The rock’n’troll band Sysikuu had their first major gig in Helsinki last Saturday, as a part of Neonhämärä (“Neon Twilight”) pervasive larp campaign. As Jaakko wrote earlier, the band was created specifically for the game, and some of the players had never really made music before.
As the photos show, the gig was a blast. Or, to be honest, I don’t really know.
The band guys pretended to be the greatest rockstars ever, and the audience — myself included, and I don’t play in this larp — pretended that the band was the best band ever, and unsurprisingly the recipe actually works. The band and the audience managed to totally convince that the thing was the best thing ever, and hence it was.
As Martin Ericsson says about larp: “What you give is what you get” — the game repays your emotional, mental and physical investment in kind. The occasional backrow rock police trying to spot mistakes probably enjoyed Sysikuu much less. Obviously, this goes for any gig.
One fun thing was, hm, my aware unparticipation in most of the game interactions. I know half of the players outside the game, but do not play in the game. So when I met them in the club before the game, Gregory Bateson’s metacommunication showed up in an interesting form: All the players, being in character, greeted me with a gaze lasting for a second or so, very intentionally not winking or nodding in recognition. After all, we did not know each other — but we perhaps needed the second to realize that they were in character and I was not.
Jaakko, who plays the manager of the band, tells me that every non-playing acquaintance he met on the gig greeted him with a proper, almost formal non-wink as well.
The band members probably had the best experience, though, at least they have been basking in afterglow since then. I haven’t asked, but I doubt they were that much engaged in character-play during the gig. In a situation like that, it is possible, but difficult, to hide behind your character.
Photos by Tuomas Puikkonen (CC).