With all the hype I gave this show and PWR BTTM, with the amount of words that wouldn’t stop spewing out of my mouth and fingers awaiting it to be January 25th, it turns out I was not wrong at all. I think I actually hyped up this show less than I should have, but no amount of words could give it justice.
Even if you were horribly depressed or just terribly anxious before you entered into Rickshaw Stop, the moment you walked, in you were welcomed and at ease. I rushed straight to the bathroom (which were all transformed into Gender Neutral bathrooms for the night) when I got in, to smother glitter on my face and the faces of my friends. Sharing the glitter with anyone who walked in and wanted to sparkle unapologetically. My goal of the night was just to enjoy these musicians around other people who loved them just as much as I do, to just be positive and unashamed.
Try the Pie started everything out by taking us into their arms and making it known that we were all home for the night. With strong withering vocals and soft rhythms on the guitar, Bean Tupou and company took hold of that stage on their own, and cradled our pains away. We just needed them in that moment, and in the breaks between songs we let them know.
Before Dude York came on, my friends and I were just attempting to describe how wonderful Try The Pie really was, but it was almost impossible. When I spoke to them after, they told us how tired they were because they had worked all day and then came to perform. That just made it more real, more amazing and genuine. When I work all day, I just want to sleep for weeks, but Try The Pie came out and won us all over, even while exhausted. Also before Dude York came on, Ben Hopkins of PWR BTTM came up to my friends and I with his face graced by stars, glitter, stickers, and fans. He came up to us with a charismatic hop, with one arm around an overjoyed boy, telling us how great Dude York was, talking about how nervous he was because there were so many people, and asking if we were going to up front for their set. We all were a little startled, because all my friends really look up to him and he was just so real. I promised that he would do great and that I would be up front singing and dancing to every song. I don’t break my promises.
Dude York was as great as Ben made them out to be. They brought the crowd in from feeling homely to feeling an overwhelming need to just let go. They shredded every song, with loud bitter vocals, and catchy instrumentals. . The excitement of the night just started to kick in, and everything began to feel perfect. I started to let myself be obnoxiously loud and proud. Let them think I’m drunk, even if I am just happy.
I rushed up to the front when Dude York’s impressively killer set was over and was met by more friends who begged for glitter. PWR BTTM was about to play, and everyone, especially in the front, had an uninhibited and positive energy to them. There were folks of all ages, genders, races, and in this moment we were free to be. To just unapologetically be.
I promised I’d be in front, singing and dancing along to every song, and I didn’t lie at all. When PWR BTTM came to the stage, everyone lost their fear of being hated, being rejected, being wrong, and became the loudest most glitterfied queer and proud crowd that I have ever witnessed. They made it known that this was a safe space for us all. If anyone felt unsafe, Ben made it known that he would beat them up. They woke up the queer spirits from San Francisco’s past and brought them into the present. They brought us all into the light, and showed us that queer utopia can exist, especially in the city where Gay Activism began. This band is the future. They are beyond talented, not letting set lists hold them down, because that way there’s less room for disappointment. Ben and Liv switching from guitar and drums only made their talent more obvious and genuine. They were intimate and honest. They rocked all the glitter off my face and into my pores. It’s been almost three days and I am still finding glitter in my hair and on my skin. The glitter that remains has become a loving memory of the night I felt like I was safe and right. We were all in love with each other and PWR BTTM. I muttered “f***ing angels” out loud, not only multiple times while taking a break from dancing uncontrollably, but even on the commute back home. It took me three days to really be able to write about this night, because after the show I became a mumbling fool, and from now on every time I listen to PWR BTTM I’ll remember that I love myself and everyone who shared that night with me.