Column: Surviving an Indie concert

Gracia Hmelar and Olivia Ramberg-Gomez

Apple watches with gay pride color bands to our right, millennials debating over the best non-dairy milk substitute in their insert “trendy, innovative, unequivocally quirky” startup name here to the left. 

Yoke Lore performs their song “Beige” at the New Parish venue in Oakland. The band is made up of Adrian Galvin (Yoke Lore) and his drummer Garren Orr. Photo: Olivia Ramberg-Gomez

This is the image seen from our peripheral vision at the Yoke Lore concert we went to this past month at the New Parish venue in Oakland. 

The second we walked in, our age instantly defined us, and our wallets. We were charged an extra five dollars solely for being under 21. Yeah, you read that right. The fact that we didn’t grow up in the 90s playing on Tamagotchis or having NSYNC posters plastered all over our bedroom walls made it so we had to give up the five dollars we would have spent at Taco Bell afterward. To add to our frustration, they only took cash. After ten minutes of trying to get money out of the sketchy ATM down a dark hallway, we paid our fee and went into the venue. 

The New Parish is a small, and we mean small, venue. It is so small that we could almost touch the stage. Unlike other venues like Bill Graham Civic Stadium or Levi’s Stadium, we were actually able to see the stage and didn’t have to climb flights of stairs to get to our seats, making the concert a more personal experience. 

We could have pushed our way to the front, but were afraid that if we tried, a UC Berkeley sophomore would go off on us on the deeper meaning of our attempt to cut to the front, translated into an impromptu seminar on the Seneca Falls convention and how we were literally “pushing” women back one hundred years. Accepting our reality, we resorted to standing in the back. 

If someone is just dying to see an early 20s guy dance, that slight head nod and offbeat back-and-forth sway that reminds you of riding the Great Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, making all of your dreams come true, this is the place for you. No one was dancing to the music, except for us, and the guy. With one hand full of overpriced (probably organic or vegan) beer, the other glued to their phone, all the adults around us looked more like clones from “Star Wars” than the actual clones in “Star Wars.”  

Almost 40 minutes after our arrival, the real concert finally began. In the meantime, we listened to a combination of the opening band ‘Bad Bad Hats’ and a playlist that was most likely titled “What you hear when you walk into an Urban Outfitters and force yourself to buy a ‘Fleet Foxes’ band t-shirt to look vintage.’” 

From hearing “Beige” live, a.k.a. the only song we listened to all summer, to Yoke Lore’s lead singer Adrian Galvin’s unique dancing and banjo playing, the concert was truly memorable. Because of the minuscule size of the venue, we were able to stand only 1o feet away from the stage and soak in all of the songs. All of the songs we had listened to in our car for months, we were finally seeing live and went beyond our expectations. 

Indie concerts are truly an experience for anyone who wants to be humbled about their newest iPhone or hear about the new trendy Kombucha flavor. Especially if you aren’t “indie,” but two teenage girls who had to get their older brother to accompany them to the concert because their parents wanted to make sure they were “safe.” 

So go out there Paly students. Pay that extra five dollars to stand for two hours, watching the man in front of you post on his Facebook story. At least you can buy a cool poster from it and hear your favorite artist live.