Oh Wonder

I'm innocently scrolling through my Facebook feed when... BAM! A post from Oh Wonder's Facebook page pops up saying, "Somehow you guys pretty much sold out our first ever North American tour in 3 hours?! Crazy. So we're upgrading the venues! Extra Seattle, Boston and Philadelphia tickets are available now and the shows are all ages! Keep your eyes peeled next week when more tickets for the other cities will be released. We can't wait for this!" and I'm just like, "UM I didn't even know that you were having a North American tour?! Why didn't I know about this?!" I'm still a n00b at this whole fan thing. I've never really been intrigued enough by concerts to spend money on them, but then I went to my first live concert, and once you listen to live music, you never go back.


I click through to their website to get details about their tour and tickets and see that they'll be in Philly just after my winter break, so I'll be around, and the tickets are only $15. There's no freaking way I'm not going to this! The concert is on a Tuesday, but who the heck cares?! Let's just hope that I don't have lab due on Wednesdays. It's a risk I'm willing to take. (Now that I'm well into the spring semester, I can say that my decision was worth the risk, because labs aren't due until Friday.)

No! time! to! lose! I immediately mass text my friends asking them if they've ever heard of Oh Wonder and whether they'd want to go with me to their ! $15 ! concert. Oh Wonder's first North American tour sold out in three hours, so my heart is racing as I find company and buy my ticket and make sure they get theirs too before the tour is sold out again.

The stars are aligned. Of all friends I ask, Kathleen is one of them who want to come with me to the concert! And this is a big deal, because here I am trying to convince my friends in Philly to come with me to this concert in Philly, and here is Kathleen who is coming all the way down from Princeton for it! It's more than I could have asked for. Well actually, I very explicitly (and very frantically) asked, but you get the point. Didn't think it was actually gonna happen. But hey, if you don't ask, you won't receive.

I flip through my planner and it feels like the pages are flying as I coordinate a plan with Kathleen. I'm adamant about getting my ticket delivered to me, so instead of us buying our tickets together, I buy mine and Kathleen buys hers. And I have no good reason except that I love Oh Wonder and I want something more legit to commemorate this day than an at-home printout.

As if I could get any more ecstatic (sorry about all the exclamation points. actually I'm not sorry. get! hype!), Kathleen buys a ticket for her friend too because "he was like 'oh i was just listening to oh wonder'" and another of her friends is a fan of the opener Pop Etc and wants to come and so is coming and my friend Delaney is coming and oh my god January 26, 2016 is going to be so great.

photos by Kathleen, Vanessa, & Sarah
"vlog" filmed by Kathleen, edited by moi

:: Thanks for a wonderful show Philadelphia! We loved celebrating Anthony's birthday on stage! ::
Posted by Oh Wonder on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

You know how there are some people who say things like, "I'm a real fan. I liked them before they got popular." It's like... Congratulations! You win *drumroll please* NOTHING! We all know that I'm a n00b fan. But I must say that one of my natural highs is discovering undiscovered talent. Oh Wonder is far from undiscovered--recall that they sold out their North American tour in three hours--but they haven't yet reached the mainstream level (at least I don't think? since the majority of the people I asked to come with me said they never heard of them before? or maybe my friends just have poor music taste? lol jk ily), so stumbling upon Oh Wonder's music on my own kind of felt like that.

I so want them to achieve "success" and reach more people because they're great and people should listen to them and support them so that they can make more music, but at the same time, wouldn't it be nice if demand was low and prices stayed low and I wouldn't have to fight for concert tickets?

Many of my friends don't know Oh Wonder, so when I asked them if they wanted to go to the concert with me, I had to describe Oh Wonder's music a few times. I categorize Oh Wonder's music genre as "chillstep" and got a few giggles for that term, but yes, chillstep is a thing, source: Urban Dictionary.

The song that got me into their music is Technicolour Beat. I loved it so much that I used it as the background song for my May Day vlog. It's so hard for me to choose a favourite song to recommend for you to get a taste of their music (Landslide? Livewire?), so imma just link their album sampler.

The day has come. I've sat through Intro to Data Structures. I've sat through Discrete Math. We had a lecture on logic gates and circuits and my professor mentioned livewires and then I spent the rest of the class thinking about Livewire and the concert.

Kathleen and friends are already in Philly, so after my last class, I hop onto the next SEPTA and head over to meet them at the Kung Fu Tea in Chinatown. I mean, where else? There, I am reunited with the Princeton crew of Kathleen, Vanessa, and Sarah. I also meet Edric for the first time, and when we all go to Reading Terminal Market for dinner, I meet the rest of the Princeton crew. So! many! friends!

The concert starts at 8:30PM and the doors open at 7:30PM, but this is no time for dicking around, so we start walking over in order to make it there by 6:00PM. All is prepared. This time I don't have to study up for the concert (like I did for my last/first concert) because I already know most of the lyrics to their songs, but an anxious person like me has gotta have something to worry about, so let me tell you a story that I now refer to as Suspicious Bread.

An hour and a half is awhile to be waiting in line, but thank goodness I've got company. We're the second group of people in line, so the wait will be worth the while. I forget what conversation we're having, but for some reason I think it's relevant to share about how I'm a highly suspicious person (not as in I'm a skeptical person, but as in I act like a suspect even when I am 100% innocent).

