It was a warm summer’s evening when I queued outside of Scala in London for my first proper gig. I was sixteen and my brother had managed to secure tickets from a stranger on Facebook to see my favourite band at the time: Spector.
When Spector eased into ‘Bad Boyfriend’, an overwhelming sense of belonging washed over me. The room yelled back the lyrics louder than any PA system, and I could finally see how much this band is loved outside of my close friends.
The track I remember most that night was ‘Reeperbahn’, because of the way the band teased us with it. After the first play-through electric playthrough, they realised they had messed up one of the verses, so joked that they should play that verse again so anybody filming could stitch the clip in and make it look like they didn’t make the mistake. As they played through the verse, everyone was jumping again, ready for frontman Fred MacPherson to yell “The Reeperbahn” setting off another chorus. But they stopped just before, to cries of anguish.
‘Reeperbahn’ dives headfirst into bedlam and chaos, and from the first chord, the crowd was moving like nothing I had seen before. It sounded and looked like heaven, sweaty bodies flying at each other, adrenalin surging through my veins. That adrenaline dragon is something I will chase for the rest of my life.
Hearing ‘Reeperbahn’ at 16 was fitting, showing me a glimpse of what would come later. ‘Reeperbahn’ speaks to those long nights that you just don’t want to finish. We have all said “one more drink, and then I’m heading home”, but of course, there is never just a “one more drink”. ‘Reeperbahn’ is that night that starts when it feels that the whole world is at your feet, and ends somewhere you know you shouldn’t be, but the nihilism of it makes the night taste sweeter than any other.
At 16, I was still yet to experience a night like ‘Reeperbahn, and in the same way the band teased us with the opening bars of it, the song teased me. It gave just the faintest taste of nights where life cannot get any better, before ripping it away. Those 2 minutes and ten seconds meant so much to me as a teenager, and I am only just understanding why.