It wasn’t even 6 o’clock but I was already holding back tears and cursing the world in the ass crack of Times Square on Friday night. It was a pretty rough day at work, filled with “highly confidential” slavery and other deplorable nonsense. I knew the sun would be in Scorpio until the 22nd, but even Susan Miller’s astrological foreseeings couldn’t have prepared me for the reality of the week’s impending drudgery. I dragged my lifeless body to the NQR and somehow ended up outside the locked and very clearly closed Stub Hub office I was looking for. It would be open until 8, Google said.
Before jumping into oncoming traffic to ease the pain, I noticed a sign that directed me to a building across the street for ticket-related inquiries. There, I was told no more tix for Rynnie’s show were actually available, despite what my phone was telling me. Seven tickets left Google said. You should risk your life and dignity trekking to an unreliable reseller for tickets that were definitely available they said.
I looked into the eyes of a vomiting pedestrian outside of McDick’s and contemplated admitting defeat. Curling up with Ben & Jerry for the night didn’t sound so bad after all. But my heart was pulling me to the show. I had seen Ryn and gang the night before at Webster Hall and I knew I would be subjected to a night of fomo and lifetime of regret if I didn’t at least try to see them again.
Ticketless but full of hope, I headed to the venue as soon as I could. I navigated the intricacies of Brooklyn’s streets with more cryptic direction from Google and reveled in the distant echo of ASTR’s “Operate” as I passed Lorimer Street. Things were already better.
Praying I wouldn’t have to pull the “I’m a backup vocalist” thing, I hopped in line at Warsaw and prepared myself to get aggressive with a security guard if I couldn’t get in.
Instead I was met with a painfully pleasant young girl who replied with an enthusiastic “YEAH” when asked if I could buy tickets at the venue. That was easier than I thought. I walked in and assumed position as mysterious wallflower try-hard and took a quick power nap next to an Asian man in a sequin unitard.
Holychild came on soon after and killed it, just as they had the night before. Liz was made for the stage—a true, fully invested performer. I remember being annoyed by their music when I first heard it, but after a second listen I was hooked. And while I had a newfound obsession with their recorded work, their sound was on another level live. Their set was rehearsed to a T—almost identical to what I had seen the night before, but the polished, over-the-top routine worked with their sarcastic brat pop brand. Every song was lovely, but no matter the setting, “Tell Me How It Is,” “Nasty Girls,” and “Money All Around” still get me shaking my ass the hardest. Liz and Louie were delightful.
I spent the next half hour of stage maintenance doing plyometrics to a Marina & The Diamonds song, replaying Kylie Jenner’s snapchat story an unhealthy amount of times, and napping a bit more.
Then it was time.
The lights were dimming, music was fading, and I could feel beautiful bambi Ryn’s energy peaking out from behind the stage. Then good gal Ryn Ryn slayed the crowd with her presence, serving Waldo-chic realness in a striped loose-fitting top.
Ryn’s performance immediately proved to be much less formulaic in juxtaposition with Holychild’s, but still kept the torch of girl power and cultural defiance aflame. She started off with a melodically deviant version of “Runaway” followed by an enchanting “OctaHate” teaser before diving into “Pierre” and a personal favorite “Sail On.” I’ve been listening to “Sail On” since I first discovered Ryn through a Buzzfeed post last year and it still manages to hit me with too many feels for my cold heart to comprehend. She did it complete justice with a steadfast and convicting vocal.
After, Ryn asked if anyone at the show had discovered her last year. I raised my hand proudly. I was instantly taken back to the moment I first heard “OctaHate,” Ryn’s viral pop staple, when there was only one Ryn photo to be found online:
I remember thinking it was a solid pop song, but something about it rang “I am capable of so much more.” And boy was I right.
The Fool’s other ten songs quickly reduced “OctaHate” to a charming token of nostalgia in my book of Ryn. The three other songs on her Promises EP allowed for a peak into the tunnel of Ryn’s potential, but The Fool takes listeners a world further. And while none of the new tracks seem to possess the same viral “OctaHate” infectiousness, The Fool’s additions to Ryn’s former catalog make up for lack of mass commercial appeal with good old-fashioned authenticity. The work as a whole paints a more colorful, dynamic picture of the still blossoming singer-songwriter, and along with it came an influx of similarly progressive photos.
“OctaHate” was something of a stepping-stone into more daring territory for Ryn—the cathartic tantrum necessary before venturing into a more mature artistic space. Ryn was confident and sure of herself on the stage before me, and her signature vocal quarrel held no trace of anxiousness or fear. I was proud mom, dangerously invested fangirl, and admiring observer all at once.
A couple tracks later Ryn went on to perform the other song that shares the top spot in my heart, “Free,” and I unleashed a series of unfortunate dance moves that should be reserved only for the blind and drunk uncles at wedding receptions. I felt every wearisome ounce of my day/week/life being lifted from my shoulders, giving me the courage to physically demonstrate the moving emotional experience without fear of spraining an ankle in my six inch heels–what music is all about.
Ryn then went into “Traveling Song,” a heartwrenching ode to her late grandfather Max, and I noticed a stronger Ryn once more. Where I had once seen videos of her breaking into a justified sob during performances of the song, I now witnessed a girl who sincerely believed it when she sang “I’ll see you on the road.” It was no longer a song about loss, but a celebration of life and the joining of souls on a new plane. I suppose that’s what it was always about, but I could feel that Ryn truly understood it this time. Max, who Ryn described as “the fucking man,” was undoubtedly present as audience members chanted along for the song’s sweet anecdotal end.
At some point Ryn asked for everyone in the audience to make two new friends, as she had the night before. I turned to my left and met Jon who told me about the time he was on acid surrounded by middle-aged women. He reminded me that if I am ever in an uncomfortable situation, it could always be worse. Jon then introduced me to his friend Matthew. I asked Matthew if he was on acid and he said no, but assured me that he was “tripping balls” the day before.
