This Wild Life
Every once in a while, a band comes along that possesses the raw talent, stage presence, energy and passion. My American Heart was one of those bands. Signing a record deal with Warcon when the members were all between the ages of 17 and 19, they proved that age didn’t matter when it came to those qualities. At the age of 14, I fell in love with this band, and thought they’d be the next Thursday- and would be around forever. After officially disbanding in late 2009 over complications caused by Warcon Record’s filing for bankruptcy and loss of sales to illegal downloading of their music. They played a string of farewell shows in California in mid January of 2010, and many thought they’d never see My American Heart play again.
On February third and fourth, My American Heart graced the stages of The Epicenter in San Diego and Chain Reaction in Anaheim, California. Chain Reaction was always their “home venue away from home”- a tiny, slightly grungy venue is decorated with the many tshirts and stickers of the bands who played there, and one of the few all ages venues in the Orange County area. This was a sold out show, and I wouldn’t expect anything else from their devoted fans. The energy was very similar to their farewell show at Chain two years ago- and I could also feel the sense of community MAH fans posses. There was excitement, and any time one of the supporting bands would mention My American Heart, the crowd would go wild.
All the bands that played that night were very good- worthy of being the supporting acts for such a special show. First up was local band, Falling Awake- consisting of 4 members and still in high school, I was impressed, especially so by the lead singer’s energy. Next up was This Wild Life, from Long Beach. They had very upbeat, pop-punk songs along the lines of The Swellers and All Time Low. Expect to hear about these guys doing great things. Oliver Trolley, from San Diego, California played third. I really enjoyed their set- very pop-rock with a fun edge, reminiscent of The Format.
Then the moment we were all waiting for- My American Heart!They played a blend of old and new favorites including “Pain”, a track off of their unreleased LP that was set to come out in 2009. I have not witnesses a show this good, or that rocked as hard since their farewell show at Chain Reaction two years ago. The whole room never stopped moving. Everyone in the room sang along to every word of every song, there was crowd surfing in almost every song, and they looked and sounded amazing. The room was humid and misty with perspiration. For the first time in years, I saw an honest to god circle pit form in years ( not just a couple of guys trying to be funny) made up of fans that were just lost in the music.
The band still has it- and by the energy in the room felt like they had never left. It was rather touching- a bit of the ‘old school’ emo/ alternative scene was present in that room. I was transported back to high school and reminded of why I fell in love with independent music in the first place- not just the honest, passionate music, but the spirit and sense of community that could be found where ever we congregated for a concert. Any pessimism I’ve formed over the last few years as I’ve watched talented bands breakup, and the scene I knew disappear ebbed a bit. As a fan, it made me extremely happy and gives me hope that there are still lots of people who support music like this.
For their encore, they finished with the old favorite and single off of their first LP The Meaning In The Makeup, “The Process”. Even though the crowd was visibly sweaty and tired, they went even more crazy. At one point singer Larry Soliman walked on the hands of the audience, and they held him up, looking like Jesus. The trust and energy in that moment is something I’ll never forget.
With bands like The Early November and At The Drive In making a comeback, it would be amazing if My American Heart did the same. While this was only a string of two reunion shows with no announced plans for a new record or touring in the future, the reaction was outstanding. Their fans still care. The scene still cares. We’ll always be here if they decide to get back together and make music as my American Heart. Until then, support guitarist Jesse Barrera’s endeavors as a solo artist and producer. The rest of the band, to my knowledge have normal lives and jobs now, but I hope they have some music in the works- these individuals are too talented and have touched too many hearts to stop.