After having a great idea on a trip back from Nottingham and being inspired by Graham Duff’s memoir -Foreground Music: A Life in Fifteen Gigs- I’ve decided to tell you about my journeys inside the music world. My objective is to inspire you to stand up and go to a gig, because live music is beautiful (this is a fact). Enjoy the ride!
I was ready to go see Parasite, I’ve been waiting to see the film for a while now. But as I’m picking up a package from my building’s reception, I’m suddenly reminded that the date is February eleventh. That means that Tame Impala’s new album is going to be played at the DreamBags JaguarShoes bar in Hackney today. Parasite is immediately thrown out the window; “I can see that during the weekend”, I think.
There were still a few hours before the event, and I wasn’t sure if I had the place right. I saw the ad for it at around one in the morning in bed while I was trying to get myself to sleep. As I cooked some carrot soup and a great chicken recipe, my mind raced, wondering if what I had seen was real or just some crazy hallucination. I called the bar up, and the guy that answered had no idea what I was talking about. According to my friend Chloé, the way I talk, an interesting mixture between a Chicago and Mexican accent, makes it seem as if I’m prank calling the bar. Disappointed by the response, I started to do some research. Reddit proved that the event was real, but the venue was nowhere to be found. Then, Twitter came into play. I was right, the event was real. I rushed to my room, brushed my teeth and showered in cologne. As I snacked on some easy-peelers I looked at Chloé sitting at the kitchen table, “We’ve got to go!”.
Doors open at six, we’re walking out of my place at five. “Are we gonna make it? We’re gonna make it”, my mind repeated. After a ride on bus 436 and some stops on the Northern line, we arrive at the door. “The line seems okay, it’s manageable… No, it is not”, I sigh after walking around the corner. Half a block of Tame Impala fans are eagerly waiting in the cold. It was very, very cold. Out of nowhere conversation sparks with a guy from North Carolina, Carter, who’s apparently in London for an undefined amount of time on vacation. We talk about our hopes and speculations. To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes. ‘It Might Be Time’ was okay, not memorable. I didn’t really bother listening to ‘Posthumous Forgiveness’ and ‘Lost In Yesterday’ after that first single. The album seemed unimportant, and I was standing in line because I wanted to experience a listening party.
An hour goes by and a security guard says that the venue has reached capacity. People start to step out of the line with dissatisfaction, but we decide to stay for a bit more. “It’ll happen”, I still thought. Thirty more minutes we’re at the door. The security guard checks my ID and, given the fact that it is in Spanish, I quickly point at my date of birth on the top left corner. “Yes, I see it… Go ahead”, he said as I rushed in to warm myself up and find the bathroom.
I’m downstairs, a group of rowdy people in between the ages of eighteen and thirty are jumping up-and-down following the rhythm of a phat baseline (yes, with a ph). I am very confused, I have no idea what song it is, the name of it, or if it’s the beginning or end of the album. As I’m washing my hands a stranger looks at me, “What do you think?”. “I have no idea, just walked in”, I responded. “What’s the name of this song?”. ‘Lost In Yesterday’, he thought about it, but nevertheless gave me a confident response. As he walked out, he said it was the danciest project to date. “That’s incredible”, I thought. I want to dance; I want to dance badly. Walking upstairs I notice a lot of people know the lyrics to this track (later I would realize that it was the latest single released on January 8th).
Chloé bought some drinks (spiced rum coke for her, I had a beer), and we decided to stand near to a monitor on a corner. We began to wonder if the album would be played again from the beginning, we still had no clue what song it was. Middle, beginning, end? It was all a mystery. I closed my eyes and Kevin Parker’s soft acute voice started to carry me away, but my thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a loud noise. A fight had just begun. A drunken buffoon was being carried out the backdoor as he tried to swing against a group of big-tall guys. I laughed, “How is it possible they are fighting while this is playing?”. Chloé didn’t comprehend why I wasn’t as shocked as she was by the fight. She wanted to know more about it, the whole story (why it happened? who they were? if anyone was injured?) I didn’t care, my head kept moving from one side to the other, the music had taken me prisoner, and nothing was going to set me free of its beautiful claws. The fight looked like a scene out of a movie thanks to its reverb-y soundtrack. Other than that, the top floor was very calm compared to what I had seen downstairs. “Chloé, let’s go downstairs!”, she was still pretty shook by the fight and didn’t really want to go down. “C’mon, let’s go!”. She agreed this time, and down we went.
‘It Might Be Time’ was playing as we arrived in the smelly basement. The good ole smell of sweaty good times. The energy in the room shined a new light on a song I had tagged as forgettable. It all felt very excitable, a group of unknown faces brought together by the same reason. We were all friends down there, it didn’t matter who you were. The heavily electronic interlude, ‘Glimmer’, came after that. I doubted it for a bit given the fact that it had none of the key indicators that it was Parker behind the creation of this tune. I enjoyed it a lot, it was different.
I wanted something different. I love an artist who is able to evolve inside their own style. Two minutes later the moment of truth arrived: ‘One More Hour’. A simple piano ballad begins, it’s just Parker and the keys. Mellow, honest and bright. My eyes are closed, but after a few seconds I open them to find Chloé in awe. As she chuckles, “I wish I recorded that, you should have seen your face”. That says it all, in a matter of seconds my serious “listening” face turned into a big smile. A smile I couldn’t not show. The bass comes in. As heavy vibrations flowing through my body, I realize that that is just a simple warmup for the song’s climax. In the midst of a strong guitar riff filled with phaser the percussion goes into an intricate-methodically-placed series of drum rolls; music → drum roll → music → drum roll → repeat. It feels gritty, but it is so very clean. After a fade out (which in my opinion shouldn’t be there) the album finishes. That was the first moment of the night I knew what part of the album we were listening to. “Now that’s an ending”, I yelled. Adrenaline flowed throughout my veins. Scattered claps and shouts thanked an absent Kevin Parker for the album. “Are they going to play it again?”, Chloé asked. “I hope so!”, I responded quickly.
After a couple of songs from various artists the sound was cut, there was silence. The Slow Rush began one more time.
I danced, I laughed, I sang. The hopelessness that filled me in the cold line outside the venue was gone. I wanted to listen to it again, and again, and again. “It’s like Currents hyperactive and happy younger brother”, I said. Chloé couldn’t believe my words, “I think I like it better than Currents”. Bliss filled my body. As we walked towards the nearest food place (it did not matter what kind of food it was, we were starving), we remembered, and discussed every beat, riff, break and chord we had just listened to. “That was good”, she said. “That was good”, I smiled.
I started writing this on my way back home, I even missed my stop thinking about the album. Kevin Parker has done it again, guys. He’s got a very special Valentine’s Day present for all of us. He’s done it again…
Words, Jaime Suarez