Who is Sam Hunt?
It wasn't a question so much as it was an existential crisis. I had successfully navigated inside the EA Sports Party on Thursday night and now I was attempting to discern the identity of the front man playing to a rapt audience at this fancy event space in Houston.
When the mystery troubadour kicked into a song that prompted half the audience to hoist their iPhones, I had no choice. It was time to turn to my dorky and knowledgable friend, The Internet.
That is a pathetic web search by a 36-year-old father of two. Just super grim stuff. But hey, I got the necessary info. Wow, 125 million views, nice job bud!
As for the party itself? Well, here was the scene I was greeted with upon arrival.
Let me tell you something. I was not going to wait on that line. I would eat a man in front of his family before I waited on that line. The nice woman at the check-in tent told me that my media credential would allow me to forego the queue. God is good. God is great! But when I reached the section where I had been told I would be granted entrance, a different woman who I will graciously describe as a Rigid Event Organizer (REO) told me my yellow wristband meant my only party access point was back where I started. "Go in through general admission and you'll get right in."
Awwww, hell no. I KNOW YOUR GAME, LADY. You see, when it comes to Super Bowl parties, I'm like a thirtysomething athlete: What I've lost in physical ability, I make up for with cagey wisdom and know-how. So instead of lining up behind 3,000 other people and prepping my mind for the lifestyle drawbacks of being a cannibal (Night terrors every night until you die!), I surveyed the scene then used my cunning to access the party through a side entrance being by guarded by a man who clearly didn't GAF.
I was in the party, but sadly, not out of the woods. As the uplifting melodies of this mysterious Sam Hunt character filled the room -- he's like an evolutionary Shawn Mullins, by the way -- I looked up to see a crushing sight: Party levels.
Once I saw the party levels, I knew I was done for. Levels almost always mean you're at a party with a caste system. Oh, you waited for 94 minutes to get into the party? Well, guess what, you only have access to the first floor. And what does that mean? You know it, the ugliest two words in the after-dark game: Cash. Bar.
This is a monstrous party foul this late in the week. Super Bowl parties and wedding receptions share the same golden rule: If you don't have an open bar, you cannot be taken seriously.
After waiting an eternity to get into the event, people were met with 15-minute lines to buy miniature servings of Miller Lite ... at $9 a pop! This led to my favorite observed interaction of the night, between two young partygoers behind me.
When it comes to party inconveniences, 24-year-olds have a huge pain threshold. This fades in time.
After Hunt finished his set I decided to bail. I'm sure The Chainsmokers survived without me. The hotel lobby beckoned, offering its own cash bar that played by my strict-but-fair rules. Congratulations on all your success, MCA Nashville recording artist Sam Hunt.