Eating corndogs larger than your head. Watching cars run into each other on purpose. Engaging in activities you know may lead to projectile vomiting.
And I haven’t even mentioned the beer booth yet.
Yes, the Stanislaus County Fair is here once again. And this year opening night can’t come soon enough.
I’m always excited for the fair, but I’ve been in a fever pitch for months now. Had the fair not been pushed forward a few weeks by the State Fair’s rescheduling, I’d probably start camping out at the front of the line by Tuesday.
Fortunately, I’ll be able to grab a sneak peek of the fairgrounds at today’s Media Luncheon. I’ll be struggling to retain my journalistic integrity as my inner 10-year old yearns to jump out, grab a 4-H milkshake, and ride the Zipper.
I must admit my coworker-annoying fair fanaticism this year is a bit out of the norm for me. Normally I spend the weeks leading up to the fair complaining about it, intentionally setting my standards low so I’m destined to enjoy the fair more than expected.
And it’s with good reason I let those pre-fair doldrums kick in most years. The fair can be a trying time for we reporter types, working all hours of the day to deliver stories on the three R’s – rodeos, racing, and rides. Of course there’s the SH – sweltering heat – to worry about too.
But mostly I complain about the music. I’m an elitist, snobbish, unapologetic indie music fan.
If you’ve heard of it, I probably don’t like it. And the Stanislaus County Fair – in years past – has been full of music that everyone has heard of.
I’m sorry, but acts like The Four Tops, Rick Springfield, and Huey Lewis and The News haven’t been relevant for decades. Presently “popular” Christian, country, and Latino shows may have drawn big crowds at the fair, but aren’t anyone I’d normally pay to see.
And, I’m sorry, but as a mid-20s male attending a Raven-Symoné or Naked Brothers Band concert could very well get me arrested. Either that or trampled to death by hordes of tweenage fans.
You never know, I could get mistaken for a rock star or something.
I’m close to intolerable when it comes to music discussion, I’m aware of that. But I can’t keep my mouth shut.
“Why, oh why can’t the fair board land a relevant, modern rock band?” I opine to my bleary-eyed coworkers with deadline rapidly approaching and all of our sanity waning. “Even a 90s act would do.”
Then something happened this year that quickly shut me up. And that’s no small feat.
The fair board signed Boys Like Girls to play on July 22.
Now, Boys Like Girls are not my usual elitist indie rock, they’re pure power punk pop. But they’re catchy and enjoyable. They’re relevant, and they’re a band I’d pay to see.
This is a band whose last album peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200, and #1 on the Top Rock Albums. They’ve had four top 50 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. They have an RIAA gold-certified album.
And, most miraculously for acts at the fair, all of their albums came out within the last four years.
It’s not as though we have The Beatles – with the reincarnations of George Harrison and John Lennon – coming to play at the fair. But Boys Like Girls are a notable band from the world of rock-like music, and we haven’t seen one of those at the fair since maybe Hoobastank in 2005 or Sugar Ray in 2004.
(A note, for those of you willing to argue Bowling For Soup in 2008 was the last relevant band – if your most famous song is a cover, you don’t count in my list. “1985” was originally recorded by SR-71.)
Sadly, from my discussions with fair officials, I’m still not 100 percent sure the fair knows what a catch they have here.
Boys Like Girls – a band most popular among high school and college age folks, from my experience – are booked for Kids Free Night.
Alas, I’ll be left arm wrestling tweens for a decent seat and avoiding puking 8 year olds as I attempt to rock out to “The Great Escape.”
Unless, of course, one of my loyal readers comes to my aid…
To contact Alex Cantatore, save him front row seats for the Boys Like Girls concert, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.