I still hate Valentine’s Day. I still think it’s a holiday that’s become far more commercialized than Christmas–people still at least know why we celebrate Christmas, but I don’t think people know St. Valentine was even a person. I hate that we use it as a day to express something we should do daily. I hate that social media is filled with pictures of flowers and jewelry like getting gifts on a holiday that society pressures you into is somehow impressive. Look, I love me a thoughtful gift, but a dozen roses, a box of chocolates, and a necklace on a holiday dedicated to those objects doesn’t make your significant other “the best ever!” You know what shows dedication and love and selflessness? A partner who goes out of his/her way on a regular to do make you feel loved and appreciated. Talk to me when your partner cleans your apartment or does your dishes while you’re at work for no reason. Call them the best ever then, not because they bought the same shit that everyone else on social media bought.
So Paul and I don’t technically celebrate Valentine’s Day. He brought me roses last year and knows me well enough to know that I like my flowers a little bit nontraditional, so he got me orange roses. This year, he didn’t really do anything, but he did bring me some cookies from a batch he made earlier in the week.
Thing is, it’s hard to not celebrate Valentine’s Day when cool things happen on that day–last weekend’s ballet trip, after all, was a Valentine production, plus we saw Swan Lake last year and I went with Brandon and Kelly to the Moulin Rouge ballet the year before that–Paul wasn’t interested in that one. This year, Jukebox the Ghost was playing in the city, though it was more like a coincidence and not a specific Valentine’s show.
First of all, I’ve really fallen in love with that band, and I’m not gonna lie–I owe it solely to Marion. She put a song of theirs on a mix for me years ago and we saw them together a few years ago. I think I missed them the last time they came through, and once I made it through Christmas, I used that paycheck for tickets.
The problem with buying tickets to things in Pennsylvania in February is it’s unpredictable. Last weekend, the weather was gorgeous and warm. This weekend–like many Valentine’s Days past where I got stuck when I had tickets to a thing–it snowed. Now, it wasn’t the worst ever, but the timing was bad enough and Washington’s plows are careless enough that it did interfere with our plan. Washington’s lack of plowing is incredibly frustrating, by the way–the roads were still covered and shitty when we were coming back in around 1 a.m., and the snow had stopped around 5 in the evening. They just didn’t bother.
The plan was to eat somewhere that wasn’t likely to be crowded, so we decided on the Chinese buffet, which worked pretty much perfectly. We even finished to leave when I wanted around 6, but by then, the snow was enough of an issue that I resigned and said I would be okay with us risking getting a shitty spotty for a standing-room only concert so we could take our time getting there. To make things even more inconvenient, the inbound tunnel we need to take was closed, so we had to go around. Which would be fine when it’s not snowing–a little more congested with traffic lights and therefore a little longer, but no big deal. I was really frustrated knowing the highway would probably be snow-free and get us there much faster if the tunnel was open.
I wanted to get there when doors opened, but we got in about 45 minutes after that by the time I remembered where the parking lot was–I haven’t been to Mr. Smalls in a few years–and walked up. The tradeoff was that the temperature was in the teens at best, so we weren’t waiting out in the cold, for one, and since there was no line left, I decided not to fuss with my huge winter coat and borrowed a hoodie from Paul. Only froze my ass off walking to and from the car, and I impressed Paul with my “I’m fucking freezing, get me inside now” speedwalking.
Turns out we did get a pretty good spot. We squeezed in right on the side, and for a little while, his height wasn’t blocking anyone. This cute little short girl–shorter than me–came in somewhere after the first band, and we let her go in front of us. I’ve been in her situation before. Paul’s 6’4″. I’m 5’4″, and she was shorter than me. She seemed grateful. Just doing my concertly duty.
I’ve written a full review for AXS,
so I’ll link it when it goes live—it’s here!–but in short: Secret Someones opened, who were my favorite of the two openers and were a mostly female rock band and pretty great. Really liked them, and I love seeing a female-dominated band. It’s rare. Like, they exist, but I’m used to concerts being a sausage fest. So it was also nice when the second band, Little Daylight, had a lady singer. They were also a good band, and her voice was really pretty.
In the meantime–mostly between Little Daylight and Jukebox the Ghost–this girl next to me starting annoying the shit out of me, and she kept it up for the duration of the night, pretty much. First, she started complaining about the opening bands. She wasn’t complaining that she didn’t like them (and with Secret Someones especially, what’s not to like?) but she was complaining that she had to see them at all. And believe me, I get being excited for the headliner and sort of just wanting to skip to them sometimes, but I’ve seen some excellent openers I’ve fallen in love with and would never have heard otherwise. But I get that’s not everyone’s thing, even if they do end up liking the band–and she did like Little Daylight, and I don’t think she’d been there for Secret Someones. If she was, I didn’t hear her. My issue is if opening bands are such a bane on your existence, why are you there for them? Obviously, I get wanting to get there early to secure a good spot, but if you’re gonna do that, then suck it up when it comes to openers. If they’re that much of a problem, come later.
Her next problem was the bands setting up the gear and doing brief soundchecks. I think the first complaint there was that they don’t have things ready to go from the start, which I used to agree with in my early concert days, but you go to just a handful and it becomes pretty obvious–especially in small venues–that’s not really doable. Again, this is just a reality of the nature of shows. Then she complained it was taking too long for them to do it, and while I agree it did seem to take longer than normal and Little Daylight and Jukebox the Ghost both started later than scheduled, shit happens. Hell, both times I’ve seen Paul McCartney, the whole show started at least an hour late. And I’m not standing there saying, “How hard can it be?” when I obviously have zero experience setting up gear or running sound for a band. Bitch, if it’s that easy, you go do it. As Terra said when I bitched on Facebook, it takes effort to make the sound not sound like trash.
But she didn’t stop there! The worst of it was during the concert. Oh, Jukebox the Ghost was up to her standards, but the people around her weren’t, I guess. She and her friends kept pointing different people around us out to each other and taking about them, laughing, and occasionally imitating dance moves she thought were weird or stupid, I guess. Because God forbid you go to a concert and 1) let people enjoy themselves and 2) enjoy it yourself and pay more attention to the band rather than the people around you. I realize the hypocrisy here, given that I was obviously paying attention to this girl, but it’s also hard not to hear someone right next to you shouting to her friends, laughing, and mimicking people’s dancing. I think she might’ve made fun of Paul at one point, but it was hard to tell, what with her pointing at everyone else around us at all.
It’s like she doesn’t give a shit about the experience of live music at all. You don’t get how opening acts and soundchecks work, fine, but don’t stand out there and make fun of people who came out to have a good time and are succeeding in doing so. They’re probably having more fun than you, considering they’re not concerning themselves with what other people are doing and insisting on putting them down to make themselves feel better.
It’s especially frustrating when I’m fiercely defensive of Paul, for one, and when they boy was actually dancing. Yes, he dances awkwardly and poorly, but that’s not the point. The point is to go out and have a good time, and I was especially happy since he only went so I didn’t go alone–although I did think he’d like them, and I was right. He even listened to them a bit today and asked about the names of songs, which is a great sign.
Frustrated as I obviously am, I didn’t let the bitch ruin my night. Jukebox the Ghost put on a great show, and I love them. Wish they would’ve played “Under My Skin” because it’s my favorite, but the setlist was pretty great, so all is forgiven.