When we get to the venue at 4:00 PM, there’s already someone posted up outside, seemingly in the hopes of getting a ticket to the sold out show. It’s so fucking hot outside, and he’s going to wait there dripping with sweat to see Meg perform. Later that night we see him front and center with his phone taking video the whole entire time. This is the level that her devoted fan base functions on.
While we wait for Meg to make it to the venue on that ridiculously hot day, her drummer lights a bundle of sage on stage. She’s running a little late, but the other photographer and I are happy to sit in the dark air conditioned venue while we wait. When we meet, her tone is cool and calm, and she seems to be relieved by the news that we wouldn’t be doing a full-on interview, just a quick shoot and hang. Her hair, a short bob with bangs, is growing out from a short pixie – her hands are constantly tousling the bangs or adjusting the sides to sit in front of or behind her ears. She’s “PMSing,” but turns it into a joke as my camera flashes right in her face for a closeup. We commiserate over how hard it is to remember people’s names, or to put a face to a name until you see that face in person once again, when I ask if she’s met my friend/her publicist.
I insist that she continue whatever she’d been doing before we invaded the basement green (blue) room, and she nonchalantly tells us that she was taking a swig of tequila. A few moments later, her drummer appears with the same smoking bundle of sage, saying that he’d been scolded upstairs for setting something on fire in the venue, weirdly. Meg and her bandmates have a very mellow aura offstage in the middle of the afternoon, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from her show. We left her to finish her chicken and rice.
Even with air conditioner pumping, the amount of bodies in the space combined with the humidity pouring in from outside, the heat set the tone for the show. It only took a few songs for Meg to push her long flowing sleeves as far up her arm as possible, and for her hair, which was now halfway up in two little buns, to stick to her face in thick strands. She may be petite, but she leaves nothing to be wanted onstage. She’s very theatrical in her delivery, reaching her hands out to the crowd and up to the heavens when she’s not playing bass on a song. Her face is lit up with rage or heartbreak, and her voice is a powerful vehicle for her words. In between songs, though, she comes right back down to the tone she used to speak with me earlier, engaging in the crowd’s attempts to have a two-way banter sesh with a cool calm. Occasionally she’ll pace the stage, collecting herself before diving into the next song.
I was most surprised by the makeup of the crowd. I guess I was expecting mostly younger females, but there was a pretty even mix of ages, genders, and ethnicities. Her music clearly has a wide appeal, and her fans sang along and took videos for their Instagram stories with stars in their eyes. Towards the end of the set, Meg noticed me and gave me a wave, proving that underneath the theatrics and the slick comments to the audience, she’s a sweetheart trying to connect to her fellow humans through her music.