For the first time that I can ever recall, I went to a punk show by myself last night. If such an occasion had come ever came up in the past, I most likely just opted out of going, choosing books or music rather than human interaction. Last night, however, was the first time since I began listening to City Mouse that they were scheduled to play Portland. I wasn't going to miss it, even if it meant flying solo for the evening. Robin's work schedule (yet again) prevented her from checking out the show with me. The rest of my friends were busy with other priorities. Robin got stuck closing and I got stuck trying to keep myself awake until I had to leave for the show.
A tiny dive bar on Alberta simply named The Know was hosting City Mouse and a few other bands for the evening. I had never been there before, and wasn't exactly sure of what to expect. Was it going to be a crust-punk, elitist blowout like every RVIVR show I had ever been to? I was hoping against hope that City Mouse didn't draw in the agenda-driven hipster scum simply for the fact they've got a female singer. As for the rest of the bands, I wasn't familiar with any of them. I didn't anticipate a big crowd from the get-go simply because of the lack of notoriety.
I wound up at the show quite early and was able to spend the evening people-watching. I got to the bar around 8:30, expecting City Mouse to be on relatively soon. Turns out, they weren't slated to play until 9:50. Significant parts of my day are spent trying to stay awake, so another hour and a half I would wait. I sat down at the bar and tried ordering an Oly tallboy. To my chagrin, they only served every other cheap Northwest beer. I subsequently ordered a bottle of High Life, took off my coat and began watching the parade of characters fill out the stage that was my lonely evening.
I could have easily passed the time playing Sopranos pinball, but the only cash I had on me was already destined for something else (I'll get to that in a minute). Rather, I was happy to simply sit at the bar and drink my beer uninterrupted. I found no interest in the basketball game on televsion and began watching people, subconsciously noticing how many people were nose-deep in their smartphones rather than conversing or engaging other people. "There's no fucking hope for humanity," I thought to myself.
There were a few girls dressed for success. You know, pantsuits and the whole nine yards. There were the regular Portland hipsters with the skinny jeans and hundred-dollar fedoras. There was also a scummy looking punk kid wearing spurs, FUCKING SPURS, on his leather boots. Outnumbering them two to one were a group of haircuts who apparently didn't know that Kurt Cobain was dead. Grunge was alive and kicking in PDX last night, readers. Upon stepping outside to smoke a cigarette, I noticed a group of what can only be called "Goths". "Fuck," I thought, "they haven't offed themselves yet?". Part of this dark and tormented group was a girl with fishnets, bats tattooed on her tit and a Hello Kitty wallet. I'll leave it at that.
City Mouse wound up playing ten or fifteen minutes early, which made the evening all the much better for me. The first two bands that I had heard/saw play weren't my thing, so I was excited to finally be in my element.
Once they began playing, a very unique kind of happiness overcame me. The same kind of calm and comfort that happens whenever I see "one of my bands" perform. Although City Mouse was playing to a very small crowd, they played with all of their hearts. It's been a long time since I have seen a band so happy to just be playing music. Their mood was even more infection than their songs. I was smiling ear to ear the whole time. Their set was relatively large given how little material they've actually released. Included into the lineup were my two favorite songs ("Dumb Dumb Dumb" and "Bad Weather").
After the band finished playing, I made a conscious effort to talk to their singer, Miski Dee. I could tell just from her stage presence that she would be easily approachable, and I had a special surprise for Robin that I wanted to make happen. As she was making her way out the door, I stopped her to tell her how great I thought the band's set was. "You're Dean!" she immediately responded, recognizing me from our online correspondence. She immediately gave me a hug and I told her how fun the show had been. She was extremely grateful and I told her I had a favor to ask of her. "My girlfriend Robin got stuck working tonight at her shit job, and she's really bummed she couldn't make it. Could you sign this record for her saying 'Fuck work! Love, City Mouse?'" Miski, snarling through her smile said "Ugh, I hate work." She happily agreed to do it for me.
After I got the record signed, I wound up talking to her for ten or fifteen minutes. She was one of the most down to earth people I have ever met. You could tell she was genuinely excited to indulge in conversation. She shared with me stories from the road and current tour, including how the band has been offered incredible amounts of weed. According to her, the tour has been an incredible success. They narrowly dodged being broke by playing at a Punk Rock sushi bar that paid bands a hundred bucks to play. She was all smiles. It was starting to rub off on me. As much as I would have loved to stick around longer, I politely told her I had to be taking off due to the fact I had to work at 6am. She didn't let me leave without another hug first and I walked out of the bar, record in hand and slightly starstruck, feeling a little less lonely.