That’s what I call it: gigging. I’m too lazy to Google if the word exists but it’s not getting a red underline so I guess it does. In my vocabulary, gigging means attending gigs as a spectator, not as an actual on-stage person.
Anyway. Since I decided 5 years ago, predictably on the spur of the moment, that I was to become one with “the culture” (feel free to decipher this word as loosely as I do), I have sealed my own deal with the discarded rock-n-roll powers that be that “from there on out you’re on your own, Missy”. No problem, I haven’t been spending my life in social isolation for nothing: it was all in training for the gigging. My best friend Kelly has since hopped on the hip-hop train but, like everything in life, it was too late as by then she had moved home to Belgium. I’m still devastated.
Except for that one Ty Dollar $ign (who?) do we joined forces for, I have been going to gigs on my own. Yep, just me, jamming it out at obscure, low-cost, rappers’ productions, surrounded by what passes for swarms of teenagers balancing a must-have plastic glass of stale beer, like an old girl should. I have seen anyone from Jay Z and Nas in arenas to slightly more “mysterious” names like Joey Bada$$ and Ireland’s very own bae, my imaginary boyfriend, Rejjie Snow in dungeon-like venues. This week, I went to see Logic. (He cute!)
First of all, unless you are watching Beyonce the Saviour, which is an event that requires MAJOR energy production and release at the same time, you’re only there for the music. Lower budget gigs, and this is extra true for hip-hop because of the genre’s background, mean the music is the primary, if not the sole, focus, with maybe a few sharp-ass laser lights here and there to enrich the visual experience. To me, this is the perfect set-up for a solitary confinement (of sorts).
Secondly, because I am old and have a tendency to fall apart, I follow the first rule in the Book of Gigging: sit. my. ass. down. In the entire 5 years of relatively frequent concert-goings, I have been unable to find a seat twice. Which was when I barely made it out alive. F-ck that. Not only am I physically challenged, there’s also my fear of stampedes and, oh yeah, my hate of crowds (I am honoured to announce that I never have, as well as never will have, attended a music festival – ew). While I am chilling upstairs on the venue’s balcony, I am basking in the misery of those beneath me – this is the life. (There was one time I faked an early pregnancy so I would be allowed to take a seat in the tiniest “Disabled” area – I can be resourceful.)
At every gig, the performer makes the obsolete decision to get the crowd feel “involved” by either creating a mush pit (shudder) or threatening into the magic of the soffits and audience’s deafening cheer: “I know most of you came here tonight for a good time but there is always a f-ckboy amongst you who will refuse to participate in the fun!” I swear when Logic shouted this out the other night, I had to strain myself from throwing my hands way up and flailing them about in surrender: “I AM HIM! I AM THE F-CKBOY!” Good times.
It looked like I wasn’t going to make it to the Logic’s gig (I don’t have childcare) but it worked out in the end. Gigs are the only events I finally manage to come late for – took me years of turning up at the “doors open” slot and sitting through hours of opening acts to learn my lesson. Even if I go for an hour (I don’t leave later than 10.15pm because I will have to be up at 6am for the school run), it feels eternally amazing. Live music, or live hip-hop music, is an existence on another level. It charges through my body, by way of all my senses (ears first though) and it leaves me helplessly drowning in the warmest, softest pool of emotions, forgetfulness, denials, detachments – everything I don’t allow myself in real life. And it dilutes my boring-ass vegan Instagram page with the DOPEST Mystories.