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    Photos by Adam Mescan

    Why did I stand next to the bathrooms? I blame Jimi Hendrix. It was my first time in Mercury Ballroom, and my eyes were immediately drawn to his painting on the wall. Why not stand next to a legend while listening to a band I’d never heard of? Little did I know, over-hydrated individuals would be bumping into me all night. If it weren’t for the beer, I wouldn’t have lasted.

    I spent the first 30 minutes standing around listening to idle conversation. It was a decent-sized crowd, backing up all the way to the bar, and I had to get up close and personal with some strangers. Two teenage girls standing next to me wore Cold War Kids T-shirts. The close proximity made it impossible not to eavesdrop on their fan-girl talk. I heard a couple familiar song titles. Maybe I knew this band after all.

    The lights dimmed, red lasers and mist flowed over the crowd and three men walked out on stage wearing bandit style masks with elaborate eye makeup. The bass player played a catchy line and another masked man entered the scene. He had tattoos all over his body and a massive afro that Jimi would have been proud of. It was singer/guitarist Thomas Abban, and he did an excellent job at warming up the crowd. He somehow made a guitar sound like a beat boxer, and his falsetto made the teenage girls next to me yell out a scream of approval.

    Cold War Kids took the stage at 10 p.m., and I immediately recognized their songs. I ended up singing along with the fan girls. “Hang Me Up To Dry” played, a beer spilled on my shoes and I didn’t bat an eye. “First” played, two elbows rammed into my ribs and I didn’t even flinch. Lead singer Nathan Willett moved around the stage, singing to each audience member, and they sang right back. Four high-energy songs later, a bathroom line had formed in front of me. I spent the rest of the night on my toes, reaching for a view of the stage.

    After about thirty minutes en pointe, my calves started to cramp. At this point, I was fed up. My beer was long gone and I realized how much alcohol was actually spilled on my shoes. It was a great show, but I’d had enough of the abuse. I shimmied my way through the crowd and out of Mercury Ballroom. I left with some great songs stuck in my head, bruises from the crowd, sore calves and reeking of alcohol that I had not consumed. I’d still go back to see Cold War Kids, but I’ll stand somewhere else next time. 

     

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