I felt all right. So I spruced up and went.
I hadn't really made costume plans, so I had a bit of a panic. I eventually went with my normal long black skirt, black top, black jacket ... but added the overskirt from my ren gear, and did my hair in a knot under the hair cage with the bundle of curled braids hanging down below it, and wore fishnet stockings (visible in that six inches of leg that occasionally showed despite the overskirt, which opens at the front) and fishnet gloves, with a ring on over the pinky finger, and my cameo collage and the lovely white-beads-and-freshwater-pearls choker I had redesigned and modified myself. My head still felt naked (naughty me!) but this fantastical feathers-and-sparklies clip soon put a rest to that.
There was a long line by the time I showed, and I was unsure whether anyone I knew was even there; the usual crowd had talked about the concept when we heard of it, but not since, and JD was disinterested. (It turned out that obadiah and his wife were there; I saw them on the dance floor later as they were departing.) I got in, had a few near-collisions on the dance floor, and eventually washed up upstairs leaning against the rails with a fellow named Chris, and a Matt, and a young lady with a key necklace, glasses, and goggles, and some other guy. There was general hilarity. Matt recounted how he had, upon coming in and the opening band coming in, hollered "FREE BIRD" -- and the opening act played it! The place was decked out themed like a mad teaparty, with cards and chess pieces strung off the railings, and no few people dressed up like Alice in Wonderland characters as well as the usual steampunk costumes.
tiferet will be pleased to note that their taste in opening bands has improved, although the band was ... odd. At least they were singing music of interest to a steampunk audience (more drinking, less political/radical), and very enthusiastic. There was also another group with a puppet show, wherein one puppet had killed a prostitute (again), and his friend framed a third friend. Very weird.
At length, Abney Park came on. There was rocking out, jumping up and down, the audience was throwing horns at several points (the opening act had instructed the audience to do this for one song), and general hilarity.
Robert introduced the song where Nathan would be playing the mandolin, wisecracking, "I just heard someone shout 'Mandolin is fucking metal', which may be the only time those words are heard in the DNA Lounge." Roar of laughter and approval. Nathan plucked a few exploratory notes -- or so we saw. We didn't hear. Some mimework and shouting ensued, and it transpired that the mandolin's general setup was not working as advertised. "We're going to have to play some songs without the mandolin until we can get it working," was the verdict, and there was a rapid set-shuffle.
(Later, a guitar string blew, so there was set-shuffling for violin until the guitar was fixed.) There was, at one point, while Nathan tinkered and tried to get stuff going, an impromptu moment where Robert and the backup singer started in with "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", completely unrehearsed; this ultimately broke down into giggles.
Someone has to hold the violin for "Airship Pirates". This time it was a little girl dressed as Alice who did it, and she was SO DAMN ADORABLE YOU GUYS. She'd been hanging out on the stairs at the side of the stage all night long, pure front row awesomeness, so excited, and then THIS. :D :D :D The whole audience was a-squee. The backup singer grabbed her hands and danced around with her during the violin solo.
At one point, Robert quizzed the audience: "How many of you shouted 'Free Bird'?" A good third of the dance floor raised their hands. "How many of you would like us to NEVER PLAY THAT and play something else?" This got about 90% handraising, and a lot of screaming.
At your average concert, you get fans screaming, screaming the band name, screaming the band members' names ... at this concert, there was a lot of screaming, but the chant that broke out time and time again? MANDOLIN! MANDOLIN! MANDOLIN!
The eventual solution was to lower the backup singer's mic, and have Nathan play into that while Robert and the backup singer shared Robert's mic. This was done. It was epic, and indeed, I daresay, "metal".
The concert was over too soon (and Robert was out of rum anyway), but the DJs remained, and soon a glorious mix of music (Rammstein, NIN, "Mad World", "White Rabbit", "Juke Joint Jezebel", and g-d knows what else) was floating out. I repaired myself downstairs as the crowd thinned out, as the music was sounding good and I didn't want the night to end just yet.
