Shakespeare wrote, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Little did he know that would apply to me, as I write yet another recap of Louden Swain’s Saturday Night Special. It is a struggle sometimes, to find new words and new sentences and new ways of telling you just how much I love Louden Swain and their incredible concerts. The band and the music may be familiar, but each concert is special and new and unique, and I am completely overwhelmed with excitement as I walk into the theater each time. I can’t wait to catch the little smiles from Borja as he plays bass. I can’t wait to watch Stephen behind the drums, even if I repeatedly fail to get any photos of his performance. I can’t wait to swoon as Billy plays that guitar, making me feel all kinds of emotions. (hashtag allthegasms) I can’t wait to see Rob, to watch Rob, to be in this moment with Rob… this two-hour-long moment of excitement and heartbreak and love and pain, all told through lyrics and music.
I simply cannot count the ways, Sir Shakespeare. I am filled, completely and immeasurably, with love for Louden Swain.
Louden Swain began the show with two high energy songs, “Present Time” and “Taxi Driver.”
Matt Cohen joined the band to sing “Joker and The Thief.” I love that he gets so hyped for the concert!
I don’t usually do conventions back to back, which explains why I wasn’t going to do the Supernatural Denver con – because there was a Supernatural con in Charlotte the very next weekend and I already had tickets. But some of my friends (you know who you are…) are filthy enablers, and I ended up going to Denver after all. That turned out to be a wild and wonderful weekend, but let’s just say that I arrived in Charlotte already pretty tired – and that’s before the con had even started! Luckily I was too busy having fun to really feel the exhaustion until Sunday rolled around and the adrenaline rush that always happens at a Supernatural con was over. (Then I pretty much slept for 12 hours in an attempt to avoid con crud – so far, successful!)
Thursday I flew in and got to meet a friend and fellow fangirl (and fellow writer) who I had only known online – which is always such a treat! Gail Martin is a talented writer whose fantasy genre novels are very popular with the Supernatural fandom, so I couldn’t wait to talk writing and SPN with her. She’s also a Charlotte local, and that means we had delicious barbeque for lunch – and hush puppies! YUM! If you know something better than sharing your mutual love of Supernatural with a new friend over great food, I’m listening.
Gail dropped me off at the con hotel and I had time for a quick dip in the pool, then it was time to set up my vendor table. My friend and partner in crime (and brilliant photographer) Kim Prior and her bestie arrived by car (which means Kim also brought a car full of food and a cooler full of drinks, so yay!) This con was at the Embassy Suites in Charlotte. I think every Supernatural con should be at an Embassy Suites – not only do you get a little mini kitchen in your room and a separate bedroom and living area with sleeper sofa, but you get FREE breakfast and dinner time snacks every day!!! Not one to ever turn down free food, I set my alarm to get up early enough to partake of the buffet breakfast every morning – they even had an omelet bar and a waffle station! Friends, fangirls, free food – I was in heaven. Oh, and the Supernatural cast too…
Thursday night in the vendor room I got to meet lots of people who had read Family Don’t End With Blood and been touched by it. Over the course of the weekend, dozens of people confided to me that the book had changed them in some way, or had even inspired them to keep living. I hope that I somehow convey how much that means when someone says that – that is what we hoped the book would do, that it would inspire people to “always keep fighting”. That’s why the fans who wrote chapters and all the actors who wrote chapters were brave enough to share their own struggles with depression and anxiety and addiction and so many other things – to validate others’ struggles and inspire them to keep fighting. I know it takes courage to walk up and say that to me, a stranger – but I am so honored by it, every single time. So thank you.
Friday morning, after the free buffet of course, the con kicked off with Rich and Rob, who showed off the traditional new Borja shirt for the con. Charlotte, get it?
And then we had a panel with the adorable Rachel Miner.
I will never get over how Rachel’s face lights up when she comes onstage and hears the roar of applause. She has become one of our favorite guests, and has inspired so many people to look at life in a positive way and to keep going no matter what the obstacles. I am so so glad she wrote a chapter for Family Don’t End With Blood — she’s a role model to many in the fandom, and she understands the importance of representation. At Charlotte, Rachel reiterated something she’d talked about the weekend before in Denver.
Rachel: If I was back on the show, I’d want to be in the chair. Representation is important.
I had no intention of going to the Supernatural convention in Denver, but somehow I ended up there anyway. I’d missed the previous Denver convention so had never had a chance to bring Family Don’t End With Blood to Colorado, and that alone was enough to convince me to go. Add to that the fact that I love Colorado, where my aunt and uncle lived for much of my childhood, so I have wonderful memories from all over the state. And I wanted to meet new SPNFamily member and friend Kaci Marie Lister, who I ‘met’ virtually when I was in Austin for Supernatural Day. So off I went to beautiful Colorado!
