i woke up yesterday feeling disgusting and feckless. Dissociative, detached, disappointed and disappointing.
Peripheral at best.
i was going to skip the show, thinking that i just wasn't up for it. feeling like i couldn't be bothered to paint on a party face, to stand in line, to go through the ritual, to disappear in another crowd.
buuuuut i missed the Shrines the last time they were in town, and i knew i'd regret not going if i skipped out on a Khan show i actually had tickets for.
So i scrubbed and showered, pulled on a dress and pair of boots, and curled my lashes.
And kittens, i must say, I'm ever so glad that i did.
I got to Babylon late, but the place was still mostly empty so i scouted a couch (skeezy, disgusting things they are but we must try not to think about that, my ducks) and drank a Stella, and shared some friendly chatter with a rather nice fellow named Matt, from Saskathchewan.
Thinking there was only going to be one opener, I hit the bar again after the first act, and made my way to the front of the stage. The floor was filling up, and i wanted to make sure to have a good position staked out for photos. I claimed an amp, front and center, and perched on the corner, scanning the crowd for Mason and Kiiks. I managed to flag them down as they came in and we chatted for a bit as the floor got tighter, waiting for round two and percolating with growing excitement.
The second act was a snarling psychobilly four piece called Bloodshot Bill that quicklly packed the dance floor and worked the crowd into a frenzy. I snapped a few shots and finished my beer, felt the music pounding all around, and began to dance. A few songs in, someone pushed his way up to the front, right beside me, and shouted a few requests at the stage. It was King Khan. He was all laughs and smiles, loving the music and the frenzy. He danced his ass off, and i did too, and soon we were bumping hips to the beat and shimmying like mad things.
Well worth the price of admission.
The fevered pitch only intensified for the main act, although i was sad to have lost my special dancing partner. :-P
The floor was completely packed with bodies, ribcage to ribcage, pushing and swelling as everyone jockeyed for a good position. I was especially glad to have staked out an amp to anchor myself to, and cheerfully defended it, slowly but firmly digging my elbows into the ribs of those trying to edge a little closer at my expense, playing the same game of dumb as my would be usurpers.
"Oh sorry! Its a bit tight isn't it?? Yeah...., There's not much room. huh."
served with a nonchalant shrug and a sheepish smile,
nothing personal. :-)
(and that, dear reader, is why the slow elbow is best, in crowds as well as in bed, It seems more happenstance than attack, but remains every bit as uncomfortble if you know where to lodge it effectively)
The band emerges, and you can feel the crowd press closer. Khan has ditched his pants and sweater for a gold glitter flapper dress with a fox head loincloth and an electric blue bob, and BBQ sports gold glitter tights and a pink turban.
The music starts and the throng is immediately jolted to life. A living thing gone mad, throbbing and swelling, howling and gnashing, It occurs to me, at this point, that i might be in over my head, after all i have never been much of a pit rat, , but i dig in and hold on, determined not to give up my prized position too easily. The crowd swells so close that the entire front row is pitched up onto the edge of the stage, scrambling to hold their ground. Photos are impossible at this point. If i let go of the amp my feet leave the floor and i begin to drift, and the flailing bodies makes framing an absurd and abstract notion.
The bouncers look completely lost.
BBq tells the crowd to fuck off and settle down.
"this is a rock and roll show, not some goddamned Edgefest bullshit"
I'm completely absorbed in staying upright and protecting my camera. A fight breaks out to my left and the bouncers are forced to wade into the action, They look like sheep at a slaughterhouse.
They play a few slower numbers, trying to ease the crowd down a little, and i am able to snap a few photos.
Then the torch songs run out, and they return to the irresistible beats that we all have been waiting for.
Voodoo compulsions that can't be ignored.
A koan we answer with our bodies.
There's no room for style here, no room for flashy maneuvers, just an outlet for pure energy, an urgent and immediate response. I thrash and grind in what little space i have, gone feral with fierce abandon; pushing back against the crowd when they press too close, like an enraptured porn starlet. snarling with ecstasy. pricklng with bliss.
I laugh as i find myself dancing Billy Idol style, with a fist held up in front of my face, to block unexpected elbows and other wayward bony projections from the pit.
And on and on it goes, wave after wave after wave; a crashing call to arms
I come away drenched and delirious,
By the end i am panting with exertion, grinning and gasping at once, reveling in that delicious and too-rare state of complete and utter body exhaustion.
How lovely, to be so alive.