get through this. I put myself on hold, yet I was torn down.

But this year taught me… to commit to only being myself. To reach out, to be grateful, and to recognize that being on an island can be a creative, but taxing experience.

Through all the hardships there was some good made from the chaos. Artist Waves Live was launched, spur of the moment. After 36 episodes spanning from April to November, we are so excited for the start of season two on January 6th, with legendary Rock Photographer, Bob Gruen.

On the Flipside, scrolling through the photos from AW being on-hand at Ripe, I find it captures many of the mixed emotions we all consumed in 2020 – where somehow every day was the same, yet also every day felt different.

When you’re a suburb kid… the city sings to you.

Now you’re a former home, I have grown, chose to go. And I’m not sure what to do with the memory of you.

Ex-life, I know it’s rude to ask, but please keep me on your mind as I throw you in my tail lights.

I know I don’t deserve to make a home in your dreams when I’m trying to hit the pavement.

Call up a high school friend, almost friend – How ya been? We’ve been grown separately for years. That’s been good to me. Wonder if we’ve all changed, kind of strange. I am usually the last one to recognize growth, now it’s all I see.

Some nostalgia, that’s ok … so nice to see you still (via Zoom), so nice to see you.

And when I do come back you’ll know…
And when I do come back you’ll know.

Ex-life, I know it’s rude to ask but please keep me on your mind, now I’ve got you in my headlights.
Ex-life, I know I don’t deserve to make a home in your dreams but I’m trying to take you with me.

Now I’m trying to take you with me.

All that we are
Collapsing stars
Each of us particles
Dust under the sun.

Time to turn the page … to big and brighter days ahead in 2021.

*all photos by / property of Artist Waves.