Before this trip, I had taken shrooms several times before, but only had two successful trips. The other times I had shrooms that were either not potent enough to noticeably affect me or were just frauds devoid of any magic. I followed advice from a trusted source to spread my shrooms throughout the evening, rather than taking them all at once. The year before I ended up taking a whole eighth in one night (split into two doses) and it was too intense of an experience to repeat again anytime soon, so I saved half of my eighth to take a couple days later. That trip was a completely different experience and the report will come later.
One of my favorite bands (Asobi Seksu) was playing that night, and I had seen them a few times before, but never under the influence of anything but cheap beer. Actually, I had seen them two nights before and the performance naturally raised my serotonin levels to such a degree it was like being high while sober. They are often pigeonholed in the world of shoegaze by the media, and while there are dense layers of noise, they are coupled with synths and gorgeous pop melodies. In any case, their music combines different sounds and spins them into something catchy, dreamy, and psychedelic that seemed to be a good fit for a mushroom trip. Hours before the show I had a cheap margarita and a shot, but that buzz wore off well before I made it inside the venue, where I did have another beer before ingesting the shrooms.
Right as the first band of the evening, Tapedeck Mountain, took the stage, I took a pinch of my shrooms, and took some more 30 minutes later. After 25 minutes or so, the next band (Braids) began their set, and I took another pinch of shrooms, followed by a final one at the end of their set. By the time I stopped taking the shrooms, I had consumed half an eighth, or less than two grams. The magic began to kick in during Braids (an hour after initial dosing), and I felt very mildly stoned. Braids' dynamic vocals and tribal percussions sounded richer than could ever be heard on the best headphones, so they were as good a match for psychedelics as I expected.
After Braids, my sober friend and I moved up closer to the stage for Asobi Seksu. As they set up their gear, the magic started hitting me pretty hard. As we exchanged previous gig reports, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and deeply connected to every word I said and heard. My mouth also had an uncontrollable urge to grin like the Joker. Just as I wondered if my face would be stuck like that forever, it loosened as the band began.
Throughout the blistering, hour-long set, I was able to completely lose myself to the show and silence all the thoughts in my head that distract during most live shows. Often I find myself over analyzing the set, wondering what comes next, or being plagued by whatever thoughts and feelings I have had recently. Basically, I was able to shut off my brain and crank up the emotions. I had not been that happy in a couple years and there was never any fear or anxiety, nor did any long-suppressed emotional baggage surface.
Musically, Asobi Seksu sounded like I was hearing them again for the first time. Sound had morphed into complete surround sound. I saw Roger Waters performing Dark Side of the Moon years before while only on weed, and the mushroom effect was far trippier than his actual quadrophonic sound. The best I can articulate what exactly they sounded like goes like this: imagine a still body of water, and the ripple effect that occurs when a drop of water hits the surface. Well, hearing Asobi Seksu on mushrooms was like that in reverse. The waves of sound closed in on me from all around in 360 degrees in a perfect circle. I guess it's a reverse of the ripple effect, but with sound instead of water.
Being at a club gig, fancy lighting or elaborate stage props were not part of the agenda. However, I did experience some highly enjoyable visuals. Instead of merely "seeing spots" as I closed my eyes during the strobe light moments, I "saw" a field of butterflies of light surrounding the singer, who appeared more as an angelic figure emitting light, with the bassist becoming an incandescent pillar.
I wanted to reach out to everyone, embrace them, and declare that "I AM ON MUSHROOMS AND IT FEELS FANTASTIC!" This thankfully did not happen, but unfortunately, I did find myself telling everyone that I was tripping and on what. It started with the band. I don't really recall all of what I said, except I tried to be subtle about it without saying it directly (referencing a song that was inspired by a bad mushroom trip), but that didn't work so I flat out said I was on a couple grams of shrooms. Apparently someone from Braids said "that is awesome!", and laughs were had when I tried and failed to answer the question of what Asobi Seksu is like on shrooms, but my memory is a bit hazy.
After the show, I returned to my hostel and received a call and text from a buddy that was having some trouble. He thought his car was stolen, but it turned out that it was merely towed. So I told him I was tripping, of course. Also, I texted my best friend and did the same, and signed onto AIM and told a few more. I had to go to the bathroom and apparently I spent too long in there because someone bitched at me for doing so. Probably got distracted by the lights and my reflection. I sat on an extremely comfortable couch and tried to sober up because I needed some sleep before catching a train in the morning. My mind was not cooperating, so I watched a painted window that looked like a black and white ocean swirling before my eyes.
Unable to go to sleep, I tried to unlock my locker to get my laptop, and after what felt like an eternity struggling with the lock in the dark, I succeeded, so I sent someone dear to me a long facebook message of shroomy ramblings. I told her about the show, every silly thought that came up on my head, and how we should do them together. While doing all this, someone sat down on the same table and kept talking to me about how some juicer disrespected him outside and he's from New York, the center of the world, and all these weird things about how he could retaliate but wouldn't. I told him that I was on shrooms and he stopped talking and shook his head and laughed. Honestly, I wanted him to stop talking because he was confusing me and getting dangerously close to ruining the end of the trip.
My message of shroomed-out ramblings did contain two points I will stand by a month and a half later: 1) When dealing with negative people, such as the girl that complained I spent all of ten minutes in the bathroom, or the brahs that were fistpumping and sloshing beer all over like Jersey Shore rejects throughout the entire Asobi Seksu set as if they were at Tiesto, just shrug and move on because if shrooming is a trip, then those are just stops at the gas station restroom along the way. 2) When choosing a band to see live while tripping on mushrooms, choose with care because it should be a special, sacred occasion. So bands whose music and/or light show has psychedelic qualities are an obvious choice, but it's best when it's something connected with already on a deeply personal, emotional level, rather than just appreciated intellectually.
The mushrooms began dwindling in effect at around 3am, but I was still elated and oversharing. In addition to my friends and the stranger at the hostel, I went to a room on tinychat that I occasionally frequent and told people I was on shrooms. At 4:30am, the magic completely and abruptly dissipated, and I packed up my computer and went to bed for 90 minutes before showering and heading back to Los Angeles.