EDITOR'S NOTE: This was my first time experiencing live the likes of Blaison Maven, Jeanleon, Soraya La Pread, and Dame 55 in-person. I had photographed the individual performers altogether for our exclusive SUSPEND interviews (here and here), but I had only listened to tracks sent to me online and directly via e-mail from each recording artist and a track by DJ/Producer, La Pread. It's something different to see everyone, however, in his or her element. And it is the reason why I decided to create SUSPEND in the first place.
Every day, chances are most of us are chained to a work desk or stuck commuting to a full-time or part-time endeavor that is not entirely by choice. It's out of necessity. The majority of you SUSPEND readers are in your early 20's, mid-20's, or late 20's and you have bills that need sorting. Student loans that need paying. Rent that needs tending to. But the majority of you also are passionate. Passionate to learn, passionate to read more, passionate to get out there and create. And once we find each other, we become magnetized and hooked; the symbiotic in-person exchange and fluidic notion of sharing our skills, talents, and findings becomes a hobby in itself. We build, we grow, we learn, we mess up, but try again. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
I have encountered, in SUSPEND's short two-year existence, the spark in a person's eyes when he or she is in the zone. It's complete bliss and suddenly you forget about work the next morning, setting your alarm, the car service repair you have to make an appointment for, or the laundry you have to do later. All that matters is what's in front of you. For me, on this night, it was the electrifying stage. Blaison Maven came out first and woke up the entire room from the back of the bar to inches from where his microphone cord ended. His eyes - his eyes said it all, but it came together in harmony with his powerful words, clearly enunciated and inflected with each and every syllable. Soraya La Pread, the mastermind on the side of the stage, was noticeably concentrated on the sounds reverberating from the speakers. Then came the duo Jeanleon, in their tailored suits and matching charm. Dame 55 ended the evening with his commanding stage presence. The glasses came off, the jacket pushed off to the side, and the sleeves were rolled UP. He meant business. He ended with a rendition of Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and the crowd screamed for more.
What comes after everyone's performance is a massive group hug, handshakes, and congratulatory words. We left that venue pumped. It was the fuel I needed for another work week and the inspiration to keep pushing on with SUSPEND one day at a time.
Thank you to our performers for thrilling us into euphoria. And thank you to everyone who came out to support SUSPEND and purchase a copy of ISSUE 04. The evening was a success because of you.
Photographs by Jonathan Tate for SUSPEND Magazine / Special thanks to The Roxy