The west coast fires had created so much ash in the atmosphere that it mostly obscured my view of the mountains, which was a shame. But the weather was beautiful and I was amongst my SPNFamily, so that more than made up for the lack of mountain views. I met up with Kaci and her friend for dinner and to do a little vlogging, since she was doing a vlog of their exploits at the con, and I caught up with my on-the-road buddies Liz and Kristen for pizza, who I miss tons when we don’t get to hang out for a period of time. It was wonderful to be able to spread the word about Family Don’t End With Blood to so many people who hadn’t heard about it too. This was a repeated conversation.
Me to someone perusing the table with a quizzical expression: Have you heard about the book? This is the one that the Supernatural actors wrote chapters for…
Person: The Supernatural actors wrote a book??????!!!!!
Thanks to everyone who came back to the table the next day to tell me that I ruined their sleep because they couldn’t stop reading it. Blame all those actors and fans who wrote the compelling chapters!
Friday kicked off with Rich and Rob and Louden Swain, and a bunch of non G rated banter, including a song about Misha, Rob’s b-hole and you, and something about microphone condoms, which prompted me to tweet with #OffTheRailsAlready. And it was only Friday!
I really loved the ballroom for Denver, which was smaller than the giant rooms I’m used to – it brought back memories of the early cons and felt cozy and a little more intimate (as intimate as you can get in a ballroom full of people…) Richard looked around at the giant stage banners that are always in the room – this room was smaller, so the banners were closer.
Richard: Why are the stage banners staring at us? Jared is undressing us all with his eyes, and Jensen is like, why are you all undressing??
Denver was also notable for being the first (of many?) cons during which a fan asked pretty much every guest to take part in a giant game of Mad Libs that spanned the whole con. I got a kick out of watching people’s faces when they got the dreaded “adverb”. lol
Ok, full disclosure… I am Friday People, because Friday at cons are fun and relaxing and I actually have time for food. And I’m there for Saturdays, for panels and ops and occasionally meet&greets. And yes, oh most definitely yes, I am a Sunday girl, because Jensen… and Jared… and ops and autographs, and did I mention Jensen?
But make no mistake, do not misunderstand – I am 1000% percent an SNS!Girl. Stephen hidden in the corner on the stage presents a challenge for me in terms of photography, and tbh, I love the challenge. I mostly fail, but by chuck I’m determined. And Borja off to the side, without a lot of facial expression but oozing emotion all the same, and that’s just fun to watch.
Sigh. And then there’s Billy. On the other side of the stage. Focused. Intense. Having fun. Loving every single second of the music and the stage and the crowd. High intensity jamming, or softer, slower, emotional fingering of the strings during the super-charged ballads. Listen, I don’t read fanfic, but for the love of chuck is there fic about Billy the Guitar-Playing-Rock-God? Hashtag allthegasms right here.
I started to write ‘another sigh’ or ‘big sigh’ but no, no, no sighs. All smiles. Because then there’s Rob, center stage, right where he belongs. Overflowing with excitement. Jammin. Singin. Bringing us to our feet one minute, and bringing us to our knees the next. Telling us that he loves us, and then soaking up our love for him. He is so fun to watch, so fun to photograph, and full disclosure…
I am SNS People. I am here to be blown away time after time after time by the show and the lights and the guests and the music – their music. I am 110% a LoudenSwain!Girl and yes, I am 2000% a Rob!Girl.
That said, I’ll just get right into the show highlights, m’kay?
I have written several articles for Fangasm about the Saturday Night Special, so when I sat down to write this one, I went back to read those articles in an effort to avoid repeating myself. I mean, how many different ways can I explain my complete and total love for Louden Swain and this concert? I have already said that this concert is Extraordinary. I’ve already said that this concert is Special because of Louden Swain. I’ve already said this is a raw, unfiltered show of energy and passion and love pouring into us through guitars and drums and lyrics. I have already said that Louden Swain gives us their very souls, from Billy Moran and Michael Borja on guitar, to Stephen Norton on drums, to Rob playing guitar and singing with a rawness of heart that is frankly unlike any other performer out there. How can I possibly explain this to you in new words? What else can I say? Should I just word-vomit all the synonyms for love? Is there even one single word that could ever explain how absolutely incredible these concerts are?
Fangasm. That’s the word. These concerts and this band bring me to the height of complete and total fangasm. If you haven’t experienced a fangasm, then for the love of Chuck, go to one of these concerts, and allow the music and the lyrics and the energy and the passion to wash over you and into you until you are completely and totally immersed in everything that is good in this world. Amen.