Indie kids are nuts. That is my overall learning from last night. They’re crazy. As a lifelong listener of Hip-Hop, Soul and R&B I had never experienced a full on indie gig so I decided lose my virginity at the NME Shockwave Tour with The Drums, The Big Pink, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Maccabees.
I’m accustomed to gigs being relatively civilised affairs; people enjoying the music and even at the front there is usually enough space to dance. People apologise if they get in your way. They drink their drinks, usually placing them on the ground once finished. Last night was nothing like this; my trainers got fucked, I was showered in beer 101 times, there was blood all over the toilet sink… surreal to say the least.
It was an educational trip too because I now understand things that were a mystery to me before. Take moshing which I thought was just a display of male (and female) bravado. Wrong. Moshing is all about making room so you can breathe. Everyone piles forward until your squished like Sardines and it’s suffocating unless you punch some dude in the back or elbow some chick in the neck. That will give you 10 seconds of space until you have to do it again. It’s actually very functional.
For about the 1st minute and a half after Bombay Bicycle Club came on I apologised for pushing people and accidently stepping on their trainers. When I looked down and realised no one had any regard for my brand new reds I said no to politeness and went wild.
I also learned that crowd surfing is for the weak! It’s those wimps who cannot handle the rough and tumble and need to get out. When it all kicks off you cannot move backwards, so the only way out is up. The look of fear and desperation before they go up is entertaining, and the ecstasy on their faces afterwards is mere relief at breathing oxygen for the 1st time in 30 minutes!
In the midst of all this violence and carnage though, there was a real sense on camaraderie. You lose your mates in the scrum, however everyone seems so approachable and friendly that you make new ones as the performances progress, bonds are created when you grab onto someone to stop yourself falling or help someone find their missing wallet or oyster card. Everyone loses their mates so you just make new ones to enjoy the gig with.
Being the only black person I saw all night made for some serious hilarity (now I am not saying there weren’t other black people there because I am sure there were, however I was the only one I was aware of). The banter was top-notch all night. Actually, I want to apologise to the guy I frightened when I went off on one about black power (for reasons I can’t remember), the look on his face when I started, then the relief when he realised we were messing about was priceless, beautiful almost.
I was there for the music too which was solid. The Drums, BBC and The Maccabees all put in great shifts. The Big Pink really need to go away – every song sounded like the same industrial building site. It was painful.
My 1st indie gig was an experience to remember, treasure even. On the way out of the Brixton Academy I was informed last night was tame – bring on a rowdy one (and someone please avenge my death if I don’t survive).