Ryn got back to the music soon after, covering every track on her debut release with a cheeky tale accompanying each song, and ended the night with one of her more chill-worthy songs “New Constellations.” I’ve never heard a song quite like it before and as corny as it may sound, it really shines like the pieces of Ryn’s own constellation. Ryn’s constellation is one of fools and believers, where she is the sun who will never admit that she’s more than her smallest stars. Ryn gave nothing but sincerity in a raw vocal testimony at the song’s dramatic end where she ardently encouraged listeners to “run.” It was almost powerful enough to make me believe I could take on high school soccer tryouts again and actually complete that 2-mile. Almost.
As the show came to a close I headed outside to people-watch and record passing conversations. My friends tell me this is creepy, but I take that as a compliment these days. I had been ousted earlier in the evening when I tried to do the same going into the show and a boy behind me yelled, “The girl in front of us is recording because obviously we have really funny things to say.” You weren’t that funny, line boy!
After sitting alone on the sidewalk for over an hour I realized it was in my best interest to head back home. No one had threatened to kill, rape, or abduct me yet and I didn’t want to push my luck. I got up and turned the corner to find a strange man waving at me from across the street. It was acid Jon and his friend Matthew. My new friends! They were the only ones still waiting for Ryn and I decided to hang as well. The two quickly became a close rival for highlight of my night next to Ryn’s performance.
In our time spent outside next to a shattered convenience store window I learned that there was more to Jon and Matthew than meets the eye. Jon’s eye was literally bleeding, as it had been for the past six days. Jon likes to tell people he was feeding a hot dog to a linx at the Bronx zoo when the animal took a disliking to his eye. In reality, Matthew was tripping hard and threw a beer at his face.
We each slowly revealed the depths of our characters as the minutes passed and were soon embracing on the street corner as we confessed our love for Kanye West. We came to the conclusion that Jack White is a narcissistic asshole who only beat up Dan Auerbach out of fear that he would be uncomfortable at PTA meetings and discussed the complexities of Jack’s tour rider, in which he demands absolutely no bananas. Jon suggested we dress up as bananas to attend his next show.
At some point during our conversation about the butthole of America Ryn took a short-lived stroll down the sidewalk across from us. I yelled that she “slayed my soul” and she replied, “I love you babygirl!” before disappearing for another hour. After we grew tired of suggestively gyrating in front of her tour bus window, we decided to venture into the bar to see if Ryn was back inside. There we found Ryn’s meet and greet and almost made it past the barely intimidating security guard, but decided not to make a scene. We settled for chatting at the bar, where we got talking to Louie and Liz of Holychild. Jon gushed to Louie about their impeccable live sound but openly expressed his disdain for Liz’s wig. I assured Liz that I loved her wig and she thanked me with a kiss before leaving for the bathroom.
We decided to head out again to look for Ryn when I noticed my eternal #mcm Benny Blanco across the way. He and Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit wrote and produced The Fool with Ryn and I’ve been following Benny to shows ever since I first came to NYC. After months of harassing him on Twitter and asking him on romantic dates to no avail I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to let him know how his disinterest makes me feel.
I hugged him before letting him know that I was “pissed as fuck” that he never acknowledges “my online presence.” He laughed and told me to tag him in something before driving off into the night. I immediately hit him up with the desperate result of my barely buzzed afterthoughts:
Subtle, but still screams “please put a ring on it my biological clock is ticking.”
After Benny left, we made our way across the street where Ryn was found lifting up her shirt to an intimate crowd of admirers and sharing stories that were understood to never be repeated again. It was like a storybook campfire sleepover on an otherwise deserted Brooklyn sidewalk–Ryn’s island of misfit fools. One boy told me about the time he had Lana Del Rey sign his inhaler. The flamboyant asthmatic then went on to exclaim that his “pussy tastes like chicken fries.” Somehow this was exactly what I was expecting from a late night Ryn Weaver sidewalk sesh.
At some point a security guard came out regretting to informs us that the police were going to bust his balls if we didn’t clear out. This same security guard almost busted his own balls by picking me up to get in a selfie with Ryn and my new friend Courtney. I also met Ryn’s beautiful best friend and star of “OctaHate” video round two, Hayley, who told me before she left that if anyone ever tries to take advantage of me I should “stomp on their fucking dick.”
Finally it was time to leave Ryn’s land and get back to the grim realities of life. Matthew, Jon, and I made our way to the nearest subway station where we came up with a brilliant plan to film the world’s first PG porno, featuring Devil Dogs instead of penises. Matthew force-fed me his Devil Dog in the station while the men beside us engaged in a serious debate about the Academy Awards. Jon pointed out that a cab company ad reading “can’t stop won’t stop” was a poor choice in advertising. Matthew then pulled off a spot-on rendition of “With Arms Wide Open” before we pondered if there was a multi-dimensional fourth subway rail that holds the answers to all of life’s mysteries. The boys made me crouch down in the station next to a puddle of what was most probably urine—possibly my own– and proclaim, “I am the night.” After, I snapped some pics of the boys next to the subway’s finest artwork and got on a train going the wrong way.
On the train we filmed a bit of our porno, which we deemed an Academy Award winner ourselves. We then found our way to a train going the right way with the help of an MTA employee—although any way with Matthew and Jon seemed to be right–and we embraced once more on a different city sidewalk before vowing to see Ryn together whenever she comes back.
Matthew, who realized he and Jon were most definitely not making any of the buses they had originally planned on taking back to Jersey, left me with words of wisdom true for any literal trip to a Ryn performance or more figurative journey into Ryn’s world: “Never buy a roundtrip.”