Case 1: I'm flying to Taiwan for winter break, but I have a transfer in Japan, where I need to go through another security check. All they do is check your passport and ask you some standard questions; no physical check. It gets to me and the security dude is asking me a bunch of questions that I have no problem answering, and then he asks me how much money I have on me, and I say that I don't know, because I think I had maybe $100 on me but then I bought a magazine at the shop... The security dude looks up and pauses. He asks me again, then asks me if I know about the rule that I can't travel with $10,000 on me, but it's a rhetorical question. I recall that rule and realize that I should have just said I had $100 on me, but it's too late. The security dude calls up another security dude to further question me, asking things like, what are you traveling for, what's your occupation (student), who pays your tuition, are you transporting money for anyone (as if I'd say yes if I were, although at this rate, maybe).

Case 2: I'm back in the States, but I gotta get through customs first. The security dude asks me a bunch of standard questions that I have no problem answering, and then he asks if I'm traveling with anything, and for some reason I give a pause. Yes, yes I am most definitely traveling with something. I am traveling with a suitcase. I am about to head down to the baggage claim. But for some reason I reply with a drawn out "uhh noooo...?" And then he asks me why I'm not traveling with anything, and then I'm at once anxious and confused by my previous answer and my heart is racing and I reply, "uhh... I mean, I'm not traveling with anything... suspicious...?" I... I... I don't know why I do this to myself...

Anyways, I bring this up because as we're waiting in line for the doors to open, I'm fiddling around with my backpack and anxious about having packed my not-quite-a-DSLR-but-better-than-a-point-and-shoot camera (hereafter referred to as "fancy camera"). I've only had one other concert experience and I was able to bring my camera there, but the kind of venue was very different (it was more like a theatre venue whereas this is more like a concert venue), so maybe it's not the same? I mean, I've heard some of my friends went to concerts where they weren't allowed to bring in cameras other than their phone, or maybe it was just at festivals they weren't allowed, but maybe it was a concert.

Sarah mentions that there's a bag check before we get in, so I get more anxious. Good thing I bought a bag of bread from KC's Pastries in Chinatown, which I strategically place around my camera to conceal it, should it be the case that cameras are not allowed in the venue. I'm squatting on the pavement rearranging bread in my backpack when Sarah reaffirms the fact that I am indeed a highly suspicious person, which is true. As if I'm trying to prove a point (which I'm not but just happen to be doing because I am indeed a highly suspicious person and that is my natural state), I make another precaution just in case my fancy camera is held at the door. My little point-and-shoot Cybershot is also packed in my backpack, so this camera I take out of my bag and discreetly slide into the inside pocket of my coat. Psh, security will never expect that!

Sarah says something along the lines of DUDE, you're being so suspicious right now.

The moment of truth arrives. I hand over my ticket and... I'm in! I'm celebrating my success in my head as I'm crossing the foyer when my eyes land on the bag check. As in, a place to check your bag in so that you don't have to bring it into the main concert area. As in, not a bag security check. As in, I was freaking out the whole time about a bag security check for no reason. As in, *facepalm moment.* Sarah finally realizes why I was lowkey freaking out the whole time; she didn't realize I thought she meant that there was a bag security check when in fact she meant that there was a place to check in our bags.

But you aren't here to read about my adventures and misadventures along the way. You're here to read about the Oh Wonder concert. And lemme tell ya, the concert was frickin great. And completely unique from my first concert experience.

Last time there was theater filled with seats. This time there was a stage and a lot of floor. Last time I was up, up, up in the balcony. This time there was only one person standing in front of me.

You know the concert has started because music is pulsing through everything--through your feet, up to your heart, down to your fingertips. I literally clutched my heart (as in I literally reached up toward my heart and clasped my hands over it) because that's where I felt the beat and that's where the beat was. All I wanted was to lie spread-eagle on the ground with my eyes closed in pure bliss and feel the beat entering me through every facet of my body. But of course I didn't do that because that'd be gross.

And because I'm a n00b fan, I didn't realize that today (as in the day of the concert, January 26, not the day of the publication of this blog post) was Anthony's birthday!!! (Oh Wonder = Josephine Vander Gucht + Anthony West) Someone brought a cake up on stage and we all sang him happy birthday and somebody in the crowd shouted for him to make a wish and he said something along the lines of that it's all come true :') I didn't get a chance to record it, but scroll back up (under the "vlog") to check out the videographer's footage, which I've embedded from their Facebook page.

I'm proud to say that I didn't take out my camera a single time; I didn't even take out my phone (except for one brief time during the intermission period after the opener finished their set). And I don't know whether or not that was dumb because I put so much effort into "sneaking" in my cameras (refer back to Suspicious Bread story)--not just camera, but plural cameras. I don't know why I even brought my cameras in the first place. I think I figured that I'd rather bring my cameras and not use them than not bring my cameras and not have them if I wanted to use them. So yeah, I didn't get a single picture, but Kathleen, Vanessa, and Sarah were kind enough to let me use theirs for this post!

I'm a teensy bit sad that I didn't take any pictures of my own, and neither did I buy any merch after their show, so I don't have any souvenirs to carry with me, but I think I much rather the fully immersive concert experience that I had, to have music physically pulse through me and feel every bit of it. Nonetheless, can we take a moment to appreciate the fact that Oh Wonder's initial is OW and that it says OW on all their merch? If anybody wants to send me a gift... I'll leave this link right here... ;)

Oh Wonder
Tue Jan 26 2016
(opener: Pop Etc)

Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

tl;dr-- Reunited with the Princeton crew to see Oh Wonder, one of my favourite artists. Their music pulsed through my body, and if you like chillstep, you should check 'em out. Also, I am a suspicious-lookin' human.

PS: Gallant, Javelin, & LauvGeorge Ezra.