Beacon / Natasha Kmeto / Vektroid in Portland

| Sunday, February 28, 2016

I had an emotionally fatiguing evening that went longer than scheduled, and I was later than I wanted to be to secure tickets for a show I kinda wanted to go to. It's a Saturday night, so tickets do tend to sell out. It was at Mississippi Studios which means I have to go all the way onto the freeway for a whole 5 minutes and then look for parking and walk to the venue, just to see if it was sold out yet or not. Like I said I only kinda wanted to see the show. I just saw that Vektroid was opening; I didn't know the other two bands. Vektroid is a Portland artist, and I hadn't seen them live yet, and I found them online a few years back as a witch house (then later vaporwave/seapunk/who tf knows) composer. I was real surprised they were even a Portland artist. Vaporwave is so internet that it doesn't seem like they actually exist in the physical realm in a real city or anything, much less your own city. Well how bout that! I'm not even a very good fan of Vektroid because I only know a few songs, mostly their remix of Rebecca Black's "Friday" (how I found them, cuz I'm terrible) and "Mindscape" from their Starcalc album. But heck if I'm not gonna see how they do live someday. I'm gonna be that asshole. The asshole that is only going for the smallest opener except only for one song by them and also it's vaporwave.

I checked the Facebook event, and noticed they didn't actually mention Vektroid. Just Beacon, the headliner I'd never even heard of before, and Natasha Kmeto, another local artist I'd been meaning to check out at some point. I'd had the event on my calendar for Vektroid for a while, so I was faaairly sure it was supposed to be on the ticket. I checked the ticket site. I posted on the event questioning if Vektroid would be there. I called the venue to see if I could get through to anyone, and sat through the automated menu that told me to check the website for up to date show info. I checked the website for that so called up to date info. No confirmation anywhere. Maybe I won't go.

I got ready to go anyway, because I wasn't doing anything else with my Saturday! Might as well try. As I was packing my purse and figuring out logistics of wearing a jacket that I was probably later going to take off, I lost motivation. Plus, I was gonna be late and it was probably sold out anyway, so I decided not to go. Nobody needs Saturday night plans. I don't care if I told everyone I was going. My night is mine, it's all for me, and if I want to stay home and relax and avoid social contact, that's a great plan.

I checked the venue's Facebook page and they had a post mentioning Vektroid that morning. I grabbed my stuff and left.

I drove fast, parked fast/close (amazing!), anxiously fast walked to the venue, and was actually able to buy my ticket quite easily. There was barely anyone there, a few minutes before 9, when Vektroid was supposed to be on. I was suddenly aware of how painfully empty my stomach was. I got myself a water cup and found a side table to stand at. You could order food at the bar next door, but you have to wait there for them to deliver it to you, and Vektroid was about to be on. I finished my water and got a coke from the bar, which I carefully decided on as the best meal replacement you can get from just a bar. Alcohol sounded nothing but sickening. She didn't even charge me, which was quite nice. I stuffed a dollar into the tip stein. I wonder if she thought I was the designated driver? I guess I technically was. Back at my table, I slowly drank my iced coke and got very cold even with my jacket. Why would they A/C the hell out of a sparsely filled room in winter time? It might've been warmer outside.

Halfway through what should have been Vektroid's hour, I asked the ticket seller guy if they were coming on. He said they'd cancelled last minute that afternoon due to being sick. He was real apologetic, and told me to email the venue people and they can refund me. I wasn't about to go home though... he told me to just enjoy the show anyway and email them later. That was nice too.

Well in that case, I thought, I'll go get me some delicious Bar Bar fries. Two cash dollars and ten minutes later, I took my cajun fries back into the venue which had filled up quite a bit, and tried to find an open surface to set it on. People stared at my fries as I went around them. Nobody actually eats inside the venue. I finally found a table at the front that wasn't completely surrounded by people, just a couple, and I set my fries there meekly before proceeding to stuff my face. Coke and fries, alone and normcore.

I must have looked pretty goddamn sad, because the girl at the table leaned over to me and said, "I love you." "Thank you," I replied with a smile. She nodded and affirmed: "I saw you standing over there earlier and I just want you to know that I love you." Despite whatever drug she was on, I thought it was nice. I told her thank you again, and after hesitating told her I'd had a weird meeting with an ex just before this and so it was good to hear it. "Then it's good you came! It's gonna be an amaaaazing show!" she exclaimed, and repeated it several times. She then offered a hug, which I readily accepted because fuck yeah hugs! and she told me she was sorry I had a tough day. We chatted some. Her boyfriend left for a bit, and she commented on how delicious my fries smelled. I offered her some, but she couldn't have any. I asked her why. "Oh... my boyfriend can be controlling." She quickly changed the subject. Not sure if she was fucking with me. She was from California, which she got kind of self conscious about, but what the hell, it's cool. When I told her my name meant ocean in Japanese, she exclaimed "Ujjayi!" which she told me was the ocean wave breath in yoga. I should practice that. I talked to the boyfriend a bit. They were there for Beacon, a favorite band of his. He asked what my favorite bands were, which is one of those questions that just floor me, but to be on-topic I said Disclosure. He got real excited. "Ok Beacon is like Disclosure, but"--he raised his hand to the top level--"ten times better." We all got hyped. It was gonna be an amazing show and we were gonna have a great time.

