Archive

Tag Archives: Lansing

So, remember that one time I wrote about how I never do things alone and that doing things on your own can seem strange, difficult – maybe even impossible? Stuff like going to the movies alone, or out to eat at a restaurant all by yourself?

Being the sort of person who always has other people with me when I go do things, the thought of being alone with myself in public, like, doing things, was a scary thought.

Then, I did it. Twice. No, three times. Well, actually – four times.

This summer, I went to four concerts by myself. Well, that’s an outright lie – once I took a friend along to help me sell “merchandise” (wow, that looks sketchy! I swear, it was T-shirts and CDs – nothing illegal!). Then – the next night – I went to the same concert in a different city (this time actually alone) and sold “merch”, again. But, here’s the reason I don’t really count this experience as being “alone” – because I had done it before, and was, technically, meeting someone there  – the guy I was going to sell stuff for. I had an agenda. I wasn’t really going alone.

It all happened about a month later, in late July. Twice.

So, remember that one time I wrote about Father John Misty? Yeah, me too! Well, that musical discovery led me to the additional discovery that Father John himself was going to perform a show in Michigan. My hometown! (state. My homestate?) I had to go!

Only – none of my friends liked Father John Misty! None of my friends really knew about Father John Misty. Same went for my family. No one cared! No one wanted to go to Pontiac, Mi with me! Nooooo!

So, I decided not to care about whether someone else could go. I could go! So, I would! And, so, I did.

Going to a concert alone was basically everything I expected it to be. As I considered myself a concert pro after attending two-in-one-weekend a month earlier, I knew some moments could get awkward. Oh, and they did! Think: standing in the middle of a room surrounded by groups of friends, staring blank-faced towards the stage, waiting almost two hours for the show to start. I stood. I stared. I swayed (not to any music, just from foot-weariness). I was most definitely alone. I did, however, find a companion in the crowd who was there with her parents (so, kind of alone), and we struck up a conversation. See, this is how it’s done! Being alone! You meet people! It’s great!

Father John Misty was just fantastic. A true musician and performer. He danced! He played the tambourine! He danced while playing the tambourine.

The Man Misty

He was beautiful, and tall, and his voice was beautiful, and the band was beautiful, and the music, too, was beautiful. I stood, and stared, and swayed (this time to the music!). The crowd was really into it. I was alone, but it didn’t matter.

After his set, the headlining band came out to play. Youth Lagoon. I had never heard of them. Neither had my new there-with-her-parents friend.

They took a long time to get set up. I thought about leaving. FJM was done, and I was alone standing with groups of friends again – should I just go home?

No, I decided. I would stay. It had already been awkward. I had already stood there alone for 4 hours. Bring it, clock. I was waiting for Youth Lagoon, gosh dang it. Whoever they were.

Thirty minutes later, a short, skinny, bushy-haired boy came out from backstage and sat down at the newly-placed piano. He looked sort of like young Bob Dylan. He sang sort of like young Bob Dylan. He was freaking good. It was freaking weird music. It was freaking fantastic. I was freaking alone and it didn’t matter.

It didn’t matter because that music made us all into a single-brained creature. It was like jamming in a garage with a guy with a guitar. He sang, and rocked out on his piano for long periods of time. He just played.

We swayed. There was head bobbing. Everything became that boy on his piano. There wasn’t a crowd. There weren’t people. There was loud, strange, flowing music. I wasn’t alone; I was no longer there.

The next night, I did it again – went to a concert alone. A different concert, this time. I went to Detroit, Mi (to the coolest concert venue ever, Saint Andrew’s) to see this kid named George “Watsky“. He’s from Youtube. He’s a poet/rapper/awesome person.

Watsky!

His show was so different from the Father John Misty show. First off, the crowd was totally different. At FJM and Youth Lagoon’s show, there were young, hippy sort of kids. Clean cut, pop-drinkers. At George’s show – more young kids. Younger, I think. A lot more males. A lot more baseball caps on backward. A lot more head-bopping and fist-waving. It was cool, though. If a little crowded (we were in the basement!). Also, there was a minute there when I thought I was going to die. (No biggie.) Can you say, everybody in this already-sardine-can of a room rush to the front of the stage as fast as possible? Me, I clung onto a ceiling-support beam and allowed the mass of people to surge by.

