Photos & Words by Angela RoseRed
It’s no secret that COVID’s pause for live music has initiated many emotions to the souls who depend on “going to a show” to survive and cope with everyday life. For those who do not understand how real the struggle is, you fail to realize this year + of concert silence was a time where many mourned like never before. Simply put, live music is the one thing that unifies us as a scene, which is a much needed outlet from our daily triumphs and tragedies. Music truly unites and heals. It calls to our souls and transcends who we are as individuals. Luckily in its absence, we found other ways to creatively cope, and in some aspects, it brought us closer together.
Now that vaccines are giving a peak of hope on the horizon, I found myself in an odd space. Once a proclaimed extrovert who used to feel the most alive inside a sweaty pit, elbowing to capture a decent live photo, I was now feeling paralyzed with anxiety just going to the grocery store for coffee creamer. Thankfully, delivery services are available to help my shopping whoas, but the latter was not something that could be treated through placing an order on an app. Being someone who was lucky enough to work from home during quarantine, I noticed myself getting anxious at the notion of putting on regular pants and a traditional bra to socialize like I did “pre-covid”. Naturally being a “people person”, this confused me because I was now fearful to leave my home, the domain that has graciously made me safe from the virus. As much as I craved to find some normalcy again, my panic caused more panic. My wish was for things to go back to how they were before, but I personally was different in many ways. So what does one do when the evitable becomes inevitable? I do not claim to know the answer, but can ultimately say what worked for me; being transparent and asking for help from my Sound Sisters.
The Venomous Pinks were scheduled to play a Live Stream set through Carter Drive Sessions. The platform Kristen Taylor and her team provide is to produce high quality, multi camera live streaming services for bands of all genres. With Taylor’s talented background in professional sound and production, this new avenue is one of the silver linings that COVID brought. Every Sunday, Carter Drive Sessions brings a new virtual live concert setting so viewers can watch and interact with live music safely in the privacy of their own homes. Being fully aware of my recent social paralyzation, Drea Doll, Gaby Kaos, and Cassie Jalilie TOLD me I would be taking photos during this set. It’s now or never.
When the day came to pack up my gear with a mask and sanizer readily available at a moment’s notice, I felt numb. Irrational thoughts stampeded my brain. “Is the extra poundage I gained noticeable in this shirt ?” “Do I hug people now?” “If I don’t, am I jerk?” “Do I still know how to take live music photos?” “What do I do with my hands?” “Why am I feeling this way?” Push through. That’s all I could do.
Arriving at the location, I was happy to see the crew was small, completely masked, socially distant at a minimum of six feet from one another. Taylor’s team was professional and also abides strict sanitizing guidelines for each act that comes through. That eased a lot of panic, but now that safety was no longer an issue, it was time to face my social demons.
Looking back to when I started shooting photos at shows made me more aware of how to break through the anxiousness. The camera has always been my shield, a mask of sorts, and the calm that weathered through all the energies that big crowds are often consumed by. Listening to the thunderous sounds of the kick drum, amplified guitar and bass truly brought me back to a space where the past year made me forget so quickly. Clicking through each frame made me remember who I was. I was alive, and finally starting to feel whole again. A renewed sense of self, made me realize that this was where I should be. By doing the things I love in a safe way was important since many victims of COVID no longer have that luxury. Soon the set was over and I had forgotten about the sweaty mask that had been covering my face for the past few hours. In many ways, the mask made me sing that much louder.
So what’s the moral? I have no fucking clue except as we fall back into our “new normal” and live music becomes more regular, remember to lead with kindness, not just for others, but also for yourself. We are all overcoming our own barriers and some may not be ready to step out into the wild. Never be afraid to ask for help or support. Regardless of your comfort level of attending a live show, always know the music will be waiting whenever you feel safe to come back.