This is a call to arms for the poets that are inside of us

I have gone to a lot of concerts in my life. And by “in my life”, I really mean in the last 3-4 years. The band that I’ve seen the most (not including Bon Jovi) as of right now is Paradise Fears [EDIT: I forgot that I’ve actually seen All Time Low and The Summer Set five times each as well. So we’ll say that PF is the the UNSIGNED band I’ve seen the most…and possibly in the shortest amount of time).

As of this past Saturday, I’ve seen Paradise Fears FIVE times (this record will be broken when I see You Me At Six for the sixth time in October). And each time, I love them more.

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Aren’t they precious? The red heart in the middle is what they call the “Warrior” heart. It’s always so cute when American bands incorporate the Canadian flag into promo material.

This is their website: http://www.paradisefears.com/main.html

They are genuinely wonderful performers. They have stage presence – they always look like they’re enjoying themselves. It’s sometimes hard to remember that they’re unsigned (though sometimes I think it’s more of a personal choice for them…either that or record labels are completely blind to all this talent).

The first three times I saw them, they were opening for bands I was already a fan of (The Ready Set, The Cab/The Summer Set, and Forever the Sickest Kids). Then in February 2013, they opened for Action Item. And even though I had only heard one Action Item song, I bought tickets because I couldn’t let Paradise Fears pass through Toronto without seeing them.

Finally, this past Saturday, I saw them headline. And they were just as incredible as I remembered. They released their second album “Battle Scars” in June, and it’s already on my list favourite albums of the year, if not of all time.

One of the amazing things about Paradise Fears is that they really get the whole “in my early twenties and unsure about my life” thing. It helps that they’re all quite young (five out of six of them are younger than me by 1-3 years – which that in itself is shocking. They are wise beyond their years). This album was inspirational, which might sound cheesy, but it’s true. The first single, “What Are You Waiting For”, is basically an alternative kid’s answer to “YOLO”. It’s all about living for the moment, taking chances, knowing that one day you’ll look back on your youth and think – as they put it –  “Oh my God, what a life I’ve had”.

Another reason I look forward to their shows (and I know this makes me sound like a fangirl, but I’m okay with that) is their singer, Sam Miller. Most, if not all six, of the band members will hang out after each show to talk and sign and take pictures. And the past three times, I’ve waited excitedly for a chance to meet Sam. Being the singer (and being adorable), he probably has the biggest crowd of (mainly girls) waiting to meet him, but he always spends so much time listening and smiling and expressing such gratitude that we’ve come out to see him. He also gives really good hugs (I’m just saying…).

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This is us in February. One of my favourite pictures ever.

While it can be annoying to wait in the crowd of squealing girls, it’s worth it to see how sweet he is when interacting with the fans. I’ve seen him write out lyrics for tattoos, intent of making the letters perfect, or use a phone to record a message to someone who couldn’t make it to the show. I’ve seen teary eyed girls tell him that his lyrics helped them through a rough patch and watched as he hugs them back and tells them he’s so glad he could help, and please stay strong.

I could go on and on about how passionate and talented they are, but I think I’ll just let them speak for themselves. Whenever they perform “Sanctuary”, Sam makes a speech, and one of the best parts of the show is listening to the crowd screaming back these words. For the full speech, here’s the video:

This is the last part of the speech, and it’s my favourite part:

So bring me all the worst of your broken, bruised, insane.
Because that’s the thing with music: when it hits, you feel no pain.
No matter what you did, I promise we forgave it,
When all that’s left is your voice, you’ve got no choice but to raise it.
All you broken hearts, all you dejected dreams,
Just let yourself be free, because even broken wings can fly away.

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