The Time I Cried At A Hungover Show

by - March 07, 2024

Photo courtesy of Dana Gorab

Organizing an outing with friends in your 20s can prove to be a near-impossible task - especially when you’re asking them to come out to see your DIY pop-punk band. We spent the better part of four years trying to arrive at a point where enough of our friends (and eventually strangers) would actually want to show up and show love. Sure, you could get a gig opening for a popular national act, but there’s just something special about a room full of people coming out because they want to be a part of what you’re doing.

We were set to go on our first east coast tour and thought it would be a good idea to have a kickoff show in our hometown to get a little extra gas money. Little did we know that this donation-based show would end up filling up our favorite bar front to back, wall-to-wall, with people wanting to send us off in good spirits. Friends old and new were raising their PBRs in celebration as best as they could while standing shoulder to shoulder.

A suite of Orlando’s finest graced the stage (a tile floor that wasn’t raised in the slightest) and to our surprise, everyone stayed put in anticipation for our set. Upon the first chord, a wave of people came crashing onto us. People were grabbing the mic to sing along, crowd surfing to the front and trying their best to stay upright. This was what we always wanted. This is what the bands we admired coming up got to do. We were having one of “those” moments.

Sometimes when you’re playing a show like that, as we would later learn, adrenaline takes over. Everything feels like it’s moving fast and slow at the same time. You’re almost in a flow state. Before we knew it, we were playing our last song and being praised with a robust reaction from the crowd.

When we finally got a chance to make eye contact, former bassist, Austin, and I embraced and welled up with tears. All the work we had been doing finally paid off. This felt real and tangible. For once, the dream felt achievable. We had made the pivot from wishing for a dream to come true to realizing it was a real possibility. We left downtown Orlando that night drenched in beer, sweat, and tears; ready to take on the east coast.

- Marc Cortes, Hungover

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