– Alex Gaskarth
Let’s revind to 2010 when I had just moved 80 miles away from the town where I had lived almost my entire life. Suddenly I found myself in a completely unknown city where I didn’t know a single person.
At university I only had lectures on Monday and Thursdays to the other 5 days of the week I was just sitting at home all by myself with no one to talk to about how I was feeling. My mum had her own problems to deal with so I keep quiet about how I was really feeling and the depressing thought in my brain grew bigger and bigger.
But then I found the band that changed my life. I spent most of my afternoons watching “One Tree Hill”. When I reached the end of season 6 one of the episodes started out with a song playing in the background and the song immediately caught my attention and I just knew that I had to find out who it was by.
Since I was very behind on watching the show it only took a quick Google search to find out that the song was called “War Sweater” and it was by a band called Wakey!Wakey! and that’s where it all started. I immediately knew that this was a band I need to hear more of. And if the amazing songs wasn’t enough, the leadsinger, Michael (Mike) Grubbs, is also a very handsome guy.
Fast forward to February 2011 – at this point I have been completely obsessed with Wakey!Wakey! for just over three months and the obsession is only getting worse. For Valentine’s Day, Wakey!Wakey!s record label are having a poster sale where you can buy a Valentine’s Day Wakey!Wakey! poster set and as the loner I am, I immediately bought it and could not be more excited about receiving them. A few weeks went by and they finally arrived and immediately went on my wall. Later that evening I tweeted about the posters being on my wall and not long after I received a tweet from a girl named Tsuua asking if I had ever heard about Team Wakey! which turned out to be the most amazing Wakey!Wakey! support group consisting of people from all around the world. At the time there weren’t a lot of members but I could already feel that this was going to end up feeling like a family! Time after time I can feel that I definitely wasn’t wrong about that. I have met some of my closest friends through Team Wakey! and sometimes I don’t know what I would do without the world of Wakey!Wakey!
Since then I have been to 4 Wakey!Wakey! shows – London and Copenhagen in 2011 and Hamburg and Copenhagen in 2014 and I seriously wouldn’t trade those shows for anything.
Each of those shows has a very special place in my heart since those four show were so different. London in 2011 was very special because it was my first Wakey!Wakey! show but also because it was on my 21st birthday and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday. This was also where I got to meet quite a lot of other Team Wakey! members – both at the meet and greet before the show but also after the show.
Copenhagen 2011 was special because it was the first ever Wakey!Wakey! show in Denmark. This show brings back memories like the squeaky door, a wigglestick sign and Mike messing up the lyrics. This was also the show were Mike helped me win a bet by letting me kiss him on the cheek for a picture.
The show in Hamburg was also amazing. Even though Mike’s set was a lot shorter than we were used to, he still put on the best show of the evening and we didn’t even stay behind to hear the guy who played afterward. Instead we went outside the venue to just hang out with Mike until he had to leave.
And now moving on to the show in Copenhagen last year. That concert is honestly the best concert I have ever been to! The venue was quite small and we were standing right at the front. Just seeing Mike’s face has he looked around at the crowd and the biggest smile appeared on his face. Just like I felt at home, so did Mike. Even though he played for quite a while, I still wish the concert could have been ten times as long. However that still wouldn’t have been enough. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of going to Wakey!Wakey! shows.
People always ask me why I don’t spend my money on seeing really big bands instead but they clearly have never experienced the amazingness of an intimate show and even thought the 4 shows have been completely different in size, I have always felt like I was the only person in the room and for the entire duration of the concert nothing else mattered. I always feel at home at those shows.
Part of it is because of the amazing people that are part of the fan base and who are always there for you if you ever need them. Wakey!Wakey! fans are the coolest people I have ever met. The atmosphere at Wakey!Wakey! show is amazing and it feels like a big room of friends I just haven’t met yet.
However an even bigger part of it is Michael Grubbs and his amazing personality. Before meeting him in 2011 I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. What if he thought I was a horrible person? What if I made a complete fool of myself? I know this sounds silly but this is the guy whose songs helped me through the roughest time of my life and whose songs had changed the way I look at life. His songs changed my life. I was quickly proven wrong! As we were walking up the stairs to the backstage area, he turns around and says “Watch out. I might fart” and that’s when all my nerves disappeared. Even though he did tell me to shut up and give him at hug at the end of the night, it has been just like seeing an old friend every time I went to a Wakey!Wakey! show since then. Mike is no longer “just” the leadsinger of Wakey!Wakey!, he’s a friend who I just don’t see so often but who I know has written a song for every situation I might encounter in life.
Mike always takes time to come down to the merch table after the shows to sign stuff, take pictures and just talk to anyone who has stayed behind to meet him. I wish more musicians were like him.
Another thing I love about Mike is that he tells so many stories. Both true and untrue stories. One that stands out to me is the story of how he thought Copenhagen was this magic place full of fairies and that if he was lucky then going to heaven would be like going to Copenhagen. When I told him that he said that the last time he was here, he looked at me and said “I say a lot of shit, don’t I?” and I can only agree!
Mike is the reason I can no longer listen to Rihanna song without laughing.
Because of him I laugh whenever someone mentions something about dancing.
So here I am just over 4 years later and as I am writing this I can look up at a frame full of tickets, photos and the memories from all the shows and online fun we’ve had over the years. People always ask me why I spend so much money and time on travelling to see bands and why I spend so much time online. I don’t have a good explanation for it but I think that if they had experienced what I have experienced and have the memories that I have, then they found feel the exact same way as I do.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
I could go on and on about this forever but I better end this now! Sorry about the length of that but I just had so much to say and so much love to share. If you made it this far, I just want to say a big thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you have enjoyed it!
P.s. Michael Grubbs, if you’re reading this, probably aren’t, but still… Thank you for being you. Thank you for always making me laugh. Thank you for writing the songs that help me through life. Thank you for creating the music that has brought so many amazing people into my life. And last but not least; Thank you for the amazing hugs and for always letting me be the one to let go first.