When we first walked up to the Howard Theatre Friday night, all we could see is a never ending crowd of people waiting to enter through the double doors to hear the soulful sounds of The Internet. We arrived around 11 at night to find that the line to get in wrapped around the block to Shaw Metro Station.
As security let us in, I saw such a beautiful array of people. Some with curly brown afros, others with long, blonde straight hair. Some with Jordans, some with loafers. From tattoos and piercings to button ups and dresses, these people accurately displayed DC’s diverse style for those in their 20’s and 30’s.
Once we got in, people were excitedly moving around, searching for their seat upstairs or crowding the stage for the best opportunity to touch Syd’s hand. It was too dark to capture any good footage but still bright enough to see the eagerness around us. The room was filled with dedicated fans, Hip Hop junkies who had never heard of the Internet (or Odd Future), and a very friendly man with light up sneakers.
It was a little after midnight when we made our way to the backstage door, where we were greeted by a security guard about three times my size. We asked to go backstage to shoot some footage, but he let us know (in his stern, security guard voice) that we needed green wristbands to come backstage. We only had blue. So after a failed attempted to obtain a green wristband, we just headed up to the balcony until the show began.
Shortly after 1 a.m., soundcheck ended and some lights were turned on. Now it was time to get the crowd hype. A couple of songs played where you could see the crowd singing and dancing along. But then,Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” came on. That’s all it took to get an entire theater hype enough to see Syd the Kid, Matt Martians, Christopher Smith, Patrick Paige and Jameel Bruner show out in DC.
While Kendrick kept them hype, the lights dimmed back, signaling the concert starting soon. All you see is a wave of blue lights scrolling across a sea of head bobbing, fist pumping, afro-centric fans.
The crowd was waving their arms nonstop and singing just about every word of every track that they played. Syd was full of energy and life the entire time. Her interactions and occasional smiles towards the fans truly showed her personality on stage.
Shortly into the show, we were ready to find a new location to experience the band and get some different angles for the photographs. We went back downstairs to try to get as close as possible to the left side of the stage as we could. We stayed here for only a few minutes until a very kind lady we saw earlier working the front door offered to take us up on stage in the back so we can be closer. So of course we accepted and followed after her.
Once we were on stage we were able to capture the magic of the show. We saw some of Syd’s biggest fans, a few of whom probably had a dream come true when Syd reached out to hold their hands and to sing to them.
But as much as I love the band’s involvement with the crowd, I love their interaction with each other even more. Being so close to them allowed me to pay closer attention to their movements and signals to each other. I especially loved the couple of moments when they randomly broke out into a dance because they were just vibing so hard from the energy in the room.
Other songs they performed included their recent single, “Girl“, “Gabby” and “Special Affair“.
As the night went on and the end of the setlist was approaching, they performed “Penthouse Cloud,” a more philosophical track on the Ego Death album that was written the morning after the Michael Brown verdict was announced. They asked for everyone to take out their phones and hold up their lights.
It was beautiful. The crowd sang along and the mood in the theater changed. There was a sense of togetherness and power in the room. The crowd participation and love for the band were amazing.
After the show ended, I congratulated some of the members on a great show. It was definitely one of the best concerts I’ve been to in a very long time. If you haven’t seen The Internet perform live before, I definitely suggest you listen to their albums and buy a ticket to see them as soon as possible. The energy experienced at the Howard Theatre Friday night was one to be remembered.