What David did, what David's done and what David is going to do.
WHO: Tonight Alive.
FROM: Castle Hill, NSW, Australia.
FIRST TIME: Lake Illawarra PCYC; April 18, 2010.
TENTH TIME: Annandale Hotel, Sydney; January 7, 2012.
When I think of Tonight Alive, I think of growing up. I was 19 years old when I saw them for the first time. There was about 30 other people in the room. They carried themselves like they were playing an arena – and I don’t mean that in some sort of delusion of grandeur sort of way. They were confident, they were tight and they made a connection with every single person that was watching them. It left a lasting impression.
When I think of Tonight Alive, I think of all the friends that I made by going to their matinee shows in Sydney – almost always at the dearly-departed Annandale Hotel. Some of them have remained friends to this day. Some I will probably never see again. The point is that we were all together in that moment, at that time and place. I felt a bit like an outlier – in a similar manner to that of Epitomes – in that I was a little older and that I liked music away from that immediate scene. The second a song like “Wasting Away” or “To Die For” hit, however, none of that mattered. Tonight Alive was a band that brought people together – young people, mostly, but the point remains.
I can remember speaking to a couple of the band members some time in 2010, and saying to them that, up until that point, I had only seen them play support slots – bands like Fireworks, Heroes for Hire (remember them?) and Amy Meredith (remember them?!?). I knew big things were coming, though, and I told them as much. They took that ball and ran with it – maybe a year or so later, I was watching them play at the Metro Theatre. Rufio, a veteran American pop-punk band who TA covered, played under them. I felt like they – and, by extension, we – had arrived.
I fell hard for Tonight Alive. I learned all the words, I saw them multiple times on single tours and I supported them as much as I humanly could. There were some wild times – the tour with Totally Unicorn, my most-seen band ever, comes to mind; as well as the bigger shows where all the new-jack kids had to make way for the old guard head-walking and finger-pointing their hearts out. I got to know the five members fairly well, and every time I saw something massive come their way – an overseas tour, a chart position, anything – I felt a sense of pride that I’d been there at a time when only a couple of people cared.
I have a lot of great memories with Tonight Alive. Sadly, that’s all they are these days. Save for a brief encounter with Matty, the band’s drummer, back in January, I haven’t seen the band live in over three years at the time of writing this. It’s been circumstantial, mostly – they are off touring overseas for most of the year, and the times they’ve come back to Aus since then have been at times when I’ve already been booked out to see other shows. I don’t think they’d remember me or recognise me these days. I’m not mad about that – people come and go through life, and lord knows we’ve been apart long enough for me to have faded away in their minds.
Do I miss it? Sure. We’re different people now – the band have changed their style a lot, and I’ve certainly grown since the age of 19. I hope I have, at least. Still, for a little while there my world revolved around Tonight Alive, and I have no regrets about that.
– DJY, August 2016