I was recently in London to see The Technicolors, Night Riots and The Maine (who headlined KOKO by the way) with my friends. Since moving to Hatfield and being close to London’s concert scene we usually went to a concert each month, if not two or three shows every now and then. Being who I am, filled with anticipation, anxiety and a little bit of everything, it has always been mixed feelings going to gigs. Whenever I was in the photo pit photographing it was mostly anticipation and nerves that were present. I loved the feeling when the lights would dim down, and how the music over the speakers from someone’s playlist would be drowned out by the music signalling that the band was about to come out on stage. I also loved how the photographers would go from chatting idly with each other to go completely into work mode. I miss that. I miss all and every second of it whenever I’m not in the pit.
Anyway, while I was standing on the balcony at KOKO, looking down at everyone, wondering if we all feel the same in one way or another. I wondered if we are all nervous, anxiety ridden, feeling lonely and sad – and we take this music, this one night, this tour and we cherish it like it is the only thing that keeps our head above the surface. Some drink to be brave enough to be among the crowd or to face their favourite person, some go just to have a good time out with friends and enjoy good music, some go to forget and to drown out the demons for one night. I’m more the latter than anything else. I don’t know how to describe the feeling I get before and during the show. It is like a cold sweat around my heart, a heavy blanket around my mind and it feels like I’m about to sob or vomit, I don’t know. But sometimes it is a weight getting taken off me. I haven’t had that sense of relief since Portsmouth.
Of course someone can relate to your feelings. That is why people write songs, make movies, write books and create art. They write it to move you and if it matches your set of chemicals it works. I’ve been through a bunch of fandoms, phases of loving certain bands and almost on the verge of worshipping them and I’ve realised that most of us are so lonely and I don’t think the hollowness just leaves like that. We hunt for a feeling of belonging. We try to fill it with the love we feel when we are safe, content and happy, singing the lyrics out loud in our bedrooms. It all gets more intense and emotional once you belt out the lyrics screaming and putting your fist out to the drum beat like you are protesting against your inner demons and sometimes they creep back through once it is all over because you realise how much it all means to you. And then you are alone again.
Our minds are complex, no doubt. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this bunch of us, the concert goers, the loners, lovers, friends, ghouls and ghosts, we are all in the same boat. We might not be on the same wavelength, but we are on the same boat.
I hope some of this made sense.