I have a smattering of fears that rear their ugly heads when I attend shows. Lest be ridiculed for all of them - in particular the very dumb and the very scary ones - I will only share my main three.
One is that I will find myself in a boo-hoo situation and not be on whatever list to actually get in the show, hearing the music woefully from the outside. It's embarrassing and sad and very pathetic to argue, "But I am on the list!" with the box office person indignantly before getting promptly denied entry, and therefore stuck on the sidewalk. But because I'm an easygoing girl, my remedy is to smile and then seek out the nearest bar for a whiskey ginger ale and a text message to a BFF to trek on with the rest of my night.
I'm also always a little anxious to run into people that I've had awkward relations with in the past (take that as you will, har har), and how we will fare in a very public setting. But the solution to this can also be the same as the denial of entry in my first problem, so it's all still golden for me.
But one of my biggest if not the big kahuna of fears is that I will not like the band I've gone to see. Nothing saddens me more than disappointment, and I will stand there for the life of me to try and pull a positive out of the set.
I saw Frightened Rabbit open for Pinback last year; completely sold on the folk-tinged rock lead singer Scott Hutchinson was bringing into the mix, I actually bought the CD at the end of the show, a move I rarely make for anyone. Thus, I was eager to see the Scot band headline their first Independent show in San Francisco - pulling out the stops to prove staying power and stamina.
Yet as I huddled in my own little corner looking up at the four piece, something just didn't click with me. The glimmer was dimmed? Was one of them sick? Did I need to have a beer? The magic was simply gone. The thing is, it's not like they sounded bad either. No one was fucking up royally or piss drunk to be incapable of completing their musical duties. But a lack of stage presence didn't help up the energy, and the band, while humble in words to the crowd, didn't seem that into playing for them. Some of the vocals seemed a bit flat in terms of projecting a belly rumble I knew I had seen before. "Be Less Rude," one of my fave tracks, seemed to levitate the band's craftsmanship in a good indie song with impeccable drums and demonstrate why I fell in like with them a few months ago. But, to my horror, things sounded to start sounding the same to me; guitar strings morphing into one another, Hutchinson's voice with the twang on repeat, and no distinction in cadence between songs. I liked them, but I didn't love them, and I wasn't impressed enough to clap as enthusiastically as I could have. And I felt fucking bad about that.
Walking out, I reflected on terrible shows I have seen in my life time, openers that served as cheesy filler while I waited for the band of my choice to step on stage. But this! This was a first: that I didn't thoroughly enjoy the main act, and merely liked them just... okay. Maybe Frightened Rabbit just needs to ignite another spark to carry them over a slump I feel is present. Guys, I'm a forgiving person - I'll be there for another chance with you.