I’m an unabashed lame-o. Indeed, it’s from this mode of behaviour that I source most of my self-deprecating humour. This is why the one and only live band gig I’ve ever been to was a culture shock of massive proportions.
It was the beginning of 2012. Over the preceding year I had decided for some reason that tucking a collared shirt into jeans was a good idea for someone of my age and stature (19, and curvy/cuddly/bootylicious) and so it was in this outfit that I tripped up to Stirling station on the train, a long way from my house and on the lesser-travelled northern side of the Swan River which divides Perth in two. I was collected by friends and we returned to one of their houses for some cheeky beverages (that’s some 2011-12 Myles lingo there, just to lend authenticity to this story).
Sufficiently lubricated socially, we proceeded to race in two cars back down to the city, and once there we made our way to hipster music venue, The Bird. We were there to see Pond, a fairly prominent Perth band and Triple J honeys (for those playing at homes that aren’t in Australia, Triple J is the government-funded youth radio station in Australia whose job is to play a large proportion of Australian and/or independent music. At the time this tale is set, I never listened to it.)
These being memories I haven’t actually replayed for a while, the rest becomes a little hazy. Things I can remember before Pond came on:
- It was like being in a hair factory
- The band before them had quite a following present, and what I can recall was a few of their fans slam dancing in front of a crowd of people in various states of situational awareness, themselves all bobbing their heads in sync with the beat and each other. It was kind of alien, like that scene in I Am Legend where Will Smith stumbles upon a room full of zombie vampires sleeping while standing up. (no video could be found so trust me on this),
- The bar was expensive. Maybe. I did have a preference for the types of drinks which were more expensive anyway, so it was probably my fault,
- I hung my RayBans on my shirt pocket so people would think I was ‘hip’, and;
- There weren’t many seats
Then Pond came on, and wow. These guys were something else. The only other live music experiences I’d had were concerts from the WA Symphony Orchestra, and a few band competitions that were held at my high school, and most of the idea I had of what ‘real’ live bands were like was from watching clips of the Beatles on tour in 1964, and of course the video clip for Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. Needless to say, I was unprepared for what unfolded. Having only listened to one Pond song prior to seeing them live, I didn’t really know what to expect, and it was a shame because the poor acoustics of The Bird didn’t really provide much of an opportunity to determine what was lyrics and what was some very funky Rhodes piano.
This was the song I had heard. It was good.
Things got a bit crazy. The lead singer jumped around a lot, and then found his way up into the exposed rafters of the performance space, and monkeyed around up there for a while, his legs and feet supported by willing (or in several quite obvious body language cases, unwilling) crowd members. It was the most contemporary, avant garde interpretation of crowd surfing I had ever seen.
You might glean from the words preceding these ones that I had a negative experience at my first band gig. This is not at all the case. Yes, to be honest, due to aforementioned reasons of wall of sound-induced deafness, little of the music other than “Cloud City” stuck with me. But the actual experience of it all was excellent. I mean, I got a blog post out of it, for one thing. I hung out with some really excellent friends for the afternoon and evening (who, to my huge regret and guilt, I don’t see much of these days). And finally, I would definitely go to another live band now that particular cherry has been popped. Plus, 2012 me is an anathema to 2015 me. Well, not quite, but I’m rather different now. The shirt stays outside the jeans except with blazers or sweaters (this was a big step for me). I party and party hard, or used to before I became more boring again. But anyway, good times in 2012 paved the way for extra good times later on. So, friends who invited me, thanks for being awesome and helping me try something new.