Our Concert Stories, Part 1: Son and Jasmine

Music is a beautiful thing. It unites us, it makes us feel less alone and it can provide escape from the harsh realities of our lives.

Some of our KSJSers have taken the time to write about their favorite concert memories, and those stories will be posted on our blog over the next few weeks. Each individual story is quite unique, but endearing passion and joy prevail in each one. Read with care and enjoy. And share your own stories in the comments!


Son and Seven Lions

I have been to my fair share of concerts and music festivals, but the one that will never fade from my memory is when I went to see Seven Lions at the San Jose City National Civic Center for his tour to promote the album he had just released: Throes of Winter.

This was the first concert I have ever been to. At first I was reluctant to attend any type of event because, being a shy and antisocial person at the time, I was skeptical about the atmosphere and the kind of people I would meet there.

Being an electronic music enthusiast for almost my whole life, I didn’t believe it was necessary to attend an event to fully enjoy the music. The only reason I had to go to this specific concert was because of how much I loved the music that Seven Lions produced.

My girlfriend at the time had tried to convince me to go so that I could see my favorite artist in person. Since it was so close to home and I had no valid reason to refuse her proposal, I decided to go with her. Not knowing what to expect as I stood in line waiting to get inside the venue, I was freaking out.

Again, I was shy and being in a large crowd of people was terrifying to me. The feeling of anxiety did not go away one bit as I entered the building; it actually got worse because of the sheer amount of people packed into one room. Not knowing what to do, I stood there, frozen.

After a short while of feeling like a fish out of water, an artist name Haywyre come on to the stage as one of the opening acts. I had only known one of their songs, but when they played it in their set, I started to feel a little looser. The tension in my shoulders had been eased and I had begun to feel like I was actually enjoying myself a bit more.

“Maybe this isn’t so bad,” I thought to myself. After about an hour or so, Seven Lions, the man himself, had finally taken the stage. The whole reason I was there in the first place! The legend behind the music that spoke to my soul was right there in the flesh.

As soon as he started his set, the fact that I was surrounded by so many unfamiliar faces no longer mattered, my anxiety had disappeared, and in that moment I had found solace. It felt as if I had been teleported to another dimension where only I and the music existed. I no longer cared about anything in the world during those brief couple of hours. The experience was pure bliss. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, he played Strangers (the only song I had cared about hearing all night).

As soon as the intro to the song came on, I became so giddy, so uncontrollably happy that it brought me to tears. I looked up to the ceiling with nothing in my mind other than the sounds that surrounded me as if I were transcending to heaven.

All I knew in that moment was that I was no longer in this reality.

Hearing everyone around me singing the lyrics to all of my favorite songs in unison made me realize that that was what going to a concert was all about. Experiencing the music you love, the music that shakes your very core, with a community that feels the exact same way.

At the end of it all, I was so grateful to the person who had convinced me to go. That single event alone changed my life in ways I never even knew was possible. And now, I take every opportunity I have to see him perform live, desperately trying to relive that unforgettable night. – Son Pham


Jasmine and Noname

Photo by Jasmine D.

My favorite concert I attended last year was Noname’s Telefone Tour featuring Ravyn Lenae. My best friend and I had been looking forward to this performance for months after Noname’s album release, and it was also going to be our first time attending an event at The Chapel in San Francisco. After looking up pictures of the venue we were stoked to find out that it was a smaller space with an intimate feel, so we had a better chance of getting closer to the front.

We decided to take BART to the city to avoid parking, but on our way there, both of us had to use the bathroom really badly so we could not wait to get to the concert. When we got off our stop, we realized the show was going to start soon, so we booked it to The Chapel, got our tickets scanned and made our way to the bathrooms.

After finally relieving ourselves, we walked out of the ladies’ room and noticed a door directly across the hallway from us that was cracked open ever so slightly. Being the curious cats we are, we walked towards the door and pushed it open to find ourselves at the front of the crowd, right next to the stage!

A few minutes later, Noname’s opener Ravyn Lenae came out and performed songs from her EP, Moon Shoes. Her silky, sweet singing sounded flawless and her vocal range was effortless. She was very open with the crowd about her journey as an artist and it felt like an honor to be so up close and personal with her.

After finishing her set, the one and only Noname walked out onto the stage and began performing with her band and four backup singers. It was enlightening seeing her rap right before my eyes in unity with the soulful vibe of live instruments and harmonizing singers. Her spoken word flow and playful rhyming on topics such as nostalgia, race, identity and death were all part of the genuine personality she shared on Telefone and on stage with us that night.

After the show was over, we headed towards the merch table and sure enough Ravyn Lenae was in the lobby taking pictures with people, and so my friend and I go to meet her and compliment her on her performance.

We also recognized two of the backup singers among the merch crowd and talked to them about what it was like to perform with Noname. Even though we didn’t get to meet Noname herself, we still got to the front of the crowd thanks to our weak bladders and the intimacy of the venue allowed us to get personal and interact with the performers.

This concert was an uplifting experience that I will always look back at and be grateful for, and I’m looking forward to seeing Noname perform her new album Room 25 live in concert soon! -Jasmine Dator


Stay tuned for more concert stories in the upcoming weeks, and feel free to share your own in the comments below! We’d love to hear about the music that means the most to you.

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