It's been ages since I've genuinely feared for my personal safety at a gig. I thought my days of moshpit mayhem and concert-related spinal injury were long behind me. But last night at the SXSW show by aptly named London goth ghouls the Horrors, I actually saw my life flash before my eyes. And you know what? It was quite fun.
After enjoying earlier and notably safer shows by the Gossip (Beth Ditto, you are a BBG--Big Beautiful Goddess), Norwegian troubadour Sondre Lerche, and Thomas Dolby (yes, that Thomas Dolby), I wrapped up my night at the insanely sardine-packed venue Red Eye Fly, where I foolhardily shoved my way up to the front to get a view of the Horrors' fantastic freakshow. And suddenly, I found myself unwittingly tossed into a black sea of chaos.
Drinks were flying. Various mystery liquids that I really hope were just drinks were flying. Bodies were flying. (Did that overzealous stage-jumping punter who tumbled skull-first onto the concrete floor fall...or was he pushed by madman/frontman Faris Badwan? My guess is the latter, although I'll probably never know.) And, um, black helium balloons were flying. OK, that last part wasn't so scary. But it was cool.
So, as the Horrors' macabre music droned on and I was jostled back and forth like a NYC subway passenger at rush hour, Faris hopped onto the bar about six unprotected centimeters away from me, loomed over me like the Grim Reaper himself, and began swinging precariously from this light-fixture/bugzapping thingy suspended by two troublingly flimsy wires from the club's ceiling.
Now, Faris is a skinny man (with such Skeletor-thin legs that it almost looks like he's walking on his arms), but as he engaged in this terrifying trapeze act directly above my head, I had serious doubts that those frayed wires would fully support his 97 pounds. I gazed upwards, imagined him plummeting down smack on top of my precious spine, and thought to myself, "Well, it was nice having the use of my legs while it lasted."
But then I came to my senses, decided that this gig was good, but not good enough for me to suffer paralysis as a result...and fled to the relative safety and comfort of the back bar. But not before snapping this frighteningly up-close-and-personal Faris photo that will likely me haunt me for the rest of my days, or at least the rest of my SXSW.
Bizarrely, the Horrors are playing the Alternative Press party tomorrow, and I'm actually contemplating going. Guess I must have a death wish.