Once a week, sometimes twice, for the first fifteen years of my life and on intermittent holidays thereafter, but it never made me feel anything. Then I started going to concerts, and that’s where I started feeling all of the things that I think church was intended to make me feel: thrilled, epic, powerful, connected, emotional, alive, in love. Live music too gave me permission to feel all the stuff church didn’t allow: anger, lust, sadness, so on.
It was at various concerts in Northeast Wisconsin and sometimes Milwaukee where I first began having direct experiences with god, or whatever you want to call it, the universe, energy, the thing you feel when you’re just really feeling it, when it’s there, undeniably. I felt it in arenas and amphitheaters and parks and parking lots, and from then on all I really wanted was to feel was that feeling. Music was my access point. And just to be clear, this was before I started doing drugs.
What I’m getting at here is that last night I saw Darkside play for what might have been the last time. Or at least the last time for me, because they have a few more dates in Europe and will then play their final show in Brooklyn on September 13. I was there on the floor of the LA Sports Arena with everyone who I wanted to be there with. I was a touch drunk and pretty sweaty. I had just eaten a large and wildly delicious piece of pizza and danced to a Daniel Avery set. I was not on drugs.
I don’t have the proper words to say what Darkside does to me, (like most of the best things in life, you just have to feel it) except to say that it was the fifth time I’ve seen the band this year and that I would have seen them infinity more times if that had been a possibility. I wore my Darkside t-shirt to the show, which is a terrifically dorky thing to do, but I did not give a shit. I did, however, get many t-shirt related high fives while walking through the crowd at FYF. “Darkside, she knows what’s up,” said a pretty women near the lemonade stand who pointed at me as I walked by. Tribal.
The point here is that like a lot of bands before them but no band ever quite like them, Darkside’s music makes me feel what Catholicism intended to but never did. It’s deep and it’s spiritual and it’s smart and it’s alluring and it’s sexy and if you’re a part of it then you kind of know what other people who are a part of it are all about. They make music that sort of carries you, (just like Jesus in that prayer about the footprints, actually.) There were moments last night, the moment where the guitar comes in on Metatron, for example, where I couldn’t help but scream. There were moments where I just closed my eyes and stood as still as possible and felt it in my mind and my heart and my body.
At the end of the show Dave Harrington took his guitar and smashed it through the spinning mirror that they use for their light show in a move that seemed to exclaim “Goodnight Los Angeles, Darkside is fucking over!” I stood there with my hand over my mouth. Andrea cried. We didn’t leave, we just sat on the dirty floor and processed what we had just seen in words that did it no justice. I said something like, “I felt like I was bathing in the music,” which sounds asinine out of context but makes sense if you were also there last night, bathing in the music.
We eventually left the arena and watched Flying Lotus for awhile and then I took a cab home and ate a bagel and laid in bed listening to Psychic, feeling heartsick for reasons including but not limited to what I had just experienced.
So yeah, I’m sad that it’s over, but I feel like they’ll be back. Either way, they were a fucking important band for a brief period of time and I got to be a part of it with some of the people I love best, and for that I am grateful. I sound like a disciple. I suppose I am. Last night I went to church. It made me feel everything.