Sometime in the early hours of the morning, I found myself sitting in the back seat of a cab, in between e-dubble and Midas, who were trying to explain to the cab driver that we weren’t exactly sure whether the hotel we were trying to reach was in Brooklyn or Manhattan. The cab driver was getting increasingly annoyed, but e-dub and Midas continued to tell him, “No, no, don’t worry. You got this,” as if that somehow made this whole situation more acceptable. Sitting there, thinking about what was going on, it was hard not to smile. I knew immediately that when I write about the Pigeons and Planes show, this would have to be a part of the story.
Hit the jump to read about the whole night…
Going into the night, I wasn’t sure how things would play out. As you probably know by now, I’ve enjoyed staying pretty anonymous and keeping Confusion and Jacob as two separate identities. Unfortunately, both of those identities are borderline antisocial, so the idea of going to a concert where people would undoubtedly figure out who I am was not conducive to my reclusive nature. I seriously considered not showing up to the concert at all (horrible, I know). I also seriously considered wearing a mask, but I realized that, since most people do not wear masks, it might end up attracting unwanted attention.
When I showed up to the venue, I said “I’m on the list.” It’s something I’ve always disliked saying, although I’m not really sure why. The only problem was, the list was not there yet. Keeping in mind that I wanted to protect my identity, I just paid the $12 like everyone else. My friends, who I brought along and put on the list, argued a little and got in for free. That is arguably because they have boobs and vaginae.
Walking in, the place was pretty empty. I was worried it would remain that way. I spotted Ramz sitting near the stage and headed over to say hi. I’ve worked on P&P with Ramz for over two years now. I consider him a friend. We’ve always lived pretty close to each other, but this was was the first time we’d ever met. People always find that shocking, but keep in mind – I’m the guy who thought about wearing a mask to the show. In a weird way, meeting Ramz has made me feel a little bit better about my life, like I’ve just crossed off a high priority item that’s been sitting on the top of my to-do list for far too long.
When Frank Ramz and Shortman Score took the stage, people were still coming in. Although the crowd hadn’t filled out, the people that were there were INTO it. I mean, really into it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two rappers perform in tandem that well before, and the crowd really responded to the onstage chemistry. That alone made my night. Huge shoutout to everyone who caught that set. Fans were reciting songs word-for-word, some even nodding and moving to the music so enthusiastically that it appeared violent. Ramz hadn’t performed in a while, but you wouldn’t know it by watching him on stage. He and Score had their timing and delivery perfected.
As the night progressed, more and more people started pouring in, providing relief that the show would not have a disappointing turnout and also providing anxiety, because as the number of people around me increases, so does my probability of a panic attack. And so I bought more four dollar PBR’s. Carlos St. John was up next, and seemed to be the favorite of the girls that I brought to the show. Carlos’ music is cinematic and intense, but I saw a whole new side to him when he was up there. Every ounce of charisma that you’d expect from a rapper that flows like he does pours out when he’s on stage. While individuals like myself are better suited for shadows, some people are made for the spotlight. After seeing him live, it’s obvious that Carlos falls into this group.
LowKey, from You Heard That New, kept things extremely entertaining as the host. I even made my friends buy him a shot, which he took on stage without hesitation. At this point, the PBR’s are starting to sink in. By now, I had made it clear to the few people that I did meet that I didn’t really want everyone knowing who I was. I even had several of my friends ready to claim that they were Confusion if it came down to it. To me, this is reasonable, but most people seemed to think I was crazy, which I probably am. One guy even came up to me and asked if I ran P&P or knew who did. I lied to him and pretended to be clueless. To that guy – sorry, my bad.
I’m not sure how some people found out who I was (I suspect Ramz), but they did, and I’m glad. Shoutout to the P&P readers that I met, especially the dude in the P&P shirt. It was awesome. Without you, I would probably be funneling all my energy into stalking Lykke Li or maintaining an Animal Planet fanblog. Both attractive options, but probably not as rewarding as running something that actually means something to other people who love music as much as I do. To see that you are real people and not just numbers in Google Analytics or weird monikers in the Shoutbox made me happy. Also, I think Midas is going to try to marry one of the P&P fans we met.
Gorilla Warfare Tactics were the third act to take the stage. My biggest worry about them was that they’re a new group, without much material. Would they have to resort to Jay-Z covers or some kind of hip-hop show mixed with stand-up comedy? Would nobody be familiar with their songs and could the crowd turn sour? These things did not happen. GWT got the crowd involved, kept the energy high, and seemed completely comfortable on stage.
By the time e-dubble began his set, the venue was packed. When the Baltimore rapper stands in front of you, the first thing that enters your mind is the obvious: e-dubble is a big dude. I must have asked him ten times throughout the night how tall he was, but, not surprisingly, I don’t remember. I’d guess 6’9″ or so. When a guy of that stature gets on stage and raps with the tenacity of e-dub, it’s impossible not to be completely captivated. Since he’s been releasing free music on a regular basis for the past year or so, he had plenty of material to choose from. Still, he managed to pick the songs that got the crowd going.
After e-dub wrapped things up, Midas DJed on stage for a while and I became less capable of handling myself in a dignified manner. I pocketed set lists, stole a CD that I found on stage, and talked with Midas while he spun, not completely understanding that he was DJing and that the stage was not an appropriate place for casual conversation. There was a block of time, about a half hour, where nobody – including myself – knows where I was. The show ended and I took it to the streets, where I witnessed a transvestite hit on e-dubble, talked to a couple of Russians about I-don’t-know-what, and ended up rolling with e-dub, Midas, and company for cab ride confusion, post-show celebration, and late night pizza. When I finally got home, I immediately wanted to blog about the show, but I had no internet so I went to my camera to relive the experience that had just happened. Electronics are not my strong point and I couldn’t figure out how to view my pictures. So I slept.
All in all, P&P’s first event was a huge success and one of the highlights of my 2011. I hope we can do it again soon. The coolest thing about the show, for me (besides the $4 PBRs), was the energy and collective spirit of the audience. P&P attracts a really diverse readership, and seeing all those people come together to enjoy some good music made by people who do it out of love and passion was so refreshing. Thanks to everybody who came out and made it such a special night, and thank you to Frank Ramz, Shortman Score, Gorilla Warfare Tactics, Carlos St. John, and e-dubble for exceeding all expectations and throwing a great fucking show. It means a lot to me. A goofy smile still appears on my face when I reflect on the night. Pigeons and Planes.