meet BAGGAGE and listen to their new song "Horseshoe"
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Picture this: you walk into a small gig (on time for the opener—as you should), and see everyone present has already selected their spot to stand and sway. Do you…
A) lean against a wall on the side
B) cluster in the back middle
C) walk straight up to the stage, front and center
Be honest, you chose A or B (if you chose C, congrats on your confidence level—I wish I was more like you). Whether it’s the anxiety of crowding the performers, indifference to the act, or just straight-up fear of breaking the pattern, something makes audiences shy away from getting up close and personal.
How is it, though, as a musician, to walk out to a plot of empty space that people are avoiding as if it’s forbidden territory?
Flint, MI's Baggage, fronted by Jonathan (“Jono”) Diener, explores this point of view in their new single, “Horseshoe” –– click to stream.
Coined as a term for the natural shape audiences take as they file into a venue, the song is an honest lament about the lack-luster gigs that groups often have to struggle through until they hit their stride.
“Our drummer, Kris, made a joke about an awkward show we played: ‘looks like we played to the horseshoe again.’ I asked what he meant, then he told me it was the semi-circle of people who are too afraid to walk up to the stage when there are not many people there.” (Jonathan Diener)
The release is accompanied by a slow-motion music video, directed by The Mata Brothers –– to achieve the molasses-like effect, the group had to play along to a track running at 250% of its regular steady speed. Isolated in an open field, one by one the musicians stop playing and walk away from the frontman, which he explains is a nod to the way that Baggage has navigated their beginnings as a band.
“It’s surreal, slow-moving and one by one things start to fall apart. You end up alone, but it’s up to you to keep pushing and make things work. You compare it to the past and romanticize nostalgia, but sometimes to do the right thing, you have to move on. That’s why the band is called Baggage.” (Jonathan Diener)
But even though the track is about the hardships of gig-life, it’s refreshingly self-aware. “I’d ask you to move up / but I wouldn’t want to if I were in your shoes” jumps out because it acknowledges the way that this nervousness of interacting with something unfamiliar; a feeling that crosses over the hypothetical fourth wall that separates performers from their peers.
That’s why we need you, “C” choosers. Walk up to the front at your next show, look up from your phone, and listen to the set. Us A’s and B’s are more than likely to follow your example—and in turn create an atmosphere that makes everyone in the room feel a little more comfortable to be themselves.
written by Olivia Keasling
edited by Jamie Coletta