I have been recovering more stamina, and my cane is sometimes optional again. This proved handy on the dance floor, as I could actually dance, at first despite, and then, happily, *with*, the cane.
At first I was dancing by myself, and then this guy came up and started jitterbugging with me. (I believe it was the jitterbug; I could well be mistaken.) It was a bizarre mix of hilariously fun and uncomfortable, since in addition to my free hand, he had grabbed my cane hand, and was flinging that around too. (Free hint: if someone is holding a cane, even if they are dancing, leave that hand the hell alone unless they say otherwise.) After some time I wandered off in search of a large pole to lean against to recover my breath.
Some dipshit was pouring water from the balcony down onto the dance floor.
I saw a *really cute* guy dancing mostly by himself, with another guy friend (they did not appear to be together), so I wandered over thattaway, and there was companionable dancing near each other. (He looked a bit like the hot DADA professor from DeVry, except shorter and less ginger, with short hair like said DADA professor has now, vs. his previous cascade of curls.)
A random guy came out of nowhere, hugged me, and smooched me on the cheek before disappearing into the crowd. He had on very nice perfume. I think he was drunk.
There was a second cute guy dancing by himself, not quite as cute as the first but still cute. I wandered over and began dancing near him. Pretty soon this turned into dancing *with* him, although we weren't actually touching. We came close a couple times, though. That was fun. I had to go sit down after a while. I sat out one song, then it was "Mad World", and I popped up. I was going to sit another one out after that, but the next one was "White Rabbit", and you just cannot sit that one out either. Eventually I did rest ... and then danced some more.
Things were starting to shut down somewhat before 3. I was contemplating staying until they kicked us all out, but I was starting to get weary, and wanted some energy for the walk home. It had started raining in the interim, and me without an umbrella. Without any waterproof items on me, I feared for my feathers, and ultimately stuffed them in a pocket.
I got to the bus stop 49 minutes before the next 14 was to arrive. I eventually called amberfox (after texting her and getting a response) and we babbled. 9 minutes until the 14 was to show, it disappeared from the board, to general angst. I waited some more (chattering about fannish funtimes the whole while) and inquired when BART started running, as if it was running by then (it was 4:15) I could just WALK TO THE DAMN STATION, which surely would not take 38 minutes, and would keep me warm. The bus did show, not 38 minutes, but somewhat shorter, an hour after I'd called Amber. (I'd been waiting for a while by then already.)
The bus was packed. The floor was slippery. Even seated, when you are on one of the sideways seats and trying not to fall off onto somebody's lap when the bus jerks to a start or goes uphill, you are going to need to brace with your feet. This did not go well. Not even bracing with the cane. I made it without too many mishaps (plus I moved seats when a nearby forward-facing one opened).
Some old guy was asleep on the bus. He started to tip over during one of the sudden maneuvers, much to the hilarity of three young men sharing two mp3 players and very large diamond (or cubic zircona) earrings. One of them had the braids of his hair crossed over in a cable pattern. It was subtle (only a few of them did that) and really, really nice-looking.
The late bus stops just uphill of the Daly City BART station, and I'd thoughtfully parked in the upper parking lot, so my walk was shorter. Go team thinking ahead.
I stopped in at Carl's Jr. on my way back for, er, breakfast, and wound up sitting 12 minutes in the drive-through just waiting, because the lady hadn't actually entered my order, and it took someone pulling in behind me before her boss wandered over to see what I was doing there. He freaked out a bit, and I got a cookie for my troubles. Good customer service.
By the time I actually got home, it was 6. It's no longer 6.
I brought the old camera (smaller, easier to use, less of a power hog, no flash, takes rapid-fire sets of pictures, which can be handy in some circumstances) with me instead of the new one. Many of the pictures aren't much good, and I haven't unloaded most of them, but I did take the time to pull this here.
@nathanfhtagn with his mandolin. MANDOLIN IS FUCKING METAL.
Due to failure of the mandolin pre-amp, Nathan has hijacked the backup singer's mic for a FUCKING METAL mandolin solo. MANDOLIN IS FUCKING METAL.