Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Feature: Struggles of a Milk Carton Kids Fan Girl

Photo courtesy Catherine Kramer

That moment when you start screaming at a YouTube video in your dorm room and people from the other end of the floor run in asking if you’re okay.

That moment when your boyfriend is mad he was replaced on your phone background by two strangers.

That moment when you pay $40 not to see the headliner or the opener but the opener for the opener.

Such is my life as a fan girl of the Milk Carton Kids.

The Milk Carton Kids, as many of you are brutally unaware, are the best band currently making music.

“But what about—” you say.


The Milk Carton Kids.

And you, you blessed and fortunate people of Calvin College, have the chance to go see the best band currently making music next week Wednesday in the chapel.

Right here on campus.

In less than a week.

Those who have done their research will note this is certainly not the duo’s first trip to Calvin; in fact, it’s not even their first time here this school year.

But it is their first time headlining a show on Calvin’s campus, as their past two performances came as the opening act for Over the Rhine in December 2011 and September 2013.

For me, it all began with that December 2011 performance. I was a first-semester sophomore who thought she had reached the precipice of her Calvin concert-going career the previous spring when The Civil Wars came to town.

How much I had still to learn.

There before me stood two straight-laced troubadours, seemingly much more comfortable behind their guitars than in front of their microphones. Little did I know they were actually angels sent to change my life forever.

The tall, lanky one who wears glasses is Joey Ryan. In addition to being one of the world’s most beautiful people, he is without a doubt the funniest person. Period. I dare you to get through one of their shows without laughing. YOU CAN’T.

The shorter, more smiley half of the pair is Kenneth Pattengale, whose talent covers more ground than that mouthful of a name. If Joey is the still, stoic type, Kenneth by comparison is constantly in motion, absolutely killing it on that beat-up old Martin of his.

Now you’re at the end of this thinking, “I still don’t really know much about this band.” That’s not my job. I am not the publicist. I am not the music critic. I am not affiliated with Calvin’s Student Activities Office.

I am the fan girl. It is my job to sit in the front row crying, either from laughter as a result of Joey Ryan’s comedic stylings or from joy as my soul gets lifted into another dimension entirely.

I will cry the same way Marcus Mumford cried the first time he ever heard the Milk Carton Kids (that’s right you Mumford maniacs: take note), even though it will be my fifth time seeing them live.

It’s my job to start telling one of Joey’s jokes but stop part of the way through because he might tell it again at the next concert and I don’t want to spoil it for you (spoiler alert: it’s going to be hilarious).

It’s my job to tell you to come to the show, to download their music, to watch their videos, but in telling you to do these things my eyes get a little crazy and I start talking way too fast and all my persuasiveness is overshadowed by the fact that I’ve transformed into an aggressively terrifying human being over the course of this conversation. To all who have endured these antics, I am sorry.

Except I’m not actually sorry. I’m a fan girl.

Come to the show.

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