Besides the three times I saw Amon Tobin’s ISAM setup this year, this is my favorite gig of 2012. I mean, I loved each and every concert I went to, and Coachella is on a whole another level, but this one stands out among the rest. This is how it went…
“N-n-n-nnooo….Baaabe, this is going to be a good show…”
My guy and I had just driven over to a couple of our friends’ place in the Mission, to chill out beforehand. It was early-mid October, a Wednesday night. I had been looking forward to this one for a few weeks, but it wouldn’t really understand how much impact this particular gig would have on me until later. You’ll see.
Walking hand-in-hand to their apartment, I explain to my guy how excited I am. We were both a little tired because we had been working at our desk jobs all day. I know Com Truise is one of his favorite producers, and I was trying to be his alternative 5 Hour Energy for the night. He took some anyway I think, even snuck one into the venue, but I wasn’t really paying attention.
“I know, babe. It’s going to be awesome,” he says.
We go into the apartment and catch up with our friends, listen to some Com Truise on vinyl, one of our friends has a copy of the first print. After some drinks and enlightenment and arguing about the speed the tracks should be playing at–my guy won–we head out. There’s five of us total, and I can sense we’re all just happy to be out on a Wednesday night, with not much to do. Little did we know that it was going to an awesome time.
Mezzanine is the venue of the night. I couldn’t have asked for a better one for this particular show. If you don’t know where it is in San Francisco, I’ll explain it to you. Gosh, it’s all hitting me again, and I realize how PERFECT this venue was. Mezzanine is on the edge of the SOMA district, in the in-between of too expensive cars and parking, and sketchy drug deals and irrational muttering. I usually explain it as a block or two between Bloomingdale’s and 7th Street, on Mission. Yeah, that area.
Well, it’s actually located on an alley. Jessie St. The first time my guy and I went there, we came in from the 7th Street area, and totally thought it was located in “not the best place”. But here, we realize, it’s awesome. If you come in from the North, you turn left from a corner that leaves the tall office buildings behind. From the South, you walk past a dingy lot that has a wire fence blocking it from the sidewalk. We then realize Mezzanine is in an old warehouse. The outside atmosphere reminds me of Brooklyn, not that I’ve been, but that underground scene vibe–musky odors, like you would expect steam to be coming out of the place… We’re about to walk into this old dark building, two-levels, can hardly hear the sound unless the doors open, people chatting over cigarettes outside. Outside, no serious spotlight overlooking guests, just the light of the moon, and those damn city lights–that actually weren’t that bright around Mezzanine. The exterior, it’s minimal, just a window with a wooden frame to buy tickets, and a letter-size white sheet of paper with the acts typed out on it. Nice.
Now, if you know of any of the music that we experienced this night, you’ll understand why I like this venue so much. Com Truise definitely has that 80’s electronic vibe, but turn the darkness up a few notches. Poolside is so so so disco. Here’s the music video for Brokendate, which turned out to be my favorite played live by Com Truise.
Do you see? We were walking into this venue, one that completely depicts the underground show vibe. It was fantastic, and mesmerizing, and I didn’t even realize it until now.
We go into the venue, and it’s still Bonde de Role playing, or so we thought. We arrived a little later, hoping to get in right before Poolside came on. We did. We chatted for a few minutes and felt out the vibe. There seemed to be just a laptop churning out some tracks, maybe no openers? Who knew. The crowd was bigger than I had expected, which made me happy. This was some relief, because I had no idea what I was in for. I had only really listened to Poolside the day before and earlier that day. We were all just kind of looking around, scoping out the place, hoping Poolside would come on.
It had been the first time in a while my guy and I went to a show with friends. We go to a lot of shows, it feels like it averages one every week or two. And it’s not just a couple thing, but a friend thing. This is why we’re good friends.
We both knew, but never said, that if we found friends who could “understand” this particular show, they are definitely good people to hang out with. We had wanted find some people like these friends to hang out with, go to some shows and junk. And we’re so glad we did. We had gone to one with them before, and that was cool, but Mezzanine is more intimate. You can get a real experience here.
For me personally, music and going to shows, there’s a deep level of understanding. Understanding that what you’re experiencing, no one else will experience as you do. I will always love recorded music, but seeing it live, oh man, that’s indescribable. And yet, I’m trying to explain it here.
