It was starting to feel like it had been months since I’d been to a show, maybe since the last one was so terrible. The Citizen show at the Rex couldn’t have come at a better time. This will probably be the last show I go to this year, and I had no doubt that it would be DIVINE.
Citizen decided to do a short tour to coincide with the Something In the Way festival that they’re scheduled to play tonight in NYC, a festival with all Run For Cover bands in the lineup—oh how my heart aches. I would love to go to that! But seeing Citizen headline a small Pittsburgh show was nearly as good.
Henry booted me out of the car outside of the Rex, without giving me any money. I mean, I did my chores*, so what the fuck, Henry?!
*(I washed 1/3 of the dishes in the sink; I always leave behind plastic tumblers because I hate washing those, anything sharp, and things that require actual scrubbing.)
My routine when I go to shows alone is:
- Pray my ticket is at will call (if I didn’t have it mailed to me)
- Make a beeline to the bar and nervously ask, “WHAT KIND OF WHEAT BEERS DO YOU HAVE, JUST PICK ONE FOR ME BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW.”
- Find a dark hole to fall into where no one will see me, talk to me, look at me, judge me, care that I’m there.
On this night, I opted for whatever this thing is in that picture. Except that the bartender kindly reminded me that it was cash only, which I didn’t know because somehow I always have cash when I’m at the Rex except this time – BLAME HENRY. So she sent me off to the lobby where the ATM was sitting all innocently, except that it refused to accept either of my credit cards, so I had to ask the bouncer if there was a trick I didn’t know about, at which point he came over and coolly took my card out of my hands, blew on it, flicked it, kicked the side of the ATM, and….it didn’t work.
“There’s a PNC a block down on the right,” he shrugged, giving up after 30 seconds. WOW MY HERO.
Also, every bouncer looks the same to me. Is that rude or…?
Anyway, I got my dumb money and then Henry bitched at me later because instead of walking to the PNC, I panicked and stopped at the first ATM I came across and then paid a $3.50 service fee and have you met Henry? He’s one cheap motherfucker.
My beer was waiting for me when I got back, and I found myself wondering if it was even worth the hassle of the ATM odyssey. But…anxiety. It’s the “walking in” part of going to shows alone that’s the worst. I’m OK after that, but a little alcohol never hurts.
The Rex has a very small balcony, so I took refuge up there in the shadows, sitting alone on a stool and forcing Henry to text me until the show started.
There were about 5 other people up there with me, mostly inoffensive, but I knew I was just biding my time and would eventually make my way back downstairs before Citizen.
The first two bands were local: Same and Yrs. I had never heard of Same before, and they were OK. But I’ve definitely seen Yrs on lineups of tours I’ve been interested in, yet have somehow never managed to see them. And also managed to not know they’re from Pittsburgh. They were good! Definitely a band I would seek out in the future. Someone screamed, “You have a very interesting voice!” and the singer was like, “I know.” They had good stage presence and kept me from being bored, which sometimes happens when I’m just like, waiting and waiting to see the band I came to see.
Shortly after Yrs ended their set, I gifted my seat to the boyfriend of the girl sitting next to me, because I had spotted the perfect spot near the stage and I didn’t want to risk waiting any longer. Dizzy Pleasure Club started playing right as I made it downstairs, and I quickly slipped into a spot along the right side of the of the stage, where not a single motherfucker bothered me for the whole rest of the night.
I had to pee so bad but didn’t want to lose my spot. Looking at this picture makes me feel like I have to pee again.
Dizzy Pleasure Club was a last minute addition to the line-up. They’re from Baltimore and are made up of various members from Turnstile and Angel Du$t, so I was interested. This was only their 3rd show but you would never know it!
After the first song, the singer deadpanned, “We’re going to play 4 more songs for you….because we only have five songs.” Ugh, it felt good to laugh with a bunch of strangers. EVEN THOUGH I HATE PEOPLE. I confuse myself sometimes.
Anyway, I was really into DPC.
AND THEN FINALLY CITIZEN. They make me feel like I’m 17 again, full of energy and hope, and I wish I could wakeup every morning to them playing The Night I Drove Alone at the foot of my bed because that song makes me want to throw myself against the wall.
This was the 4th time I saw them this year: headlining show at Altar Bar, Bled Fest in Michigan, and then Riot Fest in Chicago. But this night topped them all. It was the closest I’ve ever been able to get to the stage for them, and the crowd was just amazingly perfect — MY PEOPLE. It never seems to matter that I’m there alone once the band starts playing, because we’re all friends at that point. We’re all there to scream along to a band whose lyrics cut us to the core, remind us that we’re alive, make us feel like we’re all a part of something bigger. It’s easy to forget what that feels like when you’re sitting at a desk in a sterile office all week, or getting ready to declare on your psycho neighbor, or being degraded online by people who don’t share the same social views are you. All these things build up and you start to build those walls around yourself like you’re fucking Mexico and then suddenly you go to a show and your band starts to play and it’s like…FREE AT LAST.
I’m always hoping that one day I’ll either coerce a friend to like a band that I like, or maybe actually MAKE A FRIEND at a show, but at the end of the night, it doesn’t matter. Because for those 2-3 hours, no one in that room is a stranger. We’re all on the same side and it’s fucking amazing. I hate when it ends.
I love you, Citizen. You ruined my left contact from all the tears you produced, but it was worth it. <3
Eventually, this high will wear off, and then I’ll just have to wait for the next show to breathe life into me again.