State Radio Concert

Tonight I went up to Portland to see the band State Radio. I went by myself. I do not recommend attending concerts alone. Because of the long drive, the high cost of alcohol, and the fact that I've become something of a teetotaler, I didn't buy anything to drink. Because I didn't know anyone I found a quiet space in the corner to sit during the opening band. So, there I was, stone cold sober, sitting by myself in a room full of happy, marginally inebriated twenty-something hipsters. And suddenly, I felt like I was simultaneously the oldest man in the room and back in high school.

Luckily, the opening band was good. Why We Fear Fiction, a local Portland band, put on a high energy show, and the lead singer, besides having a powerful voice, is easy on the eyes, especially with her hair dyed a flaming red that almost matched her red cocktail dress, so that didn't hurt. Still, I felt deeply self-conscious sitting all alone, so I went up close to the stage when State Radio, the headliners, came out to play.

They were nothing short of amazing. Wrapped up in my self-consciousness, I didn't want to dance, but the music was so infectious that I couldn't help it. I didn't want to sing along, even though I love the stinging and ingenious political lyrics to their songs, because I try to be sensitive to the fact that the people around me at a concert did not come to hear the funny looking bald dude in the back of the mosh pit singing his heart out. But the band encouraged us to sing along, and frankly, it was so loud no one could hear me anyway (I hope). By the end of the show I was jumping up and down and head-banging with such ferocity that I thought at one point I might be experiencing a mild heart attack. When the lights finally came up I sat against the stage and caught my breath for a while. It was that good.

Out back, by the bus, I got to shake hands with the lead singer and the bassist, and get a couple signatures for a State Radio flag I'll hang in my classroom.

All-in-all, the moral of the story turned out to be this: Don't go to a concert by yourself, especially if you are thirty, not interested in finding a date, not interested in drinking, and consummately uncool. Unless, that is, the band is State Radio.