It’s really hard to feel alone when there is a human stampede happening all around you.

While these alone-adventures were scary, they were also really rewarding. I felt proud of myself for stepping outside of my comfort zone, and for proving to myself that I really didn’t need other people to go out into the world and do and see cool things.

More and more, I’m realizing that doing things you are afraid of moves you closer and closer to the person you dream of becoming.

So, who do you want to be? Are you good at being alone?

This post is about boys, and music.

Recently (the past two days of my life), I worked the Merch table for this guy Josiah Leming. He had two shows in Michigan, and I sold his Tees and stickers and CDs, etc, for him while he was here. It was a really cool/great experience: getting let in (for free!) through the side door (or creepy dark alley,   whatever the case might be), getting to hang out with Josiah, meeting fans who appreciate his music like I do, feeling like a part of something really amazing (if only a tiny, brief, part).

During my time working at the shows, I began to notice something.

When girls go to a concert/show to see a band/singer they really like, they dress nice. Right? Yeah. That’s an obvious statement if you’re a woman, or just a slightly observant human being. Why? Well, because they probably want to like, talk, to the band/singer, and/or get a picture, and even if they don’t plan on doing those things, you know, that band/singer might like look at them, and they want to look good if so.

But that’s not the only reason. You, yes you, think that by looking really cool/cute/sexy, that person will know you. Or, that band/singer will notice you. They’ll know that you’re alive. They’ll see you, only you, out there in the middle of the crowd, or when you go up to have them sign something, and they’ll see you.

I saw this desperation. I saw all the skirts and makeup and smiles. I saw this yearning for something more.

And it killed me! I couldn’t stand it! Was I doing that, too? Was I just another girl who thought she was important to these people in some way? That because I was selling shit for Josiah, or smiling at the really attractive drummer, therefore I meant something to them, automatically? That we were buddies?

You know, band members are, like, real people.

So – you know that guy friend of yours, who you’ve known for a while, and you had to like, build a relationship or friendship with them, and that took time, maybe years, maybe months? Remember how you had to get to know a person over a period of time, and your friendship or relationship wasn’t formed in four minutes of talking and smiling and looking pretty?

I know, I understand, why people do this. Because you wait so long to see this person/band, you follow along with their career, and their Facebook statuses, and their tweets, and you kind of feel like you know them a little bit. And maybe you do. But most of people’s lives aren’t posted on the internet. Between each tweet, they are living their life. They are doing things, and going places, and meeting people, that you don’t know about. At concerts, or shows, they are doing their job, and you are just their customer. Honestly. They love you, they appreciate you for coming out and supporting them, but not as the person that you truly are. They don’t know you! You don’t know them! You can smile, and wink, and hand them your number on a scrap of paper, but that doesn’t change the facts. You can’t become a part of their world after one night, after four minutes (or, for me, after two days). It takes time to build relationships. It takes time and effort from both sides.

Fame is so strangely one-sided. It has to be, by definition. Maybe that’s not fair, that they can be so exclusive. That’s how the world is.

How about when you talk to a stranger on the street, say hello, or that you like their shirt – and then you leave them. They’re gone, out of your life. But it doesn’t bother you, does it? You didn’t know them before you met them. You didn’t get all dolled up for that one minute meeting. It didn’t matter so much to you.

I’m not saying that there’s a cure for this. This is what (partially) makes concerts so popular to attend, so exciting. The chance. Finally! This person/band will get to meet you! There will be a moment in their life where you were in it, where you stood next to them as they signed your shirt, as you took a photo with them with a group of your friends. There will be photographic evidence, and memories! Who knows what could happen?

I got to experience so many of those four-minute-moments first hand. I saw all these lovely people wanting something more out of their concert-going experience. They wanted understanding. They wanted attention. They wanted relationships (of likely varying degrees).

But concerts aren’t magical. Not really. What they are is really talented people showing off their talent and having a good time, which can easily be confused for magic. Those things you want out of concerts? You are not going to get them. Not totally. Not satisfyingly.

It’s best to just enjoy the music.