Thursday, 8 September 2011
Once a lot smaller looking up to shot callers, not ballers, they never grew up just got taller
Going out is not my thing. I don't drink or take drugs. I don't like talking to people I don't know. I suffer from an anxiety disorder. Blah blah blah.
Hip hop music is my thing. It is the only type of music I listen to really. It is what got me into writing poetry. A few years ago I thought I was going to be a famous rapper. Blah blah blah.
These two factors battle with each other whenever a hip hop gig is announced in Wellington. I've been trying to get out more recently and Elzhi is one of my favourite rappers, so when I found out that he was playing in Wellington I texted my friend Rowan, asking if he was going. Rowan said he was keen so I bought my ticket.
The doors opened at 8pm so I estimated that the show wouldn't begin til about 11. I left my house at 9 and walked into town. I stopped at a dairy and bought a vanilla coke to keep me awake. When I got near to the bar, San Francisco Bath House, I out took my wallet unsure and nervous about being asked for ID. I walked in the door, the bouncer saw my wallet in my hand and said, "Yeah show me your ID, as if you need it." Then he looked carefully between my drivers license and my face before letting me pass.
At the top of the stairs a man took my ticket and made an addition to the tattoo on my right wrist, which I quickly accidentally smudged with my thumb. There were people sitting in all of the booths but the rest of the bar was empty. A DJ was playing a lot of Detroit hip hop. I found a couch and sat down by myself.
Nervous and feeling lonely, I had a text conversation with Alice.
Jackson: I am at a bar! =s
Alice: You are wonderful. Embrace the bar. Pretend you are a ballerina
Jackson: I am not wearing a tu-tu, but I do have a pink bandana with rainbows and unicorns. I drank coke to make sure I dont fall asleep
Alice: Omg i had a coke too! Are you buzzin?!!??
Jackson: I'm on my freakin bumble bee buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Jackson: I am a buzz bar.
Alice: Yum. I'm so tired. What are you doin at a bar? Can we start a quiz team and do that? We can eat chips with aioli
Jackson: A rapper I like is going to rap. I am out of my element. I am very keen for quizzes
Alice: What rapper? Rapper isn't even in my predictive dictionary. Will i know them?
Jackson: The rappers name is Elzhi. My name is buzz lightyear. I thought my friend was gonna come but now I don't think he is
Alice: He probably will. I feel pleased about this.
Jackson: I feel scared
Alice: You are an eagle
I felt anxious. My right leg was shaking a bit and I had tears in my eyes. Rowan was stuck working on an assignment that was due the next morning. I considered going to hide in the toilets. The DJ was replaced with a VJ. He had good taste but his transitions were sloppy. The videos were projected onto the wall opposite me, so I had a good view. Watching them helped me relax.
I looked up nervously every time someone walked past my couch on their way to the toilets. One guy looked vaguely familiar. He saw me glance at him and walked up to me.
"Big Tom. I knew you were a hip hop fan," he shouted over the music.
"Yeah," I mumbled.
"I just didn't know your facebook name was Jackson Nieuw..."
"So whenever you said something I was like..."
"Who is this."
"That's cool man."
There was a short silence and then he walked off and founded a group of people standing right in front of me, blocking my view of the projector. I looked down at my phone. It said that I was on Taranaki street even though I was on Cuba street.
At 11 I stood up and went to the toilet. There was an empty beer bottle balanced on the top of the urinal. The floor was wet, I hoped not with piss. After washing my hands I walked out of the mens room and stood near the stage but separate from the other groups standing around. I waited for the show to start.
There was no opening act. At the end of his set the VJ yelled into the mic, "I'm honoured to introduce, straight from Detroit, Motor City, Elzhi!" Suddenly everyone in the building crowded toward the stage. The room was full but not crowded. I was in a pretty good position, to the left of centre stage, a few rows back from the front.
Elzhi was a confident performer. His breath control and enunciation were very impressive. He rapped without a hypeman and never relied on the crowd to finish his lines (though sometimes he turned the mic on us for effect). The crowd was receptive, seemed to know a good amount of the songs, and Elzhi controlled them well.
He performed the entirety of his new mixtape, Elmatic. Did a few fantastic freestyles (complete with references to New Zealand, Wellington, and people in the crowd). I was disappointed that he didn't do any of his earlier material even when the crowd was yelling for it. He gave a matter of fact encore. Then the show was over. The DJ returned to the stage and started playing Elzhi records. I left quickly and almost stepped on a used condom on the way home