I arrived at the Black Cat at 9:30 p.m. sharp. The first thing I noticed outside was the incredibly long line of teenagers. At this time I didn’t know that there was a separate show going on in a different room of the Black Cat, and thought that ALL of the male and female teenagers were going to the same gay dance party that I was going to. I met up with my friend, and we went inside. We stood in there for a little while until we discovered the other show. There was a door on the side of the waiting room with strong rock music coming out and a guy collecting tickets from the many people going inside.
The band playing in there was called HTC and, from what we heard, sounded really good. I knew I was going to the MIXTAPE party and not the HTC show, but hoped it would be as packed and lively as HTC. It wasn’t.
Now it should be said that I go to a lot of shows, but they’re usually rock shows with no real target audience. This was my first time going to a show with a DJ instead of a band and my first time where the crowd was 100 percent testosterone. My friend and I realized that our show was upstairs. When we reached the doors the music was already blasting, so we figured we were in for a party.
There were four people there, two of whom were bartenders. The music wasn’t even technically disco, as it had been advertised. It was generic club music made by a DJ who moved with the enthusiasm of a dwindling robot. We asked the ticket lady when this thing was going to start and she said that they normally pick up around 11:30 p.m.
Slowly but surely, the place started packing up. It was never exciting or overwhelming, the way I like shows to be, but it became slightly less sad.
I faced a couple challenges at this party that I’m not used to. I’m a big dancer, and I found the boring techno really hard to move to. I’ve heard good techno, but this was just two DJs taking recognizable songs and turning them into trap imitation. I expressed my annoyance when one played Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box,” but the only way you could recognize the song was if you knew the lyrics because it had a completely different sound and vocals. I’m rather certain that nobody was in any way excited by the music, to which my only comment is, “and you thought rock was dead.”
Another challenge was my feeling of wandering into a place that I shouldn’t be in. Normally at shows that I have attended, the only difference between me and the other people is age, but I get along with all ages, so it’s never a problem. This show was created for people who were the opposite of me in every way: people who can drink legally, people who like techno, people with penises, and people who are interested in finding another penis for the night or a lifetime.
I still felt determined to do something fun with myself that night, I’m very accustomed to being able to feed off a crowd during a show, and later be recognized as “that weird girl at the gig,” but here I had no real crowd to feed off, and they weren’t interested in feeding me.
I came to the realization that this show wasn’t for music or a good time, it was for people looking for other people. This was essentially a speechless social gathering, and to communicate people danced and gave suggestive stares. I have no issue with people hooking up at or even during a show, but it was the sole purpose of almost everyone there.
The entire experience left me with the realization that not every show is going to be fun. Some shows are just goal-oriented, destination-based. I like to consider this concert not a night of partying or fun, but a learning experience for the sociologist in us all. •
GRAPHIC BY ALEXEI GIRDIS