This year I’ve gone to around 20+ gigs and about 80% of them I’ve attended alone. There isn’t a big dramatic reason behind it really. I was doing gig reviews for a magazine earlier this year, which meant I got to see loads of gigs for free, the only stipulation being that there was never an option for a +1.
Other times I’ve wanted to see acts that none of my friends knew. So instead of dragging them along to just huff and puff the entire time because I really wanted to see this one singer who has this super fun song I heard two weeks ago on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist, I just ride it out alone.
And perhaps this is my age talking but I think as you get older you realise that you can do things that only you might enjoy without needing your friends to be there too just make it less awkward, you know?
There’s something therapeutic about going to a gig on your own. It feels like you’re taking yourself out on a date that you know you’ll actually enjoy and what’s more you don’t have to worry about making small talk!
Besides, when it comes to gigs or plays or the cinema, once the show begins you end up not paying attention to anyone around you anyway. I mean, except for the odd #SQAUD photo but still.
I saw Lana Del Rey earlier this summer with my friend Matt and maybe it was the alcohol, but by the time she started to sing Ride I was already off in my own world. I’m sure Matt was too. In our defence, it was a Monday night and we were both stupidly drunk, so there is that to factor in as well.
Anyways back to my original point, gigs themselves are also horribly packed places, especially if you’re still brave enough to handle standing for hours on end. YES, I AM OLD! Amidst the pushing and shoving the one joy in going on your own is that you can pick where you want to be during the show and not have to make a SWOT map to decide where’s best for everyone, while having beer spilled on you by someone trying to manoeuvre through you instead of around.
Last week I went to see Mabel at Heaven nightclub and hardly any of my friends know who she is, so I decided to go alone because I really like her and honestly that’s all that matters. I rushed from work to get there, but I usually like to pamper myself with a nice meal and leisurely stroll beforehand because if I am going to be on my own for the next three hours then I’m going to do it right.
Apart from feeling like the oldest person in the venue once the show started (who knew Mabel’s core audience were 13-16 year-old girls?!?), it was so nice to just be there in my own company enjoying an act I’ve liked for ages now. And what’s even better was I left just before the mad rush started to get to the exit and I even made the last tube home in good time. I then spent the tube ride weighing up which photos from the gig were going up on the ‘gram. It was all so serene.
Would I go to all gigs on my own? Probably not. It is fun when you and your friends make a big night of going to a gig, getting tipsy at the bar and then out of nowhere one of you starts singing Rihanna We Found Love while Lorde is on stage performing Liability singing her heart out, just like my friend Gabriel did the other week in Brighton.
But if I want to see that super niche scandi-pop act and the tickets are under a tenner in some dingy function room in Hoxton, but all my friends are busy or just not interested then damn right I’m still going. And yes, I will treat myself to a fancy dinner in an overpriced restaurant beforehand too.