When you're going cross country for a conference, and one of your favorite bands schedules a show (a free show, no less!) two days before the conference, all of two miles from the conference location, well, you kinda have to go to the show.
Okay, no kinda about it. You have to go.
Brooklyn Beta has workshops tomorrow, which meant that meeting and greeting and networking started tonight. While I was sad to miss it, really, favorite bands that you missed by one day at SxSW last year win.
So, after googling for directions, praying I'd walk the right way, notes scribbled in my tertiary brain, I left an hour before the show was supposed to start for a 31 minute journey. According to Google, that is. Things work out less well when, say, humans are involved.
Having adventured out earlier today, I knew which way to go for the subway station I wanted, and I also knew which street to avoid in order to minimize discomfort and safety anxiety. What I didn't know was which platform to go to at the subway.
Sometimes I wonder if people who work for public transportation like messing with tourists. Not like they'll ever see you again, right? The woman who answered my questions and sold me my ticket, pointed twice, once without prompting and once as a confirmation to my repetition of her words, to the subway entrance on the left. When I arrived on the platform she indicated, I approached a couple and asked them to confirm I was on the right platform.
I was not.
I ran up the stairs and at the top, asked another traveller where I needed to go, where was the other N platform, was I going in the right direction? He found it for me, it was to the RIGHT not the left, and I dashed over to it as he ran down the stairs to catch the train I nearly made him miss. As I ran down the stairs I realized the train was at the station, and, oh oh! I better hurry lest I miss it!
So, I ran down the stairs, dove through the doors, came to a rolling stop in a seat just as the doors shut and the train started moving.
Only to realize I had boarded the wrong train.
So, there's the N train, the one I wanted, and the R train, which sorta runs along the same way, diverges then rejoins the N train. I was on the R train, going in nominally the right direction, but not the most efficiently.
The map on the train indicated that the N would meet up at the next station (maybe), so I exited at the next station, looking at my watch. I had already used up 25 of my 60 minutes, and I hadn't even left Brooklyn yet. Yikes! After being unsure of where I needed to be, and watching the N train I was supposed to be on zoom by me, I ran up and over to the other platform, and asked a guy standing there where I needed to be. Turns out, N doesn't stop at the station, and the R is what I wanted.
I went back over to my original platform, waited another 10 minutes, and boarded the next R train, trying desperately to concentrate on my book, instead of worrying if I was going to make the beginning of the show or not. I've been trying to worry less about things out of my control, and reading, disappearing into a book, is a way that I can do that. Once I submerge into a book, I'm fine, getting there takes effort sometimes.
At 7:53, the train arrived at the 8th Avenue (as I was corrected by a subway employee, not Street) NYU stop, found the correct stairs (8th and Broadway NE!), dashed up them and started walking. I stopped, confirmed I was walking the right way, and started hustling to Webster Hall.
Of note, New Yorkers do not smile even when you smile while meeting their gaze.
Also of note, New York drivers love their horns.
I made it to Webster Hall with 2 minutes to spare, and was met with a most disastrous of sights: a line.
No, not one line, but two.
Two giant lines.
The first one looked like you needed tickets to go in (so that one was wrong, the show was free), so I went to the other line. It wasn't moving, and I started worrying I was in the correct line. I swear, I talked to more people tonight asking for directions and help and information than I had in the previous month. The people in front of me were in line for the Drums. Okay, wrong line. I went to the other line, and talked to a reporter who said that the other line was also for the Drums. A woman in the line confirmed the Drums show. Puzzled, I went back to the first line and asked the bouncer what was up. No, the second line was for Drums, as was the first line.
Between the two lines was a guy putting wristbands on people. I approached him and asked if he could please tell me where the heck Manic Bloom was playing. He turned around, check the posted show times, turned back and said, "Here. Downstairs."
Wristband on, I went downstairs, to see Manic Bloom on stage, finishing up the last part of tuning. I wandered over to the bar and ordered a soda water as they paused, the filler music stopping. I grabbed my drink, noticed the bar/hall wasn't as crowded as I was expecting, and moved to the back of the middle of the room, just under the video cameras.
And then they started playing.
Okay, so, there's something about small places and loud music and odd acoustics that just says, "Ouch."
I managed about thirty seconds before I regretted not having earplugs. I can't believe I went without earplugs. I don't go to shows without earplugs (well, can't say that anymore), and, oh, I needed earplugs. Barring that, hell, shove some tissue into my ears, anything, or I'd have to leave. I went to one of the security guards at the place and asked where the bathroom was. I thought he said there wasn't a bathroom in the place, so, noticing he had earplugs in, I asked if he had any extras.
He looked at me, "Earplugs?" When I nodded, he reached over to the pile of earplugs on the counter and handed me a set.
You have to love a place that hands out earplugs at shows.
You just have to.
Drink in hand, earplugs in ears, I wandered back to my spot, and fucking enjoyed the show.
Despite the space with everyone spread out in the hall, Manic Bloom played awesomely. To my delight, they played Running from the Scene (yes, still on my infinite repeat list), and oh boy, it was awesome live. Yay yay yay yay yay!
I was slightly sad that I and three other people seemed to be the only people that knew the songs and knew the lyrics. We seemed to be the only people moving to the music. It's like the concert you go to and you want to stand up and just jam to the songs, but everyone else's butt is glued to the seats. Ugh.
Fortunately, the mood passed, and I did not care much, because the music was awesome, and I was moving to it.
The set was only about 40 minutes long, starting slightly after 8 and finishing at 8:45. When they were done, I dashed over to the table in hopes of talking to the band. David was at the table, talking to a couple people, so I waited for him to be done.
Did I mention the bouncing?
I bounced until he was done with the one guy, but then he started talking to another guy, and a couple more people came up, and that was it. I walked around them all and arms wide, pretty much SQUEE'd at David. He must have been ready for it, because he laughed and said, "Kitt, right?"
We talked for as long as I could manage to monopolize David's time, and bonded over PHP. I met Andy, the bassist (*swoon* and a reminder that I need to pull out my bass already and start practicing again), and asked about the possibility of lunch tomorrow. They have a full day planned (very exciting, appointments and interviews and the like), but maybe! As they are staying the night outside the city, their times for travelling back into the city are uncertain.
David suggested I stay and listen to the next band, but really, I came to see Manic Bloom, and on that high decided to head back to my hotel. There's a chance we'll meet up tomorrow, maybe, maybe not. If I miss them tomorrow, I'll have to meet up at their Muncie show.
The journey back to the hotel was far far more efficient. I managed the correct train (yay!) and the fastest way back to the hotel (yay!). I managed to read for a little bit before the urge to people watch became too strong.
I thought it odd that none of these people seemed interested in their surroundings. Hey, they're on a train going over a bridge that's 100 years old - that's really cool! They're on a train with all these other people with interesting lives - that's really cool! There's a crazy guy ranting about how doing drugs will get you kicked out of camp (but drinking alcohol won't) - that's really, okay, not so cool, but still it's interesting.
I don't know, I feel some people are too jaded about the wonders of their own lives.
At this moment, though, I'm in full wonderment. I mean, HOW COOL that I travelled 4750 kilometers to see the creators of my favorite song, AND THEY KNEW WHO I WAS.