"I hear the drizzle of the rain/It's fallen from my window/And in the corners of my mind I'll get to see you again."
Janelle Monae, "Oh, Maker"
I always said I was going to see Janelle Monae come hell or high water. I didn't realize how accurate that statement was going to be until my friend Steven and I found ourselves looking at flooded roads one Thursday morning as we made our way to the Cities to see the self-proclaimed ArchAndroid perform at First Ave.
"Yes, let's weave while trying to take a photo," an exasperated Steven said as the car ahead of us desperately tried to take a photo of the submerged road ahead.
"Well it doesn't seem that bad," I said, precisely at the moment as an SUV tank of a vehicle became half-submerged in the water. "I, I retract my earlier statement."
My father once said there is no such things as detours, just unplanned scenic routes. He also has never pulled over to ask for directions in the 27 years I've been on Earth so take that as you will. So the first song of this Mixtape, as Steven and myself found ourselves endlessly meandering on detour after detour around the Minnesota countryside, is naturally the B-52's "Roam."
We here at the Mixtape still have fond memories of the B-52s from our childhood, specifically because of the redhead guest-starring on one of the greatest programs on Nick in the 1990s.
"Early late at night I wander off into a land/You can go, but you mustn't tell a soul
There's a world inside/Where dreamers meet each other
Once you go it's hard to come back
Let me paint your canvas as you dance"
Janelle Monae, "Wondaland"
"You are now off-track," Steven's GPS on his phone robotically informed us.
"How are we off track?" sighed Steven. "We're at a red light, we haven't moved."
"We can do it softcore if you want/But you should know I take it both ways."
Of Montreal, "For Our Elegant Caste"
"Yes," I said.
"Maybe, from a distance," Steven said.
With time to kill before having to line up in front of First Ave., Steven and I found ourselves playing another round of "Yes or No" or what we used to call it in college, "Imaginary Whore." Best played in some sort of public venue, you and your friend have to give snap judgments about the people are walking past, determining whether you'd have sex with them based solely on their appearance. No fuglies with sparkling personalities allowed, no "I feel like they could get me a really good job somewhere." Completely and gleefully based on superficial, hormonal reactions.
We kickly determined a few things while walking around Nicolett Mall: 1) More people should have first dates while half a block away from each other because that does WONDERS for their appearance 2) When playing this game at a mall, it's best to completely drop the "No" part of the "Yes or No" because it's pretty much a sea of No with an occasional buoy of Yes and 3) You should never feel bad about playing the game because, judging by the person who gave Steven the once over while making a very provocative gesture with their tongue, we aren't the only ones playing it.
Waiting in line for a show is always a bit of a crapshoot and especially at First Avenue where the hipster douchebag quotient is always high.
"IT'S ABOUT HUMANTASTIC TENDENCIES!" shouted a very drunk girl a few people ahead of us as she, quite skillfully I must say, juggled in her hands her purse, a glove cigarette, a water bottle filled with booze, a tube of glitter AND a small hitter to smoke weed with. She may barely have a grasp of the English language or, you know, reality, but god bless her holding onto all the crap.
"I just got mouthful of glitter," I coughed as the girl continued to attempt throwing glitter on her little entourage of friends, sending most of it into the wind and the rest of us.
"You know there is a time and a place for glitter," said a woman, in black boots and her hair pulled back in a ponytail held with a feather, directly in front of us. "This is not one of those times."
"YES, FIVE TIMES A DAY!" I shouted.
Steven looked at me, slightly puzzled.
"Sorry," I said. "I saw somebody I'd have sex with walking in the crosswalk."
"You know I once got hit on here by a guy taking out the garbage here," the woman said, inhaling the last bit of her American Spirit cigarette.
"Well at least you know he had a job," I said.
"And you know he was able to pass a drug test at least once," Steven added.
"But just because a record has a groove/Don't make it in the groove
But you can tell right away at letter A/When the people start to move"
Stevie Wonder, "Sir Duke"
As Stevie Wonder played inside of First Avenue, Steven and I, along with two of his college friends/former bandmates, were able to get ourselves front row and center for the show.
"I really like your moustache," said the Glitter Queen to Steven's friend dressed in a grey cardigan, a v-neck shirt and most importantly, a modified handlebar moustache that made him like Brandon Flowers circa Sam's Town era of The Killers.
"It's fake," his friend, dressed in a Matt and Kim, t-shirt joked.
"Can I touch it?"
"No," The Moustached One said, adding the total lie of, "I'm a germaphobe."
"You are not GERMATIC" slurred Glitter Queen.
"And a new word is born," Steven muttered under his breath as the lights dimmed for the show to the start.
We'd tell you how Janelle was but words can't fully express how wonderful she is as a live entertainer. All we can say is that by the time she whipped out a cover of "Smile" both Steven and I were
from the fantasticness.
A taste of live Janelle Monae, from her appearance on Monique
And all we can say now is, in the words of Ms. Monae, "Babopbyeya" to you all and hope you have as amazing a weekend as my twelve hour adventure was this past Thursday.