honeycombed anonymity

The American songstress’s voice echoed amongst the massive forged steel beams that made up the cieling of the century-old Coliseum, an industrial-looking structure with a vast arena and 100, narrow, private boxes arrayed about the massice hexagon, a giant, grey honeycomb in which the greater part of the bees had opted to stick to the floor. The music festival had commandered the monumental space, as it had done with half a dozen other, unconventional venues throughout the city centre: an art deco movie house for a Brazilian indie session, rhythm and blues in the nearby train station’s former carriage entrance, an experimental dejay in a 1910’s theatre in such a state of disrepair that stucco dust fell from the stage’s molded frame with every intense burst of the bass. But here, in the Coliseum, the girl’s voice intermingled in just the right way with the throbbing drum line, the sporadic guitar rips, the steady beat, and despite the inherent reservedness of their culture and upbringing, the audience writhed in turn, under the steady gaze of those who had wandered up the stairs and occupied the unlocked boxes, boxes that were ideal to see while relatively unseen, to be brash and riotous, to be used in ways in which the boxes were unaccustomed, for these were proper XX century boxes, and not the rank spaces of the 1700’s, privately owned and decorated and used for everything except watching the action onstage. But the beat and the volume and the intensity of it all, the darkness and anonymity, allowed for the place to be fabulously baroque, if for one night only; a free for all from the heights, under steel beams, with box doors securely fastened, and not a powdered wig amongst the lot.

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