Bethany Macwana, Staff
“I follow the neon signs to your heart.”
The electric buzz in the air immediately surged through me as I walked through the doors of Union Transfer, a concert venue in Spring Garden. Union Transfer is one of the many live music venues in Philadelphia. On January 27, I had the unbelievable chance to see British singer-songwriter Suki Waterhouse perform a sold-out show.
Suki’s voice sounded comforting, yet innovative. Her melodies and harmonies became amplified by the edge found in the rock-pop element she brings to the table. Seeing her was really just a stroke of good timing. I was on the phone with my sister talking about the idea of doing more things in the city, and I told her about the concert. She jumped to action and found out some tickets were still left for the show. I grabbed my wallet and, probably in the span of 5 minutes, two tickets were secured. This happened about three days before the show, so the excitement within me was very high. This being my first show of 2023, I was super excited.
Having my sister come down for the weekend to hang out with me and to see the show was really sweet. It had been a while since I have seen her or have spent time with her, so going to a concert together was a neat experience.
The walls of Union Transfer have seen a lot before becoming the beloved music venue that it is today. In the past, this space was utilized as a luggage storehouse for a baggage company. The current space has been renovated since. The exterior looked like just about any other regular building you would find, but the interior took the cake. I loved the high ceilings with the exposed beams and the chandeliers that created the ambiance of close gatherings and good times. There was a bar towards the back and even loft areas on the top catwalk, so people could stand and watch the show from a bird’s eye perspective.
Me, on the other hand, I enjoyed the vibrancy of being in the pit alongside the pool of people surged to the front, mere feet away from the stage. In this tighter space, I felt like I connected better to the music and the true experience of seeing and hearing live performances. Being alongside so many people reminded me of the reach that music has. The general audience of the crowd were mostly people that looked like me, young college students, but there were some people that seemed older too. It reminded me that even if we all look so different, we were there together for one reason, and that is the beauty that is found in music.
The opening act, Blondshell, started the night on the right foot, welcoming the crowd and leading us into a lull with her sweet voice. I especially liked her song “Olympus.” Definitely give it a listen. Blondshell’s set was the perfect length, long enough to get you in the mood and also preparing yourself for the true show, the headliner. Once Blondshell wrapped up their set, the anticipation within me was heightened. My sister and I were able to get close to the front, but we were on the left side of the pit, so we saw everything from a side angle. Paired with the fact that I am a little on the shorter side, it was not the most ideal spot, but since we were still so close to the front, I would not want to move anywhere else.
The moment that Suki came onto stage, my heart nearly leapt out of my chest. Up until this moment, I did not really know what to expect, but she truly captivated the audience with her grace, powerful voice, and sweetness. Suki’s charming nature was evident as she participated in someone’s BeReal and took photos on the stage in between songs. She was so happy to just be there and that made the whole night even sweeter. I loved hearing her perform one of my favorite songs “Melrose Meltdown”, and even other great ones like, “Nostalgia” and the namesake of the tour “Coolest Place in the World.”
The absolute most incredible moment during the show was when she looked at me. Okay, this can be debatable, but I promise you, Suki Waterhouse, and yours truly locked eyes during the performance, and she did not break eye contact either! Our gazes held one another for a good 10 seconds, at least, while she sang. At this moment, I could have just melted. Seeing an artist that I grew so fond of and for her to see me, in a sea of people, I do not think there could be anything more fantastic than that.
The night ended with Suki performing her song that blew up on TikTok a while back, “Good Looking,” and before I knew it, the multicolor lights dimmed, and the chandelier lights came back on. The past two hours that I was there felt like it happened in a blur, but I felt this serendipitous state of mind. I felt like I was just on cloud nine, and I felt so happy. My sister left to grab her coat from coat check, and I even got a chance to meet the opening act’s lead singer Sabrina!
The night ended from there, but the memories will stay with me forever. I am going to my grave, fully believing that in those brief 10 seconds, Suki Waterhouse serenaded me during her amazing performance in Philly.