I think I have been doing a pretty decent job lately of not blowing all of the monies on concert tickets. It helps that I just haven’t been that into Western music lately. However, when I saw that PVRIS was going on a fall tour in support of their new album, I was all over that shit. They’re in that top tier of bands I just can’t pass up, you know? Naturally, there was no Pittsburgh date on this tour, so I was going to try and catch their Philly show. But then we planned the pie party for that day because I forgot about it and that ruined that idea.
(I did this same thing a few years ago with the pie party and Pierce the Veil, ugh.)
Then I saw that the Detroit date was on a Friday, and I wondered if it was possible, if I could twist Henry’s arm just so…
He was not down with this whatsoever because he knew he wouldn’t be able to take the day off work. But then I told our Michigan friends Bill & Jessi that we might be in town that weekend and this created hype, so Henry finally conceded under the provision that I would be going to the show by myself because he didn’t want to go, and Chooch was pretty meh about it too, so that meant this trip was already going to be cheaper.
I requested the day off work, and as luck would have it, it was parent teacher conference day so Chooch didn’t have school. But we still had to wait for Henry to come home which was so stressful. Chooch and I were sitting on the porch with our overnight bags when Henry pulled in the driveway. It only, theoretically, takes < 5 hours to get to Detroit, but then we got stuck in a tractor trailer accident traffic so by the time we got to the Royal Oak Theater, it was after 8 and the show had already started. I practically rolled out of the car before it even came to a complete stop, I just needed to get inside that theater post haste.
I’m the type of person who always gets to a place before or right as doors open, because I like to scope out the scene. Especially if I’ve never been to the venue before, which was the case in this situation. So the doors had already been opened for over an hour at this point, and the opening band (Flint Eastwood) was already halfway through their set. I got stuck in the security line behind some bitch who had some type of contraband that I couldn’t make out and was arguing with security because she didn’t want to take it back to her car so they were going to throw it out and I was SO ANTSY to get in that I was about to grab the item and punt it out of the theater.
When it was finally my turn, the security lady who was rummaging through my purse kept trying to make conversation with me and I couldn’t hear her over the band and the STRESS-RINGING IN MY EARS so I just kept saying “yes” to all of her questions. Finally, after determining that my emergency tampons weren’t black market weapons, she moved aside and let me pass.
I immediately hated this venue.
Maybe my opinion would have differed had I gotten there early enough to see where I was walking, but I was having such a hard time navigating my way toward the stage, because there were tiered levels, like an upside-down wedding cake. Each level was contained by a railing with steps in the middle leading down to the next, and it was impossible to get through. So for Flint Eastwood, I stood on the right side of the top level, and I couldn’t see at all because the levels were flat and not slanted. So unless you were at the front of each tier, along the railing, you had no chance of seeing because the stage was so far down. So I had to make due with watching all the drunk people dancing in front of me. That got old pretty quickly, so after Flint Eastwood (who was fine, but you know I’m picky with female-fronted bands and she was a little too much of a rougher version of Adele for my liking) I waited for the obligatory influx of people running to the bar for refills and used the freshly-emptied space to navigate my way to the steps down to the middle level, where I found a space along the edge which allowed me to boost myself up a bit along the side railing. I still had to stand on my tiptoes to see, but it was better than the first level. I listened to the conversations around me while I waited for Lights to come on. There was a young-ish couple to my right who were having a friendly debate over slushees vs slurpees.
Lights came on sometime after 9 and I was so excited because after years of being a casual fan, this was my first time finally seeing her. I’m always so impressed that she has managed to preserve her scene queen side-part after all these years and it doesn’t look out-dated on her at all. She is such a fucking queen.
Her recent release is so damn ambitious. Not only did she write an entire record, but she also made a companion comic book series to go with it. She is an artist in every sense of the word!
I was so excited to hear Skydiving live, because that song makes me feel a certain way.
Beau Bokan is so lucky to be married to her, that’s all I’m going to say.
Lights is pretty flawless. Her voice sounded huge and crystalline in that big theater and I had chills through most of her set. I wish Chooch hadn’t ditched me that night because I think he would have fallen in love. (Unlike me, he is a huge fan of girl singers, lol. #obviduh)
There were two guys who were standing to my left for the whole set, and a group of older women in front of me, but they all left after Lights which left a huge opening for the biggest dorks in Royal Oak to usurp the free land around me and I was in aural pain. There were four of them and they all scream-talked to each other about tech-y things and I texted Henry: HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT ALL HAVE RETAINER-LISPS?!!?!?
I couldn’t take it, but I felt trapped. I knew I needed to get down to the ground floor, in front of the stage, but I couldn’t figure out how. On the other side of the railing I was leaning against, there was a walkway leading from the top of the venue down to the stage, so I yelled to the security guard down there, “What’s the best way to get down there?!” She advised me to go all the way back up to the top, where the bar is, and come down the walkway along the side. It was a journey, I’m not going to lie. People were sprawled out all over each set of stairs I had to ascend, and I felt like I was engaging in football drills.
I was not a fan of this venue AT ALL.
I mean, it was beautiful in there, don’t get me wrong. But the layout made me feel absolutely crazed.
But I made it down to the stage and managed to get almost all the way to the barricade, but off to the side (my beloved right side of the stage—I always gravitate to that side!). This was a gamechanger. I was down there with the real fans and not the drunks. I could see the stage easily now. I felt comfortable and could finally start breathing normally again.
I’m telling you, for as many shows I’ve attended alone, sometimes one catches me off guard and it’s like starting over from scratch with my anxiety and self-consciousness. Maybe it had a lot to do with being in a different city, at a new-to-me venue, in addition to all of the earlier stress of trying to make it there on time. I don’t know, but it was a perfect storm of neuroses for me and as much as I love PVRIS, I couldn’t wait for the show to be over and they hadn’t even come out yet!
Meanwhile, some girl behind me started raging to her friends. “Did you see this?!” she yelled and then tilted her phone toward them.
“Fucking Ovechkin!” one of them yelled, and I laughed to myself because I guess the Red Wings were playing the Capitals, and that’s a phrase we yell a lot in Pittsburgh too.
It was nearly 10, maybe even later than that, when the lights finally went out and PVRIS made a dramatic entrance. It had been over a year since I last saw them and I immediately filled with that warmth that you get when you’re seeing a band you really, really love, DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?! Henry doesn’t.
He’s not the biggest fan of PVRIS and didn’t argue one bit when I said I would go to this show alone. (I went to their last one alone too, woe is me.) But I will tell you that Chooch had some remorse, because he thought that by not going to the show with me, he was going to get to hang out with Bill and Jessi but he didn’t realize that this wasn’t happening until after the show that night, so there! Henry and Chooch just hung out in the Royal Oak area, ate dinner, and walked around like creeps while waiting for me, I guess. I didn’t ask for their itinerary so I don’t really know.
I was immediately reminded of how much I love them as soon as they started playing, and suddenly the earlier stresses of the day became well worth it. Their sound is the perfect merging dark synthpop and alt-rock, which appeals to both Goth Erin and Scene Kid Erin. This band is so talented and unlike anything else out there right now and if you ever get the chance to go see them, please go. And take me with you, if possible.
Lynn Gunn for life.
Listening to them always inspires me to dig through my synthpop collection. Synth is so underrated.
I left before the encore because it was already after 11 and I was itching to get to Bill and Jessi’s. What a whirlwind day.