On Thursday, 30 August 2018, my younger daughter (Elise), her cousin (Talia), and I (evil bad buy) piled into a car and hit the freeway for an evening of unknown pleasures as we headed for a LIVE, SOLD OUT performance by a well-known YouTube personality: JACK SEPTICEYE (aka Sean McLoughlin.) Ellie purchased our tickets five or six months ago—the day they went on sale (and, considering that the show sold out, it’s probably a good thing that she did!)
Sean is an Irish feller who plays video-games and yells and cusses like a sailor, but unlike some of the YouTube personalities that my daughter watches, Mr. Septiceye seems to have a rather positive, uplifting attitude, and appears to be a genuinely nice guy. (“PMA” is one of his catch-phrases.) And he’s funny, which is good enough for me! Excitement levels were high on the drive!
Of course, we had to stop in Woodland to get me a coffee on the drive down to P-Town (the event was going to keep me up WAY past my bedtime,) and that detour cost us quite a bit more time than I expected, as some kind of traffic snafu had us crawling down a stretch of road that usually only takes about two minutes to traverse. Undeterred, we continued on to Portland, fighting downtown traffic, to reach the Lloyd Center mall. We’d come looking for puzzles, and after a search of several stores, we located a 1,500 piece monster of a puzzle (with a vintage Mickey Mouse montage for the image), which Elise decided was going to be the true test of her puzzling abilities that she desperately needed! After securing Ellie’s puzzle, we grabbed some dinner, so that we’d have enough energy to keep us going through the show!
Parking outside the Revolution Hall was surprisingly easy (and only $5.00, which is pretty cheap for Portland.) The hall itself (according to the official web site) was once a high school, and it definitely has that “going back to school” vibe when you walk in—although the bar on the roof isn’t particularly academic in nature. (Most kids at my school drank in the bathrooms or the parking lot, not on the roof.) Regardless, it’s a very cool venue, with an eatery on the ground floor, and a “lounge” for private events, and a nicely remodeled auditorium that isn’t too big (holds 850 people, according to the web site,) making it a very cool, intimate space for seeing a live show. Elise was particularly pleased with how close our seats were to the stage!
And, naturally, there was SWAG to be had! Cousin Talia bought a beanie for herself and a shirt for her sister. Elise, who said she probably wouldn’t wear a t-shirt very often, purchased a signed poster instead.
The crowd was a crazy mixture of very young kids, 20-somethings (like my daughter and her cousin, who are both 20), and parents and grandparents, who brought youngsters to the event. And the place was PACKED with wiggling, chattering kids in various stages of freak-out! However, even though all the seats were full, it was a small enough venue that it didn’t seem like we were being crushed together like a pack of sardines, which is good. (Ellie and I both have agoraphobia issues.)
About 8:00 P.M., the show began…
What I hadn’t anticipated, and I suppose I should have, is what happened when the lights dimmed and the screen jumped into life…
The place exploded! Shrieks and screams, applause, howls of excitement and pleasure! It was like being at a rock concert. Jack had a very funny opening video on the big screen, (well edited and perfectly timed), which set the scene for a nice transition from the digital world (where most of the folks in the audience usually interact with him) into the “REAL” world, and when he finally walked out on stage…I thought the place was going to come down around me. That crowd LOVES this man!
Because of the state of existence that most folks currently live in, where the world is primarily experienced and filtered through some electronic device, Jack said he would do a little, (very funny) “photo shoot,” and he gave the crowd a bunch of poses, so that everyone could snap some pictures and get that whole PHONE / ELECTRONIC DEVICE thing out of the way… (We all did…)
And then he told everyone to put their devices away and just enjoy the show—to live in the moment directly—not filtered through a screen. I appreciated that. He then proceeded to tell some funny stories, talk about his youth growing up in Ireland, explain how he got his YouTube name (I’m not going to spoil anything!), and shared how he overcame some pretty serious bouts of depression and self-doubt. Again, his point was always to have a positive attitude and try to keep your head up—and, again, I appreciated his message!
Oddly, though this was an all ages show, Mr. Septiceye did NOT curb his language to accommodate the little ones in the audience. (And we’re talking YOUNG KIDS here—like five, six, seven years old.) In a way, I’m impressed. His stage show was pretty similar in tone to his YouTube videos—and he was quick! When someone in the audience tried to talk over him, or yell out some “Portland” witticism, he was RIGHT THERE, shutting them up and keeping the program on track! He’s got great timing. If he wasn’t already a “video-game player” he would have made a solid stand-up comedian!
Speaking of video-games, some of the funniest parts of the show were when he’d send his assistant into the audience to pick people to come up on stage and play video games on the big screen. This part of the show has to be different for every stop of the tour, but I’m VERY glad we caught the Portland show, as some of the things that happened during the audience participation portion here were laugh-until-you-cry funny, and completely unpredictable or unrepeatable. And, of course, Jack’s humorous and sarcastic comments during these moments was spot-on perfect. (On the drive home, Elise and Talia and I agreed that these were the funniest parts of the show!)
Ellie says her one regret about the show is that, when the assistant was walking through the aisles looking for volunteers to come up on stage, she didn’t raise her hand. (She’s shy.)
Overall, we all agreed that the show was fantastic. Jack was funny and positive, the venue was very cool, parking wasn’t too difficult, and the crowds seemed to love the whole show as much as Elise and Talia did. Ellie, in particular, said the show blew away her expectations, which were already high. As I mentioned, the language might have been a little saltier than some parents would have been comfortable with—but if the kids are already watching the Jack Septiceye videos on YouTube, they’ve heard some colorful turns of phrase and should have assumed that his live show was going to be just as explicit. (We aren’t talking Quentin Tarantino levels of verbal degradation, just a liberal sprinkling of four letter words over otherwise positive and uplifting banter.) The visuals were cool, the message was a good one for anyone to hear, and the laughs were genuine. Maybe he DESERVES the rock star status!
Elise, who loved the show even more than she thought she would, almost cancelled a beach trip in order to go see Jack at the PAX-West event in Seattle the following weekend. (Her boyfriend protested, and they ended up going to Newport, Oregon, instead of Seattle, mostly because I don’t think he’s as big a fan of Jack as Elise is.) In fact, she’s already planning on getting tickets for next year’s PAX-West, so that she can see him live again. Meanwhile, she’ll just have to watch the videos that he posts, every day, on YouTube. Hopefully, that will hold her over until next summer!
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)
SUPPORT INDEPENDENT FOLKS WHO ARE JUST MAKING STUFF BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT!!!