Author: Frankie Pinuela
Performing is so weird. I absolutely adore it and take every chance I get to do it, but it is one of the weirdest experiences one can have–especially as a frequent audience member. On March 3rd, 2023, I performed alongside bands Sinking Season and Birthday Girl for this month’s KXSU in-studio concert; both absolute class acts. And thus, I had the honor of crossing that line between spectator and artist; I had the same privilege in January for that month’s in-studio.
Watching someone pour their heart out onstage, willingly and happily exposing themselves in an incredibly vulnerable manner, is an otherworldly experience that I enjoy every time I am lucky enough to see a musician live. But getting to be that person, getting to be watched, appreciated, and applauded (even just by a few people) for expressing your heartbreak, your happiness, your mistakes, your regrets, is something beyond words. And, I am so grateful that KXSU gave me another opportunity to do so this month.
Having an actual setlist is exhilarating but shockingly challenging. Playing for an an extended amount of time, even just for 25 minutes, comes with its own unique speed bumps. In addition to memorizing an increased amount of chords and lyrics (or notes or rhythms or whatever your instrument requires) and the physical fatigue of standing up, singing, and playing for a good while, there is the struggle of messing up and recovering and just living in that mistake on stage in front of everyone, realizing in that moment that the setlist is not working and cutting songs or mixing them up, and playing original songs between covers and mentally comparing them. But, even with all of those complaints, the pros far, far outweigh the cons.
For one, it is the coolest feeling getting to invite people to your “gig.” I put that word in quotation marks because I am no professional and the label holds a level of sanctity for me, but technically, it was a “gig.” And, for the entire month prior to that so-called “gig,” I went around asking people to come, giving them the location and time of the show, telling them how much it would mean for them to show up, and topping it all off with “no pressure, of course!” You do not have to have an audience to be an artist, but it is incredibly validating to have something to show for your work–like a “gig.”
Additionally, playing music and singing is fun. I mean, once the nerves wash and the bile at the back of your throat finally makes its way down, it is fantastic. I am totally and utterly in my element. And, like I said earlier, getting to say what you want to say, and in the way you want to, and people showing up to see you do so, is insane in the best way.
However, one thing I will probably never get over is seeing my name on a poster. On bulletin boards around campus, on the beige walls of a dorm lobby, and enlarged on those a-frame standing signs near entrances, I will never tire of it. It’s like seeing my name in lights. It makes me feel like a real musician.
I would like to thank KXSU for giving me more than one opportunity to perform. These in-studios have been so unbelievable from the kind audiences, to the talented fellow artists, and to even getting to do sound checks beforehand. It has all been amazing to say the very least. And, thank you to all my friends for showing up to all my “gigs.”
FRANKIE PINUELA | Slayster | KXSU DJ