Yay, Poolside comes on! So so disco, two guys doing keys, a vocalist also playing guitar, and a dude on drums. And do I remember correctly, bongos? Pretty stellar. The entire room gets into the grooving mood, bouncing away. They played a lot of their songs from their recent release, Pacific Standard Time, if not all. Man, “Kiss You Forever” and “Next To You” are so catchy! I instantly recognize the effect on the screen on our right side, they were projecting their show in that sort of 70’s/80’s groovy, soft focus vibe. The perfect accessory to their live show.
Here’s a link to an amateur video on Youtube of “Next To You” live at a Popscene gig in SF earlier in January, before the album, Pacific Standard Time, was released.
The set was a lot more enjoyable than I expected it to be. I had never really seen anything like them live, and it completely exceeded my expectations. If I could see the set live again, I would. Endless head rocking, shoulder groovin’, definitely puts you in a dreamy but lively state. I had a lot of fun dancing to this one.
A little time passed, and finally, the man with the plan is on stage. He comes out, there’s… smoke? Like dry ice fog…? Maybe I was dreaming it, maybe it just felt like that. Eventually, I think he did end up lighting up on stage.
I dunno, I was pretty enlightened.
And yes, my one solitary wish was answered: live drums.
Another dude comes out, and he’s the drummer of the night. This lanky sort of guy, totally rock and roll. I would have been drooling over him if I were in that phase still. I mean, I guess you never grow out of your first love of musicians? But whatever, I love my man so very much that not one drop of drool came out of this pretty little mouth. But, if you need to know ANYTHING about me, you must know I love live drums. Especially if they are played well, and they usually are.
And so it began.
To be honest, I can’t recount each and every song played. I can however recount that he played a lot of Galactic Melt, and some of his lower-key stuff. Man oh man, the sound was loud. I was overjoyed. The sound is really great for the venue, being an old warehouse with damn columns in the middle of the dance floor. But that’s okay, my friends and I were pretty much three yards from the front of the stage. The perfect viewing angle.
Ever since this show, I’ve re-felt (is that a term?) the emotions that this set produced when I listen to Com Truise. And now, I’m at a complete loss to explain it. It was an atmospheric thing. So many different feelings that amounted to the ultimate one: happiness.
The feeling I get when I’m experiencing something I truly love.
The feeling I get when I’m with my guy, experiencing something we love.
The feeling I get when I’m with friendly friends, being a part of something together.
The feeling I get when I’m enlightened. B)
The feeling I get when my ears say, “Sophie! I love you for putting me through these beautiful loud sounds!”
The feeling I get when I experience really stellar, excellent, on point live drums, and realize how awesome the song sounds with them.
The feeling of admiration for the artist, how they are able to make themselves, and the world around them, happy.
The feeling I get when I’m experiencing something for the first time.
The feeling I get when I know this will be the only time, the only time and space and area where I will be feeling this mixture of feelings in this scenario.
The feeling I get when I know that I am cherishing every last bit of it, “it” I cannot explain, but that I know it won’t happen again soon.
I was pretty overwhelmed by the time the middle-end of the set came along. I was just so flush with happiness, and awe, and love, and contentment, and joy, and anxiety, and interest, and wonder. I was not expecting the world to come crashing down on me, in the best way possible?, during this set. I can still remember it really clearly, looking up at the duo, listening and smiling and nearly shaking out of just pure joy when Brokendate came on. I had always liked the track, but it never hit me until then.
All I could do was look back at my guy and smile.
Of course, all sets now come fully equipped with encores, and even double encores! So I was prepared for an awesome one. Most of it was unrecognized, I think, as far as I can remember. I was overly overwhelmed at this point, just enjoying being there, enjoying the music–which is the most important.
Immediately after, I was pretty speechless. I was a flurry of emotions. “Was this an abrupt ending? No, of course not, it was the perfect length to be truly enjoyable. Did I not hear a track that I wanted to? Did he play his Tron:Legacy R3CONF1GUR3D remix? No… I don’t think so… Bummer. But wow, that was an amazing set. Couldn’t have asked for a better one. Now, finally, I am okay with not seeing him at the Rickshaw Stop with Purity Ring a few months ago.” I wouldn’t recognize until later that it would be my favorite of the year. I’m a processor, okay? It takes time.
“Pretty awesome, right sweetheart? Brrrrr….”
“Yeah, babe. So sweet.”