I can't believe I'm finally writing another concert diary! Considering this blog originally started as a way for me to remember my concert experiences, this post is long overdue. On Friday night, I went to my first show since March of 2020 when I saw Olivia O'Brien days before the world ended. The experience more than confirmed that my love of live music hasn't faded one bit.
My first concert back (of many to come) found me at the Masonic Lodge in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery getting ready to watch Addison Grace and Cavetown. When I bought my ticket back in June, I was super excited by the idea of getting to visit the iconic cemetery (where they also show movies on the lawn all summer) and to see a show in a 150 cap room. I'd never been to such a small show. While I've listened to Cavetown's music for around a year now, I had no clue what to expect from it live since his tracks tend to be soothing and mellow, and having failed to do my research, I had no clue what to expect from Addison Grace.
The entire experience got off to a bit of a discombobulated start. I'd gone back and forth all day about what time I wanted to leave, and I'm still a bit new to navigating Uber. Once I got myself there, I ended farther back in line than I'd anticipated, but by doors, I was solidly in the middle of the pack. As I stood in line, I got emotional seeing all these teens with manic panic died hair, piercings, and pins all over their clothes arriving with friends and parents. This was my first ever show entirely on my own. While I've always handled navigating shows and the logistics by myself, my dad used to go with me to stand in line and wait by the venue's bar until the show was done to take me home. I'd always felt a little childish for not being there with a parent instead of friends, but looking at everyone arriving Friday night, it just seemed incredibly sweet, and I honestly got a bit choked up. Also, being on the upper end of the show's non-parental demographic made me feel incredibly old.
You obviously know I somehow figured it out because I'm writing a post about the show, but that only happened thanks to a girl who overheard my panicked call to my mom telling her that I probably just had to give up and go home who intervened. Also pulled out of line for having a film camera (there was a group of us at that point), she offered to have her dad hold my cameras too if I was okay leaving them with a stranger. I looked the girl up and down, immediately got the feeling that she was going to be my saving grace, and handed my cameras over to the very kind dad who had already come back from the parking lot.
Now with two people to watch the show with, I finally made my way inside the venue among the last people to run inside. The Masonic Lodge is truly a gorgeous venue. There are gothic chandeliers hanging over the crowd in the performance space, and the room has bench seating running up the side walls where all the parents flocked. The first thing we all noticed about the room was how incredibly smokey it was,
realistically be from the artist in a room that holds 150 people. Addison Grace took the stage exactly on time and admitted this was the second show they'd ever played live, which was immediately endearing to the audience. Addison had cute intros for each of her songs and accompanied herself on guitar and ukulele. Reading her artist bio now, it definitely makes sense that she was inspired by artists like Conan Gray, Cavetown, and Tessa Violet (who was actually at the show that night as well). I really enjoyed their set, and they handled a very interactive crowd well, even when she they weren't quite sure what to say to a fan's marriage proposal. I've added one of her songs, "Manic Pixie Dream Girl," to my playlist already.
It was a sweaty half hour wait for Cavetown to take the stage. The venue had plenty of charm, but it's definitely lacking air circulation. Despite the heat though, everyone was diligent in their mask wearing, and security was further enforcing the rule in the performance space. I was surprised to see the venue taking on such an active enforcement policy, but it was comforting. The venue was also so small that it had no wings or backstage area, so the artists were forced to run up the side of the crowd with no barricade to make it to the stage.
Cavetown honestly exceeded all of my expectations. I obviously enjoy his music, especially when I'm studying, but I wasn't exactly sure what to anticipate from the live show. I figured there'd be a lot of gentle swaying, but I have to give him major props for the way he reimagined his songs for the stage. This was the first show I'd been to where I wasn't super super invested in the artist beforehand, but I was impressed that even though I only recognized a handful of songs, there wasn't a single moment all night where I got bored or antsy.
The new arrangements threw in killer guitar solos and added an emphasis on the drum and bass parts that really made the songs come to life and got people jumping, dancing, and singing along. They also did an incredible job with the lighting that morphed with colors and squiggles as the songs shifted through the night. These visuals truly got to the heart of the song's emotional cores and enhances the performance in a way that screens and lighting generally stumble through.
I was super impressed with the crowd as well. There were the occasional out of turn shouts, but on the whole, the crowd was super respectful both to stand in and to the performers. There was actual quiet during many of the transitions, and it was easy to hear the music over the crowd, but when Robbie would ask for participation, their yelling responses made the crowd sound double the size.
Cavetown is also incredibly sweet. Throughout the show, he requested that the venue distribute water. Even though that never happened, he seemed to be genuinely asking the staff to do that for us because it was so hot in the room. We were all sweating through our masks. He also repeatedly asked us between songs if we were doing okay and if everyone in the crowd was still good, wanting a response with hand signals. I always find it endearing when artists take the time to check in on big, potentially dangerous GA areas. Not all artists take the time to do that, but it's important to check with everyone considering how much standing and heat and how little water and food is involved in a show night. People at the front of the crowd also had fun glow sticks that caught his attention, and a group of girls passed Cavetown a tiara which he reluctantly put on for a song for them before carefully returning it to the right fans.
In the little group I'd joined, we represented the full span of fans with the girl who solved my camera issues being a major fan and her older brother having no clue what Cavetown even looked like, let alone what his songs sounded like. And I fell squarely in-between them. We all had an absolute blast and danced through the entire set. There was not a person in the room who wasn't totally engaged and having a great time.
Cavetown created an incredible first show back experience, and I got the perfect reminder of the magic of concerts and why I love them so much. Concerts provide the ultimate feelings of love and community as everyone gathers together with an incredible amount of excitement and care for the artist they're coming to see. Everyone has at least one thing in common walking through those doors, and even though everyone is a stranger, there is such a lovely connection we all shared for those two and a half hours.
I also got to meet two really cool people and learn a bit about their lives. I was reminded of the honest kindness that strangers can offer and how we all put so much trust in one another when the lights go dark in the venue. That's what I missed most over the last almost two years and what livestreams (as fun as they might be) can never replace.
If you actually want to see the whole story unfold, check out my vlog!
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