One of the coolest things about hardcore that I've found since being a part of the scene as a teenager is the friends and connections that I've made. That, topped with the fact that you're close to the people who make your favourite kind of music makes it that more meaningful.
I've know various members of this band since I was 18 years old but I first met the singer, JR, after my first, real heartbreak. I was at a hardcore festival in Germany, sleeping when I got a call saying that some friends would be coming to our hotel to use the shower. I was in such a state of emotional numbness, mostly drained but beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, that I didn't even really hear what was being said on the other end of the phone and just muttered "ya sure, whatever. just let me know when they're close so i can put trousers on".
There was a knock at the door. I quickly jumped up, half put the leggings on and hopped to the door. I opened it without looking through the spy-hole and there was my crazy friend, Scotty P (who's band shirt I was wearing). He leapt through the door and hugged me so hard. He was playing drums for Next Step Up on this European tour and I was ecstatic to see him.
Other than Josh (who I knew from Stout), I didn't know any of the real members of NSU so it was nice to meet them, albeit in my dishevelled state. I invited them in, we hung out, caught up and talked about stuff. I remember Scotty and JR being very compassionate, concerned and extending that kind of "you'll be ok kid" reassurance that you get from uncles.
Later that day, we went to the show together and I watched them play. I was so spaced that I didn't even hear JR dedicate a song to me but I remember feeling really overwhelmed at the sweet gesture from someone who I'd met only hours before.
These days, the shows I choose to go to are few and far between but I still enjoy seeing bands in the same way that I did when I was first getting into hardcore. They've been covered by many bands, my favourite being Dying Fetus' cover of "Bringing Back The Glory"