provo utah bands

Back in 2006 I went to Velour in Provo, Utah to see a band play. Their drummer was in massage therapy school with my roommate, C.

C and I had recently returned from Mormon missions. I was attending BYU and had begun sleeping with C., and I don’t mean chaste, side-by-side with shut eyes. We were fucking. And I was in deep denial, trying to hide it from everyone, including myself.

I spent most of the night leaning against the back wall of Velour, bricks digging into my shoulder, trying to look cool. Mostly I was wishing I could hold C’s hand. I couldn’t deny that the band, the Neon Trees (!!), was fun to watch, w/catchy music that felt simultaneously nostalgic and brand-new. They had a decent following: sober, enthusiastic dancers singing along to every word. Then the last song came on. “This is Citysong,” said the lead singer, and a beat started up. This song was different. It took its time to build up, layer by layer. “It’s two a.m. in the city of god and we’re the ones that are restless,” Tyler began, almost speaking the words.

And when he asked, “So are you sleeping at night these days?” I almost cried. I wasn’t. I felt like I was dying inside, but as the band filled that room with sound, building it up until the beats were ricocheting off the concrete floor and brick walls and rumbling through my chest, it shook loose all the emotions I was trying to keep bottled up—fear, lust, passion, joy, confusion, loneliness, hope—and set them free. For months, even years, I’d been suppressing my emotions, trying to fit my square-peg self into the round hole of Mormonism, but for a moment it was safe to let go. And it kept going, on and on, prodding me out of my head and into my body, until I got off the wall and got sweaty and danced and finally, finally lost myself. I wanted that song to go on forever.

We met up with the band briefly afterward. C said hi to her friends. I felt awkward and exposed and probably just mumbled thank you and then stalked off, unable to tell them how much what they’d just done meant to me. I begged C to get a demo CD from them and she did. I still have it.

Fast forward ten years. It’s 2016 and I have left the church and re-built my life from the shattered pieces. I’m an a feminist, ex-mormon, out lesbian engaged to my fiancée.

And Tyler releases “Trash.”

Saying that art can save lives is no exaggeration. I’ve had mine saved again and again. Thanks is inadequate, but I’ll say it anyway. Thank you, @tylerinacoma. This time I’m not going to skip out telling you how much your art means to me. You are treasure.