Ugly Crying at ACL

We’re going to take it back to 2013. I’m 14 years old, a freshman in high school, sitting in my first period Pre-AP English class. The second period bell rings. We’re finally allowed to use our phones at school, unlike junior high. I open up my iTunes Library and start playing “Do I Wanna Know?” by Arctic Monkeys as I walk to whatever social studies class you take freshman year. I’m wearing a black hoodie, a t-shirt, black vans, and jeans. This is what I like to call my very mild emo phase.

Now we’re back in 2018. I’m 19, a sophomore in college, and writing this article about what it’s like to finally see the band that started my crazy indie/alternative phase.

I got to attend weekend one of the Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) this year. I’ve never been to a festival and never really thought I would attend one because of their high price tags, but this year was different. This year, Arctic Monkeys headlined ACL, and seeing them was a childhood dream. They were the first alternative band I liked, my favorite band during my freshman year of high school, and they created possibly my favorite song of all time, “505.” This is the band that got me through a really rough period of my life, and I still listen to them to this day! So you bet your ass I was going to be at ACL, purely to see Arctic Monkeys.

I didn’t realize how much this band meant to me until I saw them live, though. When they started playing “505,” I started screaming. Halfway through the song, I started crying. “505” is such an important song to me. This is the song that got me through some of the hardest times in my life. Like many, I hated everything about high school. The people, the classes, and myself. Now I’m in college, and I couldn’t be happier about what I’m doing with my life. I’m taking classes I enjoy, pursuing my goals and dreams, surrounded by people who genuinely care for me, and I’m being my true self. That’s why I started crying. While “505” is an amazing song and I could play it on loop for hours (literally, ask any of my friends), I always associated it with the worst times in my life, like being in and out of hospitals for an entire summer and high school in general. That’s all over now, though. Finally being able to see Arctic Monkeys play “505” live closed that door. Everything came full circle. The sadness, guilt, pity, and regret I felt is gone. I’m genuinely happy and can now associate “505” with better things, like having an amazing weekend at ACL with my best friends.

    Music is so important to me and I’m beyond grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had to attend concerts and see the artists I love perform their songs live. I am my happiest at concerts, dancing and screaming lyrics at the top of my lungs. Seeing Arctic Monkeys live has been a dream for me, and it finally coming true is the highlight of 2018.