Thursday, 26 July 2012

Some notes on Cruxshadows.

So, last night I saw Cruxshadows play at the Talking Heads. At the moment the words I really want to write are "Squeee", "Fuck, yes!", "Yay!" and, er, "*.*", but I'll try to articulate my thoughts a bit better than that.

I'll start at the beginning. Note to anyone going to a gig alone: Arrive shortly before Open Doors, not half an hour before like I did. Waiting on your own for a long period of time isn't the most fun of activities. However, it does give you time to people watch, and one of the things that struck me whilst I was hanging around was the massive differences in the ages of the other fans. There were people around my age right up to people in their 50's and possibly 60's, which I thought was just fantastic.

We went in a little late for some reason, but none the worse for it.

There were two support bands: Dreams Divided, who I didn't realise were playing until they got on stage and introduced themselves, and AlterRed, who'd been booked from the start. Despite their last minute appearance, the former band did better than the latter, partly because they had an entire entourage with them, partly because they're known locally (or so I hear), and partly because the frontman was very good at rabble rousing. Or maybe it was just because they were on first, and managed to catch the crowd when we were raring to go. Either way, AlterRed didn't really get a very good run of it- they had very few of their own fans in, and they had the awkward slot between the first support act and the main act, which everyone seemed to want to save their energy for. The microphone also decided to throw a wobbly just as they were starting up, ruining their entrance a bit. They handled everyone's lack of enthusiasm pretty well, but I felt a bit bad for them nonetheless.

Because I believe in always supporting the support act whether you know of them or not, I started nodding along the second Dreams Divided came on. I didn't want to dance- partly because I had a half-drunk bottle of Budweiser in my hand, partly because I can't dance. However, it wasn't long before I realised that nobody else could either, so once I'd got rid of my drink I gave it the full drunk Uncle treatment. I kept this up for the next three hours. It was great fun and I regret nothing.

Storytime: During the first interval I went and asked one of the bartenders if there was anywhere I could leave my bag. I got given some directions to a cloakroom, but following them turned up only a locked door, so I went on a bit of a search. This involved a lot of wandering around looking awkward, and, because I didn't know the layout of the Heads, walk up the stairs, where it turns out you aren't supposed to go unless you're actually playing. I realised this the second I reached the top steps and saw there was nothing up there except an empty cupboard and a room full of band members, and began the slow walk of shame back downstairs, feeling like a character in a dodgy sitcom.

I also got hijacked by two great people! After my failed Cloakroom Quest, I got talking to Rosemarie and Amy (of Stripy Tights and Dark Delights, on which she has posted a proper review and a wonderful assortment of photos- go and have a look), and I ended up just... staying with them. We spent the rest of the show dancing around in a corner, next to a woman who had glowsticks and very impressive hair falls.

So Cruxshadows came on, and my favourite song got played, which I was very happy about. OK, that's a mild understatement there. Everyone has songs that are personally very significant to them, and Quicksilver is one of mine, so hearing it played live was really quite special. I think I actually spent half the song with my eyes shut, trying to take it in properly, as cheesy as that sounds.

... I was also mouthing along badly. Maybe that balances it out.

Throughout their lengthy set, they played a good mix of 'old favourites' and songs from their upcoming new album, which I without a doubt will be investigating when it's eventually released. The quality was consistently brilliant throughout, with every member performing perfectly, and the usual levels of crowd interaction were present. Full introductions, walking amongst the audience whilst singing, pulling chairs into the middle of the audience and standing on them whilst singing, daft dances with fans...

Just what you'd expect, really.

I don't think I stood still for a second for the... well, however long they were on. Needless to say, I was exhausted by the time they left the stage, and was too busy trying to catch my breath to join in with the shouts for "encore". These shouts were eventually successful. After about five minutes (which I'd spent trying fruitlessly to get a drink), the band wandered back onto the stage and picked up their instruments once more.

They performed two songs, and during the second one, Marilyn my Bitterness, Rogue started pulling everyone in reach up onto the stage, and within a minute most of the audience were up there, myself included, jumping around under the lights. This was brilliant fun and  probably the highlight of the entire thing. It's also given me a new addiction to that song- I've spent significant portions of today playing it on a loop.

The bands had intermingled amongst us right through the show- I had various Cruxshadows standing next to and behind me whilst Dreams Divide were on, The Dreams Divide entourage themselves blended in so well I didn't even realise they were with the band at first, and even members of AlterRed weren't safe from my dancing- according to Rosemarie, one of them got a faceful of my hair. I'm also convinced that everybody in the building got a hug off Rogue at one point or another. I got hugged after confusing the hell out of him- he'd been looking right at me when I'd appeared at the top of the stairs like a stalker, and after much mental debating, I decided to go over and apologise, even though there was a good chance he'd have no clue what I was on about (this was the case, as it turned out- but I think he got the general gist).

(I can't work out whether that particular event had good connotations or bad ones. I mean, on one hand, I had the courage to go and talk to somebody I wouldn't usually feel able to approach, which is good and, along with other events of the evening, suggests that I'm less shy than I thought I was. Seriously, If I had a pound for every time I'd caught myself thinking "My fourrteen year old self would never have been brave enough to do this", I'd be a lot better off. However, I approached in order to needlessly apologise for a minor mistake, which is something I'm trying to do less. Step forward or step back? You decide.)


The atmosphere was very friendly, very lively, generally wonderful, people were  striking up conversations with strangers, and it seemed as though everyone there was having a great time. The crowd was quite small, but in a way that was a positive rather than a negative- it meant more space for everyone, and more audience interaction between the bands and the fans. I have decided that a Cruxshadows concert is where I want to take anyone who believes that Goth is miserable and devoid of fun, because the entire show was anything but.

Until the next time... and my already long-overdue post about World Pride shenanigans. Deadlines? What're they?

Also, squeee! *.*