Saturday April 16, 2016 was one of those not-rare nights when there were two great shows happening at two great venues that all end being sold out in San Francisco. I got the luck to see one of those great shows, and it will never be something I regret.

When I got into Swedish American Hall I wasn’t surprised at all by the the younger crowd, but I was surprised by how respectful they all were. I also was surprised by how much these kids idolize the musicians. I witnessed two freaking out quietly behind me as Gabby from Eskimeaux passed by. I sat on the floor all crisscross-applesauce, next to all of them and a large amount of people I have met just by going to all the shows I go to. I won’t deny that I was anxious. I am always anxious before shows, but it all disappeared so fast.

We didn’t get off the floor when Anna McClellan came up to the piano to play. We all kept seated on the floor of Swedish American Hall and gave her our unrequited attention. This was destined to be an emotional show for all the musicians, because not only was it McClellan’s last day on tour, but also a lot of their family was in the audience. Ana McClellan let out all her feelings: Her despair about having to leave these new friends, and her happiness to have been a part of it at all. We all loudly clapped after every song, and we all quietly sobbed during each song. I was left in an emotional awe after just the first opener. When some of the members of Frankie Cosmos came out to back her for “Fire Flames,” we all had our feelings and excitement for this show confirmed. For many of the people of the crowd, including myself, these musicians are very personal to us even if the songs are not specifically about us, all of them can make us feel like they are.

#AnnaMcClellan #damn

A photo posted by Gabrielle Smith (@eskimeaux666) on

We ended up standing for Yowler, though for me I only originally stood up because my feet were falling asleep. We all needed a good stretch to physically and emotionally prepare, but I wish we had stayed seated because Yowler was just as emotional. With a soft spoken speaking voice and an escapist singing voice, we were all turned into emotional goo thanks to Yowler. Especially when she played my favorite song by her, “Water.”

Everywhere I turned I saw people I knew because of music. Let it be other musicians like Ezra Furman, other writers, or just friends that were made because we love music.

I had been listening to the all the bands playing for weeks now — I even had songs I’d imagine opening with and hope they’d play. I am apparently really good at imagining setlists because I had a feeling that “Alone at the Party” by Eskimeaux would be their first song, and guess what? It was. All the songs were perfect. They played old songs and all the new songs off the recent release, Year Of The Rabbit. I danced and sang along (only during the loud parts) to every single song. It was the second time I had seen Eskimeaux, but the first time I had seen them as a full band. Felix (who is also the lead in Told Slant, who are actually playing SF this summer) was the most intense visually and musically drummer. Gabrielle Smith, the lead singer, admitted to feeling nervous, when they never tend to any more, and admitted that they actually kind of liked it. Both of their parents and an old babysitter were in the audience. I caught myself drifting with my eyes closed, but not to sleep. Drifting deeper into the music, the sounds, the environment, and the moment. There was one really sweet moment with a couple strangers, where a space in the front had opened up and we both went back and forth saying, “You want to stand there?” “No you should stand there” “Are you sure?” I ended up in the front for a whole song, until I respectfully let the stranger take the place.

Thx to my fave babes for a great show last night (even tho I wasn’t feeling so great)!

A photo posted by kaiya (@baby_bummer) on

By the time Frankie Cosmos came to the stage, I was surrounded by all my closest friends who all felt like this was the first time ever seeing one of their favorite musicians live. For me, it actually was the first time. That was the reason I had to go to this show: I have loved everything released by Frankie Cosmos for years. I already had all the songs memorized. I have played them constantly in times when I was upset, or just unbelievably happy. In this moment, I was unbelievably happy. I was something almost new to myself — I felt, as cliche as it may seem, free in that moment. My friends and I were just the happiest I had seen in a while, even the strangers in the crowd shared this enthusiasm. When Frankie Cosmos played “Being Alive,” I was happy to be alive. I felt like I mattered in that moment, even just as someone in a crowd. I was happy I was there. I was happy I never left San Francisco. I was happy to exist in a time and a place where music can make someone feel this way.

A photo posted by emma🍊🗡 (@breathingfog) on