2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (John Rossiter)

by Steven Spoerl

Young Jesus

Ever since the year of its release, I’ve been confidently referring to Young Jesus‘ staggering Home as an untouchable masterpiece. In the time that’s followed since its release, the band relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles, shifting its core lineup in the process. Guitarist/vocalist and principal songwriter John Rossiter (pictured above, bottom left), remained the band’s driving force. Last year, the band released the outstanding Grow/Decompose — one of my favorite releases of the year — a record that I was very fortunate to be running premieres for in the lead-up to its unveiling. Towards the end of 2015, they swung through Wisconsin and delivered a set that left me absolutely floored. I met Rossiter for the first time that night and we exchanged road stories before parting ways. From that meeting alone, it was readily apparent that he was a genuine, kind person in addition to being an obscenely gifted songwriter. Those are just a few of the reasons that I’m thrilled to be bringing him into the fold of this series. Here, he recounts a show Young Jesus played in Gardena that left a lasting impression on more than one person. Read it below and stay safe in the pit.

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Gardena Utopia House Show

In early summer, I played a pretty fun set, lots of teens and SoCal punk dads hanging in this backyard in Gardena. While I was having a drink by the hot tub (cover on), a dude who must have been fourteen said, “you drink beer? Nice. I can’t wait til I have a beer today, haven’t had one since yesterday.” Which reminded me SO MUCH of being an awkward 14 year old trying to fit in I really felt an immense sense of empathy and joy.

The kids passing around the Svedka bottle intermittently making out, the mohawk’d kid with the Crass patch sewn on (in response to a punk dad asking, “nice patch, but what are you doing for change?” The kid says “EVERYTHING“). All the bands we’re introduced by a couple of adorable and shy 6 year olds. Somewhere between a house show and a suburban barbecue. Chips and guac. So many dogs on the grill. Dad going up to the mic saying “I got extra dogs up here if anyone wants more.”

The locals, this cool Cap’n Jazz/Do Make Say Think-sounding band Cotton Ships, closed the show, sun just went down, summertime in Los Angeles. People we’re psyched, some moshing,  more making out, smoking cigs. Really idyllic movie start of summer high school/college hangs. Total romance/bliss.

For their closer/encore the band breaks into a super heavy rap-metal cover and immediately EVERYONE starts moshing. We’re just in total shock, all smiles.  Eric (our keyboard player) flies into the pit looking like some indie Cosmo Kramer/Eric Wareheim combo bouncing around laughing hysterically. The mosh kinda breaks apart when a bunch of people fall down. The music stops. One kid is just lying on the ground repeating “ohmygod/ohmygod/ohmygod.” Some other kid walks away saying, “I’m gonna throw up, I SAW THE BONE DUDE!” The injured party looks at our guitar player and yells “THERE IS NO GOD!”

Kid had broken his leg, a decidedly cool ass way to start your summer.

The kid and his leg are fine. Saw him a month ago at our show at The Smell. Very sweet guy and absolutely confidently bipedal again. Not sure if he knows how rad I think his Gardena scene is. How perfect that night was. It’s rare to go back in time for a moment, glad I got to live in that Gardena Utopia Doghouse though.

-John Rossiter