Natasha Kmeto came on. She's a local electronic producer with a voice of hot soul. Part of the Dropping Gems collective, which I followed, and I don't know why I haven't seen her live before or really given her music a real chance. I'd been interested for a while though, if only because I am always excited for lady producers makin' it in the world, and that she seems like a genuinely kickass person. But I wasn't prepared to fall in love with her music this quickly.

She made my trip out to Mississippi Studios worth it immediately. Like I told her after the show at the merch table, I'm basically going to go see every performance she does in Portland from now on. Thank you Natasha Kmeto.

After that, I ran to wait in the bathroom line, and I missed the first minute or two of Beacon the headliner's set. It wasn't exactly loud music, and I didn't notice at first when I walked back in, except that the backdrop was awash in beautiful monochrome geometric visuals. With a new cup of water (I had considered getting a shot of whisky to sip for my coke jitters, but there was no time now to wait in the bar line) I pushed through to the front where there was a curiously large space. It makes me wonder what I missed in the first few minutes, because despite the full house nobody was standing at the very front, just a polite single foot back from the front, and nobody was really dancing. Which was a shame because whatever the hell they were playing, they were killing it, IMHO. Did Beacon specifically ask the audience please leave room up front? Was it common knowledge that they hate when people dance to their music? "Our music is so high-concept that it transcends dancing." I doubt it, because they were definitely bopping to it. It was no Disclosure--Controlling Boyfriend had added that Beacon was way chiller compared to Disclosure's music, chill background dinner party music he said. Which I was still hyped because that sounds right up my alley. It'd be a sad dinner party though. I'd describe it more like introspective bedroom dance music which, coincidentally, was exactly what I was planning for before I got tricked into coming to this show. The music, performance, and visuals spoke to my soul and I watched in awe and introspective bedroom danced my heart out. Stone sober, I might add. (I usually indulge...)

I'd never even heard of these guys and I was totally soaking it in up front, entranced, hanging onto every rhythm and vocal tone coming at my ears for the first time. I wonder if I seemed like a fan or if it was obvious I had 0 clue about this music. A guy next to me seemed to be a fan, doing a dance as mild as mine (but not just fucking standing there like most of the crowd idk) and mouthing the words. The words were as indecipherable as Radiohead vocals but I figured I'll look them up later. I'm glad he was there. Saturday night crowds can be really hit/miss. There were some quiet parts to the music, and once, a guy in the balcony yelled "Shut up" to supposedly other people up there who were talking over the music. I get you guy, I just wish you weren't so much louder than them. Some people behind me were having a drunk good time and during one quiet part before "the drop" one of the guys loudly said "wait for it wait for it wait for it" and then when "the drop" came, which was some understated chopped up bass sounds, he gleefully said "it's so dirty". I glanced at my dancing neighbor and his eyes were rolled back hard. Not one bit amused. He left during the encore. Not sure if he was overcome with hatred for people or what. It's too bad when that negativity eclipses your enjoyment of the experience, but I've been there.

Did I mention the visuals were amazing? I wish I had an entire video of all the visuals. I want that in my bedroom all the time. The video above is a pretty good representation, though. The singer had shoulder length hair that covered his face most of the time he was singing or stepping around on stage, and once in a while he'd brush his hair back with his hand, revealing his beautiful face for a few seconds. Long hair does act a mask on you. He was so soft spoken, and considering the music and visuals, and a little bit of endearing clumsiness, it made me wonder if he was stage shy. What if I had to go on stage and perform every night as my job? How quickly would I get used to it? How much would I rely on the mask of my hair and closing my eyes instead of looking at anyone or addressing the audience much? He kept tipping the tall mic stand, maybe by mistake or on purpose for dramatic effect, and it would precariously rebalance itself on its weighted base. But once he tipped it so far it tipped back the other way very far also, and he turned his shoulder and knocked it the rest of the way over with the mic still on it. It was a "saw that one coming" moment. At least it didn't make a loud sound. He quickly grabbed it back up and continued. How embarrassing is that, or is he used to it? Has he learned to move on quickly from those bad moments? I've learned to move on quickly. But I'm still so shielded. The shield is there for good reason. But maybe I should make more effort to be nicer; more generous. Will I regret being cold? It's felt so good to be an independent, self serving asshole tonight though. But the world is generous and I can do so much better.

Added two new posters to my collection this month :) both made for specific show dates I attended!

A photo posted by Nagisa Day (@nagisaday) on

I bought another poster for my poster collection. They had three! And I didn't get my favorite design! I had to get the special 2/28 Mississippi Studios performance one, though--it specifically said that, with the names Beacon, Natasha Kmeto, and Vektroid (lol). What a lineup though.

Anyway, tonight was another great example of why I go to shows. I should write more and drink less.